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Daily Digest - Jan 10

Friday, January 9, 2009, 8:05 PM
  • Janet Tavakoli, Author, Video Interview (Wall Street's Financial Meth Labs & Ponzi Schemes)
  • Cheney Says Nobody Saw Economic Crisis Coming
  • Bush Prepares to Ask for Second Tranche of Bailout Funds
  • Unemployment Way Worse than 7.2% Due to Birth / Death Adjustment (2 Charts)
  • Part-time jobs
  • Unemployment Rate vs. Broader Total Unemployed (Chart)
  • Boeing Cuts 4,500 Commercial Jobs as Economy Weakens 
  • More Layoffs Coming in the Oil Patch
  • Roubini forecasts recession will last 2 years
  • SNL Morgan Stanley Parody Video (Humor)
  • Change in US Consumer Credit and Mortgage Debt Relative to GDP (Chart)
  • Peter Schiff Audio Fox News Talk
  • Financial company default risk
  • Japan Economy Watch
  • British Airways credit card is UK's most expensive - after hiking interest charge to 46%
  • Office Vacancy Forecast Chart (U.S.)
  • Macy's Goodwill Writedown May Speed Stock's Spiral
  • Rubin Out At Citi (C)

 

Economy 

Janet Tavakoli, Author, Video Interview (2:00 point, Wall Streets Financial Meth Labs & Ponzi Schemes)

Cheney Says Nobody Saw Economic Crisis Coming (Hat Tip Yoshhash) 

In an interview with The Associated Press, Cheney also said that Bush has no need to apologize for not foreseeing the economic crisis. 

"I don't think he needs to apologize. I think what he needed to do is take bold, aggressive action and he has," Cheney said.

"I don't think anybody saw it coming," he said. 

Bush Prepares to Ask for Second Tranche of Bailout Funds 

In a move being coordinated with the Obama transition team, senior Bush administration officials are preparing to ask lawmakers for the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package, despite intense opposition in Congress, sources familiar with the matter said. 

The initiative, if it goes ahead, could create an unusual political straddle between the Bush and Obama administrations. If Congress were to vote down the measure, either President Bush or Obama might have to exercise a veto in order to get the money. While Obama officials prefer that current administration issue a veto, the White House is declining to address that question. 

Unemployment Way Worse than 7.2% Due to Birth / Death Adjustment (2 Charts) 

The Birth Death Model once again overstates employment. In other words, things are a lot worse than the 7.2% rate presented to us. Per The Big Picture: 

Since 2003, the B/D adjustment has been part and parcel to BLS' Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, the official measure of US employment. In brief, the Birth Death adjustment imagines (hypothesizes) how many jobs were created by companies too new and/or too small to participate or be found by CES. The model attempts to create what is perceived as a BLS error at the start of any recovery, when many new jobs are created but missed by BLS. 

Part-time jobs 

Not only has the unemployment rate risen sharply to 7.2%, but the number of workers only able to find part time jobs (or have had their hours cut for economic reasons) is now over 8 million.this is why it is critical to look at BLS unemployment reporting which includes the underemployed in the calculation in order to get an accurate picture of household economic stress. the u-6 rate reported by the BLS does so, and as noted in november this is likely the appropriate measure to examine for historical comparisons. 

the december reading for u-6 shot up to 13.5%, from a revised 12.6% in november and 12.0% in october. one in seven american workers are now either unemployed or have been forced into reduced hours/benefits -- and for good measure, as one can tell from the chart as well as the figures, the rate of change in umemployment is still accelerating. the forecast for coming months indicates further acceleration is in the pipeline. the silver lining, if any, is that the trend in unemployment has broken rather suddenly at the top -- in other words, unemployment will likely accelerate until it stops going up at all.

UPDATE: todd harrison asserts that, if we went back to the method of unemployment calculation which prevailed prior to the clinton administration adjustments, the unemployment reading might be as high as 15-16% already. that's almost incidental, however, next to a call for a "seismic adjustment" in currency markets against the dollar, which should it come to pass will be the story of 2009. 

Unemployment Rate vs. Broader Total Unemployed (Chart)

Boeing Cuts 4,500 Commercial Jobs as Economy Weakens  

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. plans to cut about 4,500 jobs, or 6.6 percent of its commercial-aircraft workforce, this year to reduce costs as a weakening global economy hurts demand for new planes. 

The job losses will take place mainly in Washington state, Boeing's manufacturing hub, and happen in the second quarter with 60-day notices beginning in late February, the company said in a statement today. Boeing, which has a record backlog of 3,714 planes to fill, said the job cuts will focus on areas not directly associated with aircraft production.

