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Weekend Economists' Valentine for Lincoln, February 11-13, 2011

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:01 PM
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Weekend Economists' Valentine for Lincoln, February 11-13, 2011
I'd like to dedicate this weekend to Abraham Lincoln:

Every Known Photograph of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crisis--the American Civil War--by preserving the Union by force while ending slavery and promoting economic modernization. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, he was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives, but failed in two attempts at a seat in the United States Senate. He was an affectionate, though often absent, husband, and father of four children.

Lincoln was an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, which he deftly articulated in his campaign debates and speeches. As a result, he secured the Republican nomination and was elected president in 1860. After war began, following declarations of secession by Southern slave states, he concentrated on both the military and political dimensions of the war effort, seeking to reunify the nation. He vigorously exercised unprecedented war powers, including the arrest and detention, without trial, of thousands of suspected secessionists. He issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and promoted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery.

Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. He brought leaders of various factions of his party into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. He defused a confrontation with Britain in the Trent affair late in 1861. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave states at the start of the war and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another, until finally Grant succeeded in 1865. A shrewd politician deeply involved with patronage and power issues in each state, he reached out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election.

As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln came under attack from all sides. Radical Republicans wanted harsher treatment of the South, Democrats desired more compromise, and secessionists saw him as their enemy. Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory; for example, his Gettysburg Address of 1863 became one of the most quoted speeches in history. It was an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Just six days after the decisive surrender of the commanding general of the Confederate army, Lincoln fell victim to an assassin the first President to suffer such a fate. Lincoln has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.---

I think I could opine without fear of contradiction by fact or prejudice that Abraham Lincoln was the best President from Illinois we will ever have, and the best Republican President there will ever be. Although I am impressed with Ike, the GOP brand has never really lived up to its Founder's standards. We are the poorer for that.

Abraham Lincoln saved the Union, but watched Americans lose that Union to the Corporations at the same time. This aspect of history is only now starting to get the attention it deserves. Until the naked aggressions of the 21st century, Corporations lived in a shadowy world of hidden and indirect power, easily missed by folk who weren't unionized. Those who were, fought valiantly, to be defeated by a bunch of miserable failures of GOP Presidents: Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush.

Yes, it was a horrible time. The country suffered greatly through the Civil War. Think how much more horrible it could have been, without the gangly lawyer from Illinois. An orator who lived and died his campaign platform.

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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:02 PM
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1. First Rec!
For a thread with real substance!!

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:07 PM
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3. Thanks Tansy! Feel free to add to it.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:07 PM
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2. I'm Getting An Early Start, Due to Illness
I'm sick of winter. The unceasing cold and now bone-dry atmosphere have given me a permanent sinus headache. No amount of steaming seems to make any difference. Or it could be lack of sleep, or one of the weird bugs floating about...

I was tempted to call the Health Dept. on a woman who stood in Krogers, coughing her lungs out and touching everything in the Produce Dept. I didn't want to breathe the same air. Unfortunately, it's been so cold for so long, even the sick are desperate for groceries...I suppose. Either that, or the Devil is walking among us still.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:16 PM
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4. Abraham Lincoln, Inflationist By PAUL KRUGMAN

There was a time when Republicans used to refer to themselves, proudly, as the party of Lincoln. But you dont hear that line much these days. Why?
The main answer, presumably, lies in the G.O.P.s decision, long ago, to seek votes from Southerners angered by the end of legal segregation. With the old Confederacy now the heart of the Republican base, boasting about the partys Civil War-era legacy is no longer advisable.

But sooner or later, Republicans were bound to notice other reasons to disavow Lincoln. He was, after all, the first president to institute an income tax. And he was also the first president to issue a paper currency the greenback that wasnt backed by gold or silver. There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its people than to debase its currency, declared Representative Paul Ryan in one of two hearings Congress held on Wednesday on monetary policy. So much, then, for the Great Liberator.

Which brings me to the story of what went on in those monetary hearings.

One of the hearings was called by Representative Ron Paul, a harsh critic of the Federal Reserve, who now has an oversight role over the very institution he wants abolished in favor of a return to the gold standard. Mr. Pauls subcommittee called three witnesses, one of whom was an odd choice: Thomas DiLorenzo, a professor at Loyola University and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

What was odd about that choice? Well, Mr. DiLorenzo hasnt actually written much about monetary policy, although he has described Fed policy not just recently, but since the 1960s as legalized counterfeiting operations. His main claim to fame, instead, is as a critic of Lincoln hes the author of Lincoln Unmasked: What Youre Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe and as a modern-day secessionist....No, really: calls for secession run through many of Mr. DiLorenzos writings for example, in his declaration that healthcare freedom wont be restored until some states begin seceding from the new American fascialistic state. Raise the rebel flag!


Wednesdays hearings arent likely to have any immediate effect on monetary policy. But they offer a revealing and appalling look at the mind-set of one of our two major political parties. Weve always known that the modern G.O.P. wants to take America back to the way it was before the New Deal; but now its clear that the party wants to build a bridge to the 19th century, and maybe even to the antebellum era. Backward, march!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:14 AM
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16. To Get Back on Track, Grow That Economy by: Paul Krugman

Advanced countries economies still have plenty of room to grow, yet some economists have been arguing lately that global growth is hitting supply-side limits, and that not much can be done through policy to fix it.

The argument has arisen because high unemployment and low inflation prevail in advanced economies, while the rest of the world is facing accelerating inflation, together with rising commodity prices.

John Kemp, an economist for Reuters, wrote in a January column: Monetary authorities in the United States, Britain and, to some extent, the euro zone are focused on the need to close national output gaps. But at a global level it is not clear an output gap exists. Rapidly rising food and energy prices suggest the economy is already hitting the speed limit of non-inflationary growth. Mr. Kemp goes on to explain that some commentators, including myself, believe that a lack of sufficient demand is what is driving the global economys problems, and that a combination of policies that encourage government spending and monetary expansion would be a good solution. However, Mr. Kemp wrote, the problem is not aggregate demand but its distribution.

That assertion is questionable because, in fact, both problems apply.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:16 PM
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5. Lincoln's Final Journey
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:51 PM
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6. Feds Propose New Non-Bank Regulations

U.S. Regulators edged closer on Tuesday to defining which companies, other than banks, require more government scrutiny under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council--a group of regulators that includes Timothy F. Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke--proposed specific requirements to determine if a company is big enough and interconnected enough to impact the stability of the financial markets. These systemically important firms would place them under Fed supervision and subject them to additional capital liquidity requirements.

The Feds proposed rule defines two key criteria for regulators to use when determining if a nonbank financial firm should qualify as systemically important: Interconnected bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in assets (Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, to name a feware automatically qualify) and nonbank firms would also qualify if 85 percent or more of their revenue relates to activities that are financial in nature, as defined in the Bank Holding Company Act.

The proposal will be open to public debate until March 30 and leaves insurers, hedge funds, and private equity firms wondering if they will be subject to stricter regulations that can make them less competitive. Though its still unclear which firms will be included, and what rules theyll have to comply with, this seems to be a club nobody wants to be in....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 04:58 PM
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7. Abraham Lincoln's "Bank War" by Anton Chaitkin MUST READ

In 1839 the Illinois state legislature faced with gloom the complete ruin of its pioneering railroad system. The state had persisted in selling bonds for the construction of some 2,000 miles of rail lines, despite the national depression. Financial chaos had erupted with the closing of the Bank of United States, and the Bank of England stopping credit to the unprotected American economy. Quoting the Hay-Nicolay biography of Lincoln, "One banker and one broker after another, to whose hands (state bonds) had been recklessly (sic) confided in New York and London, failed, or made away with the proceeds of the sales."

The Whig Party leader in the Illinois legislature, 30-year old Abraham Lincoln, had led the fight for the state-built railroads. He was justifiably bitter against the aristocratic "free trade" faction which had brought down the Founding Fathers' economic system; the northeastern bankers, political followers of Swiss nobleman Albert Gallatin, president of John Jacob Astor's National Bank of New York; and the South Carolina-based slaveowners' secession movement, organized around the free-market doctrines of British revolutionary immigrant Thomas Cooper.

Alexander Hamilton's program of protective tariffs, government-sponsored transportation projects, and the national bank, enacted in the first Congress over the opposition of Albert Gallatin, had now been aborted. The bankers-planters alliance was rolling the U.S.A. back to colonial status, to be a mere producer of cheap raw materials for the British Empire, with themselves the colonial overseers.

Abraham Lincoln and the other Henry Clay Whigs were determined to rescue American financial, industrial, and political independence. From late 1839 through the presidential election of 1840, Lincoln led the Illinois Whig campaign by focusing his party's program around the restoration of the Bank of the United States.

Lincoln knew that national survival depended on their political success. This is the conclusion of his Dec. 26, 1839 speech on banking:

"(A debate opponent) confidently predicts, that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren at the next Presidential election. Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. Many free countries have lost their liberty; and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her. I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, belching forth the lava of political corruption, in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave no green spot or living thing, while on its bosom are riding like demons on the waves of Hell, the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course, with the hopelessness of their effort; and knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it, I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.

"The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its Almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country, deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors. Here, without contemplating consequences, before High heaven, and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty and my love. And who, that thinks with me, will not fearlessly adopt the oath I take. Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But, if after all, we shall fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending."


Today, 125 years after President Lincoln's inauguration, the world is divided between a slave-system -- the Soviet bloc -- and the Western area dominated by a lawless banking system, a system more criminal and unstable than that of the King Cotton era of the 1850s. Illegal narcotics profits pour through the system as its major prop of liquidity. Over 100 major American banks have been found guilty of "money laundering" for the dope mob. Speculation increases in hot Eurodollars and in the worthless debts of starving tropical countries, while industrial plant construction is simply not funded. Since the Kennedy administration, debt-service payments have climbed from 6% to about 30% of the national income. In this destructive work the de facto privately controlled Federal Reserve Board is complicit.

The present, chaotic tyranny of unregulated international banking creates, in Lincoln's words, a "great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, belching forth the lava of political corruption." Have we the courage, and can we revive the cultural and political heritage of Lincoln's day, to restore freedom to our country?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 05:01 PM
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Stocks climbed to 2-year closing highs after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.97 points, or 0.4%, to 12273.26, its highest close since June 13, 2008, and the second consecutive week of gains. The measure rose 1.5% this week and posted its strongest two-week performance since June, with a 3.8% jump over the period.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 18.99 points, or 0.7%, to 2809.44, its highest close since November 2007. It climbed 1.5% this week.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index added 7.28 points, or 0.6%, to 1329.15, its highest close since June 2008. It leapt 1.4% on the week.

The gains came after Mr. Mubarak succumbed to the demands of hundreds of thousands of his compatriots Friday and resigned from office....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 05:05 PM
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9. Lincoln's Private War: The Trail of Blood

...Abraham Lincoln worked valiantly to prevent the Rothschild's attempts to involve themselves in financing the Civil War.

Interestingly, it was the Czar of Russia who provided the needed assistance against the British and French, who were among the driving forces behind the secession of the South and her subsequent financing. Russia intervened by providing naval forces for the Union blockade of the South in European waters, and by letting both countries know that if they attempted to join the Confederacy with military forces, they would also have to go to war with Russia.

The Rothschild interests did succeed, through their agent Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, to force a bill (the National Banking Act) through Congress creating a federally chartered central bank that had the power to issue U.S. Bank Notes. Afterward, Lincoln warned the American people:

"The money power preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of our country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic is destroyed. "4

Lincoln continued to fight against the central bank, and some now believe that it was his anticipated success in influencing Congress to limit the life of the Bank of the United States to just the war years that was the motivating factor behind his assassination.

The Lone Assassin Myth is Born

Modern researchers have uncovered evidence of a massive conspiracy that links the following parties to the Bank of Rothschild: Lincoln's Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, John Wilkes Booth, his eight co-conspirators, and over seventy government officials and businessmen involved in the conspiracy.

When Booth's diary was recovered by Stanton's troops, it was delivered to Stanton. When it was later produced during the investigation, eighteen pages had been ripped out. These pages, containing the aforementioned names,were later found in the attic of one of Stanton's descendants.

From Booth's trunk, a coded message was found that linked him directly to Judah P. Benjamin, the Civil War campaign manager in the South for the House of Rothschild. When the war ended, the key to the code was found in Benjamin's possession.

The assassin, portrayed as a crazed lone gunman with a few radical friends, escaped by way of the only bridge in Washington not guarded by Stanton's troops.

"Booth" was located hiding in a barn near Port Royal, Virginia, three days after escaping from Washington. He was shot by a soldier named Boston Corbett, who fired without orders. Whether or not the man killed was Booth is still a matter of contention, but the fact remains that whoever it was, he had no chance to identify himself. It was Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who made the final identification. Some now believe that a dupe was used and that the real John Wilkes Booth escaped with Stanton's assistance.

Mary Todd Lincoln, upon hearing of her husband's death, began screaming, "Oh, that dreadful house!" Earlier historians felt that this spontaneous utterance referred to the White House. Some now believe it may have been directed to Thomas W. House, a gun runner, financier, and agent of the Rothschild's during the Civil War, who was linked to the anti-Lincoln, pro-banker interests.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 05:34 PM
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10. M2 Grows By $40 Billion In One Week, Hits Fresh All Time High
Just in case someone was confused about the relationship between liquidity, currency devaluation and nominal (not real) asset prices, the St. Louis Fed was kind enough to email us their weekly M2 level. And after last week's surprising drop, M2 once again rose, this time by a whopping $40 billion. Oh and before someone says that M3 is still declining, it isn't. Or rather the much more important monetary aggregate, that including all shadow banking liabilities is now increasing as we indicated during the last Z.1 spread. In one month, when the next Flow of Funds report is released we are confident we will confirm that in Q4 shadow banking increased by at least half a few hundred billion on an annualized basis. In other words the central bank reliquification is now on in full force, both in America and in every other place that has central banks. Which also explains why central banking hawks are now virtually extinct (cf: Axel Weber).
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burf Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 06:11 PM
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11. Another rec
Two banks already down one in FL the other in MI.

Just like oldies radio, the hits just keep on comin'.
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 09:42 PM
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12. 8th Rec!
Alas, I have nothing at all to say at the moment - have read about nothing but Egypt, Egypt. Maybe tomorrow. (Though I have my g'dtr for whole weekend, so may not be around much). Stay warm, all.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 11:13 PM
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13. Yes, I Went AWOL
Spent the evening playing euchre...didn't win the pot, but didn't skunk, either.

