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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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To Larry:

April 19, 2011

Has Obama Morphed Into Bush?

Obama ran against Bush, but now governs like him
By Steven Thomma - McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — He ran as the anti-Bush.

Silver-tongued, not tongue-tied. A team player on the world stage, not a lone cowboy. A man who'd put a stop to reckless Bush policies at home and abroad. In short, Barack Obama represented Change.

Well, that was then. Now, on one major policy after another, President Barack Obama seems to be morphing into George W. Bush.

On the nation's finances, the man who once ripped Bush as a failed leader for seeking to raise the nation's debt ceiling now wants to do it himself.

On terrorism, he criticized Bush for sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and denying them access to U.S. civilian courts. Now he says he'll do the same.

On taxes, he called the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy wrong, and lately began calling again to end them. But in December he signed a deal with Republicans to extend them for two years, and recently he called the entire tax cut package good for the country.

Read the rest of the article here


  1. Protesters hit high-end Obama fundraiser...
    Thurs April 21 2011 12:52:09 EDT

    Subject: Pool report #1a - song lyrics

    Here it is:

    Dear Mr. President we honor you today sir
    Each of us brought you $5,000
    It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign
    I paid my dues, where's our change?
    We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true
    Look at the Republicans - what else can we do
    Even though we don't know if we'll retain our liberties
    In what you seem content to call a free society
    Yes it's true that Terry Jones is legally free
    To burn a people's holy book in shameful effigy
    But at another location in this country
    Alone in a 6x12 cell sits Bradley
    23 hours a day is night
    The 5th and 8th Amendments say this kind of thing ain't right
    We paid our dues, where's our change?

  2. The Global Economy’s Corporate Crime Wave
    Jeffrey D. Sachs
    The explosion of corruption – in the US, Europe, China, India, Africa, Brazil, and beyond – raises a host of challenging questions about its causes, and about how to control it now that it has reached epidemic proportions.

    Corporate corruption is out of control for two main reasons. First, big companies are now multinational, while governments remain national. Big companies are so financially powerful that governments are afraid to take them on.

    Second, companies are the major funders of political campaigns in places like the US, while politicians themselves are often part owners, or at least the silent beneficiaries of corporate profits. Roughly one-half of US Congressmen are millionaires, and many have close ties to companies even before they arrive in Congress.

    As a result, politicians often look the other way when corporate behavior crosses the line. Even if governments try to enforce the law, companies have armies of lawyers to run circles around them. The result is a culture of impunity, based on the well-proven expectation that corporate crime pays.

    We will also need a new kind of politician leading a new kind of political campaign, one based on free online media rather than paid media. When politicians can emancipate themselves from corporate donations, they will regain the ability to control corporate abuses.

  3. Perhaps the most effective scam of all time is the construction of the false left/right paradigm. Anyone who does not understand this fundamental fallacy of our political system will never be able to understand the bigger picture of how our government works or why or “elected” officials do the things they do. If you cannot accept the fact that both major parties are essentially the same, supporting the same primary legislation and differing only in rhetoric, then you will probably attribute the constant failings of our leadership to “greed” or “stupidity”. This is simply not the case.

    When Obama went back on his election year promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and pull troops out (there are still thousands of troops and private contractors in Iraq too, for those that bought the second pullout lie), for instance, or when he decided to support the Patriot Acts after criticizing them, this was not because he has a bad memory, or even because he wanted to win your vote. He made promises and then nixed them because that’s HIS JOB; to perpetuate the false idea that the Democratic Party is anti-war, and different from the Republican Party.

  4. That's putting it lightly...Obama is on trail everyone how great the job number is...hmmm

    Memo to Bernanke: It's Called Blowback, Baby (May 6, 2011)

    But there is another kind of blowback brewing in the U.S.: the negative consequences of massive covert manipulation of the domestic economy by the Federal Reserve and agencies of the Federal government. A key feature of propaganda is the "documentation" presented to support a politically advantageous distortion.

    In this case, the statistical support for the "recovery" rests on three numbers:

    1. the stock market

    2. the Federally issued jobs report

    3. the GDP

    Memo to Mr. Bernanke: it's called blowback, baby, when the public finally sees through the covert ops propaganda. The institutions which are reporting the "proof the economy is recovering" will lose what remains of their credibility, as will a Mainstream Media which has unquestioningly "reported" the distortions as fact for years.

