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Predator Nation

“Inside Job” director Charles Ferguson on Wall Street now, and the crisis still to be addressed.

Director Charles Ferguson poses for a portrait at the 63rd international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP)

Director Charles Ferguson poses for a portrait at the 63rd international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP)

When the U.S. economy melted down in 2008, Charles Ferguson stepped up with a blistering documentary on the collapse called “Inside Job.” He named names and laid blame for the crash in a way that regulators and law enforcement were unwilling to do. “Inside Job” won the Academy Award for best documentary.

Now, Charles Ferguson is back with more. A deep, furious critique of American finance and politics today as fundamentally corrupt and corrupting. Dangerous. Predatory.

This hour, On Point: bare-knuckled critic Charles Ferguson and the “predator nation.”

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ben Protess, a legal and regulatory correspondent for the New York Times.

Charles Ferguson, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and author of the new book Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post “The most contentious issue in the debate about Wall Street reform involves fairness.  Many bankers and Republicans complain that the Obama Administration has unjustly targeted the financial sector in imposing restrictions, and that the regulations themselves contradict free market principles.  But while people bicker about fairness, they are forgetting one basic tenet of capitalism — if someone can make a lot of money doing something, even if that something could hurt others, they probably will.”

New York Times “The Dodd-Frank law was supposed to bring much-needed oversight to the multitrillion-dollar market for derivatives, including transparent trading, mandatory reporting and higher capital and collateral requirements. But banks, with help from lawmakers in both parties, have lobbied regulators to delay and weaken the rules.”

Politico “But now JPM’s hyper-aggressive trading has caused a loss somewhere north of $2  billion, and possibly as much as $5 billion. The episode not only confirms the  wisdom of the “Volcker rule” prohibiting commercial banks from risking depositor  money in speculative trading, it also raises more fundamental questions about  the current role and conduct of the megabanks.”

Salon “For at least 30 years the United States has been headed on the wrong track, handing over more power and wealth to a tiny percent of the American population at the expense of everyone else. But Ferguson’s story isn’t just focused on the greed and recklessness of the elite.”

Excerpt

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  • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

    Popular education from the ground roots is the only solution to this problem.  
    We seem to be continually waiting for the solutions to be magically sprinkled down in a rain (reign) of beneficence from our overlords but we stand dumbfounded when it fails to reach us.
     

    • Unsanitorial, in NC

      Let’s define “ground roots.”
      Did the grass die?

      I think the Texacocans had it right about Overlords
      (gods) in Aztecan Mexico. They propitiated Tlaloc to urinate on their crops. Waste rains down, and we are told this is rain. Most every “trickle down” is now virga.
      Roots turn to dirt. All our water is being drawn off (literally); still nothing reaches the “ground roots.”

      How does one educate when school and home are under seige? When media is dominated by Oligarchal agendas? Soon Creationism will invade economics textbooks (They are already religious anyway.).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    iOnePoint:

    the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth has issued a subpoena to Morgan Stanley for manipulating the IPO of Facebook.

  • Unsanitorial

    Two maladies are reinforcing and accelerating  one another.
    Corruption is rampant in these United States.
    Capitalism (corporate and crony) is obsolete and is devouring us.

    b smart makes me laugh, that “financial literacy” can rectify structural inertia. When rotting flesh enters the cauldron at the rendering  plant well indoctrinated maggots wriggling within the meat are firmly in control: True of False?

    And nothing has been done to address pending environmental collapse
    because all efforts are concentrated on “winning the financial game.”

    Tom A.- Thanks for inviting Charles Ferguson because he has financial competence. But that will not be enough to save civilization. We are fighting over crackerjacks on a runaway train.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    How can our system not be seriously corrupt when nearly four years later, no one has been indicted while very real crimes were committed, no laws with teeth have been written to prevent this from happening again and the opposition party openly opposes enforcing regulation of the criminally irresponsible minds behind all of this.

    In the Roman days, blame would have been allocated and we’d have seen heads on pikes lining Wall Street.

    And why pray tell is the Republican party not being lambasted in the press for defending these hoodlums? Doh… they own the press thanks to their deregulation of it.

    • Gregg

      Bernie Madoff is in jail.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        Greg, my statement is correct: Bernie Madoff was just running a Ponzie scheme albeit the largest on record. Madoff was not really a part of the 2008 financial crisis, but it knocked down his house of cards. Madoff’s activities were not the foundation of the meltdown: he was not involved in systematically generating “Liar’s Loans”, nor was Madoff bundling them up, falsely rating the resulting securities and reselling them under false pretenses, nor was he involved in the criminal incompetence of the derivatives market. He was just a good old fashioned crook.

        • Don_B1

          Absolutely correct!! Gregg is acting in his mischievous troll role today. Anyone who takes him seriously is not serious.

      • J__o__h__n

        It took them long enough.  Regulators need to be more aggressive. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        One of THOUSANDS?  Crime PAYS!  If you are a Wall Street bankster? 

    • jefe68

      There was no such thing a Wall Street in ancient Rome.
      If you lost money, say on a shipment of olive oil, you ate it. The Romans were all for law and order. I doubt there would have been heads on pikes. There were riots over bread prices.

    • Don_B1

      Senator Phil Gramm included in his Commodities Futures Act of 2000 the provision that Derivatives could not be regulated. This took most, if not all, of the deeds that were morally wrong and made it difficult if not impossible to prosecute.

      I know that Mr. Mozilla, the head of Countrywide Mortgage, as the pimp for the big investment banks hunting up ignorant mortgagees, did pay a small fine (relative to his earnings at Countrywide — which was bought by Bank of America, causing it a lot of financial difficulty, along with its purchase of Merrill Lynch); but he did not face the indictment he deserved for the specific reasons that are not yet released by the Justice Department.

      The additional problem here is that regulation cannot be just within the U.S. as can be seen by the location of the two biggest excesses: AIG’s big $3 billon and counting loss was ALSO in its LONDON Branch. The U.K. has instituted more controls on ITS banks, but it doesn’t necessarily spend an equal amount of effort on foreign banks whose escapades will not so directly affect the U.K.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “why pray tell is the Republican party not being lambasted”

      This is a thoroughly bipartisan crisis.

      • Don_B1

        Not fully bipartisan just as the new girlfriend who drives the boy to his friend’s house and waits outside while he does a drug deal she had no idea was going down is fully responsible.

        Barney Frank pleaded with Alan Greenspan to exercise the shadow banking regulatory authority he had gotten passed in the 1990s when he could see the housing bubble and the mortgage based derivatives problem building. But the Republicans controlled Congress and did not support his effort when Greenspan refused, saying that free markets self-regulate! That is otherwise what “Astonished” Greenspan in later testimony before Congress. And the Democrats did not appoint Christopher Cox as chairman of the SEC where he could find no problem in free markets.

        And the Democrats are largely, though regrettably not uniformly, for strong regulation of the banks. There just are not the required 60 votes in this filibuster age.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Obama has, and continues to, appoint nothing but Wall Street insiders to economic posts in his administration and his policies have served Wall Street far more than Main Street.

          • Unsanitorial

            True

          • Don_B1

            I agree that Obama has supported “bailing out” the banks and getting Dodd-Frank passed took too much time. But the latter was because of resistance within Congress. And Geithner has seen things too much from the banker perspective.

            But a lot of the failure comes from the Democrats in Congress who do not take the party discipline road that Republicans do (at least lately). Barney FRank has said that the legislation would not have been as strong as it eventually was if passed in 2009. But Scott Brown’s demand for a $19 billion “gift” to the financials (Fidelity for one) was a weakening that did not have to happen if the Massachusetts Democrats had come out to vote instead of sitting at home.

            And Obama and other Democrats did make several efforts to attack the mortgage problem but they were beaten back for “moral hazard” reasons that were brushed aside (by Congress) in the banker case.

            I can understand that Obama had to get the bankers to get their banks in order (consider what would have happened if, instead of getting them in order they had brought lawsuits as they have against Dodd-Frank which has delayed that for a year).

            There are indications that Obama was initially too conciliatory, which is believable as his approach on too many issues where Republicans were in opposition seemed too conciliatory. That is where I have problems with his approach.

  • Yar

    The big lie is that we are trading work over time with Wall Street.  We put our money (work) in retirement accounts and it is squandered on the traders’ entertainment.  History is full of these schemes, they almost always end in revolution.  If we have any hope of civility, we must come to the same truth.  Money is only a marker of value, so is gold or any other ‘precious’ metal or trinket.  Fine art, wine, entertainment, they only have value in a civil society.  Real wealth, is peoples’ ability to produce goods and services.  This is what money is used as a marker, trading our work over time with others.  We hope to care for ourselves and our family in all seasons of life.   This is why we must invest in people, and not in schemes.  This is the original intent of Wall Street before it became a casino.
    We live day to day on fossil fuels thinking of a time when we can have the good life.  We get caught up in the false horizon of using money to judge our value, when the only true resource is ‘ability’. Ability to solve problems, to produce goods that provide for the needs of others and ourselves.

    • Yar

      Our critical mistake is that we value people who tells lies much more than people who tell the truth.  At least that is the only way I can account for the exorbitant compensation of CEO’s and traders.   My question is, what percentage of our GDP is entertainment? 
      Capitalism is based on exploitation, left alone it will destroy everything including itself.   
      Government regulation is intended as the moderating force.  Our regulator is broken,  we must have regulators who are not controlled and influenced by the market.  They can’t be players and regulators and still have credibility. 

      • Drew (GA)

        “Our critical mistake is that we value people who tells lies much more than people who tell the truth.”

        Of course we value the liars, none who speaks the truth can tell us what we want to hear.

        “They can’t be players and regulators and still have credibility”

        Internal Investigations, pft. We let the Thief investigate the crime then act outraged when there’s no conviction.

        Nice comment.

        • Unsanitorial

          Fine art, wine, Facebook….

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “the only true resource is ‘ability’. Ability to solve problems, to produce goods that provide for the needs of others and ourselves.”

      Ah, but you have fallen victim to one of the key foundational tenets of exploitative capitalism: that the function of economic activity is to produce “goods” rather than goodness.

      At root, we have created a world in which only material things have value, or one’s ability to transform nature into things. That not only demeans the human spirit but ultimately leads to the total conversion of nature into “goods” (property) and relationships into “services”.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The party that claims ‘compassionate’, ‘conservative’, ‘Christian’, ‘morals’, ‘family values’, and most other moral-highground titles, are ASSISTING, and FACILITATING these crimes!   They have been, for decades!
       How MANY leading Republicans have REALLY helped prosecute, or turned in their contributors, that are PART of these criminal actions?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How many have HELPED  the criminals?   THAT is a CRIME!

      • Hidan

         Congress in made up of the top 10% of America and insider trading was only legal for congress to engage in it but used by both sides of congress until this year of course. Now it’s only partly illegal.

    • Brothersower88

      Both are “ASSISTING, and FACILITATING these crimes!” It is just the one party attempts to claim the religious moral high ground while the other party takes the humanist moral high ground.

      Both commit the same “crimes.”

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      This is a thoroughly bipartisan crisis. Obama is just as much to blame as the GOP.

      • Unsanitorial

        Obama is a hostage. You never see the guys in charge.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          No more so than any other president. He knew full well what he was stepping into, and did so with the same ambition that drives all to power.

  • Hidan

    Gotta love the new talking point “You can’t regulate failure” (which actually means don’t regulate banks even when there a chance the taxpayers will have to bail them out again)

    What’s funny/sad is Banks are now factoring in bailouts by the government. 

    • Unsanitorial

      A NC state legislator voted against a small reparation for eugenics victims (forced state sterilization !930s to mid 1970s) on the grounds that you should not penalize people today for “things that happened in the past.” 9/11 conspiracy and the financial coup will forever be “in the past.” Clinton and Cheney now live in a memory hole. Remember, the past begins right now, so conspiracy is now the only punishable crime, and that window closes pretty fast. 

    • notafeminista

      It’s neither funny or nor sad.  It is to be completely expected.  The precedent has been set and the moral hazard removed.  

  • Hidan

    Anyone catch the media blitz by JPM? It was allowed to go on just about every media outlet to explain away there actions(most likely to head off legal actions and frame the debate and prevent regulations) Than the free marketers followed with “Can’t regulate failure” while the media dutifully kept mostly silent and used the fake “Fair and Balance”

    • TFRX

      Yeah, once upon a time companies had to buy image ads to do this stuff.

      I thought JPM was getting a bit over the top when one of their flacks danced on a CNBC desk and shouted “Invisible hand, beeyotches!”

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Evidently, a LOT of these losses and frauds could have been avoided, if Glass-Stegall had been left in effect!
       Re-instate Glass-Stegall, and institute the Volker Rule, until BETTER, STRONGER laws can be written and enacted!
       ANY Representative or Senator that doesn’t vote to re-instate Glass-Stegall, should be presumed to be bought by the criminal financial interests?

    • Brothersower88

      I like it.

    • Victor Vito

      … and reinstate Glass Steagall AS IT WAS.  I’m hearing rumours of a “new” Glass Steagall, which to me amounts to a watered down lie. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        DEFINITELY!
           It wouldn’t be Glass-Stegall, if watered-down!

    • Don_B1

      Currently the Volcker Rule is the “partial’ replacement for Glass-Stegall, which is being negotiated by the Dodd-Frank rule-makers under suit by the banks.

      Paul Volcker told the banks, “You don’t like the Rule, we can just implement Glass-Stegall again.” in other words, the “flexibility” and resulting complexity (one of the banks’ hubris-filled objections) provided by his Rule could be avoided by a hard rule.

      When Jamie Dimon found out what his London office had done, he got sick to the stomach (RAH!) because the trader had accumulated just about all of BOTH sides of the position on this set of derivatives. That fact was what let the cat out of the bag to other traders, who then set about making it painful for JPMC to “unwind” from those “positions.” And will cost more before the operation is completed. This is the problem with “counter trading,” where the transactions are between just the two parties and no one else knows what they are or how expensive.

      It is this non-transparency that allows the parties to take advantage of each other as one party often does not know the true value of the derivative. It is also how the banks now make BIG MONEY without contributing to the general economy and by taking great risks threaten the future of that economy.

      Just consider the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. The recession caused was not the same as earlier recessions, particularly the 1981-82 recession, although conservatives like to try to make you think so. [That way they try to make the case that Obama policies "made it worse," which they did NOT.] The large segment of homeowners who are under water with their mortgages need to get out from under before they will resume the spending level of 2007 and drive the recovery of the economy. Bailing out the bankers was necessary for recovery (particularly for the rich) but not sufficient (particularly for the 99%).

      But the rich (particularly a few billionaires who have semi-fascist ideas, common among the rich — see Richard Mellon Scaife, Joseph Kennedy, Charles Lindberg, etc.) see an opportunity to destroy the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance and unions of any type. That way they can control and exploit the worker just as in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Consider the sweat shops that exist in third world countries and here on farms and even clothing manufacturing, at least until recently. Maybe the real exploitation of women has moved from sweatshops like what led to the Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City some 90 years ago to the pornography dens being exposed today.

  • Still Here

    Define your terms, what’s Wall Street?  It doesn’t appear to mean anything specific, just some amorphous target for leftwing nutjobs and envious malcontents far off the productive plane of the economy.  See below for examples of this.

    • Mr. Trees

      Uhhh, are we talking about the same thing here? If this was an hour about “occupy” Wall Street or home foreclosures or something even marginally related to middle and lower class woahs – then I could see your point, and would in all honesty tend to agree… but it’s not.
      Our major financial and brokering institutions were blending finances; business and pleasure, institutional funds and customer funds.  It’s lunacy.  No need to politicize a snow job that screwed everybody, regardless of ones political alignment or affiliation. 

    • jefe68

      Please do. Define Wall Street for all the folks who seem to be misguided. While you’re at it why is the FB IPO falling like a rock pushed from a ledge of an investment bank.

    • TFRX

      When the Tea Party was convincing our mainstream press that all the bailouts of 2008 happened under President Obama, were you going onto right wing message boards telling them that they were envious malcontents and nutjobs?

    • ghoffman

       This is why no one will be prosecuted for fraud. The “rightwing nutjobs” will protect the system and aid and abet it, even if they are the victims of the abuse. You should watch the movie and hear first hand what those whom you protect are saying. It might surprise you.

    • Alan in NH

      Aside from defining what exactly constitutes Wall Street, I’m detecting in your overall approach to the issue, some remnant of Calvinism, a view of the world which essentially said that if you were wealthy, you were ordained by God to be so, and if you weren’t, you were a dirt-bag, also ordained.  So if you have any issues with the way financial institutions are handling your money, then you’re an envious malcontent, just a newer version of “cursed by God.” But perhaps I overstate my case. Would you say that everything Wall Street, as in hedge fund investors, huge banks, and other large financial institutions, have been doing everything they do above board? Would you say there has been no gambling, no questionable financial instruments, no over-leveraging? I am having trouble imagining it’s all really as simple to you as blaming “left-wing nutjobs?”

      • jefe68

        Don’t expect a decent reply. This chap says stuff like this all the time. He comes on this forum making inane comments and if he can fit it in he blames President Obama for everything while debasing anyone who disagrees with his rhetoric.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Define your terms. Just what is a “leftwing nutjob”? An American who cares about justice?

      Just what are “envious malcontents”? Those millions of middle class Americans who have lost their homes, their pensions, their jobs, their healthcare and their futures?

      And just where is the “productive plane of the economy” if not on Main Street among small-scale entrepreneurs who are the true job creators?

      “Wall Street” is easy to define.

  • notafeminista

    Well of course there’s a crisis.  There’s always a crisis in Oceania.

  • Prairie_W

    “A deep, furious critique of American finance and politics today as fundamentally corrupt and corrupting. Dangerous. Predatory.”

    Immediately my nasty little brain turns to 19th century America and its push to the west.  Or George W. Bush’s 21st century push to the east. You know.  Talk about “corrupt” and “corrupting” and “dangerous” and “predatory”!

    It’s a well-developed American habit. I’m not so sure we commenters are better people for hanging onto the sidelines here and talking about it.  “What did you do, Grandad, while the predators were corrupting and predating?”

    • Alan in NH

      If I’m reading you correctly, you’re saying we (as a nation) have been engaging in this kind of behavior for a long time. I’m open to suggestions for alternative approaches. What are yours?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      You’re quite right. Morris Berman describes this brilliantly in his book Why America Failed, in which he follows a strand of “hustler” mentality that came to America’s shores with the Pilgrims and has been our foundational cultural value ever since.

  • Markus

    I worry that we’re missing the target. Sarbanes Oxley, for example, was great for accountants and lawyers and has cost companies gazillions that could have been spent in other areas, but done little to reduce corruption. I think it falls in the category of feel good legislation.

    I think the target should be that financial services is an insiders game designed to work for the insiders. Inside information seems to be shared liberally. Senior people sit on each other’s boards of directors and vote themselves the money. Politicians on both sides hire Wall street leaders as well as treat FS as a piggy bank for compaigns. I shouldn’t project too much, but it feels like they think anyone that isn’t part of this club is meant to be fleeced.

    How would any legislation change this insiders game? And a side issue - how would you get the beneficiaries (Congress and the President) to push something that keeps them in power?  

    • Drew (GA)

      “how would you get the beneficiaries (Congress and the President) to push something that keeps them in power?”

      Did you mean how would you get beneficiaries to push something that does not keep them in power? Just trying to better understand your comment.

      • Markus

        Oops. I miswrote it. I meant what you said.

    • Don_B1

      There has to be a large popular DEMAND that those actions be done. It has been done before. Look up the story of Robert M. LaFollette of Wisconsin; someone today’s Republicans would (and have) disown(ed).

      It is a representational system and the elected representatives do what the electorate strongly DEMANDS, but otherwise act sometimes reasonably and other times unreasonably. But they almost always act to preserve their ability to reelect themselves. And a lot of the time, that is a good thing as they have knowledge that is necessary for making good decisions that new representatives lack from not having the experience.

      Right now their big problem is the amount of time they have to spend raising campaign money to be competitive in the next election where outside money can convince the voters to replace them, often with incompetent people. So they spend from one quarter to one half of their time raising money instead of studying the issues before them, leaving the drafting of bills to lobbyists who insert loopholes that their clients can exploit and use to “steal” from the general public.

      Lawrence Lessig of Harvard is building a movement to change the campaign finance system by amending the Constitution by a Constitutional Convention (or the threat of one). Look into (google) it.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    FOREIGN interests CONTROL the financial sector, SuperPacs, MANY elections, appointments of judges, Congressmen, Senators, Pentagon members, ‘U.S. Corporations, State officials, and criminal organizations in the U.S.!
       Disagree? 
       Check out the obfustication of SuperPacs, the shell companies, the financing of elections, the beneficiaries of decisions of the above, and many other aspects?   IF you CAN?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       When you tell me how any of that affects my vote.  Put the blame where it belongs.  More Americans wish to vote for “reality” televsion personalities than in elections.  Many of them have no clue about what’s being debated.  That’s why we have the politicians that we have.

      • Bubba

        My ” DESIGN”-Surrprised?

      • Don_B1

        You are right; but those of us that do know need to work hard to “enlighten” those that do not. It will take first the education that cynicism and ‘a pox on both houses” does not solve the problem and then convincing them that they CAN do something that will be effective.

  • Greyman

    Hope this is no sign of the hour to come: “immiseration” (last line, paragraph 5 above) does not appear in any of the three dictionaries I have at hand.

    • Greyman

      Ahh, happy Wikipedia! It turns out that “immiseration” comes straight out of Marx’s Kapital! –so do tell, right off, please, Ashbrook & Co.: to what extent is Mr. Ferguson’s righteous indignation fed by goopy Marxist theory?

      • jefe68

        You have to be kidding. You’re using a word that was used by Karl Marx as a way to judge Mr. Ferguson. Amazing.

        • Greyman

          Mr. Ferguson used the word, which figures prominently enough in Marx’s sage analysis. Ask Mr. Ferguson why he reached for it.

          • jefe68

            Again, you have to be kidding.
            I know what you’re doing, and it does not pass the smell test.

          • Greyman

            And my simple response is: ask Mr. Ferguson whether he knows what he’s doing, or ask him why he does what he does (again, I didn’t foist any Marxist intellectual appropriation on him . . .).

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Perhaps because it’s a commonly used word in the English language (dating to 1948 – post Marx), your outdated dictionaries notwithstanding.

          • Greyman

            Tsk and tut: my Thorndike-Barnhart dates to 1963, my American Heritage to 1969, my Webster’s Ninth Collegiate to 1991. Apparently, it’s a term commonly encountered in Marxist studies . . . .

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Funny, but I never took Marxist studies, and yet am perfectly familiar with the term.

          • Greyman

            Funny, I never took Marxist studies, and yet the very time I get invited to become acquainted with the term, instantly, I find it cited in Marx’s Kapital. Perhaps instead of “outdated dictionaries” of the late 20th century, the term was more common in the late 19th century, as in comments found above you cite approvingly Mr. George’s treatise of 1879, which to hear you tell it is compelling and even more up-to-date than Mr. Ferguson’s analysis. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Marx never used the term.

          • Greyman

            It covers his concept of proletarian stimulus.

          • Unsanitorial

            Allen West hysteria

      • Don_B1

        Actually Marx was a pretty good analyst of economic and class problems; he just was not a good problem solver: his solution does not work.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    His chair doesn’t look as comfortable as Christensen’s was.

  • Victor Vito

    Free market capitalism = unregulated competition = Darwin = survival of the fittest = prey and PREDATION.

    How is any of this a surprise?  Take away more regulation and the result will be greater predation.  This is what Romney has specialized in his entire professional career.  Bain comes upon a weak animal and feeds on it.  It either survives in a “leaner and meaner” form, or Bain devours it entirely.

    • TFRX

      What gets me is the ret-conning of anything into “free market” by our uberlords if it makes them money.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Don’t blame Darwin for Darwinism, of which he would be an ardent opponent. He concluded his life believing that cooperation played a far more important role than competition in evolution and natural selection, and he never meant “fittest” to mean strongest, but rather those who best fit into their environment.

      • Victor Vito

        I appreciate your response.  Don’t blame Darwin for Darwinism would make a great bumper sticker as well!

      • Don_B1

        Absolutely correct. No one can be responsible for other people’s misuse of their work.

    • Don_B1

      And Romney often used Government money to support actions that he took to gain control of the company prior to actions he took to strip out money from the companies he “helped.” Or companies whose pension funds were stripped got reduced pension plans from the government supported pension guarantee fund.

    • Unsanitorial

      Day 1: Open the soot pipe.
      Day 2: Unleash the pitbulls.
      Day 3: Disrupt medical care.

      He’s pretty sinister.

  • AC

    not to let my geekiness show, but i can’t help but think of Ferengi…lol:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi

    read just the ‘characteristics’ part for a good laugh…

    • AC

      ha – this is even better – the ‘rules of acquisition’:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_Acquisition

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Deep Space Nine is a series that ages well, particularly once the Dominion War got going.

        • Victor Vito

          Agreed.  By the way, nerd 4 life!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Yup, except the Ferengi are deliciously greedy, and they have style.  Our Wall Street types are boring.

    • Victor Vito

      Love it AC!  Remember when the two ferengi landed on a primitive planet with a replicator?  Instead of helping the population with this technology, they declared themselves gods and demanded tribute.

  • Tncanoeguy

    If you have money be careful where you put it.  And if a financial product is basically a gamble it shouldn’t have government backing.  It should be very clear to consumers that this product is not backed by the feds and it has significant risk.  And the a…hole who sold my elderly parents the variable annuity should be…

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Obfustication, and distraction is MOST of what Congress is about, on ‘financial regulation’?
       Glass-Stegall WORKED for decades, to PREVENT the ‘financial mistakes’, that caused the disaster?  Copies of Glass-Stegall still exist?  Re-instating Glass-Stegall would take MINUTES?
      Eliminating the sources of ‘financial mistakes’ would be conservative of MOST U.S. Values and Monies?
      Where are ‘conservatives’ ?

  • ghoffman

    If any politician speaks up about investigating Wall Street, regulation, or is questioning in ANY way of the financial entities, they are ridiculed as being “anti-capitalism”, “anti-wealth” and “un-American”. The voters on the right, even those who lost their pensions, still defend this self-serving power of the wealthy. “How dare you question us??!!!”

    • Drew (GA)

      Don’t forget the Communist, Socialist, BLASPHEMER rants that always ensue.