So, back to the theme...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 11:22 PM
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Sunshine State Community Bank, Port Orange, Florida, was closed today by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Premier American Bank, National Association, Miami, Florida, to assume all of the deposits of Sunshine State Community Bank.

The five branches of Sunshine State Community Bank will reopen during their normal business hours beginning Saturday as branches of Premier American Bank...As of December 31, 2010, Sunshine State Community Bank had approximately $125.5 million in total assets and $116.7 million in total deposits. Premier American Bank will pay the FDIC a premium of 0.50 percent to assume all of the deposits of Sunshine State Community Bank. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Premier American Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets...

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $30.0 million. Compared to other alternatives, Premier American Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Sunshine State Community Bank is the fifteenth FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Florida. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was First Commercial Bank of Florida, Orlando, on January 7, 2011.

Peoples State Bank, Hamtramck, Michigan, was closed today by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First Michigan Bank, Troy, Michigan, to assume all of the deposits of Peoples State Bank.

The ten branches of Peoples State Bank will reopen on Saturday as branches of First Michigan Bank...As of December 31, 2010, Peoples State Bank had approximately $390.5 million in total assets and $389.9 million in total deposits. First Michigan Bank will pay the FDIC a premium of 0.25 percent to assume all of the deposits of Peoples State Bank. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, First Michigan Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

The FDIC and First Michigan Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $331.0 million of Peoples State Bank's assets...The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $87.4 million. Compared to other alternatives, First Michigan Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Peoples State Bank is the sixteenth FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Michigan. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Paramount Bank, Farmington Hills, on December 10, 2010.

Badger State Bank, Cassville, Wisconsin, was closed today by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Royal Bank, Elroy, Wisconsin, to assume all of the deposits of Badger State Bank.

The sole branch of Badger State Bank will reopen on Saturday as a branch of Royal Bank...As of December 31, 2010, Badger State Bank had approximately $83.8 million in total assets and $78.5 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Royal Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets...

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $17.5 million. Compared to other alternatives, Royal Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Badger State Bank is the seventeenth FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the second in Wisconsin. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Evergreen State Bank, Stoughton, on January 28, 2011.

Canyon National Bank, Palm Springs, California, was closed today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Pacific Premier Bank, Costa Mesa, California, to assume all of the deposits of Canyon National Bank.

The three branches of Canyon National Bank will reopen during their normal business hours beginning Saturday as branches of Pacific Premier Bank...As of December 31, 2010, Canyon National Bank had approximately $210.9 million in total assets and $205.3 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Pacific Premier Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets...

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $10.0 million. Compared to other alternatives, Pacific Premier Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Canyon National Bank is the eighteenth FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in California. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was First Vietnamese American Bank, Westminster, on November 5, 2010.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-11 11:24 PM
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15. Senator Obama Speech about Lincoln, 2009
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:17 AM
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17. Steve King: Let's Kill The Government If Obama Won't Kill Health Care Reform
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:20 AM
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18. House Fails To Pass PATRIOT Act Extension

In a surprising vote, the House of Representatives failed to extend controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Act this evening. Twenty-six Republicans broke with leadership and opposed the bill, which gained a majority of votes 277 to 148 but failed to pass because it was moved to the floor under suspension rules, which require a two-thirds majority for passage. A majority of Democrats voted against the extension, with 122 opposed and 67 in favor. The vote is a temporary victory for civil libertarians and rebuke to the White House, which earlier today released a statement supporting the extension, but the vote is also a significant defeat for the new Republican leadership in the House. Bills are typically only brought up under suspension rules if its assumed the vote will be non-controversial, but its clear that Republican leaders did not anticipate the opposition from within their party....

Republicans will bring the extensions back to the floor under simple majority rules, where if tonights vote is replicated, it would pass easily.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:30 AM
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19. Early life and career of Abraham Lincoln--WIKIPEDIA
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in LaRue County, Kentucky in a town now known as Hodgenville.

In 1858 Lincoln wrote that his first known ancestor was Samuel Lincoln who migrated from Norwich, England in 1638 to Hingham (or Hanghim), Massachusetts. Lincoln's grandfather, the original Captain Abraham Lincoln, was born in Pennsylvania and moved with his father to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia around 1766. They settled around Linville Creek in Augusta (now Rockingham) County and the Captain (a rank earned in the Virginia militia) bought the property from his father in 1773. Captain Abraham moved west to Kentucky with his family where, at the age of 42 in 1786, he was killed in an ambush by an Indian while working his field. His son and Lincoln's future father, Thomas, witnessed the killing and would have also ended up a victim if his brother Mordecai had not shot the attacker.

History is less clear on who his maternal grandfather was. At one time Lincoln described him as "a Virginia planter or large farmer" who had taken advantage of a young woman, Lucey Hanks. This encounter led to the birth of Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's mother. Lincoln felt that it was from this aristocratic grandfather that he had inherited "his power of analysis, his logic, his mental activity, his ambition, and all the qualities that distinguished him from the other members and descendants of the Hanks family."

When Lincoln became famous, reporters and storytellers often exaggerated the poverty and obscurity of his birth. However Lincoln's father Thomas was a respected and relatively affluent citizen of the Kentucky backcountry. He had purchased the Sinking Spring Farm in December 1808 for $200 cash and assumption of a debt.

According to historian William E. Barton there was a rumor "current in various forms in several sections of the South" that his biological father was Abraham Enloe. Barton dismisses the rumors (which began in 1861, the same year Enloe died) as "false from beginning to end."<3><4><5><6> Enloe publicly denied this connection to Lincoln but is reported to have privately confirmed it.<7>

His parents belonged to a Baptist church that had pulled away from a larger church because they refused to support slavery. From a very young age, Lincoln was exposed to anti-slavery sentiment. However he never joined his parents' church, or any other church, and as a youth ridiculed religion.

Three years after purchasing the property, a prior land claim filed in Hardin Circuit Court forced the Lincolns to move. Thomas continued legal action until he lost the case in 1815. Legal expenses contributed to family difficulties. In 1811, they were able to lease 30 acres (0.1 km) of a 230 acre (0.9 km) farm on Knob Creek a few miles away, where they then moved. In a valley of the Rolling Fork River, this was some of the best farmland in the area. At this time, Lincoln's father was a respected community member and a successful farmer and carpenter. Lincoln's earliest recollections are from this farm. In 1815, another claimant sought to eject the family from the Knob Creek farm. Frustrated with litigation and lack of security provided by Kentucky courts, Thomas decided to move to Indiana, which had been surveyed by the federal government, making land titles more secure. It is possible that these episodes motivated Abraham to learn surveying and become an attorney.

In 1816, when Lincoln was seven years old, he, his older sister, Sarah, and his parents moved to Spencer County, Indiana, he would state "partly on account of slavery; but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land titles in Kentucky." In 1818 Lincoln's mother died of "milk sickness" at age thirty four, when Abe was nine. Soon afterwards, Lincoln's father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston. Sarah Lincoln raised young Lincoln like one of her own children. Years later she compared Lincoln to her own son, saying "Both were good boys, but I must say both now being dead that Abe was the best boy I ever saw or ever expect to see."

In 1828 he was able to make a flatboat trip to New Orleans. His older sister Sarah died in childbirth that same year, she was 20 years old.


Before Lincoln entered school, Lincoln's cousin, Dennis Hanks, claimed credit for giving Abe "his first lesson in spelling, reading and writing." "I taught Abe to write with a buzzards quill which I killed with a rifle and having made a pen-put Abes hand in mind and moving his fingers by my hand to give him the idea of how to write." Abraham learned these basic skills slowly.<9>

His formal education consisted of perhaps 18 months of schooling from itinerant teachers. In effect he was self-educated, studying every book he could borrow. He mastered Aesop's Fables, the Bible, Shakespeare, English history and American history, and developed a plain style that puzzled audiences more used to orotund oratory. He avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals even for food and, though unusually tall (6 ft 3.75in or 1.925m) and strong, spent so much time reading that some neighbors thought he must be doing it to avoid strenuous manual labor. He was skilled with an axethey called him the "rail splitter"and a good wrestler.

Trip to New Orleans

In 1830, after more economic and land-title difficulties in Indiana, the family settled on government land on a site selected by Lincoln's father in Macon County, Illinois ten miles (16 km) west of Decatur, IL. Lincoln helped his father build a log cabin, clear 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land, build fences, and put in a crop of corn. That autumn the entire family fell ill with the ague but all survived. The first winter was especially brutal with many locals calling it the worst they had ever experienced. In the spring as the family prepared to move to another home site in Coles County, Lincoln was ready to strike out on his own.<10>

Lincoln, along with John Johnson and John Hanks, accepted an offer by Denton Offutt to meet him in Springfield and take a load of cargo to New Orleans. Leaving from Springfield in late April or early May 1831 on the Sangamon River, their boat had difficulty getting past a mill dam twenty miles (32 km) northwest of Springfield at the village of New Salem. Offutt was impressed by the location of New Salem and, believing that steamboats could navigate the Sangamon up to that point, made arrangements to rent the mill and open a general store. Lincoln was hired as his clerk and they both returned to New Salem after they discharged their cargo in New Orleans.<11>

While in New Orleans, he may have witnessed a slave auction that left an indelible impression on him for the rest of his life. Whether he actually witnessed a slave auction at that time or not, living in a country with a considerable slave presence, he probably saw similar atrocities from time to time.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:35 AM
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20. BofA's Strategy Against Wikileaks: Disinformation, Intimidation and Sabotage

Bank of America has long insisted that it's not sweating the exposure of its internal operations that Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange promised in interviews last year, an exposure that just might bring the financial giant to its knees (or not -- nobody on the outside knows what Wikileaks is holding).

But internal emails from a cyber-security firm paint a very different picture. BofA officials were sufficiently worried about the potential revelations to have a law-firm it retained develop a plan to discredit and disrupt Wikileaks through a variety of nefarious means.

The emails, from HBGary Federal, were made public after the company obtained the names of several members of the hackers' group known as Anonymous, and the latter retaliated. (One should not mess with hackers, at least if one doesn't want his or her dirty laundry aired in public.)

The story, which reads like a cheap cyber-thriller, comes to us from Tech Herald, via Digby. It begins with Assange's November 29 claim that Wikileaks would "take down" a major bank. On November 30, BofA officials held a late-night conference call trying to figure out "how to get the jump on WikiLeaks." They set up a meeting with the law firm of Hunton and Williams, which asked the data security firms to come up with a plan...

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 05:38 AM
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21. Lincoln settles in

The New Salem that Lincoln returned to in late July 1831 had promise, but probably never had a population that went much above a hundred residents. The town was a commercial settlement serving several local communities rather than simply a frontier farm settlement and had the sawmill, a grist mill, a blacksmith, a coopers shop, a shop for carding wool, a hat maker, a general store, and a tavern spread out over more than a dozen buildings. Offutt did not open his store until September so in the interim Lincoln did whatever work he could find and quickly was accepted by the townspeople as a hardworking and cooperative young man.<16>

Once Lincoln took his place in the store, he began to meet a rougher crowd representing the settlers and workers from the surrounding communities who came to purchase supplies or have their corn ground. Lincolns often scatological humor and story telling and his physical strength fit in nicely with the young and raucous element that included the so-called Clarys Grove boys. His place with them was cemented when he engaged in a wrestling match with a local champion, Jack Armstrong. While Lincoln lost the match, he earned their respect.<17>

In his first winter in New Salem, Lincoln attended a meeting of the New Salem debating club. His performance here, his efficiency in managing the store, the sawmill, and the gristmill, along with his other efforts at self-improvement soon won him the respect of town leaders such as Dr. John Allen, Mentor Graham, and James Rutledge.<18> They encouraged Lincoln to enter politics, feeling that he was a man capable of supporting the interests of what they all felt was a growing community and in March 1832 he announced his candidacy in a written article that Lincoln carried to the publisher of the Sangamore Journal in Springfield. While Lincoln was an admirer of Henry Clay and his American System, the national political situation was undergoing a change and local Illinois issues were the primary political concerns of the election. Lincoln opposed the development of a local railroad project while supporting improvements in the Sangamon River that would increase its navigability. The Second Party System pitting Democrats against Whigs had not yet formed although Lincoln would in the next few years become one of the leading Whigs in the state legislature.<19>
Daguerreotype portrait of Henry Clay -- Clay was a major political influence on Lincoln throughout his career

By the spring of 1832 Offutts business had failed, and Lincoln was out of work. Around the same time, the Black Hawk War erupted; Black Hawk was leading a group of 450 warriors along with 1,500 women and children to reclaim traditional tribal lands in Illinois. Lincoln joined a group of volunteers from New Salem and, upon nomination by the Clarys Grove boys, was voted as captain of his unit. The unit never saw combat but in the late 1850s Lincoln commented that this selection by his peers was a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since. Lincoln returned from the militia after a few months and was able to campaign throughout the county before the August 6 legislative election. When the votes were counted, Lincoln finished eighth out of thirteen candidates (only the top four were elected), but he did manage to secure 277 out of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct.<20>

Without a job, Lincoln and William F. Berry purchased one of the three general stores in New Salem. Both the business purchase and a later acquisition of the inventory of another store were made by signing personal notes for the balances due. By 1833 New Salem was no longer a growing community; the Sangamon River was proving to be inadequate for commercial transportation, and no roads or railroads allowed easy access to other markets. In January 1833 Berry applied for a liquor license, but this added revenue was not enough to save the business.<21>

Lincoln was again unemployed, but in May 1833, with the assistance of friends interested in keeping Lincoln in New Salem, he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as the postmaster of New Salem. Lincoln would keep this position for three years, and during this time he earned, from commissions, between $150 and $175, hardly enough to be considered a full time source of income. With the assistance of another friend, Lincoln was appointed as an assistant to county surveyor John Calhoun, a Democratic political appointee. Lincoln had no experience at surveying, but relying on borrowed copies of two works was able to teach himself the practical application of surveying techniques as well as the trigonometric basis of the process. While this income was sufficient to meet his day to day expenses, the notes from his partnership with William Berry were coming due.<22>
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:07 AM
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22. 5 Ways Corporate Scavengers Are Making Big Money Off Our Economic Pain

The ruins of the American economy represent a massive crime scene. Wall Street built a house of cards on fraud and misrepresentation, it crashed, and Americans' aggregate net worth is now more than $12 trillion off of its peak. Unemployment remains sky-high and the prospects for a robust recovery anytime soon are dim.

