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Notes from Larry:

I wish to thank those of you who come to this site even though I have been absent for quite some time. This site has a very important purpose. There is much to say and much to hear from all of you.

For those of you who might be wondering about m;y health, I am happy to report that I have fully recovered and am healthier and stronger then I have been in over 20 years. My health was not my reason for my absence. I just needed some time away and appreciate your understanding. I will, however, be back right after the New Year.

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August 4, 2010

Americans Go Hungry While Once Poor Now Rich Ex Presidents Spend Lavishly

Editor's Note:
Paul Craig Roberts raises some very good questions and points out some very good and shocking statistics about this once great land of ours.

What is frightening are the stats on how many Americans go to bed hungry each day.  What is more frightening is the story of just one food pantry in Ohio that does not have enough food to give out to over 3,000 recipients each day.  One story of just one food pantry but I am sure that this same story is repeated in many cities and food pantries around the country.

While there has always been an "upper" class there has also been a very stable middle class.  It has always been the middle class that has supported such things as food pantries and other charitable programs.  The middle class has been annihilated here in this country, their wealth transferred to a new and much larger cadre of upper class citizens.  These upper classes do contribute some but not as much as the once great middle class did.  Yes, the upper class all have their favorite charities but when it comes time to pass the hat at the office, the hat receives little in the way of donations because the office is bare, the middle class workers are not there and the upper class managers who have raked in all that dough all claim they gave elsewhere.

This country's success was its middle class and its' failure now is due to the elimination of the middle class.  I hope all those attending Princess Chelsea's wedding gave some thought to all the starving people and especially KIDS in this country while they feased on their lavish meals sitting in an air conditioned tent which alone was estimated to have cost $600,000.

I wish Chelsea all the best as well as her new husband, "what's his name".  I hope their marriage is long and fruitfull but I also hope that they do not forget what the rest of the country is suffering.

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake

By Paul Craig Roberts

August 03, 2010
"Information Clearing House" -- It is not unusual for members of the diminishing upper middle class to drop $20,000 or $30,000 on a big wedding. But for celebrities this large sum wouldn’t cover the wedding dress or the flowers.

When country music star Keith Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in 2006, their wedding cost $250,000. This large sum hardly counts as a celebrity wedding. When mega-millionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump married model Melania Knauss, the wedding bill was $1,000,000.

The marriages of Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones pushed up the cost of celebrity marriages to $1.5 million.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes upped the ante to $2,000,000.

Now comes the politicians’s daughter as celebrity. According to news reports, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to investment banker Mark Mezvinsky on July 31 is costing papa Bill $3,000,000. According to the London Daily Mail, the total price tag will be about $5,000,000. The additional $2,000,000 apparently is being laid off on US Taxpayers as Secret Service costs for protecting former president Clinton and foreign heads of state, such as the presidents of France and Italy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who are among the 500 invited guests along with Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, and Clinton friend and donor Denise Rich, wife of the Clinton-pardoned felon.

Before we attend to the poor political judgment of such an extravagant affair during times of economic distress, let us wonder aloud where a poor boy who became governor of Arkansas and president of the United States got such a fortune that he can blow $3,000,000 on a wedding.

The American people did not take up a collection to reward him for his service to them.
Where did the money come from? Who was he really serving during his eight years in office?

How did Tony Blair and his wife, Cherrie, end up with an annual income of ten million pounds (approximately $15 million dollars) as soon as he left office? Who was Blair really serving?

These are not polite questions, and they are infrequently asked.

While Chelsea’s wedding guests eat a $11,000 wedding cake and admire $250,000 floral displays, Lisa Roberts in Ohio is struggling to raise contributions for her food pantry in order to feed 3,000 local people, whose financial independence was destroyed by investment bankers, job offshoring, and unaffordable wars. The Americans dependent on Lisa Roberts’ food pantry are living out of vans and cars. Those with a house roof still over their heads are packed in as many as 14 per household according to the Chillicothe Gazette in Ohio.

Read the Rest...click here
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26063.htm

21 comments:

  1. If you use creative thinking you can figure out the reasons for Mr. Roberts questions. Does anyone close to DC actually get wealthy by investing, building, and taking risk or is it consulting (influence peddling) and speaking engagements (new form of bag $/payoffs)...? This commentary pretty much applies to both parties and all political levels(city, state, federal)!

    04 August 2010
    Hey Rube, Here's Why Your Lawmakers Ignored All Those Calls and Faxes

    Money Talks. And money in the hands of the man who is sitting in the offices and standing in the halls of Congress is an effective tool for buying the influence and the laws that you want.

    Political campaign financing reform, including stricter limitation of direct contributions by special interests to targeted lawmakers, is at the heart of it.

