Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

“Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”

President-elect Barack Obama

Tell the new President and his team what YOU want for your country.

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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.

When are you corrupt SOB’s going to get the message – the game is OVER and we’ve had ENOUGH!?

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested in conspiracy to benefit from Obama’s Senate replacement.

This is an AP article, so you need to click HERE to read this unbelievable story!

On August 17, 2007 – we posted the article below. In light of the events of the past few weeks, please take a few minutes and re-read this amazing piece of information.

Countrywide Financial

‘The devils are enjoying their last days in Hell’ – the billionaire, his blonde wife and friends who helped bring Iceland to the brink

They giggle and drink bottle after bottle of expensive wine, blithely unconcerned by the
turmoil around them.

This was Icelandic billionaire Jon Asgeir Johannesson, dressed casually in black, legs outstretched, and his merry court at 1am yesterday, holed up in a chic hotel in the capital Reykjavik.

His failed bank Glitnir, of which he is the majority shareholder, owes millions of pounds to British investors, including companies, town halls, police authorities and charities.

But while Reykjavik burns and its assets freeze, The Mail on Sunday found Mr Johannesson still doing nicely – evidenced by the £85 bottles of white wine on his table.

The 41-year-old, who was found guilty of false accounting last year, drives a Bentley and lives in a three-storey Reykjavik mansion that boasts a  bullet-proof room in case of attack. Some people half joke that he may yet need it.

He is one half of Iceland’s most glamorous couple: his 47-year-old wife is Ingibjorg Palmadottir, who owns a yacht which she moors in the Caribbean and drives a customised white Mercedes known in Reykjavik as the White Pearl.

They hosted an impromptu get-together for friends at Hotel 101 on Friday night as their island nation effectively went bankrupt, owing Britain £20billion and others £15billion.

That is £116,000 for every one of its 320,000 inhabitants.

‘It is like being in Hell and watching all the little devils enjoying the last days of normal life in Iceland,’  said an elderly diner.

Earlier on Friday, British tycoon Sir Philip Green, who owns Topshop, held talks with Mr Johannesson, his friend and former business partner, at the hotel.

Although Mr Johannesson refused to confirm that Sir Philip was buying a stake in his retail empire Baugur, the news channel he owns, TV2, said a deal would go ahead.

Baugur is the last private company standing amid the wreckage of Iceland’s economy but is struggling to stay afloat.

After the talks, floppy-haired Mr Johannesson, who looks more rock star than businessman, said: ‘We are looking at the state of business between Iceland and Britain and trying to calm the atmosphere that has become very hostile, as can be seen on the front covers of British newspapers.’

Beyond the hotel, the mood was sombre. Iceland once boasted the highest earnings per person in the world. Now evidence of meltdown abounds: Half-finished buildings scar the landscape and expensive cars no one can afford are piled in the dockyards.

Thorhallur Vilhjalmsson is in charge of building the £117million National Centre but construction all but halted last Tuesday when the bank scandal broke.

He said: ‘The bankers’ debt is 12 times the size of Iceland’s gross domestic product. It is unbelievable that the bankers won’t take responsibility, even now. It is totally crazy.’

Gretar Jonasson, director of the body in charge of Iceland’s real estate sector, said: ‘Repossessions haven’t started yet but they are about to explode. The construction industry has stopped.’

Kolbeinn Blandon, Reykjavik’s biggest car dealer, said: ‘People are going bankrupt all over the place. I hear there has been a big rise in suicides.’

A spoof advert on eBay offers Iceland for sale for 99p.

Boutique owner Freyr Jakobsson  imports designer labels from London, Paris and Milan but has to pay suppliers back within four weeks.

‘But the bank froze my money on Monday and I can’t pay anyone. It’s awful,’ he said.

This small volcanic island has caused havoc with global markets. Its national parliament, the Althingi, resembles a barn and houses fewer than 50 people.

But back in Hotel 101 there was little evidence of gloom. Mr Johannesson and his wife, whom he married last year,  treated their friends to langoustines amid peals of laughter.

Supermarket magnate’s daughter Ms Palmadottir owns the hotel and also runs 101, a tourism agency for the super-rich, whose clients include Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Others seated at Mr Johannesson’s table included Thorsteinn M. Jonsson, a co-owner in Glitnir, Ari Edwald, the chief executive of a media company and Reykjavik’s former Mayor Olafur F. Magnusson.

He was appointed despite suffering a nervous breakdown before the elections.

He was subsequently accused on Icelandic TV of erratic behaviour, excessive drinking and cronyism. He denies all the allegations.