But as Naomi Klein artfully laid out in her book, The Shock Doctrine, a catastrophe for you and I usually presents an opportunity for the Titans of capital. And the grievous economic crisis affecting so many American families is no exception -- big business has found a number of ways to profit, directly, from Main Street's economic pain. Like vultures descending on a rotting corpse, they've come up with a variety of innovative methods to pull the last scraps of meat off the bones of America's middle-class.

Here are five ways these scavengers are making coin from our economic devastation:


2. Good Old-Fashioned Biblical Usury

When First Premier Bank first offered a credit card with a top interest rate of 79.9 percent, it evoked outrage. So they lowered itto 59.9 percent. And, as Michael Snyder at the Economic Collapse noted, Not only are the interest rates on those cards super high, but they also charge a whole bunch of fees on those cards as well.

They include:

* $45 processing fee to open the account
* annual fee of $30 for the first year
* $45 fee for every subsequent year
* monthly service fee of $6.25

Some argue that anyone who would sign onto a deal like that must be "stupid." But these are cards pitched to those with bad credit an ever larger group thanks to the recession. It's easy to scoff at such rubes until one realizes that the lion's share of these stupid people have no choice but to take on even very costly debt if they want to eat or pay the rent. 6.2 million Americans have been out of a job for 27 or more weeks; 3.9 million saw their benefits run out entirely last year.

CNN reported that 700,000 people have signed up for the card, and between 200,000 and 300,000 new applications are coming in each month. That's a lot of bread for First Premier.

3. Dunning the Desperate for Fun and Profit--COLLECTION AGENCIES


4. Pay-Day! LOANS, THAT IS

5. Can't Afford to Pay Back Taxes? There's a Ripoff That's Right for You!

A lot of folks are struggling with all sorts of costs, and some can't afford to pay the property taxes on their homes. The Huffington Post Investigative Fund dug into the problem, and found that Bank of America and a hedge fund called the Fortress Investment Group had spotted a fresh money-making opportunity -- collecting the tax debts of tens of thousands of people. What do they do with it? Well, the banksters add interest charges and fees, and then they bundle the debts into securities and sell them off to investors. (Sound familiar?)

In late May and early June, proxies for the two institutions quietly bought hundreds of millions of dollars in homeowners' property tax debts in Florida by bidding at a series of online auctions held by county tax collectors. They didn't use their names but donned multiple other identities, dominating the auctions and repeatedly bidding on the same parcels -- in the case of Walker's small home, more than 8,000 times.

Then, in September, Bank of America's securities division packaged $301 million worth of the tax liens it and Fortress had acquired into bonds pitched privately to major investors. The anticipated return -- estimated at between 7 to 10 percent -- is possible because buyers of tax debts can assess a panoply of interest charges and other fees. When the debt goes unpaid long enough, the liens buyer can seize properties through foreclosure....


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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:12 AM
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23. LINCOLN: Politics and the law

Lincolns decision to run for the state legislature for a second time in 1834 was strongly influenced by his need to satisfy what he referred to as his national debt and the additional income that would come from the legislative salary. By this time Lincoln was a member of the Whig party, but his campaign strategy excluded a discussion of the national issues and concentrated on traveling throughout the district and greeting voters one by one. The leading Whig in the district was Springfield attorney John Todd Stuart whom Lincoln knew from the Black Hawk War. Local Democrats, fearing Stuart much more than Lincoln, offered to withdraw two of their candidates from the field of thirteen (as in 1832 the top four vote-getters would be elected) and support Lincoln, freeing them to concentrate on defeating Stuart. Stuart was confident of his own victory and told Lincoln to go ahead and accept the Democrats' endorsement. The strategy worked when on August 4 Lincoln polled 1,376 votes, the second highest candidate, while Stuart was also elected.<23> Lincoln would be reelected in 1836, 1838, 1840, and 1844.

Stuart (who was the cousin of Lincolns future wife Mary Todd) was impressed with Lincoln and encouraged him to study law. Lincoln was probably familiar with courtrooms from an early age. While the family was still in Kentucky his father was frequently involved with filing deeds, serving on juries, and attending sheriffs sales, and Lincoln was likely aware of his fathers legal issues. When the family moved to Indiana, Lincoln lived within 15 miles (24 km) of three different county courthouses and, attracted by the opportunity of hearing a good oral presentation, Lincoln, like many other people on the frontier, attended court sessions as a spectator. This practice continued when Lincoln moved to New Salem in Illinois. Noticing how often lawyers referred to them, Lincoln made a point of reading and studying the Revised Statutes of Indiana, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution.< In the first half of 1835, frequently using law books borrowed from the firm of Stuart and Drummond, Lincoln began the study of law in earnest.[br />
In March 1836 Lincoln took the first step to becoming a practicing attorney when he applied to the clerk of the Sangamon County Court to have himself registered as a man of good and moral character. After passing an oral examination by a panel of practicing attorneys Lincoln received his law license on September 9, 1836 and in April 1837 he was enrolled to practice before the Supreme Court of Illinois. In April 1837 he moved to Springfield where he went into partnership with Stuart.

Illinois Legislature (1834-1842)

Lincolns first session in the Illinois legislature ran from December 31, 1834 to February 13, 1835. In preparation for attending this session, Lincoln borrowed $200 from Coleman Smoot, one of the richest men in the county, $60 of which were spent on his first suit of clothes. Lincoln was the second youngest legislator in this term and one of 36 out of 55 who were first time attendees. While he was at first primarily an observer, even in this session his colleagues recognized his skill at drafting legislation and his mastery of the technical language of the law and asked Lincoln to draft bills for them.

When Lincoln announced his bid for reelection in June 1836, he needed to address the controversial issue of expanded suffrage. Democrats were running on a program advocating universal suffrage for white males residing in the state for at least six months. They hoped to bring Irish immigrants, attracted to the state because of the various canal projects, onto the voting rolls as Democrats. Lincoln stood by the traditional Whig position that voting should be limited to property owners.

Lincoln was reelected on August 1, 1836 as the top vote getter in the Sangamon delegation. This delegation of two senators and seven representatives was nicknamed the Long Nine because all of them were above average height. Despite being the second youngest of the group, Lincoln was seen as their leader as well as the floor leader of the Whig minority. The Long Nines primary agenda was the relocation of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield and a vigorous internal improvements program for Illinois.

Lincolns influence within the legislature and within his party would continue to grow as he was reelected for two subsequent terms in 1838 and 1840. By the 1838-39 session Lincoln served on at least fourteen legislative committees while working behind the scenes to manage the program of the Whig minority.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:18 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. U.S. Home Values Lost $798 Billion Last Quarter, Nearly $10 Trillion Destroyed Since Peak
The total value of U.S. homes dropped another $798 billion last quarter, according to numbers out from Zillow.

The average home is down 27 percent from peak. This puts the total loss from the housing crash at an incredible $9.8 trillion. And sorry, but it's not over yet.

Read more:

Case Shiller: Here Are The 15 Housing Markets That Will Fall The Most By 2012

Read more:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Unless Memory Fails Me
Housing bubble started back in 1990' there's quite a ways to go.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:24 AM
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26. LINCOLN SUPPORTS: Internal improvements

The Illinois governor called for a special session of the legislature in the winter of 1835-36 in order to finance a canal connecting the Illinois and Chicago Rivers that would lead to Lake Michigan connecting to the Mississippi River. The proposal was that the state would back a $500,000 loan to finance the construction. Lincoln voted for the commitment which passed 28-27

Lincoln had always supported the American System vision of Henry Clay that saw a prosperous America supported by a well developed network of roads, canals, and, later, railroads. However he favored raising the money to do this from the sale of public lands by the Federal government, eliminating interest expenses. Otherwise, private capital should bear the cost alone. Fearing that Illinois would fall behind other states in economic development, Lincoln shifted his position to allow the state to provide the necessary support for private developers.

In the next session, newly elected Stephen Douglas went even further and proposed a comprehensive $10,000,000 state loan program which Lincoln supported. However, the Panic of 1837 effectively destroyed any possibility of a significant internal improvements plan in Illinois. The State was littered with unfinished roads and partially dug canals, the value of state bonds fell, and interest alone was eight times the total state revenue. It took Illinois forty years to pay off the debt.

Lincoln had a couple of ideas to salvage the program. First he proposed that the state buy public lands at a discount from the federal government and then sell it to new settlers at a profit. The federal government rejected this. Next he proposed a graduated land tax that would have passed more of the tax burden to the owners of the most valuable land, but the majority of the legislators were unwilling to commit any further state funds to the internal improvement projects as the depression in the state continued through 1839.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:27 AM
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27. Fannie, Freddie bailout: $153 billion ... and counting

When the dust settles, the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be the most expensive government rescue of the financial crisis -- The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government body that oversees the two mortgage giants, has estimated that losses through 2013 will require Treasury to pour another $68 billion to $210 billion into the firms on top of the money already used to prop-up the firms and the housing market.

...The two firms have already made many improvements in underwriting standards over the last two years, making most new loans they finance and guarantee more profitable and less risky, Cecala said.

"But that new business only goes so far, because it's still dwarfed by the loans made five to 10 years ago," he said.

....Congress essentially approved a blank check in July 2008 to back losses at the two firms, and in September of that year the government stepped in and took them over after finding that losses on the mortgages they bought during the the housing bubble had overwhelmed their net worth.


Ironically, many of the losses that Fannie and Freddie are expected to post in the next few years will go to pay Treasury a 10% dividend on the preferred stock it received in exchange for the bailouts.

Both firms are essentially borrowing money from Treasury to have the cash they need to repay Treasury. The dividend payments Treasury receives limits the losses to taxpayers.

FHFA estimates that between 40% to 90% of those additional bailout costs will simply be used to pay that dividend.

The National Association of Realtors is lobbying to end what it calls a "punitive dividend" and Jaret Seiberg, analyst at Concept Capital's Washington Research Group, said that structure is unworkable.

"The problem is it's impossible for them to tackle their current problem if they can't rebuild the capital base, and they can't do that paying that dividend level," he said
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:30 AM
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28. LINCOLN and the Illinois State Bank

Lincoln, like Henry Clay, favored federal control over the nations banking system, but by 1835 President Jackson had effectively killed the Bank of the United States. In 1835 Lincoln crossed party lines to vote with pro-bank Democrats in the chartering of the Illinois State Bank. As in the internal improvements debates, Lincoln searched for the best available alternative to his first choice. Lincoln felt, according to historian and Lincoln biographer Richard Carwardine,:

A well-regulated bank would provide a sound, elastic currency, protecting the public against the extreme prescriptions of the hard-money men on one side and the paper inflationists on the other; it would be a safe depository for public funds and provide the credit mechanisms needed to sustain state improvements; it would bring an end to extortionate money-lending.

Opponents of the bank initiated an investigation designed to close the bank in the 1836-37 session of the legislature. On January 11, 1837 Lincoln made his first major legislative speech supporting the bank and attacking its opponents. In the speech Lincoln condemned "that lawless and mobocratic spirit ... which is already abroad in the land, and is spreading with rapid and fearful impetuosity, to the ultimate overthrow of every institution, or even moral principle, in which persons and property have hitherto found security.

Blaming the opposition entirely on the political class, calling politicians at least one long step removed from honest men,, Lincoln argued:

I make the assertion boldly, and without fear of contradiction, that no man, who does not hold an office, or does not aspire to one, has ever found any fault of the Bank. It has doubled the prices of the products of their farms, and filled their pockets with a sound circulating medium, and they are all well pleased with its operations.

Westerners in the Jacksonian Era were generally skeptical of all banks, and this was aggravated after the Panic of 1837 when the Illinois Bank suspended specie payments. Lincoln still defended the bank but the bank was too strongly linked with the failing credit system, leading to devalued currency and loan foreclosures, to generate much political support.

In 1839 Democrats led another investigation of the Bank, with Lincoln being a Whig representative on the investigating committee. Lincoln was instrumental in the committees conclusion that the suspension of specie payment was related to uncontrollable economic conditions rather than any organic defects of the institutions themselves. However the legislation allowing the suspension of specie payments was set to expire at the end of December 1840, and Democrats wanted to adjourn without further extending it. In an attempt to avoid a quorum on adjournment, Lincoln and several others jumped out of a first story window, but the Speaker counted them as present and the bank was killed.

By 1841 Lincoln was less supportive of the bank, although he would continue to make speeches around the state supporting it. Lincoln had concluded, If there was to be this continual warfare against the Institutions of the State ... the sooner it was brought to an end the better.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:32 AM
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29. US trade deficit widened by 33% in 2010
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:33 AM
Response to Original message
30. Over 100 under investigation in Iceland bank crash probe
...So far, the Special Prosecutor has only brought charges in two cases: one over a company called Exeter Holdings and the other against Baldur Gudlaugsson, the former Ministry of Finance undersecretary.

Five people have so far been taken into custody since the prosecutor started work in early 2009.

However, Hauksson and his former chief assistant Eva Joly have regularly stressed that the investigation will take a long time. Joly told the press it could well be four years before satisfactory results are reached. She also stressed that to rush the cases would probably lead to their failure.

Read more:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:42 AM
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31. LINCOLN: Prairie Lawyer
From the start of the law partnership with Stuart, Lincoln handled most of the firms clients as Stuart was primarily concerned with politics and election to the United States House of Representatives. The business always had as many clients as it could handle. Most fees were five dollars with the common range being between two and a half dollars and ten dollars. Lincoln quickly realized that he was equal in ability and effectiveness to most other attorneys, whether they were self-taught like Lincoln or had studied with a more experienced lawyer. When Stuart was elected and went to Congress in November 1839 Lincoln ran the practice entirely on his own. Lincoln, like Stuart, considered his legal career as simply a catalyst to his political ambitions.

By 1840 Lincoln was drawing $1,000 annually from the law practice along with his salary as a legislator. However when Stuart was reelected to Congress, Lincoln was no longer content to carry the entire load, and in April 1841 he entered into a new partnership with Stephen A. Logan. Logan was nine years older than Lincoln, the leading attorney in Sangamon County, and a former commonwealths attorney in Kentucky before moving to Illinois. Logan saw Lincoln as a needed complement to his practice, recognizing that Lincolns effectiveness with juries stood in contrast to his own weakness in that area. Once again clients were plentiful for the firm, although Lincoln received one-third of the firms proceeds rather than the even split he had enjoyed with Stuart.