"We are taking prudent actions to make sure Boeing remains well positioned in today's difficult economic environment," Scott Carson, the head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in the statement. 

More Layoffs Coming in the Oil Patch (CVX, SLB, XOM, COP, BP) 

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) already gave its severe earnings warning and we have already seen layoffs coming out of Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB). [] and its dragging down share prices for the other oil majors. Interestingly, Chevron has bounced back a little, as has Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), but ConocoPhillips Corporation (NYSE:COP) and BP plc (NYSE:BP) continue lower. 

In addition to a weak profit outlook for the quarter, there are now more than concerns about job losses in the oil patch. Certainly cutting expenses is one way to boost profits, and big oil is a big employer. The following chart shows total employment for the past three years: 

Roubini forecasts recession will last 2 years 

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. recession will last two full years, with gross domestic product falling a cumulative 5%, said Nouriel Roubini, chairman of RGE Monitor. Roubini was one of the first economists to predict the recession and the credit crunch stemming from the housing bubble. For 2009, Roubini predicts GDP will fall 3.4%, with declines in every quarter of the year. The unemployment rate should peak at about 9% in early 2010, he said. Consumer prices will fall about 2% in 2009. Housing prices will probably overshoot, dropping 44% from the peak through mid-2010. "The U.S. economy cannot avoid a severe contraction that has already started and the policy response will have only a limited and delayed effect that will be felt more in 2010 than 2009," he said. 

SNL Morgan Stanley Parody Video (Humor)

Change in US Consumer Credit and Mortgage Debt Relative to GDP (Chart)

Peter Schiff Audio Fox News Talk

FINANCIAL COMPANY DEFAULT RISK 

While default risk has dropped dramatically for the financial companies listed below, it's still interesting to see how the firms compare with each other on the CDS front. Below we highlight current credit default swap prices for 24 financial firms across the globe. These prices represent the cost per year to insure $10,000 worth of debt for 5 years. As shown, default risk is the highest for Morgan Stanley, followed by Goldman Sachs, American Express, UBS, and Citigroup. The premium against default for JP Morgan is the lowest among US financial firms, with Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America not far behind. BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole have the lowest default risk of the 24 financial firms shown. 

Japan Economy Watch 

Japan Industrial Production Slumps And Outright Deflation Draws Nearer
Japan's recession evidently deepened even further in November as industrial output fell at the fastest pace in 55 years. Production plunged 8.1 percent month on month from October (Trade Ministry data) and was down an enormous 16.2% year on year. For an economy which lives from the prowess of its industrial exports, this is simply earthquake. 

British Airways credit card is UK's most expensive - after hiking interest charge to 46% 

American Expess has increased the cost of borrowing on one of its credit cards to 46 per cent - more than 30 times the Bank of England base rate. 

The company now charges 46 per cent APR on the British Airways Premium Plus card, making it Britain's most expensive credit card.

Consumer groups said the cost of borrowing on some credit cards had now lost all touch with the base rate.

A series of other cards also have APR over 35 per cent - despite interest rates now being at the lowest level since the Bank of England was set up in 1694.

Other cards include Virgin Money American Express at 37 per cent and Citi MasterCard at 41 per cent.

Consumer group Which!'s credit card expert Martyn Saville said the Amex rate was ‘ridiculous'.

He said: ‘This is over 30 times base rate.

'Credit card interest rates now bear no resemblance to Bank rates - it is just about what companies think they can get away with. 

Office Vacancy Forecast Chart (U.S.)

Macy's Goodwill Writedown May Speed Stock's Spiral 

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Macy's Inc. investors are waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it isn't a Manolo Blahnik. 

The second-largest U.S. department-store company may write down its goodwill by as much as $3 billion after-tax as early as this month, said Dan Poole, who researches stocks for National City Private Client Group, a Cleveland-based firm that manages $26 billion, including Macy's shares.

The charge, to reduce the value on its 2005 acquisition of May Department Stores Co., would be the biggest hit to financial results in 18 years and wipe out a third of equity. It may also make shareholders more negative about a stock that lost 60 percent last year, and bondholders more skeptical about debt whose ratings are hovering just above non-investment grade.

"There is still a lot of pain to go" for the company, said Bill Dreher, an analyst with Deutsche Bank AG in New York, who recommends holding the stock. A goodwill charge "is going to make some investors nervous."

Macy's shares are trading at less than 50 percent of the retailer's book value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, signaling that investors already view it as worth less than half what the Cincinnati-based retailer's books say.

The stock retreated 63 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $10.30 at 4:04 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. That's down from a peak of $46.51 in March 2007.