‘I cannot believe they are here drinking bottle after bottle of wine and rubbing it in our faces,’ said a diner.

‘They are all part of the same cosy set, brazenly pouring the last of the country’s wealth down the drain.’

Mr Johannesson attended Iceland’s top business school Verzlunar Skoli, whose deputy head Thorkell Diego said yesterday: ‘I suppose you want to know how we produced this monster.’

After leaving, Mr Johannesson got an £8,000 loan, using it to open a shop called Bonus which sold baked beans and Coca-Cola cheaply.

He built Bonus into a supermarket chain, eventually buying a stake in Arcadia which he later sold to Sir Philip Green for £70million.

He set up investment company Baugur, meaning ring of steel, in the late Nineties.

It employs 50,000 and has a turnover of £6billion. Baugur owns stakes in half of Britain’s High Street, including Woolworths, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Hamleys.

In 2003, a former business associate accused him of using a Baugur credit card to pay £10,000 for escort girls at a party on his yacht The Viking, in Miami.

Baugur called the claim a ‘scurrilous rumour put about by a disgruntled former business partner’.

Later that year during a radio interview, former Icelandic Premier David Oddsson accused him of offering a 300 million krona bribe. Baugur denied this.

Last year the Icelandic Supreme Court found him guilty of false accounting and passed a three-month suspended prison sentence.

Meanwhile, emergency talks between Britain and Iceland yesterday gave fresh hope for the 300,000 UK account holders hit by the collapse .

British Treasury officials landed in Reykjavik late on Friday night to begin a weekend of crisis talks aimed at reclaiming up to £20billion of British assets that have been frozen.

The talks began early yesterday morning and all officials remained behind closed doors for the rest of the day.

Last night the Icelandic government and the Treasury said ‘significant progress’ had been made.

The news may defuse the threat of all-out financial war.

The statement said: ‘Significant progress was made on retail depositors of Icesave with arrangements agreed in principle for accelerated payout to depositors.’

The talks were convened after a week where Gordon Brown and his Icelandic counterpart Geir Haarde exchanged strong words over Iceland’s role in the crisis.

Following the nationalisation of Iceland’s three largest banks last week, its government implied that Britons would be left out of pocket.

After Mr Brown said that this was unacceptable, Mr Haarde appeared to row back and offer a form of guarantee. The talks last night were aimed at rubber stamping the details of that guarantee.

October 10, 2008

BILL MOYERS:Welcome to the Journal.

You are not alone if you are worried about the financial melt down. So is my guest George Soros, one of the world’s best known and successful investors, making billions in times of boom or bust. He’s been warning for years of a financial melt down fueled by easy credit and sleepy regulation. Now he’s out with this timely book, “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means.”

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I served three years on the board of George Soros’ foundation, the Open Society Institute, dealing with such issues as a free press, the rule of law, and human rights. But I’ve had no involvement in his political activities and nothing to do, with his business interests unfortunately. It’s good to see you.

GEORGE SOROS:Same here.

BILL MOYERS:Let’s imagine for a moment that we’re not in a New York studio but we are in Neely’s Barbecue Stand in Marshall, Texas, my hometown, and we’re surrounded by people I know, people who have lost half of their 401(k)s in the last three or four weeks, and what they want to know is does this financial meltdown represent the end of the American dream as they have known it.

GEORGE SOROS:No. No. I think it’s got nothing to do with the American dream as such. There has been some kind of an ideological excess; namely, market fundamentalism for the last 25 or so years. And now that world is collapsing…

BILL MOYERS:What do you mean “market fundamentalism”?

GEORGE SOROS:It’s that markets will correct themselves, that you should leave it to the markets, and there is no need for government intervention in financial affairs. Letting markets run rampant. And that doesn’t work.

Markets have the ability to adjust and they’re very flexible. There is this invisible hand. But it is also prone to be mistaken. In other words, markets instead are reflecting reality. They always look at reality with a bias. There is always a prevailing bias. I’ll call it, you know, optimism/pessimism.

And sometimes those moods actually can reinforce themselves so that there are these initially self-reinforcing but eventually unsustainable and self-defeating boom/bust sequences or bubbles. And this is what has happened now.

This current economic disaster is self-generated. It was generated by the market itself, by getting too cocky, using leverage too much, too much credit. And it got excessive.

BILL MOYERS:You used the word “disaster.”

GEORGE SOROS:The financial system is teetering on the edge of disaster. Hopefully, it will not go over the brink because it very rarely does. It only did in the 1930s. Since then, whenever you had a financial crisis, you were able to resolve it. This is the most serious one since the 1930s, there hasn’t been one as serious as this.