      • ghoffman

         Exactly!  Trot out the boogeyman!!! Rant with the usual idiot name calling. Nazi! Hilter! Socialist & Communist!!  Nevermind that these contradict each other. Nevermind that citizens wanting to protect their life’s savings and provide for themselves in retirement is a capitalist dream.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Not just the voters on the right, but Americans have always suffered under the illusion that the ladder to success was available to anyone with the will and the vision.

      That is why John Steinbeck noted that in America the poor regard themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires”.

      • Don_B1

        But since the mid 1970s the ability of the next generation to rise in economic “class” has been declining, as shown by the “Gini Index”; see the third graph in this Krugman blog:

         http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/was-greed-good/

        This has ignited the growth of inequality which has had ramifications throughout society, in many aspects which no one would initially suspect.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Do you really believe that the loss of social mobility is something new to the American landscape?

          Put your Gini back in the bottle, and try putting today’s economic crisis in context. Social mobility wasn’t broadly available until the post-war economic expansion, but it has long been the myth of the American culture, perpetuated broadly by Lincoln’s Republican Party after the Civil War made northern industrialism the national economic model.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Charles your excerpt is totally on point. Today is the foundation of a dystopic future that we’ve been warned of by works of fiction for decades now…. but wait, I believe we were warned of this danger in the writings of the founding fathers!!! The fourth estate was envisioned as part of the defense against this. The corruption of the fourth estate via deregulation has been part of the weakening of our national strength.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      You forget, perhaps, that the “fourth estate” was always partisan and corrupt in America. Remember “yellow journalism”, Hearst and Pulitzer?

      • Don_B1

        But they have never been so “bought” by the rich as now; there was a period where the reporters were working class, hard drinking and ready to support “populist” causes, which while not always in the best interest of the American people as a compete group, were at least a push back against the rich. Of course there always were those in the fourth estate who would support the rich, but they were not so much in the majority as now?

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          At the same time, however, the mainstream media finds itself competing with, and sometimes struggling against, the democratization of popular digital media. They no longer have monopoly control over the flow of information.

  • Drew (GA)

    I continue to be impressed by Charles Ferguson’s insights and efforts. I think more of us realize the point we’ve come to than is generally believed. I’m very interested to hear Mr. Ferguson’s take on solutions, he clearly has his eye on the ball.

    And thank you so much for Inside Job Mr. Ferguson, it is a brilliant piece of work.

  • Michael Shapiro

    I think I can explain…
    http://toonstoonstoons.net/2009/08/why-were-not-getting-health-care/ 
    … It doesn’t just explain healthcare, ya know.

  • BHA in Vermont

    I think I understand, and yes I am mad but:

    The 99% still have no power to stop the 1% from granting pay packages to execs way out of line with the ‘value’ they bring to a company with no down side if they fail.

    The 99% still have no power to stop the 1% from paying a lower tax rate than middle class people who work quite hard. Romney proudly said Americans would not want a President to pay more than they are required. No, but we would like him to be required to pay a lot more. Making $21M on a blind trust (i.e. ZERO work on his part) should not deserve a < 15% income tax rate.

    The rich make the rules to ensure they get richer without regard to the VALUE of their 'work' or the inequality. They have convinced the 'right' that they are 'job creators' even though they create ZERO jobs and raising their income tax rate even 1% would devastate the employment picture.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Sure we do.  Instead of occupying anything, organize a political campaign, and get the 99% to vote for you.

      • Drew (GA)

        “Instead of occupying anything, organize a political campaign, and get the 99% to vote for you.”

        Of course you’ll need a Boatload of cash to take the power back. It’s gonna be tough finding Campaign Contributions for a campaign that negatively impacts the Donors it requires.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Don’t try to excuse the responsibility of voters.  Cash only buys air time, but anyone with an Internet connection can learn volumes of information that doesn’t come from the candidates.  It’s the job of the voters to research the candidates that they vote for.  It’s their job not to vote for anyone who doesn’t represent the good of the country.

          • Drew (GA)

            Getting sidetracked here but The Will of the People when stated can easily be overturned by a Supreme Court Ruling. I don’t excuse the responsibility of the voters, I’m just not certain how much weight that vote you mention actually carries anymore.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             That can be a concern, but if the 99% were really the bloc unified in interest that is implied here, hanging chad wouldn’t count for anything.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            We the People have the ultimate veto over the Supreme Court – it’s called a constitutional amendment.

          • Don_B1

            Gregg Camp is right here, but when you look at the “groundswell” building around Lawrence Lessig’s Constitutional Convention to change campaign finance, the difficulty becomes apparent.

            it may be that things will have to get worse before they can get better. i think of a Romney administration trying desperately to get some stimulus bills passed by the Tea Party Republicans in the House and failing as the country passes the previous Great Recession milestones and plunges toward a long-term Depression. And Republicans are such great wordsmiths they might worm their way out of even that.

            But Climate Change would also raise its head and the $billions of devastation in crop losses and maybe a few of the increasing number of hurricanes will be ones that make U.S. landfall. Last year the storms cost some $52 billion rather than the under $10 billion previous average. Crop losses from drought in Texas were over $7.4 billion with losses over $4 billion the previous year. What will it take this year to make more people aware?

            A recent study of extreme rainstorms over the last 50 years shows that the number of storms in the midwest yielding over 3 inches of rain have increased by 53% from the decade of the 60s to the decade of the ’00s, with smaller increases in the number of storms yielding 2 inches of rain down to about a 1 to 2 percent increase in the number of storms yielding less than 1 inch of rain. These kinds of extreme storms wash soil and agricultural chemicals into the rivers and create the “death zones” in the Gulf of Mexico that threaten the fishing there.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             Only two “g”s in Greg, not three, please.

          • Don_B1

            Sorry; hope it was just inadvertent, or a brain leftover from the other Gregg.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Yeah, right. Like the Green Party and Ralph Nader (and many others) have been trying to do, unsuccessfully, for decades. The electoral game is rigged as much as the rest of the system.

        But we COULD rise up and force change, if we had the will and the courage. The Occupy movement is the closest thing to such a popular revolt.

        • Don_B1

          The only “problem” is that they have so far avoided embracing political action as the best means to a remedy. Part of that is because they still accept all sides in discussions and therefore cannot make final decisions.

          But if they are able to make others come to that conclusion that political action can free the government to spend enough to repair the economy, they will attain their goal. But as I have enunciated above, it will take a mass movement to effect this kind of change.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            No, the reason that Occupy refuses to focus on political remedies is that they know that the corruption of politics makes that impossible.

            All substantial social change was forced by populist uprisings, and then only accommodated by politicians intent on preventing revolution.

          • Don_B1

            Check out the Progressive Movement with Robert LaFollette i the early 1900s.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            And you point (beyond continuing to be paternalistic and patronizing) is what?

            I’m familiar with LaFollette. I’m familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons. I don’t need to be told that my perspective on Darwin is “correct”. And I certainly don’t need advice from an anonymous bomber.

          • Don_B1

            Sorry if my attempt to be brief led to my being misinterpreted; I felt that a “like” was not strong enough and others who might pass by your take on Darwin.

          • notafeminista

            Oh it not.  the reason Occupy refuses to focus on political remedies is because they can’t AGREE on a political remedy.

          • notafeminista

            *it IS not.  dratted editor.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Clearly, you’ve never been part of any Occupy encampment.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “they create ZERO jobs”

      Surely, you overstate your case. They don’t create net zero jobs – they have eliminated millions of good-paying jobs.

  • Mike Robinson

    I suggest that we Must confront the willing criminal culpability of civil officers in our Federal government in this matter; in every political party alike. Our Constitution uses the word “bribery” by name and declares it to be “High CRIME.”

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Some state constitutions specifically outlawed corporate bribery under threat of revocation of a corporate charter and any financial immunity for its officers.

      “If any corporation shall directly or indirectly, offer, promise or give, or shall authorize, directly or indirectly, any person to offer, promise or give any money or any thing of value to influence the result of any election in this State, or the vote of any voter authorized to vote therein, or who shall afterward reimburse or compensate, in any manner whatever, any person who shall have offered, promised or given any money or other thing of value to influence the result of any election or the vote of any such voter, such corporation, if organized under the laws of this commonwealth, shall, on conviction thereof, forfeit its charter and all rights, privileges and immunities thereunder; and if chartered by another State and doing business in this State, whether by license, or upon mere sufferance, such corporation, upon conviction of either of the offenses aforesaid, shall forfeit all rights to carry on any business in this State; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this section.” 

      - Kentucky Constitution (1891)

      • Don_B1

        And as David Cay Johnston has said, many/most of them are written so loosely that even poor lawyers can work around them after half-an-hour of studying the issue.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          There is nothing “loose” about the wording and intent of this constitutional limitation on corporate behavior. 

          The problem is that states like Delaware, with no restraints on corporations, have allowed all the corporate charters to move there, just as corporations can move their assets off-shore to avoid regulation and taxation, or a merchant vessel can be flagged in another country with no regulations.

          What is needed is a federal constitutional amendment to rein in corporate power, by eliminating corporate personhood and the false equation of money with speech. 

          More than 80% of Americans support such an amendment and there is a fast-growing movement to make it happen.

          • Don_B1

            I think we are close on this issue; I was not analyzing the Kentucky article specifically. But how many corporations are based in Kentucky and how many of them are big-time contributors to political lobbyists, etc.?

  • Suzie in Newport, RI

    Tom, thank you for inviting a guest who sees things clearly, speaks the truth, and doesn’t insult the public with propaganda.

    I watched the Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday with the two so-called head regulators of the banking industry. It was patently obvious that neither the Senators, Democrats or Republicans, nor the regulators, felt any urgency whatsoever about writing actionable laws that would regulate the financial sector.  It was like watching a scene from Kafka or Beckett. The mutual lack of urgency or concern was striking.

    We ARE living in a third world, milititaristic, and FASCIST country in the sense that “fascism” can be defined as a coalition of corporations and government AGAINST the people. Now the “people” know it, thanks to excellent investigators like your guest, and are striking back, eliciting in turn a more militarized police force and new laws concerning “domestic terrorism.”

    • Drew (GA)

      Great comment!

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      I don’t know what you mean by “propaganda”, but Ferguson was surely propagating the myth that a capitalist economy is fundamentally good as long as there is a countervailing restraining force from government.

      What he refuses to ask is why such a countervailing force is necessary for an economic system that is fundamentally good.

      • rfra20

        Let’s use an analogy.  Football is a great game, millions of people watch it.  The Superbowl is one of the most widely viewed sports events on the planet.  If you didn’t have referees and let the players police the game by themselves do you think it would work?

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Did you even read the comment you were responding to?

          “What he refuses to ask is why such a countervailing force is necessary for an economic system that is fundamentally good.”

          The analogy is perfect. Football is so violent a game (now recognized by players, teams and the public as causing considerable traumatic brain injury, permanent disability and death) that rules and referees are necessary, but they don’t significantly reduce the number of causalities.

          Rules, regulations and government referees are necessary for a corporate capitalist economy because the “game” itself is so dangerous, unjust, vicious and deadly – such that even the best referees can do little more than ameliorate the worst damage.

    • agelbert

      Don’t miss this spectacularly truthful article about how doing the right thing is ALWAYS worth it no matter how ugly things look.

      Small snippet of a very long (and definitely a keeper!) article by George Washington at Zero Hedge:

      [Even though most politicians are totally corrupt, if many millions of Americans poured into the streets of D.C., a critical mass would be reached, and the politicians would start changing things in a hurry.

      As [liberal] PhD economist Dean Baker  points out:

      The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….
      A big turnout … can make a real difference.

      Baker is right about Vietnam.

      Specifically – according to Daniel Ellsberg and many others – Richard Nixon actually planned on dropping a nuclear bomb on Vietnam Nixon also said he didn’t care what the American people thought. He said that — no matter what the public did or said — he was going to escalate the war in Vietnam.

      However, a well-known biographer says that Nixon backed off when hundreds of thousands of people turned out in Washington, D.C. to protest an escalation of the war.]

       
      http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-21-23/it-worth-fighting-%E2%80%A6-even-when-there-no-hope-winning

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Daniel Ellsberg should know, since he was the one who recommended the use of nuclear weapons before he visited the war zone and realized what we had done there, that the battle reports were fabricated and that we couldn’t win against a people intent on defending their homeland.

        Ellsberg was an extreme military hawk, the Wolfowitz of his time, before he had a change of mind and heart. 

  • Greyman

    In Mr. Ferguson’s rogues’ gallery and by his count: how many of these amoral oligarchs are products of the Harvard Business School? (I’m guessing Mr. Ferguson might know, MIT is just around the corner from Harvard.) 

    • Greyman

      Shame on me! Harvard is an underwriter of today’s show! Query for Mr. Ferguson: how much of a closed world does he live in? If he calls for “more regulation”, he’s asking for regulations to be authored and implemented by the same kinds of brains that gave us the economic tumult, by his reckoning. Why should anyone trust Ivy League regulators to “fix” a problem arguably authored by amoral Ivy League-educated oligarchs.

    • Don_B1

      It was professors at the Harvard Business School who first promoted executives getting higher pay; that has obviously (at least to most of the 99%) gone awry.

      That has probably been one of the biggest drivers of inequality, which can be shown to be at the heart of much of what is wrong with the economy today.

  • Don_B1

    The financial sector has gone from just over 10% of the profits in this country to over 33% (some reports of 40%) just since the Reagan tax cuts and “Tax Reform Act” of 1986. That act eviscerated the Alternate Minimum Tax provisions, eliminating the aspects that affected the 0.1% and focused on the 2.0% minus 0.1%.

    And executives at other big corporations get paid huge sums for managing, not creating, jobs and when done poorly they get paid even more (to “ease them out”).

    Economists have shown that the top marginal tax rate does not destroy the desire to work hard until it reaches 70%. We can argue about the level at which such a rate should be in effect, but it could nicely be put at $10 million or so, maybe $5 million.

    • William

      A lot of people in this country, not just CEO’s and exectives get paid very well despite poor performance. Look at how Kati Couric bombed in her job at CBS and was still richly rewarded.

      • Alan in NH

        Agreed. To which I’d add free agents in sports who don’t deliver stellar performances but still get richly rewarded. So it is probably endemic at these levels. But the difference is that if Crawford doesn’t deliver for the Red Sox commensurate with his salary, it really doesn’t affect me. I can easily ignore what the Red Sox do or don’t do, but I have a harder time passing over political-corporate malfeasance, since I believe it eventually affects me in some adverse way.

      • jefe68

        Talk about a straw man argument. Or in this case straw woman. Kati Couric’s failure did not effect pension funds, 401k’s or IRA’s. She did not lose billions making bets with other peoples money.

        • William

          CBS is a public company and is responsible to the shareholders, i.e. investors, which most likely include people with 401, IRA or pension funds to maximize their profits. Couric was a failure and should have been canned. Get someone in there that attracts viewers and increases market share which allows higher advertising rates to be charged. CBS lost a lot of money by putting their liberal agenda before the best interests of the shareholders.

      • Don_B1

        But Kati Couric and sports or musical people who have commanded large incomes do not control the economy or make decisions on gambling of other people’s money that can bring the whole economy to a shambles.

        Couric and other media “stars’ do contribute, but only in a cheerleader role. If they do not tell us the full truth of how dangerous the unregulated bankers have become, we do have those like today’s guest to inform us and we then need to turn away from those network stars (even Tom Brokaw, who has demonstrated a great lack of understanding about macroeconomics). Then they will not be able to command those types of salaries.

        • Yokosuka1985

          Couric, Dan Rather, etc..have or had a great deal of influence on their viewers. They were hired to not only read the news but to bring on or keep viewers. Couric was a failure and should have been fired years before her contract ran out. Yet, she was kept on, mostly for her liberal slant on the news, despite it being a bad deal for the investors of CBS. 

          • TFRX

            Sounds like someone’s still sore that lil’ ol’ Katie gotcha’d Sarah Palin with “Name one newspaper or two Supreme Court cases”.

          • William

            At the end of the day Katie left CBS as a failure. Yes, Gov. Palin blew that one. I’m sure a superstar Liberal like Elizabeth Warren would have dazzed “Perky Katie Couric” with tales of her Indian heritage.

          • TFRX

            You’ve passed the Reality Event Horizon. Good luck finding your way back.

  • Jengliu

    For those who advocate the more freedom in high financing world the better the nation’s business community will be.  I  want to ask them only one question.  Would you commision a sex offender to babysit your children?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      GREAT ANALOGY!  GREAT QUESTION!

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Of course not. But they would allow a thousand sex offenders to run a day care center, because modern economic theory is based on the absurd notion that the aggregate effect of myriad selfish decisions is the promotion of the common good.

      • Don_B1

        And economists have long known that there are big holes in that argument, which occur when one small group can command the major levers of the economy.

        See “The Tragedy of the Commons”:

         http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          The hole in the argument is that people are not primarily rational or self-interested, but also emotional, intuitive and fundamentally empathic and cooperative. 

          If we create an economic model that is based on cooperation, we will be working with rather than against human nature (and nature at large).

          • Don_B1

            That attempt to create a cooperative environment between the Democrats and Republicans is Obama’s greatest failing, but it was not from his lack of trying. It foundered on the Republicans implacable demand for him to accept their way or take the highway. They were determined to make his presidency one term only and they may have succeeded as so many Americans don’t seem to see that so much of the weakness of recovery is due to the refusal of Republicans to create enough stimulus to jump start the recovery into a robust state.

            And the refusal of Republicans to accept climate science could be the ultimate downfall of human civilization if not reversed in time.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I see you’ve bought into the myth that there is a substantial or even substantive difference between the two parties on economic fundamentals.

          • Don_B1

            There is a difference in their ACTIONS on economics; whether the Republicans are against Keynesianism because Obama is for it or not, their actions are quite different and will have a huge difference in what happens to the 99%. The Republican cuts in social safety net and tax cuts will return the country to recession.

            Bush did enact some Keynesian stimulus: the relatively ineffective tax cut kind but within Keynes’ theory. What I don’t see is Romney being able to repeat that until the economy gets really bad.

            And the Supreme Court would look quite different if Al Gore had won, along with no invasion of Iraq.

            There are other differences too, but those are the big ones.

            And the resulting growth of inequality (see my other post with the Krugman ref.) is a big difference.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You’re living in a fantasy world. Clinton was the first to scrap welfare, destroying one of the most important anti-poverty safety nets. He also initiated “free” trade, which resulted in offshoring and outsourcing of most of the good jobs in America. And he signed the repeal of Glass–Steagall, which precipitated the 2008 global economic collapse and the insane concentration of wealth. 

            And almost every US war has been a Democrat war. 

            What planet do you live on?

          • notafeminista

            People are primarily self-interested.  Emotions and intutions are secondary, empathy is learned.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            That’s the myth we’re taught from birth, but our brains are hardwired for empathy. Babies in a hospital nursery will all begin to cry when one baby cries. Neurologists have discovered “mirror neurons” in the human brain which are designed to mimic the emotional feelings of others. As soon as an infant learns to identify self and other, they respond to others’ emotions as if they were their own.

            For most of human evolutionary history, we have worked in cooperative social units. It is only in very modern times that we have succumbed to the myth of social Darwinism, individualism, rationalism, selfishness and competition.

            Those are culturally learned behaviors. Our innate tendency is toward empathic and intuitive engagement with others and our world.

          • Don_B1

            I agree up to the point that early man probably only survived to evolve to today’s man because of cooperative efforts, but they were mostly among “small” groups. There was violent competition between these groups.

            But it is the use of the first response to a threat, being to adopt a conservative response rather than thinking through the problem to check that they are not being used, that leaders may have perfected lately although I am not an anthropologist to know how much it has been used before. But it is probably based on a better understanding now.

            But the adman, Bernals (sp?) in the 1940s or so used the emotional response to sell goods in ways not exploited before and the politicians, particularly Republicans, have excelled at it recently.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Stop stalking me.

          • Tim E

            Stop writing things then. He makes a good point, and you choose an irrelevant ad hominem?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It is a fallacy that all adhominem statements are fallacies. Some are relevant.

          • Don_B1

            Absolutely true that people are not primarily inclined to make a rational analysis of a problem, particularly when the problem is presented in a format that invokes threats that have to be parried or fled from. And that response brings the conservative response to the fore unless the individual can be brought to think about the nature of the threat and its possible truth or relevance to the individual. And that is what conservatives are particularly well skilled at invoking and giving the individual no time or reason to think deeper about the issue. Thus they are able to induce people to adopt positions that would not normally be taken.

      • notafeminista

        You just defined OWS.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Now you’re just bing a moronic troll.

          • notafeminista

            Which doesn’t make me wrong.  Want to try again?

            Hey, I know.  Let’s go ask the guy at OWS-NY who wanted $7000.00 for his stolen drum.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            That’s true. You’re wrong because you’re wrong about almost everything. But you’re a troll because you stoop to idiotic incitement rather than constructive engagement. You must be a tea bagger.

  • TFRX

    It must be said that the wealth/power spiral of our financial services sector is in competition with real industries.

    What is a Bob Lutz or a Howard Schulz (Nissan/Renault, Starbucks) supposed to do to “compete” with the fake growth of this financial stuff when they have to actually sell things to real people for money?

    • TFRX

      Ugh–copyedit error. Read “Carlos Ghosn” in place of “Bob Lutz”.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Are you suggesting that a double chocolaty chip frappuccino has more social value than a mortgage-backed derivative?

      • TFRX

        That depends on the chocolate.

        At the risk of sounding like a coastal elite, I like Callebaut and know a place which uses Valrhona in their desserts. But I digress.

        • bellavida

          I agree about Callebaut.  

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Charles Ferguson, please explain why American voters allow this to happen.  The “one percent” can’t vote themselves into office.  We have to allow it.  Explain that, and give us your path out.

    • kaltighanna

      That is a very good question. Perhaps the answer has something to do with the enormous amount of money spent in political campaigns that dedicate tons of time, energy and resources into “exciting the base” of either party with fake controversy over things that make no difference in the big scheme of things. Keep people distracted with gay marriage and contraception while the  0.01% guarantee that either side will continue to serve their interests when they get elected.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        So whose fault is that?  If we get worked up over nothing, who’s to blame?

    • Drew (GA)

      What’s to explain? American voters don’t “allow” this to happen, it seems you think we live in a Democracy as opposed to a Democratic Republic. Our “Representatives” are so far removed from Direct Representation that the actual will of The People can’t amount to anything more than a gentle nudge. A gentle nudge is easily ignored, I’m afraid some serious shoving is going to be required.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         There’s a serious shove every two, four, and six years.  We can vote the bums out, but we don’t.

    • Krjb

      The machine of reactionary Republican special interests has “perfected” the process of misrepresenting the issues.  They exploit fear and divide the electorate.  Most voters don’t keep up with issues very well.  So the distortion and fear-oriented PAC ads become their primary source of decision-making for elections.  They are too easily led astray.  Those with huge wealth and privilege to preserve are only too happy to pay for mis-leading the ill-informed masses.  As The Onion noted in 2004, America’s poor, ignoring their own interests, once again gives the election to America’s rich.  It’s a pretty cushy system for the 1%.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Thank you Tom, and Mr. Ferguson, for this expose’!
       Foreign Special Interests pretty much control the U.S. now, don’t they?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Thank you for pointing out that Obama, a Democrat, has done nothing more than the Republicans have done.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      As expected, that’s the limit of your concern about the criminal nature of the economic collapse – that it not be blamed entirely on the Republicans.

      That conveniently ignores the fact that the unleashing of corporate power was designed by corporatist Justice Lewis Powell in 1972, implemented covertly by the right-wing US Chamber of Commerce, and facilitated by Reagan’s ideological shift. And it ignores the fact that the sole purpose of the current Tea-Party controlled GOP Congress is to stop Obama’s policies dead in their tracks and prevent his re-election.

      I’m in no way justifying Obama’s failure to live up to his rhetoric and defy the obstructionism of the right, or his affinity for the financial elites. But you always see the world with only your right eye open.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Apparently, you don’t see my many comments here and elsewhere.  I hold Obama responsible for doing little, but I also call for regulatory reform.

        But typically for you, you pick on one minor point as though that’s my main idea.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          It is your mantra, and it is the point that you made here.

  • Tncanoeguy

    So here in little old Nashville the business community talks about having a strong educational system and there are collaborations between business and the public schools.  Are they just playing lip service to this or are they also pawns in this larger financial world?  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       I taught for a decade at Volunteer State up the road from you.  The Bosch plant there had us teach their apprentice managers a workplace ethics class.  It struck me as an intelligent approach to moving workers up through the ranks.  Then the plant closed and moved away.

      Of course, I doubt that any business would want to work with Stratford or Hunters Lane high schools.

  • Libaset

    I have taken several executive courses at leading USA business schools and am always struck by the single focus on the firm and financial return without any regard to impact on community. Shareholder value trumps any sense of responsibility to the communities that support the corporation or company or systemic effects of the aggregated decisions promoted by the business schools (layoffs for example). Norton and Kaplan’s Corporate Score Card being a key example.

    Some firms understand that the world needs a safe and prosperous society for them to be sustainable. ( see SPARK: How Old Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty First Century Company-Lessons from Lincoln Electrics’ Guaranteed Employment). 

    My point…We’d have to change the business schools. 

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      The business schools are only reflecting what has been allowed to become a socially-disconnected entirely self interested economic sector. In other words, it is mirroring the dominant economic paradigm of American culture: that personal material success is the purpose of life and ruthless competition is the road to that success.

      While the business elites display an extreme version of that mindset, they will not change until we change our cultural perspectives as a nation and a world. 

      The purpose of life is not to accumulate wealth. It is to serve the broader community and world. Without that fundamental understanding, we cannot expect any changes at the top other than, at best, ameliorating reforms that allow the system to continue on the same trajectory – which is ultimately the ecological and social destruction of the planet.

      • Libaset

        I don’t disagree that the business schools are nestled in a larger paradigm of self interest. But the B-Schools are powerful legitimators of self interest  and they develop the tools to implement the vision of firm centric behaviour. Now they throw in a required “ethics” course which defines the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They do not weave into all their tools and courses the analytics needed  to make decisions that contribute to corporate income AND  sustainable communities and environment. We instead try to do this as a society through laws and regulations which will always lag behind problems created by self-centred behaviour in the first place. 

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          “laws and regulations which will always lag behind problems created by self-centred behaviour in the first place.” 

