473 Comments

You might want to call Republican efforts to smear President Biden and their Democratic political opponents 'Investigate-gate'. These congenital malcontents are absolutely pathetic. Investigating this. Investigating that. Making wild allegations but having no facts to back them up. It must be excruciatingly tiresome to have to get up in some committee meeting, and refute those false accusations, tit for tat. All that for a party that has no track record of probity or integrity. But they keep coming, like cockroaches looking for food under the sink or in the pantry. We can't let up on them, and it's draining our energy, attention, resources, and your sanity. Scandal does not slow them down a bit, even when the facts show them to be lying through their teeth, they're utterly shameless in their denials. I don't know how these people can live with themselves, or how their families can stand to be around them. Just being in the same room with them is toxic.

President Biden's handling of the spate of bank failures has been nothing short of masterful. The Club for Growth is complaining that this is an example of 'crony capitalism', when in fact it is the third-party depositors who are being saved by the FDIC out of the fund that is replenished by the banks themselves. Important to note is that investors holding stock in those failed institutions get nothing. There will be no residuals to divvy up. Senior management has been fired; what would be nice however, is to have those bonuses issued to selected employees before the banks went under clawed back. As I have said elsewhere, these individuals should be banned from the banking industry for the rest of their lives. They can go to work for Starbucks and become baristas and make their mortgage payments from their tip money.

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Well written Arthur."Me first" is killing us. The empiness and lack of character is heartrending.

Thank you President Joe Biden and for the men and women who selflessly work so hard day and night to build up our nation in coordination with other freedom loving people around the world.

Character counts! Maintaining freedom is hard work.

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Nice summary Emily Pfaff and Arthur Silen. The President’s meeting in San Diego is home to the nuclear power subs and the far West & Southern reaches of the USofA where I proudly call home base.

In my choice of work, the bank news is also of most importance to me and those who aspire to the American Dream of homeownership, most especially the first-timers who have such a tough time attaining that prize.

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Beyond "Me First" it's "Me, Not You" for privilege and "You, Not Me" for blame. It Malignant Narcissism, the "Good Breeding" and "Commoner" mentality of feudal Europe or Asia. It's "The Weaker Sex", "The Master Race", and "Perverts". It "Heathens" and the "Righteous". It's the urge to dominate. It's when self-interest, which we all share, pushes integrity, conscience and compassion out if the nest. It's what we call "evil": the Devil's real name is "Mr. Hyde".

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Nice summary Emily Pfaff and Arthur Silen. The President’s meeting in San Diego is home to the nuclear power subs and the far West & Southern reaches of the USofA where I proudly call home base.

In my choice of work, the bank news is also of most importance to me and those who aspire to the American Dream of homeownership, most especially the first-timers who have such a tough time attaining that prize.

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What in the hell are you talking about? Are you talking about the tooth fairy or Ronald McDonald? You certainly aren't talking about Joe Biden. Besides the fact that the Obama's thought he was a complete dufus and idiot, there is the plagiarism, the whopping lies, the bro-mance with Robert Byrd (KKK member & US senator), calling black people monkeys, and on & on. Joe Biden never met a fixed idea he embraced. What he always embraced was power.

As for freedom, are you kidding? Ukraine is among the most corrupt countries in the world. The US historically has been very skeptical about sending a dime to Ukraine because it all ended up the hands of elites. As for freedom, since when is a authoritarian police state free? Zelensky has shut down newspapers, jailed critics, and outlawed religion.

This conflict is a joke. It just a proxy war with Russia.

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Sure would like to know where you get your information, and do you even know the source?

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

He writes a post on Intellectual Honesty, so he must know something or heard from a guy at Fox or Newsmax who heard it from a guy standing in the front row at Trump and DeSantis big top shows in Iowa. Same noise. Conspiracies and unsubstantiated "truth" revealed.

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Perhaps looking for subscribers. Here we go again. . . .

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So Zelensky has outlawed religion? Amazing how everyone else has missed that big news. James A. is a trolling liar in search of clicks.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

And, if you are a little paranoid about Putin's long arms and internet finagling, it's a way to get us on their radar by responding with a reasoned answer. (Not the same thing as a response here.)

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I think a doctor with a flashlight might be able to answer that question.

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This is a troll, don't engage.

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Hey James A, you are right about the pre Zelensky Ukraine run by Putin's lackys. and this being a proxy war with Russia. It must bother you to see the object of Trump's wan-a-be getting a bloody nose. Tough luck. However I commend you for reading HCRs blog, better than the lies on Fox News.

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Maybe you should watch “Servant of the People.” Zelenskyy wrote it, having no idea what the result would be. If it’s still on Netflix, it’s the best of sitcoms.

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Mar 18, 2023·edited Mar 18, 2023

James A — I dare you to define what freedom means in terms of where to draw the line when you are exercising your freedom in terms of the collateral damage it does to other people. The American Constitution talks about securing the "blessings of liberty" for the American people. Nowhere is the idea of absolute license in terms of doing what you damn well please, no matter what the consequences a part of the American body politic. A certain segment of the American population has decided for itself that certain constitutional rights are absolute, whether they are the right of free speech, the right of freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and right to freedom of the press. None of those rights are absolute, and they almost exist within the context of an overall Constitution that requires people to cooperate and coordinate in order that the country itself might live. People living with a frame of mind of the type that you espouse have apparently elevated yourselves to be some sort of 'super-citizens' whose preferences will predominate over everyone else's. Somehow you all think that these rights are 'God-given', but nowhere in the American Constitution is that even whispered, let alone given an absolute priority. The words say what they mean: "Congress shall enact no law respecting the establishment of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press". The American Constitution is a secular document despite all the who-ha propagated by the ignorati and certain religious fanatics to elevate themselves and their religious preferences over those of anyone else. They eschew their country's history and long-standing traditions in favor of the self-serving notion that they are Jesus Christ's chosen representatives on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Conservatives have only themselves to blame when other people pushed back against their selfish notions about their own preeminence in American life. None of that was ever true. The closest we ever came with the antics and arguments of slaveholders claiming that the Constitution gave them preeminent rights when nothing of the sort was ever contemplated. We fought a bloodied Civil War that those slaveholders lost. And yet the spirit of those slaveholders persists in today's conservatives under the pretense that they, and they alone, speak to the preservation of American culture and American traditions. Nothing can be further from the truth whatever happened in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland before 1775 has nothing to say about what happened in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. We all started on an equal footing. None of the accusations that you make are true. The most salient feature of conservatism today is its focus on white anxiety, the idea that demographically, white people are being displaced by people with black and brown skin who, not coincidentally, were born here, and for the most part have been here longer than most European immigrants to America. People with brown skin are the descendents of indigenous peoples who have lived in the Americas since the last ice age. Native Americans trace their lineage back 20,000 years to when bands of hunter gatherers crossed over the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. And you and others have the temerity to say that these people don't belong here. Nobody gave you the power to decide who comes here and who does not. The Constitution did not give you any special rights; if you're an American citizen, you live in parity with all other American citizens, and you are obligated to obey our laws the same way everyone else is. Your rights to live in the American economy are no less nor no more than anybody else. Your 'freedom' must coexist with the freedom that every other American has to live their lives in accordance with the laws of this country. You don't get a pass because your ancestors came here earlier than some others did. Your agency and freedom of action is circumscribed by the laws of the United States of America, and the state in which you reside, no better and no worse than anyone else who lives there. Under the Fifth Amendment and the 14th amendment to the Constitution you're entitled to Due Process of Law and Equal Protection of the Laws, no different than anyone else. So you need to get off your soapbox and accept the fact that the fact that you were an American citizen makes you privileged to be an American, but that privilege is shared with all of your countrymen, whoever they may be. The freedom you claim for yourself can be no different than the freedom that they can claim for themselves, and that the rule of law here in America is absolute.