Unfortunately, the authorities are behind the curve. They are reacting to these crises as they emerge. One thing leads to another, one market after another gets into difficulty. And they react to it. And they don’t quite understand what’s hitting them. So they are not anticipating and not gaining control of the situation.

BILL MOYERS:This is what’s interesting, why wouldn’t the government be able to look at what you looked at and see what’s coming?

GEORGE SOROS:Because actually they have been working on false premises. This sounds very strange, but there’s been this development of, this belief of market fundamentalism. And particularly the idea that markets always revert to the mean and deviations from the mean occur in a random fashion. And you can calculate it.

And you will get a nice distribution and you can anticipate it. And based on that, you can manage your risk. And that actually was based on a false idea. This namely, the markets self-correcting because the market moods have a way of affecting the fundamentals the markets are supposed to reflect.

And there’s always a divergence between our perception and what actually exists. For instance, take the simplest situation, namely housing.

Banks give you credit based on the value of the houses. But they don’t seem to somehow understand that the value of the houses can be affected by the amount of credit they are willing to give. Now, we’ve developed these fabulous new ways of securitizing mortgages, which has made credit much more amply available.

And we’ve been able to calculate risk. And, therefore, we were willing to give more and more credit. And that has pushed up the value of the houses. Also, of course Greenspan kept interest rates too low, too long. And so you had very low interest rates, easy credit, and house prices have been appreciating at more than ten percent a year for a number of years. And the willingness to lend actually increased. There was an insatiable appetite for these new fangled securities.

BILL MOYERS:Yeah. Nobody understood, really.

GEORGE SOROS:Which they didn’t properly understand. And there was always a separation between the people who generated the mortgages and packaged them and sold them to you and the people who owned them. So nobody was paying attention to the quality of the mortgages because they didn’t have an interest. They — all day collecting fees. And then there were other people holding the mortgages.

BILL MOYERS:Right.

GEORGE SOROS:And that was not factored into those instruments. The idea was that by distributing risk, you actually reduce risk. But by separating the principal from the agent, you actually greatly increase the risk. And that was not reflected. And the rating agencies didn’t realize it. So they gave triple-A ratings. And then a few weeks later, those triple-A bonds became practically valueless. And that’s what has happened.

BILL MOYERS:But how does the system become deranged like that? So separated from reality like an individual who goes insane because he or she is separated.

GEORGE SOROS:Well sometimes we get carried away. I mean, you know, let’s say in the Middle Ages, people were religious. And so they had tremendous discussions about how many angels can dance on the eye of a needle. Now, if you believe that angels can dance then that’s a legitimate question. And this is exactly what has happened here. You thought that you could slice and dice and engage in this kind of financial engineering. And it became very, very sophisticated and got carried away.

BILL MOYERS:What happened that we lost control?

GEORGE SOROS:There was a failure of regulations because they couldn’t understand these new instruments. But they said, “Oh, well, the banks have very good risk management techniques. So we leave it to them to calculate their own risks.”

And, you see, it wasn’t only in the housing market. There were all kinds of other financial instruments. So there was not just one bubble. I describe in my book there is the housing bubble. But this housing bubble, when that burst, it was only the detonator that exploded the bigger bubble, the super bubble.

Which is this 25 years of constant credit expansion using greater and greater leverage. The amount of credit in the economy has been growing at, I don’t know, I don’t know the exact figure, but maybe at least twice as fast as the economy itself. I think it’s more like three.

And now, suddenly, you have a contraction of credit. And it’s a sudden thing. And it’s a period of great wealth destruction. And that’s how these poor people in Texas suddenly find that their 401(k) is worthless.

BILL MOYERS:So as we talk, Secretary Paulson and the government seem to be coming around to what you’ve been advocating and that is taking taxpayer money, public capital, and injecting it directly into the banks — in effect, nationalizing some of these banks. Why do you think that will work when everything else has failed?

GEORGE SOROS:Well unfortunately because they are delaying it, it may not work so well because there’s a certain dynamism. And they’re always behind the curve. So there are many things that they’re doing now if they had done several months ago, it would have turned things around.

BILL MOYERS:That’s a very gloomy assessment. You’re saying that everything they’re doing is coming too late? How does that ultimately play out?

GEORGE SOROS:Unfortunately, that is the case. I’m quite distressed about it. I hope that you know, eventually they’ll catch up.

