Tag: depression

When the chickens get privatized,

it’s vultures that come home to roost.

The subprime mortgage crisis isn’t over. Neither is the global credit freeze it sparked. The stock market crash that followed hasn’t hit bottom yet either. But the main thing to worry about now, and for a long time to come, is the depression we are rolling and tumbling into.

The media has started reporting on one increasingly visible aspect of the depression: the budget crunch facing states and municipalities, and the resulting cutbacks in public services. News stories have detailed the end of the shuttle program Phoenix, AZ ran to take seniors grocery shopping, Mayor Daley’s elimination of 2250 Chicago city jobs–900 by layoffs, warnings of unsalted roads in rural Wisconsin this winter, and on and on. And it’s early days yet.

The service cuts I want to highlight today are a little different. Let me direct your attention briefly to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which serves 1.5 million rail and bus passengers every day. Yep, even in auto-centric L.A., a lot of folks, especially poor folks, can’t make it without public transportation.


Terry Matsamuto, the MTA’s chief financial officer is predicting massive service cuts soon. It seems that like many local governments around the country, L.A. County went for the okey-doke. They sold much of their system to private investors in “lease-back” deals. Companies like Wells Fargo and Philip Morris bought the rail system, 1000 buses and parking and maintenance facilities. The Tranist Authority gets a one shot injection of needed cash, the financiers get a steady annual cash flow bled out of the system.

The rail cars and locomotives of the Metrolink commuter rail system were also sold, and guess who financed and insured these deals?

American International Group.

Yep, AIG. And when AIG started going into cardiac arrest, their credit ratings were revised downwards before the Fed even applied the paddles.

The lower credit ratings triggered a clause in the lease-back agreements that require the MTA to either find a new firm to guarantee the deals or reimburse investors for their down payments and lost tax benefits, a scenario that could cost the transit agency between $100 million and $300 million.

For one thing, forget about finding a replacement lender–credit is still frozen, static. Second, once other clauses in the deal kick in, the MTA could be on the hook for $1.8 billion this year, more than half its total annual budget.

All those investors have to be made good somehow. So the service cuts commence.

I can’t wait to see what L.A.’s Bus Riders Union does about this…

Cross-posted from Fire on The Mountain.

Lessons of the 1990s recession in Japan

Original article, by Jared Wood and subtitled Is the US economy also heading for a ‘lost decade’?, via The Socialist (UK):

ECONOMISTS AND political leaders are looking to the recent economic history of Japan with growing fear. Japanese share prices are today 70% lower than at their 1989 peak, while property values are about 40% lower than they were in 1990. Economic (GDP) growth in the 1990s averaged less than 1% a year, leading economists to talk of the “lost decade”.

Why the panic won’t stop

Original article, by Lee Sustar, via socialistworker.org:

Tomorrow, tomorrow

I love ya, tomorrow

You’re always

a day away!

– From the Broadway show Annie

SO MUCH for that $700 billion bailout that was supposed to save world capitalism.

Bernie Sanders’ Sane Solution: Between Bailout and Collapse

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed what looks to me like the most sane and reasonable solution to our financial mess.  

Instead of being between a rock and a hard place, between a fraudulent bailout of the criminal banksters and a total collapse, Great Depression 2, destruction of the financial systems of the U.S. and the world, we have the middle ground sanity of Bernie Sanders.  His proposal for, if not solving, at least helping to heal our dire financial straits is the best I’ve seen.

Wall Street Bailout – 09/26/2008

There is little public support for President Bush’s $700 billion bailout. Just 30 percent support Bush’s package, according to an Associated Press poll released Friday. More than 4,000 of you have taken our survey, and those results are even more remarkable. Are you confident that taxpayers would be treated fairly if Congress and the Bush administration agree on a bailout? You aren’t. Do you think a bailout would help the economy? No. Do you favor a surtax on individuals who make more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million to pay for a Wall Street bailout? More than 91 percent agree with the proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders. What’s more, as of late Friday, more than 40,000 (as of late Friday)of you co-signed Bernie’s letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson suggesting a tax on the very wealthy.

Follow below the fold to learn more and see if you want to sign on and support Sanders’ proposal.

Their desperate gamble with our money

Original article, an editorial subheaded Whether or not Henry Paulson’s rescue scheme works, one thing is already crystal clear: The capitalist system has failed spectacularly, via socialistworker.org:

THE BUSH administration’s treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, is demanding the financial equivalent of martial law–$700 billion and a blank check to rescue the Wall Street system from the catastrophe caused by the blind greed of the super-rich parasites who run it.

And so it begins…California Bank seized the Feds!

From the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/busines…

From politics of hope to politics as usual

An editorial from http://socialistworker.org: http://socialistworker.org/200…

LOVE and War

Daniel Zwerdling, of NPR, continues his reporting on the Treatment of our returning Military Troops, you know who they are, maybe, those who those ‘Support The Troops’ magnetic ribbons, now rarely seen, are meant for. Or the significance of those ‘Lapel Flag Pins’ the politicians and some others harp about, the politicians who Praised a Coming Invasion of anothers little Country but didn’t have the the time, nor will, to do their jobs in Oversite, Funding, and simple Investigation!

There’s a formidable group of warriors out there – and they’re fighting America’s military. Spouses of troops who have come back from the war with serious mental health problems have made it their mission to force the military to give the troops the help they need.

In the process, they’ve transformed themselves from “the silent ranks,” as the military traditionally calls wives, into vocal and effective activists.

Wanna Fix the Economy? Give Workers a Raise

The original article, by Mike Whitney, via dissidentvoice.org.

The bright new financial system, with all its talented participants, with all its rich rewards, has failed the test of the marketplace.

– Former Fed Chief, Paul Volcker

Not much more needs to be said, but will the failure in the marketplace be allowed to die a dignified death?  Yeah…right.

Joe Lieberman-Sith Lord of the Evil Empire

I have said before “left” and “right” in America serve mostly as marketing type focus groups.  “Discussions” emerge for the sole purpose of discovering what is most destructive to America and how media can best promote it.

Note here that in 1992, yes that was 1992 Kyoto made China and India CARBON EMISSION EXEMPT.  Can I say that again louder.

Joe Lieberman however has “stepped” forward several times now with policies, beliefs and stances which should be in direct conflict with rational normal thinking.  It is as if he is in training for Henry Kissinger’s slot, high up in the Satanic organization that runs the world, The Illuminati.

Do I Have To Kill Myself Before They’ll Help Me?

The “they” refers to the Human Service Center in Peoria, Illinois–but I’m getting ahead of myself. Last Friday night, I decided that I really couldn’t wait for my Feb. 29th appointment at the neighborhood clinic to start being treated for my depression/possible bipolar.

So, having found out that my friend who’d gotten the Cymbalta had gotten it after she’d called a crisis hotline and been directed to a free clinic, I called such a hotline.

The line was busy for about an hour. I started wondering if I was calling the right number, then took a break. Then started trying again and the phone rang on the second try.

Thanks–And Wish Me Luck

First of all, I want to thank everyone who read “I Hate Writing About Myself….” and provided their stories, helpful advice, and kind words. This sort of thing is what I like about Docudharma. If you were all here, I’d give you all big hugs!

As a follow-up, yesterday was something of a rough day–because I knew after having read many of the comments I needed to see a doctor and get started on meds in spite of my reluctance due to the cost….

Load more