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Amazing. That maybe the most unfocused, ambiguous paragraph I've ever read.

What in the hell does it have to do with what I said?

We were talking about the failure of SVB?

Its obvious why you are a leftist. There isn't a ounce of common sense, let alone logic, in anything you write.

Let me know when you make it back to planet earth

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First, I'm anything but a leftist. Second, you need to identify specifically which paragraph you object to. You've committed the same sin you accused me of doing. But that's the modus operandi of most of today's conservatives. The Libertarian boyos who who proclaim their undying stance against 'big government' were the first to scream bloody murder when they learned that FDIC was legally obligated to back the first $250,000 in their accounts at SVB, per depositor. That meant that all accounts under the same depositor name (and social security number). One payout of $250k. Not a penny more. They couldn't live with that outcome. The logic of the law outweighs the emotional demands of human experience. These guys were on the hook to lose BILLIONS of dollars. And so they ditched their faux principles ad screamed to the heavens about their 'rights', specifically about getting indemnified, dollar for dollar. The test of character called these boyos to account, and they wilted. All this nonsense about limited obligation of government to take care of their own citizens, and every man for himself --- complete horse shit. "TAKE CARE OF ME!!!", they yelled. And so it happened that the least deserving depositors of all, wealthy and arrogant jerks, are getting bailed out by government grace. Grace, you may remember from Christian doctrine, is the unmerited and unexpected bestowing of Divine dispensation, and in defiance of human justice, logic, or reason. Some call it miracles.

Then you come along with wild, unsubstantiated accusations... about me, who you don't know, ... and any one else with whom you disagree. You have no idea who or what you're talking about, and your principles are as a house of cards that will collapse if you breathe on it.

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Who are you???

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Mar 16, 2023·edited Mar 16, 2023

Fifty years ago I joined that army of federal employees working to make America a better place to live. During the 12 years I was in federal service, posted in Washington DC and Boston Massachusetts, I got to see a lot and do a lot to make that happen. It occurs to me that Republicans are forever wanting to trade the banking system as their own pet casino, while Democrats more accurately trade the banking system as nuclear power plants that are all tied together in a single network, like an electrical grid. If it weren't for the opportunities offered for garnering immense wealth, treating the banks as nuclear power plants would be a very apt metaphor. It seems like every time we turn around, somebody wants to disable a major circuit breaker to pad his bottom line or stock portfolio. Dodd-Frank got it right, but the American people largely did not, because a large number of us, perhaps a majority, are innumerate, which means that were not very good at handling numbers, especially big ones. We are lousy at statistics because we insist on treating small samples as representative of reality. They are not. Banking is not rocket science, but I will bet you there is more foresight and risk awareness in the job of being a locomotive engineer then there is in the Legion of overeducated, socially awkward people who get degrees in physics and mathematics, and believe that because they can think arcane things, they have a handle on getting past the natural boundaries of prudence and responsibility.

Extreme cases and gender extreme responses that are all out of proportion to the original stimulus. Climate change is a prime example. This winter, California is experiencing the most extreme weather we have had in close to 50 years, and this is becoming the new norm. It used to be that large averages in anything would buffer the extremes, diluting them, and attenuating their effects. But, we have tilted extreme conditions against the normally large average, and so that average is no longer representative of the whole, with bits and pieces of it becoming more and more extreme. Time matters. Scale matters. And, when time and scale are compressed, and scale grows larger, unusual, and typically bad things happen. Like I said, we have more rain and snow than we know what to do with; and in a semi-arid climate, rainfall and atmospheric moisture are typically welcome, but not in the amounts and the compressed time that we are seeing them on a daily basis. The same sort of thing happens in social situations, were stretched out time, and a diminished ability to manipulate large economies were largely absent.

Now we have the opposite: compressed time, and innovative ways to accumulate and manipulate wealth — meaning money — results in a form of contagion that we really haven't seen before. It used to be that during a bank run, thousands of people would line up in front of the bank in order to withdraw their savings, and the sheer difficulty of getting to that bank in time to fill out the withdrawal slips, meant that the slowness at which action could be taken had a way of dampening it. Today, a good many of us are able to bank online, and move money around with the speed of light, and the transmitting power of that nuclear power plant. Electronics are wonderful, except when you make a mistake and you try to retrieve it; then it's not so good. Then we have guys like Gregory Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, who spent what appears to be his entire career as a banker within the four walls of that institution. He didn't change but the world around them certainly did. Thirty years ago we did not have the Internet, nor did we have the agglomeration of small startup companies competing with one another to create the next big shiny object that would make the millions of dollars. I grew up in Silicon Valley, and most of my good buddies in college were electrical engineering majors. The mathematics they were studying were arcane, but they functioned around how electricity works, with scant attention to probabilities. The inverse is largely true now. We don't know how probabilities work, because our mindset and our emotions operate in the here and now; a lot of people really don't want to know because it would give them pause to think about the downside consequences of getting things wrong.

