Archive for the ‘Morality and Humanity’ Category

Bush Plans to Put 9/11 Workers’ Care in Company Based Outside NY – Sick Would Pay Upfront

WASHINGTON – The outgoing Bush administration appears to be working “covertly” on a contract that would strip the 9/11 health and treatment program from the FDNY and Mount Sinai Medical Center, sources told the Daily News.

The plan, which sources say is being batted around within the Department of Health and Human Services, would yank all Sept.  11-related monitoring and care from the city and put it in the hands of of one company – likely based outside the city.

A new contract could potentially force 9/11 patients pay up front for services, and then be reimbursed. Currently, the tab is covered.

More than 50,000 people are enrolled in the city-based health and monitoring program, open to those exposed to Ground Zero. About 16,000 participants are actively receiving treatment.

Some 4,000 people are enrolled in a national version.

“The department is not working on a solicitation of this type and this allegation is untrue,” HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson insisted.

Nevertheless, a source told The News officials within the department “have not liked this program from the beginning.”

“They are ideologues, and they could stick the Obama administration with this contract. At best, it’s disruptive,” the source added.

A spokesman for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which administers the 9/11 programs, said the contract for treating ill Americans outside of the tri-state area would end in the summer – but could not say if there were any plans for the city programs.

“What they want to do is broaden that national contract, and put everyone in there,” a source with New York ties said, adding that federal officials appear to be trying to bid out the new program before Barack Obama takes office.

The source said New York legislators learned of the impending move after a potential contractor called them, hoping to get help preparing a bid.

That prompted Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler (D- Manhattan) to fire off a angry letter Thursday demanding an explanation for the secret moves after officials had promised to keep them in the loop.

“Last week, we were dismayed to hear of a new solicitation about to be issued by your department that would apparently replace all current arrangements,” says the letter addressed to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and obtained by the News.

“This information on the new solicitation concerned us not only with regard to the potential damage to the current program,” the letter went on, “but also regarding the apparent attempt to covertly announce this contract solicitation in the last days of the Bush administration.”

Maloney and Nadler gave the secretary three days to respond.

“We just received this letter today and immediately called their offices to say these allegations are unfounded,” Pearson said.

It’s rare that we are left speechless – but this is truly one of those times. What has become of the United States of America that this would be allowed to happen – and that the candidates for whom these people were gathered said nothing? We are saddened…and sickened beyond words.

Another McCain-Palin supporter yells ‘kill him!’ about Obama.

The Scranton Times-Tribune notes that yet another McCain supporter at a rally today with Gov. Sarah Palin yelled “kill him!” in reference to Sen. Barack Obama:

Chris Hackett addressed the increasingly feisty crowd as they await the arrival of Gov. Palin. Each time the Republican candidate for the seat in the 10th Congressional District mentioned Barack Obama the crowd booed loudly. One man screamed “kill him!”

Last Monday, a supporter also yelled “kill him” at a rally. In the past weeks, McCain supporters have called Obama “an Arab,” “Little Hussein,” and a “terrorist.”

Abercrombie
Alexander
Baca
Barrett (SC)
Berkley
Biggert
Braley (IA)
Carson
Cleaver
Coble
Conaway
Cummings
Dent
Edwards (MD)
Fallin
Frelinghuysen
Gerlach
Giffords
Hirono
Hoekstra
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Knollenberg
Kuhl (NY)
Lee
Lewis (GA)
Mitchell
Myrick
Ortiz
Pascrell
Pastor
Ros-Lehtinen
Schiff
Schmidt
Scott (GA)
Shadegg
Shuster
Solis
Sullivan
Sutton
Terry
Thompson (CA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tierney
Wamp
Welch (VT)
Woolsey
Wu
Yarmuth

In a stunning rebellion by rank and file members, the House of Representatives defied their party leaders Monday afternoon to reject President Bush’s colossal sweeping bailout of Wall Street.

“This is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle and I’m not going to eat that cow patty,” declared Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) (Our emphasis.)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 600 points, before rebounding slightly.

The measure went down 205 to 228 but party leaders were keeping the vote open to try to change enough minds to reverse the result.

