Inside Job Movies, posted by bru, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2010 at 12:37 am bru is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
I'm still so seething from the facts presented in this documentary on the financial crisis and the response ... or lack of response we have seen from the new administration that I cannot write a calm logical review of this movie.
I highly recommend it though, and would love to hear comments by those who have already seen it and what they think of it.
"Inside Job" was done by the same group who produced "No End In Sight" about the Iraq war, which turns out to have been very accurately done. "Inside Job" interviews or excerpts many of the players in this national/international disaster, and names those who refuse to be interviewed as well.
I'm still stuck on the idea that none of these CEO's or corporate officers were charged with any crimes, and their bonuses are still flowing, and their tax rates are way below anyone in the middle class.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2010 at 6:04 am
"No End in Sight" was fiction, so why are you surprised that this one is?
That is a problem with fictionalized drama posing as documentary: win some, lose some.
You liked the first one, and don't like the second.
I recommend reading books to track down what really happened this time. (I have given up on recommending books on Iraq, people are too solidly set by now and facts really don't matter). There are several already out, but if you prefer it in short doses, start with some essays.
The root of it is well expressed by Thomas Sowell..who speaks of the regulation coming from Barney Frank et al, (Congress) through the Community Reinvestment Act of Carter ( which sounded good at the time, from me, a now embarrassed Carter supporter) which forced banks ( through over regulation) to give the houses of keys to people who could not possibly afford the mortgages.
Of course,when they started walking away, it was the match that lit the economic wildfire.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2010 at 8:12 am
"No End In Sight" was both correct in the facts it presented and the conclusions it drew - hardly fictionalized drama.
"Inside Job" the same.
Both documentaries were like a bit like adult versions of Michael Moore's movies, which essentially come from the right place, even if they are "dramatized." After all many Americans who really need to know this stuff cannot take it without some sugar ... being good TV and junk food eating Americans.
We still have most of the same people in charge, and Congress is not the problem, it is the people who have been paid to hold the chairs that belong to the representatives of the American public that need to do.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm Walter_E_Wallis is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The depth with which government has embedded into every aspect of business makes government a not so silent partner. You can not ignore government, and you need to seek approval of your plans. Some times that approval is given on merit, sometimes it is bought and sold.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 1, 2010 at 6:41 am
Anon...you are almost there. "We still have most of the same people in charge, and Congress is not the problem, it is the people who have been paid to hold the chairs that belong to the representatives of the American public that need to do."
Keep going, and soon you will see that the enemy to prosperity is government, willy nilly picking winners and losers, changing the game rules, destroying lives in the process, rewarding "friends and punishing enemies", as our President so illustriously noted in his Univision interview.
Doesn't that kind of power at the Fed level scare the poop out of you?
Return the federal government to its Constitutional limits, and you will see us flourish again. Our founders had seen what happened to the marriage of government to money, and set up a Consititution designed to discourage such nonsense. We have lost our way, and once we get it back, we will flourish.
Government ( Congress) laws set up the real estate fall, set up the DOW fall from repackaged bad/good financial products, set up the auto market fall from a marriage with Unions and their money. It wasn't a lack of regulation, but over and bad regulation which set this up. It was a changing of the rules over a short period of time, a changing quietly done with whistle blowers called racists and worse and hidden by our mainstream media...which caught all the rest of us, operating on the assumption that the old rules still were in place, completely off guard and wiped us out.
Combined with the "sky is falling" rhetoric, "vote for me and I will save you from a Great Depression", lying about how this is the worst economy since the 30s ( not..check out the 70s), scaring the population into a downward cycle of not spending, not risking, fooling the young, the naive, the old and scared, who hadn't learned from history,into voting for a repeat of the 30s reaction..this is the big sin of our government.
Please read widely. Don't trust emotion-laden, cherry-picked "documentaries", meant to manipulate you into one belief or another.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Hmm. Reduce financial regulations? Wait a second--didn't someone try that recently? Yeah, that's right. What was his name? The dummy who tanked the economy? W.
The theories about the CRA and Barney Frank are rightwing fantasies unsupported by facts.
There were a number of causes that contributed to the crisis. One was certainly the global savings glut, but when the bubble burst, the out-of-control financial innovation guaranteed we were screwed to a wholly new degree--a "local" U.S. problem exploded around the world because of those wacky innovations.
Posted by Jarred, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 1, 2010 at 11:55 pm
@Answer has it right. And Obama's solution to the too-easy credit and low lending standards of the housing bubble? Lower lending standards and easier credit! It's the drink-yourself-sober school of economics.
@Paul: sorry, the Dems who caused the crisis most assuredly are NOT getting re-elected tomorrow, despite every kind of MSM echo-chamber cheerleading, voter fraud, and Rally to Restore Smugness that they can muster. D is for "desperation".