One of the people I follow is Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who became a probabilities guru and Cassandra, when he pointed out that extreme situations, that used to be so rare as to be unknowable are suddenly becoming more common. Professor Taleb began his career as an options trader, and was apparently extremely good at it before he entered his second career as a student of extreme probabilities and professor at New York University. The point he emphasizes, Extremistan is qualitatively different from Mediocrestan, where things are average or normal all the time. We don't see extremes very much because they are statistically rare, by definition, but conditions have a way of catching up with extremes. Most times, people want to behave as first responders and fixers, recovering from disasters more efficiently. At a certain scale, there is no coming back from the damage that is done, like a nuclear war, or a planet frying itself because it no longer has an atmosphere to protect it. Life on this planet has existed for a billion years, but the first creatures to inhabit our planet do not resemble those that populate it now; and the threshold for keeping us alive is a lot higher than it was for one celled creatures that populated the warm seas of prehistoric time. The same with banking and trading. Introductory courses in economics talk about business firms and households. In the world we live in, that is a huge irrelevancy. They talk about the business cycle, and trendlines in supply and demand. All that is linear algebra; and again, utterly irrelevant to the demands on our minds, and our time to get it right the first time, because there may not be a second time. The economists that movement conservatives follow have their minds fixed and how the world was between 1800 and 1945. The world is changed a lot since then, but not for these people. In their minds there wearing stiff high collars and frock coats top hats and shoes with spats, and they all want to be J.P. Morgan. Things used to happen so slowly of the time appeared to stand still, at least for them. For the rest of us, we experience the world as it comes at us, and that means faster, higher, and a good deal more dangerously. There's a lot of talk going on in Washington today about how we need to revisit the watering down of Dodd-Frank in 2018, because it was that insouciance towards risk that is giving us fits of trouble now. I'm all for that. And as I say elsewhere, there are some people who should not be in the banking industry, specifically people who like to gamble with other people's money, because today, they have a unique opportunity to blow up the world, and we don't need that. Now or ever.

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I think you are right that we as a society have very little familiarity with statistical thinking. My anecdotal impressions are that how to think in statistical terms, how to understand, evaluate and act on their meaning, is not adequately taught to the general student population, being seen as the concern of STEM students, but of course we all must be reasonably well informed to act and vote wisely. We are not so good these days about putting things in a broader perspective.

I am confused by this: "Banking is not rocket science, but I will bet you there is more foresight and risk awareness in the job of being a locomotive engineer then there is in the Legion of overeducated, socially awkward people who get degrees in physics and mathematics, and believe that because they can think arcane things, they have a handle on getting past the natural boundaries of prudence and responsibility. " I does not seem true or relevant, nor am I sure what you mean by "arcane". The laptop I am typing on would not exist without applied quantum mechanics, and probability is it's currency. Scientists seem to be among the few who appear to "get" how bad disrupted climate can be. I don't know what they think they have a handle on; engineers seem to me much more sure of themselves; but I view the whole enterprise of science as "conservative" with a small "c", generally applying conservative estimates, and troubled by diverse indications that the preponderance of the population seems more inclined to ignore.

https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/300/video-climate-spiral/

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Locomotive engineers implicitly understand that things may lie athwart tracks that shouldn't be there. Geek mathematicians are forever in search of elegant solutions to theoretical problems with scant regard to the blurring of effects of complex situations. Certain 'rules of thumb' have arisen that only experience can teach, as thinkers become fixated on the intricacies of their problem-solving, rather than the forces impinging on the problem. Compromises are messy and oftimes inelegant.

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Mar 17, 2023·edited Mar 17, 2023

I agree that some theorist are too eager to try to fit everything into their theory, such as Fred Hoyle's Steady State cosmology, vs the Big Bang, and I give as much credit for accurate awareness to our powers of observation as intellect or formal education. Perhaps more, because openness to letting reality tell you what it is about is perhaps the beginning of science and also, so far as I can tell, wisdom. I also believe in intuition, not as proof or something magical, but as a personal ability to identify subtle patterns out of seeming chaos that become useful when verified with horse work. That's kind of how Einstein worked, but it can also be "common sense" in it's uncommon form. What is crucial is avoidance of hubris.

So called "pure" science and mathematics is supported because it turns out to be a gold mine when certain theoretical discoveries are applied to practical problems. Deep understanding of how stuff really works has vastly expanded what we are able to do and understand at a practical level. Our wisdom, as a society for what we do with those options is a whole different matter.

And yes, I fully agree that there are things only experience can teach, but experience and verifiable theory, even if only the self-evident theory that I don't want to be hit by a train, goes hand in hand.

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One of the things I learned studying complexity science was that changes in adaptations that occur at the margins of different types of phenomena can be completely unexpected. We, as humans, are equipped to anticipate what we know. The process of discovery is usually thought of as something new and wonderful, but there's a downside that needs to be considered. We get into trouble when we apply the techniques of linear thinking and 'more is better' when we fail to appreciate the risks we are taking, more often than not because there is no warning label or flashing lights. But then there are those occasions when we know that we are engaging in risky business, but we push ahead because we think the short-term gain can be normalized and become profitable. We've been doing this so often, and with so much prior success, and we think it can go on forever. It can't go on forever, and we pile up the odds against ourselves.

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Not only the bonuses need to be clawed back, but the recent sale of over $3,000,000 in stock by the CEO should be claimed. We’re there other sales by insiders recently? That’s crony capitalism.

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I would be very interested to see what the rescue terms are for these "banks". Look forward to the restoration of banking regs that Trump cut. BTW, on social media, the right is saying "we're alllll gonnnnna diiiiie and it's Biiiiiden's fault" but when I went to the company that has my tiny 401K, the volatility was just 1%.

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Our bank is a credit union. We are fine.

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Credit Union - member owned. Not in the club of “Too big to fail”

Ever read Captains & Kings? Taylor Caldwell. I’ve always found historical novels great reads & good for thought

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No, haven't read that one. Thanks for the heads up. We gave up on US bank years ago and have had good banking service ever since.

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Don't hold your breath waiting for restoration of banking regs as long as Rs hold the House.

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You should listen to Elizabeth Warren on the subject of Dodd/Frank and the Trump remake of regulations.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

I have. Here's a link, for those who may have missed it, to what Warren had to say on Monday night. Click at right on "Elizabeth Warren on how to fix what Trump broke in banking rules". https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show Still highly unlikely to change as long as Rs rule the House.

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She blew my mind!!!

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I listened to her 2018 and again last night. I wish everyone would.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

"By the late nineteenth century, big businesses and giant corporations had taken over the American economy. Consumers were forced to pay high prices for things they needed on a regular basis, and it became clear that reform of regulations in industry was required. The loudest outcry was against trusts and monopolies. Trusts are the organization of several businesses in the same industry and by joining forces, the trust controls production and distribution of a product or service, thereby limiting competition. Monopolies are businesses that have total control over a sector of the economy, including prices" https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/monopolies-and-trusts

" I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that ... if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. " -Eric Holder

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/mar/12/global-greedflation-big-firms-drive-shopping-bills-to-record-highs

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J L, Eric Holder is giving the same lame excuse for inaction as the 2008 too big to fail crap. No entity is too big too and no institution is "so large" to escape prosecution for clearly criminal behavior. So some smart asses go to jail, and some ultra wealthy lose their fortunes, it may be the end of the world as they know it - but the rest of us will journey on in glee. Get the money back from the @#$% who stole it, and break up the monopolies. That did NOT cause the great depression. unregulated bankers and brokers, gambling with other peoples money did. Same as 2008.

