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Tue Mar 21, 2006

Jude Wanniski

You know who was an interesting man? Jude Wanniski, Reagan's source for his supply side tax cuts. I say was because I just found out that he had died last year. Every once and a while, my anti-war google searching winds up on some brilliant quote on his website www.wanniski.com. I'm always delighted to find interesting conservatives who run against the dreck that is modern day reactionary cultural elitist neo-conservatism - and that's why I'm also sad to read about his passing.

Anyway, I was just adding John Perkin's book (which I've just started reading) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man to the left side bar here, and searching around for comments to quote on this great book, I ran across Jude Wanniski's comments on the book from January 2005. I'll get to his quote, but before I go there it's interesting that Wanniski is known as the 'Father of the supply side economics' and hence basically the Reagan Revolution, and an advisor to economic conservatives Kemp, Forbes, etc.. Mr. Wanniski's book The Way the World Works is one of the National Reviews' 100 most infulential books of the 20th Century. I may not have the knowledge to know exactly how to talk about him, but his small-government-conservative/economic cred is immense... no?

Back to John Perkin's book - 'Confessions..', and Jude's thoughts on the premise of it. Read his blog on wanniski.com and you'll find lots of big fat red flags on Bush's economics, and the folly of this war, and the corruption of the IMF and WTO:

What’s this all about? The book was published last fall, but only now shows up as a best-seller? It only recently was brought to my attention by a website fan who knows I’ve long argued that the International Monetary Fund and its sister organization, the World Bank, constitute an “Evil Empire.” The two “international financial institutions” (IFI’s) were founded in 1945 during the genesis of the United Nations as “do-good” enterprises. The IMF would assist countries trying to keep their currencies tied to the dollar under the terms of the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. The World Bank would lend money at low interest rates gathered from the rich countries to help poor countries get off their backs.

Over the years, the process has been corrupted, with both the IMF and World Bank becoming controlled by the multinational corporations and their banks. When President Nixon went off the gold standard in 1971, the IMF’s reason for existence evaporated, because Bretton Woods and the fixed dollar went up in smoke. Now the problem for the big banks like Chase Manhattan, Citicorp and the Bank of America became two-fold:

1)As surplus dollars accumulated in their reserves and there were no credit-worthy Americans wanting to borrow, the banks had to think of ways to lend the money abroad or it would sit in their vaults earning zip, which means it really is losing money as the paper dollar – freed from its gold anchor – was inflating and losing purchasing power. Citigroup’s Walter Wriston (who died last week), came up with the idea that the surplus should be loaned to poor countries, even though they had no collateral, because governments had to pay off their hard-currency loans or lose their international credit ratings.

2)If the countries that borrowed from Chase or Citicorp could not pay back interest or principle and did not worry about stiffing the private bankers, they would have to swallow the non-performing loans. The solution was to have the IMF, looking for something to justify its existence, step in to collect the debt. All it had to do was persuade the U.S. Congress to ante up billion or two of taxpayer dollars to fill their coffers (and “replenish” them from time to time). They could then go to the deadbeat country and say, “We will give you this money so you can pay Chase and Citicorp what you owe them, but you will have to raise taxes on your own people and devalue your currency as the conditions for the loan!

What we have in this book from Mr. Perkins is an account of a foot soldier in these operations of the Evil Empire. I’ll get his book and check it out, but from what I can gather about it on the internet he is well within the ballpark of what has been going on. Are bankers evil by nature? Of course not. But as bankers they follow the money, not giving a second thought to the conditions in which they leave their debtors. The first priority of any institution is self-preservation, and for the big banks, that means getting paid back on their loans. Is this any way to run the world? No. It is a dreadful way to operate, and it would end if our government returned to a dollar/gold system and abided by it. If not, I’m afraid nothing Mr. Perkins writes or that I write will change a thing. The folks who control the money control our government and that’s that. It is interesting that Perkins does identify the Bechtel Corporation and Halliburton as agents in this quiet conspiracy to make sure the good old USA flourishes, even though it means the relentless impoverishment of the poorest countries of the world.
Read more...

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Mar 21, 06 | 4:27 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Helen Thomas

I heart Helen Thomas.

According to radio this morning, She asked a question during a rare 'unscripted' question and answer period after Bush's speech in Cincinnati this morning - "Evey reason you gave to go to war in Iraq has been proved not true, so what's the real reason?"

to which be blathered on about 9/11, terror, 9/11, war on terror, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.