The stunning vote came after three emotional hours of debate over the most sweeping government interference in the free market since President Franklin Roosevelt rewrote the American economy in the 1930s.

The bill, presented by Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as a vital measure to save an economy heading for serious recession, was backed by Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses, as well as presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

As the debate began, Bush told lawmakers, “This is a bold bill that will keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading through our economy.”

Behind the scenes, administration officials were twisting arms, warning direly of financial crisis on Main Street if Wall Street doesn’t get help.

To win enough votes from rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans, party leaders said there was no choice but to vote for the bailout or see ordinary Americans lose their jobs and homes.

“The meltdown would begin, it is true, in a few square miles of downtown Manhattan. But before it was over, no small town in America would be untouched,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Majority Leader.

But dozens of congressmen defied their leaders to vote against a bill that no one said they liked. (Our emphasis.)

Broun questioned why more government money should be thrown after the $200 billion given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the $85 billion used to save AIG and $30 to save Bear Stearns.

“This is the same old story. We’re just going further down the road,” he said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) warned America was on a “slippery slope toward socialism.”

Illustrating the urgency of the matter, Wachovia sold itself to Citigroup this morning, another huge bank failure that means most of America’s deposits are now in the hands of just three banks: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

In the last two weeks, Wall Street titans have fallen like dominos, from Lehman Brothers to Merrill Lynch to AIG to Washington Mutual.

The credit crisis was spreading across the world yesterday.
In London, regulators swooped in with a $280 billion seizure of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, sending UK stocks to a three-year low.

The sprawling Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis also needed a bailout from Benelux

Washington’s big bailout aims to unfreeze short-term lending between banks and corporations by buying up the widespread housing-related bad debts that are paralyzing financial companies.

$700,000,000,000 to save the butts of people who intentionally cheated for profit – and a bill to provide long-term health care to 9/11 First Responders who are ill. These people tried to SAVE LIVES and are dying as a result. Priorities need to be reassessed.

BY OREN YANIV
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Congress Sunday shelved a $10.9 billion bill to provide health care and compensation for Ground Zero workers, at least in part due to opposition from Mayor Bloomberg.

The House of Representatives failed to vote on the bill after City Hall objected to a provision that would have required the city to pay 10% of the cost of a long-term Sept. 11 health program.

The total cost would have been $5.1 billion for a 10-year program that would have provided health care to those sick from working amid toxic World Trade Center debris. The city’s share was to be $500 million.

The bill also would have reopened the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, adding an estimated $6 billion for those who became sick after working amid the debris.

John Feal, a 9/11 responder and founder of the FealGood Foundation, went to Washington in a failed push for the bill.

“The mayor pretty much squashed the bill on us,” a disappointed Feal said last night. “We should do right by these people who are sick and dying.”

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Vito Fossella (R-S.I.) and Pete King (R-L.I.) said the New York delegation would reintroduce another bipartisan bill next year.

“We will work together to meet the sizable need to care for those who lived and worked in the immediate area around Ground Zero – not to mention those who helped in the immediate aftermath,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

Supporters had hoped the House would vote on the package over the weekend, but time and support ran out amid intense congressional negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout package.

The Senate would likely not have had time to pass the bill anyway, but backers said House passage would have helped move the measure forward.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the Sept. 11 health bill was “a step backward” and said “it put an undue burden on city taxpayers.” He noted the bill would raise fivefold the city’s annual tab for 9/11 programs.

Other city officials said the feds should pay the full cost as a matter of principle because Sept. 11 was an attack on America.

Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, countered that the bill was doomed by “shortsighted” thinking at City Hall.

“What really sunk this was the mayor’s opposition,” Hughes said. “I think they miscalculated.”

You won’t @#$#&$%-ing believe this!

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.

From Forbes

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND CONGRESS-PERSON NOW! THEY ARE NOT SAVING THE MARKETS – THEY ARE COVERING THEIR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AND YOU WILL PAY FOR IT! TELL THEM NOT TO VOTE FOR THE BAIL-OUT.