Lincolns association with Logan was a learning experience. Lincoln absorbed from Logan some of the finer points of law and the importance of proper and detailed case research and case preparation. Logans written pleadings were precise and on point, and Lincoln used them as his model. However much of Lincolns development was still self taught. Historian David Donald wrote that Logan taught him that there was more to law than common sense and simple equity and Lincolns study began to focus on procedures and precedents. Lincoln did not during this time study law books, but he did spend night after night in the Supreme Court Library, searching out precedents that applied to the cases he was working on. Lincoln stated, I love to dig up the question by the roots and hold it up and dry it before the fires of the mind. His written briefs, especially important in Illinois Supreme Court cases, were prepared in great detail with precedents noted that often went back to the origins of English common law. Lincolns growing skills became evident as his appearances before the Supreme Court increased and would serve him well in his political career. By the time he went to Washington in 1861 he had appeared over three hundred times before this court. Lincoln biographer Stephen B. Oates wrote, It was here that he earned his reputation as a lawyers lawyer, adept at meticulous preparation and cogent argument.

Lincoln and Herndon

Lincolns partnership with Logan was dissolved in the fall of 1844 when Logan decided to enter into a partnership with his son. Lincoln, who probably could have had his choice of more established attorneys, was tired of being the junior partner and elected to enter into partnership with William Herndon, who had been reading law in the offices of Logan and Lincoln. Herndon, like Lincoln, was an active Whig but the party in Illinois at that time was split into two factions. Lincoln already was connected to the older, silk stocking element of the party through his marriage to Mary Todd, and Herndon was one of the leaders of the younger, more populist portion of the party. The active Lincoln-Herndon partnership would continue through Lincolns election, and Lincoln was still a partner of record until his death.

Prior to his partnership with Herndon, Lincoln had not regularly attended court in neighboring communities. This changed as Lincoln became one of the most active regulars on the circuit through 1854, interrupted only by his two year stint in the United States Congress. The Eighth Circuit covered 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2). Each spring and fall Lincoln would transverse the district for nine to ten weeks at a time. Lincoln would net around $150 for each ten week circuit. On the road the lawyers and judges would live in cheap hotels, with two lawyers to each bed and six or eight to each room.

On the circuit Lincolns reputation for integrity and fairness led to him being in high demand both from clients and local attorneys who needed assistance. It was while riding the circuit that he picked up one of his lasting nicknames, Honest Abe. The clients he represented, the men he rode the circuit with, and the lawyers he met in the towns he traveled to became some of Lincolns most loyal supporters. One of these supporters was David Davis, a fellow Whig who, like Lincoln, promoted nationalist economic programs and opposed slavery without actually becoming an abolitionist. Davis joined the circuit in 1848 as a judge and would occasionally appoint Lincoln to fill in for him. They traveled the circuit for 11 years, and Lincoln would eventually appoint him to the United States Supreme Court. Another close associate was Ward Hill Lamon, a local attorney in Danville, Illinois. Lamon was the only local attorney that Lincoln actually had a formal working agreement with, and he would accompany Lincoln to Washington in 1861.

Case load and income

Unlike many other attorneys on the circuit, Lincoln did not supplement his income by engaging in real estate speculation or operating a business or a farm. His income was generally what he earned practicing law. In the 1840s this amounted to $1,500 to $2,500 a year, increasing to $3,000 in the early 1850s and $5,000 by the mid 1850s.

Criminal law always made up the smallest portion of Lincoln and Herndons case work. In 1850 the firm was involved in 18% of the cases on the Sangamon County Circuit and by 1853 this had grown to 33%. On his return from his single term in the United States House of Representatives Lincoln turned down the offer of a partnership in a Chicago law firm. Based strictly on the volume of cases, Lincoln was "undoubtedly one of the outstanding lawyers of central Illinois." In the Federal courts Lincoln was also in demand and he received important retainers from cases in the United States Northern District Court in Chicago.

During his law career Lincoln was involved in at least two cases involving slavery. In an 1841 state Supreme Court case, Bailey v. Cromwell Lincoln successfully prevented the sale of a woman who was alleged to be a slave, making the argument that in the State of Illinois the presumption of law was that every person was free, without regard to color. In an 1847 Lincoln unsuccessfully represented Robert Matson who was trying to recover a fugitive slave who had escaped after Matson brought him to Illinois, claiming that the right of transit should be respected by Illinois. Donald notes, Neither the Matson case nor the Cromwell case should be taken as an indication of Lincolns views on slavery; his business was law, not morality. The right of transit was a legal theory recognized by some of the free states that a slave-owner could take slaves into a free state and retain ownership as long as the intent was not to permanently settle in the free state.

Railroads became an important economic force in Illinois in the 1850s. As they expanded they created a myriad of legal issues regarding charters and franchises; problems relating to right-of- way; problems concerning evaluation and taxation; problems relating to the duties of common carriers and the rights of passengers; problems concerning merger, consolidation, and receivership. Lincoln and other attorneys would soon find that railroad litigation was a major source of income. Like the slave cases, sometimes Lincoln would represent the railroads and sometimes he would represent their adversaries. He had no legal or political agenda that was reflected in his choice of clients. Herndon referred to Lincoln as purely and entirely a case lawyer.

In one prominent 1851 case, he represented the Alton & Sangamon Railroad in a dispute with a shareholder, James A. Barret. Barret had refused to pay the balance on his pledge to the railroad on the grounds that it had changed its originally planned route. Lincoln argued that as a matter of law a corporation is not bound by its original charter when that charter can be amended in the public interest, that the newer route proposed by Alton & Sangamon was superior and less expensive, and that accordingly, the corporation had a right to sue Barret for his delinquent payment. He won this case, and the decision by the Illinois Supreme Court was eventually cited by several other courts throughout the United States.

The most important civil case for Lincoln was the landmark Hurd v. Rock Island Bridge Company, also known as the Effie Afton case. America's expansion west, which Lincoln strongly supported, was seen as an economic threat to the river trade, which ran north-to-south, primarily on the Mississippi River. In 1856 a steamboat collided with a bridge, built by the Rock Island Railroad, between Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, the first railroad bridge to span the Mississippi. The steamboat owner sued for damages, claiming the bridge was a hazard to navigation. Lincoln argued in court for the railroad and won, removing a costly impediment to western expansion by establishing the right of land routes to bridge waterways.

Possibly the most notable criminal trial of Lincoln's career as a lawyer came in 1858, when he defended William "Duff" Armstrong, who had been charged with murder. The case became famous for Lincoln's use of judicial notice a rare tactic at that time to show that an eyewitness had lied on the stand. After the witness testified to having seen the crime by moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac to show that the moon on that date was at such a low angle that it could not have provided enough illumination to see anything clearly. Based almost entirely on this evidence, Armstrong was acquitted.

Lincoln was involved in more than 5,100 cases in Illinois alone during his 23-year legal career. Though many of these cases involved little more than filing a writ, others were more substantial and quite involved. Lincoln and his partners appeared before the Illinois State Supreme Court more than 400 times.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
32. IMF calls for dollar alternative
Edited on Sat Feb-12-11 06:46 AM by Demeter

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:47 AM
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33. Lincoln the Inventor

Abraham Lincoln is the only US president to have been awarded a patent for an invention. As a young man, Lincoln took a boatload of merchandise down the Mississippi River from New Salem to New Orleans. At one point the boat slid onto a dam and was set free only after heroic efforts. In later years, while traveling on the Great Lakes, Lincoln's ship ran afoul of a sandbar. The resulting invention consists of a set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the water line. On reaching a shallow place, the bellows are filled with air and the vessel, thus buoyed, is expected to float clear. The invention was never marketed, probably because the extra weight would have increased the probability of running onto sandbars more frequently. Lincoln whittled the model for his patent application with his own hands. It is on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. Patent #6469 for "A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals" was issued May 22, 1849.

In 1858, Lincoln called the introduction of patent laws one of the three most important developments "in the world's history." His words, "The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius," is inscribed over the US Commerce Department's north entrance.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:49 AM
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34. When China goes hungry, the world shakes
The impact of China's drought could have serious effects on global food prices and supplies, writes Keith Bradsher.

A SEVERE drought is threatening the wheat crop in China, the world's largest wheat producer, resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.

China has been essentially self-sufficient in grain for decades, for national security reasons. Any move by China to import large quantities of food in response to the drought could drive international prices even higher than the record levels recently reached...
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theold fossil Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #34
75. You are truly a Gem!
Demeter, I mean that without the slightest bit of sarcasm.
I read your weekend economist without fail. Your insights and tips have made me more money than laying in some snowbank somewhere,
changing out a pto or some such comparable fun. (my day job!)
Even in the worst of times, opportunities abound.
Judging by what you have done for me, I imagine you are a very wealthy individual!
Kudos! Keep up the good work!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #75
76. Thank you
Wealth is such a variable thing. I'm wealthy in some areas, poverty-stricken in others, but still surviving.

It's nice to have fans, though! For a performer, that's real wealth. Happy reading!
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theold fossil Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #76
79. Wealth is such a variable thing

We have had to scrape the change jar to bring home a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread for our kids - we were truly happy though.

We have some financial comfort now - we are still truly happy. Financial wealth will never make the measure of a man or woman.

Our personal relationships will always nourish the soul. Those without friends are bereft of true happiness.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:52 AM
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35. LINCOLN'S Courtships, marriage, and family
Soon after he moved to New Salem, Lincoln met Ann Rutledge. Historians do not agree on the significance or nature of their relationship, but according to many she was his first and perhaps most passionate love. At first they were probably just close friends, but soon they had reached an understanding that they would be married as soon as Ann had completed her studies at the Female Academy in Jacksonville. Their plans were cut short in the summer of 1835 when what was probably typhoid fever hit New Salem. Ann died on August 25, 1835, and Lincoln went through a period of extreme melancholy that lasted for months. It has been suggested that the intention to settle down with Ann Rutledge was an additional factor in Lincolns turn to the legal profession.

In either 1833 or 1834, Lincoln had met Mary Owens, the sister of his friend Elizabeth Abell, when she was visiting from her home in Kentucky. In 1836, in a conversation with Elizabeth, Lincoln agreed to court Mary if she ever returned to New Salem. Mary did return in November 1836, and Lincoln courted her for a time. However they both had second thoughts about their relationship. On August 16, 1837 Lincoln wrote her a letter from Springfield suggesting the relationship should end. She never replied and the courtship was over.

In 1839 Mary Todd moved from the family home in Lexington, Kentucky to Springfield and the home of her sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards and husband Ninian. Mary was popular in the Springfield social scene but soon was attracted to Lincoln. Sometime in 1840 the two became engaged. They aimed for a January 1, 1841 wedding but they mutually called it off. During this break in his courtship with Mary, Lincoln briefly courted Sarah Rickard, whom he had known since 1837. Lincoln proposed marriage in 1841 but was rejected. Sarah later said that "his peculiar manner and his General deportment would not be likely to fascinate a young girl just entering the society world.

Lincoln still had conflicted feelings concerning Mary Todd. In August 1841 he visited his close friend and former roommate Joshua Speed who had moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Lincoln met Speed's fiancee while there, and after his return to Springfield Speed and Lincoln corresponded over Speed's own doubts about marriage. Lincoln counselled Speed and helped convince him to proceed with the marriage. In turn, Speed helped Lincoln with his own doubts, and he resumed his courtship of Mary. On November 4, 1842 Lincoln and Mary Todd were married at the Edwards' home. In a letter written a few days after the wedding, Lincoln wrote, "Nothing new here except my marrying, which to me, is matter of profound wonder."

The couple had four sons. Robert Todd Lincoln was born in Springfield, Illinois on August 1, 1843. Their only child to survive into adulthood, young Robert attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College. Robert died on July 26, 1926, in Manchester, Vermont. The other Lincoln children were born in Springfield, Illinois, and died either during childhood or their teen years. Edward Baker Lincoln was born on March 10, 1846, and died on February 1, 1850, also in Springfield. William Wallace Lincoln was born on December 21, 1850, and died on February 20, 1862 in Washington, D.C., during Pres. Lincoln's first term. Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was born on April 4, 1853, and died on July 16, 1871 in Chicago, Illinois.

Four of his wife's brothers fought for the Confederacy, with one wounded and another killed in action. Lieutenant David H. Todd, a half-brother of Mary Todd Lincoln, served as commandant of the Libby Prison camp during the war.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:54 AM
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36. Swiss freeze possible Mubarak assets

Switzerland has frozen assets possibly belonging to Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down as president of Egypt Friday after 30 years of rule, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said.

"I can confirm that Switzerland has frozen possible assets of the former Egyptian president with immediate effect," spokesman Lars Knuchel said, declining to specify how much money was involved.

In recent years, Switzerland has worked hard to improve its image as a haven for ill-gotten assets and has also frozen assets belonging to Tunisia's former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali as well as those of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 06:58 AM
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37. LINCOLN IN THE House of Representatives (1847-1849)

A Whig and an admirer of party leader Henry Clay, Lincoln was elected to a term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. As a freshman House member, he was not a particularly powerful or influential figure. He spoke out against the Mexican-American War, which he attributed to President Polk's desire for "military glory that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood." He also challenged the President's claims regarding the Texas boundary and offered Spot Resolutions demanding to know on what "spot" on US soil that blood was first spilt. In January 1848, he was among the 82 Whigs who defeated 81 Democrats in a procedural vote on an amendment to send a routine resolution back to committee with instructions to add the words "a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States." The amendment passed, but the bill never reemerged from committee and was never finally voted upon.

Lincoln later damaged his political reputation with a speech in which he declared, "God of Heaven has forgotten to defend the weak and innocent, and permitted the strong band of murderers and demons from hell to kill men, women, and children, and lay waste and pillage the land of the just." Two weeks later, President Polk sent a peace treaty to Congress. While no one in Washington paid any attention to Lincoln, the Democrats orchestrated angry outbursts from across his district, where the war was popular and many had volunteered. In Morgan County, resolutions were adopted in fervent support of the war and in wrathful denunciation of the "treasonable assaults of guerrillas at home; party demagogues; slanderers of the President; defenders of the butchery at the Alamo; traducers of the heroism at San Jacinto".