    All this coordinated misinformation and distortion is setting up the delegitimization of the complicit institutions, which include the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the White House, Congress, and all the agencies tasked with documenting the "recovery."

    Today the stock market is rallying on the wondrous "news" of hundreds of thousands of new jobs created--the last of the three metrics which the Status Quo needs to complete its picture of "recovery." As the gap between the "good news" and reality widens, the forces of blow back and de legitimization only coil tighter.

  5. Remember all the change? ...well they want that, too!


    Bank Of America To Start Charging 30% On Credit Cards

    Starting June 25 of this year, Bank of America will start charging more and more of their credit card customers an APR of almost 30%. According to a letter that came in the mail today, that new rate would apply "indefinitely." If you make a single late payment, B of A may raise your interest rate to as much as 29.99%. The new rate would only apply to new purchases, not existing balances (that's one of the few good things about the CARD act), but according to recent surveys over 15% of customers have made at least one late payment in the last 12 months. (I know we've done it once or twice.)

    From a free market perspective, the new late payment policy isn't terrible, but in practice it still stinks. That's because, like most fees and penalties charged by banks and credit card companies, it will be more onerous for the poorest and most vulnerable.

  6. "Change, like falsehood, feeds upon itself. Changes, like lies, must often be multiplied to sustain themselves. "That word 'change' is the incantation that calls fools into a circle" ... Thomas Chandler Haliburton 1840

  7. The People vs. Goldman Sachs
    A Senate committee has laid out the evidence. Now the Justice Department should bring criminal charges

    This isn't just a matter of a few seedy guys stealing a few bucks. This is America: Corporate stealing is practically the national pastime, and Goldman Sachs is far from the only company to get away with doing it. But the prominence of this bank and the high-profile nature of its confrontation with a powerful Senate committee makes this a political story as well. If the Justice Department fails to give the American people a chance to judge this case — if Goldman skates without so much as a trial — it will confirm once and for all the embarrassing truth: that the law in America is subjective, and crime is defined not by what you did, but by who you are.

  8. Saturday, May 14, 2011
    US Trustee Estimates Servicing “Errors” at 10x Level Claimed by Banks (and Parroted by Federal Regulators)

    Note that this article provides support what this blog and foreclosure defense attorneys have said: that servicers are engaged in a significant amount of overbilling, via charing impermissible or inflated fees. And experts have pointed out that in addition to these junk fees and/or excessive fees, the servicers apply payments in a manner contrary to Federal law and the terms of the mortgage (to fees first rather than principal and interest first) which leads to fee pyramiding:

    The other problematic area showing up in the trustees’ inquiries relates to what Mr. White calls improper default servicing fees. These include charges for legal work, property inspections, insurance and appraisals.

    Often, the fees charged to troubled borrowers are not even specified. Trustee program officials found a defaulted borrower who was charged $10,260.50 in “prior service fees” with zero documentation. In another case, a borrower fell behind after the lender doubled his escrow payments with no explanation or justification. Then the bank filed a motion to lift the bankruptcy stay so that it could foreclose.

  9. Philly Fed Finds Economic Conditions For Low And Moderate-Income Families Deteriorated Under The "Wealth Effect" Mandate

    All seven indicators for this survey were below the future expectations reported by respondents to the previous survey." In other words, while the lower and middle classes, as proxied by services geared toward them, continue to hold on the "hope and change" their current existence and living conditions are deteriorating.

  10. At least you knew where bush was coming from....

    Eric Schneiderman: One Lawman With the Guts to Go After Wall Street

    Eric Schneiderman will probably fail, as did his predecessors in that job; the honest sheriff doesn’t last long in a town that houses the Wall Street casino. But decent folks should be cheering him on.

    Not surprising then to find all of the power players in on the latest deals: the Obama administration that had bailed out the banks but not troubled homeowners; the regulators and Fed officials who all looked the other way when the housing bubble was inflated; and the state attorneys general who backed away from going after the perpetrators of robo-signed mortgages and other scams used to foreclose homes.

    But now Schneiderman has a chance to derail the deals, given that he is supported by the state’s tough 1921 Martin Act, which one of his predecessors as New York state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, had used to good advantage in exposing the financial behemoths that are so heavily based in New York. The Wall Street Journal describes the Martin Act as “one of the most potent prosecutorial tools against financial fraud” because, as opposed to federal law, it doesn’t carry the more difficult standard of proving intent to defraud.

