When Mike Turner and Dennis Kucinich agree, we live in extraordinary times

It’s been said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and this bailout package vote is no exception. The most radical of “liberals” Dennis Kucinich voted against the bailout bill- as did the staunchest Bush supporter Mike Turner, even against the pleadings of House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-West Chester who usually has Turner on puppet strings.

Turner scored major points in my book for taking this stand. Here is what he said in the Dayton Daily News:

Turner, meanwhile, said he voted against the bill because it fails to hold accountable those who got the financial system into trouble in the first place and because it does not prohibit the bad lending that led to this crisis. He said there were no guarantees that the bailout would work, and no plan for what to do if it didn’t succeed.

“Our entire financial system has been imperiled by the greed of the people that run some of these companies,” he said. “The same people could continue to offer these same loans that caused all this trouble; this bill will not prevent it.”

The performance of our presidential candidates, however, reeks of spinelessness and ego. Both say they supported the bill- which is a total bone being thrown Wall Street’s way. There are no real penalties to the titans for their bad behavior. When John Q. Public is in this mess- the response has been “tough”- however, when it’s people making millions and squandering billions and trillions- we are expected to extend a hand.

Ego first: John McCain is standing on the side lines blaming partisan politics for the failure- even though he wasn’t able to muster the votes from the R side of the House any better than Obama to do the D side. Name calling isn’t what we need right now John.

Spineless is Barack Obama’s response to the failure- well after the smackdown, he’s now calling to double the FDIC deposit guarantee- as if that has anything to do with the price of the Texas Tea they’ve been slurping in the penthouses of NYC?

Haste often makes waste, and the speed at which this bailout has evolved has been mind-boggling, circumventing every mechanism in place to provide for oversight and some good debate. Turner is right (maybe he’s been reading this blog)- without some revision to bankruptcy laws, alternative loan solutions for those caught in bad loans or predatory lending, or relief from high bank penalties for late payment or over the limit fees- we haven’t done anything to stop the default rates of John Q. Public.

With unemployment already heading higher, the incredible insecurity of Wall Street (although the Dow is up $222 so far today) we need some new tools to stabilize the economy and prevent this sort of instant meltdown. I’m really surprised no one has suggested some temporary retarding of trading on Wall Street until the bailout is complete, or that automatic triggers weren’t tripped.

A final thought- instead of having to depend on the media (who by benefiting from campaign ad dollars, is bereft of true objectivity) for the reporting of positions by each member of Congress- wouldn’t it be great if we as voters, could just check each incumbent and each challengers site- to find out how they would vote, or why they voted the way they did- straight from the horses mouth? Neither Jane Mitakides or Mike Turner have had anything resembling an original idea on their respective sites about this critical issue.

Of course, if I was still a candidate for OH-3, you’d all know exactly how I felt- and why. You’d also have the chance to discuss, debate and influence my position, because- believe it or not, it’s called the House of Representatives for a long forgotten reason.

Represent! Now Damnit.

Why Johnny Q. Public can’t pay his mortgage but can bail out Wall Street

Our system is broke. It’s now as morally bankrupt as Wall Street. The American dream is now a complete and utter farce and the belief that the people we elect actually “represent” us should be forgotten as fast as they forgot us with this “bailout”.

Johnny can’t pay his mortgage for a whole bunch of reasons- and not a single one of them is caused by mortgage backed securities or credit default swaps. Let’s take a look:

