It’s Saturday!

Happy Saturday Sky Dancers!! It’s a beautiful fall day here in Indiana, but I’m looking forward to getting back to Boston. I’ll be taking off in a couple of days and I hope to be home by Tuesday or Wednesday. My mom is going along for the ride so she can hang out with her youngest grandsons for awhile. It will be fun, because she’ll be there over Halloween. But enough about my boring life–let’s get to the news.

This story is a couple of days old, but still worth reading. Via BDBlue at Corrente, Which GOP candidate do you think has raised the most money from Wall Street?

Barack Obama!

Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.

And get this–Obama has raised nearly twice as much as Romney from the Mittster’s old firm, Bain Capital! So don’t believe all those stories in the media about the Wall Street titans switching to Mitt.

Here’s another “breaking news” story from Forbes: US Businesses Not Being Strangled By Regulation And Taxation, World Bank Says. Gee, no kidding? But the Republicans say that’s the main cause of our economic problems, don’t they?

The World Bank uses indicators such as time spent to set up a business to getting credit, among other things, in benchmarking the 183 countries it ranks in “Doing Business”. The report measures and tracks changes in the regulations applied to domestic companies in 11 areas in their life cycle–such as investors rights, taxation, cross border transactions, legality and enforcement of contracts and bankruptcy law. A fundamental premise of doing business is that economic activity requires good rules that are transparent and accessible to all, not just big business. Such regulations should be efficient, the World Bank states, striking a balance between safeguarding some important aspects of the business environment and avoiding distortions that impose unreasonable costs on businesses. “Where business regulation is burdensome and competition limited, success depends more on whom you know than on what you can do. But where regulations are relatively easy to comply with and accessible to all who need to use them, anyone with talent and a good idea should be able to start and grow a business (legally),” the World Bank said.

Where does the supposed regulation and taxation crippled U.S. stand in the rankings? It is number four, trailing behind New Zealand (3), Hong Kong (2) and Singapore (1).

What it looks like from the research desks at one of the most powerful and elite multilateral institutions on the planet is a U.S. that does not have the government in its way, but a U.S. whose government is more out of the way than it is in every other major economy on earth, including mainland China.

Wow, I wonder if Congressman Paul Ryan reads Forbes? Naaaah… probably too far left for him. And speaking of Ryan, he appeared at a town hall meeting in Muskego, WI yesterday and made a complete ass of himself as usual. From Think Progress:

During a town hall today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) was asked by Matthew Lowe, a student, why the GOP wants to cut Pell Grants. Ryan responded by saying that the program is “unsustainable,” before telling Lowe that he should be working three jobs and taking out student loans to pay for college, instead of using Pell Grants:

LOWE: I come from a very middle-class family and under President Obama, I get $5,500 per year to pay for school, which doesn’t come close to covering all of the funding, but it helps ease the burden. Under your plan, you cut it by 15 percent. I was just curious why you would cut a grant that goes directly to the middle- and lower-class people that need it the most.

RYAN: ‘Cause Pell Grants have become unsustainable. It’s all borrowed money…Look, I worked three jobs to pay off my student loans after college. I didn’t get grants, I got loans, and we need to have a system of viable student loans to be able to do this.

That’s funny. I read that Ryan used his father’s Social Security survivor benefits to put himself through college. I’d like to see some documentation on those three jobs he claims he worked while attending classes, writing papers, and studying for exams. Besides, I’ll bet the unemployment rate for college-age kids wasn’t at depression levels back then.

And speaking of paying for college, here’s an interesting piece at Truthout by Ellen Brown: Can the Fed Prevent the Next Crisis by Eliminating Interest on Student Loan Debt?

Among the demands of the Wall Street protesters is student debt forgiveness – a debt “jubilee.” Occupy Philly has a “Student Loan Jubilee Working Group,” and other groups are studying the issue. Commentators say debt forgiveness is impossible. Who would foot the bill? But there is one deep pocket that could pull it off – the Federal Reserve. In its first quantitative easing program (QE1), the Fed removed $1.3 trillion in toxic assets from the books of Wall Street banks. For QE4, it could remove $1 trillion in toxic debt from the backs of millions of students.

The economy would only be the better for it, as was shown by the GI Bill, which provided virtually free higher education for returning veterans, along with low-interest loans for housing and business. The GI Bill had a sevenfold return. It was one of the best investments Congress ever made.

There are arguments against a complete student debt write-off, including that it would reward private universities that are already charging too much and it would unfairly exclude other forms of debt from relief. But the point here is that it could be done and it (or some similar form of consumer “jubilee”) would represent a significant stimulus to the economy.

According to Brown, student loan debt is “the next Black Swan.”

Here’s another stupid Republican story for you. Eric Cantor was scheduled to give a speech yesterday at the elite Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Cantor was to speak on what Republicans plan to do about income inequality. The school was so excited that they opened the talk to the public. In addition, there was to be a protest by several groups, including Occupy Philly.