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My thoughts exactly. So glad to read these comments and as Joy Vance says, we are in this together. All the gop has is finger pointing. When you depend on finger pointing as your objection that means you are unprepared and have no real objection but "because." I feel like we live in a perpetual middle school cafeteria and the bad kids dominate.

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The other thing to mention is one that I was taught as a feisty youngling: when you point your finger at someone else, remember that three point back at you, and the thumb is looking away.

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Forgive me Ally. I always thought it was where they kept their thumbs that defined a Republican.

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And I thought it was where they "kept their heads"!!

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Okay okay you win!😂

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I'd call it a draw, Pat

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LOL.

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LOL. They also have a logs in their eyes.

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There is legitimate finger pointing; such as an ethical prosecutor, or several social justice movement's, this blog; but yes, may there be peace in the world let it begin with me. From what I can tell, bullies and cliques are pretty much an inevitable feature of schoolyards around the world. That tells us something about human nature; yet responsible adults teach us to be civil. Irresponsible people "summon the Devil" ensconced in our DNA.

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Well said, although some days, listening to Trump and DeSantis, I think I live in a kindergarten full of gun carriers. Then there are the very poor who the gun money could feed and house.

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We as social beings want to influence others, but some want to do so by force. Money, political power, and guns can all be abused to impose our will by force. Corrupt politics employs all three.

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We used to elect the juvenille delinquents and class clowns to govern through Congress. Now we do that and appoint them to the courts too. Our country is becoming the model of a failing business.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

Or Organized Crime (really). Yet there are still some in the public sphere who serve the public. We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to collectively use our shared responsibilities for the fate of our own society; it's people.

Pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor? It's been done. At least reject the gamesmanship and vote for an inclusive society. "Liberty and Justice for ALL" (emphasis added).

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Eban, isn’t it disheartening to realize they never grew up?

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Club for Growth is a group that would have shouted for banking deregulation. The growth that group wants to see is in their own wealth. The Greed Group would be more appropriate.

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When Republicans say “growth,” they mean more money for me and I can eat it (I.e, climate change doesn’t exist for me, only for the “woke”).

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They truly believe their money will save them. The problem is that there is no longer anywhere in the world that is safe from the effects of climate change.

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Exactly, Virginia! “Supply-side” simply refers to Supplying OUR side with bucks.

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Yep. Don't Look Up.

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I've been saying for years that growth for its own sake is the philosophy of a cancer cell.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

->> "what would be nice however, is to have those bonuses issued to selected employees before the banks went under clawed back"<--

Arthur, I find it fascinating that nobody views that bank theft as, well, the theft that it was.

If a black man went into any bank and robbed it, cops would not stop looking for him until he was in prison and the 6:00 news would have a random black man's face associated with the crime already.

But, how is grabbing a "bonus" (not a bag), of bank depositor money, and running different than walking in with a gun and running out with a bag (not a bonus) of money? How? It seems like the same thing to me?

That money was not the white man's money to take. But? The white man stole it anyway during confusion. And? Got clean away.

Nobody seems to think that it is a crime to take bank depositors money and transfer it out of the failing bank to a non-bank owned account, no doubt owned by a white man, as the bank goes under. In fact, everywhere I see this theft defined as "bonuses".

WSJ article outlining the crooks, including mug shots, that stole the bag (bonus) of money as the collapse began:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/greg-becker-was-there-for-svbs-quick-rise-and-even-quicker-fall-2ff25176?mod=markets_lead_pos5.

NY Times article analyzing the bailout (which it was as noted in the article):

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/13/business/economy/svb-bailout-questions.html?unlocked_article_code=ijzi2F4CINsTMVKcw6PQ5-66goSIhmIgByI2ERrEuQv4jhl2Qi1eYPhxITLN16dcUlSboWOQxuD6_QI1kZOwLQAr0StYu21SJCInTDxmelR4GzVlSRueUK9APQ5_MBKryeD8DIzJQpwQc23zKh8ScRphdRm4o2Q8uUPF0s6nS1ORuonfKv_rDKE-7yZU0Duwlg1sh71bjrPVxLUQe-R1yqDXNE0gsdfxnCyEoXvoQp5UsdjJkpyzGUWX6BubnO8Layu_sr_hPzUp0RIZDoHimbAl2VjAcge20lgLwa9dRSRdRoh0esLJjo1QVYIq6qCEdCB_KFR2lp16z2vakv9xQxNzhDzQg40B&smid=url-share

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Yes-and the nerve of WSJ writer (Kessler) to agree that it’s because the bank was “woke” with women and one Black person on the board. According to them 12 White men would have never had this result. They are the ones who lobbied to relax regulations so they could “manage” the bank to their advantage.

What a world we’re living in!

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

He was “just asking the question” as Tucker has taught. I was wondering, until Kessler, how the SVB problem would be used to blame Democrats. Wokeness makes sense, since the right people are against it, whatever it is. The CEO, Becket, who sold off shares a few days before the crisis was pretty awake, if not woke.

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Agreed, Mike. The theft of depositors' money is just that.

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Funny how so-called "white collar" crime isn't considered problematic even when millions are involved, isn't it???

It makes me crazy.

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Heh. Ain't no White man dead on the ground!

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Mike S

I give you Willy Porter

That’s How You Rob a Bank

https://youtu.be/dG1d_gKvtpk

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Thanks Dave.

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Dave. This song nails it!! Thanks!

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Didn’t Teddy Roosevelt say that with the right education you could steal a railroad?

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I’ll pass that idea along to Wiily

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Love this Dave! Thanks! Shared! Sang!

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Saw Willy live at Gopherwood in Cadillac on Saturday. Stellar

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I'm just up the road in Interlochen. Gotta get out more. He's terrific!!

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Gopherwood Concert series is a local gem

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"President Biden's handling of the spate of bank failures has been nothing short of masterful. The Club for Growth is complaining that this is an example of 'crony capitalism', when in fact it is the third-party depositors who are being saved by the FDIC out of the fund that is replenished by the banks themselves."

That what it is, right? If you hooked a polygraph to the current Republican Party, it would instantly burst into flame.

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Perfectly said, JL Graham! Good image. It’s ready for SNL.

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I wonder if the assessment on banks to cover potential banking defaults, to the fund that is being tapped to cover deposits, will have to be increased? And, how many bank failures can be covered through this mechanism? Or, whether there is a cap on rates that also was put in place with the 2018 rollback of the 2008 tightened regulation?

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That last sentence is particularly marvelous!