  1. The price of gasoline has doubled. Congress refused to raise fuel efficiency standards for years, and actually gave tax breaks for buying Hummers and Escalades. Oil companies have seen the largest quarterly profits known to man.
  2. The price of food has increased thanks to the lame idea that Corn makes gasoline efficiently. Corn makes pigs, cows and chickens fat efficiently- and high corn prices don’t even make corn growers fat, since they still have to buy diesel and fertilizer based on… well, see number 1 above.
  3. The price of health care has skyrocketed. Insurance which is supposed to spread the risk over large populations has instead been able to cherry pick and profiteer at will. CEOs of health insurance companies have taken home $100 million annual paychecks without so much as a blink.
  4. Real wages have declined in this country thanks to unfair trade policy and corporations being rewarded for cutting cost by off shoring labor. America, land of opportunity is now a service economy- does anyone want fries with that?
  5. Stock prices have been volatile, causing huge losses in pension funds and retirement accounts because of a complete disconnect between corporate performance and stock value. Wall Street has become a casino for banks, investment banks and insurance companies with programmed trading and massive transactional volume that has more to do with the market than the stocks of the companies that it is supposed to provide capital to.
  6. Changes in the bankruptcy laws were passed at the behest of the credit card companies (the banking industry that is now asking to be bailed out of bankruptcy). The free wheeling banks were allowed at will to jack credit card rates up to as much as 29% for a late payment, or an over the limit charge, and then when people couldn’t pay the credit card bill, the next thing that hit was the mortgage….
  7. Lastly, bankers were allowed to issue loans that made no sense- no money down, for 120% of value, balloon rates, no interest for a set time- and take fees right off the top- before a single payment was made. This is what we blame for the current mess- but it is just a small part of the puzzle.

The one thing that ties everyone of the things above together- all were enabled, ignored or caused by Congress- who has been either asleep at the wheel- or standing with their hands out to ask for campaign money from the people who have made money hand-over-fist from all of the above issues, and now are waiting for a handout from…. drum roll…. John Q. Public.

The “bailout” as proposed by these very same Congressional puppets of the uber “rich” Wall Street types who are now crying for help- does a very good job at protecting the walls of Wall Street’s house, but nothing to protect yours. No controls at all, other than stopping the captains from abandoning a very rich ship with an extra bag of loot (watch salaries rise to the people who are supposed to right the listing ships- so they don’t need a parachute because they’ve built a huge cushion to bail onto).

Let’s look at what should have happened:

  • Criminal prosecution and collection efforts of back bonuses and pay packages from all firms who have now failed or asked for corporate welfare payments. You dont’ get rich going broke in America under a sane system.
  • Caps on credit card rates of 19% for all banks that have had to borrow from the fed discount window (all of them).
  • Immediate investigations into oil company profits and oil speculation. It’s time to get serious about cutting consumption through ending government sponsored sprawl, raising fuel efficiency standards and considering out of the box ideas like a walk-to-work tax credit.
  • Treat any purchase of more than $50,000 in stock in any company that is held less than a year as a loan, with maximum return of no more than the prime rate as set by the Fed.
  • End Ethanol from corn- and allow it from kudzu or hemp or waste from sugar cane processing.
  • Put in place some sort of pay caps in the insurance industry connected to coverage of the US population. For example, until 90% of the population is covered, no executives in the health insurance industry or health care provider can be paid more than the President of the United States if accepting medicaid, government funds or given tax breaks as a non-profit – without suffering huge tax penalties. It’s time doctors, health care administrators and insurers came up with a solution or face a government intervention with a “socialized” health policy. We just “found” $700 billion to bail out banks, I’m sure we can find $700 billion to provide a higher level of health care to all than the current system.
  • Devise a formula for executive compensation that caps pay if US employment drops, payroll drops, benefits are cut or for being sold to foreign nationals. When we can’t even own our own major beer brewers, we’ve got a real problem.
  • Set formulas for a “standardized” loan reformulation. If your mortgage was non-standard, the bank can either buy the home back from you at FULL VALUE of the loan, or agree to a repayment schedule on a conventional loan set at low government interest rate for a longer period of time. This would only apply to banks that have had to ask for public money to survive. There will be a foreclosure penalty on banks, based on their reckless lending. If John Q. Public has to buy the banks bad paper, the banks should have to eat some of John Q.’s bad debt.
  • And last but not least- we need real campaign finance reform. If we can afford $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, it should be the least of our worries to take all the elections and fund them by an “ad tax”- with a percentage of all advertising dollars going to fund a public ad campaign for politicians with equal time and equal access to the voters.

The only problem here- is the voters have to be smart enough to understand when they are being lied to- like right now, when this bailout is being shoved through to their wallets without a single real concession to them. John Q. can’t pay his mortgage because he forgot to pay his congressman off.

That’s the real reason Johnny can’t pay his mortgage.

What would a true third party candidate say in a debate?

Watching last night’s debate, I was pretty sure that other than McCain’s lack of poise when listening to Obama- that the undecided wouldn’t be energized one way or another. With the polls being as close as they have been, I’d say neither side can declare a victory.