We are determined to put the money in, not to allow the financial system to collapse. And that’s the lesson we learned in the 1930s. It’s an important lesson. But because we are behind the curve, the amounts get bigger and bigger. If we understood it earlier, we could have brought it to a halt perhaps sooner. But they’ve got still a number of things to do. And this idea, you see, of just buying noxious instruments of you know, off the balance sheet of the banks was a non-starter.

BILL MOYERS:But that was the idea.

GEORGE SOROS:But it was the wrong idea.

BILL MOYERS:But this is disturbing, George. If everything we’re doing keeps accelerating the downward negative feedback and isn’t working, are you suggesting, can one insinuate from what you say that we’re heading for 1930?

GEORGE SOROS:Hopefully not. But we are heading for undoubtedly very difficult times. This is the end of an era. And this is a fact.

BILL MOYERS:End of an era?

GEORGE SOROS:At the end of an era.

BILL MOYERS:Capitalism as we have known it?

GEORGE SOROS:No. No, no, no. Hopefully, capitalism will survive. But the sort of period where America could actually, for instance, run ever increasing current account deficits. We could consume, at the end, six and a half percent more than we are producing. That has come to an end.

BILL MOYERS:So what do we do now?

GEORGE SOROS:We are probably at the height of the financial crisis. I think it can’t get much worse. I think it could get a bit worse yet. But then you have the fallout in the real economy.

BILL MOYERS:We’re in a downward spiral.

GEORGE SOROS:We are in a downward spiral.

BILL MOYERS:How long will it go on?

GEORGE SOROS:Look the one thing that my theory says is that you can’t predict the future because the future depends on how you react to it. So if we do the right things then things will not — will be less painful. If you do the wrong things, they’ll be more painful. Now, so far we’ve been doing the wrong things. I very much hope that we’ll have a different government in a few months and they’ll be doing the right things.

BILL MOYERS:Well, don’t be shy. What do you think the new government should do?

GEORGE SOROS:Well, first of all you have to prevent housing crisis from overshooting on the downside the way they overshot on the upside. You can’t arrest the decline, but you can definitely slow it down by minimizing the number of foreclosures and readjusting the mortgages to reflect the ability of people to pay. So you have to renegotiate mortgages rather than foreclose.

And you provide the government guarantee. But the loss has to be taken by those who hold the mortgages, not by the taxpayer.

BILL MOYERS:You mean the homeowner doesn’t take the loss. The lender.

GEORGE SOROS:The homeowner needs to get relief so that he pays less because he can’t afford to pay. And the value of the mortgage should not exceed the value of the house. Right now you already have 10 million homes where you have negative equity. And before you are over, it will be more than 20 million.

BILL MOYERS:But, you’re talking about taking action three months from now, whether it’s a McCain administration or an Obama administration. What happens in these next three months? And I’m serious about that.

GEORGE SOROS:I am very worried about it. And I hope that they will have a new secretary of treasury, somebody else.

BILL MOYERS:Sooner than later?

GEORGE SOROS:I…

BILL MOYERS:You don’t think…

GEORGE SOROS:It would be very helpful if…

BILL MOYERS:You don’t think Paulson’s up to it?

GEORGE SOROS:Unfortunately, I have a negative view of his performance.

BILL MOYERS:Why?

GEORGE SOROS:Because he represents the very kind of financial engineering that has gotten us into the trouble. And this buying off the noxious things was a…

BILL MOYERS:Buying the bad assets, that was his…

GEORGE SOROS:Yeah.

BILL MOYERS:First idea.

GEORGE SOROS:Yeah, and before that, he wanted to create a super SIV, special investment vehicle, to take care of the other special investment vehicles. That didn’t fly. And they are now within a week recognizing that they have to change and inject money into the banks to make up for the whole in the equity because those banks lost money. And they can’t make it up by taking their assets off their hands. You have to recognize the losses and replenish the equity.

BILL MOYERS:Is that what you would do with the bailout money now? Right now?

GEORGE SOROS:Yes, yes, yeah.

BILL MOYERS:You would put it where?

GEORGE SOROS:Into the capital of the bank so that the capital equity can sustain at least 12 times the amount of lending. So that’s an obvious thing. And every economist agrees with this.

You see, what is needed now the bank examiners know how those banks stand. And they can say how much capital they need. And they could then raise that capital from the private market. Or they could turn to this new organization and get the money from there. That would dilute the shareholders. It would hurt the shareholders.

BILL MOYERS:Of the bank?

GEORGE SOROS:Of the banks. Which I think Paulson wanted to avoid. He didn’t want to go there. But it has to be done. But then, the shareholders could be offered the right to provide the new capital. If they provide the new capital then there’s no dilution. And the rights could be traded. So if they don’t have the money, other people could, the private sector could put in the money. And if the private sector is not willing to do it then the government does it.

