Monday, September 29, 2008

Michael Moore Sounds the Alarm

This is from a newsletter that Michael Moore sends to his subscribers. I am not one, but at a hobby Yahoo Group I frequent, this was posted. (The poster was soundly rebuked for bringing politics into the funplace.) He had bunches of links in the letter, but for the sake of brevity, I'm only recreating one link--the one that struck me the most--Wall St is already planning how to make more money on the bailout money they're about to get.

The other thing of importance is that the 700 Billions of dollars is a figure pulled out of the air. Unless the NPR Quiz Show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" only got their facts from Michael Moore, they verified for me the fact that when asked how the treasurer dude arrived at the figure, he said ~ "I just went for a really big number."

And now Mr. Moore;


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.


The Neighbor said...


First off - Michael Moore is not an objective source. He's an inflammatory person, and polarizing. I personally don't care for him. And I'm probably to his left politically.

I think he's wrong. The bailout sucks - regardless of your side of things, regardless of the fact that it, itself, is polarizing.

But it's necessary. I thought about this a great deal, and for a very long time, I didn't know what to think.

But it's necessary. We must have some kind of intervention. And it's not for my pension or 401k. Fuck that shit - it's just money. Yeah, it seems like an improbably large figure, but it's really ok. Smart people won't starve. But other folks will. Really. As in, no food - no nourishment. Desperation.

And the fallout will be worldwide.

Fuck wall street - with the attention they are getting now, do you really believe anyone will get away with shenanigans? No. They won't. We will have our justice but it's not, despite my Libertarian free-market leanings, couched in letting the financial market implode. I heartily agree, even as I grudgingly watch the notion of my equity dissolve, that property values are too high, and a correction is mandated. And once that is done, the credit markets will ease. But the fact is that the dollar underpins far more than the price of a loaf of bread - it's the basis for the valuation of almost every foreign market in existence, and if it tanks, then we face more than we can handle.

Yes, it;s going to be exorbitantly expensive to fix this mess, and yes, the government is probably complicit. But that's not relevant right now - I agree that property values need to adjust, but they need to do so gracefully - not to freefall and then recover.

The problem in my mind is the modern American culture - polar as hell - it IS or it ISN'T - YES or NO - REPUBLICAN or DEMOCRAT. It's binary. It's bullshit.

Fix it first - give us a graceful, subsidized decline, THEN turn your barrels on the culprits, and strip them of their gains, and send them to PMITA prison.

But we need to allow the market adjustment to be gradual, because the polarized world of America will take it far too far, for too quickly.

The decline is inevitable. The pace is not.

Alan said...

Yeah, Michael Moore has never struck me as Captain Impartial, Fair and Accurate News Reporter. In fact, I'm sure I know his psych diagnosis.

I trust your judgement, Ned. I've seen you rail against The System. You don't like the Overclass more than I don't. I'm the one in bed with the Overclass. They pay me to talk about their problems, which none of them is wanting to STOP being the Overclass. (When you set up Psych Shop in Midtown Manhattan, you are inevitably going to receive some of the Overclass as your clients.)

A Shade Of Scorpio said...

Here's me posting a response. I can't seem to keep my attention span thriving enough to know the deep dark details of any of this. I am paranoid about the safety seal of a jar of vitamins being loose. I am not paranoid (and spank me if I'm too laid back about this) about my financial situation as in, how will we eat this week, how will I pay my rent, what's happening. IMHO, which is incredibly feeling based and not at all an educated opinion, it'll get better. There has to be the yin and the yang and our society (or maybe our whole species, but then again, other cultures don't put as much emphasis and blood on money as we do)is not impressed when we have to decline to our inclining expectations.

Its ok if my opinion makes me sound like an uneducated poof of ass gas, but that's how I feel.

The Neighbor said...

Actually, Shades, your gut is serving you far better than you might think. The details are mind-numbingly complicated, and if you aks ten economists what will happen,. you'll get ten very plausible answers.

A lot of this has to do with confidence - consumer and lender confidence. It'll be ok if it passes, and it'll be ok if it doesn't. If it does, both the republicans and the Democrats are right on with their assertions - it does reward the folks who caused the problems and it is a form of socialism. But the government encouraged, repeatedly, relaxation of lending rules. Banks complied,and the economy soared for a while. Too high. And like Icarus, they caught fire, and they're coming down one way or another.

It's unbelievably complex, and there is no 'right' answer, but putting a floor under the credit markets is the 'right' thing to do, even if it sends a 'wrong' message about how and why this happened.

This is a time for our legislators to govern according to principle, not public opinion. They may do something unpopular and lose elections over it, but this is the time to do something right, not something popular.

Yeah, I'm acting like I know the right thing to do - I don't. I read voraciously, assimilate, and then make wild swings in my views. I'm not an economist - I don't even keep a check register. But I do have opinions, and I'm not afraid to use them.

Boopila said...

Suze Orman says its' the best thing to do. The bail out. And I go with what she tells me. I love her. On the list of people I'd like to meet she's right up there with Judy Shcheindlin and David Bowie.