Warned by his law partner, William Herndon, that the damage was mounting and irreparable, Lincoln decided not to run for reelection.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:03 AM
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38.  Make Sure the Wheelbarrow is Ready By Mike Whitney

The game is on. Two years of zero rates, limitless guarantees, and a $2 trillion drip-feed from the Fed, has lifted Wall Street from the canvas and put the speculators back in the thick-of-things. It's a miracle. Who would have thought that Bernanke could engineer another bubble this fast. But he has. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are increasing, LBO's (Leveraged buyouts) are on the rise, revolving credit ("plastic") is expanding, and investors are scarfing up low-yield junk bonds wherever they can find them...Investors are loading up on these garbage bonds even though they expect 75% of them will go belly-up. That's what you call a Bernanke gold rush! And the author even points to Bernanke's QE2 as the proximate cause for the feeding frenzy.

And then there's this from

"The New York Stock Exchange released data showing that margin credit -- money investors borrow to buy shares -- increased to $276 billion in December, up from $233 billion at the start of the year. That reflects a sharply higher stock market but also an increased appetite for borrowing." ("With Consumer Credit Up Sharply, Is America Releveraging?",

Yup, it's bubble-time again.

But, you're probably wondering how consumer credit can expand when households and consumers got whacked for $11.4 trillion in the meltdown and their debt-to-disposable income is still way off trend? Well, just go to Google News and take a peak at all the zero-down intro offers on auto loans. That will explain the whole thing. We're back to Square 1; selling products to people with shaky credit who can't come up with a couple hundred bucks for a down payment. Credit expansion is easy when you offer people something for nothing. It's getting repaid that's hard.

The other big area of credit expansion is student loans, the government-backed scam of the century. The banksters have figured out how easy it is to swindle college-age kids with promises of hefty 6-figure salaries when the finish their 5-year stint at the for-profit Bunko University. Of course, when they finally graduate--drowning in red ink--they discover that their job has been outsourced to Bangalore and they're left with the prospect of either cleaning bedpans at the local retirement center or moving back in with the parents...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:15 AM
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39. Mary Todd Lincoln
Mary Ann (ne Todd) Lincoln (December 13, 1818 July 16, 1882) was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865.

Born in Paris, Kentucky, the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a banker, and Elizabeth Parker-Todd, Mary was raised in comfort and refinement.<1> When Mary was six, her mother died; her father married Elizabeth "Betsy" Humphreys-Todd in 1826.<2> Mary had a difficult relationship with her stepmother. Beginning in 1832, Mary's childhood home was what is now known as the Mary Todd Lincoln House, a 14-room upper-class residence in Lexington.<3> From her father's marriages to her mother and stepmother, she had 14 siblings. Mary Lincoln's paternal great-grandfather, David Levi Todd, was born in County Longford, Ireland, and immigrated through Pennsylvania to Kentucky. Through her mother's family, her great-great grandfather Samuel McDowell was born in Scotland then immigrated to and died in Pennsylvania. Other Todd ancestors came from England.<4>

Mary Todd left home at an early age to attend a finishing school owned by a French woman, where the curriculum was concentrated on French and dancing. She learned to speak French fluently, studied dance, drama, music and social graces. By the age of 20, in October 1839, she had a ready wit and sparking personality attuned to politics that made her quite popular among the gentry of Springfield, Illinois, when she began living with her sister Elizabeth Edwards. Elizabeth (wife of Ninian W. Edwards, son of a former governor) served as Mary's guardian while Mary lived in Springfield.<5> Although Mary was courted by the rising young lawyer and politician Stephen A. Douglas and others, her courtship with Abraham Lincoln resulted in an engagement that was broken and eventually reaffirmed. Abraham Lincoln, age 33, married Mary Todd, age 23, on November 4, 1842, at the home of Mrs. Edwards in Springfield.

Lincoln and Douglas would eventually become political rivals in the great Lincoln-Douglas debates for a seat representing Illinois to the United States Senate in 1858. Although Douglas successfully secured the seat by election in the Illinois legislature, Lincoln became famous for his position on slavery which generated national support for him.

Lincoln pursued his increasingly successful career as a Springfield lawyer, and Mary supervised their growing household. Their home together from 1844 until 1861 still stands in Springfield, and is now the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Their children, all born in Springfield, were:

* Robert Todd Lincoln (18431926) lawyer, diplomat, businessman.
* Edward Baker Lincoln known as "Eddie" (18461850)
* William Wallace Lincoln known as "Willie" (18501862), died while Lincoln was President
* Thomas Lincoln known as "Tad" (18531871)

During her White House years, Mary Lincoln faced many difficulties generated by sectional divisions within the country. Her family was from a border state where slavery was permitted.<6> Kentucky was known for families where siblings fought each other in the Civil War<7> and Mary's family was no exception. Several of her half-brothers served in the Confederate Army and were killed in action, and one full brother served the Confederacy as a surgeon.<8> Mary, however, was staunchly behind her husband in his quest to save the Union and maintained a strict political loyalty to him. It was difficult for Mary to serve as her husband's First Lady in Washington, D.C., because it was dominated by eastern and southern culture. The Lincolns were from the West, Lincoln being the first "western" president, and Mary's manners were often criticized as coarse and pretentious.<9> It was difficult for her to negotiate White House social responsibilities and at the same time maneuver among social rivalries, <10>spoils-seeking solicitors, <11> and baiting newspapers <12>in a climate of high national intrigue in Civil War Washington.

Mary Lincoln suffered from severe headaches throughout her adult life.<13> As First Lady had to deal with the death of her son Willie in 1862, as well as the deaths of siblings killed in the Civil War, these difficult bouts of mourning, especially after Willie's death, led to protracted depression.<14> During her White House years, she suffered a severe head injury in a carriage accident. <15> In addition to depression, Mary suffered from irrational, sometimes public outbursts during Lincoln's presidency; after a jostling, uncomfortable carriage ride to review the troops at City Point, Va., accompanied by Julia Grant (whom she disliked), Mary unleashed pent-up fury on her husband when she arrived to see him riding on horseback beside the wife of General Ord.<16> Such scenes were not infrequent in Mary's life. Due to her erratic behavior and shopping sprees (classic signs of mania) as well as her protracted bouts with depression, some historians and psychologists have speculated that Mary Todd Lincoln suffered from Bipolar disorder.<17><18>

During her tenure at the White House, she often visited hospitals around Washington where she gave flowers and fruit to wounded soldiers, and helped with their correspondence. <19><20>From time to time, she accompanied Lincoln on military visits to the field, like the ill-fated trip to City Point. Her White House duties included many social functions. She has often been blamed for spending too much on the White House, but she felt, in defense of her drastic overspending on the House, that it was important to the maintenance of prestige of the Presidency and the Union.---WIKIPEDIA
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:26 AM
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40. NY Fed: 2005 Bankruptcy Bill Led to Hundreds of Thousands of Unnecessary Foreclosures /

Three economists at the New York Federal Reserve have put out a paper laying the rise in foreclosures partially at the feet of the 2005 bankruptcy bill. Economists Donald P. Morgan, Benjamin Iverson, and Matthew Botsch find that the subprime foreclosure rate increased by 29,000 per quarter nationwide after the passage of the bill, which equals well over 200,000 foreclosures that may not have occurred otherwise.

The bankruptcy bill of 2005, strongly supported by Republicans, bank lobbyists and the Democrats who own them (see Joe Biden, D-MBNA), forces households with higher incomes who file for bankruptcy into a means test that does not allow them to discharge their unsecured debts under Chapter 7, but instead puts them into Chapter 13, where they must still pay unsecured lenders. While mortgages are not unsecured, the money freed up through the discharge of the other debts could have gone to mortgage payments, thereby saving the home. In addition, bankruptcy judges were not allowed under the new reform to modify the terms of a primary residence mortgage, even though they could modify a yacht, a vacation home or the loan on most other assets. That was a longstanding practice that didnt change in the 2005 law; however, under the new rules, bankruptcy filers under Chapter 13 are not able to cram down auto loans, either, again raising their monthly payments post-bankruptcy...

This does not lead the New York Fed economists to conclude that the bankruptcy bill was a bad deal; in fact they explicitly say that it may have been wise policy that simply came at a bad time, when the subprime market crashed and foreclosures spiked. But thats the entire point. The bankruptcy process is designed for bad times. Its supposed to provide a backstop for borrowers who cannot keep up and have become overwhelmed with debt. Elizabeth Warren has called this a bedrock principle of America that has existed for hundreds of years, one of the strongest parts of the safety net, the ability to start over. That only exists for large financial institutions nowadays, not everyday people. And this research from the New York Fed proves it.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:29 AM
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In 1832, at age 23, Lincoln bought a small general store in New Salem, Illinois. He purchased it on credit along with a partner. While the economy was booming in the region, the business struggled and Lincoln eventually sold his share of the business. When his partner later died, Lincoln became liable for a $1,000 debt. Unable to pay he was forced to declare bankruptcy and did not finish repaying his creditors for another 17 years.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:30 AM
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42. The BRIC Self Sufficiency Index By Frank Holmes
Demand for natural resources in the emerging world is increasing, but how much of this increased demand is met by the countrys own production?

This interesting chart from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch shows the supply/demand fundamentals of several key industrial metals and basic materials.

The dotted line represents a key tipping point. The resources to the left of the line are those the BRIC countries must obtain outside of their own borders in order to meet domestic demand (BRIC refers to the emerging market countries Brazil, Russia, India and China). The BRICs produce an excess amount of the two metals to the right of the line and export the remaining amount to other countries.

Read more: The BRIC Self Sufficiency Index
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:38 AM
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43. LINCOLN'S 1860 election and secession
Edited on Sat Feb-12-11 07:39 AM by Demeter
On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the sixteenth president of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first Republican president, winning entirely on the strength of his support in the North; he was not on the ballot in ten states in the South, and won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states. Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, Douglas 1,376,957 votes, Breckinridge 849,781 votes, and Bell 588,789 votes. The electoral vote was decisive: Lincoln had 180 and his opponents added together had only 123. Turnout was 82.2%, with Lincoln winning the free Northern states. Douglas won Missouri, and split New Jersey with Lincoln. Bell won Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Breckinridge won the rest of the South. There were fusion tickets in which all of Lincoln's opponents combined to form one ticket in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, but even if the anti-Lincoln vote had been combined in every state, Lincoln still would have won a majority in the electoral college.

As Lincoln's election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed. The seven states soon declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The upper South (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy.

There were attempts at compromise, such as the Crittenden Compromise, which would have extended the Missouri Compromise line of 1820, and which some Republicans even supported. Lincoln rejected the idea, saying, "I will suffer death before I any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right." Lincoln, however, did support the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had passed in Congress and protected slavery in those states where it already existed. A few weeks before the war, he went so far as to pen a letter to every governor asking for their support in ratifying the Corwin Amendment as a means to avoid secession.

En route to his inauguration, President-elect Lincoln evaded possible assassins in Baltimore, who were uncovered by Lincoln's head of security, Allan Pinkerton, and on February 23, 1861, arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C., which was placed under substantial military security. Lincoln directed his inaugural speech to the South, saying, "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies...The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." A copy of this inaugural address was delivered to California via the newly-created Pony Express in seven days, three days sooner than advertised and in the midst of the Paiute War. By the time Lincoln took office, the Confederacy was an established area, and no leader of the insurrection proposed rejoining the Union on any terms; the Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis on February 9, 1861, as their provisional President. The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 rendered legislative compromise practically implausible. By March 1861, Lincoln and nearly every Republican leader agreed the Union could not be dismantled.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:43 AM
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The financial media is duly falling in line and giving a thumbs up to the proposed merger between the New York Stock Exchange and Deutsche Brse. Mayor Bloomberg contends it is both good for New York City and provides customers better service in an era of increasingly global equity trading. Industry analysts approved. Not surprisingly, stocks of other exchanges are up based on takeover speculation.

Your truly (YVES SMITH) is wary about concentrations of power in the financial arena, and consolidation of stock exchanges has the potential to go in that direction. One critic of the deal was former Goldman Sachs co-chairman John Whitehead. Admittedly, some of his objections sound quaint, echoing the hand wringing of the 1980s when the Japanese acquired trophy assets such as the Rockefeller Center. From Bloomberg:

I speak out rarely, and this is one time when I cant hold myself back, he said, adding that the exchange is an important symbol of American capitalism and of New York Citys status as a global financial center. I think of it as a holy institution.

Now before you start chuckling, Whitehead is old enough to have been in the finance game when propriety meant something and firms were concerned about their reputations. And his antiquated-sounding views ironically serve to illustrate how the US has degraded its brand as a financial center.

The US used to be the place for international companies to float their stocks. And one of the reasons investors came here along with issuers wasnt the depth of the markets alone, but that the US had the fairest markets with the best rules and the most extensive disclosure. A 1994 article by Amar Bhide in the Harvard Business Review, Efficient Markets, Deficient Governance, describes the virtues of the US regime, so it isnt all that long ago that American preeminence in this realm was unquestioned. You could see it just by looking at financial reports. The ones from overseas markets had less frequently issued financial statements (semi annual rather than quarterly), typically fewer balance sheet and income statement line items, and shockingly little in the way of footnotes, and nothing resembling the sort of narrative youd get in a 10-K. You had a much dimmer idea of the companys operations and performance that you did from a similar US concern.


I have a different reason for being uncomfortable. The failure of exchanges, contrary to popular perceptions, is not impossible. We came within three minutes of having the Chicago Merc and likely the NYSE fail in the 1987 crash. The Merc customer was where S&P index futures traded, and a customer failure to pay $400 million meant that the Merc was similarly going to come up $400 million short on a loan it owed to Continental Illinois. The executive responsible for the account said she could not forgive the repayment. It was only by happenstance that the banks chairman was in early that morning and authorized the credit extension, allowing the Merc to open. Had the Merc collapsed, the odds of a knock-on NYSE failure were high. The New York Stock Exchange was also at risk of not opening, and its chairman John Phelan feared if it did close, it would never open again...

The arguments in favor of the merger all stress greater efficiency. But as any systems engineer will tell you, improvements in efficiency too often come at the expense of safety.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
45. Deep T: Australian Banking System on Unstoppable Path to Collapse or Government Bailout

Yves here. This long and informative post on the pending train wreck in the Australian financial system might seem to be too narrow a topic for most Naked Capitalism readers, but it makes for an important object lesson. Australia managed to come out of the global financial crisis largely unscathed because its banks did not swill down toxic assets from the US (chump quasi retail investors were another matter) and it benefitted from the commodities boom.

