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Open Forum for Saturday, October 24, 2009
Tonight, I will broadcast a special episode of Dark Voices Radio from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.
It promises to be yet another evening of talk radio rants, political and economic analysis, and other fun content.
Okay, maybe it won't
be fun; but who needs fun on talk radio when we have the on-going drama in Washington to amuse, annoy, and frustrate us?
Speaking of amusement, annoyance, and frustration, let's talk news here at The Dark Wraith Forums
Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging
Anglican congregations to join the Roman Catholic church to repudiate what conservative Anglicans view as the outrages of female clergy and the consecrations of gay bishops.
Rumors cannot be confirmed that the Pope is promising Anglican converts to Catholicism front-row seats at the next burning of female witches and men who dress like the Pope, himself.
Apparently, the health-care public option is back on the table
, with the latest incarnation having an opt-out provision for states. That would, of course, make it an optional public option.
That's nice, but it seems that possibility of fines and jail terms for people who don't get health insurance is still on the table, with support coming from all kinds of places, including even a blog called "Economix"
run by that bastion of all things institutionally liberal, The New York Times
Obviously, dedicated readers here at The Dark Wraith Forums
know very well that the only source for all things related to economics is right here. Unlike my fancy less-than-peers, many of whom could be featured in definitional FAIL, my economic forecasts and predictions are pretty much on target. My disdain for institutionally approved economists, by the way, includes 2008 Nobel Prize economics winner Paul Krugman
, yet another lousy economist who's lousy because he takes money to be a shill instead of practicing his craft to be an economist. (That goes for his sycophantic peer, Brad Delong, too.)
Returning briefly to that mandatory health care insurance idea, let me mention here in writing what I said on last week's edition of Dark Voices Radio: If the health care reform bill that becomes law includes mandatory health insurance, I will blog every step of the way I take to prison.
I promise you that. You think I'm joking? Watch
Enough about the future; it's gotten to be such a downer ever since the Fall from Eden.
On a more up-beat note, the U.S. has now had 100 bank failures
for the year. Yes, claiming that's good news is sarcasm. Many of these banks are failing because of bad management, but the underlying problem is not the banks, despite what you might have heard. The Federal Reserve failed massively in its role as the regulator and supervisor of banks; but more importantly, it failed in its most important long-term role as the sole authority over monetary policy; and for that failure, what has happened? The chief architect of that failure, Ben Bernanke, has been appointed by President Obama to a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. As galling as that is, Bernanke's predecessor, Alan Greenspan, is treated as some sage old wise man despite having degenerated from a competent, if pale, shadow of his master, Paul Volker, into a man whose last decade as Chairman of the Fed was hallmarked by spiteful manipulation of the money supply against President Clinton's economic success, followed by lying to Congress in 2001 about the need for massive, irresponsibly long-term tax cuts for a "recession" that did not exist.
Why did Greenspan do that? Ah, yes, it's because a government running budget surpluses does not issue Treasury debt, which is the means by which the Federal Reserve has control over the money supply through what are called "open market operations," as I explained in Part One
of my series, "The Federal Reserve under Fire." Those early Bush Administration tax cuts, rubber stamped by the tax-cut freak Republicans who ran the Congress, threw the federal budget back into the deficits that Clinton's era had overcome.
Criminally malfeasant men who should be in prison are honored.
But that's only because they are doing the public's business with criminal malfeasance.
Okay, I've groused enough. It's what I do when I get ready for a show. It's the ambience I'm after.
Enough. I need to get the intro ready.
Stay as long as you like. Get yourself something to eat out of the fridge, and don't forget to leave a tip in the jar.
It's almost showtime for the Dark Wraith.
ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!! I was HOME! My internet was paid for and working! And I read this at 12:21 AM.
There is very little in my life right now that isn't sucky. This just reinforces my belief that the universe is out to get me.
Oh... a message for Peter of Lone Tree.... I sent you e-mail and it bounced, saying you don't exist. Please tell me you exist. Or I may think it is all a conspiracy....
Good evening, Wild Clover.
Just make sure you're home next Saturday night. I'll be waiting for your call to the show.
As for Peter of Lone Tree, he is without a computer, right now. I need to check in with Father Tyme to see if Peter has a plan to get re-connected to the 21st Century. It's just not the same without him.
Anyway, keep your Internet radio tuned to Dark Voices Radio for up-to-the-minute (as long as the minute is on Saturday nights) news, rants, and general nonsense. One of these weeks very soon, I'm going to try to run a couple of small segments on Sleaze and Conspiracy Theories.
Unfortunately, as I think about it, that might bring in the wrong crowd to the show.
The Dark Wraith always likes to keep the audience from getting into brawls in the lobby.
WC, I missed it too, but then, my Google update came at 5:14a.m. on Sunday.
I'll mark the calendar for next Saturday. Let's get ready to rumble!!
The Dark Wraith sees trouble brewing for next Saturday night.
I didn't know, either. My reminders aren't reminding, either. Are prank phone calls allowed? I'm feeling a real need to rile you up.
Prank phone calls will be managed by the Wedgie-O-Matic I've installed on the call-in switchboard.
Don't make me use it.
The Dark Wraith doesn't want to scare the other listeners with the sound of surprise.
Enough about the future; it's gotten to be such a downer ever since the Fall from Eden.
Yeah, just as things were looking up that whole garden thing came about. Took it's eye off the science prize, methinks. No, not the Nobel kind; the whole "Let's try not using conclusions as a starting point to understanding , mmkay?"