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Arthur, having had the good fortune to work for a masterful leader for much of my professional life, what I have seen from the last 5 days of "news" is President Biden's skill at picking very good, competent people to fill his posts, consistently providing abiding principles for all to follow, then staying out of their ways so they can do best what he chose them to do. This, it seems to me, is the true sign of a great leader: providing a solid platform beneath and an umbrella of protection above those with whom one has cast his lot. Joe Biden appears to meet this standard in spades! ...and has the remarkably low staff turnover and solid results which validate it. People being allowed to do the jobs for which they have been chosen.

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YES, John M. This is my constant response to those who complain about the president’s age. He knows what’s good and who’s good to do it. People first, democracy alongside. The best in the country are helping him save US from ourselves.

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Hear! Hear! Absolutely true - the mark of a true leader!

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Currently reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Leadership in Turbulent Times" about Presidents Lincoln,Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ. On March 13, 2023 I was reading about how FDR saved the banking business on March 13, 1933! I think Biden will join these in future history books!

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👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I’ve not been able to say this as well as you have!! 🙏🏼

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

Arthur, and what about the country's overall banking policies?

President Biden agreed to a sweeping intervention that would protect all the bank’s depositors, including large companies, but how sound is the country’s banking system?

'There’s a deeper story to Silicon Valley Bank’s failure. What can we learn from it?'

That is the title of former US secretary of labor Robert Reich’s Opinion published yesterday in the Guardian newspaper. The following are excerpts from it.

‘In the early 1930s, such bank runs were common. But the Roosevelt administration enacted laws and regulations requiring banks to have more money on hand, barring them from investing their depositors’ money for profit (in the Glass-Steagall Act), insuring deposits and tightly overseeing the banks. Banking became more secure, and boring.’

‘That lasted until the 1980s when Wall Street financiers, seeing the potential for big money, pushed to dismantle these laws and regulations – culminating in 1999, when Bill Clinton and Congress repealed what remained of Glass-Steagall.’

‘Then, of course, came the 2008 financial crisis, the worst collapse since 1929. It was the direct result of financial deregulation.’

‘In the end, the Obama administration rescued Wall Street, but at enormous cost to taxpayers and the economy. Estimates of the true cost of the bailout vary from half a trillion dollars to several trillion. The Federal Reserve also provided huge subsidies to the big banks in the form of virtually free loans. But homeowners, whose homes were suddenly worth less than the mortgages they owed on them, were left hanging in the wind. Many lost their homes.’

‘Obama thereby shifted the costs of the bankers’ speculative binge on to ordinary Americans, deepening mistrust of a political system increasingly seen as rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.’

‘A package of regulations put in place after the financial crisis (called Dodd-Frank) was not nearly as strict as the banking laws and regulations of the 1930s. It required that the banks submit to stress tests by the Fed and hold a certain minimum amount of cash on their balance sheets to protect against shocks, but it didn’t prohibit banks from gambling with their investors’ money. Why not? Because Wall Street lobbyists, backed with generous campaign donations from the Street, wouldn’t have it.’

‘Which brings us to Friday’s failure of the Silicon Valley Bank. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that when the Fed raised interest rates as much and as fast as it did, the financial cushions behind some banks that had invested in Treasury bonds would shrink. Why didn’t regulators move in?’

‘Because even the thin protections of Dodd-Frank were rolled back by Donald Trump, who in 2018 signed a bill that reduced scrutiny over many regional banks and removed the requirement that banks with assets under $250bn submit to stress testing and reduced the amount of cash they had to keep on their balance sheets to protect against shock. This freed smaller banks – such as Silicon Valley Bank (and the Signature Bank) – to invest more of their deposits and make more money for their shareholders (and their CEOs, whose pay is linked to profits).’

‘Will the failure of Silicon Valley Bank be as contagious as the failures of 2008, leading to other bank failures as depositors grow nervous about their safety? It’s impossible to know. The speed with which regulators moved over the weekend suggests they’re concerned. The Wall Street crisis of 2008 began with one or two bank failures, as did the financial crisis of 1929.’

Four lessons from this debacle.

1. The Fed should hold off raising interest rates again until it has done a thorough appraisal of the consequences for smaller banks.

2. When the Fed rapidly raises interest rates, it must better monitor banks that have invested heavily in Treasury bonds.

3. The Trump regulatory rollbacks of financial regulations are dangerous. Small banks can get into huge trouble, setting off potential contagion to other banks. The Dodd-Frank rules must be fully reinstated.

4. More broadly, not even Dodd-Frank is adequate. To make banking boring again, instead of one of the most profitable parts of the economy, Glass-Steagall must be re-enacted, separating commercial from investment banking. There’s no good reason banks should be investing their depositors’ money for profit. (My underlining for emphasis on this last point.) The link to Reich’s Opinion in the Guardian is below.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/mar/13/svb-collapse-2008-financial-crisis

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

I'm not sure about the interest rate part Fran, but I agree with the rest of what you have said. There are two more closely related issues here as well which deal with Treasury bond strategy that the bank was using. It's important to note that that bank was not bankrupt (liabilities in excess of assets), only insolvent (not enough access to cash to meet near term cash needs).

The reserve portfolio of the bank was not properly diversified, and what they did have (i.e. lots of US Treasuries) were mostly long term, with no thought given to holding them until maturity. This was awful because the US is not in a position to follow the Scandinavian countries into a long term negative interest rate approach to monetary policy. Rather, our money supply was growing much too fast, causing inflation. So we HAVE to be in a rising interest rate posture. Otherwise, the bottom 3/4 of our population will be severely hurt.

I tend to think that the mismanagement of bond investments by a large bank is the fault of an accidental miseducation policy around bonds in general. Over the past 40 years we have allowed the rise of bond funds, which is simply awful in terms of their impact on people who are exposed to them. The reason bond funds were invented is because the demand by corporations for borrowed money exceeded the demand for bonds as an investment instrument. And, they were competing with government bonds - everything from Treasuries to school and special governmental entities like sewer districts. So bond funds were invented to increase the demand. The bond fund syndicators had access to retirement fund portfolios and started stuffing them in there.

Bond funds are just awful as an investment. They have the worst attributes of stocks (volatility risk) and bonds (lower returns) and on top of that, the fund managers take a fee. Bonds in and of themselves are very good things. You can put them in a portfolio and line-up the maturity dates to provide cash on a schedule. This is called laddering. A well balanced portfolio will have them for this purpose. But a bond fund can't be used that way as it has no maturity dates that are accessible to the investor. In short, bond funds are stocks in an entity that owns bonds, they are not bonds in and of themselves.