  11. Judge Napolitano: Rampant Violations Of The Constitution

  12. A Pulled Scoop Shows U.S. Fought to Keep Haitian Wages Down

    Two years ago, Haiti unanimously passed a law sharply raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. That doesn’t sound like much (and it isn’t), but it was two and a half times the then-minimum of 24 cents an hour.

    This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).

    Well, hey. Imagine Haitians doing things for their “unemployed and underpaid masses” rather than rich Yankee corporations. The outrage! No wonder we have 9.1 percent unemployment and 16 percent underemployment here while the folks who sent the economy in the tank are back making millions.

    Let’s do a little math. Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year.

  13. Obama has done squat..listen to dylan ratigan interview..

    The Big Banks Have Sold Us Out. Democrats And Republicans Have Sold Us Out. No One Is Defending Our Interests. Our Future Is Going Up In Flames. It’s Time For Us To Stand Up And Defend Ourselves

  14. “Lifting the Veil”

    Mark Ames referred me to the documentary “Lifting the Veil.” I’m only about 40 minutes into it and am confident it will appeal to NC readers, provided you can keep gagging in the sections that contain truly offensive archival footage (in particular, numerous clips of Obama campaign promises).

  15. Education officials break down Stockton man's door

    The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.

    "They busted down my door for this," Wright said. "It wasn't even me."

  16. Thursday, June 9, 2011
    Obama Still Desperately Seeking Anybody But Warren to Head New Consumer Agency

    The Administration is playing true to its craven form. And it isn’t hiding that sorry fact terribly well either.

    The latest public-be-damned ploy by the Obama Administration is the floating the name of Raj Date, a former McKinsey consultant and financial services industry executive currently ensconced in the nascent Consumer Financial Protection, as the possible new head of the agency.
    Team Obama engaged her as an advisor to pretend to the few deluded pro-Obama progressives left in the US that they were serious about reform while getting a mighty inconvenient and popular figure mothballed. But she has embarrassed the Administration by obtusely ignoring its game plan and continuing to look perfectly willing and able to head the agency (notice how the criticisms that she had never run a business and therefore was incapable of building an organization have vanished?).

  17. Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Change

    Wrongdoers Have Largely Escaped Government Penalties

    While the SEC has reached several settlements in connection with misconduct related to the financial meltdown, those settlements have been characterized as “cheap,” “hollow,” “bloodless,” and merely “cosmetic,” as noted by Columbia University law professor John C. Coffee in a recent article. Moreover, one of the SEC’s own Commissioners, Luis Aguilar, has recently admitted that the SEC’s penalty guidelines are “seriously flawed” and have “adversely impact[ed]” civil enforcement actions. “We continue to have in place…a misguided approach to how to weigh factors one considers when deciding whether to seek a corporate penalty…and the Commission fails to appropriately focus on deterrence,” Aguilar explained.

    Federal judges have not been the only ones to criticize the SEC’s settlements. Journalists have portrayed the SEC’s agreements with corporations and their senior officers as “paltry” and a “win” for executives, and have chastised the regulator when it failed to impose any penalty whatsoever. For instance, in a recent Rolling Stone essay, Matt Taibbi described the SEC’s failure to levy sanctions against Lehman Brothers (“Lehman”) and its former CEO, Dick Fuld, as “tantamount to the state marching into Wall Street and waving the green flag on a new stealing season.”

  18. Obama Has Finally Become Dick Cheney

    In a series of scoops as impressive as any amassed during the War on Terrorism, James Risen reported in 2004 that the CIA failed to tell President Bush about relatives of Iraqi scientists who swore that the country had abandoned its weapons program; the same year, he was first to reveal that the CIA was waterboarding detainees in Iraq; and in 2005, he broke the Pulitzer Prize winning story about the secret NSA spying program.

    These scoops so embarrassed and angered the Bush Administration that some of its senior members wanted Risen to end up in jail. They never managed to make that happen. But President Obama might.

  19. Why Didn’t Prosecutors Go After Wall Street?
    In a word: Geithner.

  20. Disheartening...

    What Harry Belafonte would ask Congress about the debt crisis

    “My question would be, to Congress and the president: What happened to moral truth? What happened to moral courage?” Belafonte said.

    He’d also like to tell them: “Politics without moral purpose, really more often than not, winds up as tyranny.”

    “Barack Obama and his mission has failed because it lacked a certain kind of moral courage, a kind of moral vision . . . a kind of courage we are in need of,” said the King of Calypso.