Let's see how that Wedgie-O-Matic works on Tag-Team rasslin' provocateurs!
On your previous Halloween graphic...careful...Rush Limbaugh will report it as a legitimate news story.
So now Jim DeMint has decided that his endorsement of the far-right nutjob running for the upper New York seat is vitally needed. I think that's wonderful. Perhaps the Dems ought to do the same thing. Next time a DeMint or similar is running for office, mebbe some of the more radical liberal Dems should give their support to his/her campaign as well.
If they can help themselves to your earnings before you even see it.
If they can dictate to you what herbs of nature you may and may not use.
And if they can dictate to you that you WILL strap your ass into your car seat every time you use an automobile.
If they can dictate to you that you WILL have automobile insurance, or else be fined or go to jail.
Don't they pretty much already own you?
How is dictating to you that you WILL buy medical insurance any different than all the rest? Honestly, as I see it, it is just more of the same.
You ain't loosing any freedoms you hain't already lost a long time ago.
And how is this any different from how the aboringinal americans were dealt with? And the African slaves, for that matter.
Get used to it - this is how it works in America.
The freedom fantasy games can be dispensed with now.
You are born subjects of the state. Animals on the Farm.
Good points on all but one; car insurance. If you don't have a car, you don't have to buy insurance.
But health insurance? If you are currently alive, it'll be forced on you! (And you DO have a choice there! Life! If it's worth living, it's worth taxing!))
I wonder if the sons and daughters of people who cheat the system on required health insurance who then die will have to pay penalties and extra taxes? Seems fair. Other businesses and the gov can do it to us now. What's to stop that from becoming enforceable?
I can't wait for the tax on air because of the excess carbon and other pollutants we'll have to remove that business spews into the atmosphere. Seems fair also. They pollute and we have to pay if we want to be able to breathe. Gawd! What a great idea!
My dear Wraithly one, you realize that NEXT Saturday is Halloween. We will be out Trick or Treating, so I probably won't make it back on time. Of course, I logged in tonight, having forgotten the day switch.
The world conspires against me.
"he wants a rate freeze on existing credit card balances." from the sidebar.... I'm not an economist, nor do I play one on TV, but we are not talking about sweet kindly folks lending money and making a bit of profit, we are talking folks charging usurious rates in most cases. In the cases where the rate is reasonable, they are without warning doubling and tripling rates on folks with great credit scores and no payment problems. As someone who has seldom gotten an offer for a deal with reasonable rates, and who has had employment issues totally screw up things like payments to said companies, I have always thought it counterproductive ( if you ignore the fact that the loaners can charge-off bad debt) to take someone who is struggling and think that 30% interest has a gnats' chance of getting paid off. If it costs me 8% to get the money, and I issue it at 16%, I make 8% profit, assuming I get the $$ back. I issue it to the poor risk at 24%, and end up paying money to try and collect what I ain't gonna get.... I'm all for a freeze on all increases on current loans-including ARMS- the ARMs were a great contributer to the economic meltdown. Freezing them in place at the get-go until each mortgage were renegotiated would probably not have saved the housing market, but the landing would have been softer. Freeze all loan rates, cap out the card companies maybe at 30% (biblically, I think it i s 10, and maybe the born again republican base types should push for a return to Biblical values in the money-lending sector) WITH the addition that yearly fees, monthly fees, and all these creative costly add-ons that have come about as card companies looked for every dollar they could suck from the unwary (ya gotta read every word on the offer you get in the mail) measured against the credit limit, added to the interest rate cannot go above said 30%.
This will result in the card companies NOT taking the high risk customers...If they normally charge 7$/month and $66/year for a card, and they send you one of their "Your credit sucks" cards with a $300 limit, they are over the cap of 30%. If they send you the deluxe "Your credit stinks, but we are giving you a card anyway" with a $500 limit, they would be limited to charging 10% interest. If you were AAA and got a 5000 limit, they could charge 20%. I'm thinking that folks like me in this type of environment would cease getting card offers by mail....they are going to earn tons more on the bigger cards because of the interest difference.
Fewer small-fry topping out their $300 credit cards, fewer charge-offs (because I figured the REAL cost of one offer I got with the monthly fee and all to be around 50%, assuming I never paid off my balance. Paid off, it jumped because I'd still have been shelling out a monthly fee). The cost of borrowing is what kills a poor borrower...Pay day loans have proven that. I need $100 for 2 weeks, I pay back $150, I end up $50 in the hole, so never get out. $110 I might manage. So it goes with all loans when you end up in the "high risk" group. Being able to afford 50 a month on a credit card doesn't pay off very fast if fees and interest total $51 a month.
Reasoned, thought out caps and freezes would mean lenders would have to work for a profit, not scattershot loans with effective rates of 40 or 50% and rely on the steady income fees and service charges net them. Being pickier would mean fewer consumer loans, which should mean the money supply could shrink. The price of money goes up, they get pickier, take fewer profits (which they will do anyway, even without a cap).
I sidetracked myself... Freeze everything temporarily. EACH loan gets vetted all over again, with folks facing a rate hike getting the option to opt out (if a revolving credit line) and pay off at original rate, but must give up their card. Put in usury laws, regulate fees that raise the cost of money, then when all existing loans have been vetted, lift the freeze. Cap interest and fees at a total vs/ loan.
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