P.J. O'Rourke nailed it: "This is not an election. This is a restraining order." Against the Dems, that is. Good riddance.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 4:25 am
Easy credit? Lower lending standards? Nobody is talking about that. I think you are confused about the economics here.
Er, it was the Republicans who ran things when the leashes were taken off the financial industry and when the surplus was turned into a deficit and when the bubble was pumped up, so they get the lion's share of the blame.
Now, in this election, the rightwing will benefit because voters will punish Dems for the Republicans' failures. Of course, this will lead to massive legislative stalemate. That will certainly suit the Party of No (Ideas), but it will be a disaster for the country.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 5:54 am
Wait a sec: this is not about a 'team' winning or losing, or what a "team" did or didn't do ( Repubs and Dems).
Aside from the lack of understanding of what led to the economic melt-down ( yes indeed, Virginia, there really were lowered lending standards for mortgages and credit which, in part, led to the meltdown), there is a gestalt of governance that we strayed from which led to the economics of today.
This is about a philosophy of government that affects all aspects of our lives, including economics.
Yes, there was a Repub President and at least 1/2 the Repubs in Congress who were too far to the left in government philosophy for people like me...the more they grew government, the less happy we were. There was a reason the "polls" started declining for Bush in the second term. A lot of us gave Bush/Repubs a pass from the first term because of the crisis of 9/11 ( which he responded wonderfully to, and for which I will forever be grateful). But int the second term, we watched in dismay as social security, Medicare, borders, health insurance reform not only didn't happen the way we hoped, but what DID happen was exactly the opposite of what we wanted. The media and RINOS kept getting it wrong..they kept saying our government had to move more to the left to "please the people", but the more they moved left, the less happy we were, because most people THOUGHT the problem was the RINOS were too far to the right, when the real problem was they were too far to the left, walking hand in hand down the aisle of growing government power. It had the most to do with the economics/regulation of the Bush-type Repubs going along with every Democrat for such programs as doubling Federal education funds and FEd regulation in something it shouldn't have anything to do with ie No Child Left Behind, doubling Medicare costs in drug benefits, tax-based backing of bad mortgages under affirmative-action lending which lit the economic wildfire when they collapsed, fanned by bail-outs we didn't want to companies that should have been allowed to fail so that successful ones could rise to the top and we could learn from them.
However, elections have consequences. The good news is that McCain was not elected, and the country has seen what a full-left rule looks like. A lot of Republicans were fed up, and either stayed home, or even voted for Obama in order to let the country learn what full leftist control looks like and make sure it was truly named...Democrat, not Republican. A McCain "victory" would have simpl led us more or less down this same path, not quite as extreme, with more or less the same consequences, but people would have branded it "Republican", delaying our recovery. McCain was even more to the left than Bush, and would have continued to destroy the Republican " brand", much like Schwarzzie here, while providing "cover' for left-wing policies to continue to run amok. ( like Bush did in his last 2 years). The country got what it voted for, a far-left ( or whatever you want to call socialist/marxist philosophy) takeover, with absolutely not one shred of ability from anyone to the right of Obama, dem or repub alike, or the leaders of the Dem party to stop anything or provide any cover for culpability.
The country was mad at spending..so they voted in someone who quadrupled down. Mad at war, so they voted in someone who doubled down on it, with no plan for victory...mad at "regulation" ( misnamed "lack of regulation" from ignorance not understanding it was the opposite..new and more bad regulation), so they quadrupled down on it
( still learning, though..not one new regulation has applied to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ratings companies, or the Community Reinvestment Act...the next wave of disasters from these are coming)...mad at bailouts; so we doubled down on them...you can complete the list.
Thus, the Tea-Party was born, and it has opened the eyes of many Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, pulling our entire country back toward the Constitution and capitalism, a system which has worked best when worked close to the bone of our Constitution over the years, and works least when we stray from it.
So, in the end, while an envious world wanted us to fail, and thus always supported the candidate and policies most likely to lead to our suffering, we and the world have seen what happens when we stumble. When we go down, we bring all down with us, especially the poor and minorities, while our greed and envy take aim only at the "rich". The world, and we in the USA, can't wait for us to recover, so they can go back to better economies and have more time to berate us, and we can go back to being "the bad guy" while all, including our poor and minorities", can get back to working and dreaming.
In the meantime, the only ones who have gained are those at the taxpayers' expense, and big corporations who are "friends" to this government ( "green" companies, Unions, the biggest banks who got our money in TARP to buy out smaller ones, the biggest health insurance companies who can now squeeze out smaller ones easier, the biggest health care conglomerates which can now squeeze out the small guys easier...ever notice what has quietly happened over the last couple years with our own PAMF?) There are a few more, but I gotta get to work. They will fight us tooth and nail, and it is very obvious even in this election who they back.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 7:02 am
Right, I do understand that Bush was too far to the left for you. Frankly, almost every democrat is too far to the right for me. Your cant about marxism/socialism might play well with the ignorant, but don't try it with people who can read.