BILL MOYERS:The assumption of everything you say is that the government is going to be a big player now in the economy and in the financial markets. But what assurance do we have that the government will do a better job?

GEORGE SOROS:We don’t. Right now they are doing a bad job. So you want to use the government as little as possible. The government should play a smaller role. In that sense, people who believe in markets, I believe in markets. I just want them to function properly. To the extent you can use the market, you should use the market.

Governments are also human. They’re also bound to be wrong. Moreover, they are bureaucratic. So they are slow and they are subject to political influence. So you want to use them as little as possible. But to not to use them, see, assumes that markets are perfect. And that is a false belief.

BILL MOYERS:Has the whole global system become so complex with such gargantuan forces interlocked with each other, driving it forward, that it doesn’t know how to obey Adam Smith’s natural laws?

GEORGE SOROS:No, I think our ability to govern ourselves doesn’t keep pace with our ability to exercise power over nature, control over nature. So we are very complicated civilization. And we could actually destroy our civilization because of our inability to govern ourselves.

BILL MOYERS:Would this all be happening if we still had a strong sense of the social compact? I mean, our social safety net has been greatly reduced. The people have a real sense that the gods of capital have left little space for anyone else. People at the top don’t have much empathy for people at the bottom.

GEORGE SOROS:There is a common interest. And this belief that everybody pursuing his self-interests will maximize the common interests or will take care of the common interests is a false idea. It’s a suitable idea for those who are rich, who are successful, who are powerful. It suits them to justify you know, enjoying the fruits without paying taxes. The idea of paying taxes is an absolute no-no, right?

BILL MOYERS:Unpatriotic.

GEORGE SOROS:Unpatriotic. So, yes, you must have, in my opinion, you need, for instance, a tax on carbon emissions. But that is unacceptable politically. So we are going to have cap and trade. And the trading will have all kinds of loopholes and misuse of the regulations and all kinds of ways of making money without actually dealing with the problem that it’s designed to cure. So that’s how the political process distorts things.

BILL MOYERS:So let’s think about those people down at Neely’s Barbecue going home tonight having heard you. What they’ve heard you say is the system is really disfunctioning right now. It’s out of control. Nobody’s in charge. They’ve heard you express your own worry that in the next three months it could get much, much worse.

And they’ve heard you say that you don’t see much good news immediately on the horizon. So let’s leave them something to think about as they go home. Let them go home and say, “Mr. Soros said here are three things we can do, simply.” One?

GEORGE SOROS:Well, deal with the mortgage problem. Reduce foreclosures. Recapitalize the banks. And then work on a better world order where we work together to resolve problems that confront humanity like global warming. And I think that dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment.

You see, for the last 25 years the world economy, the motor of the world economy that has been driving it was consumption by the American consumer who has been spending more than he has been saving, all right? Than he’s been producing. So that motor is now switched off. It’s finished. It’s run out of — can’t continue. You need a new motor. And we have a big problem. Global warming. It requires big investment. And that could be the motor of the world economy in the years to come.

BILL MOYERS:Putting more money in, building infrastructure, converting to green technology.

GEORGE SOROS:Instead of consuming, building an electricity grid, saving on energy, rewiring the houses, adjusting your lifestyle where energy has got to cost more until it you introduce those new things. So it will be painful. But at least we will survive and not cook.

BILL MOYERS:You’re talking about this being the end of an era and needing to create a whole new paradigm for the economic model of the country, of the world, right?

GEORGE SOROS:Yes.

BILL MOYERS:One of the British newspapers this morning had a headline, “Welcome to Socialism.” It’s not going that way, is it?

GEORGE SOROS:Well, you know, it’s very interesting. Actually, these market fundamentalists are making the same mistake as Marx did. You see, socialism would have worked very well if the rulers had the interests of the people really at heart. But they were pursuing their self-interests. Now, in the housing market, the people who originated the houses earned the fee.

And the people who then owned the mortgages their interests were not actually looked after by the agents that were selling them the mortgages. So you have a, what is called an agent principle problem in socialism. And you have the same agent principle problem in this free market fundamentalism.

BILL MOYERS:The agent is concerned only with his own interests.

GEORGE SOROS:That’s right.

BILL MOYERS:Not with…

GEORGE SOROS:That’s right.

BILL MOYERS:The interest of…

GEORGE SOROS:Of the people who they’re supposed to represent.