Guess what Cantor did? He wimped out and cancelled. ROFLOL! From the LA Times:

Cantor was scheduled to speak on income inequity at a lecture hosted by the Wharton business school. The Virginia Republican’s office said he called off the speech after learning that protesters planned to rally outside and attendance would not be limited to students and others affiliated with the school.

Ron Ozio, director of media relations at University of Pennsylvania, said the business school “deeply regrets” that the event was canceled.

“The university community was looking forward to hearing Majority Leader Cantor’s comments on important public issues, and we hope there will be another opportunity for him to speak on campus,” Ozio said in a statement. “The Wharton speaker series is typically open to the general public, and that is how the event with Majority Leader Cantor was billed. We very much regret if there was any misunderstanding with the Majority Leader’s office on the staging of his presentation.”

This is pretty disgusting: Libyans line up to see Gaddafi’s body on display; groups call for probe into death

International human rights groups called Friday for an investigation into the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi as gory new videos showed him being spat at and punched by revolutionaries and as skepticism mounted about official claims that he was shot in crossfire after being captured.

The new cellphone videos cast a shadow over the revolutionaries even as they were celebrating the end of their eight-month struggle to wrest control of the country. NATO had backed the rebels in the name of shielding pro-democracy civilians from Gaddafi’s brutality.

“The government version certainly does not fit with the reality we have seen on the ground,” said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who has been investigating the capture of Gaddafi in his home town of Sirte. Amnesty International warned that the killing could be a war crime.

Why do I suspect the U.S. Government gave the go-ahead for Gaddafi to be executed, just like Osama bin Laden? You might want to read Joseph Cannon’s take on this one.

Finally, late last night the Volker Rule was number 1 in Google’s top stories. From the NYT:

When Paul Volcker called for new rules in 2009 to curb risk-taking by banks, and thus avoid making taxpayers liable in the future for the kind of reckless speculation that caused the financial crisis and resulting bailout, he outlined his proposal in a three-page letter to the president.

Last year, when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act went to Congress, the Volcker Rule that it contained took up 10 pages.

Last week, when the proposed regulations for the Volcker Rule finally emerged for public comment, the text had swelled to 298 pages and was accompanied by more than 1,300 questions about 400 topics.

Wall Street firms have spent countless millions of dollars trying to water down the original Volcker proposal and have succeeded in inserting numerous exemptions. Now they’re claiming it’s too complex to understand and too costly to adopt.

Gee, what a surprise. I wonder how many of those millions were taxpayer dollars?

So…what are you reading and blogging about today?

33 Comments on “It’s Saturday!”

  1. joanelle says:

    Great Post, BB, lots of interesting stuff. Thanks!

  2. quixote says:

    About working three jobs and the costs of college back in the day; wages had been rising, not falling, for thirty years in the early 80s. (Just guesstimating when Baby Blue Eyes went to school.) Tuition at state schools was in the hundreds, not thousands. (I know, it sounds crazy these days.) Tuition at a place like Harvard was on the order of $10,000. Less than UCLA now. Textbooks in my field (biology) cost dozens of dollars, not hundreds.

    And there used to be those now-mythical creatures called scholarships.

    It was physically possible to work your way through college then. Now? Not so much.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, I know. I attended a state university in the mid-1960s. Life was good then. Tuition at my Northeastern private university now is $40,848. That’s before books, housing, food, transportation, etc.

      Psychology textbooks when I taught there the past couple of years: $150+

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Why Obama may be about to give a giant handout to the billionaire Koch brothers:

    Right now, President Obama is faced with the most crucial environmental decisions he is going to face before the 2012 election: whether or not to approve the permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,700 mile fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the continent, the Canadian tar sands.

    The Keystone XL isn’t just an XL environmental disaster — the nation’s top climate scientists say that fully exploiting the tar sands could mean “essentially game over” for the climate — it also happens to be an XL sized handout to Big Oil and, you guessed it, the Brothers Koch. You want fries with that?

    • paper doll says:

      I’m betting he’s caved already. Obama is always in pre-cave mode . It saves time

    • quixote says:

      I’ll be floored if B0 doesn’t give the go-ahead for the pipeline. It would be a break with an unbroken tradition.

      • The Rock says:

        One of the speculations about Bumbles is that Soros is pulling his strings. While I believe that there is truth to that, I think the Koch brothers have a hand in directing his business as well. Seeing that he is a failure, I think they are secretly demanding that he run KNOWING he will lose. And lucky for them, the democrats are to stupid to challenge him internally on his record. We can expect another 2010 in Congress which would make this country entirely red.

        We are so f%^*d

        Hillary 2012

  4. paper doll says:

    nice round up!

    That’s funny. I read that Ryan used his father’s Social Security survivor benefits to put himself through college. I’d like to see some documentation on those three jobs he claims he worked while attending classes, writing papers, and studying for exams. Besides, I’ll bet the unemployment rate for college-age kids wasn’t at depression levels back then.

    Plus collage had to be way cheaper then….Though not as cheap as I remember . Lord I’m so old, I remmber my art collage cost 495.00 for the fall term of 5 classes!( which I mostly cut, but still! lol ) that was 1971….in 1995 I took one class which cost 1,200 ( of course I attened that one! )….but what do they cost now?