          So, then, do we play perpetual catch up or do we shift the paradigm of self-centered behavior at the root?

  • Tony, Washington, DC

    Another same, tired, untrue analysis of our financial crisis by another person using financially illiterate Americans lack of critical thinking to pin the blame of our economic malaise on one segment of our economy.  The below list of groups are the genuine reasons why we have an economic malaise and $16 trillion of debt in order:
    1.       Politicians
    2.       Overspending government at every level
    3.       Regulators
    4.       Ratings Agencies
    5.       Financial Industry
    6.       Hyper-consuming Americans
    Anything different you hear is just someone using this crisis to enrich themselves and expand their social circle.

    • AC

      i don’t disagree with your list, but at the same time i am against removing regulators. i have seen/traveled to places without and i never, ever, ever! want to live there.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Exactly so.  Since financial matters affect us all, we should have some say in regulating how things operate.

      • Tony, Washington, DC

        Sensible, balanced regulations are necessary for a functioning society.

    • ghoffman

       You’re in denial.

      • Tony, Washington, DC

        I suppose I’ll add you to the critical thinking challenged column my friend…

    • Tncanoeguy

      What about regulators?  Are you saying that regulators are not given the resources to do their job or there is too much regulation?  It seems that in regards to the financial sector there hasn’t been enough regulation. 

      • Tony, Washington, DC

        The required regulations were/are on the books.  The regulators did not enforce the regulations due to pressure from politicians and the companies they are charged with regulating…  The politicians and companies do not want to destroy the goose that lay the golden egg.

      • ghoffman

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/23/488809/regulators-too-broke-wall-street/

        May 23, 2012/ Two of the nation’s top financial regulatory agencies don’t have enough
        funding to competently regulate the Wall Street banks they oversee, top
        regulatory officials told the Senate Banking Committee yesterday. The
        Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange
        Commission (SEC) both took on new regulatory responsibilities under the
        2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, but multiple rounds of
        Republican-led budget cuts aimed at neutering the new law have left them
        without sufficient funding to carry out those mandates.

        • TFRX

          Out in “the county” where one state trooper is the police force for hundreds of square miles, it’s not unknown for a criminal to set off a security alarm or break into a minor facility while a crony is thirty miles away carrying out the real crime because the statie is distracted.

          I have no idea why this anecdote popped into my head.

    • Don_B1

      Why don’t you just say everybody is responsible? Each of your categories has deeply complicit actors, but the category itself is not responsible. You have to delineate the ones doing the “crimes” and what they actually did to cause the problem.

      And you complain about a lack of “critical thinking?”

  • kaltighanna

    I haven’t listened to a show this depressing in a long time. I can’t think of anything to say to challenge Ferguson’s conclusions. Maybe it’s about time Americans start thinking about a global community instead of individual countries surviving in competition with each other. And maybe, just maybe, accept that people who were born in other continents may get the juiciest piece of the pie this time around…

    • Drew (GA)

      We definitely need Global Solutions for what have become Global Problems. Each Nation is too concerned with it’s own self-interest to realize that we’re strangling ourselves. I continue to hope we wake up, that will contradict all that has gone before though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Mr Ferguson, do you think President Obama’s inaction with regards to the prosecution of the perpetrators of the financial crisis and the implementation of stricter financial regulations stems from a) his personal feeling that these things should not be done; b) his acknowledgement of Congress’s inability to pass comprehensive and hard hitting legislation on the matter; or c) something not so readily apparent?

  • Irene Moore

    Query:  If capitalism is such a great system, how come it cannot just do this simple regulation?  How come the greedy ones get to run wild while all the good guys cluck and shake their fingers at how bad the bullies and liars are?

    • Suzie in Newport, RI

      Because the theory of capitalism does not include regulation; it is based on profit and free competition. Regulation is “socialist.”  Maybe “socialism” is a word that more Americans should stop considering profanity.

    • Don_B1

      The abstract theory says that those capitalists who do the wrong thing will eventually suffer when their deeds finally come home to roost. The problem is the word “eventually” and remember, just a bit out of context here, Keynes said “eventually we are all dead.”

      The need for regulation is that ‘externalities” [recognized by Adam Smith] harm others without impacting the gains of the one creating the harm (pollution, etc.).

  • ghoffman

    Why is it that when average American’s want to grow and protect their retirement savings in their 401K’s they aren’t entitled to question how things are run on Wall Street?! We all want profits too! We don’t want our hard earned life savings to vanish overnight because of fraud.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Wall Street has never comes to its senses to stop their Greed.

    The continuation to manipulate the consumer behavior, to cast doubts in the stock market, bets on derivatives, millions of dollars bonuses for those top executives without the satisfaction and approval from the American people who bailed the banks and saved the American economy.

  • Chadfred69

    I’be read some about Mussolini’s vision of Italy via fascism, if you remove the ‘heroic’ rhetoric the corporate stricture he imagined to administer sich a system sounds familiar…..any comments?

  • Ellen Dibble

    APM’s Marketplace Morning Report yesterday wound up with the story of a high-frequency trader Dave Lauer asking himself whether he could justify himself to his newborn child, whether his algorithms were (had been) actually enhancing the world at large, and the result was a “storytelling website Cowbird, a witness to life,” so I checked it out.  First the Marketplace Report:   
    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/commentary/high-frequency-trading-bad-markets-and-soulSo Cowbird dot com, that is a site for multimedia stories to be posted, but it doesn’t double down to self-correct the country, as Ferguson puts it.  But it’s a step.  I’d say Bill Moyers with Moyers & Company is stepping forward on this issue too.  And I see my city has people organized and moving ahead to pressure Congress to repeal Citizens United and make sure corporations are, constitutionally, not the same as persons.

  • Bluzader

    People went to jail after the savings and loan & the Enron events. What happened: did the current group of ‘misbehaving business people’ figure out how to do what they did legally OR are the current events not “illegal” under current laws OR did somebody (the government) drop the ball in prosecuting the appropriate people OR was this ‘too big to prosecute’? (any other options?)

  • Helaine

    Two thoughts to help change things: term limits and campaign finance reform.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       We already have term limits every two, four, or six years.  Use them.

      • Roy Mac

        White House and Senate, yes.  House, no:  too many gerrymandered, safe districts.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           But it’s voters who make those districts safe.  It’s up to the voters to make them dangerous.

  • Andy

    I agree with the caller who suggested that a deeper criticism of capitalism is warranted. The system which compels such greed and corruption is the capitalist machine itself. The corruption we are seeing is a canary in the coal mine. How can society address serious problems such as climate change as long as the generation of profits is our bottom line? Should the goal of human civilization really be an endless competition for cash? Sadly, it seems too late for meaningful changes to take place through normal political avenues.

  • Susan S

    We, and several generations before us, have let our government agents commit fraud on the entire world and now we are reaping what was sowed.  I refer to the fraud of paper money which the framers tried so hard to keep from happening.  It’s easy to ignore what is clearly stated in the US Constitution when the people stop caring about their own law.  Paper money always makes the rich richer and the poor pooer as it destroys the civilization that partakes of what is promoted as beneficial and/or necessary (eg an “elastic” money supply) but is actually dishonest money.  Have a problem?  No problem!  We’ll just print up the funds to solve your problem and thus does government eventually take over every thing.  Read the poem “Hungry Mungry” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The ‘Gold Standard’ was exceeded decades ago!  Industrial and jewelry uses for gold?
         WHAT is your alternative?

      • Susan S

        competing currencies – gold and silver have been the choice in ages past.  If and when money becomes part of the free market again (meaning government is not a player) we will find out if that’s still the case. 

      • notafeminista

        It wasn’t exceeded; it was abandoned.

    • Roy Mac

      You forgot to add your Ron Paul 2012 sobriquet.

  • Jane Lamb-Ruiz

     Working people are treated terribly in the US. If they could just go and see how European workers “have it good”  in this regard: vacation time, retirement, health care, but above all **representation on company boards**, they would understand how they are being stupped! Tell them, Charles!

  • Tncanoeguy

    It is my opinion that Grover Norquist and his ilk are having their way and that the public sphere is being gutted.  An exaggerated fear of government tyranny will swing the pendulum over to corporate tyranny.  We need a strong business community and a strong public sphere – the two balance each other out.  

    • Ellen Dibble

      It seems to me the government tyranny — “big government” — is a reflection of the Big Money that props it up and calls the shots.  
      Big Government  =  Bullying Elites who pull the strings (but they feel justified somehow, maybe with a lot of “professional” help)

      The elected officials end up spending an embarrassing amount of time placing calls begging for money from wealthy people.  Let’s see — one gets yelled at for pointing this out, of course.  But still.

  • ghoffman

    How’s that saying go? ” Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world.”

  • ralphT

    Public-sector wages are much lower than private?  Not according to many studies looking at salary, pension and benefits levels (American Bureau of Labour Statistics support the conservative argument
    that they have used their power to extract a wage premium: public-sector
    workers earn, on average, a third more than their private-sector
    counterparts.)  Unions also are some of the world’s most powerful interest
    groups — let’s not forget their impact on our economy, including keeping incompetent workers in place for entire careers. 

  • Stuffduff

    I think the point we’re all missing is that we live in a kleptocracy.  Money is not free speech, money does not make us all equal.  Those with money control the country and the economy behind the scenes, putting their interests above everything else, and we’re seeing the result as economic disparities continue to increase, and opportunities for the average american continue to decrease.

  • Wolf-PAC

    If you want to hold people accountable who have this level of power, you have to change the system that gives them power over our politicians. Because of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, that requires a Constitutional Amendment.

    Join Wolf-PAC (http://www.wolf-pac.com) to help us amend the Constitution to make real campaign finance reform possible.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    Charles Ferguson offers a valuable insider’s critique of the worst excesses of global capitalism, but refuses to question the premises of the global economy and to recognize that the current global economic collapse coupled with the most extreme wealth discrepancy is the necessary outcome of an economic system which is based on the illusion that the aggregate or private, selfish decisions will magically manifest as the common good.

    Saying that it’s OK for some to become billionaires denies the reality that material wealth is finite and that no one can be extremely rich without many more being extremely poor.

    Ferguson promotes counter-balancing government regulation, oversight and prosecution, but refuses to ask why such a counter-balance is even necessary in an economic model that is basically “good”.

    Even his timeframe is much too limited. While American (and global) capitalism has been unleashed since the Reagan “revolution”, American’s have been fighting the excesses and disloyalty of corporations from even before our birth as a nation.

    The American Revolution was fought as much against monopoly capitalism as against monarchic tyranny. And we’ve been fighting the trusts and monopolies in our own nation ever since. Once a business reaches a scale beyond it’s local community, let alone nation, then there is no rational need for loyalty to anything but the bottom line.

    Profit can never be a motive to promote social good, and an economic model based on private profit must undermine the commonwealth, with that effect growing exponentially with size and scale.

    • Greyman

      “Profit can never be a motive to promote social good”–well and good, except that many of NPR/PRI/APM/CPB’s corporate underwriters, from the Carneigie Corporation and the Ford Foundation to the MacArthur Foundation, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to . . . Harvard University would dissent, and so would the beneficiaties of philanthropy we know as NPR/PRI/APM/CPB.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Which makes public commentary all the more important.

        • Greyman

          –and which arguably makes profit a sufficient motive to promote social good, contra your contention that it never can do so.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            That is a non-sequitur. 

            There is no rational argument to support private profit as a creator of the public good. 

          • Greyman

            But who says anything about private profit being (sole?)creator of the public good? (or who says that it must fulfill this function to justify itself? and why? and on what basis? to what specific end?) Private profit need only contribute in some measurable measure to the upbuilding of a commonwealth, which task it manifestly performs from generation to generation, in the US I’ve heard of, at least.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Adam Smith, for one. 

            Though your ramblings are tortuous, you seem to be saying that the “upbuilding of a commonwealth” is a legitimate end in itself and therefore a social “good”. 

            But the term “commonwealth” is misleading if it truly intends to mean the shared well-being of the commons and the commoners, as such profit-driven “upbuilding” has always created more poverty than wealth.

            Self-interest has never served the common wealth, and it is logically impossible for it to do so (notwithstanding Smith’s imaginary “invisible hand”).

          • Greyman

            What metric do you use to show that profit-driven enterprises breed and engender poverty? Poverty has dynamics of its own that operate distinctly from the relation (or, lack of relation) of the poor to the prevailing economy. Sounds as if you want the government to hire more commissars just to say we’re doing something about unemployment.  

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            “Poverty has dynamics of its own that operate distinctly from the relation (or, lack of relation) of the poor to the prevailing economy.”
             
            Yet another near-unintelligible comment. Are you saying that poverty is not an economic phenomenon? That it’s the laziness of the poor rather than a misallocation of wealth? That we are not now experiencing BOTH the greatest concentration of wealth and the greatest number of poor in American history (and the two have always coincided)?

            Simple logic demands that, in a finite world, a concentration of material wealth among the few requires the material poverty of the many. That’s a law of nature. 

            An economic system based on competition and private profit requires stepping over others to climb the ladder and the prioritizing of selfish ends over the collective good.

            It has always been a myth that “a rising tide floats all boats” (except in the short term) since it is physically impossible to continually increase total wealth on a finite planet, and the proper metaphor is that the rich drain the lake upon which others depend for their very existence – as we are witnessing today with the most extreme manifestation of greed juxtaposed against near universal impoverishment.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            This says it all.

          • Greyman

            btw: you went from “profit can never be a motive to promote social good” to tasking profit with being necessary creator of public good. That looks like quite a trapeze performance itself.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Your reading comprehension is as poor as your logic and grasp of history.

            It was you who said “which arguably makes profit a sufficient motive to promote social good”. 

            I would never say anything as patently absurd and illogical.

    • Guest

      It’s amazing to me the number of times the fallacy “material wealth is finite and that no one can be extremely rich without many more being extremely poor” shows up in comments on these programs.  This premise is absurd, and if you gave it a moment’s thought you would know this.
      Here’s an example.  David Choe was commissioned to paint murals at Facebook headquarters in 2005.  He had a choice:  he could be paid $60,000 for his work, or he could take Facebook stock; he took the stock.  Today Choe is worth $200 million because of the choice he made. Under your premise that “wealth is finite,” hundreds of thousands of people would be wealthier today had Choe been paid $60,000 in cash;  surely the list must include hundreds of thousands since Choe is vastly wealthier because he took the stock.  Note that the Facebook IPO would have happened regardless of Choe’s decision, so don’t go off on a tangent about the performance of FB stock to support your premise.
      Choe’s personal choice made himself wealthier; it didn’t make anyone poorer.  Wealth is not finite.

      • Drew (GA)

        The question you fail to ask is: Would Choe have taken the stock if he was starving?

        I doubt it, $60,000 will buy a lot of groceries even in our current economic climate.

        Also, wealth is based at it’s core on resources. Are resources infinite? They must be if, as you say, material wealth being finite is a fallacy.

        • Guest

          I read a story about a scuba diver who discovered a ship laden with treasure that was sunk hundreds of years ago.  The day before the discovery the scuba diver was worth nearly nothing; upon finding the ship, he is worth a billion or more.  It’s sad to think of all the people thrown into poverty by his discovery of the sunken ship.
           

          I infer from your “wealth is finite” theory that you hope the government’s investment in GM isn’t successful, because if all those auto workers, suppliers, and stockholders become wealthier, then the multiplier effect will cause “many more” to become poorer.
           

          Capitalism and the profit motive have lifted more people out of poverty than all of the government programs and charities combined.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        In fact, if you opened your eyes to the world we live in, rather than merely mimicking the ideological myths of society, then you would see immediately the unavoidable truth of the finitude of wealth.

        We live on a finite planet, with a finite stock of natural resources. The only material wealth is that stock of natural resources combined with the human ingenuity to transform it into commodities. Now, having nearly run out of a usable physical earth to transform into “goods”, we are turning human relationships – which were always the foundation of family, community and nation – into commodity “services”. But even those have a limit.

        If money is nothing more than a medium of exchange, then the total available quantity of material “goods” and relational “services” is finite. And if that finite wealth is unequally distributed, then those who have more do so only because others have less.

        This economic imperative was noted by Henry George in his 1879 book Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy, which was the second most read book in America at the time after the Bible.

        It was true then, and just as true – in fact, much moreso – now.

        • notafeminista

          How do you know?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If you’d care to ask a more intelligible question (how do I know what?) or one that was not already answered in the comment you’re responding to (open your eyes and observe the world), perhaps I can enlighten you with an answer.

          • notafeminista

            You claim we live in a finite world with finite resources..however Malthus and Ehrlich subseqent to him were both wrong.  So how do you know.
            The question is intelligible.  What it may or may not be is intelligent.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It’s hardly a “claim”. It’s always been a fact that we lost sight of during the paradigm of continual exploration and expansion and material “progress”, but relearned when the Apollo missions showed us our little blue ball floating in endless space.

            With global climate change, resource depletion (including peak oil), extensive pollution of land, air and sea, soil depletion, species extinctions, the dying corals, acidifying lakes and oceans, etc., and the consequent collapse orf global capitalism – we are almost daily experiencing the limits of our little planet. Even our new cyber communications capability has shrunk time and space.

            But there is a more fundamental basis for the inevitable depletion of the planet that few are willing to entertain: the most fundamental and inviolable law of the universe. The second law of thermodynamics demands that every event and conversion of energy reduces the remaining available energy (and the material resources which are but forms of dense energy), and simultaneously increase disorder, dissolution and chaos.

            So, contrary to our paradigmatic myths, the story of the “progress” of civilization is one of diminishing resources and accelerating chaos, with each subsequent energy source being more difficult and hence more energy-intensive to exploit.

            Life and human effort can create “islands of order within seas of disorder” (Jeremy Rifkin, Entropy, 1980), but every “advance” we make requires a larger export of disorder (pollution, waste and choas) to the environment.

            What we are now facing is that there is no more room on the planet for us to export our chaos without it immediately returning to undermine our well-being and even our survivability.

            Just as no one can be rich (accumulate concentrated wealth or order) without creating a much more extensive amount of poverty (dissipation or disorder), human civilization can no longer concentrate resources without destroying the planet’s ability to carry us. 

            This is the only inviolable law of the universe (according to Einstein and other great minds), and we are now facing the penalty phase for violating it for so long.

          • Greyman

            Tell me, O Enviro-Prophet: why are the poor living in the third world enormously more miserable in their sad plight than the poor who dwell in, say, the US, Europe, or Japan? Also, I don’t know about your indictment of all humanity’s violation of the only inviolable law of the universe, O Enviro-Prophet. Arguably, it is humanity’s purpose to accelerate the depletion of resources just as quickly as possible, to resolutely fulfill the inviolable law of the universe. (I think the crowd at the LHC is ahead of you on this one, too.)

          • notafeminista

            Exactly whose chaos is it to which you refer?

          • notafeminista

            Second thought – disregard my question below.  Instead, having read your response, I will assert you are both mistaken and wrong – on a very fundamental level.  Creating or accumulating wealth does not create poverty and poverty is neither disorderly nor chaotic.

            As for the so-called penalty phase to which you refer – you can always  hope.

          • notafeminista

            The second hour of today’s OnPoint flies in the face of your zero-sum theory.

            Life is not a a zero sum game, despite Left insistence to the contrary and in the face of documented and anecdotal evidence. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The universe,with its inviolable first and second laws of thermodynamics, most certainly is a zero sum game. 

            All things move toward chaos. The only effect we can have is to speed up the process.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      The US still deludes itself that its way of life, aka unfettered freedom, is some sort of “God given right” that we should and can pursue to the fullest.

      Now, it’s taken thousands of years of refinement to get where we are today. But just at that moment in time when we can enjoy the fruits of past labors, we’ve reached a point where we’ve overspent our resource allotment. We must now assume lives of cultural austerity, and that runs completely counter to the credos of the ideologically entrenched on all sides. The finance sector is simply the easiest villain to target as it’s the most visibly gluttonous.

      We know we have to create sustainable energies. We know we have to do more with less. We know in order to get there our politics and paradigms must radically change. Money is key. We know the fixes that can get money out of the way to social, cultural and environmental prosperity. But … where is the leadership? NOWHERE, man!!!

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        The “leadership” is where it’s always been – dispersed among the grass roots – and that’s where fundamental paradigmatic change is occurring. 

  • Elizabeth in RI

    How do we fight back?? The 1% have convinced a substantial part of the American population that anyone who challenges the status quo, which has rigged the game against the 99%, is “Un-American”  and “wants to take our freedom away”. How do we get people to stop voting against their own and their children’s interest when the multinational corporations, etc. are holding the political purse strings?? We need long term planning, not quarterly profits, but that is how our political system now operates. I suspect the Founding Fathers would be shocked!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The Founding Fathers TRIED to prevent it!

  • TrudyS

    Ferguson’s take on our country’s precarious situation is right on.  Thinking about solutions leads me to an upheaval of Congress.  Many criticize Obama for not doing enough.  I share the disappointment but sense that he’s a realist and recognized quickly just how difficult it would be to pass wholesale change without a Congress willing to make these difficult decisions.  One person cannot change these dynamics. 

    At times, it feels like Congress is now populated by a majority of Joe McCarthy-like demagogues and we don’t have a Margaret Chase Smith to stand up within the system with a Declaration of Conscience.  We must focus on election reforms.

  • Ashley Olters

    Hello Charles! I’m listening from Germany. You worked with my dad in Boston many years ago (Watts). Wonderful to see what you have done since leaving Beantown! I turned my TV and started watching Inside Job not knowing what it was -and was immediately enthralled! It played back to back. I spent an entire watching it over and over again. Brilliant. Scary. But brilliant.

  • Brothersower88

    Please ask what Mr. Ferguson would suggest as a solution.

    • Brothersower88

       Thank you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Why do the middle class Americans always have to suffer when the economy fails?

    The American middle class are suffering tremendously from the greed of wall street.

    Our 401k are like free money ready to be taken away if those banks made a gamble and lost the bet.

    Do the middle class has to be silent for the rest of our lives?
    We marched in Boston, New York and Los Angeles but we were being ridiculed by the press and by fellow Americans like we were hippies and dirt.

    We showed the world how powerful the American middle class can be in the streets of America.

    We never wish to hold the signs of humiliation and anger but we have to because we are Americans.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Why has Obama done nothing?  He’s wishy-washy.  What else do you need to have explained?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Because he is moving Forward

  • Jack (A retired attorney)

    One question for Mr. Ferguson. Where are the lawyers
    who file class action suits against corporations at the drop of a hat? Seems to
    me that any rational civil jury who hears about this massive fraud by corporate leaders will send a
    strong message that the politicians and law enforcement refuse to do.

     

    • Still Here

      Exactly.  The profit motive, if not justice, will root out fraud if it really exists.  The implication is there is no fraud or it’s too difficult to prove in a court of law where evidentiary support is required.  Here among the loonies, no such requirement.  See below for examples…

    • Suzie in Newport, RI

      Good point, but think back to what happened to Eliot Spitzer when as New York’s DA he tried to take on Wall Street.  They tailed him and finally nailed him on soliciting a prostitute.  Anyone who takes on the banks will be spied on, and if a real crime is not found, a fake one will be pinned on him/her.

  • RICK

    Please! From the viewpoint of these international bankers and businessmen, THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO THEIR SUCCESS IS SMALL-D  dEMOCRACY IN AMERICA.    
    R. Tonn

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Oh, please!  After the 2008 election, the American people were ready for financial reform.  The Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress.  But since neither can walk and chew gum at the same time, both pushed a weak healthcare reform, and did little else.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think Obama was what we thought at first, and was telling us that he’d rather do what he thought best and not have a second term.  It seemed to me it was a race; get the country back on track At The Price of reelection.

    Then it began to be clear 4 years was Not Enough. 
    So he changed course, and we saw this first in the health care bill, where more and more he caved to monied interests.  It was extremely disheartening to watch.

    And then the Congress, at the next election, became even LESS able to help him, and had as a goal making sure he did not get re-elected, even at the price of lowering our Standard & Poor rating and so forth.  Just let the country drag on till we kick him out.  He might actually exercise his original ideas, you know.  (i still hope.)

  • Lisa S
  • Hallckv

    Three quick questions
    #1. Has anyone sued their banker for fiduciary responsibility after talking a person into borrowing more money than is reasonable for housing and then selling the mortgage? #2 Haven’t we force everyone to become gamblers, since to just keep our money at it’s current level we must invest it. Saving money actually moves us backwards with the return on savings. #3 Why are health insurance companies making their millions/billions for their stock holders at the expense of the health  of Americans. Why not make the health care industry a “not for profit” industry?

  • sjw

    pres obama and majority of congress of both parties are bought and sold by wall st money and lobbyists. no change will ever occur. his justice dept is a joke and hasnt prosecuted anyone…he didnt even appt prof warren…we are done for.l..

  • jefe68

    It was Timothy Franz Geithner who won that argument.
    Larry Summers, according to a recent Frontline show on this subject, wanted to break up the banks and file charges as well as force CEO’s of the top banks and investment firms involved fired.
    He was also wanting to go as far as having a short term federal take over of the banks. That did not go over well with Geithner who is one of the Wall Street crowd.

    Mr. Geithner is were the buck stops with this. President Obama, whom I predict will lose in November, is (was) not forceful enough to deal with this crisis. We needed a Harry Truman or a Lindon Johnson and he’s not been able to rise to the level needed to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.

    We are not going to come out of this, I’m not as optimistic as Mr. Ferguson and I do think we are going to be a nation that resembles a Banana republic.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Obama will not lose on November. The American people are still struggling and WE WANT OBAMA TO CONTINUE HIS LEGACY TO FIX THE ECONOMY AND TO HALT THE REPUBLICANS ARROGANCE FOR ANOTHER 4 YEARS.

      • jefe68

        Problem is President Obama can’t fix the economy, that’s more in the realm of Congress. Anyway if we slide back into a recession before November he’s not going to win. Not many presidents have won reelection with unemployment at 8% since WW2.

        What’s with the caps? 

        You know sometimes responding to your comments is like being the movie Ground Hog Day.

    • Quercus

       The people at the top in Banana republics have it quite nice…

  • Darcy

    Could one of you please talk about the lack of responsibility on the part of the main stream press/media. Everyone knows that most of the media is owned and operated by the right wing

    • ghoffman

       The media should stop the “we’re going to have to leave it there” cop out. Do the research on the FACTS and have them available to counter the lies with.