AND BY THE WAY – WHY CAN THEY FIND $700,000,000,000 TO BAIL OUT CROOKS, BUT CAN’T “FIX” NEW ORLEANS?!

Dear Friends:

The financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived.

We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System. The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve. No liquidation of bad debt and malinvestment is to be allowed. By doing more of the same, we will only continue and intensify the distortions in our economy – all the capital misallocation, all the malinvestment – and prevent the market’s attempt to re-establish rational pricing of houses and other assets.

Last night the president addressed the nation about the financial crisis. There is no point in going through his remarks line by line, since I’d only be repeating what I’ve been saying over and over – not just for the past several days, but for years and even decades.

Still, at least a few observations are necessary.

The president assures us that his administration “is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets.” Care to take a guess at whether the Federal Reserve and its money creation spree were even mentioned?

We are told that “low interest rates” led to excessive borrowing, but we are not told how these low interest rates came about. They were a deliberate policy of the Federal Reserve. As always, artificially low interest rates distort the market. Entrepreneurs engage in malinvestments – investments that do not make sense in light of current resource availability, that occur in more temporally remote stages of the capital structure than the pattern of consumer demand can support, and that would not have been made at all if the interest rate had been permitted to tell the truth instead of being toyed with by the Fed.

Not a word about any of that, of course, because Americans might then discover how the great wise men in Washington caused this great debacle. Better to keep scapegoating the mortgage industry or “wildcat capitalism” (as if we actually have a pure free market!).

Speaking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the president said: “Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.”

Doesn’t that prove the foolishness of chartering Fannie and Freddie in the first place? Doesn’t that suggest that maybe, just maybe, government may have contributed to this mess? And of course, by bailing out Fannie and Freddie, hasn’t the federal government shown that the “many” who “believed they were guaranteed by the federal government” were in fact correct?

Then come the scare tactics. If we don’t give dictatorial powers to the Treasury Secretary “the stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet.” Left unsaid, naturally, is that with the bailout and all the money and credit that must be produced out of thin air to fund it, the value of your retirement account will drop anyway, because the value of the dollar will suffer a precipitous decline. As for home prices, they are obviously much too high, and supply and demand cannot equilibrate if government insists on propping them up.

It’s the same destructive strategy that government tried during the Great Depression: prop up prices at all costs. The Depression went on for over a decade. On the other hand, when liquidation was allowed to occur in the equally devastating downturn of 1921, the economy recovered within less than a year.

The president also tells us that Senators McCain and Obama will join him at the White House today in order to figure out how to get the bipartisan bailout passed. The two senators would do their country much more good if they stayed on the campaign trail debating who the bigger celebrity is, or whatever it is that occupies their attention these days.

F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for showing how central banks’ manipulation of interest rates creates the boom-bust cycle with which we are sadly familiar. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, he described the foolish policies being pursued in his day – and which are being proposed, just as destructively, in our own:

Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion.

To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection – a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end… It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression.

The only thing we learn from history, I am afraid, is that we do not learn from history.

The very people who have spent the past several years assuring us that the economy is fundamentally sound, and who themselves foolishly cheered the extension of all these novel kinds of mortgages, are the ones who now claim to be the experts who will restore prosperity! Just how spectacularly wrong, how utterly without a clue, does someone have to be before his expert status is called into question?

Oh, and did you notice that the bailout is now being called a “rescue plan”? I guess “bailout” wasn’t sitting too well with the American people.

The very people who with somber faces tell us of their deep concern for the spread of democracy around the world are the ones most insistent on forcing a bill through Congress that the American people overwhelmingly oppose. The very fact that some of you seem to think you’re supposed to have a voice in all this actually seems to annoy them.

I continue to urge you to contact your representatives and give them a piece of your mind. I myself am doing everything I can to promote the correct point of view on the crisis. Be sure also to educate yourselves on these subjects – the Campaign for Liberty blog is an excellent place to start. Read the posts, ask questions in the comment section, and learn.

H.G. Wells once said that civilization was in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.

In liberty,

Ron Paul

Google “Charles Keating” and “The Keating Five” – NOW!

In case you don’t have time –

Keating 5 – Ring a bell?