By having flooded retirement funds with bond funds for the past 40 years and telling people that it was good because they were holding bonds when they weren't, we have a whole generation (or two) that doesn't understand them at all. If you draw a normal distribution curve representing the financial sophistication of everyone, the only place you are going to find a good understanding of bonds is way over on the right end tail of the curve, and the number of people who have that understanding is not enough to staff all of the leadership positions in the banking and finance industries. SVB was not blessed with leadership that understood what was going on, with only a couple of exceptions, and those are the ones that knew to bail before it crashed.

We need to do a much better job of providing basic financial education at the secondary level. When you look at the standard high school curriculum, it is very weak on basic life skills, and long on things that feed into specialized fields. Our advanced placement programs have made things worse by crowding out the basics. As a result we have a population of people who have almost no understanding of personal financial management, and if they are successful in their careers and end up in leadership positions, it is also likely that they will not have had any of the 300 level or higher collegiate finance classes where they would have remedied that deficit.

And just to be clear, this has nothing to do with political affiliations or biases. There is as much nonsense about financial subjects on the left as there is on the right.

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Craig, I appreciated your overall calling for the education of the American people about investment options, including various kinds of bonds, spelling out what they literally are as well their function and relation to the economy. Civics, the study of the rights and duties of citizenship, a crucial aspect of civil society, has seemed woefully absent from the thinking and behavior of many of us.

'Why do we have public schools? To make young people into educated, productive adults, of course. But public schools are also for making Americans. Thus, public education requires lessons about history — the American spirit and its civics — and also contact with and context about other Americans: who we are and what has made us.'

'That broader purpose is currently under attack. According to PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting free expression, legislatures in 36 states have proposed 137 bills that would limit teaching about race, gender and American history. Nineteen censorship bills have become law in the past two years. In our increasingly diverse nation, insulating students from lessons about racism will create a generation ill equipped to participate in a multiracial democracy. When partisan politicians ban the teaching of our country’s full history, children are purposely made ignorant of how American society works. And the costs of this ignorance to American democracy will be borne by us all.' (from, 'School Is for Making Citizens', Opinion, Guest Essay, NYTimes) Gifted link is below.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/01/opinion/us-school-citizenship.html?unlocked_article_code=49lx844C5R1msb0di-p-5CpWjfDssYEYSqhCS5bCylX-kcHWkWXLZ9xfukH_XPqEaoOlMM3tixjRf3_FcQ_f6CF-hnW02kQYhbaNcPhrF3zYN-vNzH2FMkbZWYr3DQqFF9iOPsEUpHbIVzP1BgugvTmpXvJrT7a5awqHgxMd_qhujC37bUOKtPQF59JpArBekbQ8k_OJ_2Bbcw5W4KwUzEPpgGktQjD2H3B6iv22XRkFuiZxNujYymyhGi1D36QzStUAD-46KO8U7Lo2nYgJ6ULFXkzPu3bgrGi-aarFw5ELzEdDMssfJJSdvVGJJLGygMfYeLjUH0PNxMCZbiiD&smid=url-share

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Fern, I would love to see a required financial management course in public education as well as civics. Children who are barely fortunate enough to have food to eat, might struggle to imagine having money enough to invest.

In addition to the censorship laws you reference, another tool of the fascists is school vouchers, controlling curriculum and stealing education funding from the states.

“NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHER SPENDING“

https://www.splcenter.org/presscenter/new-report-documents-explosive-growth-private-school-voucher-spending

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

My apologies for tying your name as Fran not Fern. And yes, thank you for the rejoinder.

I would add that another math (and science) related topic that needs to be seriously beefed up in secondary education is the role of probability in everyday life. Failure to understand that is the root cause of most cognitive biases. Kahneman's book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" does a good job of covering this stuff and would make an excellent high school textbook for the probability stuff.

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Excellent, Craig, to consider the extent to which any event is likely to happen is a form of logical thinking. I imagine probability as being very appealing to little ones who naturally wonder about the odds of something happening. So aspects of probability can be introduced to very young children without robbing them of their imagining and sense of discovery.

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Indeed Fern. I think that an understanding of how much of our everyday experience is tied to probability gives one a greater sense of awe at the world we live in, in general. The seemingly spooky stuff can become more familiar and less disconcerting. We become more rational in the process. For adults, it's like being a child again in that magical moment when something that was previously incomprehensible is suddenly understood.

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Mar 15, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

The guys who ran Silicon Valley Bank acted the part of the trust fund kids who never learn what the word 'no' means. The fact that they behave this way in the face of rising inflation shows just how ignorant these guys were, not just of basic economics, but simple mathematics. As a practical matter, these people were magical thinkers, the same way that crypto hawkers were, are now, and will always be. I don't know who Gregory W. Becker is, and I couldn't pick him out of a police lineup. He's just another guy with good connections and a lot of money who thought he could corner the market on start up companies in the high-tech sector. It looks as though he spent his entire career with SVB, which basically means that he's been living in a bubble for the past 30 years.

My experience in companies and institutions over the past half-century has been that basically you know all that you ever really going to learn comes from the job itself, and once you get the basics down, that's about as much as you ever going to need to know. In law practice, you only learn what the practice brings you, unless you step out of your comfort zone and try to find something that really tests who you are and what you can do. Someone who stays on the same job for 30 years is basically deadwood. You know what you know, because that's what you had to know the day before, and will have to know tomorrow morning. But that's it. If this guy has an MBA, I would never know it, because he didn't act like he knew that there are possibilities out there that you cannot learn on the job, unless the company goes bust; you lose your job and then have to scramble; or something happens that forces you to broaden your horizons.