Overpaid? 

Rubin Out At Citi (C) 

The WSJ first reported that famed ex-Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin will be leaving the board of directors at Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). This has now been confirmed in multiple reports elsewhere. This follows about two years worth of criticism, the ouster of Chuck Prince and the questionable performance of Vikram Pandi. Some have argued that Rubin has just not been worth anything to Citigroup. 

We are still of the opinion that the sweeping changes that were needed all along and have yet to come will take CEO Vikram Pandit down as well. Despite the timing being too soon, we included Pandit as one of the 10 CEO's To Go In 2009. Citigroup's problems might not be all his fault, but they were not dealt with as swiftly as many would have hoped.

Rubin has made more than $100 million by being on Citi's board. He is not an operational employee. Unfortunately, the problems at the company would likely be the same if you took 99% that pay away or if you tripled it.

This is probably just a footnote in what will have been many sweeping changes over the last few years and what lies ahead at Citi. 

 

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42 Comments

Davos's picture
Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

lipstick.jpg

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Woodman
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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Just heard strong recommendation for PeakProsperity.com and the Crash Course in the second hour of this weeks Financial Sense Newshour podcast (one of the links on the homepage here).  I agree with the caller who said the Crash Course really helped to understand what the folks at financialsense.com were saying.

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Headless
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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Cheney says: "I don't think anybody saw it coming..."

I could post hundreds of thousands of links (that I have personally read or written over the past 10 years) regarding the problems that were obvious to anyone who had post-6th-grade mathematical skills and who cared for at least one person other than themselves...

For Cheney to say something of this magnitude--so easily refutable by any non-sociopath--we can say one thing for sure: The true nature of the problem we face here in America, with a simple 6-word utterance from the sociopath second in charge, has been confirmed: Those who have "been elected" to "serve and protect the Constitution of the United States" are...just f*&@ing crazy! It's that simple.

It's time for a revolution...

While Obama recently talked about "looking forward, not back" in his call for accountability, he may need to find a little more of the real "man" that resides within us all, that character demonstrated by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Ron Paul, et so many other al; Obama needs to turn the tide of corruption that is destroying what we once knew as the United States of America--on a dime; his dime. It's his time. It's time to stop the insanity. It's time to say: "No. We are not going to sit with our hands folded in our laps and meekly allow our "leaders" to proclaim the this and that that suits the needs of the insanely misguided greedy sociopaths that have found their way into positions of leadership! Stop the insanity!

"I don't think anybody saw it coming..."

Cheney, F*&# You you sociopathic mother f*&#$r! You really think Americans are stupid enough to believe that? That says more about you than about the people that make this the greatest country ever to exist! You are much the lesser man than you presume Joe Sixpack to be.

Sincerly,

H. Lee Grove

810 Devon Ct.

San Diego, California 92109

Edit:  # removed (due to overwhelming support!)

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Of course it's time for a Revolution when we hear this political b.s. coming from Cheney. But don't count on one from Obama. What scares me is that he is an excellent politician that is going to be coated in Teflon for at least the next year or two. We seem to have a mentality in this country that the government needs to "provide" us with jobs and "take care" of our health and "protect" us from terrorism. That's ridiculous. Someone needs to stand up and speak the truth and help educate the sheeple from the lies and doublespeak that is so prevalent today.

I only wish that there was a clear successor to the work that Ron Paul has started. It absolutely blows my mind that someone who is so pragmatic and intelligent is entirely one-of-a-kind in Washington. Sure there's a bunch of idiots in our government. But apparently there is not one other that has the unique combination of intelligence, pragmatism, and shameless moral integrity to speak the truth like he does. 

The only way for a Republic to exist is through education and moral integrity on the part of at least most of the people. I believe we could be soon transitioning from a reality that Frederic Bastiat would describe as "the few plunder the many" to a reality where "everyone plunders everyone else." Obviously neither situation is desireable, but the latter reality indicates a complete societal breakdown and utter chaos as well. Against all odds, the People must have the intelligence and integrity to resist the temptation to be just as immoral as our Government. If we fail, anarchy will result, followed by oligarchical absolutism, according to the lessons of history.

Mike

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straight
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America is NOT the greatest country ever to exist.

"Cheney, F*&# You you sociopathic mother f*&#$r! You really think Americans are stupid enough to believe that? That says more about you than about the people that make this the greatest country ever to exist! You are much the lesser man than you presume Joe Sixpack to be. "

I have some sobering news for you, America is not the greatest country ever to exist;  I respectfully suggest that the space that this kind of thinking comes from is the space that leaves room for the likes of Cheney to emerge from.