She interrupted him to keep asking the question, because he's not answering it.

Bush, perturbed: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, war-on-terror..

Meanwhile, all the in wingnut-o-sphere is marching in step calling her a 'moonbat' and a old, diseased chestnut, another example of the 'liberal media'... ho hum. How sick I am of that label, 'moonbat'.

anyway, I'm looking for the Bush/Helen Thomas transcript hope to post it later..

Edit: here is the transcript at the Washington Post. A better version is here. Read more for it.. Read more...

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Mar 21, 06 | 8:17 am | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Tue Jan 31, 2006

State of the Union

I am listening to George W. Bush's state of the union speech on the TV in the next room (I cannot stand to look at his face), I noticed the DailyKos posted the whole speech. Before it was being read. So I can read outloud along with him, just shrub and I hitting every word, together, as one.It's a weird feeling, like Bush and I are reading from the same tele-prompter at the same time.

Too Bad Cindy Sheehan, who was supposed to be there as Lynn Woosley's guest got arrested outside, for, uh, being Cindy Sheehan.

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
As Prepared For Delivery

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, Members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.
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Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 31, 06 | 6:17 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Mon Jan 30, 2006

State of the Union 2006 - Bush Impression

Be sure and watch this State of the Union as a bracer for tomorrow night.

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 30, 06 | 1:54 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Wed Jan 25, 2006

Is this "Strict Constructionism" in Action?

commondreams

As the president now tours the country to defend his warrantless spying on Americans, we get a meaningful glimpse into how much of a role principle plays in the Bush administration.

The answer is, not much.

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 25, 06 | 11:13 am | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Sun Jan 22, 2006

medicare switch effects on small pharmacies : overwhelmed by "glitches"

Here is a follow-up to a previous post I made on medicare debacle in the SF Chronicle.

This plan is a small business killer. Expect far more small pharmacies in small towns to go out of business under these kind of 'reforms'. Under the new medicare plan:

'Pharmacists say they have been unable to fill prescriptions or have given out drugs without knowing if they will be paid..'


Far from being the privatization wet dream that the conservatives imagined, it's been a steamroller for the small business person who can't keep up with the glitches:

'"This is the biggest glitch that ever happened," said Potashnick, owner of Leo's Pharmacies, who has been in the business for 55 years. He and his staff said they have spent virtually all their time this week trying to sort out problems that were blocking patients from getting their medications.'

'Potashnick estimated his pharmacy filled about 70 prescriptions Wednesday instead of as many as 300 that would normally be filled following a holiday weekend.'


ouch.

Small pharmacies that know their patients are doing everything they can - spending sometimes hours on the phone with insurance company run medicare 'hotline' on their patients behalf because nobody else will help them figure out the new system, yet, in many cases these small pharmacies are not eligible to serve their patients under the new plan:

'Ed Derderian, a pharmacist and owner of United Pharmacy in Dinuba (Tulare County), discovered this week that he was signed up by a third party with only seven of the 10 plans available in the state to people with both Medicare and Medi-Cal, as Medicaid is known in California. That means customers assigned to plans that Derderian has not contracted with must go elsewhere for their medication.'

'"I can't afford to give these people medication out of my pocket. It's breaking my heart to tell them to go down to Wal-Mart or Rite Aid," said Derderian, referring to the two other pharmacies in the small town between Fresno and Visalia.'

'Derderian said he was worried about both the health of his patients and his business.'


So, under the new medicare, which was written by big pharma and the insurance industry - mom and pop pharmacies are losing business to big mega pharmacies like WalMart - simply because they aren't included in every version of the plan.

And yet, small businesses are the ones most apt to help those most in need because they actually know their patients personally:

'At Galloway's Pharmacy in San Diego, the state's largest independent retail pharmacy, pharmacist Fadi Atiya said he has handed out about $30,000 worth of medication this week without knowing whether he will be reimbursed.'

"You can't access the patient's ID. When you call (the insurer), the wait time is 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes," Atiya said, describing just a few of the problems. "It's a comedy of errors, but it's not funny, because there are people's lives at stake."


I sincerely hope 2006 brings a backlash against the party that wrote and executed 'reforms' like this.