Anyway that misses the point. The country was hit by a severe economic shock. Despite all evidence to the contrary, people like you would like to blame it on "affirmative action lending." Once the conflagration was lit, people like you wanted the government to let the meltdown continue. I grant you that this would have tasted sweet--for about a week. Then it would have been clear that the second great depression was on.
And no, the country has not seen what full left rule looks like. The centrists who were elected in the last go around ended up collaborationists with the right. The new, anti-constitutional 60 vote supermajority requirement blocked us from what we needed. Still, despite the foot-dragging obstructionism that has become the repubs' central plank, Obama and the dems did manage to stave off a second great depression. And they managed to stem the loss in jobs.
Yes, the fat cats have done very well in this recession (unions are not corporations, btw), primarily because they are strongly protected by the republicans. The tax structure is designed to help the already rich (check out how much tax Google paid; many big companies have the resources to stiff the United States legally), and it's clear who's to blame for that.
The tea party brings all kinds of passionate people into the debate, which is great. Unfortunately, they are ignorant. Their suggestions range from do-nothingism to policies that would plunge the recession into a deep second dip.
If the economy were doing well, we could afford to humor the tea party's ignorant nonsense. But the economy is not doing well. The tea party is a danger.
Posted by Jarred, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 8:29 am
@Wait a sec: you are using expired Dem talking points, that's why they smell bad. Even the New York Times admits that Tea Partiers are on average, better educated and more prosperous than the general populace. That's why the Dems switched their baseless slander of the Tea Party from "ignorant racists" to "elitist corporate fatcats".
I'm sure the Dems would like to continue borrowing money from our children and grandchildren and pouring it down their Keynsian rathole in order to buy votes from their cronies, but the more sensible Americans have caught on at this point.
Since the Dems always want to have the government spend more money, they can fall back on their favorite Krugmanesque excuse when they get summarily booted: "it would have worked if we had only spent more money".
Goodbye Dems, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Hello Tea Party, sorry 'bout that ditch the Dems drove us into.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 9:13 am
I notice that even if you try to take both side's point of view in this seriously, there is a difference in the nature of the rhetoric.
The left is still collecting information, but the right is always insulting, always using fear to motivate, and using marketing and even lies to make their points. The right makes claims like they know the truth, but just in terms of the mortgages, it was not a few bad loans that brought down the system, it was the securitization and sale of these loans as triple A that poisoned people's investments, retirement plans, charities, etc. along with the bonus incentives for financial and loan people to undetake risky loans with other people's money, also combined with the hedging and insuring against loss of these investments, leading to the financial companies to talk up and sell products they knew were going to fail and were themselves betting against.
So far none of the issues have been dealt with by any meaningful regulation because the financial industry has so much money and power.
The good thing about this movie is that it presents facts in an unbiased way and people should see it rather than be told by others what happened and what it means.
Another lie is that the TEA party is independent. The problem is these lies work for a while and there is lag in the truth coming out ... like that saying a lie is up and halfway around the world before the truth is out of bed and can get its pants on. It is Republican and Libertarian money that is funding the TEA party.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 9:34 am
They may be "expired" in the "media" you consume, but that doesn't make them less true.
It's not good election strategy to name things plainly, but the fact remains that tea partiers are ignorant. Scroll up to see the repeated ignorance about CRA for an example.
And yes, Keynes is the only game in town, like it or not. People like you seem to think the stimulus spending was frivolous "spending" by democrats, but it managed to stave off the republican depression. And yes, more would have gone farther toward ending the recession.
Republican obstructionism guarantees a jobless recovery for many months to come (saw this before, didn't we, with Bush; at the time it was astonishing to see a jobless recovery, but this is how low the republicans are aiming).
The tea party is an ephemeral protest against forces the partiers don't understand. I hope they do well in the election--it will make the gains by dems in the next election even greater.
Posted by Right and Left, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm
"the right is always insulting, always using fear to motivate, and using marketing and even lies to make their points. "
Funny, I see it the other way:
"'sorry, the Dems who caused the crisis most assuredly are NOT getting re-elected tomorrow'
When did George W. Bush become a Democrat?"
The implication is that Democrats had no role in this, when they clearly had role.
"the fact remains that tea partiers are ignorant."
This is not an on-point argument.
The right says the government directly and indirectly pushed lenders to make not a few but very many very bad loans, and that is one of the roots of the problem. However you slice them, whoever buys them, whoever insures them, however complicated the decision on whether to invest in them or not is, they're bad and now everyone has to pay indirectly for these bad loans.