One of the things that I had to learn on my own, aside from having to learn how to practice law as a solo practitioner, was a great deal about complexity science, risk management, and how to predict if something is too risky for me to handle, simply because I was not sufficiently capitalized. As I said, people live in a bubble shaped by the world around them, with scant interest and opportunity to really dig in and learn how probability and stochastic thinking really work. Fortunately, my 10 years of retirement have allowed me to probe these matters fairly deeply; and that new knowledge, combined with my years of experience, both in government, and outside of it, I broaden my horizons to the point where intuitively I can sense when something is about to happen. Everything else is simply validation and make work. The fundamental thing I learned over the years is that increasing scale necessarily results in exponential increases in risk, to the point that, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb puts it, there's no coming back from some disasters, like a nuclear conflagration, the whole object is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Mr. Becker might be thinking that he has a future somewhere in the banking industry after the dust is settled; I think that's wishful thinking. Rather than saving his bank, he drove it into a ditch. He may not lose his investment portfolio; and he might yet have a comfortable life yet ahead of him, it will be as a retiree in some gated community, where he can hobnob with former executives just like himself, and commiserate over the disaster that he presided over. I have no sympathy for him. He presided over a banking institution with a niche portfolio of start up companies whose salient characteristic appears to be the narcissistic people who use the mantra of entrepreneur to turn dross into gold. The few incredibly lucky people that this happens to, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, to name the most prominent, set the agenda for everybody else, but without having the unique conditions that each of them exploited to make his mark on the world. In a slightly different world, with different starting points leading to different outcomes, Mark Zuckerberg would not survive as a barista in a Starbucks café. Neither would Elon Musk. Each had unique opportunities to bend the world to their vision, and, as I alluded to above, most of all they were very lucky. Mr. Becker, not so much. He was a career company guy apparently, who enjoyed the perks of his job; but he could not think outside of the box and see the train wreck that was heading his way just at the time when worldwide inflation began to take its bite out of the world economy. I doubt if there was someone on his staff was warning him about this, because blinkered and self-involved CEOs do not tolerate well someone on their staff who was a Cassandra, telling them to watch out for the sharp curve ahead, when the boss is heading toward it at full speed, and with no intention of slowing down. The psychology of success is such that it blinds us to the possibility that we could fail, and badly so. Sometimes we learn the hard way that what looked easy at the start carries within it the pitfalls that lead us to failure. Human foresight is not designed for us to be predictive, and we drift off into wishful thinking. For his part, Becker had a good run of for some three decades, until he didn't see what would've been apparent had he been more insightful, and less greedy about how much money he could make capitalizing on the high-tech market with his relatively unknown, and undercapitalized, medium-size bank.

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Mar 15, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

…still not a thought from you about the banking system in the US; nothing about who is profiting from the deregulation of the banks; not a word about the need to regulate the banks; no consideration of the probability of bank failures under current banking policy at the cost to the American people.

'Glass-Steagall must be re-enacted, separating commercial from investment banking. There’s no good reason banks should be investing their depositors’ money for profit.'

___Robert Reich

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Mar 15, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

This is one of the inherent problems with what may be one of humanity's greatest inventions. Money is at one and the same time two very different things, and those two things are not all that compatible with each other. One thing is the stuff that enables transactions so that people can live in urban areas and specialize in ever more narrow vocations. But, it is also a means of storing work, which in the very act of being stored goes though this amazing transformation into being independent from one's own value creation and instantly a call upon the value creation of others. In this second sense, money is inherently forward looking, and as the bard had Prince Hal say: "Ah there's the rub."

Because a modest amount of inflation is critically necessary to economic growth, and the thing that enables yet more human vocational specialization, idle money, by definition, must slowly decline in value. Thus it is prudent to always keep it working. The biblical story on this topic is spot on.

I think the right answer is an even tougher version of Dodd-Frank that has much more stringent liquidity requirements. Then, for a bank which is conforming to those more stringent liquidity requirements, there should be an implicit shared liability for the cash needs of the bank's customer with the Fed. That way, if there is an unanticipated large withdrawal series (effectively a run), the Fed can take ownership of the longer term investments and provide the needed liquidity without a need to declare the bank as having failed. There would be a backstopping as now, but it would be more of a partnership arrangement than something more akin to insurance, which is what it is now.

This of course would mean that the liquidity rules of the tougher version of Dodd-Frank would include some relatively tight definitions and requirements for qualifying loans. Bank loans covered this way should never have the level of risk associated with the public capital markets.

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Yes, indeed. And Senator Elizabeth Warren was spot on about the outsized risks that Congress was permitting to reoccur. But that doesn't negate or reduce the responsibility of the Bank's management by an iota. You make the mistake of conflating rollback of regulations for approval of what Gregory Becker did to put his bank into receivership. My argument is that Becker is/was unfit for the job of being CEO. Becker is a classic example of the Peter Principle which describes someone who rises in the ranks of an institution to the level where he is incompetent to do the job. Tougher regulations simply would have made bank regulators aware of Becker's incompetence sooner, rather than later. Watching SVB crash and burn, and taking its investors into the dumpster fire that Becker created is apt to make other bank CEOs and their boards of directors more cautious. Distributing the pain to include the in-house supervisors is bound to be more efficacious than someone in a San Francisco regional office telling bank management to shape up. Now they have a hundred bosses yelling at them to pay attention to what's going on around them.

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Well put Arthur. I go back and forth on guys like Becker. It is very difficult to discern intent and craftiness from someone's actions alone. I put in 31 years with Boeing which has been destroyed by horrible leadership over the past 25 years. I'm convinced two of those leaders were very smart and did the things they did that caused so much damage out of greed alone, with an inability to feel empathy for other people. But three others (the most recent three) leave me wondering. Some days I think they are just bumbling fools filled with hubris, but every once in a while I see a glimmer of malice which may or may not be real. Our perceptions are not super reliable.

So I don't know about Becker. Maybe he really believed that Dodd-Frank was an unnecessary excess by government gone too far. Maybe he really believes in Adam Smith and that Thomas Hobbes is irrelevant at best, and probably dead wrong. If so, then he is a misguided fool. But then again, maybe he did what he did with malice aforethought, and with a laser sharp focus on how much he could pull out for himself on a near term basis, and knowing full well that the bank would crater at some point. The result is the same either way. and on the surface, his actions fit well into either explanation.

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If I had to choose between malice and stupidity, stupidity wins nine times out of ten. These doofusses don't read anything more searching than what's happening in their industry under their noses. They know about inflation, but they cannot see the connection to their own assumption of risk. They can ace a multiple choice exam, but they can't think about the nonlinear consequences of what they are doing.

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"But public schools are also for making Americans." Right On Fern!

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“ SVB was not blessed with leadership that understood what was going on, with only a couple of exceptions, and those are the ones that knew to bail before it crashed.”

Wow! And your conclusion! Thank you, Craig, from one of the dummies

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Thanks Carole. The R's attack today suggesting that the woke culture was a contributing cause is right on. If the bank's board had been dominated by conservatives it would have likely done the same sort of things, since it was the CEO who was guiding those investments and the board didn't know any better. A conservative board with the same education levels would not have been any more likely to understand the horrific risks that had been taken on for short term gains which fed the CEO's bonus.

It's worth noting that he (Greg Becker) was also one of the leading advocates of getting rid of the Dodd-Frank rules, and had a seat on the 12th district Fed board of governors. He was booted out of that job on Saturday as well as being removed from his job at the bank. I'll bet you dimes to donuts that he engineered the board's composition as window dressing to hide what he was doing.

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Good posting, Fern. I'm glad that Robert Reich made reference to the 2008 wall street bankers bailout. I recall that the public was strongly opposed to those bailouts. Congress felt the same and rejected the bailout bill. Then, $140 Billion in "sweeteners" was given to the bill-opposing congressmen, and voila! congress voted on the bill again and it passed. Matt Taibbi's book "Griftopia" lays out the bailout scam in full detail. Also, the Academy Award-winning documentary "Inside Job" covered it as well.