Nevertheless, one might think its bank regulators might see what happened abroad as a cautionary tale. Mortgage debt took center stage in the crisis, and Australia is in the throes of a serious housing bubble. Yet as this post describes, the regulators seem asleep at the switch as to one of its major drivers....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
46. QUOTATATION - Abraham Lincoln
"If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution"


"If by mere force of money numbers, a minority should deprive the majority of any clearly written constitutional rights, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution...

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
47. Elizabeth Warren Is Expecting Your Call

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is open to your suggestions.

Officials have said they expect that the bureau will become the cop on the beat to enforce laws on consumer financial products and services like credit cards and student loans and will serve as a voice for consumers. But the bureau doesnt get most of its legal authority until July.

In the meantime, it introduced its Web site earlier this month with the goal of hearing from consumers as the agency is under development.

We wanted to launch the Web site for one very important reason - to start a conversation with you, Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a video on the site.

And as text on the site states: Before we begin carrying out federal consumer financial laws, we want to know what you think. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exists to serve the American public, and Open for Suggestions is your opportunity to offer input.

Consumers can submit their suggestions via Twitter, YouTube or directly to the agency via e-mail, and the agency will post video responses on the site. Already, the agency has posted two response videos. One on how the agency will work with state attorneys general and other state regulators to enforce federal consumer financial protection laws and the other on how to find information on working at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
48. 9% Unemployment Rate is a Statistical Lie By Greg Hunter

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the latest unemployment figures last Friday. There was a stunning drop to 9% from 9.4%. How did that happen? Is the economy really getting better or is the government up to its old statistical tricks. According to the mainstream media, the economy is getting better and the so-called recovery is alive and well. Heres how the Associated Press reported the story, The unemployment rate is suddenly sinking at the fastest pace in a half-century, falling to 9 percent from 9.8 percent in just two months the most encouraging sign for the job market since the recession ended. More than half a million people found work in January. A government survey found weak hiring by big companies. But more people appear to be working for themselves or finding jobs at small businesses. (Click here for the complete AP story.)

More than half a million people found work in January. How? The BLS reported there was only a tiny gain of 36,000 workers to the payrolls, and even that number is a statistical lie, according to economist John Williams of In his latest report (last Friday), Williams said, Incredibly, despite ongoing regular overstatement of payrolls by the BLS, the BLS appears to have upped, not lowered, the excessive biases in its latest rendition. Without the higher bias, the reported January 2011 payroll gain of 36,000 would have been a decline of 52,000.

As for the big drop in the unemployment number down to 9%, you can credit that with something the BLS calls seasonal adjustments. The government takes into consideration things like cold weather and snow when it puts together unemployment figures. Williams thinks these seasonal adjustments have been distorted by the dismal economy during the past few years. Williams says, . . . the extraordinary severity and duration of the economic duress in the United States during the last three to four years has destabilized traditional seasonal-factor adjustments and the related monthly reporting of certain economic series. The unemployment rate rose in January 2011, not seasonally adjusted. The 0.4% decline reported in the headline January unemployment rate appears to be a seasonal-factor issue. In other words, seasonal adjustment jobs are created out of thin air and are not really there for people. In reality, unemployment increased slightly. It did not decrease.

While we are on the subject of reality, after one year, the unemployed are no longer counted in government statistics. If unemployment was computed the way BLS did it prior to 1994, the true unemployment rate (according to would be 22.2%. I wonder why the mainstream media feels compelled to only do stories that support government statistics. There is bona fide analysis that can show government numbers are rigged to make things look better than reality...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
49. LINCOLN'S Assassination
In 1864, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland, formulated a plan to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners. After attending an April 11 speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans and became determined to assassinate the president. Learning that the President and First Lady would be attending Ford's Theatre, Booth formulated a plan with co-conspirators to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. Without his main bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14, 1865.

Lincoln's bodyguard, John Parker, left Ford's Theater during intermission to join Lincoln's coachman for drinks in the Star Saloon next door. The now unguarded President sat in his state box in the balcony. Seizing the opportunity, Booth crept up from behind and at about 10:13 p.m., aimed at the back of Lincoln's head and fired at point-blank range, mortally wounding the President. Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth but Booth stabbed him and escaped.

After being on the run for ten days, Booth was tracked down and found at Garrett's farm in Virginia, some 30 miles south of Washington D.C. After a brief fight, Booth was killed by Union soldiers on April 26.

An Army surgeon, Doctor Charles Leale, initially assessed Lincoln's wound as mortal. The dying man was taken across the street to Petersen House. After being in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15. Presbyterian minister Phineas Densmore Gurley, then present, was asked to offer a prayer, after which Secretary of War Stanton saluted and said, "Now he belongs to the ages."

Lincoln's flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bare headed Union officers, while the city's church bells rang. Vice President Johnson was sworn in as President at 10:00 a.m. the day after the assassination. Lincoln lay in state at the Capitol, in the East Room and then in the Rotunda, before the funeral train bore him to his final resting place in Springfield.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
50.  QE2 Sets Off Inflation Alarms By Mike Whitney

...we've reached the limits of monetary policy. The stimulus that's pushing liquidity into the markets is not being transmitted to the real economy. It's stuck in financial La-la land where it can't do any good. The problem is not that Bernanke is dropping money out of helicopters. The problem is that his helicopter never stops circling Wall Street.

The Fed's exalted QE experiment is coming to an end. Bernanke has restored large parts of the Ponzi finance system that collapsed after Lehman, but the real economy is still mired in recession. It looks like Keynes was right after all. Trying to use monetary policy to revive the economy, when households and consumers are still underwater, is like pushing on a string.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
51. The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
52. 3 Ex-IndyMac Executives Are Accused of Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday accused three former top IndyMac executives of fraud, saying they painted a rosy picture of the California lenders health even as it was collapsing in 2008.

By announcing civil fraud charges against senior executives of what was once one of the countrys largest mortgage lenders, the S.E.C. has injected new life into its investigations into the financial crisis. The IndyMac charges are shaping up to be among the agencys biggest cases stemming from the crisis...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
53. The Untold Story of John Wilkes Booth
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
54. New York Times Article Perpetuates Short-Sighted Management Attitudes

One of the reasons American management isnt what it used to be is that most companies do not give a rats ass about employees. Yes, youll get the usual human resources blather about how our employees are our most important asset, but actions on this front speak vastly louder than words. In the 1970s and early 1980s, management gurus and the business press argued that one reason German and Japanese manufacturers were trouncing their American counterparts was that they had better employee relationships. But even though there is still a mini-industry dedicated to producing corporate leaders, US companies too often see employees as costs, and their objective is to get buy spending as little as possible on them, rather than treating them to the extent possible as allies in building a more successful, profitable venture.

An article in the Youre the Boss, a New York Times column, demonstrates how deeply these warped values have taken hold in American business. Now admittedly, this feature focuses on small businesses, and these enterprises are often on the knife edge of survival. At the same time, every now-big company was a small company once, and presumably a venue like the New York Times is trying to help these companies perform better and for those that have significant potential, to chart a path that increases their odds of achieving it.

So consider this discussion:

Last spring I exchanged e-mails with Amy Christensen-Waddell, president of Albion Swords, which makes reproduction swords and armor (and I thought my business was niche!). Discussing employee pay, she asked: If your people are making a lot of money, do you find it makes them more loyal? I didnt give her an immediate answer, but the question has been in the back of my mind since then. Heres my current thinking.

But what about for the rest of us, for the unglamorous companies with mundane work, for the bosses with feet of clay? Were going to have to think of loyalty differently. Were going to have to buy it by which I mean providing a package of pay, benefits, and workplace atmosphere thats good enough that our employees cant easily find better pastures..

Unfortunately, for many years I was paying my people more than I could afford, and more than they could find elsewhere. Making that payroll was often excruciating. My employees were very happy with their paychecks, but the high costs were bleeding the company white. I cut wages by 20 percent in 2008 and partially restored them in 2009. Through all of that, I had no defections. My conclusion: I was paying more than I needed to.

Theres got to be a sweet spot in the middle where you pay enough to prevent defections but no more. Additional wages and benefits, beyond your employees next best choice, are paying extra for something you have already bought.

Now on the surface, this all sounds reasonable enough: employees cant be relied upon to be loyal, so since they are mercenaries, the boss should pay just enough to keep them from bolting, but no more. But read the language more carefully. The author sees himself as having to buy loyalty, which is barely a step removed from seeing workers as commodities.

And how we got here is conveniently omitted from this picture. Managements at companies big and small have institutionalized short job tenures. But many people, particularly those who do not see themselves as being on a career fast track, value stability and the social contact that comes from a steady job. And if youve ever run a small venture, or even a small department in a company, having someone quit is hugely disruptive. You have to scramble and try to get the same amount of work done with fewer hands, and you run the risk of losing customers if you miss deadlines or let your product/service quality slip. And its a drain on your time to find and screen potential replacements, and a new person needs to be trained. So there are real risks and costs associated with losing staff. Yes, the author advocates paying enough to avoid attrition, but his attitude is employees come, employees go, rather than employees are the guts of his enterprise.

My experience over and over again is that hiring better people pays for itself, and once you get them, its worth it to pay more to keep them...
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theold fossil Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #54
77. "My experience...
over and over again is that hiring better people pays for itself, and once you get them, it's worth it to pay more to keep them..."
EXACTLY! My line of business is a bizarre combination of mechanical aptitude, combined with computer skills, often under brutal weather
working conditions....not everyone will or can do it. Once I get a field operator that can perform, I pay them as well as I possibly can
while still making financial sense. If one of my hands gets hired away, it's a financial hit.

As a result all of my hands make 6 to 8 times more than I do. My w2 for 2010 was slightly over 12,000. (that's embarrassing - now you know what
my beer, hunting and fishing budget is)

Thanks to s-corp, I don't have to worry about paying myself minimum wage!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
55. Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
56. Layoffs are increasing in a scary and unreported way.
Using the website Daily Job Cuts as a resource, I'm seeing a rather dramatic increase in the number of layoffs and business closings, particularly those with over 100 employees affected.

The unreported nature of this and increasing inflation leads me to believe that it's going to get very ugly very quickly - and soon.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. Nearly 4,000 DISD (Dallas School District) Employees Could Face Layoffs
The outlook is grim for Dallas Independent School District teachers and staff, with the district laying out a worst-case scenario to shore up expected state funding cuts.

Texas faces a revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion, and education takes a massive hit in early drafts of the next two-year state budget.

DISD said as many as 3,100 on-campus employees -- including teachers -- and 800 noncampus employees could be laid off.

"Obviously, we were in shock; we were in denial," Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. "In fact, we had been given the worst-case scenario that the state would suffer cuts of $5 billion over the biennium, but then it turned into $5 billion per year, so that just doubled the things that we were kind of preparing for."
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plumbob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #57
70. 100,000 teachers in Texas could face layoffs.


As I've written before, the cuts to public school are nothing short of drasticthe House draft budget cuts almost $10 billion while the Senate version cuts a hardly charitable $9.3 billion. And those cuts don't just mean fewer computers and school buses. Even as new curriculum standards go into effect, the House draft doesn't commit any money for instructional materials. One education analyst estimated that 100,000 teachers could be laid off.
<more at link>
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #56
58. Amherst Systems lays off 119
Layoff notices went out Friday to 119 workers at Amherst Systems as the defense contractor moves ahead with plans to trim its work force by a little more than a quarter because of a drop in new orders.

The job cuts, which will take effect at the end of the month, will reduce Amherst Systems work force to 383. Workers were first told in mid-December that the company would be cutting jobs, but it did not notify individual workers until Friday, said Jack Martin Jr., a company spokesman.

The job cuts include engineering, manufacturing and programming support positions, as well as administrative jobs at the Amherst Systems plant, on Wehrle Drive in Amherst near Erie Community Colleges North Campus. Company officials blamed the job cuts on a lack of new orders for Amherst Systems electronic warfare simulation products.

The cutbacks will leave Amherst Systems with a slightly smaller work force than originally expected because 13 employees have left the company during the last two months, Martin said. Some of the departures were voluntary, while several others involved workers who transferred to other facilities owned by its parent company, defense contractor Northrop Grumman.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #56
59. I Concur
There is no one doing anything to stop the madness, so how can we expect improvement? We can't. We look to Egypt, with envy, hope and fear.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #56
60. Camco (Camden County) to lay off 260 employees April 4
CAMDEN Nearly 260 Camden County employees received layoff notices Friday.

The notices, which went out to everyone from clerks, to painters, to corrections officers, are scheduled to take effect April 4.

Aside from the layoffs, the county plans to furlough remaining civilian employees for 22 days beginning in March. The furlough days would occur every other Friday for the remainder of the year.

County leaders say the sweeping layoffs and furloughs are a result of one of the county's worst fiscal outlooks ever.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #56
61. Save Mart cuts distribution jobs (103)
Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets announced Friday that it was cutting 103 jobs from its distribution centers in Merced, Roseville and Vacaville, as well as in its labor relations department.

The company's news release didn't include the specific number of layoffs at the Merced center, which employs about 230 people.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #56
62. Northrop Grumman to cut 150 jobs at military-laser unit
Northrop Grumman Corp. is shedding 150 high-paying, high-tech jobs at its Orlando-area laser-weaponry factory its first job cuts there in about two decades.

The downsizing will affect more than 14 percent of the nearly 1,100 workers in the company's Laser Systems Division in Apopka, a spokeswoman said this week. Northrop plans to issue pink slips to 90 workers by late February; with an expected termination date in mid-March.

Sixty workers have already taken voluntary buyouts, and their jobs were eliminated as of Jan. 31, the company said.

Northrop said the layoffs reflect anticipated cuts in U.S. military spending, which the company expects will affect its orders, contracts and business volume. The laser-systems unit is among the main players nationally in laser-optic weapons technology, which is also one of the largest sectors of Central Florida's high-tech industry.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #56
64. Rockwell Collins closing Irvine plant, to lay off 140
Rockwell Collins is closing its Electromechanical Systems operation on Redhill Avenue in Irvine this summer and will lay off 140 workers, a company spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Pam Tvrdy said the aircraft control systems work being done in Irvine will be transferred to Calexico, Calif.; Mexicali, Mexico; and Melbourne, Fla. An additional 150 workers will be reassigned to the company's Tustin operation, she said.