    Does the First Amendment cover soft bribery? That is how they will spin it.

    Goldman Sachs has the right to express its opinion to your congressman, while wrapping it in a thick rolls of hundred dollar bills, charged to expenses, and paid for by you.

    And while it is a nice cushion, $251 million is small potatoes compared to the real payoff in jobs and speaking engagements with huge stipends, consulting fees, and sinecures after leaving office. And that is on top of their fat pensions and cadillac benefits.


    http://tinyurl.com/25zpn8p

    ReplyDelete
  2. Read this for explanations to our conflicted and highly rewarded gov't officials...

    "Although I have not read Depression era politics extensively, it appears two critical elements are missing now. One is that despite the chicanery of the Roaring Twenties, ideas like character and public service still meant a great deal. Those values are pretty much dead now. Second was that Roosevelt was not cowed by bankers or businessmen. For instance, when he told his economic advisers (rather out of the blue) that he was going off the gold standard (which the US had done as an expedient, but the assumption was it would go back soon) he was met with a firestorm of criticism which he airly brushed aside. I can’t imagine any senior politician now having the confidence now to defy the will of the banking industry. And it isn’t simply due to the role of corporate funding in campaigning; the roots are deeper. Being in office now is all about winning, about keeping one’s hold on power, so it isn’t surprising that everyone has a price. "

    http://tinyurl.com/2dv4x2m

    ReplyDelete
  3. The system has been built to hurt the masses...not help them ......so they will be lucky to have cake to eat!


    EXCLUSIVE: Fannie and Freddie's Foreclosure Barons

    In a recent speech, Stern noted the administration's homeowner-relief program. "Fortunately, it is failing," he told prospective investors.

    http://tinyurl.com/24r6jb5

    ReplyDelete
  4. In the land of the strong the weak get fed to the wolves first...only so many disabled individuals...get ready seniors...your cuts next!


    Recession-battered states cuts funding for the disabled

    Now that kind of help is in jeopardy. California, facing a $19.1 billion budget gap, is considering a reduction in funding that pays for home care aides for the disabled. It already cut funds last year.

    http://tinyurl.com/2bkbdzv

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  5. Larry, what do you want them to do? Stop their own gravy train? I mean look throughout history..name 1 period where this self dealing and looting was stopped by people reflecting upon their sins...1?

    This applies to all politicians...




    THE GREAT RENEGER

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdKmc9aBELM

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice program....for whom?



    Friday, August 6th, 2010, 5:26 pm

    Fannie Mae said there is no merit to the allegations put forth by a consultant who told National Public Radio she was fired after revealing the company was hindering progress for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

    Caroline Herron told NPR that the Treasury Department hired Fannie to run HAMP for $113m. After she left Fannie, she returned as a consultant for the HAMP project, but said the company ran HAMP to push its own bottom line, not to help borrowers.

    She's now suing Fannie Mae, alleging the company fired her for pushing HAMP reform.

    http://tinyurl.com/3ywaald

    ReplyDelete
  7. Chicago sold to highest bidder..expect more of this

    Morgan Stanley's $11 Billion Makes Chicago Taxpayers Cry


    Chicago drivers will pay a Morgan Stanley-led partnership at least $11.6 billion to park at city meters over the next 75 years, 10 times what Mayor Richard Daley got when he leased the system to investors in 2008.

    Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Allianz Capital Partners may earn a profit of $9.58 billion before interest, taxes and depreciation, according to documents for a $500 million private note sale by their Chicago Parking Meters LLC venture. That is equivalent to 80 cents per dollar of projected revenue. Standard Parking Corp., which runs 30,000 spaces at the city’s O’Hare and Midway airports, earned 4.84 cents on that basis last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

    The deal illustrates how Wall Street banks, recipients of more than $300 billion in taxpayer bailouts in the worst credit collapse since the Great Depression, are profiting from helping states and cities close record recession-induced deficits by selling bonds and leasing public properties. Chicago gave up billions of dollars in revenue when it announced in 2008 that it leased Morgan Stanley its 36,000 parking meters, the third- largest U.S. system, for $1.15 billion to balance its budget, said Alderman Scott Waguespack.


    http://tinyurl.com/22p44wl

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Second Oldest Profession



    It's enabling the fraud, always and everywhere, and the power obtained in controlling the supply and issuance of money. As Lord Acton noted,

    "The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the Banks."


    There are those who are involved in productive labor, and those who wish to unproductively tax it. It is an old story with deep roots in history.