The left says that the right is made up of uneducated, duped idiots, and besides they supported George Bush, who was also an uneducated idiot, and they want poor mothers and babies to starve while they get social security and give huge bonuses to unethical Wall Street types.
It's true, there is "a difference in the nature of the rhetoric."
Posted by Jarred, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm
@Paul asks: "When did George W. Bush become a Democrat?" At precisely the same mythical point in time at which NPR became "National Program for Republicans", which sets a record in the intensely competitive race for "most delusional histrionics by Paul".
@Wait a sec: sorry this whole Tea Party movement has you sobbing bitterly into your guyliner. With a midterm wipeout like this, I'm not surprised that folks like you are clinging to your discredited Keynesian economics and collectivism. But look at the bright side: now that better educated, more experienced, and more rational adults are taking charge of government, we'll all be better off. And when you graduate from Junior High, your share of the national debt will be lower. Perhaps some day you'll get a job and appreciate the difference between autonomous adults creating value and dependent beggars leaching off the productive class.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2010 at 12:13 am
Right and Left,
"This is not an on-point argument."
But it is. Only ignorance can explain the claim that one of the roots of the problem was "government pushing lenders to make ... bad loans." There is zero evidence to support this. Zero.
Er, we tried "the adults"-- 'member? (They turned a surplus into a deficit, drove the economy into a ditch, and sent our boys to die in a couple of directionless wars.) And now the adults will include grown-ups like Rand Paul. Plus, you've got the disrupterator as speaker now. Good luck with that.
The rest of your rant about the economy was indecipherable, but I got the sense it was code for a kind of attack on the very poor and support for tax breaks for the very wealthiest. Wait a second--we've heard that before too (welfare queens, voodoo supply side). Didn't make sense then, doesn't now.
What the economy needs right now is more stimulus from the government (that and the intervention to prevent the collapse of finance are the only things that save us from a great depression--thanks Obama!), but it looks like we are in for a period of do-nothing led by the grand old do-nothing party. See you at the polls in two years when unemployment will still be above 9 percent....
Posted by Right and Left, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm
"'government pushing lenders to make ... bad loans.'
There is zero evidence to support this. Zero."
Kind of like asserting there is no evidence that the republicans won the 2010 midterm election. It's strange. I guess it points out the difference in our ages; I lived through it.
Here's a particularly interesting detail of evidence.
There was a "Community Reinvestment Act." This act specified that a federal financial supervising agency must inspect a financial institution’s record of addressing the credit needs of its entire community, especially including low income neighborhoods. I.e. it looked at how much business the financial institution did in sub-prime loans.
If it did not do enough sub-prime loan business, it was not allowed to reorganize, spin-off, acquire, or be acquired, or complete other corporate actions. These actions are required for financial institutions to stay competitive.
I'll leave it to you to find the interesting aspect of this piece of history.
Posted by RIght and Left, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:01 am
History showed that people paid their mortgages; counterparty risk was historically negligible; almost all of the money investors had lost was due to fraud. The companies the loan officers worked for were not allowed to survive if they did not loosen their loan qualifications beyond historical limits and beyond what their own policies would allow.
Are you saying that if these loans were paid, the rating would still have been a problem? Or if the ratings were different and the loans were still made and still bad, there wouldn't have been a problem? One root of the problem is the bad loans!
Read "Citibank" by Ralph Nader to see the start of the congressional investigations leading to this "good government heart gone bad" story.
Do you just deny that things like CRA happened based on a documentary with an angle?
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:06 am
"Kind of like asserting there is no evidence that the republicans won the 2010 midterm election. It's strange. I guess it points out the difference in our ages"
Actually, it points out your gullibility. The tea party and nuts over at the American Enterprise Institute duped you in pursuit of their own agenda. In this case, a little knowledge (jeepers mr. peabody, we had a CRA) is dangerous.
A little light:
1. The growth in the subprime market was was mainly underwritten by private mortgage lenders like countrywide, not by Fannie and Freddie.
2. F&F actually took a sharply reduced share of the home lending market during the peak years of the bubble. (The Community Reinvestment Act long predates the housing bubble.) They did indeed purchase stupid home loans, but they were just playing catchup with the leading stupids, not pursuing "social objectives."
3. Meanwhile, VERY FEW of the lenders engaged in subprime lending--like Countrywide--were commercial banks SUBJECT to the CRA.
It is worth asking why the (predominantly white and relatively rich) Tea Party would like to blame poor minorities for the economic collapse given that there is zero evidence. After all, poor black communities did not prosper before or after the collapse. Why hang this on poor blacks? I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the tea party's motivations with regard to race.