But- or course, both sides think their guy won.

The operative word has been “change” in this election. First Obama owned the word, and now, McCain is trying to position himself as the “tested” maverick (as opposed to a testy one- but, that’s my opinion creeping in). I’m still terrified of McCain’s choice for VP, and I’m even more scared that their are signs popping up saying SARAH in big letters and McCain down below it.

It wasn’t till tonight, sitting and watching the movie “Election” that it hit me- when the “third party” candidate stands up and says:

Who cares about this stupid election? We all know it doesn’t matter who gets elected president of Carver. Do you really think it’s going to change anything around here; make one single person smarter or happier or nicer? The only person it does matter to is the one who gets elected. The same pathetic charade happens every year, and everyone makes the same pathetic promises just so they can put it on their transcripts to get into college. So vote for me, because I don’t even want to go to college, and I don’t care, and as president I won’t do anything. The only promise I will make is that if elected I will immediately dismantle the student government, so that none of us will ever have to sit through one of these stupid assemblies again!
[Student body erupts in huge cheers] Tammy Metzler: Or don’t vote for me… who cares? Don’t vote at all!

It was the part about “everyone makes the same pathetic promises” that struck home.

McCain’s answer is to control spending, promise less regulation, lower taxes and smaller government- while attacking Obama as a “liberal” who will turn over your health care to the government (even though that’s who takes care of John’s health care).

Both of them remind each other of all their votes against things that are tied together with other things- as if voting records in Congress have anything to do with true leadership.

Obama talks about protecting the middle class, tax cuts, providing health care, getting out of Iraq and investing in education, but, of course- he apparently isn’t old enough to lead our country or experienced enough if you listen to McCain.

The reality is, Congress is what actually makes the laws, and after listening to the two of them evade giving a real answer on what has to happen to straighten out the economic disaster in this country- I started fantasizing about what someone like Ross Perot would say right now. Not that our country would be smart enough to take a third choice seriously or even allow a third voice.

We’ve devolved into a society that is binary in nature. Coke or Pepsi, Red or Blue States (note- Coke is Red, Pepsi blue) – it’s as if we’ve simplified the system to the point of pointlessness. With our ballot process still in question by some- and the Electoral College still in place, we’ve even stripped the people of their voices down through arcane machinations that gave us our current failure in chief.

Tammy Metzler even urged people not to vote, which, in previous elections has been the case- with our “democracy” lucky to have 50% voter turnout. At some point, shouldn’t we be backing up and looking at this system and asking if the founding fathers actually got it right?

In the parliamentary system, when things start breaking like our economy, there is an election pronto. We’re still tied to a set schedule, which forces us to wait 4 years to vote the bastards out. We’re spending $5 billion on elections this year- that’s a billion more than the tax cuts for the oil companies that Obama accuses McCain of supporting.

There is no question in mind that Obama is the better choice and the right choice to be our next president, but, the real question is- are we electing someone to be president of a system that’s totally and completely broken beyond repair? Has our system failed us?

Looking at the economic mess- the war- our standing amongst other nations- and our mud-slinging, incredibly expensive system of elections, maybe it’s time to consider a real change- to something that we can afford and works.

That would be a real change.

Free stuff to do this weekend in Dayton: Historic South Park Jazz and Arts Festival

The second edition of the Historic South Park Jazz & Arts Festival to take place on Saturday Sept. 27, 2008, in the Park Drive Gazebo, from Noon until 9:30 pm. Park Drive is one block North of the intersection of Wayne and Wyoming.
There will also be an Art Show in the boulevard & vendors selling various kinds of food throughout the day.

The line up:

  • noon: Scott Oglesbee and Jerry Steinke
  • 1:30 Mary Knapke and the Ron Meyer Trio
  • 3 pm The University of Dayton Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:30 Chris Bowman & Friends
  • 6pm Rick Evans and the Masters of Jazz
  • 7:30  Linda Dachtyl Trio and Gene Walker.

Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a happy face. I’ll be working concessions from 4-5pm so stop in and say hi.

NOTE ON PARKING: Free parking will be available at Emerson School on Hickory (visible from US 35) with a free shuttle bus to the boulevard.