    And once again, the government and the financiers seem to have formed an unholy alliance to harness the real economy with excessive, unjust, and unproductive taxes for the private benefit of a privileged few, protecting and promoting their schemes when they win, and covering and subsidizing their losses when they do not. In either case the money is coming out of the real economy, and like a parasite is starving it of its vitality.


    http://tinyurl.com/22jtvep

    ReplyDelete
  9. The AIG Bailout Scandal
    William Greider
    August 6, 2010

    The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

    Bailing out AIG effectively meant rescuing Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (as well as a dozens of European banks) from huge losses. Those financial institutions played the derivatives game with AIG, the esoteric practice of placing financial bets on future events. AIG lost its bets, which led to its collapse. But other gamblers—the counterparties in AIG’s derivative deals—were made whole on their bets, paid off 100 cents on the dollar. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill.

    Although the AIG bailout was carried out in the waning days of George W. Bush’s presidency, the popular sense of injustice has deeply scarred Barack Obama, since he too adopted a forgiving approach toward culpable financial interests. Obama came to office intent on restoring public trust in government. His indulgence of the mega-banks led to the opposite result.

    http://tinyurl.com/2bfuwgg

    ReplyDelete
  10. Her extravagant and ill-timed vacation to Marbella, on Spain's Costa del Sol, at the very moment we find out that 9.5% of Americans are still unemployed was such a bad idea that it gives currency to those notions floating around that the Obamas really don't want another term in the White House.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obama-insiders-out-of-touch-on-the-us-economy-2010-08-11

    ReplyDelete
  11. William K Black on 'Financial Racketeering

    Gresham's Dynamic: The least ethically inclined have an advantage in the US financial system (in which regulatory capture nullifies enforcement) driven by perverse incentives of oversized bonuses and the failure to investigate and prosecute criminal activity.

    The comparison to the aftermath of the Savings and Loan crisis could not be more stark. Why the inability and reluctance to investigate and indict? What is the government covering up? Who is pulling Obama's strings?
    http://tinyurl.com/27f8frg

    ReplyDelete
  12. US unemployment: Don't let the elite pass the buck

    Congress and the Federal Reserve should be pulling out all the stops to create jobs – not seeking to move the economy's goalposts


    The point is that a large part of Congress, large enough to block any action on jobs, cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1% of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can't find work.


    http://tinyurl.com/39mf8xy

    ReplyDelete
  13. The mood is dour..people feel like crap...why?
    this says it best......

    Attitude Reflects Leadership

    http://tinyurl.com/cm33y4

    ReplyDelete
  14. Look at the whiner.....

    A ‘Fat Cat’ Strikes Back


    President Obama and the business community have been at odds for months. But in July the chairman and cofounder of the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms, amped up the rhetoric. Stephen Schwarzman—the leading John McCain supporter in a firm that, in 2008, gave more money to Obama—was addressing board members of a nonprofit organization when he let loose. “It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/schwarzman-it-s-a-war-between-obama-wall-st.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. Our Professional Failure
    Losing It at the White House


    But, of course, appearances are often deceptive. As in this case. This is, in fact, a failed presidency – and tragically so. Here are ten reasons why:


    But it actually gets worse. The fundamental reason that Obama is producing lousy legislation – and the third reason his presidency is failing – is because he is serving the wrong masters. Anyone who thinks that he or his pals in the Democratic Party are any less whores of the corporate oligarchy in this country than are the Reptilicans is living in the 1930s. Obama, like Clinton before him, and like Reid and Pelosi and even Barney Frank, know who their constituents are, and it sure ain’t you and me.


    I hope the president and his professional mouthpiece can forgive us progressives for not getting excited about yet another administration that – even in the midst of the worst economic times since the Great Depression – continues to serve the American oligarchy and leaves the rest of the country out flapping in the wind. Maybe that makes us seem from inside the White House bubble like we’re a bunch of fussy, demanding cranks. So be it. People are dying out here in the real world, while the wealthiest among us are blowing out all records for the accumulation of wealth, and the hyper-polarization of class in America marches on unabated.



    Talk about needing drug-testing, do the folks in the White House really think that the public is happy about the state of the economy now? Do they really think that passing a stimulus bill – even a good one – is necessarily the same as creating jobs? It’s a real measure of the insularity (or desperation) of these fools that the president is running around these days talking happy talk about how the economy is in recovery mode, at exactly the same moment that the tapped-out Fed is reaching deeper than ever into its bag of tricks seeking unconventional tools to stimulate an economy that they overtly admit is heading southward again.


    He has staffed his economic team with almost no one who isn’t an acolyte of Robber Rubin and his kleptocratic klan of legalized Wall Street Madoffs.


    And this president, who never seems to get animated about anything, can’t even muster sufficient compassion and outrage to rise to the defense of the millions of poor slobs being ground under the wheels of this Government Sachs Depression.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/green08162010.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hope the wedding cake was good....