Otherwise, you should follow the money--who did well? Pretty much the guys who stand to benefit from the Republicans tax handouts for the rich. As you weep for the extremely rich, ponder this: The top 1 percent of Americans received the largest share of national income since 1928. Yes, the great looting fortunes are back.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:17 am
Wait a Sec: I really suggest you get more of your historical facts from reading books with citations and bibliographies, not "mockumentaries" meant to give you one point of view and sway you politically.
Your post is so full of inaccuracies without sources that there is no where to even begin.
I recommend anything by Sowell or Hanson to start.
Start with your #1. Your statemment says that the growth in sub-primes was largely by private banks without Fannie and Freddie is already false. Sub-primes were written with the express purpose of being backed by Fannie and Freddie ( our tax dollars) because of a percieved, ( and it turned out to be real, unfortunatlely) belief that we would bail out any bad loans.
The bad loans were written under threat of lawsuit for "racial inequality" in the number of loans written to non-whites, per CRA. This was pushed by Barney Frank/CRA and litigated by ACORN, once even with Obama's name on the lawsuit.
Banks were put between a rock and a hard spot; face lawsuits or make bad loans backed by the taxpayer. Banks made the rational choice to protect their investors, and wrote the bad loans.
EVERY bank was subject to the CRA. Some chose to not follow it and risk lawsuits. Some were terrorized/sued into submission, which caused others to knuckle under and avoid the (short-term) headache. Some decided to not knuckle under ( for example, Wells Fargo). Notice which ones needed the bail-out money to survive.
Follow the money, indeed. It is no shock that the banks that donated to democrats the most were the ones bailed out the most. ( those in power will always protect their own pocketbook..this has been a lesson to me..invest in companies that have long-term democrats invested in it..they will be protected).
This has all been posted many times and in this day and age, I think if you cared to do so you could find the trail easily...nor will it be a shock to find that Buffet, who supported Obama, has many banks that were bailed out and lined his pocket yet more.
But, never let a few connected dots get in the way of unreasoning hatred of "rich and white".
By the way, did you notice that more blacks and hispanics than ever in history ran and won as Republicans/Tea Party members for various offices in the USA this cycle? Web Link
List of blacks who ran for Congress as Conservative Republicans Web Link guess it really is the party of "rich and white".
The "brand" of Republican is changing back to its roots and away from the "country club elitism" that had infected it ( again) and America is happy with that. The "brand" of Democrats has been revealed, and America is not happy with what they see. We have seen a rightward shift to the Democrat party in response.
Now we just have to hold their feet to the fire.
Well, go have the last word, blame Bush, blame Repubs, blame rich and white, blame fear, blame blah blah blah. The rest of us will move forward and start to fix the horrific damage done to our country and the future of our children.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 7:46 am
Wow. You hit a lot of keys on your keyboard. (I'm not sure why.)
I merely supplied you with facts about the CRA, facts you were painfully unaware of. By typing all those letters, you did not actually change any of those facts....
Those facts remain:
-The growth in the subprime market was mainly underwritten by private mortgage lenders
-F&F had a reduced share of home lending during the peak bubble years
-Very few of the lenders were commercial banks subject to the CRA
If you do a little research, you will find each of these to be true. If you read these carefully, I think you will see that they show that the republicans and their tea-baggery are either misinformed, stupid, or liars in their claims about the CRA. Information is the cure for the first, but my notions about what to do with the other two categories are not postable.
The rest of your post seemed like a conspiracy theory. One thing you can be sure of is that the republicans will either try to bring government to a halt because they have no ideas, or they will find some ideas that will center on cutting taxes for the double-super wealthy and cutting services for the very neediest. Either way, we're screwed.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:13 am
>> I recommend anything by Sowell or Hanson to start.
Of course you do. Well, that's the whole point, whatever happens, whatever the Republicans want to do point to some dense book on the subject and be done with any explanations.
I have read Sowell, and investigated his books, and he is a right-wing idealogue. That is not the kind of book you want to point anyone to if you want an objective recounting of what actually happened.
The standard reply to that is everyone is biased, which is theoretically true, but as is covered in this film - ONE MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THE RIGHT WING ECONOMIC FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM "RELIGION" IS THAT THEY ARE NOW TAKING OVER THE UNIVERSITIES, INSTALLING PROFESSORS THAT AGREE WITH THEM, AND FAILING STUDENTS THAT DO NOW.
At some point the right wing view is the only view we will hear, and behind it is the same corruption and anti-democratic spirit that this documentary puts on display and is filled with while they interview the participants in this mess, the very ones who are in the government now.