      • ghoffman

         Right now (5:20pm) Hard Ball on MSNBC is going to present some FACTS about Obama spending that counters the rightwing spin.

    • notafeminista

      Such as?

  • BHA in Vermont

    ONE smart guy can not get the votes in Congress to pass tax reform, or health care reform, etc. Over half of the House are “NO to Obama” on every issue and the majority in the Senate isn’t big enough to get anything through.

    The mistake, if there was one, was being the “centrist” we wanted him to be instead of repeating the GWB line “I have a mandate” and forcing through the changes we need. If Romney gets elected, what little we have gained will be lost because I have no doubt, he will say “I have a mandate”. 

    • TFRX

      It goes without saying that “60 is the new 51″ and the most obstructionist, anonymous-hold, filibusteriffic Senate might have something more to do with this than some armchair psychoanalysis of President Obama.

      Sadly, it seems there will always be a place on public radio to rent garments over the failing of a pretty popular Democrat in the White House. Where was this schtick on NPR when George W. Bush was bottoming out at 27%?

  • Maryrita

    Thanks for bringing up the insane “socialist” charges against Obama, Tom. I would like to hear more focus on how the lies from the Republican right, which is now the Republican mainstream, have made it difficult for the president to seek prosecutions for the crimes within the financial sector that led to the financial crisis.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    Thank you for providing this extremely important wake-up call. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have taken any serious action to repair what is wrong with the American economy. They and the major media are owned by the Wall Street criminals. That’s why we need to Occupy the streets. That’s why we need to Occupy Wall Street. That’s why we need to Occupy the election. That’s why we need the Green Party. That’s why we need to Occupy the White House with someone like Jill Stein for President.

  • Krjb

    Tax structure reform is essential:  A minimal rate for the poor; a flat tax for the middle 80% or so; severely reduced deductions (preserve ONE home mortgage and charitable contributions); plus a USER’S fee for the big players.  It’s only possible for the 2% to make huge amounts because we have a moderately sound economy.  We expect people who go to state and national parks to pay a user’s fee.  In the same way, those who significantly use our economy need to pay a fee to maintain that economy.  We must preserve social security and medicare.  We desperately need health care for all and a system that contains costs.  The user’s fee from the big players in the game can pay for these things that will help to sustain the economy that makes it all possible.

  • Stackowax

    I’m all over having an honest and frank discussion about what to do and what has been done or not done but it has to be an honest one.  To say that Obama had “overwhelming” majorities in both houses of Congress is just a flat out lie.  He had a theoretical filibuster proof majority in the Senate but that majority included Ben Nelson, Lieberman, etc.  Which is to say it was a tenuous majority at best (given the way the Senate works [or doesn't work]).  If I recall correctly Roosevelt had closer to 75 Democratic Senators and even then struggled to get significant and fair legislation passed (the original Social Security Act excluded, as a practical matter, many African Americans from coverage and had it not done do it would not have passed).  So let’s have a debate and discussion but let’s not engage in the same kind of deception that you are criticizing.  

  • Greyman

    Interesting note: Ferguson credits OWS as a credible “beginning” but discounts Tea Party critiques as “diversionary”. Yet: Tea Partiers deliver votes in primaries and elections, whereas OWS demonstrates no electoral prowess and instead has studiously avoided offering any sustained critique or program for dealing with the myriad problems Mr. Ferguson addresses feebly.  

    • Elizabeth in RI

       But the votes and candidates that the Tea party has delivered are reinforcing the current problems – not addressing them. The total focus of the Tea Party seems to be, no compromise, cut spending for all non-military, non Social Security program, and to heck with everything and everyone else. Long term growth, shoring up our our national infrastructure including education, and revamping of the tax structure to allow for the upward mobility that once was the hallmark of the US, are not Tea Party issues – thus are diversionary.

      • Greyman

        Yet on another hand: if the message of the Tea Party is distilled to “anti-statism” (skepticism and mistrust of state bureaucrats to substantively address any problem without fostering consequences intended or unintended), these issues are not as diversionary as Ferguson or you would hold. To the extent that the Tea Party critique of the size/scope and capability of government is made, the point is legitimate that any government whose ambitions far exceed its rate of tax collection courts dangerous flirtation with state insolvency (viz., California). Trimming state ambitions to reflect actual capabilities in controlling tax collections and revenue expenditures is not “diversionary” in any obvious sense and indeed could be construed as central to efforts at bringing needful regulation to bear. 

    • TFRX

      Maybe Ferguson knows something about the astroturfing propping up RealAmerica’s(TM) Tea Party that which you’re not privvy to.

  • Jonkohn

    I’m listening to Charles Ferguson and agree that
    the US is on a very slippery slope, particularly after spending a year in
    India. India is a classic example of a country with little infrastructure and a
    large class divide. Wealth is centered and the government is controlled by
    money from special interests thus creating massive corruption. This corruption
    is occurring at the expense of everyone outside of the “select few” who
    capitalize from it. 
     The US Government is gutting NSF and NIH grants, which
    directly affect our very future as a country and world leader. New PhDs are
    finding little opportunity in academia relying on post-docs while trying to
    find tenure tract positions. Some of our best are being recruited to other
    competing countries who offer them funding and resources the US has cut.
    Universities are potentially losing the next generation of researchers as the
    last generation retires. Basic research is the engine that promotes growth in
    all of the applied areas whether it’s in technology or medicine. Wall street and
    banking while potentially offering venture capital seems to be more parasitic, focusing
    on the instant rather than looking at the long term ramifications of reactive
    behavior. Without radical reform the will be no correction and the US will descend
    into a third world country.

    • Bill5

      I couldn’t agree more.  Extremists of any persuasion are very dangerous- whether conservative, liberal, religious, business, etc.  They believe they are so right that they CANNOT compromise.  Yet, it is clear to me that compromise is CRUCIAL for a working democracy that involves millions of people with different views (even the Constitution was a product of extensive compromises).  Generally, whoever wins an election does not have a mandate- usually about half the people voted the other way, and their concerns should be addressed- through compromise.
       
      America is truly at a crossroad.  The EXTREME right wing of the Republican party must be defeated so that the Republican party can return to a right-of-center and provide a counterweight to a left-of-center Democratic party.  There is no doubt that the “center” has moved considerably to the right. 
       
      This message must get out to the Independent voters in the swing states that the barrage of negative ads is not in their favor.  Conservatives would have a much better chance of influencing a Democratic dominated government than Liberals or Independents would have influencing an (extreme) Republican dominated government.
       
      Substantial improvement would result from (1) neutralizing the Citizens United decision, (2) reviving election finance reform, and (3) reforming the Senate filibuster rules- among a host of other reforms.  People concerned about these issues MUST become active and ENTHUSIASTICALLY VOTE the extremists out of office.

  • Bonnie

    Love your guest’s analysis!  Campaign finance reform will have to be part of the solution as well as the points he makes. Personally, I am willing to vote for Obama again IF he goes after the financial sector. I think now that he is in office he has seen what he is up against.  Otherwise, the Congress needs to see how little confidence we have in them.  I am willing to vote out every incumbent with a write-in, i.e. no single candidate for write-in, just write in anyone’s name and end up with no majority for any candidate.  I am not sure that America is this angry, but I am!  

    • ghoffman

       The Dems in congress and the senate need to stand up and support the president. Stop being wimps and fight the GOP. Then the public will vote for them.

      • TFRX

        But whenever I turn on the TV I’m told that the Joe Liebermans and Harold Fords of the party are the future.

        (This is of course a comment about the mediascape, in which every winning Democratic-wing-of-the-Democratic-Party message, plank and candidate is “too socialist” and “controversial” for TV, no matter how much they succeed with voters.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hammer Ken Hammer

         Can’t believe you said that, Gretchie

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        True…but most in Congress have been BOUGHT, and are nothing more that paid for whores of Wall Street.

  • David Zuckerman

    In Vermont we have created the most successful third party in the country.  The Vermont Progressive Party (www.progressiveparty.org) Much of our work is based on the policy and vision of our current Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.  While sometimes difficult, we have slowly built this third party by running locally and for the State legislature on a populist economic message, while maintaining a solidly progressive stance on social issues.  While I believe many politicians have good intentions, the money (as many people have noted) is the bottom line.  With such a need for huge sums for campaigns, the elected leaders (of both major party’s) do not take them on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hammer Ken Hammer

       “Progressive” is part of the delusion.  “Bankrupt” might be more suitable.

      • Ray in VT

        I disagree.  They have some good ideas and positions, and while Vermonters may grumble about our taxes, we pay them and our government keeps it’s books in the black.  People like to talk about how liberal policies are job killers, but our unemployment rate is down to 4.6%.  We have jobs and we’re not balancing the books by slashing social services.

  • Acp Design

    Thanks to both Tom and Charles for a great show that should be heard by all of the 99%. The 1% already know!

  • Lisa S

    BHA, the question is whether many people in Congress even want reform.  It’s easy to blame the Republicans, or get some legislation passed that has a good title, but in reality accomplishes little to nothing – campaign theater.  It isn’t just that our politicians are bought and paid for by big money to finance their campaigns.  Look at their net worth before after office, look at the lucrative positions they get when they leave office, and look at the positions their staff and appointees get when leaving office.  Look at Clinton’s net worth and from whom he speaking fees have come (thanks to Bill for deregulating finance) ,look at Tausig, look at Lukkens (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/revolving-door-from-top-futures-regulator-to-top-futures-lobbyist-20120111)…… I don’t know what the answer is, because there is no incentive for those in power to change anything. 

  • Don_B1

    I also wish that Obama had taken on the banks initially. And some prosecutions would have chastened the bank ceos with their hubris and thin skins. Just take in the way a few comments by Obama has made the CEOs turn away from supporting the Democrats this time after giving quite a bit of support in 2008. Those CEOs still think they are the smartest people in the room and want everyone to forgive/ignore their slightest error, not to mention their huge debacles.

    But with the shaky financial system, on the threshold of driving the world into a depression equal to or worse than the Great Depression, it is hard to say that winning the bankers to act together to get the banks to have confidence that the other bank was financially sound so that lending between banks and to customers would start up again was more important than making those that had let their egos go wild pay for it.And while he might have been able to get all Democrats to act together on punishing the banks, it is doubtful with the number of “Blue Dog” Democrats (notably Sen. Nelson of Nebraska who had been an insurance company CEO).Also, Mr. Ferguson makes Obama’s initial “control” of the Congress seem more powerful that it was.1)  The Senate race in Minnesota was not finalized until June 2009 and Senator Ted Kennedy died later that summer, being replaced by Scott Brown in January 2010. So the Democrats had a 60 vote majority for a total of about 14 weeks; there was an interregnum between Kennedy’s death and the appointment of a place holder by Governor Patrick that kept the majority at 59 for the rest of the time in that period.2)  Scott Brown “negotiated” a $19 billion “gift” to the financial industry (Fidelity, etc.) as a condition to his voting for Dodd-Frank.

    Note that a fact not mentioned in this discussion is that the reason that Dodd-Frank rule-making has not met its legislated dates is that the bankers have been suing over trivial issues to stall and weaken the implementation.

    • Drew (GA)

      “I also wish that Obama had taken on the banks initially. And some prosecutions would have chastened the bank ceos with their hubris and thin skins.”

      I also wish he had taken action. However, as you demonstrate, the reasons he did not are obvious. I suppose I am less disappointed with Obama than are many only because I hoped for the best but expected nothing.

      “Note that a fact not mentioned in this discussion is that the reason that Dodd-Frank rule-making has not met its legislated dates is that the bankers have been suing over trivial issues to stall and weaken the implementation.”

      It disgusts me how gleefully large sums of money are flushed down the litigation toilet. Mention that helping others might cost a dime though and pitchforks are being snatched up as you speak.

  • Still Here

    Government sponsored entities, Fannie and Freddie, were pressured by Barney Frank and other do-gooders to open homeownership to supposedly underserved segments of the population.  Were Frank’s acts fraudulent or ignorant?  Should he be in jail or elected president?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      A question worth asking.  Another is WHY Freddie and Fannie were REQUIRED to take ‘Bundles Assets’, that were all ‘C’, or WORSE, when ‘bundled’ became ‘rated’ ‘A-Plus’?
         That ‘bundling’ AND the ‘rating’ (which was bought by the owner of the ‘rated’ asset), were CRIMINAL?

    • TFRX

      Not this canard again.

    • jimino

       Dear Still Wrong

      “ownership society” was a term coined by “W”‘ and the housing component of that right-wing utopia was fueled by intentionally artificially low interest rates.  The unsustainable housing bubble and eventual destruction of over $8 trillion in predominantly middle-class assets, while the fraudsters in the finance sector raked off billions in fees, was the result.  In the unlikely event that you want to find out why you are still wrong, you can go here:
       
      http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201136/201136pap.pdf

    • Zero

      Might want to educate yourself.  The housing bill was a bankers free-for-all:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0ZB3QuaI8s&list=PLA438499D2589B667&index=42&feature=plpp_video

      • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hammer Ken Hammer

         None of the bankers cast a ballot in Congress.

        • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

          True, they simply own Congress.

    • Lodger

      If you knew any facts, you would recognize that the  “Barney Forced Banks To Give Mansions To Black People” meme as the pernicious lie that it is.

      Lending guidelines were just that, guidelines.  The mortgage/securitization fraud was a creation of the financial sector. Barney Frank’s only mistake was taking the fraudster’s statements at face value and not recognizing the depths of their dishonesty.  They, and the rating agencies who colluded with them, deserve prison sentences. 

      Get your facts straight and stop spreading lies. 

    • Still Here

      Congressman Frank actively opposed initiatives in 2003 and ’04 to rein in Fannie and Freddie through tighter regulation.  He and other House Democrats also sent a letter to President George W. Bush in June 2004, saying the proposed crackdown could ”weaken affordable housing performance…by emphasizing only safety and soundness.”   Barney and Democrat party members didn’t want F&F to focus on safety and soundness too much; and now we’re living with the consequences.

      The banking sector did not decide out of the goodness of its heart to extend mortgages to poor people.  Politicians did that, and they would have taken great umbrage if the regulator stood in the way of more housing credit.  Or so says Professor Raghuram Rajan, quoted frequently in Inside Job. 

      • Lodger

        (“Democrat party” is a giveaway.) So you’re saying that a letter in 2004 that was merely making a suggestion to Bush somehow caused a global financial crisis 4 years later?

        In your mind, in terms of quantifying damage done, how does Rep Frank’s letter compare with the ratings agencies that knowingly gave rotten securities high scores? Or how does Rep Frank’s letter compare to the underwriters like Goldman Sachs who were betting against securitized mortgages they knew were crap, at the same time they were lying in order to get sales commissions on same securities?

        Before the meltdown, poorer people who scrimped and saved for a home were extremely low default risks for mortgages.  Blaming it on this group of people is a huge distraction. 
        The incentive to sign up unqualified people came from the private sector. The banking sector made money on the sale, then chopped up the loans with a bunch of others and pawned them off to all the retirees and stockholders left holding the bag.  

      • Lodger

        Factual refutation of your misinformation at URL below:

        “During the April 8 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, contributor Dick Morris falsely claimed that “in the 2000s, when Bush proposed measures to rein in Fannie Mae, [Rep.] Barney Frank [D-MA] killed them.” In fact, for much of the 2000s, Frank had no power to “kill[]” measures — Republicans controlled the House and could have passed legislation regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the House without any Democratic support.”

        http://mediamatters.org/research/200904090004

  • Jim Osborne

    Thank you Charles Ferguson for the astoundingly astute and bravely presented work.  Thank you also, Tom Ashbrook, for bringing attention to this work.  I was fortunate to be a telephone guest this morning however there is so much to cover on this topic.  Immediately, I asked, how could we persuade Obama to initiate criminal prosecutions?  That would be a start.  The longer term and deeper solutions, Wall Street and Banking reform, will be more difficult in my view.  How could we connect the dots between the many interested functionaries, individuals and institutions, that have an interest in and ideas to bring to bear in creating solutions.  I for one believe the need for this reform is the greatest disappointment in Obama’s Presidency and the most crucial issue facing the US (and, indeed, the World).  I suggest a National Referendum Process; Term Limits; only Open Forum Lobbying; Reversal of the Citizens United Decision; Breakup of the large corporations that are (“too large to fail”); Tax reform to fairly tax ALL entities (Individuals and other taxable entities);  Separation of the Casino Banking and “Investment” functions on Wall Street and the Regulation of all Banking and Investment Activities/Functions including total transparency.  A mouth full? Yes.  Because, as Charles Ferguson observed, the current state of the “union” has emerged from over 30 years of disintegration of our central systems.  The rubber band between the top and the bottom has become stretched to the point of omnipresent stress of mind, body and soul.  

  • Barrie Hunter

    I listened to this show just after reading an op-ed published by two normally very conservative pundits (Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein) called “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the Problem”. Put them both together and you realize just how much trouble this country is in. What is most demoralizing is that there doesn’t appear to be a solution anywhere on the horizon – just a growing volume of comments such as these, tweets, twitters, etc, and entries on all of the social media but no real solution. And the Tea Party are a big part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, as my misguided neighbor just suggested.

    • TFRX

      Hilarious how Mann and Ornstein got thrown out of the media’s Rolodex right after that piece was published. I guess it’s time to start whitewashing everything they’ve every written from the Beltway Inbreds’ memory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.hammer Ken Hammer

    Good topic, huge problem needs large solutions.

    1.  Refocus Federal government on the essential government function of protecting good people from the bad guys.  Emphasize legal system and law enforcement.  Stop new need satisfaction and gradually withdraw from that now in place.  (Let the former providers grow back in place to do a better job.)

    2.  Remove the unintended consequence of anti-trust laws.  They prohibit the joint action of responsible players against those who distort the intent of current law.  Now the “responsibles” have to follow suit under stockholder pressure.

    3.  Let religion and morality back in the schools.  The private sector has lost its own set of standards which have been replaced by imperfect and seldom enforced laws. 

    If you want a model, study the history of the Fairbanks family of St. Johnsbury, Vermont following the invention of the platform scale in 1830.  They behaved as people today would envy.

    • TFRX

      Whose schools are missing religion and morality?

      The schools the 1%’s kids go to, or the ones in my town?

    • Ray in VT

      One of the last things that we need is religion in our public schools.  Schools can teach religion, but their role is not to preach it.  I’ve already had to speak to my son’s school principal after a substitute told my son that our family’s beliefs were wrong.

      • ghoffman

         Let parents and the religious organizations teach their religions. It’s not the role of public schools or government. They should practice what they preach too.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          If they practiced what they preach, they wouldn’t have to preach much!  MOST preaching is ‘Do as I SAY , NOT as I DO!’?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Religion in schools?   Like Child-Molesting and Child-Abusing priests in Catholic schools?
        Ain’t religion great?

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Kudos to Ferguson for “Inside Job” but the time for talk is OVER. This has been debated endlessly for four years now and nothing’s been done. We truly enjoy eating low calorie infotainment, but it’s not gotten us far.

    I don’t think we can look to the usual power structures for leadership, they’re weak and entrenched. The Occupy Movement has lost momentum and suffers from ADD.

    Where will all this lead, to citizen tribunals?

    The only thing that makes sense to me: Take a good look at your investments, where your money goes. Next, do some research. Finally, invest your money in firms that are best aligned to your interests, the country’s interests.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      What firms are aligned to the Nation’s interests?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        China Power and Gas?
           Mexican Cellular?
           House of Saud?
           Golden Sacks?
           British Petroleum?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Thank you for stating the favorite “contributors” to the CORRUPT Congress.

      • notafeminista

        Let’s articulate the nation’s interests first.

  • feettothefire

    Time for lessons in THE AMERICAN PUBLIC-101. They’re stupid. If America wasn’t populated by a nation of dolts and dullards, the position of “lobbyist” would not exist. But it does exist. It exists in order to convince office holders, almost all of whom are politicians before they’re honorable public servants, to vote in a way that is favorable to the lobbyist’s client. How does the lobbyist accomplish his assigned task? Simple. MONEY!!! Money, you might ask? How does money influence an elected official’s responsibility to do that which is in the public good? Here’s how. Very little of lobbyist money goes to politicians in the form of outright bribes, although I’m sure some small amount does. No, the bulk of the money comes to the candidate in the form of campaign contributions. A giant chunk of any politicians campaign contributions is used for political advertising. Here’s where the stupidity of the American people comes into the equation.                                                                                People generally hate advertising. It interrupts our stupid reality shows. It forces breaks in the flow of televised sporting events. It ruins the continuity of television dramas. And it is easily the most mind-numbing horsecrap with which we must deal on a daily basis. Unless, of course, it’s political advertising. Then we buy the horsecrap. Completely. We hear the foreboding, ominous music. Next comes the deep, sincere voice, warning us of all that is evil about candidate A. Or perhaps we hear lighthearted, cheerful music, followed by the optimistic, breathless voice of a supporter of candidate B. Unfortunately, this baloney is all most Americans will ever “learn” about political candidates. To learn more would require a level of effort in which most of the public is unwilling to engage. So we let Mitt Romney’s ads tell us all that is wrong about Barack Obama while making no mention of his own errors, misjudgements, or weaknesses. We let Obama’s ads give us all of the negative skinny on Romney, while refusing to admit that he ever did anything good. We all know the advertising game is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. We don’t actually believe that housewives have orgasms because the laundry detergent did the job or that the food at McDonalds really makes people do cartwheels in the parking lot. But, make it political ads, the like of which push the nonsense meter into the red, and we gobble it up. As I said, Dolts and Dullards.                                               Politicians know we’re stupid. They know that the more of this garbage they put out, if it’s well done, the better their chances of winning an election. They know that facts are irrelevant. They know most of the electorate wouldn’t recognize a fact if it were hand delivered by Jesus in the middle of the night.                                                                                         All of this is a long-winded way of saying that nothing will change until the majority of the stupid Americans wake up and try to learn a few things. Since that will never happen, nothing will ever change. Politicians know that their lobbyist funded political ads work on the stupid American, so expecting those politicians to hold the clients of those lobbyists to task with effective legislation would make us, well, stupid.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Feet, no question lobbying is part of The Evil. It does help to educate legislators understand the nuances of pending legislation and its effects on the public and industry.

      Still, what’s to stop lobbyists to spread misinformation that unfairly benefits the industries they represent? What rules apply there?

      • feettothefire

        I believe you’re being too kind to our elected officials. Perhaps there was a time, long ago, when an elected official listened to a lobbyists pitch out of genuine concern for a pending legislation’s effect on the public good. However, I find it highly doubtful. Maybe I’m simply jaded. I know in my bones that lobbyists care only about that which benefits their client and public good be damned. I don’t even blame them. It’s their job. Lobbyists aren’t evil. The evil, if that’s what we choose to call it, lies in the elected official allowing his vote to be bought in exchange for some of those good campaign dollars with which he can continue to dupe the ignorant public, especially that shamefully small percentage of the public that even bothers to vote.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      I agree with you completely. One point I wish the speaker would have made is how dumbed down the American electorate is. I would attribute much of that to the never ending corporate PROPAGANDA everyone is exposed to in the form of “commericals”. Corporate propaganda is as damaging to the mind as political propaganda. I see very little difference in the propaganda dispensed in the USA vs North Korea.

    • Ben

      Ok, people are idiots.   We have always been idiots.  That isn’t going to change.  If we can’t get around human nature, then we must make laws that take into account our natural gullibilty.   We need to outlaw campaing ads from TV in the same way that we outlaw cigarrette ads.  We just can’t handle the freedom to be manipulated by giant wads of $$$$$$$. 

      • feettothefire

         There’s are flaws in you’re reasoning. The only people who can outlaw campaign ads are politicians. Don’t hold your breath. And the need to pass legislation to save us from ourselves is sad, indeed. Frankly, I don’t believe there is a solution. A nation full of people, most of whom are more impressed by goofy YOUTUBE videos than by anything that really matters, deserves the sorry politicians it gets.

        • brettearle

          I agree that there may be no solutions.

          I’ve been saying just that, for quite some time, as well.

    • SamosaFlip12

      Yep, if the American people were smart — they would have elected Ralph Nader to be Prez instead of George2.  Then none of this financial crap would have happened and we would have real campaign finance reform by now.  Oh, wait a minute, the Repubs and maybe the Dems would have made it impossible for him to do anything. Never mind.
      So what have you said, that George Carlin hasn’t said better and in a far more entertaining manner?
      If you’re so smat, figure out a way out of the dilemma.
      Everyone already knows that people are stupid, even stupid people.

      • feettothefire

         I was unaware that the purpose of posting comments was to “entertain.” I’ll try to do better. I’m an unemployed, middle-aged truck driver. If you think it’s my job to figure a way out of the dilemma, rather than the people who’s job it is to do so, then you must be one of those stupid people who know they’re stupid.

        • at

          It is your job and you have made a good start at it, by realizing that George had it right.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

          • feettothefire

             All of my comments today have been in the “Americans are so dumb, they deserve the corruptible, cowardly politicians they get” vein. The final minute or so of Carlin’s video above is a spot-on representation of my point. “We don’t care. We’ll just keep re-electing them. And we’ll keep complaining.” I stand by my belief that the American people themselves, through their disinterest and sheer laziness, are as much to blame for whatever goes on around here as Wall Street, Capitol Hill, or the White house. A well considered vote can carry a lot of power. Repeatedly re-electing craven opportunists is not a well considered act. 

          • jefe68

            He sure as hell did. They own us…
            Carlin was ahead of his time. He saw all this coming years ago.

  • Vic Volpe

    Our way of life depends upon an economy that serves the general, broader population and not just a few fortunate ones among us.  Our sense of progress is dependent upon a functioning democratic political system and a dynamic capitalistic economic system (i.e., one that allows individuals – be they individuals, partners, or corporate entities – to control the productive resources of a society).  What is unique about our American experience, in comparison to other societies past and present, is that by way of our Constitution and the type of people we are, we have incorporated/institutionalized change into our way of life.  We are not a status quo society.  We are, and have always been, a dynamic society.  We accept change.  It is built into our culture.  We associate it with progress.
     Civilized societies emerged from the Stone Age with the acceptance of technological “fixes” to control or manipulate natural forces for the betterment of humankind.  Our advanced society is the result of one layer of technology over another over the ages culminating in the complexity we have today – there is technology all around us whether we are aware of it or not.  We are far removed from the “natural state”.  This progressive advance is due to our dynamic nature and a vibrant economic system that nourishes it.
     What we have today is a concentration within the financial segment of our economy (with Too Big To Fail) and a concentration of wealth in our society with the resultant concentration of political influence which has become entrenched.  Instead of the dynamic, vibrant type of society and economy we need to promote progress for the general, broader population, we have an entrenched interest promoting the status quo and stifling the opportunity for a transformation that was opportune during this financial crisis.
     This has undermined our democratic, middle-class values.  It has well been noted and documented that we have a financial system that is out of place, with and inherent conflict of interest, and misplaced financial incentives for serving the broader society that relies on manufacturing, technology, and a much needed improvement in our infrastructure.  What is regrettable is that several years later, even after Dodd-Frank and all the rest, we still have the same financial system and we are back to business as usual.