    “When he said ‘Yes, we can,’ it was politically clever, but he never defined what it is we can do. So we filled in those spaces — what we thought he meant — only to find we were disappointed, because none of those points was satisfied.”

  21. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns against more cuts in Pentagon budget

    Senior Pentagon officials have launched an offensive over the past two days to convince lawmakers that further reductions in Pentagon spending would imperil the country’s security. Instead of slashing defense, Panetta said, the bipartisan panel should rely on tax increases and cuts to nondiscretionary spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, to provide the necessary savings.

  22. Sunday, August 7, 2011
    James Galbraith on How Fraud and Bad Economic Thinking Got Us in This Mess

    I highly recommend to you, if you haven’t done so, that you read the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report just published in the United States, or the even more recent report of the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, the many reports of the Congressional Oversight Panel and the report of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, SIGTARP. These are, by the way, very, very good documents prepared by serious public servants and it’s plain as day. Fraud was not a bug in the system, it was a feature. The word itself, along with abusive, egregious, reckless and even criminogenic suffuses these accounts of what went on.

    The financial world, as it exists, has nothing to do with the commodity world of real exchange economics with its delicate balance of interacting forces. It is the world of technology at play in the form of quasi mass produced legal instruments of uncontrolled complexity. It is the world of, in other words, of evolutionary specialization in the never ending dance of predator and prey. In nature, when predators achieve an overwhelming advantage, the prey suffer a population crash, from which the predators in turn suffer later on. In economics it’s a financial crash, but process and dynamics are essentially similar.

    Corporate fraud is not new; financial fraud is not new. What was new here was the scale and complexity of debt obligations, backed by mortgages.

  23. 08/08/2011

    Jesse Jackson on Obama
    'Some Layer of the Excitement is Gone'

    SPIEGEL: Critics say that the Obama government is simply too close to the financial community. Princeton professor Cornel West called President Obama a 'mascot of Wall Street.'

    Jackson: I would not use that kind of language. But we have some incredibly powerful forces for Wall Street in Congress. The laws are stacked for the wealthy.

    SPIEGEL: In Obama's White House too?

    Jackson: Just as he has an economics advisor, I wish there was a labor leader to balance that too. The poor and unemployed currently have no voice in Washington.

    SPIEGEL: During the recent negotiations on the debt ceiling Obama agreed to billion dollar cuts in public spending and received no tax increases in return from the Republicans. Is he too willing to compromise?

    Jackson: I think he sometimes underestimates the force of the other side, how tenacious they are in their ideology. A few weeks ago, during the debt ceiling negotiations, Obama went golfing with John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House. Afterwards, they said their differences are not ideological, not philosophical. Really? If Republicans say they want to cut public spending drastically, they want to cut social security and Medicare and the social safety net for poor and working families, and cater to the wealthiest Americans, then that is a different philosophy. If the Tea Party is determined to kill the New Deal and Great Society programs we won in the past, that is a different ideology. And if the right wing of the Republican party is determined to shield themselves from tax obligations or to fight the Civil War again by pushing voter suppression legislation to take away minority voting rights across the country, that is also a very different ideology.,1518,778990,00.html

  24. Completing the Theft from the Social Security Trust Fund

    The Catfood Commission rump report made it crystal clear that the political and financial elites have no intention of ever paying off the bonds held by the Social Security Trust Fund. You thought you were paying excess FICA taxes so that there would be enough money to pay your Social Security in your retirement, but that was never the intention. The intention was to raise your taxes and cut taxes on the rich.

    The whole point of every charade version of “strengthening Social Security” is to insure that the income of the system is enough to pay the benefits that are due that year, hopefully with an overage that can be swallowed up in the General Fund and used keep the taxes on the rich at the lowest level since the time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. The Catfood Commission, the Great Compromise, the Gang of Six, the Chained CPI, and all other plans make it clear that the elites of both parties intend to complete the theft from the Social Security Trust Fund by raising your taxes and/or cutting your benefits.

    You are not represented in the halls of government. Only rich people and their corporations and their lobbyists and their flacks, and their court jester economists, and their astroturf groups and their talk radio liars and their media companies and their think tanks and their foundations are represented in government.

  25. Watch William Black ....
    starts at 14 minutes

    Banking Looters

  26. the Gang of Six, the Chained CPI, and all other plans make it clear that the elites of both parties intend to complete the theft from the Social Security Trust Fund by raising your taxes and/or cutting your benefits.