The reason I liked this documentary so well is that it is very clear from the evidence that this mess is supported by the political status quo. Why else were regulatory agencies handicapped and defunded. Why else was the FBI ignored when they reported an epidemic of mortgage fraud? Why else were loser loans allowed to be shipped off like poison pills in consolidated loan products and rated AAA? Why else were people who tried to report what was going on fired or discounted in the media? Why else is it now a financial advisor's "OPINION" when you get investment advice from them? And opinion that they can be betting against behind your back and have no fiduciary responsibility to disclose?
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm
For University "take-over", I recommend Horowitz and his book "101 Most Dangerous Professors in Universities". Excellent first chapter on what happened to our Universities in the last 40 years.
BTW, it is "dense".
Another "dense" book is one by the same guy called "Radical Son". Good look at his evolution from communist to capitalist/constitutionalist.
Another book, not at all dense, but useful for journeys in political conversions, is one by Tammy Bruce called "The New Thought Police". She is a woman who ran NOW back in the OJ trial time in LA, and her epiphanies about what had happened to what used to be our "liberals".
Or, for shorter reads, try Medved's "Right Turns, From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion in 35 Unconventional Lessons", or "Why I turned Right" by Eberstadt, a series of essays by different former (American) left-wings.
As for Sowell being "right wing", I recommend him because he makes the complex ( Laffer, Friedman et al) understandable and backs it up with social results data...Because his results-oriented approach brings the reader to draw "right-wing" conclusions does not make him a right-winger,it makes him correct. There is a severe disconnect, as we have experienced yet again nationally and always do in this State, between the longed-for goals of virtually every socialist and/or marxist policy and the actual results, and the more people understand this, the better off we ALL are in this country.
Or, keep believin' what you want without any dense books to get in the way.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm
David Horowitz is a far-right-wing idealogue ... here is a list of a few other books he has written:
Indoctrination U: The Lefts War Against Academic Freedom by David Horowitz
The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party by David Horowit
How to Beat the Democrats and Other Subversive Ideas by David Horowitz
The Seven Myths of Gun Control: Reclaiming the Truth About Guns, Crime, and the Second Amendment by Richard Poe and David Horowitz
Anti Chomsky Reader by Peter Collier and David Horowitz
The Race Card: White Guilt, Black Resentment, and the Assault on Truth and Justice by Peter Collier and David Horowitz
Left Illusions: an Intellectual Odyssey by David Horowitz
The art of political war: How Republicans can fight to win by David Horowitz and David J. Horowitz
Hate America Left by David Horowitz
Liberal racism: The college student's common-sense guide to radical ideology and how to fight it by David Horowitz
Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam And the American Left by David Horowitz
This guy does nothing but think up new names for books to sell to gullible conservatives that want to be scared. He is a revolutionary (right wing) propagandist, and certainly not anyone you would want to go to for an objective view on anything considering he will tie everything he says or any subject into some kind of Liberal plot to steal your money destroy the world.
When someone like this, or "Answer" can only define themselves by who and what they hate it seems to me to be a big red flag to listen carefully about what they are really saying.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2010 at 6:37 am
Wait a sec and Anon:
When I read posts like yours, I again think of how useful it would be for every high school student to be required to live in almost any other country for the last year of his schooling. I, like most young of my generation, was basically a socialist, but began to leave my socialist ideology behind when I traveled to the great socialist experiments in Europe in my 20s and saw the poor were much poorer than our poor.. I guess that was "economic justice" at work.
When I went behind the then "Berlin Wall" and was surrounded by men with guns, who confiscated my film when I innocently went to take a picture of the wall from "the other side", that helped open my eyes.. And then walked along the streets and stores, saw the people and how they carefully avoided me, saw the stores with one item per shelf and nobody in them, saw the paucity of cars and the vintage of the few there. There was 'social and economic justice' I suppose..everyone was equally terrified, hidden and poor ( except the friends of those in power, of course). This trip was quite an eye opener for the results of socialism, and the extremity of the same thinking, communism.
I have seen us drifting toward the French "way" for the last 20 years in fits and starts, to not see it is to have on blinders. When only 52% of us pay any fed taxes at all, when the top 25% pay 85% of ALL the fed budget, how much more proof of socialism having taken over our country do you need? When the results of aging are the same, private versus tax-funded, when someone working honest labor at a minimum wage job has less than someone on welfare, how much more proof do you need? When the productive bail out the failures, individual, corporate and government, over and over again, what else do you need?
I specifically offered "former socialist/communists turned capitalist" type folks to read so that you could learn from the comforts of your armchair. But, one can lead a horse to water...
And, one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so since I have not yet left the land of sane, I will sign off.
Posted by wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:29 am
It's silly to compare democratic policy to the that in the communist eastern bloc. I would like to think that this is a joke on your part, but I fear it's not since I've seen so much ignorance coming from the tea party.