    • feettothefire

       Your comment is a wonderful learning tool. Thoughtful, insightful, and very well written, it is exactly the kind of informative piece which eighty percent (my estimate) of Americans would stop reading after three or four lines in favor of the nearest copy of PEOPLE magazine.

    • Dirac Man

      Excellent post! History abundantly shows that “concentration of wealth” is the destroyer of human societies. This happened because the American people even from elite Universities do not know history. Our educational system is beyond appalling.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

    This was one of the BEST shows ever. How the American electorate can be so dumb as to not see Romney for the corporate STOOGE and front man, and complete FRAUD, he is amazes me.

  • Obama happens

    Goldman Sachs was top Obama donor

    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-04-20/politics/obama.goldman.donations_1_obama-campaign-presidential-campaign-federal-election-commission-figures?_s=PM:POLITICS

    How can we as Americans expect to have accountability and transparency in banking and finance when the current squatter in the White House is a paid puppet of the most corrupt investment bank on the planet?

    • Ben

      The banks own every president regardless of party.  Bush II, Clinton, and Bush I, and Reagan were all just as bad if not worse.  Playing partisan politics with this incredibly important issue is ignoring the real problem:  rampant corruption at all levels of government because of campaign finance loopholes the size of the pentagon.

      We need government to accountable to voters not campaign manipulators.  Why is it illegal for people to campaign near a polling place, but it is perfectly legal to launch 501c smear campaigns that can bully politicians, muddy issues, inflame apathy, and stiffle meaningful debate?  

      • Obama happens

        You bring up some good points Ben, however, Obama is the President and he has to take the lead when it comes to Wall Street reform and that isn’t likely to happen when Goldman Sachs is sending big checks to Obama’s campaign.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          And the Romney campaign….the front man for Wall Street.

          • Obama happens

            That’s simular to how Obama is the ‘back door man’ for his big contributors at Goldman Sachs.

          • ghoffman

             Who’s backing Romney?

        • Ben

          That is like saying it’s the sneeze’s responsibility to coutneract the virus.  You mistake the symptom with the cause…  and say the symptom has to be the cure.   There is no cure in that direction.  We need to revolutionize our election system if we are ever going to get good results out of politicians.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      You are delusional to think that the problem began and ended with Obama. The corporate takeover of the US government was complete the day George Bush was inagurated.

      • Obama happens

        The only ones who are ‘delusional’ are characters like yourself who regurgitate Obama’s lies as if they were facts.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          A standard (and totally predictable) response. Your resorting to vulgar insults and adolescent name calling NEVER build your case, of course nothing could. You rightists are blind to all facts…but are in love with Frank Dunce’s empty slogans and lies.Drill baby, drill!

          • Obama happens

            I agree completely with your analysis.

            Obama is the worst, most incompetent, and most corrupt U.S. President ever.

          • ThePope

            His analysis said that you are a idiot.  No further need to prove that. We all know it.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Thank you for saying what should be said to every right wing nut job.

          • Obama happens

            There’s no need to thank me for calling you a left wing loonie, it’s the truth.

          • Obama happens

            The only idiots out there are left-wing loonies like yourself who are still swallowing Obama’s horse manure.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The ‘deciderer’ set the bar too LOW , for anyone that can read, to approach!

          • jefe68

            I thought that moniker was owned by Ulysses S. Grant and Warren Harding.

            In my book Nixon is the man for the title followed by GW Bush for modern presidencies.

            You need to do your homework.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MANY of the ‘W’ admin, came from GS, and other banksters! 
         12 TRILLION was loaned to Big Banks, BEFORE the TARP of ‘W’?
         And then Obama Happens?

    • Alan in NH

      Seriously O.H., I know you want to keep the discussion balanced but when was the last time we had transparency and accountability in government or corporate affairs in general. Surely, not under Bush 2, Clinton, Bush 1, Reagan, or from the last three decades of CEOs and corporate boards…I think it’s a waste of time to single out Obama or hope Romney will make some sort of difference. The problem is much more entrenched than the politics of any one man. It’s the largely corrupt way we do business here, and I see it all the way down to the local level…wealthy and powerful people wanting what they want, working full time to deceive and withhold information from the rest of us so that we go along with it.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You said this about BP!  Mis-direction?  Then Obama Happens, and AWOL Oil, is ‘decidering’ where to put his LOOT?

  • Bruce

    The guest is spot on with his analysis.  Prescriptions are harder to come by. 
    Not too long ago Simon Johnson wrote a piece in The Atlantic, “The Quiet Coup,” that addressed the rise of our financial oligarchy and identified several factors (and two ways to cope) which I believe are still relevant to any discussion of solutions.  IMO any movement (e.g. OWS, Tea Party), ideology or political party/leader that fails to advocate policies that either reverse or mitigate these factors in our decline fails the sniff test and should be rejected—such factors as the blind embrace of globalization and free flow of capital across borders, the shredding of regs dividing commercial and investment banking, the lack of transparency and oversight of derivatives, the over-leveraging of investment banks, the evisceration of SEC enforcement capacity, and the failure of regs to keep pace with financial innovation.
    It’s pretty clear where the laissez-faire, libertarian Right stands on the above facilitators of our economic decline.  The guest correctly points out that the TeaOP fails the sniff test and would preserve the status quo, thereby, extending the malaise of declining opportunities and expectations for current stakeholders as well as future generations. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Well said for sure.

    • Jayboy33

      I don’t see OWS as failing your sniff test. On the other hand everything else was a good assessment.  I think most people in OWS would totally agree with your assessment of everything but them. How can you be so smart and so ignorant about their statements?

      • Bruce

        I didn’t mean to imply that OWS failed the “sniff test,” but upon re-reading my post I admit that someone might get that impression. 

        The only entity I thought I identified as failing the “sniff test” was the TeaOP–short for Tea Party dominated GOP.  What I was trying to suggest in the preceding paragraph was that no matter what the movement (Tea Party, OWS, Green, Labor, etc.) they should alll be evaluated based on their response to the conditions enumerated. 

        My apologies for the lousy construction.

        Actually, I think OWS offers the best hope for collective action that will lead to meaningful reform
        of our financial institutions. 

  • TomK in Boston

    DOh. Obvious, but still good to hear. There is no trickle down, there is no self-regulation, the financial scum will take everything we don’t stop them from taking. The only answer is strong government regulation. Instead of swallowing the propaganda that the bankers are too smart to be regulated, let’s TRY, f’gawdsakes. Let’s use a crook to catch a crook and put “reformed” con artists in the agencies instead of GS alumni.

    Romney is a predator. “Private equity” is just sanitized terminology for “Leveraged Buyout”. LBO says exactly what it is. You borrow (leverage) to buy the company, with its assets as collateral, and then you rape the company to pay back you loan and pay yourself fees and bonuses. You get a tax break on your borrowing costs to make it even sweeter.

    The LBO scam is a nice example of what is wrong with our current version of capitalism. Etchasketch’s experience as a con man totally disqualifies him from public office.

    • at

       You forgot the last part in the scam: then the government has to step in to cover the employee retirement fund that they devastated.

      • TomK in Boston

        Right you are, good point.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Exactly…  That is why the government’s Pension Gurantee Corp is almost bankrupt.

  • at

    Wow my favorite documentary on the crisis.  I can’t wait to hear this when the audio is available. Sometimes people complain about the guests and the topics of this show, but come on, how easy do you think it is to come up with great shows and guests day after day? And in my opinion a good number of these shows are excellent.

    • Bruce

      I heartily concur. Kudos to OnPoint for bringing it with some some sharp and perceptive analysis lately. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The 1%ers, selling their books, were comedy relief from the serious questions and answers!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The Bush Administration should have started Wall Street reform before he left office but what he did was to let it go and let the new President handle his old problems and be blame for it.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      The Bush “administration” is complicit in the corruption. If not for daddy’s money and connections…Dubya would have spent his life selling used cars in Midland, TX.

      • whatnow

         I just wonder if the best thing for the Democrats would be for the Mit to win and run the economy into the ground.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Or selling MORE dry hole oil wells?

  • TomK in Boston

    I said it’s obvious but yes, Ferguson is great, and good job Tom for having him instead of the usual Heritage Foundation ideologue.

    What drives me crazy is the contrast between our response to the 1929 crash vs the Bush crash. After 1929 we put in place Glass-Stegall, a strong SEC, FDIC and the whole regulatory structure that served us SO WELL for 50+ years, till the voodoo economics zealots dismantled it. Financial con men went to jail. FDR put Joe Kennedy in charge of SEC, a con man who knew the markets better then the con men he was regulating, and said “go get ‘em”. When the banksters (FDRs term) screamed, he said “I welcome their hatred”. For 50 years, banking was boring, and did exactly what it needs to do for a strong economy.

    Now after the Bush crash….nothing. Watered down version of a weak bill, Dodd-Frank. Banksters more arrogant than ever. No Joe K types at the SEC. Nobody in jail. A financial con man the GoP presidential candidate. Why?

    • feettothefire

       Why? Three words. Television. Radio. MONEY. Think about it.

      • TomK in Boston

        Maybe, but the banksters had the money after the 1929 crash, too. 

        BHO no FDR?

        Americans dumber now? How many videos have you seen of elderly tea party geezers on SS and medicare demanding gvt leave them alone?

        • feettothefire

           As long as giant gobs of cash are required for politicians to put out their stupid political ads, we can rest assured we’ll not see any meaningful legislation to reign in Wall Street excess. Think what you will of the denizens of Wall Street. They’re not the problem. I’m far more offended by cowardly, pandering politicians, none of whom are statutorily required to grovel at the feet of the banking industry. They could do otherwise.They choose not to.

          • TomK in Boston

            Me too. You don’t blame a shark for eating a little fish, that’s just what they do.

            Shouldn’t the ads saturate at some point? After a few times they just annoy me.

            So what will it take? An even bigger crash?

          • feettothefire

             We’re doomed TomK. It’s been my primary message of the day. Politicians will never do what is right until the electorate demands it of them. Think “French Revolution.” The people posting comments on this board, and thousands like it, as well as folks writing letters to the editor or calling in to radio shows are but a tiny minority of the electorate. Most people care about their lawn, a cold beer, what’s on T.V.tonight. Maybe some of them like their kids. That’s it. Concern for matters greater than ourselves is a dying sentiment. Politicians know this. So they pander to the folks with money who ARE paying attention. Try this experiment I recommended once before. Tomorrow, ask a few people you come across to answer some simple civics questions. Name the three branches of the U.S. government. What are their duties? Name just three supreme court justices. When was World War II? In reverse chronological order, how many presidents can they name? Be prepared to be appalled by the ignorance you encounter. People this dumb deserve nothing. They shouldn’t even be allowed to vote. I really mean that, by the way.

          • brettearle

            Revolution is too extreme and impractical, at this point.

            Not enough people would join in, anyway.

            First, try what, admittedly, is likely impossible:

            Repealing Citizen’s United (as mentioned above);

            Increase banking and financial industry regulation, including decreasing unethical practices with derivatives;

            And, as Ferguson recommended, prosecute and imprison the Casino Gamblers.

            If these measures don’t work, then you’ll have a revolution on your hands, anyway– because the economy will go under with 
            unmanageable debt, higher unemployment, and, indirectly, the weakening of the currency.  

          • feettothefire

            I wasn’t advocating revolution. I mention the French Revolution merely as an example of people who finally said “enough is enough.” The equivalent in our case would be “vote the bums out,” the bums being the cowardly politicians of both parties who couldn’t muster up the stones to deliver to Wall Street
            anything more than a slap on the wrist. We almost plunged over the
            economic cliff and our heroes in congress and the White House  grovelled
            at the feet of the monied interests while trying to sound like
            righteous tough guys. The American people have a chance to deliver a
            strong message, but they won’t. Most of the incumbents who failed to
            take Wall Street to task will be re-elected and the dopes who re-elect them will continue to complain about Wall Street. We all know the immortal words of Pogo. He was right. Boy was he right.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I AGREE!  Legal Immigrants HAVE to know FAR more, to become citizens, after 7 YEARS, or more!

          • TomK in Boston

            The system worked from 1945-1980, we could have it again.

            I agree that it will be very hard to change with the power that the oligarchs have now and I understand all the talk of a french revolution scenario. When things get bad enough, the rulers WILL be thrown out. The question is, how bad does it have to get?

            Maybe the revolution will be fought in cyberspace.

          • jefe68

            Some people think a triangle has 4 sides and that Utah is a country that starts with the letter U.

            It’s really sad, is it not.
            I mean most people can’t find the USA on a map.

          • TFRX

            The ads also serve the point of annoying you. When you stop paying attention to ads, the people who bought the most ads win, and the ones who can only buy one showing lose.

            It’s called “sucking all the oxygen out of the room”.

            For many political adbuyers, I consider that a feature, not a bug.

          • Linda G

            But people aren’t sharks.  They can choose integrity over predatory behavior.  And we can choose not to allow predators who break laws to go free just because they are wealthy.  

          • TomK in Boston

            Maybe in principle the people on wall st can choose integrity, but practically, I think they might as well be sharks. 

            I was agreeing with feet that our failure to go after the predators is more offensive than their behavior. 

    • brettearle

      If Ferguson is accurate, the worst candidate for the White House would be Mitt Romney.

      It seems like if he were to be elected, the country would be on its way fulfilling a slow, painful death wish. 

      It’s like the pulmonologist saying to the cancer paitent,

      “Oh, the cancer is only in the lymph nodes, it hasn’t spread to the lung just yet.  You can continue to smoke for a while longer.”

      • TomK in Boston

        Dam right. Elect a financial con man in response to a crash caused by financial con men. Good thinking, GoP.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    When my friend’s 100k 401k retirement plan was shrinking. $200 to $500 lost each day for 4 months was a painful memory for my friend. during the early days of the Obama Administration. he blamed right away Obama and I told him the market started to crash 2 years ago but he never believe me.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      He lost 50% of his retirement savings that he saved for almost 15 years. He lost but gain again.

    • TomK in Boston

      The mkt peaked in 10/07 and declined all through 2008. BHO was inaugurated on 1/20/09. At that time the S&P had dropped about 730 pts from the peak and had about 165 more to go. Wasn’t your friend paying attention to his balances during the Bush admin?

      Tell him he needs to diversify.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        He is a nurse and you know nurses only concentrate in 2 things. The patient and having enough sleep to make it for the 12 hour shifts.

        • TomK in Boston

          Except at the beginning of BHO’s term, apparently.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Republican amnesia.

      • TFRX

        Of course not. A Republican was in the White House. Our Evening News was telling us that the economy was expanding and that rich people were getting richer and the average of everything was growth.

        What was ever to worry about?

  • Bd6951

    This show gives me hope…almost.  The decline of the US is profound and inexorable.  The one topic missing from this discussion is the role that oil depletion plays in the ongoing collapse of the world economy.  Without dense forms of energy economic growth is impossible and the world has depleted all of the really good – read energy dense fuels – resources.  Disregard the hype of shale oil and tar sands.  The energy balance of these fuels, while economically viable, render them thermodynamic boondoggles.  The most profligate squanderer of precious liquid transportation fuels is the military whose sole purpose is to steal the planet’s oil.  It, the entire military complex, needs to be dismantled immediately and all of the energy resources wasted by it need to be redirected to the building of decentralized energy systems that will be needed if any semblance of this once great nation is to remain. 

    This discussion calls to mind a quote from Ralph Wald Emerson…”the history of humankind is a series of conspiracies to win from nature some advantage without paying for it”.  This adage precisely describes the parasites of the financial sector who all need to be forced into minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives as punishment for bringing ruin to our nation. 

    • brettearle

      Your point about the energy issue missing, from the hour, is an important matter.

      Thanks for bringing it up.

      However, your comment about the military’s profund destructive influence sounds too cavalier to me.

      But I am not well-informed in this area.

      From where are you getting your information?

      • Bd6951

        Every single war since WWII has been about energy resources.  The world has passed peak oil.  About that there is no argument among those who are expert in the extraction fossil fuels.  Without energy economic growth is impossible and without economic growth capitalism is over.  Indeed, any advocate of economic growth is ignorant of the biophysical and geophysical limitations of our planet and is the enemy of all who wish for a better, or, at least as good of a life as the baby boom generation enjoyed. – me included.  I wonder what the plutocracy thinks about the ruin they have wrought, how their progeny are to live with the ecological ruination their greed and avarice has caused.  

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The plutocracy will hide from the populace in ‘gated communities’, with ALL the protections that MONEY can buy, and ONLY venture out in anonymous, armored vehicles, to go visit other plutocracy in other castles,  er  ‘gated communities?   Their children and grandchildren will wonder what it is like to be a real human being, instead of a clone-resurected diminishing wraith?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    iOnePoint:

    The future of investment is not in Wall Street but the aerospace industry like SpaceX or Virgin Galactic.

    A new generation of consumer investment will be decided not by the banks but from the stars.

  • at

    This is the proper use of testosterone my young friends — the thirst to serve justice to the bastards who threaten the innocent. Go get em. I will help in anyway an old hippy can.

  • Frank

    There are many, many well-identified things we can do to take-back our democracy, including: (1) break up big banks; (2) re-institute Glass-Stiegel; (3) Constitutional amendment denying legal “personhood” to entities (like corporations); (4) liberalize ballot access to third parties at the state and federal levels…. And the list goes on and on. Do we have the will to do?

    • feettothefire

       Everything you suggest requires the actions of elected officials. In other words, politicians. Politicians, today more than ever, lack the will or courage to do anything that might hurt they’re chances of re-election. At best, perhaps some of their views will “evolve” with time.

      • brettearle

        And let’s not us Democrats forget to point out, as Ferguson said, that the President COULD have tried to do more.

        But he did not.

        I think that speaks poorly of the President that I support, Obama.  And it speaks very, very poorly of the system, in which the Administration operates.

    • ghoffman

       It won’t happen while the Repcons are in the majority and the filibuster exists. Amazing that some rightwingers here think that a Romney puppet in the White House would change anything on Wall St. We need a Dem takeover of Congress and hold them accountable.

    • brettearle

      Good points.

      But, no, we don’t have the will to do it.

    • whatnow

       If corporations are people then a corporation can go to jail just like a person. If you put their charter in jail or the top leadership and lock the doors of the company for the jail term. That would make the I didn’t know board members and execs start to pay more attention if they were going to lose their paycheck while the doors were locked.
      The people that it would really hurt is all those at the bottom that did their job well.

  • at

    No prosecution and you wonder why: commoners do not have the right to bring royalty to justice. 

  • at

    Now if you have Chris Hedges as a guest I can die happy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      best comment of the day. I died LOL at your comment.

  • Roy Mac

    Most (all?) state re-apportioning is done by “non-partisan ” (wink, wink) commissions.  Voters really have no better than a 2nd-cousin effect: i.e., yes, voters elect appointing governors or approve judges, but those people appoint members who are not responsible to any electorate.  When was the last time any governor or judge was turned out of office because an appointee re-jiggered a congressional district?

    • Roy Mac

      Whoa!  This makes Discus look good.  Above is a reply to Greg Camp, somewhere down the thread, discussing DIY term limits.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        At least no four letter words!

  • Obama happens

    Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36783.html

    More than likely, the current squatter in the White House will unfortunately, get re-elected,

    which will be great news for BP, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, G.E., George Soros, and the Pentagon,

    and which will ensure that enemies of freedom, liberty, accountability and transparency will have four more years to engage in corporate malfeasance without fear of prosecution.

    • JamesBrown2

      Until the American people wake up to the illusion of a two -party system that has been pulled on them, we that can see that illusion have no choice but to go with the lesser of two evils.  It is unfortunate that it is entirely based on the belief that a third-party cannot win, which is obviously not true, but it is true because of the belief it is true. As had been said here before, Romney is like crack for Goldman Sachs, Obama is merely some good herb. They and their ilk are the real beast that needs starving, but until the public awakens to the simple facts laid out in both this interview and Inside Job that are easily understandable, the best we can do to fight off the likes of those corporations and investors you mention is make sure that Romney cannot ride small mindedness into office. Romney could have been a character study for Gorden Gecko in his business career. He is part of the problem, a very direct part, just because he lives an otherwise moral life does not obviate him of guilt for exporting jobs and profiting from wrecking companies.

      • Obama happens

        More than likely, Obama will be re-elected, even if  he loses Florida and NC to Romney. 

        I’m just worried that for eight years, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will ‘own’ Obama, since he’s going to be so heavily indebted to them for funding his re-election campaign.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Halliburton, Golden Sacks, BP owned ‘W’, then Obama Happens?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Just as they “owned” all prior presidents since?

      • GrandmaGrammer

        You mean: obviate his guilt, not obviate him of guilt.

    • brettearle

      Apparently, you need to believe that Big Money only goes to one party, the one in office.

      Or are you simply saying–with incredible political bias, I might add–that only the Democrats, in Washington, are guilty of being controlled by Big Money? 

      • Obama happens

        Both parties are controlled by big money, but since Obama is the President, he has to take the lead in putting forward legislation which will bring accountability and reform to the financial sector.

        But with Obama’s campaign accepting large checks from Wall Street, serious financial reform is off the table, at least until the next big financial collapse.

        • Beyondzs

          Actually, I believe that the Administration has been trying to push through the Dodd-Frank finanical legislation and is being stymied at every turn by Congress (i.e., mostly the Republican controlled House). There is plenty wrong with Dodd-Frank, but it is an attempt at financial reform.  Similarly, Mr. Obama has put forth significant legislation in many areas – which again have been stymied by the Republicans.  Remember last August when the Grand Bargain was almost made?  There are varying reports as to exactly who quashed that deal – but there is no question that it was the nation that suffered from this lack of compromise.

          • whatnow

             They say they don’t like regulation but the lobbyists have turned the regs for Dodd Frank into a 17,000 page of exceptions that will render the bill useless in the real world.

          • jefe68

            No, they have not. President Obama is taking his lead from Geithner and will do no more than slap a few wrists, metaphorically speaking.
            The financial industry can drive a Mack truck through Dodd-Frank.
            It’s all a joke, on us unfortunately.
            As the late George Carlin once said, they own us…

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI
             

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          In some ways I think you are correct…but then based on your past statements, obvious AMNESIA, and hostility, I could never agree with you on ANYTHING.

          • Obama happens

            That’s because you have been programmed to swallow every lie put out by Obama and the democrat party, no matter how illogical and absurd it might be.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Congress and the Senate were gutting the regulatory agencies, for their cronies to LIE and STEAL, then Obama Happens, and things settle a little?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      So MANY of those, and others backed ‘W’s assaults on freedom, liberty, accountability, and transparency, that it was disgusting! 
         And then Obama Happens, and the indicators go flat, then up?

  • at

    Every Sunday you should take your rifles to the range and practice. Take your sons and teach them marksmanship, and your daughters if they show a desire. Because in the end that will be the only option you have to regain what they have stolen  and the government they have hijacked.

    It’s sort of inevitable isn’t it. If they control the media and they control the political system, and they control the police and armed forces, then the only other option is the real serfdom, not the boggy man serfdom of the neocons but the real one that we are slipping toward as fewer and fewer control more and more. All of history shows you what either private or public power elite will make of it if given an unreasonable amount of power and wealth.

    These legal maneuvers that allowed them to dismantle the regulations that protected our nation, were all smoke and mirrors, just a show to get you to still believe that some rule of law was still in effect and not just the rule of the their greed backed by the power of the money they had garnered from incremental coercive measures that has nickle and dimmed them into billions of your massed wealth in their hand, while all they produced in life was more and more devious methods of transfering the wealth of those who actually produce something or labor, into their own pockets and their tireless media campaigns to convince everybody that this is the natural god-given way that society is meant to be, and that the rules in the game they have constructed are anything more than an illusion and a trap.

    They use the REAL useful idiots — like the people who show up on this blog and bait the more intelligent with their moronic slogans, just like teenage gang members tag in other neighborhoods. First they brainwash them in their mass media theater of the absurd, like Fox News, in which perhaps a given fact here or there may be true, but the entire ambiance is bazzaro world passing as normal.

    Todays mass media is like going to a theater in which the actors are the people they are portraying but the theater itself is made of smoke, mirrors, and pixy dust.  The matrix that the individual factoids are embedded in is the illusion, and this renders everything in the manner that the creators of that illusion want.  Normal is what they say it is, so is right wrong, and what is in your own best interest (even if it isn’t).

     Well this is getting too long for this venue.
    But I am wondering: Ok we have the Occupy movement sitting around, were the hell are the work-groups of law students, and young lawyers who are so incised by what is happening to their nation that they launch a devastating broadside and bring these traitors to justice and show how their subversion of our regulatory legal system is an act of treason, just as surely as if it had been taken over by a communist plot to destabilize America?
    Amen and I am off the soapbox.

    • JJJimmmanyC

      Where are the young lawyers?  Attempting to claw their way into the segment that you have so correctly portrayed as a criminal class — like crabs in a barrel.

    • brettearle

      Correct me if I got the wrong impression from your comment, above–especially in the first two paragraphs–but are you actually advocating a state of extreme civil unrest, leading to anarchic violent revolution, to change things?

      I hope you don’t support something as irrational as that–so maybe I did misunderstand you.

      But if, indeed, I understood you correctly, then I can’t think of anything more destructive and self-destructive.

      Something like you may be suggesting would result, very likely, in a Fascist takeover.

      We have a long way to go, before that happens.    

      However, I do agree, it could happen, eventually,

      But to suggest it now is outrageous.

      Hundreds of thousands would die–if not more.

      IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

      • ClementeFrisk

        I don’t see that at all. I see someone warning people that if they persist in mistaking an illusion for reality, that it will transfer so much wealth to a few people that they will be left with no option but to defend themselves from further ruthless domination by force of arms, and that people should realize that that is the only option they will have if thing continue to concentrate in a few hands.

        • ConstanceDuke

          I agree, it is a warning.  I read his stuff before, he is not calling for anarchy.  He is warning people that it can happen here.  If power as wealth is this concentrated it cannot help but to serve itself, and that means self-protection and domination. He points at history as his evidence of what happens and he is right. You have reason to make sure you can defend yourself and even rise up if it should become necessary. I am sort of sickened at an attitude that will insist on playing the game of dominators in order to placate them, and to avoid confrontation on the real issues at any cost. And the real issue is that these people have been attacking the average American in oblique and obscured ways for the past thirty odd years, and now the deal is almost done. They have destroyed most small business, they bought up the media, they have corrupted government, and co-opted the 2.5 political parties. If you think you can make advances against these people via the laws they put on and took off the books your are naive.

          • at

             If there is really a will to punish these traitors then we also can put on and take off the books all the laws that would allow us to prosecute them for actions that were technically legal at the time. We can pass laws that make it legal to prosecute them in retrospect because of the subversive aspect of their government sculpting campaign policies. That’s what they do.

            No I am not going to further nostrificate the hysterical concerns about what someone read into my previous post. To think that we have arrived at a state where practicing the ability to defend yourself amounts to sedition is too bad. If I really wanted to be incendiary I could. I could follow all the time honored principals like mentioning death (in any manner) to incite aggressive feelings toward the 1%, not that they don’t deserve it, if not by their actions, by their very knowledgeable and profitable passivity in preserving the strength of our union in preference to the strength of their account balances.

          • brettearle

            You don’t put down, in writing, provocative language, and then run away from it–as if we’re all supposed to pick up your symbolism.

            Not everyone is supposed to read your mind; know when symbolism is meant, especially in such terms that are much starker than flowery metaphor.  

            What’s more we don’t see your work, so plentifully, that it is syndicated and therefore especially familiar to all of us.

            And even if we did, not all of us would be authorized Rhodes Scholars on your work and what you meant by your words.

          • ConstanceDuke

            Face it, he just thinks of your rant as diversionary and tangential. Which it is.
            If you were on point my bet is that he would have responded to you.

          • brettearle

            Sorry,

            Buster,

            words have significance.

            A lot of significance.

            Words 
            obviously 
            influence thinking–thinking that can change lives, for the better for the worse.

            As a wordsmith, I do not appreciate writers throwing 
            around incendiary words and then running away from their literal meaning.

            That’s both cowardice and possibly deleterious.

            At the least it is manipulative, in a provocative way.

          • YesINdeedy

            I doubt very much that-at- is afraid to converse with you. Maybe he finds your view misplaced and irrelevant. I have never seen him respond to any of the guys that spew Republican tag lines either. Not that you are one. Actually I find it kind of funny that you criticised Irene for being to soft in her approach to the predators, then you get all upset because he says eventually they will push the populace into an armed response.
            Maybe he just doesn’t care what you think about what he wrote?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            “No I am not going to further nostrificate the hysterical concerns about what someone read into my previous post.”

            There was nothing to “read in”. You were advocating armed resistance or, at minimum, armed defense against an adversary that is the best armed in the world.

            In other words, you were advocating suicide.

          • Pete356

            You are a day late and a dollar short.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            16 hours does not a day make.

            But you’re getting quite close to a full day late, and way more than a dollar short of a full piggy bank.

          • Obama happens

            An adversary that is dependent on us for it’s might, because the 1% sure as hell don’t serve.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Yes, by paying taxes and by supporting corporate capitalism. I suspect you’re as complicit as most (I haven’t paid federal income taxes for 33 years and I live on $10,000 per year).

        • brettearle

          His first two paragraphs suggest that it is more than a warning.

          And if he is simply suggesting a warning, then it is being done with inflated, bombastic, and provocative rhetoric that is more approrpriate for a Glenn Beck program.

          If it’s done here, it stands out much, much more as manipulative and reasonably irresponsible.

          It takes Buchanan’s “Lock & Load” further.

          • Walker

             Warning or not, it’s incredibly naive to think that rifles and handguns are going to do anyone a bit of good if the worse comes to worst.  Our police and military forces aren’t going to be stopped by a bunch of gun nuts with consumer weapons.  They’re increasingly armed with drones.  The only solution, if it still is a possible solution, is political action.

          • brettearle

            I agree–but maybe 20 years from now, civil unrest, on a broad scale, could very well increase for a number of reasons. 

          • ClementeFrisk

            True that. And there will be no shortage of psychotics who have been dreaming of penetrating a few liberals with their hot lead since childhood.  The only solution is political, and the only political solution is total campaign finance reform along with tough regulations of banking and finance. Even if really rich people don’t like that idea. But guess what. . . That ain’t gonna happen. And actually I have a lot of faith in a whole bunch of the police and military refusing to fire upon Americans, even if they did do it at Kent State.

          • GlennN33

            Judging from the police behavior at the Occupy camps, I would say your faith was misplaced

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Think THEY HAVEN’T planned for that?

          • CarlosHathaway

            Actually a sniper with a civilian weapon, with the exception of the very highest scope technologies is very like a sniper with a military weapon. One would think that marksmanship is one of the chief qualities of effective sniping. Like the fight in the dog, there is more to a fight than the hardware. Just ask any of our guys in Afghanistan.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Hathcock would have had a MUCH harder time, if VC had the current tech of the time?  THAT was 50 years ago?

          • YesINdeedy

            VC certainly had the current Russian tech at that time. It was just scopes and rifles, not exactly the kind of thing that Boeing makes these days that put the dot were the bullet will hit regardless of wind , temp, distance, and lighting conditions. It’s amazing actually. But nobody had that type of technology back then, and as far as I know, Carlos used an accurized M-14 with a regular miltary sniper scope, and at times a 50 calible machine gun modified to do semi auto. Nothing the NVRA didn’t have. Actually they may have had better out of the box sniper rifles in the Dragonov. The Americans didn’t have anything that a competent gunsmith couldn’t equal in his garage.

          • TFRX

            Our police and military forces aren’t going to be stopped by a bunch of gun nuts with consumer weapons.

            No, but don’t forget that our media corps are pretty persuadable by (footage of certain) Americans toting firearms.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Drones are only one of the technologies at the disposal of the GREEDY?

      • GlennN333

        He is advocating that law students become activists, and stop being so damned short-sighted and selfish.

        • brettearle

          His first two paragraphs suggest, directly and indirectly, what I interpreted.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Law students being selfish?  Expect dogs to stop barking first. Law students become lawyers…and too many of those theives are a cancer on the society. The fewer the better.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Those are indications of the world that banksters have brought us to, aided in these crimes, by lawyers!  ONLY the banksters and shysters have the power to  stop it, but their GREED for power (money is one), will NOT let them.  GREED controls them!

      • Zero

        The fascists are on the right.  The upheaval the left is talking about is for democracy. 

        Our government is bought, and some Americans feel like fighting for democracy.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

        • brettearle

          The very obvious point is that economic instability can lead to totalitarian dictatorships–with Fasicsm more often being the extremism of choice, whenever a country is facing severe economic instability.

          When the Egyptians took to the streets, did many of those young student want the Muslim Brotherhood to take control?

          • Zero

            No doubt, but the movement towards revolution is against fascism.  If there is a revolution, I worry that there would be autocrats that try to pass a constitutional amendment for a one party state that would be along the lines of something far left.

            However, I don’t think communism is a threat.  I guess anything can happen a hundred years from now, but there is no real communist threat.

            But back to the main point.  What conservatives don’t understand is that FDR saved capitalism.  He saved America from a revolution.  I’m currently ambivalent about a revolution.  If Obama gets reelected and doesn’t turn the tide towards power for the majority instead of a few elite, then there may be a revolution.  If Romney gets elected, I don’t see how America won’t have a revolution. 

            There is only one thing that brings on revolutions of any kind: inequality.

          • brettearle

            Zero,

            I appreciate your long-range vision.

            But I am surprised that you think a major overhaul is just around the corner.

            I don’t agree.

            Even if Romney is elected–and I think, now, that his victory is more in doubt than it was earlier–there has to be a MAJOR breakdown, where people are so frightened and indignant that they are willing to risk their lives or else they are so panic-stricken that they don’t care about consequences.

            In order for that to happen, there would have to be, tragically, a WMD event that destroys a big city; a major epidemic that, tragically, can’t be controlled; or else a complete and utter breakdown where,

            the majority of banks fail

            and

            the government ceases to function because its capacity to operate has completely unraveled.

            At least right now, we are far away from these events occurring. 

            Revolutions are dependent on major govenrment institutions dissolving.

            The institutions in the US may be in serious trouble–but they are desinged to survive–AND THAT WOULD INCLUDE MARTIAL LAW AND VIOLENCE AGAINST ITS CITIZENS. 

            Spend some time with a history of Soviet breakdown (as well as in Egypt) and I believe that you will find that the Military lost total confidence in their respective 
            governments. 

          • Zero

            Yeah, that’s all true.  But all revolutions are different.  We are losing our democracy in a way that is unheard of (as far as I know). So one would imagine a different kind of revolution.  I think Occupy numbers may grow, and terrorize the banks, for example.

            In all honesty, I really don’t know what is going to happen, but people have been echoing “revolution” more and more. 

            I think the biggest threat to a peaceful revolution is the media.  The media has a vested interest in corporatocracy.  The news outlets make a lot of money on political advertisement.  If the media does not report violence against peaceful protests, then  the protests won’t work.  Moreover, there already was unnecessary violence against Occupy last summer, but nobody seems to care.  So I think it is going to get violent out there.  I really don’t know what it will look like.

            The only thing I want is for conservatives and liberals to get together and pass a constitutional amendment limiting campaign finance contributions to individual, breathing human beings who can only donate up to  $2,000 per se.  I seriously think that politicians would have try to please everybody instead of catering to entities, and that would remedy our problems.  I’m a big believer in democracy.

             

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Very well said.

      I know this is extreme, and just wishful thinking since I abhor violence…but would’nt it be great to take a bank CEO…anyone will do…and conduct a nationally televised trial…and then hang the SOB on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, at NOON, on a given day. Let CNN broadcast it live for all to see.

      Corporate America will get the message REAL QUICK, and the Congress will pee its collective pants.

      I believe that both the French and the Russians tried this (absent TV) during their respective revolutions. It surely got the attention of the aristocracy…err Bankers.

      • WotanJones

        Why just anyone when it can be Greenspan, and Paulson for a start?  I know it is wishful, but sometimes dreams do come true.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          My comment was just wishful thinking, as you have indicated. I could surely name several deserving candidates for the noose.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “Well this is getting too long for this venue.”

      The only constructive sentence in your diatribe. 

      • JJJimmmanyC

        Evidently Robert, at least 21 people disagree with you. Even at your best you never got close to that kind of approval. Now you can respond with the usual rationalizations.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Are you really foolish enough to equate popularity with truth?

          • CarmineSienna2

            Funny that both of the people who seemed bothered by this post were publishers.  Strange that.  Maybe they know each other. Maybe they are each other!

          • CarmineSienna2

            Not at all. I actually think that the metaphor he uses about the theater is profound, and true.  I think you are envious and picked out the least significant part of a rather remarkable post.  I mean if we are going to have fantasies about justice, I would do him one better, and call for anyone who gets a prognosis of imminent by a physician should at least take a shot at sniping one of the banker clowns who destroyed the economy with a crisis 70 times that of the savings and loan scam, with not one conviction.  That would be my fantasy, thousands of people get these death notices every day, those who are able start taking out a one of these above the law psychobankers for the good of their fellow Americans — since the courts and regulatory agencies seem unable to do it, and since the biggest swindlers have been identified — why not an army of fading snipers and suicide bombers who decide to help us out and be working class heroes.  That would be my fantasy, and they can do the same for spokespersons and lawyers for the tobacco industry too. That would be just too too great. That is one of the fictions that is stranger than the factual events that are stranger than fiction.  In fact, a couple of decades and the same people who stopped Nam will be getting their notices.  Maybe they still have some balls, nobody else seems to.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Vietnam vets know better than any smug ideologue that it doesn’t take balls to kill the alleged “enemy” – it takes merely a mindless, programmed knee-jerk response.

          • ThisJustIn

             Nope it takes balls to kill the enemy when they have everything in their favor.

            But it doesn’t take much brains to just contradict people. You prove that over and over.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            A large percentage of the comments on these discussions merely prove how incorrigibly immature and ignorant so many Americans are.

            You confuse those “brains” which hang between your legs with the brain on top of your neck.

          • Carla34

             She said the people who stopped Viet Nam, most of them were not vets.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong
  • Irene Moore

    On reforming capitalism:  Very optimistic idea but also very naive.  Is it the thinking that if we can just rein in those few bad apples we will be able to enjoy a community of small business owners buying and selling from each other and helping out when there is need.  Trouble is those few bad apples seem to get a hold on the town, tend to extort the small business owners in the bad scenario or just buy them out in the good scenario.  In either scenario, the tendency is always toward monopoly because it is the most EFFICIENT way to operate.  Look around.  And once all the productive little businesses are beholden to the big guys, and once the working class has been eliminated by the robots (because it improves profits) what’s left?  Well there’s always the government treasury.  

    To continue to live under the illusion that there is a free market where anyone can make it is to blind oneself to the reality of a world market dominated and controlled by high finance and a few mega corporations.  Why is it so hard to think of oil as a gift of history and nature to be managed with history and nature in mind instead of only with an eye to profit and the bottom line.  Why is it so hard to think of the forests of the world as a gift of history and nature to be managed with history and nature in mind.  Why is it so hard to think of the earth’s water and air as gift of history and nature to be respected and managed with history and nature in mind.  How have we allowed ourselves to be so bamboozled by the fast talkers and salesmen into thinking that the only thing that matters is how can we make money from everything.  It’s a pathology when you think about it.  Will the conversation ever focus on public ownership of the resources of the earth for the benefit of the earth and everything on it.  Or will we keep replaying the same old song.  Let’s keep capitalism but we gotta figure out a way to make it look good – put some lipstick on it even if it is in a coffin.

    • brettearle

      What you said was thoughtful–but Ferguson used the word, “Predator” in his title for a reason.

      Predators are NOT going to listen to your heartful plea.

      Unless they are stopped, without impunity, they will continue to wreak havoc with the US economy.

      The only way that these Casino Gamblers can be stopped is if they are punished.

      At the risk of sounding insulting–and so be it, if that’s how you take it, but I don’t exactly mean it that way
      –a “Flower Child” attitude will make ZERO impact on this continuing disaster.  

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Power is never given up voluntarily. Read the history of the French, Russian and Cuban revolutions. It must be forcefully taken.  Sadly

    • TomK in Boston

      We once had a version of capitalism that worked. High taxes, gvt regulation, big gvt projects….plus a dynamic private sector that was creating jobs like crazy. Starting with reagan, we traded that version in for the ryan-romney-rand hunger games version of capitalism. We can have capitalism that works for everyone again, if we choose it.

      • Irene Moore

        TomK – It’s not that there is good capitalism and bad capitalism, it’s just the nature of the beast.  Capitalism is an economic system with an internal logic and dynamic that drives it toward maximizing profits by way of efficiency. Monopoly is more efficient than multiplicity and capitalism always drives toward monopoly – it’s not good or bad, it’s just the nature of the beast.  Globalization took it to its limits and now the once privileged working and middle class of America feels the squeeze.  Where it used to enjoy the scraps from the billius billionaires it now feels the competition for those scraps from people around the world and the scraps are dropping from fewer tables.  When people around the world recognize their common interest things will begin to change.  But so long as the American working and middle class imagines that it is possible to make capitalism work in their interest. the American working and middle class will continue to believe that the problem is people of color from around the world wanting to take what they have.  It’s the people of the world who need to find their common interest and it looks like the last group of people to understand this will be those who still see capitalism as their religion.  And by the way, there is no rule that says people can’t enjoy a lively economy that is beneficial for all.  The idea that markets are an invention of capitalism is just silly.  There have been markets for as long as we have have recorded history and probably before.  It doesn’t mean that the profits from oil cannot be distributed for the benefit of all rather than for the few.  It takes a little imagination and overcoming the prejudice that community and planning are equated with KGB and dictatorship.  The only real way for democracy to flourish is when the economy serves the majority – It is not possible to have political democracy for all when the economy if designed to serve the few.  The economy needs to be in line with the polity.  Capitalism and democracy are not the same thing.

        • CarmineSienna2

          I don’t agree with everything you wrote, but it was a damn fine job you did.

  • Hank_T

    Tom, please ask Charles to elaborate on the vast exposure of
    banks to derivatives?

    • HotmO3

      This show was over hours ago Hank. You are listening to a mp3 file.

  • randy ehresman

    TOM PLEASE ASK IF TERM LIMITS ON POLITICIANS CAN WORK.  WILL ONE TERM POLITICIANS HELP?

    • Melvina

      No.  It would be chaotic.  Some of the “lifers” in Congress were the best ones.  The worst are the tea party freshmen, who are more interested in repeating talking points they heard on Fox, then in doing their jobs.

  • robespiere

    i wont be paying my student loans until these people go to jail and we see strong regulation in on banks and corporations.  i am not a toy.  They are not my leaders, or my representatives.  They are criminals–committing, financial, war, and human crimes of which has no honor or justice.  i will never pay back my loans.  They don’t–they never pay debts–they don’t even pay workers–so f them.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Good luck. As Charles Ferguson correctly points out, the corrupt  government will over look these crimes of the century, involving hundreds of billions.

      On the other hand, they will hound you to the grave for a few thousand dollars spent trying to better yourself. What a travesty!

    • TomK in Boston

      Good for you, I hope you can evade what they will throw at you.

      Student loan debt is just the latest class warfare tactic redistributing wealth to the top.

  • marygrav

    Has Charles Furguson observed Congress’ behavior toward President Obama recently as well as in the past. He should notice that even though the first Congress was all Democrats that the Blue Dogs voted with the Right-wing Republicans on every important bill.

    The Blue Dogs kept Obama’s bills from reaching the floor for debate.  In 2010, the Democrats lost the House because the people who supported Obama wanted miricles.  If they had taken the time to read the US Constitution, they could have understood that the President is the weakest office in the 3 way hook up.  All the power is vested in a Congress and a Supreme Court.

    Because Bush II had packed the Court with idealogs and made Roberts the Chief Justice, we are now at the mercy of a 5 to 4 fascism that brought in Citizens United and is allowing the Republican Party to dictate who is allowed to vote.  Our Republic seems to have abandoned US.

    Before pointing the finger and blaming Democratic laziness on the president, I would suggest that your guest look at the Congress, the Tea Party back by the Koch brothers, and read the US Constitution.  If he or anybody else wanted a dictator, they should have voted for a Rick Perry or someone else who directly receives his orders from above and passes them onto the people.

    Me, I’ll take a human being and get rid of a CURRUPT Congress and keep on voting and demomstrating until I become my own Savior and Messiah.

    • at

       These are important points and should be disseminated more broadly. 

    • Whatnow

       Mary is on the money. It will get worse if the Democrats sit out this election like they did 2 years ago. The Republicans only have to keep the Democrats from getting 60 votes in the Senate and hold on to the House. 
      If you sit out this election you are voting for the Republicans to make the 1% more powerful.

  • marygrav

    Still listening

  • Robispiere

    its really not hard to get my head around tom–its obvious–these people are traitorous–and need to be incarcerated for life–you know in china–they execute these people!  perhaps we should do the same–but we need sb to clean up their toxic pollution literary–put them in rail cars and force them to clean up oil spills and war zones–cycling the min and out of dark prisons–use them as slave labor–to clean up what they created.  No parole.

    its time to forgive all national debts and American citizen debts–jubilee!  Lets start again. 

    • Danton

      The little guy thirsts for justice, but the one percent do not need justice because they wrote the laws.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1307664682 Behrouz Saba

    Please don’t keep saying “Third World;” it is a cold war expression.  Today the world is more complex than that.

    • JamieSummers

      The name of this show is not Irrelevant Issues it is OnPoint.

  • eksommer

    Great movie. Frustrating but we must face the facts. I’m nearly 60. I was told years ago the only place for my retirement savings was the stock market. I complied. Now I watch in horror as the Wall Street roller coaster roars. Roulette might be a better analogy. If I could make even 4% interest in a CD or savings account, I would get out of the market in a heartbeat. I’m afraid. My investments are moderate, but there are no guarantees in this financial environment.

    I never know how money I have. My husband is more practical. He says if you have $10,000 and you put it in the stock market, you must assume you then have $0. Anything above that is a gain.

    Why can’t small vulnerable savers find safe places for our nest eggs? Don’t the greedy rich realize a nation of poor elderly individuals will be difficult to support?

    Where is Jimmy Stewart and his wonderful life?

    (And I agree. Try to use developing or emerging nations, not third world.)

    • jefe68

      At your age you should be moving into bonds.
      My late father did the same thing, he lost his almost all his pension due to his foolishness playing a rigged game.
      With Wall Street the house always wins.

  • Delsl2004

    From my
    limited education, I agree with Charles Ferguson mainly that the criminals in
    Wall St and Banking and Congress should be held liable and acccountable! Until
    this is done, I’ll never have the same faith in our Great Country as I once
    did!  The 
    majority of this decade, I feel it is all about the strongest, richest
    and powerful and if anyone is not a part of this, then we are all dismissible
    & not important in society or as an American! I suffered losing money as
    most hard-working Americans. My employer, Washington Mutual laid me off. Then
    my stocks dumped.  At age 53, single,
    female, I left my house, my Family to find employment. I’m still employed but I
    cannot get back home because of finances, I am stuck!  I’ve told my Family that if I die before I can
    return home to not bury me where I’m working; to bring me back to my home town.
    As I continued to work, my property has lost value & my savings are just
    about gone. I’m tired of working and don’t see any let-up or a chance retireing any time in the future even now that I
    am 61 yrs. of age….I worked my entire life and I am more disillusioned and
    discouraged at any time of my life. Hang all those thieves!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Hang in there, lady!  You probably have been through worse?  Remember that you got through before, and can do it again! 
         Banksters and Corrupt Politicians BELONG in chain-gangs!  UNTIL they pay back what they have defrauded, plus interest, plus penalties, plus TIME for the crimes!

  • Occupy Evangelicals

    As your guest pointed out, Obama was unable or unwilling to do anything about all the criminals that have not suffered consequences. As I think about why that is, I can only think that SO MUCH money is involved, that do take them on would be 1) certainly political suicide and 2) probably plain old suicide. The 1% are not going to go quietly.

  • Dakchar1

    Charles Ferguson should be required reading or watching for every college student and voting American. 

     During the show, a caller asked why Obama has not been successful …I know of 2 reasons.  He spent way too much goodwill and political capital pushing through an extremely flawed health reform bill and secondly, the Republicans consciously made a pact to never cooperate with the Obama administration, regardless of the stakes, in an effort to defeat him in 2012.  As we have seen , the good of the country, the people, our children and our future is all of lesser importance than the political ambitions of the republican party.  I wonder how many of them can look in the mirror everyday  

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Indeed. The criminal Republicans have never made a secret of their intent to destroy Obama’s presidency, and the Nation be damned. How sad it is that the stupid American electorate has forgotten this treason. The Republican party should be banned and its leaders imprisoned.

      • Pete

        Actually, the Republicans tried to stop Obama because they thought his policies would damn the Nation (and they have been proven right). This is the activity the Democrats referred to as “heroic
        opposition,” when they were blocking Bush for 8 years. If you want to imprison the goose you must also be willing to imprison the gander.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Hogwash. McConnell and the other Republican stooges are bought by corporate money.

          No thanks. I want to imprison the REAL criminal. George Bush and virtually everyone in his corrupt “administration”.  And the Congress needs to be locked up too. And every lobbyist hung.

          • Pete

             Using that criteria, it must be hard to keep your head on straight given the amount of corporate money behind Obama. Although I guess blinders have a way of propping up
            the neck.

        • GusDocker

          Reality be damned here come the talking pointed heads.

    • Gregg

      Well, at least you didn’t cite racism. I appreciate that. I agree with your first reason but the second, I believe is on Obama. I do not believe the “regardless of the stakes” part. President Obama is trying to fundamentally transform America, that raises a few hackles. Were Democrats eager to help Bush win a second term?

      • TomK in Boston

        “fundamentally transform America”? That’s absurd. He’s a timid centrist trying to take some baby steps back to the center after we ran to the right for 30 years. He’s a moderate republican by our historical standards, f’gawdsakes.

        We have the lowest taxes since 1929 and if BHO suggests a small increase to still-low rates you guys have a fit. Proposing tax rates that are perfectly normal in our history is not a “fundamental transformation” of anything.

        And did we get that “fundamental transformation” of health care that so many of us want, single payer, big gvt health care? NOOOO. We got Romneycare, right out of the American Enterprise institute, still run by the predatory insurance corporations and private hospitals and private big pharma. We got the individual mandate proposed by conservatives to keep the riffraff from getting a free ride.

        We got Bush foreign/war policy on steroids.

        What “fundamental transformation” are you talking about?

        • Gregg

          “What “fundamental transformation” are you talking about?”

          Obamacare mandates, $5 trillion in new debt, 8% unemployment as the new normal, a war on religion, the worst thing for race relations since slavery, credit rating lowered, targeted assassinations for many over water boarding for three, spreading the wealth around, defunding Social Security, non-existent Energy policy, taking over the auto, banking and insurance industries, firing CEO’s, demonizing capitalism, war without Congressional approval, signature achievement of questionable Constitutionality, booting out Mubarek only to be replaced by radicals, speeches in every major Muslim capital and not one visit to Israel, returning Churchill’s bust snubbing Great Britain, apologies, a wife who spent most of her life not proud of America, spending at 25% of GDP, etc., and on and on.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOuedf6jx98

          • TomK in Boston

            Oh please, Obamacare is Romneycare straight out of the righty think tanks as I explained above. You’ve been reading too many righty blogs.

            We have had a “fundamental transformation” all right. Since reagan, the far right has transformed our great middle class society into an oligarchy. You want a transformation, there ya go. A tiny pushback against that takes us nowhere but back toward the great America we once had.

            You guys use the same tactic over and over. You wage class warfare with great success for 30 years and when the victims finally complain you accuse them of class warfare. Same thing as claiming BHO ants to “transform America” when he makes some timid attempts at cleaning up the mess you made.