    You cannot work though collage today. ….particularly as there are few jobs at the end of this amazingly expensive process . With the expense of the loans and no jobs at the end, it’s become something of a ponzi scheme.

    • paper doll says:

      oops! while I was typing, the cost of collage back in the day was being posted about! Indeed. One can’t compare two people’s collage bills if the difference in thier attendance is even 5 years… It would be so changed

  5. paper doll says:

    Oh and another thing. In the late 1980’s my husband got his masters with help from his employer…I ain’t lying …they wanted well educated employees! ( Imagine!) and would pay for one class per term, which was about 900.00 back then….Again, this sounds like SCi Fi now

    • Branjor says:

      Yes, my cousin got a masters from his employer in the late 1970s. I’m not sure, but I think they may have paid for the whole thing.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The Iraq War is far from over. Obama lies, people die.

    • paper doll says:

      But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.

      Exactly. It’s been progressively privatized for awhile…( like many things!) now it will go 100% privatized ….plus , as SOS, it seems Hill will over see it . Sigh. She’s not allowed near the domestic stage…but a over seas war zone, sure. DC factions want to be able to say the US isn’t in Iraq so they can send troops elsewhere without having to hear we are still in Iraq.

      Thanks for posting the article

      • northwestrain says:

        Blackwater security contractors???? perhaps?? Run by some guy named Prince — bood buddy of 0bowma’s??

        0bowma really does honor his debts — but the stupid voters who put him in the White house — not so much.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    A lengthy post over at C&L:RED ALERT: Biggest Bank Sweetheart Deals of All Time? | Crooks and Liars

    Also, just saw a post at media matters about the ABC article I linked to a couple days ago. It is about the electric car deal in Finland. ABC Uncovers Scandal: Electric-Car Companies Using Federal Money To Create American Jobs | Media Matters for America

    Personally, I still think it was a shady deal…and if what Media matters says is true…100 temporary design jobs in the US is a lot different than 500 permanent manufacture jobs in Finland.

    As I mentioned when I linked to the article, the company did spend money in the US on design…but the real jobs went to Finland. I just don’t see how anyone can give a pat on the back to the Obama Admin, when the end result was outsourced jobs. But that is my own opinion…

    • paper doll says:

      I just don’t see how anyone can give a pat on the back to the Obama Admin, when the end result was outsourced jobs. But that is my own opinion…

      I think this is why Hillary was heading that jobs bill meeting…as SOS she would be concerned with events overseas /snark

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        It just bothers me PD, and I will show you something else that bothers me:

        MMFlint Michael Moore
        Pres O: The majority WANT 2 vote for u next year. Be the president they voted for in 2008. 57% support #OWS, 72% say tax the rich
        2 hours ago

        You know, this kind of thing makes me want to vomit! Obama is the president they voted for in 2008…if they actually paid attention to his record…asshats!

      • paper doll says:

        MM what bothers me is OWS is giving Obama a pass for 2012. My understanding is if the government hasn’t met their demands by Nov 2013, they will do something. Well Obama will be well in by then and no one is supposed to hold him accountable for anything till then? Mr. Moore’s statement is more selfrevealing than perhaps he intended. I think the top 1% of the 99% , such as himself , see OWS as an attempt to push Obama left. Good Luck on that one.

      • paper doll says:

        I should have said they see OWS as a means to push Obama left…just as Cornel West earlier this year wanted someone to challenge Obama in the primaries….not to replace him, of course , but as a means to push him left…as rehab for Obie…. I suggest that is a waste of time. It only makes going right sweeter for him

  8. northwestrain says:

    While the 0bots are thanking 0bama for getting the troops out of Iraq — the truth is far different.
    But military trainers and contractors will be left behind. Eli Lake on why the president announced a withdrawal that had been set for years.

    GWbush made the 2011 date agreement — way back.

    0bama the liar in chief.

    • paper doll says:

      Well we have been saying he’s Bush 3…for years now. He hasn’t let us down yet

      • Fannie says:

        And I let my guard down for one moment, thinking he honored the contract from three years ago……………….and now I see the private contractors are still in……………….

        Obama the liar in chief III.

  9. northwestrain says:

    Remember Colon Bowel’s (Colin Powel) flat out lies to the UN??

    The history of US lies about Iraq and the Cake Walk.

    0bowma is trying to rewrite history — but then that’s what he does best.

  10. northwestrain says:

    Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan have humongous big ears — the reason? Every time they tell a lie their ears get bigger.

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    Great Post, BB, thanks. 🙂

  12. lahana says:

    Not to defend Ryan, but if you look at what he said he said he worked 3 jobs to PAY OFF his loans, so these were jobs he had AFTER he graduated from college.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You’re right. I misread it, because he was telling the student he should work three jobs to pay for college. Which kind of makes it worse, since Ryan had social security to live on while he was in school. That still doesn’t address the fact that college kids can’t get jobs now.