    Bankruptcy filings at highest point since 2005


    For the year ended June 30, there were 1.57 million bankruptcies, up 20 percent from 1.31 million a year earlier. Consumer bankruptcies rose 21 percent to 1.51 million, and business bankruptcies rose 9 percent to 59,608.

    Quarterly filings surpassed 400,000 for the first time since a record 667,431 bankruptcies were begun in the fourth quarter of 2005, when Congress overhauled federal bankruptcy laws and made it harder for people and businesses to file.

    "We know the causes of bankruptcy are principally job losses and health care, with the overlay of the foreclosure crisis," said Deborah Thorne, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio University. "It feels very unsettled, and I'm not surprised the numbers are going up. Until we get our feet on the ground, provide decent-paying jobs, and do something with the housing crisis, bankruptcies will continue to go up."


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38744083/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

    ReplyDelete
  17. why mri's cost so much


    Sutter can charge these prices because it has acquired more than a third of the market in the San Francisco-to-Sacramento region through more than 20 hospital takeovers in the last 30 years, according to executives of Aetna Inc., Health Net Inc. and Blue Shield of California, who asked not to be named because their agreements with Sutter ban disclosure of prices.

    ‘Coercive Tactics’

    After losing court battles against takeovers in prior years, the FTC in April helped shelve a Maine hospital group’s plans to merge the two biggest cardiology practices in the state. In June, it obtained a settlement order barring 25 hospitals and 70 doctors it had accused of collusion in Minnesota from using “coercive tactics” to extract higher rates from health insurers -- and by extension, higher premiums from employee plans and consumers.

    The FTC is investigating Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s proposed takeover of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire; Hartford Healthcare Corp.’s plan to acquire Central Connecticut Health Alliance; and ProMedica Health System’s pending merger with St. Luke’s hospital in Maumee, Ohio, spokesmen for Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Central Connecticut and ProMedica said. Reilly declined to comment on specific investigations.

    The U.S. has 5,800 hospitals, divided about evenly between nonprofits and for-profits. Nearly 3,000 of them changed owners from 1994 through 2009, according to Irving Levin Associates Inc., an investment research company in Norwalk, Connecticut. Most were rolled into regional chains like Sutter.

    The “unchecked” clout of hospital and physician groups in California is a “cautionary tale for national health reform,” Berenson said in a February article in the journal Health Affairs. He warned that incentives in the new legislation to improve treatment by promoting doctor-hospital alliances -- called “accountable care organizations” -- could backfire by strengthening providers’ bargaining leverage.

    “Sutter really has us over a barrel, I hate to admit it,” said Larry Barsetti, a retired police lieutenant who supported Zvanski’s proposal. His premiums went up $100 on July 1, to $10,188 a year -- more than double what he paid upon retiring in 2003. “We’re getting gouged,” Barsetti said.



    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-20/hospital-monopolies-ruin-mri-bill-as-sutter-gets-price-it-wants.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. The hungry will remain hungry...the sick will remain sick...this administration is failing!

    Grim reality of the impact of judge's ES cell decision is emerging

    The bottom line is that as a country we are, temporarily at least, pushed into a state worse than that during Bush's 8 years. Researchers in other countries have told me that just cannot understand what is going on and why the U.S. would do this.

    The big question is how long will this destructive limbo last. Every week, every month that might pass, will severely damage the ES cell research field and hurt millions of patients who could benefit from the research.


    http://www.ipscell.com/?s=grim-reality-of-the-impact-of-judges-es-cell-decision-is-emerging

    ReplyDelete
  19. A father’s reaction to the embryonic stem cell injunction
    http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/archives/2010/08/childrens-hospi.html

    ReplyDelete
  20. Open Letter to President Obama: make a public statement about embryonic stem cell research

    I just sent the following letter to President Obama. If you care about ES cell research and cures for million of Americans, please contact the White House by email or phone. You can do this via http://www.whitehouse.gov




    http://www.ipscell.com/?s=open-letter-to-president-obama-make-a-public-statement-about-embryonic-stem-cell-research

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bruce Marks, Naca's chief executive, says this is the only way to dig the nation out of the housing morass: "What you hear from the Obama administration is 'we're helpless, our programmes aren't working'. What you hear from Congress is 'we don't know what to do so we're going to do nothing'."

    Every little adjustment is crucial, because for all the White House's hopes of a swift bounce back from recession, the US property market is showing signs of renewed distress. Some 10% of US households with mortgages are behind on their payments, according to figures last week from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The percentage of people beginning to have trouble with their loans has begun to rise again, after falling earlier this year – loans that are one month in arrears have gone up from 3.31% to 3.51%. And home sales in July were down 12.4% on June, dropping to 276,000 – the lowest since records began in 1963.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/30/us-homes-borrowers-foreclosures

    ReplyDelete