How this financial mess started: Phil Gramm, adviser to John McCain

Before the total melt down of our financial markets this week, way back in May of 2008, the Texas Observer recounted the progression of events that led to the “shadow banking system” that is about to screw the taxpayers into $700 Billion of corporate welfare, while we still don’t approve of helping ourselves.

Reading the complete article will show you how we got into this mess. Reading the end of this post, will tell you how we can get out of this mess.

The chief author of this mess, John McCain’s campaign adviser, Phil Gramm. The whole article is well worth a look:

Friday, December 15, 2000, with Christmas break only hours away, the U.S. Senate rushed to pass an essential, 11,000-page government reauthorization bill. In what one legal textbook would later call “a stunning departure from normal legislative practice,” the Senate tacked on a complex, 262-page amendment at the urging of Texas Sen. Phil Gramm.

There was little debate on the floor. According to the Congressional Record, Gramm promised that the amendment—also known as the Commodity Futures Modernization Act—along with other landmark legislation he had authored, would usher in a new era for the U.S. financial services industry.

“The work of this Congress will be seen as a watershed where we turned away from an outmoded Depression-era approach to financial regulation and adopted a framework that will position our financial services industry to be world leaders into the new century,” Gramm said.

John McCain’s Gramm Gamble by Patricia Kilday Hart – The Texas Observer.

Enron should have been the wake-up call, but, of course, since our political process is so polluted with lobbyists money, Congress has conveniently looked the other way while keeping their hands out for table scraps of the pillaging of the American financial system.

This November, you have a choice to choose the course of our country- to go with a top Harvard scholar, Barack Obama, or a man who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis (John McCain). Their choices of Vice Presidential candidates also vary as much, the Harvard man picking a seasoned politician who at one point challenged his credentials, and the other picking a beauty queen who went to five different colleges to earn a degree in broadcast journalism. If you are wondering how loopholes as big as this entered our system, one only has to look at the caliber of our elected leaders. We’re getting exactly what we should expect as long as we keep voting for candidates based on things like skin color, stands on hot button issues like abortion and gun control- which are often used as a distraction while we’re robbed blind.

There is a reason there are only four members of Congress who aren’t millionaires. Us.

You are about to let your legislators put our country forever in the hole to save the asses of people who’ve never cared one iota for your welfare. You’ve been relegated to life as a cash cow- to be milked for all you’ve got, so they can get rich and poweful, while we struggle. Until we fix campaign finance- taking the money out of politics, the Phil Gramms of this Country will continue to get rich, while screwing you, your kids, your grandkids and their grandkids into trillions of dollars of debt.

I’ve yet to hear position statements from our local Congressional choices, Mike Turner (R) or Jane Mitakides (D), on how we should proceed with this bail out, and it’s highly unlikely we will. Both are well moneyed, political simpletons who believe that serving in Congress is akin to joining a country club, instead of representing your interests.

This bailout is either going to be a turning point in American history, or our final chapter. It all depends on how you vote this November.

Bush gets one thing right: The market isn’t functioning properly

Watching tonight’s presidential address, there was one sentence that stood out-an admission of a fundamental flaw in the system- yet, no one is talking about the real problem: Wall Street isn’t a financial market anymore- it’s a casino.

I’ve been saying this for years. Now, with this bailout being rushed through, I’m waiting to hear what fundamental changes will be proposed.

Here is what Bush said:

I’m a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business. Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence, and major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.

Transcript – President Bush’s Speech to the Nation on the Economic Crisis – Text – NYTimes.com.

To restore stability to the markets, we must once again connect investment and share price to actuall financial performance of a company- hard numbers, not emotions.

To do that, investments must be based on long term outlooks, performance and financial success. All stock bought by large investors must actually be an investment – i.e. longer than a year.

To have access to capital via the equity markets, companies must stop handing out stock as compensation, except when it is evenly distributed throgh an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. No more wild handouts to the chiefs while the indians toil. Investors must have first dibs at profits and executive compensation must be approved by a majority of stockholders- not the owners of a majority of the stock.

It’s time to remove golden parachutes altogether from allowable compensation packages. The simple solution to stop corporate takeovers (the supposed “poison pill” reason behind these massive handouts) is to either own a controlling interest in the stock (through an ESOP) or to take the company private. At no point, should any executive be able to cash out, unless they were the founder or an early investor.