The are taking YOUR money and giving it to wealthy, unscrupulous, greedy people who have proven that they cannot manage money. They have made bad investments, taken HUGE salaries, purchased multi-million dollar homes – and are being bailed out by the very people they have cheated. What about that seems like a good idea to you?

What U.S. could learn from China

It’s been called ‘financial socialism’, ‘socialism for the rich’, and ‘lemon socialism’. But whatever it’s called, the Bush administration ‘bailout’ for financial institutions is the greatest transfer of wealth from ordinary working people to the rich in world history.

The proposed program to buy a mountain of non-performing housing loans and other worthless assets from banks and finance companies will cost an estimated $700 billion to $1 trillion U.S. dollars.

This money will come from U.S. taxpayers, most of whom are ordinary workers. It amounts to taking around $2500 U.S. dollars, or 17,000 RMB, from every U.S. citizen – and giving it to the banks and finance companies.

The cost for each family of four is around $10,000 or 68,000 RMB. This money could have been used for health care, for improved education, for scientific research, for social welfare program; for environmental protect; or a myriad of other socially useful purposes.

Alternatively, it could have been used to cut taxes for ordinary people, or even to help them buy their houses. Instead it is being donated to banks and financial companies whose managements and owners are among the richest in the world. These measures represent a massive redistribution of socially -produced wealth from working and poor people to the rich.

Learning from China

The argument of the Bush administration – echoed faithfully by the U.S. media – is that there is ‘no other way’. The claim is that the U.S. system, and the jobs of U.S. workers within it, can only be safeguarded by this transfer of wealth to the banks.

In fact, this argument is incorrect.

Obviously the government must act to protect banking and finance in an economic crisis of this magnitude. But if banks are bankrupt or insolvent, a fair solution would be to buy or nationalize the banks themselves, *not* their bad debts. Then the taxpayers would receive something of value – a stabilized and accountable banking system belonging to the people instead of worthless debts.

In China, such a solution would seem almost common sense. With its socialist market economy growing at about 10% per year, Chinas’ government banks play a key role in providing a stable foundation for the financing of Chinese economic development,

But the possibility of taking over or nationalizing U.S. banks has not even been mentioned by any mainstream U.S. political figures or mainstream media.

Instead, up to a trillion dollars or taxpayer money is being donated to institutions whose managements have shown themselves incompetent to manage their own funds.

Perhaps the economic interests of the powerful wall street companies, one of whose former CEO’s is U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, has something to do with this ‘blind spot’.`

Over the years China has resisted intense pressure from Paulson and other U.S. officials to radically deregulate its financial markets. They have lectured China repeatedly on how deregulation of financial markets, and letting foreign financial capital operate freely in China – as in the U.S. – was in Chinas best interests.
“An open, competitive and liberalized financial market can effectively allocate scarcer resources in a manner that promotes stability and prosperity far better than government intervention,” Paulson said in Shanghai in March last year. “Time is of the essence.”

Now even the U.S. has been compelled to abandon this ‘open financial markets’ approach. With the sub-prime crisis now expanded into a full-blown crisis in the western financial sector, knowledgeable Chinese experts are thankful that China never accepted this laisez fair prescription for financial regulation.

“The U.S. crisis reflects regulatory problems in the U.S. and innovative financial products that ignored basic economic rules,” former Chinese central bank deputy governor Wu Xiaoling told a financial conference in Beijing recently.”

“The U.S. crisis today would be China’s tomorrow if financial products such as securitization are introduced without proper risk-control measures.”

Chinas’ cautious attitude, government banks, and regulatory framework have helped China to restrict its losses and write-downs from the credit-market crisis to less than 1 percent of the massive global total.

The feasibility of bank nationalizations, closer regulation, and banning certain types of transactions, such as derivatives, which carry excessive risk are all lessons which can be learned from China.

Banks, financial companies, and the wealthy should not be allowed to unload their bad debts onto ordinary workers and taxpayers. It’s sheer madness to allow them to transfer a trillion dollars from workers and taxpayers to themselves.

By Eric Sommer
China
Beijing