Sep 29, 2008

Michael Moore: 'The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning'


Posted by Michael Moore, on September 29, 2008 at 8:36 AM.


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!


Michael Moore

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Sep 26, 2008

German Finance Minister Blames US for Financial Crisis

The days financial news is displayed on the Morgan Stanley news ticker in New York's Times Square

Wall Street will never be the same
again, said Steinbrueck

DW-World.deDeutsche Welle

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck deemed the US banking crisis an "earthquake" that will cost the US its role as a superpower of the world financial system. He stressed that German banks can cope with losses.

"Wall Street and the world will never again be the way they were before the crisis," said Steinbrueck in a speech to the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday, Sept. 25. Write-downs and write-offs of bad credit spawned by "a blind drive for double-digit profits" have so far totaled $550 billion and no end to the crisis is in sight, he added.

The world financial system will consequently become more "multi-polar," he predicted.

Steinbrueck told the Bundestag that the Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers would be meeting in Washington next month to discuss how to tighten regulation of capital markets.

The German federal government, meanwhile, would continue efforts to trim spending, but would also make some moves to stimulate the economy.

He reiterated Germany's refusal to set up its own bank bail-out scheme, saying the crisis was principally a US problem.

Irresponsible moves

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck delivers a speech

Steinbrueck didn't pull his punches during the Bundestag speech

Reiterating Berlin's push for tighter regulation, Steinbrueck accused the US of blunders.

"The cause of the crisis was the irresponsible exaggeration of the principle of a free, unrestrained market," he told the Bundestag.

Washington has been reluctant to increase minimum equity rules and has too many competing regulators over US investment banks.

"This system, which in many ways is inadequately regulated, is now collapsing," he said, adding that Germany's banking system remained "relatively robust," with German regulators confident they can absorb losses.

"New rules of the road" for the financial markets were needed, he said.

Plans to be debated when the finance ministers of the G7 meet will include tightening cooperation between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Forum (FSF).

The agencies were created by western nations as an early warning system.

Strengthening cooperation

The Frankfurt skyline

The German Landesbanken need to pull together

Steinbrueck also renewed his call for fusion across Germany's state bank sector. The country's big commercial lenders, the so-called "Landesbanken," have been hard hit by the financial crisis.

The next move needs to be made by the individual states, as co-owners of the leading state banks, said the Social Democrat minister: "They need to overcome regional political pride and embrace pan-regional co-operation."

This, he said, would strengthen the German banking system and boost its sustainability.

"Financial support from the government in mopping up problems in this sector should not be expected," he added.

Given that past attempts to fuse the "Landesbanken" have failed, Steinbrueck proposed a redefinition of their business models in order to avoid excessive risk and to increase returns.

The financial crisis has, however, shown that both savings banks and cooperative banking institutions are stable and reliable, said Steinbrueck. DW staff.

Sep 24, 2008

P.S.1’s Autumn Harvest, September 30th 2008

Public Farm 1 c/o P.S.1

Anyone who had a chance to make it out to P.S.1 this summer had to stop and be amazed at the monolithic future of urban farming aka Public Farm 1. Equal parts art/architecture installation and urban garden, Public Farm 1 was created by WORK Architecture Company as part of MoMA and P.S.1’s Young Architects Program. The project was unveiled in June and the unique structure was used to grow numerous plants, vegetables, and herbs.

Since autumn is now officially here, P.S.1 will celebrate the fruits of P.F.1’s labor with an Autumn Harvest on Sept. 30th. It’s open to the public with a limited number of tickets. Of course, there will be hors d’oeuvres served but even better will be the musical stylings of David Bruno. And if you can’t make it out, they’re streaming the show on their Art Radio broadcast here.