Lastly, ratios on compensation should be put in place, limiting compensation based on total US payroll, job growth, profit growth. If all three aren’t growing, executives pay shouldn’t be either.

Lastly, corporate exec pay should never exceed the corporate tax bill. If you are going to profit wildly from being part of the greatest nation on the planet, the company should foot its share of the bill for our infrastructure, defense and economic strength. The days of setting up offshore subsidiaries to dodge taxes, laws or reporting of income must stop.

Without these changes, no amount of economic bailout will be much more than a temporary band-aid.

We also need to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, anyone who took more than a million a year in compensation while working for a company that is now being asked to be bailed out. If my business goes under, I lose my house. When Bear Sterns went under- did any of the jokers working there lose theirs? It’s time to collect.

Remember, George Bush himself said “I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business.” So, if he’s asking the taxpayers to pay for their failures- I want to own the fat cat’s houses first.

How your tax dollars are going to help the rich bastards that got us into this mess

The “banking bailout” is turning into just one more example of corporate welfare. In fact, the bill presented to Congress is almost terrifying in its scope and lack of oversight, giving the treasury secretary an open checkbook to buy assets from companies that have no right to still be in business.

Read this post in the New York Times that quotes a Republican making sense:

“Another expression of disgust came from Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, who said the plan would “take Wall Street’s pain and spread it to the taxpayers.”

“It’s financial socialism, and it’s un-American,” Mr. Bunning said.”

There are even bigger problems to sort out- like, no one knows the value of all these complex “investment instruments” that were devised by the very list of assholes who got us into this mess. They are the ones listed below, who have been taking home huge checks while robbing us.

If you need proof- read the salaries – and look at the performance:

  • Lehman Bros. Chairman and CEO Richard Fuld Jr. made $34 million in 2007. Lehman (OTC:LEHMQ) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month.
  • Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which Sunday gained Federal Reserve Bank approval to become a bank holding company, paid its Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein $70 million last year. Co-Chief Operating Officers Gary Cohn and Jon Winkereid were paid $72.5 million and $71 million, respectively.
  • Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack earned $1.6 million. Chief Financial Officer Colin Kelleher got a $21 million paycheck in 2007. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) also received approval to become a banking holding company, a shift that allows Morgan and Goldman to bring in bank deposit assets which offer more solid financial footing.
  • Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain was paid $17 million in salary, bonuses and stock options in 2007. Merrill (NYSE:MER) is being acquired by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). Bank of America CEO Kenneth Davis earned $25 million in 2007.
  • JP Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO James Dimon earned $28 million in 2007. Chase (NYSE:JPM) acquired troubled investment house Bear Stearns earlier this year with the federal government promising to take on as much as $30 billion in Bear assets to help get the deal done.
  • Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd received $11.6 million in 2007. His counterpart at Freddie Mac, Richard Syron, brought in $18 million. The federal government announced earlier this month it was taking over the mortgage backers with Herbert Allison to serve as Fannie CEO and David Moffett the new CEO at Freddie.
  • Wachovia Corp. Chairman and CEO G. Kennedy Thompson received $21 million in 2007. He was succeeded by Robert Steel as CEO in July. Steel is slated to get a $1 million salary with an opportunity for a $12 million bonus, according to CEO Watch. Wachovia (NYSE:WB) is one of the banks that could be sold in the midst of the financial crisis.
  • Washington Mutual (NYSE:WAMU) will pay its new CEO Alan Fishman a salary and incentive package worth more than $20 million through 2009 for taking the helm of the battered bank, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

CEOs of large U.S. corporations averaged $10.8 million in total compensation in 2006, more than 364 times the pay of the average U.S. worker, according to the latest survey by United for a Fair Economy. In 2007, the CEO of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company received, on average, $14.2 million in total compensation, according to The Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm. The median compensation package received was $8.8 million.

CEOs of troubled companies took home big bucks last year – Dayton Business Journal:.

Congress is afraid to go and collect the ill-gotten gains from the CEOs- that should be the first hint that this bailout plan is flawed. Secondly, while we keep hearing about how it’s all because of the “sub-prime loans” no effort is being made to restructure those and save our homes- no, we’re saving the homes of the people above- the ones with more than one home, with more than 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and an attached garage.