My prescription, two humble pills and a trip to any of the countries you Americans have screwed over in the last five decades and talk to the first person you meet on the street and discuss your notion that America is the greatest country ever to exist.  The hide of you Americans, on the verge of pulling the world economy into a dark hole for god knows how long, killing god knows how many people already on the edge from American foreign policy, and you still have the bad taste to mouth this drivel. 

I have visited the countries I suggest you visit, as I have visited America, a few times.  I have a lot of respect for a lot of Americans, and thanks for inventing the public library, but you are most assuradly no where near being the greatest country to ever exist.  Get a grip.

Stewart, Brisbane.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

One of Cheney's goals was to restore the power that had been stripped from the president after Nixon abused it.

I am not a Cheney fan, but I am amazed at how much has gotten by. The signing statements, are to me, even more profound then his trying not protect W's or his parties name from being tarnished by the financial mess.

I forgot which doccumentary I saw it in, and I never fact checked it, but they said that he was invested like someonoe who thought the Great Depression was coming. This was about 1-2 years ago that I caught that piece. I want to say I think it was the movie on peak oil, "A Crude Awakening."

I'd believe that W never saw it coming. Cheney sure as heck saw it coming. 

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Stewart,

I agree with you in so many ways. However...

When I say "the greatest country to ever exist," I am referring to the People; those who have participated in something which is nothing less than magic in my mind; People who have come from every corner of the planet, brought with them their unique cultural identities, and, with all that diversity, with all the challenges and mistakes (some horrendous) that such differences necessitate, made it work. What other country has even come close to attempting such an integration of race and culture? (And I've lived in several other countries for several years.)

We are not our politicians; someday this group of outlaws will be seen for what it was; there will once again be a differentiation between the People and those less than human--in the minds of non-Americans. This, too, "we shall overcome."

Unfortunately, your response is an accurate indicator of the general misperception so many people around the world have of "the American..." I've been spit on (literally), disallowed to board a bus, and had other less-than-pleasant challenges posed to me during my travels abroad--for being American. It wasn't always that way. And, of course, I am one of the lucky ones. Witness the recent calls coming out of the middle east for "American heads..."

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Nonzeroone sez; "When I say "the greatest country to ever exist," I am referring to the People; those who have participated in something which is nothing less than magic in my mind; People who have come from every corner of the planet, brought with them their unique cultural identities, and, with all that diversity, with all the challenges and mistakes (some horrendous) that such differences necessitate, made it work. What other country has even come close to attempting such an integration of race and culture? (And I've lived in several other countries for several years.) "

 

I get the impression you've really taken your HS history book to heart. The fact of the matter is this country was started by the same elites that run England. Many "undesirables" were forcfully deported to this country to assist in the genocide of the existing population, (native americans) or to work in the fields until they fell over dead. And don't even get me started on the black slaves. What this country has never had is a sense of humility. Just arrogance born of that programming & detention camp they call public education.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

VictoriaPandora,

Don't misunderstand me. I am well aware of our history. I have read Zinn, Chomsky, Todd...

And I will be the first one to stand up and say: "Our educational system is broken; Japan, Korea, and maybe some others, are generations ahead of us."  There are various contributing factors:

  • family cohesion and support
  • mind set: "What the first generation earns, the third throws away"
  • language challenges in the classroom
  • etc

I taught in a school district in which over 60 languages were spoken. Making that work, creating educational excellence when faced with that, is an unbelievably complicated--maybe impossible--task...

What has occurred in America is an integration of people from everywhere; that's a unique challenge that other countries haven't faced or accomplished to the extent the people of the U.S. have; that is taking nothing away from other countries, one of which I will soon be a citizen of...

 

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Re: America is NOT the greatest country ever to exist.

No one gets to throw the first stone in this game.

 

We can always give up our authority. Unfortunately doing so will still leave us with 100% responsibility. 

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10
All I can do is shake my head.
I believe your complaining is *just* about to turn the tides. Bravo.
If by reading Zinn, Chomsky and Todd is an effective way of changing things for the better, I must have missed something.
For one - is it really that bad?
Is America the king evil, or is it just the playground the worlds elite bankers chose because of its fertile soils?
To all the America apologists and your temporal perceptions of injustices, I suggest you do not opine unless fact is your rock. Each injustice in this nation was corrected - does that not speak volumes of the land you berate? Name me a society that hasn't perpetuated violence against innocents - just one example. Xanadu excluded. The place has to be real.
America is not the greatest society in the history of the earth?
Well... I suppose that's entirely subjective.
As to the insinuation that it's the worst - I suggest you all re-evaluate your approach, lest you lose the ability to voice your concern.
Cheers!
Aaron
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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Guys. I know this is passionate but the vulgarity diminishes the credibility of the forum for would be members. I think we shoot ourselves in the foot when we let our emotions run amok on an issue.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

"Each injustice in this nation was corrected - does that not speak volumes of the land you berate?"