Backpacking through Europe in days of yore is hardly a basis for political insight into today. Listen up. It is much better to be poor in Western Europe than in the United States. Most countries there are better at providing shelter, food, healthcare, and education to their poor that we are. Yes, it is a kind of economic justice. We are not even remotely close to Europe in the level of support we give to the poor.
On the flip side, we are also doing very poorly for a capitalist system. A good income will land you with fed taxes of maybe 30%. Then, you have 10% CA tax. FICA taxes are more than 15 percent. Right there, you have higher taxes than in many of the "socialist" countries you're so scathing about. For their taxes, they get free healthcare, support for the poor, and good infrastructure. Here, well, look around you at the shambles. Crappy old schools, decrepit freeways, embarrassing public buildings.
Turn your tax figures on their head and ask why. Why are we creating so many poor while bleeding the middle class. Why are we handing the largest share of national income to the top 1 percent since 1928? The immense looting fortunes are back.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:31 am
>> It's silly to compare democratic policy to the that in the communist eastern bloc.
Ditto. In the present, real world, the US has one of the lowest social mobility rates in the world now. How far do we have to drop down before Republicans take note ... or do they just welcome lots of ignorant poor people for the cheap labor?
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 6, 2010 at 10:58 am
Please cite where you get the info that leads you to believe the exact oppsosite of truth re: social mobility
In our country, only 1% of those who are "at or below poverty Level' at some point in their lives stay there. The rest move up and out. There is no other country that can come close to this statistic. In our country, racism and sexism play virtually no part in our ability to "move up"..if one person or company IS sexist or racist, they eventually collapse from their short-sightedness while you laugh from another company that is succeeding.
I would rather be poor here than anywhere else in the world, and have the opportunity to work my way out, than be poor in any other nation, including France, where I am stuck into my "class", unable to pull out, limited by classism, racism, and sexism,..confiscatory taxation and oppressive regulation that blocks others from giving me a chance to prove myself, since the price one pays for hiring the wrong person in France is so great, few risk it on "unknowns".
If you read a bit of what I recommended, you will understand how this works better. Or ask yourself why we have 10 times the number of immigrants from Canada, for example, as emigrants TO Canada, per capita. ( Right in own backyard is a shining example of failed socialism)
But, if you simply don't want to buy into this system, and believe it is better elsewhere, .if you would prefer being poor, middle class or rich elsewhere, I advise you to go with our blessings and be well.
Posted by Wait a sec, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2010 at 12:45 am
Great example of silly jingoism.
In your tea-swilling, a.rand-spun world, the United States has the best economy, the best health care system, the least sexism, the least racism, the most mobility. Over in this world, things look quite a bit different.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:31 am
As a matter of fact..yes, I do believe all of these things, having lived a half century here and been intimately involved with French family, watching what they have done to their country...and watching our left doing everything they can to destroy our country the same way France has demolished itself.
But, whatever, I am sure you feel better having gotten that off your chest, right?
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:36 am
BTW, be sure to watch the new movie supposedly about the Valerie Plame story...that will be as factual as any Moore movie, I am sure.
Unfortunately, it will go into the lexicon of ignorant thought, and become "true" to them by nature of repetition. Too bad, really, but by now I have accepted there are many people in our country who prefer to believe what they wish, trusting propoganda over fact because it fits their template, instead of researching facts.
I will await the usual plethora of righteous anger over nonsense.
Posted by Carol Brouillet, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Nov 22, 2010 at 8:57 am Carol Brouillet is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The documentary, Inside Job, written and directed by Charles Ferguson, who also did an excellent documentary on the Iraq War entitled No End In Sight has created a visually stunning, insightful film, demystifying the economic jargon to reveal the sheer criminality of today's financial system. This film is an indictment of a system and the players who have been writing laws, dictating policies, conducting fraud, and robbing the vast majority for the enrichment of those at the top of the financial, governmental, academic institutions.
It begins in Iceland and slowly, carefully explains what happened to the small island nation when it opened itself up to the international banking industry and country's economy shifted from actual production to finance. A similar pattern, on a much grander scale is described as the story expands to tell the history of banking and finance in the United States. As a researcher, writer, monetary reform activist, I cannot say that every aspect of money and finance is covered in this film. It doesn't really plunge into the intricacies and problems with the debt-based monetary system. In some ways, it reveals only the tip of the iceberg, but it is an awesome, penetrating view at the most visible, egregious, comprehensible aspects of the financial system. There are clear, beautiful graphics to make it understandable for those who have little knowledge about the arcane credit defaults swaps, sub-prime mortgage loans, derivatives that the economists are always talking about when they toss around unfathomably large numbers.