It’s time to realize- no “bailout” is going to help the American people until some sort of controls are put on Wall Street- starting with limits on executive pay. Interestingly, we’ve already stopped “Short selling” on financial stocks- which is somewhat akin to telling Vegas you can’t bet against the Browns or the Bengals or the Buckeyes in a title game, when what we really need is to stop the volatility- a company like Apple can’t change its value by a billion or two in a day if our markets actually had some relationship to a company’s net worth and business model. Cutting the trading of stocks by large institutional investors by the minute- would be a good step in the right direction.

Last but not least, before we go spend $700 Billion- maybe we should consider just buying each individual house that’s in one of these stupid loans- and giving the conventional financing, cutting out the bankers altogether? That would be a government for the people, by the people- using our tax dollars to reward those who pay taxes. In fact, I’d take a look at how much each of those CEOs above paid in taxes last year- and tell each of them that’s their cap of what they get to keep- and see how fast they start crying.

The other option to spend our $700 Billion would be to force credit card companies out of business. That’s right- put the control of credit cards into the hands of the Fed. Technically, the Fed is the only one who is supposed to “create money” and we’ve allowed banks and the cc system to create way too much debt. How many offers for credit cards did you used to get in the mail? How many have you got recently? See?

If we want to help the taxpayer- it’s time to force credit card rates down- and fast. It’s a much better solution to get the economy back on track than by bailing out the banks- and the rich assholes who failed, but still got paid.

If we invest another dime in the banks- we ought to own them, or at least own everything belonging to every one of those bankers.

Start reading more about this- it may be the biggest skirting of our Constitution ever- all to protect a bunch of rich, spoiled assholes- with friends in Congress.

Fear mongering comes to you courtesy of the Dayton Daily News

Obsession, Radical Islam's war against the West delivered by the Dayton Daily News Sept. 22, 2008Found a surprise with my paper this monring- a DVD from the “Clarion Fund” warning me that’s it’s “…required viewing for everyone” and as seen on CNN and FOX News by more than 20 million viewers worldwide.” Wow, I’ve always trusted Fox News to be “Fair and balanced”- not.

It’s “Obsession, radical islam’s war against the West.” and while I fully believe radical almost anything is dangerous by it’s very nature- I’m pretty sure that fear mongering is not the answer.

A quick search brought up some good links to read about this- it’s being distributed in “Swing States” to persuade us that John McCain is the answer (wouldn’t be prudent to let a man with a Muslim name try to settle things down after we’ve done everything we could to fuel radical Muslims hate for us for the last 8 years now, would it.)

Here are the links:

http://www.jewsonfirst.org/08a/obsession.html

http://wearechange.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/the-clarion-fund-and-obsession-radical-islams-war-against-the-west/

and a full explanation of the film at the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-ose/pro-mccain-group-dumping_b_125969.html

Considering the Dayton Daily News has it’s lowest subscriber count on Mondays- it would seem the Clarion Fund is running out of money- or just not that bright.

It would also help to send it to homes that have power, so they might actually be able to watch this (I had to go to my office to read the paper).

Just remember, while our government is bailing out a bunch of the richest CEOs in America, and the oil companies are all reporting record profits; you and I, John Q. Public are all losing value in our homes, pension funds, retirement accounts (the latest joke is that your 401K is now a 201K) largely because we’ve had leaders at the helm who’ve allowed the “greed mongers” to wildly profit on the backs of the entire world.

Radical Islam is only the first signs of the coming revolution if we continue to allow this exploitation to continue. Italy cheered Mussolini for making the trains run on time, Hitler was the answer to a proud country that had been humiliated after defeat- right now, I live in the “most powerful nation in the world” without power, being asked to watch a video vilifying a response to our extension of power in places we had no business being.

I’m sorry- more than one light bulb was just lit, and it wasn’t from DP&L.

Please consider carefully your choice in the November election. Do we want someone who extends a hand welcoming all to the table, or do we want an iron fist. I think we’ve seen where a fist gets us.