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 22, 06 | 3:20 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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Sat Jan 21, 2006

Debt

According to the U.S. National Debt Clock the outstanding public debt as of right now is:
$ 8,192,612,94,567.95

That's Eight Trillion One Hundred and Ninety Two Billion Six Hundred and Twelve Million or so some odd dollars.

The estimated population of the United States is 298,316,868
so each citizen's share of this debt is $27,462.79.

So Naturally, that calls for tax cuts of the very wealthy. I've never really understood the GOP deal with running up massive debts. Is it mismanagement or design?

Bush is cutting more taxes, but the government isn't really trimming the pork - it's just being shifted around by those in power. This is truely conservative?

This entry by a (old style) conservative columnist on Foxnews.com states "governments that pursue an aggressive, grandiose foreign policy have never held the limited government line at home."

"Early 20th century journalist and World War I protester Randolph Bourne famously wrote that 'war is the health of the state'¯ The reason why politicians declare 'war' on intangibles like drugs or poverty is because a 'war'¯ mentality implies that the problem in question is so serious that the traditional rules of interaction between the governing and the governed need to be suspended. The greatest periods of growth of federal power in American history have come in wartime, or in crises like the Great Depression. These expansions are nearly always justified under the premise that national crises require more state power. They're always sold to the people on the promise that the power requested will only be temporary, or limited to certain circumstances (see the PATRIOT Act, for example)."

"Of course, the powers are almost never temporary or limited. Instead, government retains its new powers once we find peace, usually finds new ways to use them, then asks for more at the onset of the next war..."


Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 21, 06 | 1:19 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
[0] Comments (5322 views) |  [68] Trackbacks | [0] Pingbacks | Link | Email Article

Tue Jan 17, 2006

Medicare debacle

I just got off the phone with my dad, who is a pharmacist and small businessman. He manages and is the sole pharmacist in a small town store he owns with 2 employees who work part time.

Seems this medicare switchover that happened on January 1 is more than a little headache. He is spending every available waking hour dealing with medicare - the whole system is so screwed up it's got most people enrolled in medicare baffled, plus the person behind the counter at the drugstore.

For my father what has gone from a demanding job that requires long hours in managing the store, ordering, doing the books, and finally being there as the staff pharmacist (after all, it's a pharmacy and there always has to be a registered pharmacist present in a pharmacy) to now dealing with the medicare switch has turned his normal 10+ hour days into 16 hour days plus both days on weekends to straighten it out. After 40 years working as a pharmacist he is reconsidering - talking about selling the store, something.

I really can't believe it but this was supposed to be a reform. I don't know much about medicare - and I haven't got all the details from my dad about why exactly this is taking so much time, just that what was a fairly simple process before has become a nightmare. The government has help lines, but you can spend an hour on hold, disconnected, or transfered. All for the pharmacist to actually get paid for the medicine he or she dispenses.

As I have read, the new medicare plan is a step on the way to privitization - 'consumer driven'. I read that in New Hampshire there are 41 different plans you could sign up for. I also read that an entire class - barbituates - were cut out under the plan. So just don't plan on getting any seizures if you are on medicare.

Bush's Medicare plan is going to cost 750 billion dollars, and is turning out a nightmare for a small business person. Seniors get out of this plans that are in many cases less comprehensive than what they had before, with the full deductible hitting in the 'doughnut hole' in the plan when you've spent more than $2500 and less than $5000. Hmm.

The weird thing about this is, why? It seems like it's engineered for failure. Did they consult anyone when writing this? Yes, maybe someday there will be an educated populace making good decisions about their choices in healthcare. As I understand that's what this plan is supposed to do - make people make choices about what plan is right for them, and saving the insurance companies lots of money. What do seniors get out of it? Well, just be sure and don't get sick with an illness that is not covered by your plan. And save up for the part in your plan where the full deductible kicks in.

Maybe these kind of bills written by the Republican congress is a big wet kiss to the big Pharmacutical companies and big business, screw the consumer, and screw the small business owner who has to make sense of it.

It would seem to me that the small pharmacy is set in front of a firing squad in an atmosphere that already favors big business in attempting to decode this.

Someone told me Bush said that the elderly who are having problems with the new program should "have their children help them, ask someone at their church to help them or someone at the community center.."

[Followup: I posted more on medicarehere in this post

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Jan 17, 06 | 10:55 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
[1] Comments (5222 views) |  [2] Trackbacks | [0] Pingbacks | Link | Email Article
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