BILL MOYERS:But in both socialism and capitalism, you get the rhetoric of empathy for people.

GEORGE SOROS:And it’s a false ideology. Both Marxism and market fundamentalism are false ideologies.

BILL MOYERS:Is there an ideology that…

GEORGE SOROS:Is not false?

BILL MOYERS:Yeah.

GEORGE SOROS:I think the only one is the one that I’m proposing; namely, the recognition that all our ideas, all our human constructs have a flaw in it. And perfection is not attainable. And we must engage in critical thinking and correct our mistakes.

BILL MOYERS:And that’s one…

GEORGE SOROS:That’s my ideology. As a child, I experienced Fascism, the Nazi occupation and then Communism, two false ideologies. And I learned that both of those ideologies are false. And now I was shocked when I found that even in a democracy people can be misled to the extent that we’ve been misled in the last few years.

BILL MOYERS:The book is “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means”. George Soros, thank you for being with me.

GEORGE SOROS:Pleasure.

Your Right to Choose

I write to you today with an open heart and a genuine concern for the future of our children. At a time when the presidential race could be seen as a pissing match between adults looking to take power, there are deeper issues — shadow issues — that are wanting and needing to be explored. I share my perspective with you today not so that you can align with me but so that you can dwell deeply in the issues facing our world and find the courage to speak up for what you believe even if it’s unpopular to do so. I am speaking up even after someone recently wrote to me asking me to refrain from talking about politics. For me, that is like asking me to not talk about life. So today, I assert my right to free speech under the First Amendment, even if that speech is socially or politically incorrect, and I want to talk about Sarah Palin, the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

As I’ve watched the Sarah Palin phenomenon unleash itself on our national airwaves, I’ve been thinking a lot about her, searching to find what parts of my light and what parts of my darkness she holds. The questions I always ask myself in that search are, “What are the qualities that I am seeing in this person?”, “Where am I that?” and “How can I take responsibility for the parts of me that I am seeing in her?” With Sarah Palin, I find myself drawn to her — her ability to command attention, her sheer determination to get to the top, and her sexy womanish facade that shows us we don’t have to give up our sexiness to be powerful and strong in the world. On the other hand, I also find myself sickened by the thought that this woman might have the right to represent me and influence my, my family’s, my community’s and my country’s choices. And most of all, I am appalled that that today, on September 11th, a day when we should all be in mourning and have our attention on those who died in the most horrific terrorist act in American history, our attention instead is turned to the governor of Alaska who until now has kept herself sequestered from the press and chooses to use this most opportune day for her own self-interest. I thought about what kind of person would do that — smart or manipulative. Either way, I thought I’d give her the attention she is seeking.

You may not know this, but when I was 17, I found out that I was pregnant. I was devastated and scared to death. I was having sex and doing drugs out of my need to find a way to relieve my emotional pain, and I was just a lost and confused young girl. The news of my pregnancy sent me in a downward spiral. How could I have a baby when I couldn’t even take care of myself? Looking back, I can only imagine how my life would have changed if I had been forced to give birth to a child I didn’t want, how humiliated and embarrassed I would have felt going to school each day, how much pain I would have inflicted on a child whom I resented having in the first place. But this didn’t have to happen, because fortunately, I had a mother and a country that gave me the right to CHOOSE.

Should I have had to suffer the consequences of having sex without protection? I did. Even after I had the abortion, I paid for it in my dreams and in the grief in my heart that I carried for years. I chose to have an abortion. It was a tough choice but it was the right one for me, and I feel great about having made that choice. I look back and feel proud to be an American who could go out to a safe place and be cared for in a loving and kind manner while going through a heartbreaking experience. Because of my decision more than 30 years ago, I have become the woman I am today. I sit here after publishing six books and leading tens of thousands of people through transformational processes that have empowered them to make better choices and live lives they love. Who would I be if I had been forced to have a child? Would I have ever been able to follow my soul’s path? Who would that child be and what pain would they have gone through if I was forced to bring them into this world?

Every day, I deal with people who grew up in homes with mothers who didn’t love them, mothers who didn’t want them, mothers who resented them, and mothers who left them early. I deal with the heartache and the wretched pain that someone feels when their mother had to have them. This is a reality. I’m here to tell you that, for most people who weren’t wanted, the pain that they go through feels like it’s not worth the life they were given. Some work their entire lifetime to overcome this great obstacle. So I ask you, Who are we to ever tell somebody how they should live their life and what choices they should make? Make no mistake. There is a huge cost to forcing people to make choices against their will.