Flintstone living- week 2

My office has power. My house does not, one week after the storm. I’ve had an extension cord running across the street to power the fridge and the high efficiency hot water heater, but nothing else. I’m also keeping a neighbors fridge working. DP&L called 2x today with an automated survey to find out if we have power. Considering a lot of people don’t have phones that work without batteries or juice, I’m not sure they know that there are at least 250+ homes in 8 blocks without power. I’ve only seen one place where it looks like trees are on a line. Everything else looks ok.

Now, the bigger question: what is their incentive to make sure this doesn’t happen again? Not a damn thing. The CEO can be paid millions, instead of funding extra line crews, or invest in burying or hardening the distribution grid, while we go without power and basic necessities. Think about it? How hard is running a utility with no competition? A fixed customer base that has no option? A grid that’s been in place for years? And this is a risky, difficult job requiring a CEO worth millions a year? Not just NO, HELL NO.

It’s time the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio start a lawsuit against DP&L for failure to deliver power, and for overcharging the public for this inflated compensation schedule. If the Governor of the State of Ohio is only worth $150K or so a year, explain to me how a “public utility” chief deserves more?

What is the incentive to bring down the cost of power to the people of Ohio? What is the incentive to improve our electrical grid? What’s the incentive to turn my lights back on? Not a damn thing- he’ll get paid no matter how bad he screws up.

If you want to read a great rant on CEO pay, by someone who has been paid in spades, I highly recommend this post by Mark Cuban (thanks for the tip JR)

http://blogmaverick.com/2008/09/15/stock-market-meltdowns-why-they-will-happen-again-and-again-and-again/

I put my 2 cents in a long comment around number 52 or so.

More posts when my lights come back on.

Free markets aren’t free when they fail.

Things went from bad to worse this week, with two major investment banks floundering and a mega-insurer becoming a ward of the State. All of a sudden, naked short-selling is getting the heave ho, as an industry built on greed finally saw that the well does in fact, run dry.

While the “geniuses” on Wall Street have played their self-made casino with monopoly money, when the curtain got pulled away, it was the Fed stepping in with real dollars, your tax dollars, to stop the games. The question is- and we haven’t seen it yet- is what strings will be attached to the bailouts.

When the Fed pumped money into banks and cut rates, they didn’t have the guts to demand lower credit card interest rates, or a moratorium on foreclosures. Nope, they didn’t ask for anything back. That’s not capitalism at all folks, that’s socialism with the State taking care of the uber rich.

Business Week has an article saying that we’re headed back to regulation, the question is what kind of regulations?

The 30-year era of deregulation came to a sudden and surprising end on Sept. 16. Late that evening the Federal Reserve extended $85 billion to take an unprecedented 80% stake in American International Group (AIG) in order to save the floundering insurance giant. Less than two weeks earlier, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had announced that the federal government was taking over Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), the colossal mortgage agencies. Suddenly the U.S. financial sector could not survive without government help.

Since the long-ago days when Jimmy Carter was President, regulation has been a dirty word in Washington. Politicians of both parties vied to see how much of the economy they could free from the oppressive yoke of government control. The deregulation movement started when Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Later, as it spread from energy to trucking to telecommunications to financial services, the rallying cry was the same: Less regulation, more growth.

But the implosion in financial services—until recently seen as the shining example of U.S-style free market capitalism—is the definitive sign that deregulation has lost its allure. In areas ranging from food safety to airlines to trade, increased government supervision is becoming acceptable to business as well as to voters. “Over the past couple of years, the mood has changed,” says Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America. “What’s possible has expanded.”

The Candidates Weigh In

Indeed, both consumer and industry groups have come out in favor of giving the Food & Drug Administration stronger authority to monitor food safety. The shift toward reregulation is reflected in the Presidential campaigns. Back in March, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said: “I’m always for less regulation” and referred to himself as “fundamentally, a deregulator.” But in a Sept. 16 speech the Republican nominee adopted a far different approach: “Under my reforms, the American people will be protected by comprehensive regulations.” On the same day, the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, (D-Ill.) who has argued much more aggressively about the need to bolster regulation, stepped up his rhetoric as well: “It’s time to get serious about regulatory oversight,” he said.

Is It the Dawn of the Reregulation Era?.

Read the whole article, and you never quite get a feel that anyone has a real clue on where to start. Neither candidate seems to have a background in Economics or an understanding of how tough we really need to get to bring some discipline back to the capital markets if we want them to operate the way they were supposed to.