The workers were advised Wednesday, Feb. 9, Tvrdy said. They will receive 60-day notices of layoff in May but may be able to transfer into other positions with the company.
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Fuddnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #56
80. Is this economy improving, or what!!!
:party: :bounce: :toast: :toast: :bounce: :party:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
63. Abraham Lincoln Video Documentary
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
65. Is JPM Covering Up a Naked Silver Short Held By China As a Claim Against the Yanks?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
66. Gettysburg Address
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
67. Wall Street Secret Society Kappa Beta Phi Adds Dealmakers With Lehman Rite

Kappa Beta Phi, the banking fraternity founded before the 1929 stock-market crash. that counts Wall Streets most senior executives and regulators among its past members, held its annual induction dinner behind closed doors at the landmark New York hotel on Jan. 13...Kappa Beta Phi hasnt always been publicity shy. In March 1930, just after the group was founded, articles in the Wall Street Journal announced members and new inductees who had done rugged and valorous deeds to win the approbation of the charter members. One article mentioned a publicity committee and its leader.

The rituals and secrecy of more recent decades create an aura of exclusivity and sends the message that were special, you dont get in here very easily, said Willard I. Zangwill, a professor at the University of Chicagos Booth School of Business. The event also offers a sanctuary for wealthy members to mingle in confidentiality, he said.

Youre interacting more freely with people on your level, Zangwill said. If youre a billionaire, it might be harder to get along with somebody whos struggling economically.

The group gives officers titles including grand swipe, grand smudge and grand loaf, according to a 2009 dinner program posted on the Journals website. One loaf was Herbert F. Boynton, who later became chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers, a predecessor of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority...A successor there, Mary Schapiro, now chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is also a member, the Journal wrote in its description of a ceremony. She hasnt been a member of the group for 10 years, SEC spokesman John Nester told Bloomberg News...

According to a 1961 U.S. tax court memorandum, one member paid $30 in fees in 1954. One of the people at last weeks dinner couldnt recall the current cost. He said, while yawning, that his accountant wrote the check.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
Edited on Sat Feb-12-11 09:42 AM by Demeter
"It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler. Now, sir, in the present case, if any gentlemen, whose money is a burden to them, choose to lead off a dance, I am decidedly opposed to the people's money being used to pay the fiddler...all this to settle a question in which the people have no interest, and about which they care nothing. These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people, and now, that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel."

- Abraham Lincoln, January 11, 1837

Lincoln's speech was given just as one of the greatest speculative bubbles in US history was bursting. This was followed by the Panic of 1837, which led to a six-year contraction described by Milton Friedman as "the only depression on record comparable in severity and scope to the Great Depression." UNTIL RECENTLY
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #68
74. Banks slashed small business lending by $43 billion
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The numbers back up what small business owners have been saying for two years: Main Street suffered a brutal credit crunch.

The total value of outstanding loans to small businesses plunged by $43 billion, or 6.2%, between June 2009 and June 2010, according to a report released this week by the Small Business Administration. That's a drop of $59 billion, or 8.3%, from June 2008.

Measuring lending to small businesses is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, because every institution and government agency has its own definition of what constitutes a small business. For this week's study, the SBA drew on data reported to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which tracks lending by the banks it regulates. Both the SBA and FDIC assume that all commercial loans of $1 million or less went to a small business.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
69. Still fighting against own cause (COMPARING CRONY CAPITALISTS TO SLAVEOWNERS)

What is happening in the nations political economy today is all too similar to what transpired a century and a half ago. The benefits now accruing to middle-class Americans from concentrating more and more wealth and power at the very top like the benefits 150 years ago of slavery to non-slaveholding whites can be measured in negative numbers. Unemployment remains high in large part because a consumption-based economy is dependent on a less inequitable distribution of income.

Once again, talk about putative threats to freedom and liberty is being used to scare ordinary citizens into acting in the interests of the wealthy, who are focused on their own concerns, not on behalf of the people they are stirring to anger.

As was true 150 years ago, one way less affluent people are being misled into acting against their own interest is through the argument that the threat to their well-being comes from people with darker skins now Latino immigrants rather than from those with much greater wealth.

To my knowledge, slaveholders never thought of the brilliant marketing ploy of using something like the tea party as their symbol. But they found it expedient to identify their cause with that of the American War for Independence. They sold their undertaking as the War for Southern Independence in which the Confederates were fighting for freedom against the federal government in the same way that Americans had fought for freedom against the British.

For far less cause than this, the Mississippi declaration asserts, our fathers separated from the Crown of England. ... We follow their footsteps.

The Civil War, however, was far from a war for Southern independence. It was a war to maintain Southern dependence. Its objective, for the members of the white Southern elite who had engineered secession, was to preserve their dependence on slaves to work their land.

Unlike the Spirit of 76, the Spirit of 61 saw no contradiction between liberty and slavery. Rather, it defined liberty in terms of the right to deny liberty to others. It was not about states rights but about states wrongs.

Slaveholders lost on the battlefields in the 1860s. But the cause of the top 2 percent of the nation won at the polls in 2010, when politicians opposed to any increase in top tax rates and any meaningful regulation of financial institutions were victorious. For less affluent people, who voted against their interests last year, the cause remains what it was for the less affluent people deceived into fighting against their own interests 150 years ago: a Lost Cause.

Robert McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm professor of arts and letters at Millsaps College. He is the author of The Great Depression: America 1929-1941 and is finishing a book, Oh, Freedom! The Young 60s.

Read more:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
71. More on Lincoln and the Bank Wars
These are opinion/analysis articles of interest...fact-check for yourself!

During the Civil War (1861-1865), President Lincoln needed money to finance the War from the North. The Bankers were going to charge him 24% to 36% interest. Lincoln was horrified and went away greatly distressed, for he was a man of principle and would not think of plunging his beloved country into a debt that the country would find impossible to pay back.

Eventually President Lincoln was advised to get Congress to pass a law authorizing the printing of full legal tender Treasury notes to pay for the War effort. Lincoln recognized the great benefits of this issue. At one point he wrote:

... (we) gave the people of this Republic the greatest blessing they have ever had their own paper money to pay their own debts...

The Treasury notes were printed with green ink on the back, so the people called them Greenbacks.

Lincoln printed 400 million dollars worth of Greenbacks (the exact amount being $449,338,902), money that he delegated to be created, a debt-free and interest-free money to finance the War. It served as legal tender for all debts, public and private. He printed it, paid it to the soldiers, to the U.S. Civil Service employees, and bought supplies for war.

Shortly after that happened, The London Times printed the following: If that mischievous financial policy, which had its origin in the North American Republic, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without a debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized governments of the world. The brains and the wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed, or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.

The Bankers obviously understood. The only thing, I repeat, the only thing that is a threat to their power is sovereign governments printing interest-free and debt-free paper money. They know it would break the power of the international Bankers.

In retaliation

After this was published in "The London Times", the British Government, which was controlled by the London and other European Bankers, moved to support the Confederate South, hoping to defeat Lincoln and the Union, and destroy this government which they said had to be destroyed.

They were stopped by two things. First, Lincoln knew the British people, and he knew that Britain would not support slavery, so he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slavery in the United States was abolished. At this point, the London Bankers could not openly support the Confederacy because the British people simply would not stand for their country supporting slavery.

Second, the Czar of Russia sent a portion of the Russian navy to the United States with orders that its admiral would operate under the command of Abraham Lincoln. These ships of the Russian navy then became a threat to the ships of the British navy which had intended to break the blockade and help the South.

The North won the War, and the Union was preserved. America remained as one nation.

Of course, the Bankers were not going to give in that easy, for they were determined to put an end to Lincoln's interest-free, debt-free Greenbacks. He was assassinated by an agent of the Bankers shortly after the War ended.

Thereafter, Congress revoked the Greenback Law and enacted, in its place, the National Banking Act. The national banks were to be privately owned and the national bank notes they issued were to be interest bearing. The Act also provided that the Greenbacks should be retired from circulation as soon as they came back to the Treasury in payment of taxes.

In 1972, the United States Treasury Department was asked to compute the amount of interest that would have been paid if that 400 million dollars would have been borrowed at interest instead of being issued by Abraham Lincoln. They did some computations, and a few weeks later, the United States Treasury Department said the United States Government saved 4 billion dollars in interest because Lincoln had created his own money. So you can about imagine how much the Government has paid and how much we owe solely on the basis of interest...


The 19th century became known as the age of the Rothschilds when it was estimated they controlled half of the world's wealth. While their wealth continues to increase today, they have managed to blend into the background, giving an impression that their power has waned. They only apply the Rothschild name to a small fraction of the companies they actually control. Some authors claim that the Rothschilds had not only taken over the Bank of England but they had also in 1816 backed a new privately owned Central Bank in America called The Second Bank of The United States, causing huge problems to the American president...ANDREW JACKSON....

With the Central Bank killed off, fractional reserve banking moved like a virus through numerous state chartered banks instead causing the instability this form of economics thrives on. When people lose their homes someone else wins them for a fraction of their worth. Depression is good news to the lender; but war causes even more debt and dependency than anything else, so if the money changers couldn't have their Central Bank with a license to print money, a war it would have to be. We can see from this quote of the then chancellor of Germany that slavery was not the only cause for the American Civil War. "The division of the United States into federations of equal force was decided long before the Civil War by the high financial powers of Europe. These bankers were afraid that the US, if they remained as one block, and as one nation, would attain economic and financial independence, which would upset their financial domination over the world."

Otto von Bismark chancellor of Germany 1876

On the 12th of April 1861 this economic war began. Predictably Lincoln, needing money to finance his war effort, went with his secretary of the treasury to New York to apply for the necessary loans. The money changers wishing the Union to fail offered loans at 24% to 36%. Lincoln declined the offer. An old friend of Lincoln's, Colonel Dick Taylor of Chicago was put in charge of solving the problem of how to finance the war. His solution is recorded as this. "Just get Congress to pass a bill authorising the printing of full legal tender treasury notes... and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also."

Colonel Dick Taylor

When Lincoln asked if the people of America would accept the notes Taylor said. "The people or anyone else will not have any choice in the matter, if you make them full legal tender. They will have the full sanction of the government and be just as good as any money; as Congress is given that express right by the Constitution."

Colonel Dick Taylor 1

Lincoln agreed to try this solution and printed 450 million dollars worth of the new bills using green ink on the back to distinguish them from other notes. "The government should create, issue and circulate all the currency and credit needed to satisfy the spending power of the government and the buying power of consumers..... The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but it is the Government's greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the long-felt want for a uniform medium will be satisfied. The taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest, discounts and exchanges. The financing of all public enterprises, the maintenance of stable government and ordered progress, and the conduct of the Treasury will become matters of practical administration. The people can and will be furnished with a currency as safe as their own government. Money will cease to be the master and become the servant of humanity. Democracy will rise superior to the money power."

Abraham Lincoln 2

From this we see that the solution worked so well Lincoln was seriously considering adopting this emergency measure as a permanent policy. This would have been great for everyone except the money changers who quickly realised how dangerous this policy would be for them. They wasted no time in expressing their view in the London Times. Oddly enough, while the article seems to have been designed to discourage this creative financial policy, in its put down we're clearly able to see the policies goodness.

"If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become endurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in the history of the world. The brains, and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe."

Hazard Circular - London Times 1865

From this extract its plan to see that it is the advantage provided by the adopting of this policy which poses a threat to those not using it.

1863, nearly there, Lincoln needed just a bit more money to win the war, and seeing him in this vulnerable state, and knowing that the president could not get the congressional authority to issue more greenbacks, the money changers proposed the passing of the National Bank Act. The act went through. From this point on the entire US money supply would be created out of debt by bankers buying US government bonds and issuing them from reserves for bank notes. The greenbacks continued to be in circulation until 1994, their numbers were not increased but in fact decreased. "In numerous years following the war, the Federal Government ran a heavy surplus. It could not (however) pay off its debt, retire its securities, because to do so meant there would be no bonds to back the national bank notes. To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply."

John Kenneth Galbrath

The American economy has been based on government debt since 1864 and it is locked into this system. Talk of paying off the debt without first reforming the banking system is just talk and a complete impossibility.

That same year Lincoln had a pleasant surprise. Turns out the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II, was well aware of the money changers' scam. The Tsar was refusing to allow them to set up a central bank in Russia. If Lincoln could limit the power of the money changers and win the war, the bankers would not be able to split America and hand it back to Britain and France as planned. The Tsar knew that this handing back would come at a cost which would eventually need to be paid back by attacking Russia, it being clearly in the money changers sights. The Tsar declared that if France or Britain gave help to the South, Russia would consider this an act of war. Britain and France would instead wait in vain to have the wealth of the colonies returned to them, and while they waited Lincoln won the civil war.

With an election coming up the next year, Lincoln himself would wait for renewed public support before reversing the National Bank Act he had been pressured into approving during the war.

Lincoln's opposition to the central banks financial control and a proposed return to the gold standard is well documented. He would certainly have killed off the national banks monopoly had he not been killed himself only 41 days after being re-elected. The money changers were pressing for a gold standard because gold was scarce and easier to have a monopoly over. Much of this was already waiting in their hands and each gold merchant was well aware that what they really had could be easily made to seem like much much more. Silver would only widen the field and lower the share so they pressed for...THE RETURN OF THE GOLD STANDARD (1866 - 1881)

1. Lincoln By Emil Ludwig 1930, containing a letter from Lincoln, also reprinted in Glory to God and the Sucker Democracy A Manuscript Collection of the Letters of Charles H. Lanphier compiled by Charles C. Patton.

2. Abraham Lincoln. Senate document 23, Page 91. 1865.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
72. On a Local, Personal Note
Edited on Sat Feb-12-11 11:27 AM by Demeter
It might get up to freezing today.

I have given up 30% of the job (one route) as the Kid I hired wants out, and it's unfeasible to even try.

My father's health is such that there are multiple causes of death competing to see which will succeed. Sis is going down to bring him up to Boston, where the doctors are better known to her and she can oversee his comfort.

It is a lot to swallow. Having an example like President Lincoln, persisting in spite of multiple crushing blows, is about all that keeps me going, sometimes.

Where are our examples of perseverance in public today? Can't think of a one, outside of Cindy Sheehan.

Feel free to nominate your own examples.