          • Gregg

             That’s funny.

          • TomK in Boston

            I hope you realize that you have made a list of things you don’t like and called them “fundamental transformations” even when they are SOP (an American president overthrowing a 3′rd world dictator/ally! I’m shocked! Shocked!), continuations of Bush policy, or non existent (“demonization of capitalism”?? advocating a slightly less radical version of capitalism is not “demonizing”. Taxing the superrich at a slightly higher but still low rate is not “class warfare”, it’s a common sense adjustment of our capitalist system.).

            Its’ you guys who want a “fundamental transformation”. Lowering taxes at the top from record-low rates will cement the oligarchy and kill the middle class society I love. That’s a transformation. Turning medicare into a groupon is a transformation. Obama is the conservative in this argument, no matter what rush tells you.

          • Gregg

            And when was the last time our credit rating was lowered? When have 43 religious institutions ever sued the government? When have there ever been more people on food stamps? When has more sweeping legislation been passed on a 100% partisan vote? When has a signature “achievement” by a President been appealed all the way to the SCOTUS? When has a president ever attacked private citizens by name? When has a President ever even said he would fundamentally transform America?

          • jefe68

            The credit rating was due the GOP, period. SS is not being defunded, which I thought was the GOP’s game since it came into being. The President never took over the US auto industries, get real. Spreading the wealth around, hmmmm. I’m not seeing much of that. Oh do you mean getting the top 10% to pay a more equatable income tax rate, one that makes sense.

            8% unemployment as the new normal? I hope not, but that’s on both parties. You’re all over the map on economics and policy by the way.
            On the one hand you decry things the Bush administration did and President Obama kept up and on the other you’re waving the flag for the GOP which will do more of the same and a whole lot worse. As in say good-bye to SS.

            Unconstitutional wars, you mean the ones GW Bush started?

            Booting out Mubarek? Oh please get a life buddy. You’re spinning so hard here it’s not even funny anymore.

          • Gregg

            The House passed “Cut, cap and balance” would have prevented the down grade. Just because you rewrite history and write “period” doesn’t make it true. The payroll tax cut defunds Social Security. Obama fired GM’s CEO and installed his guy. Obama told “Joe the Plumber” he would spread the wealth around and he has. Obama is the food stamp President. The top 10% already pay 2/3rds of the bill.

            Bush got Congressional approval, public support and a unanimous UN security council vote. Obama, not so much.

            Mubarek

          • lodger

            “Obamacare mandates … a war on religion”
            Please explain.

          • Gregg

            Because of the media blackout most people don’t even know about the lawsuit by 43 religious institutions against the Federal Government. It’s huge news and unprecedented. 2 Catholic Universities have stopped providing health insurance altogether. There certainly won’t be a mention of it on  “On Point”.

          • lodger

            You’re referring to the insurance issue?

            You honestly think that’s a ‘war on religion’?

          • Gregg

             Yes.

          • notafeminista

            No, but the WSJ has it…two days ago I think?

          • Gregg

            It’s a big deal that warrants front page headlines and opening segments on the news. But no.

          • GodAlmighty

            You should be ashamed of yourself: either for being such a duplicitous retch or for being so stupid that you believe your own bull. That is depending on whether you are sincerely deluded, or just another red assed middle-aged guy doing what amounts to tagging in another gang neighborhood to be provocative. You are not povocative, you just another pathetic pigheaded bigot, trying to hid it behind a facade of disinformation.

          • Pete

            Like they say, when you have the facts argue the facts, when you don’t pound the desk and scream insults.

          • Gregg

            It’s amazing. There is nothing false in my comment.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ARE you saying that $ BILLIONAIRES shouldn’t pay the same percentages on taxes, as people risking their lives, to make a living?

          • Gregg

            Let the market decide how much to pay the life savers.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘Birtherism’, and the ‘He’s a Muslim’ crap, IS RACISM!
           People that DON’T know the requirements for being President, tell what they ‘think’ they are, according to their own racist twist! 
           WHY do they DEMAND on what they ‘think’?  They are incapable of looking up the TRUTH about the requirements?
           If SO, they need to NOT vote, because they are too ignorant, and biased, to make an informed decision!

        • Gregg

          So if I call you a Mormon from Sweden, does that mean I’m a racist?.

        • notafeminista

          Voter suppression is always a good idea 3T

    • Esjay

      And people like Mitch McConnell shoujld be tried for treason because their job is to make government work “for the people” not for their party

    • Zero

      50 million people are going to get health care…granted he didn’t go for the public option…but “extremely flawed.”

      I guess if the mandate goes down, it was flawed legally until Obama appoints another judge.  

    • SonnoleaNorhfest

      My father is 88, a life long Republican until this obstructionist nonsense they are pulling.
      His opinion is that in the next vote they will find out that they have done themselves in by exposing their true colors.
      I hope he is right but have no faith in the perceptual abilities or the memory of the American voting public.

      I cannot think of a more effective way to dumb down the public than Fox News. This is a conclusion he has come to even though Fox is his main source of info. This is a man who voted for George Bush twice. He thinks they have done themselves in with their blatant displays of support for the rich at the expense of everyone else.

  • Balaram

    Whats up with the reference to “Third World” during the show?  Cold war ended decades ago.. and the meaning of the “Third World” has changed and its derogatory.  Its like racism at national level.. stop referring to those countries as “third world” – as if like they are untouchables.. what are you smoking Tom ?

    • FerSureBob

      irrelevant, over sensitive, and oblivious to the meaning that the term as come to take on in contemporary times.

  • Will7397

    Inside Job was on of the many films to shed light on the hidden side of the finacial system. I credit it instilling drive within me to go into accounting with hopes to help clean the system and not add to it.

    • ComDash4

      I hope that there are many more who are inspired by it too.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good Luck, and Good Hunting!  Stay HONEST!

  • http://twitter.com/cbruben Ruben Garcia

    Love your interview of Charles Ferguson, thank you Tom for airing this show. 

    • buffalobirdie

       Like he’s reading these comments…

      • FerSureBob

        Many people have had their comments read on the air. If they get in before the show starts he certainly reads them, if after, I am not so sure.

  • Andrewc

    This is what drives me crazy about NPR. Tom does not ask one tough question. Charles Ferguson does not offer one specfic. deregulation how did it impact? How are just the  financial services cause the economic mess? That would be a surprise to many PHd economists. Hundrds need to get arrested becasue of crimes but did not mention one crime. Tom tried to get him to say at least. If you are going to say these things you have to have reference and quote facts no just class warfare.

    Funniest part is when he says we first “fix” education and then “money and politics”. Never says how. too fuuny. haha

    What would happen if we implemented his “solutions”. Here in NY unions and middle class depend on the finance field to fund the tax base. If that drops middle class have to make it up or layoffs of unions. Probably cause a recession. 

    I usually like onpoint because it is a little less biased than the rest of NPR.

    • Boronx

      The crimes are in the book, but if you’ve paid attention, you know a few yourself.  Mortgage application fraud (accepting applications they know are lies), Securities fraud (salting securities with bad mortgages, bundling mortgages in more than one bundle), Collusion with ratings agencies, promoting of known bad instruments etc…

    • MaloneR

      Watch his documentary and it will answer most of your questions.

  • Allen

    How did the repeal, in 1993, of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 contribute to the recent banking / investment crisis?

    • jefe68

      It let the banks and investment banks do what they wanted more or less. They went back to taking huge risks as they did before the Great Depression.

      I would read up on it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        You are correct. Why any intelligent voter would ask that question explains why we are in the mess we are in.

  • Jb2goal

    what about the responsibility of the media in the 2 party system – the media practically ignored ron paul – how will we ever have a 3rd party if the media only pays attention to dems and republicas

    • Will

       more importantly why hasn’t the media done its job to inform people about the issues.  Recently heard an interview in which it was pointed out that the media spend very little time discussing the issues.  Completely unrelated these same media outlets air billions of dollars worth of political ads.  Local issues are completely ignored and a majority of the limited time spent on politics was devoted to the presidential campaign. 

      http://election2012.usc.edu/2005/02/tv-news-ignores-local.html

      • feettothefire

        Blaming the media for peoples intellectual laziness serves no one. I’m no scholar. I’m a truck driver with a high school education. But I decided long ago that life is interesting. Things that happen beyond my own little sphere of existence are worth knowing about. I’m as well informed about the issues of the day as many others, and more well informed than most, unfortunately. It’s easy, if you give a damn about such things. Too many people don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/QuantumLyfe Eric Harris

    “How did voters let this happen?”

    nuff said

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      We have the kind of government we deserve. 

      Apathetic and stupid voters….

      • Swan444

        Please explain how voting might have prevented the situation we are in?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Informed voters would have never voted for the criminal George Bush, not to mention many of those before him. Informed voters would never put Republican whores in the Congress…or Democrat whores.

          • Swan444

             Jason, thanks for reply. Glass-Steagall was repealed under Clinton. Obama appointed one of the architects of that travesty: Summers. I believe that the Banksters that financed it will not take any chances; therefore, ALL candidates on a national level are vetted by Wall St. We the Voters have no choices that actually represent US.

        • feettothefire

           Is that a serious question?

          • Swan444

             See my reply to Jason above…

        • Zero

          You are correct.  Voting has no power.  Stay at home.

        • CrazyEd3

          Ralph Nader would have stopped the financial crisis before it happened by taking radical steps against corporations that disregard the law. If we gave him any support in the House or Senate at all we would be living in a very different, very better world today. Here is a man whose entire life proved that he was of the highest moral and mental character and instead we were bamboozeled by a group of elitists into believing that a spoiled brat who walked like a gunfighter but was AWOL when others were fighting and dying in an unjust war that the likes of him and him sympatico supported.

          It was brave young Americans who stopped that insanity that we refer to as the Vietnam Conflict. We weren’t beaten, get real. We didn’t lose one battle, we outfought them man for man by an incredible degree and we abided by stupid rules that would not be followed in a real war and didn’t even use our best weapons. Yet these idiots are so hung up in their egos that they supported that murdering bastard Pole Pot because it was the Vietnamese that finally went in and stopped the Khamer Rouge genocide, and they feel like they were beaten by Vietnam. Idiots. Lower animal stupid as a dead grape idiots.

          Where are today’s young altruists like those that lead us out of Viet Nam?

          Too busy on facebook grooming their egos and nonexistent plants I guess.

    • susan

       As people work harder longer to make ends meet, they have less time to read, think, and talk about current events and what they mean.
      Relatedly, newspapers are in severe decline- news on line is not a fair and balanced replacement for professional ethical journalism.

      • JimCrow3

        I know plenty of old people who have loads of time, vote, and are totally taken in by the likes of Fox news, because they are offered what they want to see. They are basically ignorant and bigoted people who accept authority habitually and have been responsible for every Bush or Clinton with their own ignorance.

        Greenspan. The biggest snake oil salesman of all time.
        A thousand times worse than Bernie Madhoff.

  • TomK in Boston

    Contrary to the propaganda that the banksters are too smart to regulate, there are plenty of people out there who are just as smart who should be in SEC and other agencies. Harry Markopolis figured out Madoff in no time and handed him to SEC, but the Bush SEC was committed to not doing its job, since “the best regulation is the least regulation”, so they weren’t interested. When I’m president, Markopolis will be head of the SEC. 

    I’m  a believer in using a thief to catch a thief, as FDR did with Joe K. Michael Milkin, the former junk bond king (junk bonds are what romney-types issue after they get their vulture-claws around a company), has found jesus and works in prisons. Why not put him on the job? Plenty of hedgies saw the Bush crash coming and pulled off “the big short”. Find a few who might be interested in a new adventure and turn them loose on the banksters. 

    But who do we get? Execs from the very Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (why no RICO cases?) they are supposed to regulate. It would be easy to get some control over the big casino, all it takes is the will.

    • HarmoniusBongo

      Black was good at his job too. Markopolis is as persistent as you need to be. Even Spitzer would do a good job if they got any support, but the 1% has become so arrogant because they know they can obstruct any support by playing on the subconscious fears of narrow minded absolutists and offering them simplistic unworkable reflections of a past that only existed in their adolescent hormones.

    • TFRX

      Banksters aren’t “too smart to regulale”, they’re just (as he himself admitted) too smart for Shrub and his administration to regulate.

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    To save corporate capitalism we must demand that it become Constitutionally mandated ( not just some easily manipulated reg. or law ) that all publicly traded companies earning income in excess of 1 penny per share ( on all shares outstanding ) ;

    pay CASH dividends on all shares outstanding AND all treasury shares!

    This will clean up the books and make all “ interested parties “ more honest ! This will “ mark to market” the true value ( after an adjustment period ) of a company’s true share value . Shares would begin to function much like money does.

    All dividends should be taxed at the same rates that apply to any citizen !

    In the long run this would be good for ALL of us , rich and poor alike !

    • Andrewc

      No country taxes dividends the same rate. We need to compete with the world for investment dollars this would put us ata disadvantage

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Spoken like a true Republican….. Talking points, phony rationale and all.

    • PotIsGoodForMankind

      I think I should be able to issue hemp script that is backed by medical grade marijuana.
      I could issue hard standard credits each of which could be exchanged for one quarter oz of high quality organically grown medical cannabis at anytime.
      Good for all debts both public and private.
      Better than money in times of no weed.

      I betcha my money would beat your money.

      Only I don’t want men with guns coming to my house and kill me.

      If I did I would move to White Plains and hit my medic alert button and then tell the police I’m alright and afraid to let them in.

      You don’t know how much I wish there were a hell, just so I could watch every cop who ever lied on the witness stand burn.

  • Rmschmidty

    Money has always been and will always be the root of evil, in this case it may take our great nation to its knees and be run by a few big money elites.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Evil is committed for things besides money!  Heard of Child-Molesting?  Child-Abuse?  Rape?  Hazing?
         The LUST for POWER, is more likely the root of all EVIL?

      • notafeminista

        Say, I’d be curious to know in real numbers, who actually molests more often.  Public school teachers or priests.  Where might one find that information?

  • An-a-belle

    it is unfortunate that we did not think about future generations back in the 1950′s and what our great great great great grandchildren may have to live with. Our goals and values as a nation have been focused on consumerism and the belief that if we as a people are able to consume then we are “free”. This deep set belief system has led to the destruction of our natural resources. With a greater distance created between human and nature we have lost our way. And, we are awakening to that fact but now the wealthy are the ones being able to access nature and the poor are being left in the land of plastic, television and packaged food. This has been the greatest conspiracy this planet has ever seen. 

    • Contra-felon

      Make absolutely sure that you watch the US banned documentary The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis.  I think that you will find it fascinating how the qualities in Americans that you are complaining about were intentionally and consciously engineered by a few people with the help of psychologists,and psychiatrists, at the bequest of the power elites of both business and politics. It all started with Woodrow Wilson’s campaign to win the hearts of the European public and a marketing contractor who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud: Edward Bernaise.

  • Obama happens

    I would say that I won the dudu head of the day award.
    It was a breeze I just had to be myself.

    • MimosaCurtis

      Not really, in almost all instances you failed to bring the discourse down to your own level.
      There’s always tomorrow.

      • Obama_happens

        And ‘tomorrow’, Obama’s aprroval numbers will continue to drop like a rock.

        A prisoner sitting in jail in West Virginia received almost as many votes as Obama in the WV democratic rimary, that’s says a lot about Obama.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Didn’t that prisoner receive MORE votes that Mittens?
             So, after an AWOL, and DESERTER, that bankrkupt almost EVERY company he ‘lead’, that couldn’t READ a teleprompter, YOU want another Texas criminal in the White House?
              Then Obama Happened!  NOT an oil-related-failure, as his predecessor was!

          • notafeminista

            As some sage poster pointed out last week, business experience is not a prerequisite for the Presidency.  Neither is military service. 

            And by the way?  President Obama won.

    • Obama_happens

      So you tried to steal my moniker?

      Well at least you tried, your fellow partners in crime should be impressed when you see them at your next A.C.O.R.N. meeting.

      • TFRX

        Acorn?

        I don’t like impostoring on this board, because it’s cheap and sleazy and would never get by in real life, and the site admins might make everyone register if it happens enough.

        But you should maybe just class yourself up a bit and let the impostor be the fool for once.

      • Zero

        I can’t wait for my next acorn meeting, where we set up how Obama will steal the election, overthrow the constitution, and implement a communist state. 

        • Gregg

          Were you at the last ones?

          • Zero

            I’m at all of them.   In fact, our next meeting is at NPR head quarters.  Every media outlet, except Fox News, will be there. 

  • Obama_happens

    The REAL Obama_happens has set up a DISQUS account because some lame Obama supporter stole my moniker and posted blogs attributed to me.

    You liberal losers are completely pathetic.

    You can’t handle any constructive or honest criticism of ‘your’ President, Barack Obama,

    who also happens to be the most incompetent, corrupt, and fiscally reckless U.S President ever.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      With SO MUCH obvious evidence against ‘W’, wars based on lies, against people that did NOT attack us, while taking money from the country where 12 of the ’9/11 attackers’ came from, etc…, your accusations are humorous!

      • Gregg

        Did Libya attack us?

        • Zero

          Let us recap: in Libya, there was an apparent and immanent threat of genocide.  Obama took out a dictator with zero lives and under 50 billion dollars.

          In Iraq, no apparent sign of immanent genocide, harboring terrorists, and weapons of mass destruction.  Bush took out a dictator with thousands of lives and a trillion dollars.

          Wars like Libya are the kind of wars America should be involved in.  Unfortunately, Obama has over-extended himself politically and can’t help the Syrians.  I imagine if we weren’t entangled in Afghanistan, we could have saved thousands of lives in Syria.  

          • notafeminista

            “Obama took out a dictator with zero lives and under 50 billion dollars.”

            And it complete violation of the War Powers Act.  Quick n dirty is how the Lefties like it.

          • Zero

            If he would have followed the  law, thousands of people would have died and there would have never been a war.

            So you choose right now: Would you rather follow the law and let thousands of people die, or circumvented the law and saved thousands of lives?  Which one?  Choose now. 

          • Zero

            So much for leadership of of notafeminista….

          • notafeminista

            Well we already know your answer.  Lefties as always, decide it’s a matter of degree.  When President Bush fails to follow the rule of law he should be prosecuted.  When President Obama fails to follow the rule of law, that’s permissible.

            You guys do tickle me.

          • Gregg

            I was just refuting TTT’s claim. 

            Hussein was charged, convicted and hanged for 50,000 deaths, many with WMD. Call it what you will, I call it genocide. The rape rooms, maimings, torture chambers and executions went on until we made him stop.  He certainly harbored terrorist, he was one. I don’t know how you can claim otherwise. Maybe it’s the common jackhammer liberal nuance that confuses harboring terrorist with aiding Al Qaeda with 9/11. I don’t know, it’s too dumb for me to relate to.

            I just wish Obama had called for the ouster of Gadaffi as quickly as he did Mubarek. Letting France be the backbone cost many lives.

            How on earth can you claim there were no apparent signs of WMD? Did all these people make it up?

            http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

            BTW, Obama is President now.

          • Zero

            Hussein was charged for deaths that happened in the past.  And he should have been charged for them. 

            But that became the reason for the war.  Sloppy wars develop reasons as the go, which is exactly what Iraq was.  There was no need to exercise vengeance on Hussein that took thousands of lives and a trillion dollars.

            In Libya, the reason was stated at the beginning and remained the reason throughout.  That’s what real leadership is all about.

            Second, “how on earth can you claim there were no apparent signs of WMD?”

            I think republicans need to reevaluate their empirical methods.  There was no empirical evidence and Bush went on speculation.  An absence of evidence became evidence for Bush, and that was enough for him. 
             

          • Gregg

            “Sloppy wars develop reasons as the go, which is exactly what Iraq was. “

            Before you go farther out on that shaky limb, Please read the following speech when Bush made his case to the world. You could not be more wrong. I’m embarrassed for you.

            http://mark4.ram.tripod.com/AmericaUnited/id97.htm

    • jefe68

      The worst presidents were: Ulysses S. Grant, Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, and GW Bush. 

      President Obama does not eve come close to these chaps in terms of criminal activity and scandal.

      Nixon, to date was and is the worst. Funny how he would be considered a moderate Republican today.

      • notafeminista

        Haven’t seen http://www.attackwatch.com?   Or maybe are unfamiliar with President Obama campaign’s list of Romney donors……..?

        Funny how short lefties’ memories are.

    • Gregg

      Yea, they like to call all conservatives “trolls” but so far only libs have stooped this low. It’s happened before.

    • jimino

      The annualized growth of federal spending under Obama has been less than under any other president in the past 3+ decades.  Reagan first term was the worst, followed closely by “W”‘. 

      • notafeminista

        Oooohhhh Jimino has seen the “Marketwatch” chart.  For those who are not yet already familiar, this chart says that the President is not responsible for any spending done before  October 2009…..nine months AFTER inauguration day. 

        So kids, what do YOU think?  This is an incredibly interesting precedent to set.  Prepared to give a Republican president the same kind of pass?

        • Gregg

          Yea, that’s been going around. Some swallow it whole.

        • TomK in Boston

          Nothing new. Yes, the budget for BHO’s first year was the Bush budget. Yes, the bush wars and tax cuts have been pumping up the deficit during BHOs entire tenure. Yes the rate of increase of gvt spending is very low….way too low, actually.  Everyone knows that, outside of the righty blog/hate radio universe.

          • notafeminista

            You didn’t answer the question.  However in the same vein, can you point me to a citation in which President Obama’s budget passed?

          • notafeminista

            Does that mean for the first year, President Reagan’s budget was President Carter’s budget?

          • Gregg

            Thanks Tom, the “righty blog/hate universe” had me believing it was Obama who spent half of TARP and rammed through a $814 billion “stimulus” bill early in 2009. They had me thinking  Obama implemented Bush’s timetable for the Iraq withdrawal and Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan. I was suckered into thinking Obama added more debt in 3 years than Bush did in 8. How silly of me. 

            BTW, I listen/watch/read at least as much lefty information as I do righty. How often do you expand your horizons?

          • TomK in Boston

            With all that reading, why can’t you figure out that the Bush budget, Bush tax cuts, Bush wars and Bush economic crash are the major contributors to all the debt you claim “Obama added”?

          • Gregg

            Did you even read my comment? If you can cipher through my facetiousness, refute it or any part of it. What have I  misrepresented?

            BTW, I’ll take your non-answer to my last question as, “little, if any”.

          • notafeminista

            When did President Obama’s budget pass?

          • Gregg

            It’s not like it’s a constitutional duty… is it?

        • Zero

          It isn’t unprecedented.   Presidential policy begins 3 months after the inauguration.  Then there is a lag period for the policy to take effect.  Unemployment was north of 9% once Obama policy took effect.

          Second, not that it means much, but republicans said Bush wasn’t in office long enough for 9/11 to be on his watch.  Bush’s watch started 9/12 I guess.  By republican standard, unemployment was almost 10% before Obama took over.   Just saying. 

          • Gregg

            The first installment of TARP (which Senator Obama supported by vote) was under Bush’s watch but he released the second $350 billion for Obama to have on day one. The $814 billion “stimulus” was passed on Feb. 17, 2009. Forget about how long it took to take affect, Marketwatch was talking about added debt. Obama added a trillion well before the first three months.

          • Zero

            Dude, we have gone through this.  GDP was contracting at 8% before eight more banks and the auto industry was about to declare bankruptcy.  That is all on Bush’s watch. 

            If we had chosen the moral hazard rout like you suggest, unemployment would be in the high teens and the deficits would actually be greater. 

            Unfortunately, Bush passed TARP without forcing the banks to refinance bad mortgages and loans, which would have caused the economy to turn around faster.  So yes, it a major way, the struggling economy is Bush’s fault.

            Moreover, there wouldn’t have been a trillion dollar deficit if the Clinton tax rates were still in place and if there was not an Iraq war at the time.  The two leading drivers of the deficits were the Bush Tax Cuts and the Wars were second.  TARP I think was forth behind Medicare Part D.

            There is no way a trillion dollar deficit could have been avoided given the Bush Policy that lead up to it.

          • Gregg

            “There is no way a trillion dollar deficit could have been avoided given the Bush Policy that lead up to it.”

            I disagree but you know that. I see no purpose to go through it again. The last time you were looking at yearly GDP saying it was more accurate that the recession defining quarterly GDP. Your distractions aside, Jimino made a claim (fed talking pint of the day) that does not hold up. Your comment refutes that claim as well as I did you just say he had no choice to do what Jimino said he didn’t do. That’s a different argument.

          • notafeminista

            Fair point then.  9/11 happened on President Clinton’s watch.

          • Zero

            That’s your argument.  And you don’t extend Obama the same logic.  Personally, I just look at the numbers and the dates when Obama policy actually was implemented and took effect.  It is obvious that the economy was absolute shit before Obama took over. 

            As for 9/11, if there was a known threat, Clinton and Bush would have been privy to it.  I don’t know how anyone can assign blame to either president, although republicans tried to assign blame to Clinton while the far left became the “Truthers.” 

          • Gregg

            Make up your mind Zero, did Obama add a trillion in debt within the first 3 months or not?

          • Zero

            First off, raising taxes on the wealthy would have at least cut the deficit in half.  You always refuse to acknowledge that.

            Look at the leading drivers of the deficits.  It is obvious that Obama is trying to remedy the leading drivers while the republicans are protecting them.  Republicans are trying to cut things that don’t make a dent in the budget.

          • Gregg

            Okay, I get it. you won’t answer.

    • TFRX

      Yeah, the WSJ called and said “Stop lying about Obama’s spending habits”.

      • You_Can_Keep_The_Change

        Actually, he’s right on the money.

        Obama is the most incompetent, corrupt, and fiscally reckless U.S. President ever.

        • Gregg

          Certainly in my lifetime. It’s crucial he’s not reelected.

          • You_Can_Keep_The_Change

            I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • TomK in Boston

      If his posts were really lame, how could we tell the difference?

    • Zero

      Try providing actual criticism of Obama instead of unsubstantiated republican platitudes like the second half of your last sentence. 

    • Obama_happens

      I am such a bloody moron and still can’t get over myself.  If I only had a brain. Maybe the wizard at Fox will give me one!  I’m off to see the wizard!