There are some outstanding interviews, interspersed with various revelations to add many dimensions to understand precisely the role of academia in selling "the impeccable appearance of trustworthy governments and individuals." In narrating the story of the Savings and Loan Crisis in the 80's, there is a brief mention of Charles Keating's hiring of Alan Greenspan to do a study on direct investments which Keating used as evidence that his investments were beneficial to the savings and loan industry, not harmful, prior to his conviction for fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy, which cost the government over $3,000,000,000 and left 23,000 customers holding worthless bonds.
I saw this film when it first came out and hope to see it again to write a more detailed review, since I think it is one of the best teaching tools we have to expose the criminalization of the financial industry and the need for systemic change. The film does not go into an in depth, historical look at the Federal Reserve System, international banking, the BIS, how money is created, or the plans for a new global currency, although if the speculative bubbles keep growing, that is obviously the next step, and also the number one story (Global Plans to Replace the Dollar) in Project Censored's latest book- “Censored 2011: The Top Censored Stories of 2009-2010.″ Those who have been looking deeply into the money issue and monetary reform are the American Monetary Institute. Jamie Walton, who helped organize the past two AMI Monetary Reform Conferences will be coming to the Bay Area and speaking with Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, editors of Project Censored's latest book, on December 2nd at 7 pm at BFUU (Cedar and Bonita) in Berkeley. To follow what is happening now, I believe Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism - The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance (His website is Web Link ) is one of the most succinct, clarifying voices, an oasis, in the desert of a thoroughly discredited profession.
Here's my short review for Inside Job-
There are many facets to a long story which spans many decades and involves both Democrats and Republicans, those who tried to blow the whistle and those who were silenced, those who made millions, and those who were hit and had to pay the price. The story is far from finished, as those most responsible for the crisis, have made out like bandits, expanded their wealth, their power, and no one has been held accountable. In the next round, the damage is likely to be even more severe, unless people do wake up and organize to stop them. The film is a call for action, and should be seen by everyone who cares about their lives, their future, the planet.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 23, 2010 at 6:01 am
Ms. Brouillet wrote "The story is far from finished, as those most responsible for the crisis, have made out like bandits..."
We agree on that sentence. I suspect we disagree on who the bandits are and what needs to be done to stop a repeat ( on its way, since the Community Reinvestment Act has only been strengthened and widened since this crisis, and yet more govt financial regulations put in place which pick winners and losers, strengthen the "big guys too big to fail" and punish the "little guys" who were trying to come up behind and provide competition)
But, at least we can all agree on your sentence.
For big picture economic effects, I recommend anything by Sowell. If one rejects him because his conclusions are "right wing", then any of the "Freakonomics" books can give you a good idea of how economic govt policies affect each of us down the road.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 23, 2010 at 8:38 am
>> I recommend anything by Sowell.
Sowell is a right-wing idealogue, part of those who have gotten us to this point. If there is anyone who is a total shill for the status quo it is Sowell. The "Freakonomics" books are just cocktail party conversation books. Their ideas have been discredited widely, (Yugoslavia), but they are fun to read and talk about.
Try Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, or Cambridge professor Ha-Joon Chang for an unvarnished look at economics, not just your standard brainwashing ... which the documentary "Inside Job" does a good job of exposing. Most of the economics professor jobs have been so politicized lately they are just bribing and regimenting those who can memorize right-wing talking points.
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 23, 2010 at 8:58 am
anon: you really believe that economics prof jobs have been politicized to the RIGHT?
as for your "shill" comment: research outcomes based on history and results are not "shill", they are research outcomes, unvarnished from politicization.
Please observe the results of "left-wing", if you wish to call it that, economic policies on every socialist and communist country..or stay close to home and observe California. Measure the outcomes in economic growth. (jobs, real spending power, GDP growth, new business starts...)
Posted by Answer, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Nov 23, 2010 at 9:01 am
Just looked up Stiglitz ..
you really think this guy isn't a "shill" for socialism/communism? He is no more valid than Krugman, who believes we should have gone into MORE debt than we have now to make the "stimulus" work. ( always how I think, don't you? Double down on failure)
The "Nobel prize" alone should have been a clue to me, but I thought I would keep an open mind and look him up..yikes.
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Nov 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm
>> you really think this [[Nobel Prize Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz]] guy isn't a "shill" for socialism/communism?
I am sure you are not capable of reviewing Joe Stiglitz's career in 20 minutes on the Internet, nor would you be objective even if you took much more time.
All the posts I have seen you make seem to in one way or another follow an argument that unless someone is popping off about right wing economics and tax cuts and ending social security, medicare, public education they are a communist.
I just felt someone should point that out because I'm tired of hearing and that noise being allowed respect to take up space in the public forum of opinion is detrimental to democracy ... or communism as you would like to call it.