Wow Aaron, you win. I am speechless, haha.

That said, I am new here and I don't want to start off on a bad foot. The information looks valuable, and even though of course I don't agree with all the comments, they are thought provoking and well stated. So I am glad I found this site. Cheers. VP

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

VictoriaPandora,

This isn't an issue about "winning". I apologize if you somehow got the impression I'm petty and interested in validating my own opinions in arguement.

 

[Removed by moderator]

Cheers, and welcome.

Aaron

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

MGhandi said:

"Guys. I know this is passionate but the vulgarity diminishes the credibility of the forum for would be members. I think we shoot ourselves in the foot when we let our emotions run amok on an issue."

 My apologies for "$*#&^$%*@," but whenever I "hear" one of our government officials commit aggravated lying with special circumstances--as he or she faces the jury who is the victim of the crime and knows very well what has happened, I just...lose control. No excuses. I just lost it!

That said, you are absolutely right. I will no longer allow myself to post until at least 24 hours have passed since the new or reformulated lie was told...

Truly sorry to diminish the quality of what is normally a great place to be.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Thank you for that, nonzeroone, I certainly can empathize with your frustrations as well. The doublespeak we are constantly subjected to makes me want to scream.

I just saw a brief snippet of an interview Wolf Blitzer (man I'm sick of that guy) had with Dick Cheney. Once again, Cheney reminded us that waterboarding is not torture. I suppose we could begin arguing that it's "not as torturous as pulling fingernails," but that's getting a bit ridiculous. I challenge anyone to take a look at the many videos posted on the internet of individuals who have investigated the practice and even volunteered to have it done to them for the purpose of exposing it. It leaves little question in my mind.

Cheney uses a utilitarian argument in saying that "many American lives have been saved as a result of the information gained from the individuals we waterboarded." I am no subscriber to this flawed school of philosophy, but I will now counter Cheney tit for tat: If we assume that waterboarding a few was justified in saving the lives of Americans (which by the way he fails to quanitify, a necessity of utilitarianism), then how do we justify the war on the basis that far more Americans and innocent civilian Iraqis have been killed than died in 9-11? Likewise, it's clear to most now that the war was a catalyst for the economic breakdown (*ooops! I mean 'slowdown') that we're now witnessing. That being the case, let's think of the Americans who have half the nest egg they thought they did, the countless Americans that are losing homes, jobs, health care, the many millions of Americans (30+ million if I remember correctly) that were "food insecure" (talk about political correctness gone too far) this past Thanksgiving. Surely the war has made their lives much better.

Why should Cheney care? He's got secret service, Halliburton connections, and tens of millions stashed away. And Heck, he can even afford to be so careless as to shotgun someone in the face. Great to see that he's just "one of us."

Sorry for the parentheses and the ranting, but I've got my own frustrations to vent.

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

MGhandi,

Good call. I too apologize if my replies were "off kilter". I mean no offense, but I take attacks towards the virtue of our country personally - as we all should.

I'll curb the sensitivity. Thanks for the good call brother.

Aaron

PS Nonzeroone,

Your comments on loss of values and the effects of education were spot on. Couldn't agree more.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Nonzeroone.  I will add my apologies to the list.  We are all frustrated at the situation we find ourselves in .  Few of us respect our political leaders and even though we see the broader problems clearer than the average Joe [Thanks to CM among others] living through this shit fight isn't easy for any of us.  I too got frustrated in seeing that even the enlightened ones, such as yourself, at least to some level, espouse the elitist line so strongly associated with broader 'Americanism'.

As a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand, I would like to put New Zealand into the pot of nations that has done minimal harm to its people.  It is a country with the population of Sydney, it has an active treaty with its indigenous people, it has universal free health care, universal free accident insurance, and it recently made substantial downgrades to its military.  It is not perfect, but that's not a bad start.  Oh, and it has banned any nuclear powered ships, even American ones, from entering any of its ports... at least it used to when i lived there.

Stewart, Brisbane.

 

 

 

 

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Nice reply, Aaron.

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Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Mike,

[Removed by moderator]

A little mistrust is healthy. Paranoia and raw hatred are damaging, but self destructive in nature.

Cheers! More later.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Mike P.,

"I just saw a brief snippet of an interview Wolf Blitzer (man I'm sick of that guy) had with Dick Cheney."