I am very much a woman for women. And at a time when I would love to see a woman in power because women know how to love, nurture and care for all of their children, the cosmic paradox is that we have a woman on the ticket who wants women to go backwards in time. The issue of choice is a huge one for me because I believe this is a microcosm of who Sarah Palin is. Here is a woman who is proudly and publicly sharing that it is her family’s choice to keep her daughter’s baby. Yet at the same time, she is campaigning that we shouldn’t have any choice. This is how the shadow works. This is where we all need to come out of the dark. Even though we’re looking at one issue of this campaign, this issue is birthed out of a whole set of beliefs and a paradigm from the 20th century and before. And I think we’re all aware that we’re not there anymore. By looking at Sarah Palin and how her views could influence our lives and our nation, we can see into what the future could hold for us. We get to make a choice. The future is in our hands.

Denying women the right to choose is as off to me as hearing someone say that there shouldn’t be gay marriage, that gay couples don’t have the same rights as heterosexuals. Are we not in the 21st century? Why would we say that anymore? We used to say it out of ignorance, out of not understanding, out of denial, out of self-righteousness, but today we know that people are born with a desire to cohabitate with the same sex. We know this is not a flawed human being but a new evolution of human beings. We are changing. Have you noticed? This is the real change.

Right now, it’s politically incorrect to talk about Sarah Palin’s parenting, but why are they trying to mute us? It’s imperative to look at the shadow here. We know that when somebody is forcing an issue or a righteous position on us, it’s usually a projection of their own unconscious thoughts and feelings. On the issue of family and choices, it’s clear that Sarah Palin has family issues of her own. Will she be around to care for her special needs baby? Is her daughter’s teen pregnancy a cry, as it often is, for attention, care, and support? Instead of Sarah Palin forcing her family issues on all of us, maybe she should turn that attention and take care of her own family.

And as far as being a pitbull with lipstick, aren’t pitbulls known for killing babies? And isn’t that an interesting shadow metaphor?

Finally, for those of you who think this is just more Democratic Party rhetoric, I want you to know that I am a registered Independent and I’ve voted Republican more times than I care to admit right now. Although I’m voting for a Democrat in this election, I don’t agree with the entire Democratic Party platform and I would consider myself a centrist. I also think, by the way, that we are having too many abortions in our country. We need radical reform and education in the area of abortion. I don’t think we should just leave it as it is. The number of abortions is horrific. But I certainly don’t believe we should deny women the right to choose. The irony is that John McCain and the GOP platform he represents say children should be taught that abstinence until marriage is the only safe way to avoid pregnancy and disease. You’ve got to be kidding. If the daughter of the great state of Alaska’s governor can’t practice abstinence, one of her mother’s core family values, how are all the other kids going to do it? Are we really not going to talk about sex, protection and sexually transmitted diseases with our kids?

In this critical time, I invite us all to look not just at Sarah Palin but all our political figures, to find the light that we might have projected, to find our own darkness, and to use what we see not to beat them up but to find a bigger voice, a voice for true change, a voice for moving forward instead of backward, a voice that respects women, all women, and all their choices.

With love and blessings,

Debbie Ford

Second Entry

Is She a Hometown Girl or a Seductress?