    • You_Can_Keep_The_Change

      ‘Liberal losers’ (LOL)

  • IronAloise

    But what can “I” do?  I’m Mr. nobody who has taken the beating. There is no one to vote for, forces have been put in place to keep me in my place regardless of constitutionality and putting me in prison has become a profitable endevour. So what can the individual citizen do to effect a change?

    • Glenn Koenig

      Do your best to disconnect from the largest institutions.  OK, that’s not easy, but the more you can shop, work, and associate with local, smaller institutions, the better. The more you can function without money, the better.  Volunteer cooperatives, farmer’s markets, local shops and businesses are the best bet.  Stay away from the big box stores and their supposedly ‘low prices’ whenever you can.  Use a credit union instead of a bank for the money you do have, if you can.  The future belongs to we who can decentralize, diversify, and remove as much of our support from centralized power as possible. Sure, the government will still tax you, but the less you rely upon money in the first place, the less they can legally tax.  By doing these things, you’ll be pulling the rug out from under the centralization of power.  And by all means go as ‘green’ as you can.  It’s not too hard to change some things about your use of water, energy, food, etc., and still live relatively well.

      • Conner57McClay

        And most of all — forsake all business with both AT&T and Bank of America

  • Still Here

    When will the Justice Department finally charge the criminal president Obama and his administration of fraud perpetrators?  We need a special prosecutor to go after all of Obama’s crimes! 

    • Still Here

      Is Fitzgerald leaving because he was about to indict Obama and they got to him? 

      • Ray in VT

        I’m sure that that’s totally it.  Also, what crimes are you accusing the President of?  Did someone give him a bj or something?  Did you get some secret info about how the White House was directing the Secret Service to hire hookers?

        It’s interesting to see how so many people who are now on their soapbox about the current President were largely silent when Dubya was holding citizens without trial or giving no bid contracts to politically connected companies.

        • Gregg

          Thank God for Bush’s indefinite detention policies. Obama agrees, they’re still sitting there. Really Ray, look into how Obama has rewarded those who helped him get elected. It includes everyone from “The New Black Panthers” to the unions to Solyndra. He is also a believer in no-bid contracts but I must correct you, Haliburton DID bid. It was not a no-bid deal.

    • TFRX

      Darryl Issa is your man.

      Seriously. The guy’s a regular Javert, except that Javert was actually going after a real bread theif.

  • feettothefire

     Millions of “nobodies” add up to a pretty powerful “somebody.” This country consistently has the worst
    voter turnout of any developed democracy in the world. I don’t think
    anything more shameful can be said about us. I chose my username,
    feettothefire, because it’s the position in which we are morally bound
    to always hold our elected officials. That’s a laugh. In this country,
    Democrats vote for Democrats because they’re Democrats and Republicans
    vote for Republicans because they’re Republicans. Incumbents are
    returned to office over, and over, and over again, with little to no
    serious scrutiny of their records. People of every political persuasion
    weep and moan with unending regularity about the incompetence and
    corruptibility of those in office, and then we vote them right back in
    for another term. The fact that incumbency is the surest predictor of
    success in political races says all anyone needs to know about the
    seriousness with which Americans take their voting responsibility. If
    they even bother to show up. Nothing changes unless someone changes it.
    Wall Street isn’t going to do it. Entrenched politicians who care more
    about their re-election, which means cash from big business, aren’t
    going to do it. Who does that leave? It leaves us, the people. Remember
    “Government of the people, by the people, for the people?” The founding fathers gave us the gift of the vote, realizing it was the most powerful tool in any democracy. If we’re not going to even use it, or at least use it well, we should just shut the Hell up.

  • Editorsteve

    The book’s detail is great, the On Point show yesterday was crappola. Why did Obama repeatedly get blamed for not getting an even tougher financial regulatory law than Dodds Frank through a bought-and-paid-for Congress, when the law, even as it stands, is quite an achievement? You folks at NPR seem ashamed to be called “liberal.”

  • TomK in Boston

    Gregg, you need to spend less time in the righty alt universe. Just because you guys don’t like something doesn’t make it a “fundamental transformation of America”.

    “And when was the last time our credit rating was lowered?”

    Huh? The TeaOP crazies threatened default and you point the finger at BHO? Give me a break. Did you notice that the T-bond rate continued to drop after the corrupt rating agencies cut our credit rating?

     “When have there ever been more people on food stamps?”

    Your ideological deregulation causes the worst economic crash since 1929 and you think lots of people are on food stamps because BHO is trying to “fundamentally change America”? Get a grip.

    The health care law you are so excited about is Romneycare straight out of the Heritage foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. Relax, they’re your official think tanks. 

    You want a fundamental transformation`, look to your side. The ryan-romney-rand plan is to fundamentally transform our middle class society into an oligarchy.

    • Gregg

      Fundamentally transforming America was a campaign slogan that people loved because they did not understand the full impact. It’s about the only promise he’s kept.

      • TomK in Boston

        Except he hasn’t.

      • Zero

         You’re right.  All this socialism is so much different than five years ago.

        • Gregg

          I wouldn’t call it Socialism but it’s definitely anti-capitalism. But you are correct about the difference, transformation takes it’s toll.

          • Zero

            “Anti-Capitalism.”  Obama is trying to save capitalism.

          • notafeminista

            In what way  specifically?

             

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Once again, if it has to be explained to ya, it is a waste of time and effort. The need is obvious.

          • Gregg

            You won’t get an answer to that one. Maybe he means Obamacare.

          • Zero

            Oh my god, 50 million people will be able to see a doctor.  Oh no Socialism Socialism Socialism.  Except for the fact that government isn’t providing health insurance, the private sector is.

            Like I said, I don’t drive on highways because  Eisenhower taxed the hell out the rich and paid a bunch of government employees to lay them down.  I abhor socialism. 

            God forbid, America ever have a not-for-profit government run health care system.  People who didn’t earn their health care  might actually get cancer screenings and have their lives saved.  

          • Gregg

            That’s funny!

          • Zero

            First off, regulating banks creates market competition.  Second, policies aimed at creating financial equality will balance supply and demand, also essential to capitalism. 

            Growing inequality will inevitably lead to a revolution, to which no one knows what will happen.

            Your idea of Capitalism is human competition, not market competition.  Leaving the markets alone creates monopolies which in turn puts a stop to competition.  You think human should compete against human, which is not capitalism but social Darwinism. 

            Do you believe that unions should have power because communists don’t…?

            Read Wealth of Nations.  It is different than the vision Romney lays out.  Obama has more in common with Adam Smith than Romney.   Romney is more in line with Max Weber and his Protestant Ethic.

            You should keep in mind that FDR was more liberal than Obama, but FDR saved America from a revolution and he saved capitalism.  Unions and the New Deal created the middle class, and that was the highest achievement of capitalism.  Now republicans are trying to strip away all of that and create the same conditions that exist in China today.   

          • Gregg

            How do you intend to address financial inequality without using Socialist influenced means?

          • Zero

            Since when is labor unions and taxation considered socialism?

          • Gregg

            Taxingis one thing, redistributingis another. There is alsoa world of difference between public and private sectorunions.

          • Ray in VT

            If any government mechanism whose ultimate end is any sort of economic redistribution or broad-based action to combat social and economic problems is considered to be socialism, then one probably cannot.  One can otherwise only rely on the benevolence of the wealthy and private charities, and I don’t think that they are either willing or able.

          • Gregg

            Personal responsibilityshould beat least considered, whyomit it?

          • jefe68

            Wow, you really are very clueless about how regulations and oversight works in financial markets.
            From the 40′s until the 80′s we had strict banking rules and more growth than we have now. How do figure that?

          • notafeminista

            Who do you think makes up the markets?  Pixies and lop-eared bunnies? 

            It’s all human competition.  FDR didn’t create anything except generations of people dependent on the government for their very existence.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Capitalism NEEDS regulation. Without regulation capitalism is no better than slavery.

          • TomK in Boston

            No, it’s capitalism that works vs hunger games capitalism. We were still capitalists when the top tax rate was 90% and the cold war with the commies was on….except the middle class was moving up every year then.

        • TomK in Boston

          Eisenhower the socialist, ROTFL.

    • notafeminista

      Well you can always hope.

  • notafeminista
    • Zero

      I thought “greed” doesn’t exist under republicanism.  Oh, I guess it only exists within the laboring class.

      • notafeminista

        Read the article and draw your own conclusions.

        • Zero

          Obviously, I don’t believe one should take illegal means to obtain wealth.  However, there is a difference between stealing bread and stealing cake. 

          The funds would have just gone to CEOs and Executives who were already rich.  So if anything the fraud created wage parity.

          The case wasn’t like the one in Office Space where a few guys accrued tons of cash.  I think this kind of thing should be reported, but to prosecute average earners for something this petty is ridiculous.

          But you are exemplifying republicanism.  Let the moneychangers do whatever they want and prosecute the average man for stealing bread.  Criminalize a Mexican family for trying to find a better life, yet deify Ronald Reagan even though he is responsible for a genocide is Central America.   You really need to reevaluate your ideology and understand real world implications.  

          • notafeminista

            So theft is acceptable, its just a matter of degree right?

            We already know what kind of woman you are Zero.  We’re just negotiating terms.

          • Still Here

            Moral relativism, it’s what gets them through the day.

          • Zero

            “You can’t step into the same river twice.” 

          • Gregg

            I love that joke.

          • Zero

             I don’t think you understand what I wrote.  Obviously, I think it is wrong.  But you are playing the Sheriff of Nottingham.  As a liberal always says to a conservative, the world is a little more complicated than black and white.  Law is always shades of grey.

        • AubreyAlexis

          Like the man said, they will find you and bring you to justice if you are part of the 99%, now if all the million and billionaires would return their equally ill-gotten gains there would be some impartiality in law enforcement. It’s like AT said, “a factoid may be true here and their, but the entire theater is constructed of smoke and mirrors”
          The daily news is personally owned by the 188th wealthiest person in America. It doesn’t matter what his shifting political alliances are, his primary allegiance is to Israel.

      • TomK in Boston

        No, greed is celebrated:

        “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A”

        But, the current TeaOP makes Gordon Gekko look like Mother Teresa.

    • jimino

      Thanks for pointing out that when the little guys cheat, they get investigated, prosecuted, and forced to return their ill-gotten gains, and when the big boys cheat, even to the extent of destroying the global economy, they don’t.

      That is your point, isn’t it?

    • Still Here

      This is what unionization of public employees gets you.  It was probably another union stooge that came up with the amnesty-for-disability-fraudsters idea and the if-you’re-not-dumb-enough-to-come-forward-we’ll-only-take-half-back idea.  The sickness goes all the way to the top!

  • Conner57McClay

    Gregg, Still Here (two Moda personna’s) and Feminista – all the idiots are back today to post off topic and bait the liberals. Just like a bunch of teenage hoodlums tagging outside of their neighborhood. And by outside their neighborhood I mean they are from the neighborhood were only what they feel about stuff matters and all perception is filtered through a glass that is totally opague. They come here and post off topic the day after the show so that way in their pea brains they believe they have won an argument because they had the last word. What a bunch of punks and morons.

    • Gregg

      I’m sure I speak for Still Here, Modavations and Notafeminista when I say thank you for the insightful, civil, on-topic and thoughtful comment.

      • jefe68

        Oh please, civil discourse?
        What passes for civil discourse from Still here, of whom you are so found of.
        Just as I thought, you are ignorant scum.

        Real cute, a real piece of work.

    • Ray in VT

      I won’t address your criticisms of some of On Point’s posters, but I try not to go back and look at pages from the previous day(s).  Sometimes I see people arguing nearly a week after a show airs, and I know that I’ll be tempted to respond if I see something with which I strongly disagree, especially if it a reply to something that I posted, if I do check back on previous shows. I just don’t want to be ones of those guys.  No offense to those of you who are.

    • Zero

      So that’s why satire has been so easy today.

    • LifeFromAbove137

      Conner,

      Much as I sympathize with your view, I really think that it is you who is the dupe. The guys you mention are clearly a red flag gambit played by some rabid Obama supporters, who want to portray conservatives in such a negative light that it will energize the liberals and alienate the undecided against any group that could attract such a bunch of knuckleheads. Conservatives are not fools like they would like us all to believe.

      • JimFromTucker33

        That can’t be true because the level of the discourse goes totally in the dumper and is always dragged off-tropic when they show up, what possible benefit could liberals have from doing the same crap over and over and over. They are just dudu-heads and that is the whole of it.

        Just be glad we had a day mostly without them yesterday, it was a pleasant and educational exchange, if a bit dramatic at times.

      • jefe68

        No, sorry you’re wrong. These folks are truly here to play their right wing card tricks. It’s OK with me.
        Some of them, Still here for example, who is really out there on the limb of juvenile discourse, and acts like a thug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spencer-Doidge/1223386779 Spencer Doidge

    At some point emigration is the best option for people. I would have advised my own children to emigrate had these circumstances arisen before they became autonomous adults.

    • Ray in VT

      There may be a point when that is true, but I think that we are far from it.  I’ve often gotten flack from people who promote the “America: love it or leave it” view that if I want to piss and moan, then maybe I should just leave, and not only do I think that that is just fundamentally counter to the American way of life, but it is just quitting.  As long as I can breathe I am going to work to make my nation better for me and my family.  I’ve got way too much invested in this state and this country to give up and go somewhere else.  Besides, why would I want to.  Where I live is awesome.

  • Gregg
  • Lenfuel

    Platitudes, innuendo and opinions was all I heard from this interview. Nothing to backup the left-wing propaganda at all. He might be right, but there was no substance to support the claims provided here. There is nothing new about this, however.
    Did you ever notice that the largest majority of callers are from Massachusetts?

    • TomK in Boston

      Did you ever notice that the show is produced in Boston?

      If you already knew that “private equity”, aka, more honestly, “Leveraged Buyout”, is a predatory scam, then you’re right, nothing new. Nevertheless, I think it’s essential to spell it out in  detail. Amazingly, some people drink the kool-aid, or simply don’t pay attention, and think LBO is legitimate financial business like venture capital.

      • Still Here

        Please, where in the public sector do you work?  Because you know nothing of private enterprise.  Buying a house with a mortgage is a leverage buyout nimwit.  Is that a predatory scam?  Moreover, most of private equity transactions involve no leverage.  Truly you are pathetic, liberal bot.  You’d prefer I’m sure that there was no private enterprise only public gulags, right comrade.  You make me sick.

        • TomK in Boston

          You are either absolutely ignorant of finance or lying to defend the con game for some reason. Maybe you are a scammer yourself, who knows, but I doubt it because predators have to be reasonably smart.

          If you think you can find the analog in buying a house to strip mining the company, loading it up with debt, getting a nice tax break on the costs, funneling the proceeds to me and my partners, firing the workers, busting the pension fund and have the gvt bail it out, be my guest. Let’s see, can I take out a mtg, burn the house to the ground, and walk away with a big profit? Maybe, but then I’d be locked up.

          Leveraged Buyouts as practiced by Bane are not “free enterprise”, they’re scams where the perps manipulate paper and the victims get to experience the downward mobility that is the end result of voodoo economics.

          • Still Here

            Just as I thought, you are ignorant scum.

          • TomK in Boston

            Well put, very articulate for a TeaOpper.

          • jefe68

            Well nuanced response, well not really. You have all the charm of a… I was going to use some kind reptilian analogy, such as a Komodo dragon, but that’s not fair to the beast.

  • TomK in Boston

    Tony Soprano explains Bane Capital. Very similar, except the mafia is more honorable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reiq4lEvnEw

    • Gregg

      Bain saved countless jobs. The attacks from Obama are not working and it’s really amazing to see a President campaign against capitalism, astonishing. Democrats like Cory Booker, Deval Patrick and others are defending Bain. On a related note Nancy Pelosi is calling for extending the tax cuts for millionaires.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        More lies….

        • Gregg

          What is not true, smarty pants?

      • TomK in Boston

        Kool Aid! Bane is a poster child for everything that is wrong with our current system. Oligarchs getting rich with financial con games sucking the wealth out of the middle class.

        What we need is less scamming and more gvt spending. Obama sure isn’t doing it. I thought I was getting a liberal and I got a an old-time Rockefeller republican.

        http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-23-chart_annualized_spending.jpg

      • TomK in Boston

        You are really good at sticking to the party line, like an old time communist, so I have to tell you again: campaigning against hunger games capitalism is not campaigning against capitalism. 

  • Warren

    Whenever a book is called “…..Nation”,you can expect Leftist Twiddle.As that addlepated poster who always Capitalizes would say,check the list of GREEDY,GREEDY,GREEDY RICH(Democrats).
    Daley J.P Morgan),Gensler(Goldman Sachs),Gene Sperling(GS),Corzine(buddy can you spare 2 billion),Phil Murphy(GS),James Johnson(between Gorelick and Buddy Raines these three ripped Fannie Mae for 100million),Mark Paterson(GS),David Lipman(GS),Steve Rattner(Lehman),Rubin(Citi),Dudley(GS),Storch(GS),Eric Holder(Wall St.Bundler),Chuck Schumer(High Priest and Protector of Wall St.),Rahm Emmanuel(worked for Law Firm that represented GS),Peter Orzag(Citi)
         All the  GREEDY,GREDDY,GREEDY PRESIDENT’S MEN.

  • Warren

    When asked about Bain Capital these defenders stepped foward….Deval Patrick,Corey Booker,Ed Rendell,Harold Ford and Steve Rattner…..They are now in reeducation camps and I’m sure they will evolve back to the President’s side,in time for the Sunday news shows.Bain gave $92,000.00 to President Obama and the current head of Bain is a bundler for the president.

    • Gregg

      And Obama will not give a penny back as he demonizes them. Nice to see you back… Warren.

    • Spambedam

      Please, what is it?  Ninety two thousand dollars or seventyfive hundred. These are only a couple of the widely divergent numbers I’ve seen online. Makes me suspect internet trolls paid by Rove and Co. are simply throwing numbers around, none of which are true.

  • Gregg

    When Obama took the reins at GM, he closed 14 factories and three warehouses. Tens of thousands lost their jobs. How is that different than Bain?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      What nonsense. If you cannot see the difference, then you are in a hopeless fog of rightist delusion.

      • Gregg

        Just joking, of course I see a difference. GM cost taxpayers billions and they were forced to make a car no one wants.

        • You_Can_Keep_The_Change

          Good point.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            An incorrect point. And with your prominent Chinese flag, we know where you stand. Traitor.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          More lies and incorrect information from you. GM is back on top in sales. Tell your nonsense to the almost 9 million buyers of GM cars in ’11.

          • Gregg

            I said “car” not “cars”. They were forced to make the Volt. Nobody wants it.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Luddite.

  • mrivan

    An excellent presentation, but it leaves out only one element from the equation–that of the international cartels which govern the use of the corrupt forces in control.  Given the predominant role of the Council on Foreign Relations in that equation, and the preponderance of members of that group as well as of right-wing think tanks such as Brookings on so many of NPR’s programs, should that be a surprise to anyone?

    I find the anti-liberal bias of many of the comments laughable as well.  George Bush took the Presidency in two stolen elections–the first in 2000 thru massive corruption in Florida’s Elections Commission, and the second in 2004 by means of “hacking the vote” using the Diebold Elections Systems in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  This has been documented by Elizabeth Harris.

    Bush then went on to inherit a budget surplus from Bill Clinton and give it away in the form of tax cuts and subsidies to the richest people in the country.  He increased the process of deregulating business to open the doors to more outsourcing of our already weakened manufacturing base to foreign countries like China. 

    Then we have the 911 attacks in NY and Washington DC.  Anyone who has listened to the the reports of the many architects and engineers who have commented on the subject will realize that the story we have been fed is no more true than the Warren Commission was about the JFK Assassination–those buildings were brought down by planted charges, by corrupt elements within our own government, for the purpose of further weakening our economy while it scored major profits for war producers such as Dick Cheney’s Haliburton Company.  This has been documented in great depth by Jim Marrs in his book, “911 – The Terror Conspiracy”.

    The icing on the cake was the banking “crisis” .  The sub-prime mortgages, which targeted minorities, were timed to go off in July 2008, just before the elections.  Bush cried out for help for the mortgagees, but we all know who got the money–the richest of the rich banks, who ended up buying out the smaller banks that went under.  And since that time, they’ve been sitting on a mountain of cash which they have been refusing to lend out to the mid-sized banks–THAT is the real cause of the current recession.  Also note the fact that the Bush family has a substantial interest in both Goldman Sachs and the NY Fed.  Again, Jim Marrs has documented much of this–”The Rise of the Fourth Reich”.

    Naturally, all the above would make it impossible for any sitting president to fix the problem.  To do so, we need to make those big banks start lending money to the mid-sized banks again.  We need to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing.  We need to give back the tax cuts to the poor and middle class and reverse the cuts to the rich.  And most importantly, we need to make people aware of the agenda of the internationalists–to bring down the American economy and pave the way for the collapse of our government in favor of a European style Oligarchy.

  • C M Grover

    I only heard part of this program but i am so grateful to know that i am not the only one who feels that the playing field for working class Americans is so uneven we can rarely break even no less get ahead  The masses need to ralley with a well thought out, definitive manifesto to reclaim OUR way of life for ourselves and the future.  We are America, not Bain Capital,  GE or Walmart.  Capitalism is wonderful, but not  at  the cost of American working class. 

  • Catherine

      Reagan started it all. But American people are responsible for letting the unsophisticated politician be elected. All the men loved Reagan – sure sign right there. Greed had a foothold. Then Papa Bush went to war with his allies, then Clinton waisted his wife’s good energy by his vanity; then baby Bush, the baffoon let them change the laws that will damage his grandchildren as well as our own.
       Not voting for Obama is like not voting for the human when the a member of planet of the Apes is running against him.

  • John

    A caller from Vermont asked Charles Ferguson “to criticize capitalism a little bit.” Each and every economic, social, or political system can and should be critiqued, so for Ferguson to hesitate here is troubling. One can understand these systems’ various structures, limitations, costs, and benefits. A glaring problem with American-style capitalism, it seems to me, is that is is amoral. I think you can have a vigorous capitalist economy in which shareholders insist on morality; insist that rank-and-file employees of companies are paid a living wage (and, after retirement, a pension), because without those workers, there would be no products or profits; insist that companies do not pollute the air, the soil, and the waterways; insist that raw materials used in production are carefully recycled, so as not to allow consumers to throw away what can be reused. And so on. “Capitalism” can and should focus on the long term and, more to the point, realize that we’re all in this together.

    • CardinalFang

       I don’t think anyone would disagree with you John except for real stockholders and directors, and CEOs, and  upper management.  People are still operating on the basis of “not enough”.  We all know it’s not a matter of not enough, it’s a matter of all capital concentrating.  This is just natural. You can’t expect people to be humanitarian and have enlightened attitudes just because they have money. It is pretty common knowledge that the more money someone has the less of a percentage they give to charity (in general).  Their entire lives they have been brainwashed into what they are by the sycophants that surround them and are trying to take a piece of it for themselves. Because of this they are impoverished inside, and must make hollow displays like the titans on Wall Street are want to do these days. Everyone has generally been so dumbed down that prestige possessions have taken the place of the rewards of higher consciousness for all but a few. I would almost think that we are living in Kali Yurga if I believed such things.  Pretty generally our leaders, both political and business, have no idea what they are doing, and the ones that think they do are the most delusional and dangerous.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    In response to Carla34: “She said the people who stopped Viet Nam, most of them were not vets.”

    The GI anti-war
    movement within the army was one of the most decisive factors in ending the
    war.

     

    According to government
    figures, which are generally conservative, more than half a million men and
    women were classified as deserters in the Vietnam War era. In addition, some
    17,000 applied for conscientious objector discharges.

     

    By 1969 the desertion rate
    had increased fourfold. For soldiers in the combat zone, insubordination became
    commonplace. From mild forms of political protest and disobedience of war
    orders, the resistance among the ground troops grew into a massive and
    widespread “quasi-mutiny” by 1970 and 1971. Soldiers went on “search and avoid”
    missions, intentionally skirting clashes with the Vietnamese, and often holding
    three-day-long pot parties instead of fighting.

     

    By 1970, the U.S. Army had
    65,643 deserters, roughly the equivalent of four infantry divisions. In an
    article published in the Armed Forces Journal (June 7, 1971), Marine Colonel
    Robert D. Heinl Jr., a veteran combat commander with over 27 years experience
    in the Marines, and the author of Soldiers Of The Sea, a definitive history of
    the Marine Corps, wrote:

     

    “By every conceivable
    indicator, our army that remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse,
    with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their
    officers and non-commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not
    near mutinous. Elsewhere than Vietnam, the situation is nearly as serious…
    Sedition, coupled with disaffection from within the ranks, and externally
    fomented with an audacity and intensity previously inconceivable, infest the
    Armed Services…”

     

    The Pentagon disclosed that
    fraggings in 1970 alone amounted to 209 killings of officers, but those figures
    were only for killings committed with grenades, and didn’t include officer
    deaths from automatic weapons fire, handguns and knifings.

     

    Drug use was epidemic, with
    an estimated 80% of the troops in Vietnam using some form of drug. By the end
    of 1971 over 30% of the combat troops were on heroin.

     

    By 1972 roughly 300 anti-war
    and anti-military newspapers, with names like Harass the Brass, All Hands
    Abandon Ship and Star Spangled Bummer had been put out by enlisted people.

     

    By 1970 one GI went AWOL
    every three minutes. From January of ’67 to January of ’72 a total of 354,112
    GIs left their posts without permission, and at the time of the signing of the
    peace accords 98,324 were still missing.

     

    By the early 1970s the
    government had to begin pulling out of the ground war and switching to an “air
    war,” in part because many of the ground troops who were supposed to do the
    fighting were hamstringing the world’s mightiest military force by their
    sabotage and resistance.

  • pbr90

    Predators are distinct only by the type of activity they choose. Yet we imprison sexuual predators and reward commercial predators with even greater riches. The misinterpretation of capitalism with corporatism and fair trade vs free trade has nearly destroyed capitalism in America over the last decade.

    Surely, we are a smarter people than to allow ourselves to be dragged through the dirt of corruption to distort democracy into an anything goes mentality of extortionate immunity in what most proclaim to be a christian nation with charitable spirit.

    The examples show little charity and even less accountability but even worse, precious little leadership from manipulative government apparently designed to exploit its citizens rather than protect it, and pay plenty of taxes to accomplish this dysfunctional agenda.

    What ugly America looks like, we are viewing.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

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