This morning Wolf Blitzer stated he was at the end of his sojurn with his Sunday morning show although he'll still be in The Situation Room. So, you won't have to see him as much! Wink

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

It's great to hear, Sam!

But I've freed myself from the grips of the entertainment media for the most part. I only catch tidbits when my attention is captive. Today, I was on a treadmill Wink

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

I believe Dick Cheney 100% when he says that no one saw this economic collapse coming. i truly do. i can see why dick cheney would think that. you have to put yourself in dick cheneys shoes for a day to see how he could make such a ridiculous public statement. he lives a very secretive life and surrounds himself with other ideologues who share his 'identical' views (i'm getting this information from paul o'neills book 'the price of loyalty'). if no one in this small sampling of people saw the economic collapse coming then he can correctly assume based on the fact that these are the most highly sophisticated politicians around that 'no one saw it coming'. dick cheney's perception is his reality!

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Hello KemoSavy:

That was a good read, I got it when it came out I think in 2004. The best part for me was the Bush/Cheny guiding principle. I had read some management book and it detailed the importance of guiding principles and was most impressive.

To see a guiding principle that Oneil revealed shocked me, it was, "Reality lags perception".

After reading that management book I knew that guiding principles were structures put in place to let anyone make quick decisions without upper management's approval. Basically if their decision fit into the structure of the guiding principle they could and should execute it. This made them a fast company/prganization.

This guiding principle of theirs, "Reality lags perception," to me, was like saying, okay guys, pull the wool over everyone's eyes, we got 8 years before they find out what we did to this place.

"We have a strong dollar policy."

"Our debt to GDP is a good ratio."

"Deficits don't matter."

And, I'm not going to broach the non financial ones, even though they have profound financial implications.

Take care.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Aaron;

Perhaps I should have said cultural insensitivity rather than prejudice. Yes the damage is done but the healing isn't and the attitude you hold hinders that healing. My only advice to you is to please be a little more considerate when telling people to get over something. Take it or leave it but I will not continue this discussion.

Regards.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Ruhh,

You speak true.
I like you already.

Please don't take my general lack of empathy as cultural insensitivity. Allowing myself time for pity, I'd first take the cause of the Native Americans, so you've actually hit a sensitive spot with me. I truly *hate* how the American government handled the tribes during those early years.

That said, I look at suffering on a bell curve. It's lousy, sure. But we aren't having our hands hacked off in Sierra Leone. We're presumably not starving, and we're thinking about problems that haven't yet occured - which is a sign of a vigorous mind.

If I'm insulting, or cruel, it's not with intention, it's because I believe we are, as Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Stronger in the Broken Places". When I say "get over it", I don't expect, nor want you to forget the plight of your people, abandon your culture or adopt another - I want you to be harder, fight with more veracity and commit yourself anew to preventing further atrocity.

In short, we should cast our eyes forward, and keep the past in our minds. Not the other way around.

Cheers!

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

More on the Criminal Collective known as our government, by Frank Rich

Eight Years of Madoffs

"While our new president indeed must move on and address the urgent crises that cannot wait, Bush administration malfeasance can’t be merely forgotten or finessed. A new Justice Department must enforce the law; Congress must press outstanding subpoenas to smoke out potential criminal activity; every legal effort must be made to stop what seems like a wholesale effort by the outgoing White House to withhold, hide and possibly destroy huge chunks of its electronic and paper trail. As Johnsen wrote last March, we must also “resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists.”

 

P.S.

1. Thanks to Stewart and Mike for accepting my hysterical reaction to the Cheney absurdity. I don't feel near as bad as I did when I woke up this morning and had to pry my shoe out of the wall...

2. kimosavvy: If you are somehow right that Cheney, the second (?) most powerful man on the planet, can live in a hermetically sealed, black hole of ignorance where his perception of the world is preserved (and created?) by "other ideologues who share his 'identical' views," a perception that is maintained at an ethereal distance that is light years from solid ground, then "Houston, we have a problem." We might actually have to revisit, revise, or retire the Constitution of the United States, cause it ain't workin' when Number 2 doesn't have a clue.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Aaron, I sense you probability have a similar personality type as I do.

I am sometimes accused of being insensitive in my own remarks, but I think people mistake what I would characterize as rugged individualism mixed with frank, practical, objectivity.