After my first and only political Shadow Blog, I received more mail from my readers than I’ve received in my entire career. Thank you for your overwhelming response. Obviously, my message gave voice to what many of you were already feeling. I apologize once again to those of you I’ve offended. (If you were offended by the last one, don’t be a masochist. Close this one now as you’re certainly going to be offended by this one as well.) Even at the risk of losing more of my readers, I feel compelled to continue to share my views on the upcoming election because we’ve got one of the best shadow figures — literally — that we’ve seen in a long time. And being a shadow lover, I just can’t pass it up. We’re all very lucky that this election gives us an unprecedented opportunity to see the shadow in all its disguises and all its glory. I would be remiss to ignore it.
This week, like most of you, I sat glued to my TV watching the Vice Presidential debate. Within three minutes and after the first wink, I became fascinated once again with Sarah Palin. I asked myself, “What is the deal with this woman? Why is she winking at me? Is she flirting with me?” I had to take a deep breath because I noticed this queasy feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.
Then it flashed before me. I recognized her. I had met her before, in many forms, and here she was again. All of the sudden, it dawned on me that the reason I was having this reaction is because Sarah Palin is the living expression of The Seductress, one of the 20 masks, the faces of the wounded ego, that I outline in my latest book. Of course I felt disturbed — she was working me right through my HDTV!
In Why Good People Do Bad Things, I suggest that those who don the mask of The Seductress are after one thing and one thing only: to make themselves feel better about who they are by getting whatever they might be after. Birthed out of the fear that they are not good enough, loved enough, or smart enough, they search until they find suitable targets to trap in their energetic webs — in the case of Sarah Palin, first the citizens of the great state of Alaska and now the entire country.
I consider The Seductress a predator because her main goal is to feed on the self-esteem of others in order to soothe her own emotional wounds. The Seductress literally throws out an energetic hook by being kind, loving, interested, sexual and, in this case, folksy — luring her victims closer, all the while planning her next move. She spends her time thinking about how she looks, how others will perceive her, how she can win, and how she can get more of what she’s after. The Seductress’ “catch” enhances her inner perception of herself and covers, at least for the moment, the enormous pain and self-loathing that are stored in her psyche.
In my book, “dangerous, poisonous, and venomous” are the qualities I use to describe The Seductress because her main attack is disguised in love and, in this instance, service. Her signal broadcasts in all directions, sometimes loudly and at other times as a soft whisper: “I will give you some love and take care of you if you give me your power. I am going to make you feel better about yourself if you give me some control. I am going to tell you everything you ever wanted to hear if you just make me the next Vice President of the United States of America.”
Can we as a nation afford to fall under the spell of Sarah Palin and give her what she wants? I would suggest that the cost is too high for all of us. No amount of twisting (“Oh Joe you’re going backwards again,” she croons) will be able to distract us from who she is, what she believes, what she’s really after, and what it would cost us if she and McCain are elected. This is not a beauty or a personality contest. This is not a time to pick someone because of their smile, their style, their charisma, their down-home cloak, or their biting tongue. Instead, this is a time to dissect who Sarah Palin is — her views, her experience (or in this case her inexperience), and how she lives her life. She will, if elected the next Vice President, be a role model for our daughters, sons and future generations. We must look at her carefully, behind her smiling, cute, winking persona. We must take off her very hip glasses (not her clothes, gentlemen!) to see what’s hidden there. We must ask ourselves, “Does this woman have the ability to govern the greatest nation in the world?”
Although many will argue that we must stop focusing on Palin, it’s vital that we take a closer look because she is a microcosm of the narrow, outdated views of the Republican Party. I’m not even going to talk about her choice to drag her four-month-old special needs child around the country to big events to prove that she’s a good mother except to ask if she had a healthy baby, would she be dragging it around all night? You do have to wonder since most of us mothers know that their child shouldn’t be in big public places with tens of thousands of people at 10:00 at night.
Instead, let’s look at her choice to use her sexuality to lure innocent voters and hearts into her web. Rather than choosing to reflect the brilliance, the smarts, the power, or the merit she must obviously possess (even if hidden from view from some of us), she winks and flirts, reinforcing all the things for which women are mocked and not taken seriously in the political arena. Can you even imagine powerful female leaders like Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, or Margaret Thatcher winking at an audience? Here’s what I’d like to say to Sarah Palin right now, from one pretty woman to another: Stop it! I know you want to take away our right to choose but do you really have to minimize our equality just to get votes? (And for those who of you who are now mad at me and projecting on me, for the record, I have never winked at an audience, although maybe I should try it since she’s getting 15,000 people at her events.)
The choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate tells us loud and clear what kind of man “the maverick” John McCain is. Is he someone who diligently seeks to find the best person to take his place in the unfortunate circumstance of his death? Is he the kind of man that surrounds himself with brilliant thinkers of tomorrow who promise to take us out of the dark age of war, hate, and economic disaster? Or is he the kind of hungry politician who would sell his and his nation’s soul just to win? We should all take a big exhale because John McCain’s shadow has been exposed. He has proven not to be the hero of our time but instead an egocentric opportunist in search of the ultimate power. In one of the most important decisions of his political career, he picked an inexperienced woman because he believed that she could help him win over the Hillary Clinton voters. We all know this. Does he really think American women are that stupid? That we can’t see the motives behind this irresponsible choice?
And on a final note, if you’re not convinced that she would not be the best choice, Sarah Palin told us all loud and clear Thursday night, looking straight into the camera, that the only thing that matters is that we win this war. Not that we bring our troops home safely. Not that we heal the hatred that permeates our world. She didn’t speak of justice, fairness or the good of all people. Because she is a good Seductress, all she wants is to win.
My friends, we must join together to pull off the blinders for those who are sucked into the trance of this now very famous and potentially very dangerous Seductress. If you’re not registered to vote, register today and make it your duty to find just one unregistered person to invite into this most important election.
With love, respect, and blessings,

Debbie Ford