Further note: See you tomorrow...I'm about done for Saturday's posting. Please feel free to add to's not a one-woman show.
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theold fossil Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #72
78. We lost mom a few years ago
Yet she walks with me every day of life.

My deepest sympathies
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #72
83. So sorry to hear the changing status of your father

It's tough going through this.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
73. Audit Notes: Toxic Assets, Foreclosure Mills, SEC (Finally) Looking at CDOs

What ever happened to that pile of toxic assets that the banks were sitting on?

Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Rapoport took a look at that the other day.

But banks still hold plenty of the bad assets that once spooked investors: mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and other risky instruments. Their potential impact concerns some accounting and banking observers.

In part due to those bad assets, the top 10 U.S.-owned banks had $13.8 billion in unrealized losses that have lasted at least a year in their investment portfolios as of Sept. 30, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.


One problem centers largely on Level 3 securities, illiquid investments that cant be easily valued using market prices. According to the Journal analysis, as of Sept. 30, the top 10 banks had $360.7 billion in Level 3 securities. That amounts to 42.6% of the banks shareholder equity, a pile of assets whose value is hard to verify.

The Journal is good to point out, too, that these assets are valued at what the banks say theyre valued at. In other words, theyre marked to myth...
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Fuddnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #73
82. How big was the fraud? In their own words.
From Michael Lewis, "The Big Short".

Weeks before the whole thing started to unwind,at a Las Vegas conference for the American Securitization Forum, a drunken John Devaney, Host, and CEO of United Capital Markets, stood up in front of the crowd and told them how the ratings agencies were whores,how the securities were worthless,and how they all knew it.

They met CDO managers who knew the stuff was lower than the basement of an outhouse, and condescendingly talked to the shorters of the securities, that they had already sold them to pension funds, etc., and had nothing to lose.

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Fuddnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-11 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
81. Kick and Rec!
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
84. Lincoln watches over the Kentucky Sit-In

More than six years after Kentucky became the first state in the nation to introduce a bill that would halt the dumping of toxic coal mining wastes into headwater streams and effectively rein in the devastating fall-out of mountaintop removal operations, a group of affected coalfield residents, retired coal miners and bestselling authors have launched a sit-in in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear Friday morning...

... All of the protesters are from Kentucky. Those remaining in the governor's office include Wendell Berry, 76, the acclaimed writer who has been a leader in environmental issues for the past fifty years; Beverly May, 52, a nurse practitioner who was the subject of Deep Down, a documentary about MTR that was shown on PBS; Mickey McCoy, 55, former educator and mayor from Martin County, where more than 300 million gallons of toxic sludge were released into the water supply in 2001; and Stanley Sturgill, 65, a former underground coal miner and former MSHA inspector.

Also in the office are Lisa Abbott, 40, a community organizer and mother of two; Chad Berry, 47, a writer and historian; Teri Blanton, 54, a grandmother of three; Doug Doerrfeld, 60, Kevin Pentz, 38, a community organizer; Herb E. Smith, 58, a documentary filmmaker; Rick Handshoe, 50, a retired Kentucky State Police employee; John Hennen, 59, a history professor at Morehead State University; and Martin Mudd, 28, a grad student at the University of Kentucky, and Tanya Turner, 24, a community organizer....

... Appalachian historian and sit-in activist Chad Berry notes: "We are all here holed up in the Governor's office... Abe Lincoln's statue in the Rotunda looks over us... And we love hearing from people on Facebook and on Twitter and on email."

links: "Why Kentucky Can't Wait"

For twitter updates, follow Twitter feed #KentuckyRising

KFTC's Blog
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
85. Our supine acquiescence vs. the courage in Egypt
Edited on Sun Feb-13-11 09:30 AM by bread_and_roses

Kairos in Cairo: Seizing the Moment of Moral Courage
by Chris Floyd

I was among the million people who marched through London on February 15, 2003, to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq ... the people of Egypt -- especially the young people -- have shown us what a small, feeble act that 2003 march really was, and how we all let thuggish leaders play us for fools. We showed up, we marched, we massed -- then we quietly went home, back to our lives, and let the brutal machinery of aggressive war roll on.

What would have happened had we possessed the courage and commitment that the Egyptians are demonstrating today? What if we, like them, had refused to go home, and had stood our ground, thronged in the center of London, day after day, railing against a regime bent on aggressive war ...

... Day after day after day, the Egyptians have withstood the blows of a vicious police state...

... we simply melted away in the course of an afternoon. A single day; a few hours; a few speeches -- then nothing. How Blair and Bush and all the militarist apparatchiks must have laughed at that! "Let them have their little march. Who gives a shit? Give them their permits, redirect the traffic for them, let them wave their signs. What does it matter? When it's over, they'll just go home, and we can get on with our business."

But what if we had stayed?

(sp edit)
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #85
87. I Think We Are Going to Find Out Very Soon
and if the Goddess smiles upon us, it won't be another Kent State.

The Egyptian army was too subtle--making people disappear and torturing them in private, instead of public brutalization. Of course, if they had gone that route, Egypt would be in flames right now....stupid oligarchs. They better face up to the fact that their time is OVER.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
86. Dilbert Does It Again
Edited on Sun Feb-13-11 09:41 AM by Demeter

This was day 2 of the new paper routes---it was slightly less horrible than day 1. Perhaps because it was near freezing, instead of 13 below...perhaps because I got rid of 162 papers, whatever. It's still impossible, unless I can come up with a scheme.

A good thaw would help. I can't get within 6 feet of the paper boxes and have to keep leaving the car to put the papers in their places.

That's my story about doing more for less money...and I'm sticking to it!


This perfectly describes the Budget Fiasco now playing in DC....death spiral indeed! Don't cry for us, Egypt, our time is coming. It's either the Oligarchs, or us. And we outnumber them by hundreds of millions...stupid oligarchs.

Death spiral...must use that phrase in politics.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
88. Is China Really Funding the US Debt?

I keep hearing people erroneously claim that China is funding US deficit spending. It seems that every eejit with a fundamental misunderstanding of mathematics (and access to Xtranormals animated talking bears) has been pushing this concept.

It turns out to be only partially true and by partially, I mean 7.5% true. But that means the statement is 92.5% false.

The biggest holders of US debt are American individuals, institutions, and Social Security. We own more than 2 out of every 3 dollars of US debt about over 67%. Hence, we depend far less on the kindness of strangers than you might imagine if your listen to the intertubes.

Those viral animated bears may be clever, but they sure suck at math.

Total United States public debt was ~$13.562 trillion at the end of the fiscal year (30 September 2010). As of last week, January 4, 2011, the United States total public debt outstanding has surpassed 14 trillion dollars.

Political Calculations has whipped up a chart showing exactly who is holding US debt, and funding our deficit: GRAPHIC PORN AT LINK
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
89. U.S. Breaks Housing Price Decline Record Set During Great Depression /

Thats just half a million people, by the way

According to RealtyTrac, 1,050,500 homes we repossessed by banks last year.

In 2006 that number was 268,532.

In 2007 404,849.

In 2008 861,644.

In 2009 918,376.

Now in 2010 weve broken through the one million mark at 1,050,500. So, for those that think foreclosures are somehow a good thing, I guess congratulations are in order. For those not afflicted by such diminished cognitive abilities, I can only request that the last person to leave, please turn off the lights and bring the flag.

And remember that just over a million homes with 2010s fourth quarter foreclosure freezes imposed by the largest banks in response to the robo-signer scandals coming to light as a result of sworn testimony by various employees of those banks. Had those freezes not taken place, that number would most assuredly be significantly higher, and with the foreclosure-gates now reopened, we will likely see whatever number was suppressed last year carried over into the current years records...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
90. I'm hosting a dinner tonight for the condo
Wish me luck. I hope this will be a pleasant distraction, because god knows I have barely one nerve left at the moment. Maybe I should post a sign:

If you value your life, don't bother the cook! About ANYTHING!!!

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
91. Morgan Stanley's Liquidity Pool BACK TO (2008) THE FUTURE

Its now official: the week of September 15, 2008 was a really bad week to work in Morgan Stanleys prime brokerage. And the next week wasnt so hot either. Various internal documents released with the FCIC report provide a fairly detailed picture of Morgan Stanleys liquidity position during the crisis, and its not pretty. Prime brokers like Morgan Stanley relied heavily on customer cash held in prime brokerage accounts (known as free credits) to fund themselves. So when hedge funds all pulled their cash from Morgan Stanleys prime brokerage after Lehman failed, that had a direct effect on Morgan Stanleys liquidity pool.

On one day alone (Wednesday, September 17th), Morgan Stanleys prime brokerage lost $36.6 billion in free credits. Thats $36.6 billion instantly gone from the firms liquidity pool. To add insult to injury, that same day, prime brokerage customers also withdrew $12.3 billion of excess margin, which dealers also count toward their liquidity pool. For the week, Morgan Stanleys prime brokerage lost an amazing $86.5 billion in liquidity. And the next week, they suffered an additional $43.3 billion of outflows, for a two-week total of $129.8 billion. Thats a hell of a fortnight!

Overall, Morgan Stanleys liquidity pool was falling by tens of billions per day the firm was basically imploding. Without the government bailout, its pretty clear that they wouldnt have lasted another week...

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
92. Evidence of an American Plutocracy: The Larry Summers Story
Edited on Sun Feb-13-11 12:02 PM by Demeter /

...That defenders have been forced to measure Summers success against the Great Depression is indicative of his unpopularity as well as the administrations tone deafness to the deepening economic insecurity of the middle class, much of which is experiencing a depression....

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
93. Sin of Omission by Geithner in Chest-Thumping over Tax Cut Deal /

Tim Geithner led an Administration effort LAST MONTH to publicize in glowing terms the tax cut deal passed by Congress and signed by the President during the lame duck session in December. Concurrently, they sent out a fact sheet with some similar statistics that Geithner described in a press briefing. He claims that 159 million workers will benefit from the payroll tax cut, and theres no reason to doubt him on that point. But the analysis suffers from a major sin of omission.

Geithner said that the payroll tax cut, totaling about $110 billion according to new estimates, will lead to an increase in take-home pay for the average worker by about $700 a year, and for the average working family about $1,000 a year. Its important for him to use those numbers, because they are greater than the $400 per individual, $800 per family Making Work Pay tax cut which this payroll tax cut essentially replaces for 2011. The difference comes in how those taxes get calculated and where they phase out.

Making Work Pay was a flat $400 for every worker, but the benefit phased out for workers making over roughly $95,000 a year. That meant it was targeted directly to people who would spend it and offered a pretty nice benefit. By contrast, the payroll tax cut applies to every worker in America, as Geithner says. Bill Gates will get a payroll tax cut. Alex Rodriguez will get a payroll tax cut. Paris Hilton will get a payroll tax cut. Because the payroll tax itself caps out currently at $106,800, the tax cut for Gates, Rodriguez, Hilton and anyone else making that number is $2,136. But thats $2,136 more than they got under Making Work Pay. Ill leave it toy you to determine whether thats something they need, and something which will work to stimulate the economy.

By contrast, at the low end of the scale, the benefit from the payroll tax cut ends up worse than the benefit from Making Work Pay. Making Work Pay was a flat benefit of $400; with the payroll tax cut its a percentage of income. So any individual making under $20,000 a year or family making under $40,000 a year will see less of a benefit under the payroll tax cut. That comes out to roughly 50 million workers, or close to 1 in 3, using Geithners numbers.

So you have this crazy circumstance where the payroll tax cut ends up a worse deal for low-income workers, who would spend the money, and a better deal for high-income workers, who probably wont.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
94. More Reasons Why Banks Should Worry About Ibanez Decision

...bottom line: Ibanez might be a much broader reaching opinion than anyones yet recognized...This is getting interesting, and in not a good way for the banks.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
96. Johannesburg at risk from acid lakes

...Mines dug more than a century ago stretching about 25 miles along one of the world's largest gold deposits have reached their water-storage limit and will start leaking a toxic cocktail of chemicals in the coming months, independent experts and government officials have said.

If left unchecked, acidic mine water is expected to foul up works near the country's Apartheid Museum, flood basements in central Johannesburg and seep into the streets of the city of about four million people. "The threat of acid water decanting from old mine workings is a real and present danger. It poses a threat to our economy, environment, health and history," Terence McCarthy, a professor of geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, wrote in a report....

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
America has a long-standing pattern of supporting dictators, instead of democracies, in developing countries.

Why?...faulty economic models are part of the problem...

One characteristic that seems particularly prominent is that democracies do a far better job at avoiding catastrophes of all types. If we look at financial catastrophes for each of the last four decades and look at the twenty worst performers over each of those decades, we find that of eighty cases, only five are democracies. Similarly, if you look at a 10 percent contraction in GDP per capita on an annual basis, you find that poor democracies are half as likely to experience this sort of acute recession as are autocracies...


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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 03:10 PM
Response to Original message

...the world of offshore banking is vastly larger and more untouchable than most people realize. He describes in considerable detail about how buffers are built in so that funds become untraceable, and have further protections (as in if the authorities walk in to shut down a banking operation, the money can be moved through rapidly through several banking centers so it cannot be found, much the less seized)...

...Shaxson shows how the worlds tax havens have not, as the OECD claims, been eliminated, but legitimised; how the City of London is itself a giant tax haven, which passes much of its business through its subsidiary havens in British dependencies, overseas territories and former colonies; how its operations mesh with and are often indistinguishable from the laundering of the proceeds of crime; and how the Corporation of the City of London in effect dictates to the government, while remaining exempt from democratic control. If Hosni Mubarak has passed his alleged $70bn through British banks, the Egyptians wont see a piastre of it....

...My impression is that it takes a wee bit of planning to have funds be difficult to trace; it appears the Mubaraks were either naive or lazy (anyone reading about the US rows with Switzerland over tax evasion would know that Swiss banks are not impenitrable). But it may also wind up serving them to have lost a lot of their fortune in transit. If the authorities nab a few billion, plus all the tangible assets like houses, they can declare victory and try to cover up the fact that a great deal was lost.

However, the Mubaraks brazen plundering of Egypt, in combination with the publication of Shaxsons book, may lead to pressure to rein in these faceless, powerful banks. The genie is no doubt too far out of the bottle to end them, but any measures that reduce their scope and reach would be salutary.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-13-11 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
99. It was a nice dinner, and a warm day
a lot of snow has melted. May the trend continue!

Thanks for the Valentine, my secret admirer! May all of us have a non-miserable
Valentine's Day! And a better week!
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