It is very important to remember the atrocities of the past (and present) but recollection alone is no guarantee of future justice. I am trained as an engineer, which for better or for worse, makes me very pragmatic. I think we should strive to only recollect, pine, and dwell on past injustices to the point where it stirs us to the belief that action is necessary. Once we reach that point, the most useful thing that we can do is take some sort of action; or at least focus on the future and the prevention of further injustices

nonzeroone: I expect nothing less than a slurry of b.s. from Bush and Cheney as to why the records didn't seem to survive the transition. I'm sure the coming few weeks will have me quite frustrated that Congress and perhaps the Supreme Court have once again abdicated their duties.

 

Mike

 

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

The string of posts relating to the mistreatment of indigenous peoples, current prejudice, and the question of whether acts of past generations should work "corruption of blood" upon current generations of Americans has been deleted.  It is very off-topic and an inherantly explosive subject, as we see.

No further posts on this subject please.

If we receive requests to do so, we may repost a substantial part of this conversation, however we want to avoid the possibility that this topic of conversation will explode again overnight.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Hi Jason,

 I do suggest you repost, as I have not been here in time to read them! I will also suggest that these potentially explosive topics be reposted in the subscriber area so that subscribers can read and contribute. This way the more casual reader or new visotor will not be able to see them and will be less likley to have a negative reaction to the overall web site.

 Thanks.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Jason,

All apologies.

Mike, you said:

Quote:

Aaron, I sense you probability have a similar personality type as I do.

I am sometimes accused of being insensitive in my own remarks, but I think people mistake what I would characterize as rugged individualism mixed with frank, practical, objectivity.

I find myself agreeing with much of what you say. We definately seem to be like minds, though you certainly are better with being direct without sounding like a jerk! haha.

Cheers!

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Perhaps you've heard it...

"If Cheney died, who would replace him?"

"Bush."

P.S.

Mike,

I can't even remember what it's like to not be frustrated. Saying that reminds of when I lived in Tokyo. I had been there about 9 months and I was living in a nice little suburb about 25 km from Roppongi (in the middle of it all). I was riding my bike home between the Tama river and the rice fields and I came across another teacher who taught at another school there. We stopped and talked for a while (no sounds but crickets, the river, and, if you listen carefully, the sun setting), and she said to me--out of the blue: "Can you feel it?"

I was confused; I looked at her quizically and asked, of course, "Feel what?"

She proceeded to tell me how different I looked compared to when we first met; how relaxed and at peace I seemed compared to when I arrived; how I looked like a person who "felt safe for the first time in a long time."

Well, it took me a while to process that. But, after a while, I realized she was right. I was relaxed, at ease, not fearing whatever it is that causes a minimum psychological level of disaster preparedness while in the average American city. I felt like I never had before. I felt whole.

I think most Americans have never felt what I'm talking about; you have to have "been there" to get it...

Well, here we are in a country that has been sacked by a criminal elite for about the last 10? to 30? years, and I realize I have forgotten what it felt like to not be frustrated by the obvious corruption and disregard for fairness and the rights of those who just want to raise their families without having to worry about having all their efforts undermined, all their good works negated by a sociopathic group of silver spoon children that act as if America and her Americans are just some pot to be won at a poker game.

I have nothing left to sacrifice to this America; I want my life back; I have found my salvation: Goodbye America.

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

why not repost them in the subscribers only section? that way casual visitors and the reputation of this site are protected and freedom of speech is also protected PS Please lets not get off track with another string of posts about frredom of speech and censorship, please continue the important discussion gentlemen...

you guys are great and your views are so very important

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

You headed back to Japan, nonzeroone?

I understand the way you feel. I think I've only had one time in my memory where I had a similar state of secure relaxation and that was on an extended vacation in Europe. I don't think I've ever felt truly relaxed in America, regardless of where I am or what I'm doing. This country is nuts because it seems to be up for sale to the highest bidder - whether that be a President, an overpowered special interest group, or a disgustingly overextended entertainment media and fast food drive thrus. When I mixed up my priorities in life, my father told me I was "missing the forest for the trees" and I think that's certainly the case in this country. Many people, at least deep deep down, just know something's wrong and that thought doesn't go away. But we never deal with the problem when we're told it's the best nation on the earth with the best democracy, most abundant resources, and best people.

There are wonderful aspects of Americans, don't get me wrong. But a corrupt malaise is spreading that is making life much more stressful for the average person.

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Mike,

Moving to the ROK--again--forever...

You know how you have different friends that draw out different parts of your personality? Well, I look at countries that way, and I don't like the me I am when I'm in the U.S. anymore (and I'm not one of the strong ones--a C.M.--who believes he can make enough of a difference to devote the remainder of my life to improving what's left of America).

I'm a much better person in most other countries, but especially the Asian countries. They make it easy to be honest, kind, hard working...accepting of those around you. Of course this is my personal take; what has come to be true for me will no doubt be just the opposite for others.

Like you say, "Many people, at least deep down, just know something's wrong and that thought doesn't go away."

I feel that way 24/7 when I'm in the U.S. anymore; and I actually have a repertoire of  intimate, international experiences to compare against. Thus, I have no trouble super-sizing your statement: I know there's something seriously #*$%&^@#^ wrong! I feel it "deep down," on the surface, and whenever the moon is circling Earth.

 P.S. I have no idea what your history is, and I'm not making any assumptions, but if you haven't broken free for a few years(other than the European vacation), do it! This place will be here when you get back(degraded even further, perhaps); you may wonder why you didn't go sooner; you may wonder, like me, why you came back...

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Nonzero: Believe me, I have had the greatest experiences in other countries. At this moment, I am trying to be creative and find avenues out of here, even if it's just for a few years. I need a huge break. Like you, I have the greatest respect for C.M., but for me personally, it has and is very stressful to deal with the hypocrisy, corruption, and terrible priorities that we seem to espouse.

I don't want to dump on America, but let's just put it this way: If, say, I lived in Europe (thus far the only other continent I've been to), I don't think I'd want to visit America right now. And if I did visit, I think it would be very tainted. I personally, never felt a taint visiting a number of countries in Europe. As much as I ideologically disagree wtih some of the more socialistic political systems they have, I find the people to be welcoming and relaxed.

I've found I go through phases of wanting to stay here to defend the principles that made America great and then swinging back to wanting to just move on to something better and not take responsibility for our system's problems.

If you do know any avenues for finding a job (I'm an electrical / energy engineer) overseas, please do pass them on! My mind is more open now than I think it's ever been!

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Mike,

I think your best bet is a head hunter, as you probably make a lot more money than I do (I am working as a public school teacher--will be when I return). If you were interested in teaching in the public schools, your engineering degree (any degree, actually) qualifies you to teach English. I happen to be a credentialed teacher (California), but most people I met over the past few years in Korea had no teaching qualifications at all; Japan was about the same.

Given the economic times we are going through now, it's hard to say what's going to happen to the demand for teachers--and English-speaking engineers--in Asia, but if you're seriously thinking about a move, every day adds to the number of unemployed professionals here in the U.S.; most of those people are locked in by family, friends, and fear of the unknown, but some percentage will be looking outside the U.S.--teachers, especially. If L.A. does indeed lay off 3000 teachers this year, many of them are the kind of people that will be looking for jobs overseas (multiply L.A. by X). You have a window...

It all depends on what you're looking for in life. I gave up (some say threw away) ten years of tenure, a position which nothing short of a plague would have threatened--especially as a physics teacher. Am I glad I did it? Ha! Ha ha ha ha...ha...  Take your tour to Europe and add in all the experiences of having myriad other families (that take you in as one of their own) and all that that entails. I don't even talk about my experiences with my "stationary"  friends in the U.S.: No need to do that to them...

For example, I was on a hydroplane to a small island off the west coast of South Korea for a day or two of exploration; I met another teacher (Korean), and by the time we hit shore he had me lodged in a friend's house for a week: a family I had never met, with two brilliant and funny kids, took me in and made me their own. You can't beat Korean hospitality in the rural areas or on the islands. Just one experience... Is that worth making $20K, $50K less a year? You can't buy those experiences, that kind of humanity; a reminder that things don't have to be the way they are in the U.S.

I don't have a recommendation for an international head hunter, thus I can only direct you to The Site for teaching in Japan, Korea, and China: http://www.eslcafe.com/  Don't ever pay a penny. No legitimate recruiter will ask for money.

 Sorry if that's not any help, but that's my world--all I've pursued for the last 20 years.

 Outside the box, among the living,

 Lee

 

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Re: Daily Digest - Jan 10

Mike,

I second the sentiment in Nonzeroone's last comment.  I've lived in Japan for over four years now (visited for long stretches before that) and also have many friends who are "expats" in various countries around the world.  In my case, I gave up a promising career in aerospace at an early age so that I could live and raise a family in Hawaii.  Not a foreign land, but a different culture than the mainland US to be sure.  Never regretted it.  My daughters are grown now and I have moved offshore entirely.  Again, I might have been able to have "more stuff" if I stayed in the US, but my life is far more rich in countrless other ways for the changes I made.   Connecting with people from other countries and cultures, playing my trombone in the local orchestra, and myriad other experiences I could not have imagined before.  Life does exist outside the USA and for me it's been better.

 Best wishes.

 

 

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