I knew we were on the fast track to doom after the 2008 bailout bill was passed.

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Thanks as always Fern!!

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

Vice versa 🌱

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Well said! This bit - Raskin revealed Sunday that Comer has quietly subpoenaed 14 years of business records from Bank of America for three of Hunter Biden’s business associates. - is so typical of today's GOP.

If guilt by association were ever to be truly 'investigated', 2/3 of DC would be in the dock.

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I think if guilt by seditious conspiracy were ever to be fully 'investigated' approaching half of DC would be in the dock.

Looking at our former self-proclaimed "law and order president" I'd say that as a rule, anyone he doesn't like is clean, and anyone he praises (such as Putin) is dirty.

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It has been masterful because with the timing of his announcements and decision making he has averted a global banking crisis. I don't think many appreciate that. Now, let us see whether the press can appropriately tie the crisis that was averted to the policies that the Republican party lives by, and explain to the people that less government means less protection from these sorts of failures.

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Plutocrats got quite a lot of mileage from the "small government" claim, and hardly anyone wants to be micromanaged. So they cast "government" as the enemy, as a parasite on the people rather than their own creation, as in "of the people, by the people, for the people" that's supposed to be the deal here. And yes, there are forms of government that are oppressive and predatory, but that's not a just democracy, and in so may specific actions, democracy is exactly what the Party of Reagan is concerted to defeat, from gerrymandering to "anti-woke".

The 0.1% not only doesn't want to pay for the general Welfare, the see it as a competitor. They would fence off the air and charge you to breathe it if they could figure out a way. They don;t even want you to buy from them, but rather rent everything, as is occurring in the software market, to dock your pay every month. Big government patent law is expanding far beyond the original intention of protecting innovators from pirates. Militarization of police, SWAT teams sent to evictions, and warrantless snooping is Big Brothe, , , I mean government. This age of Republicans are all about short-circuiting who government is of, by and for.

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Loved the cockroach image! Shine a bright light on them and they scurry off into dark corners. The ones that don’t are asking to be stepped on.

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Lots of creepy things shrink from daylight. Or plead "the Fifth" to every question.

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Your comment was such a joy to read! I concur completely! Why on earth do people who mismanaged their jobs get bonuses??? You are so right about the republican party too...such cockroaches!

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Cockroaches with WMD.

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Why on earth do people who mismanaged their jobs get bonuses???

Corruption. No?

Heads, we win. Tails we win.

Either way, you LOSE.

It's called making de facto bribery a Constitutional right.

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Having lived in Sierra Leone for three and a half years, I do appreciate your cockroach analogy. The ones there were large. We always welcomed the driver ants who loved grease and fat (roaches are greasy and carried out the cockroaches in pieces. I did aid and abet by knocking them off the walls and into the ants. It is both sad and interesting to be that so many roaches have come out of the walls aided and abetted by death star. The Club for Growth is simply lying about this. Calling this a problem of woke is nonsense. It is about fewer regulations (thanks Rs and death star) and poor decisions.

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The other thing they are wasting, criminally in my view, is time. There is only a limited amount of time a person has to get their rent paid, to get some food into their kids' tummies and their own, only a limited time to access medical care, including abortion care, safely and legally in some jurisdictions. "Running out the clock" may be a good (read "effective") strategy in litigation, but is inexcusable when people's lives are at risk. Wasting the precious time available to legislate solutions to real-world, real-people problems is unforgiveable, and yet, that seems to be all the republicans can do.

With respect to the failure of the banks, once again the republican zealots are content to lie about who gets paid what, that is, who gets saved and who doesn't. It is essential for non-maggots to keep repeating the truth, because we have seen the consequences of failing to counter their unrelenting lies. And I'd really, really like to see the money Thiel and his horror show cronies took from SVB, causing this run on the bank and subsequent problems, clawed back - it isn't solely on the inept bank management that this happened, though their bonuses from 2021 on should also be retrieved.

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This is precisely why President Biden and his advisors threw away the rulebook and decreed that all, all depositors would be made whole. Holding the big depositors' feet to the fire, and making them absorb the loss that they should've seen coming could have imploded the American economy, or at least a substantial part of it. The whole point of the exercise was to show the American people that no matter how badly the bank's executives screwed up, the depositors would be indemnified and held harmless, because they didn't make the mess that the bankers are solely responsible for. Nonetheless, the shockwaves of fear and anxiety ripple through the American economy, with some people racing to withdraw their money from whatever bank they deal with, and put it with another bank that they think is safer, not that it actually is so. What this does, however, put smaller regional banks at risk, the ones that do not have a multitude of familiarly-logoed ATM machines around, i.e. Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, at risk for potentially losing business, simply because their names are unfamiliar. Not only is this unfair, it's uneconomic; and local banks can better serve their customers' financial needs because they have the local history and incentive to develop the kinds of banking and financial relationships that can smooth over difficult situations. But this is what happens when a herd mentality takes over, and there are people out there in social media with agendas and axes to grind for following their own selfish instincts. President Biden did exactly the right thing when he announced that all depositors and those failed banks will be able to continue banking as if nothing happened. This is the essence of real leadership, and harkens back to the first day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in March, 1933, when he announced reforms for the national banking system.

Predictably, conservative media and spokespersons reacted by gathering in a circle and doing a rain dance claiming that the American taxpayers were taking a hit, the same way that happened in 2008. Apparently President Biden learned from his predecessor's mistake, as the president specifically stated in his announcement that the management and shareholders of the three failed banks would not be bailed out by the taxpayers. The FDIC's pool of insurance money comes from the banks themselves as fees paid to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. No taxpayer money is involved. That's the way it should be. Those banks' top management have been fired, as they should be. I do not think that we will be seeing a 'go fund me' money raising campaign run by Republican operatives to help Greg Becker pays country club dues. That's as it should be. Those last-minute bonuses that they paid themselves need to be revoked; and I am confident that they will be, because there wasn't time over the weekend to cut the checks before the people from the Comptroller of the Currency's office took charge of Silicon Valley Bank. That is how it should be. We'll see this coming week if my prognostications proved to be accurate; but from my standpoint now, I think that this is exactly what will happen.

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Having represented small local banks in some cases, and debtors in others, in bankruptcies in the 1980s and 90s in which I'd tried to negotiate with counsel representing Very Large Banks (Bank of America springs immediately to mind), I vowed then and continue to promise myself that, while I might have a credit card or two with some VLBs (NEVER Wells Fargo), I would never deposit money with, or borrow money from, any VLB. Ever. And continue to recommend to anyone who will listen that they do that kind of business with their local banks and CUs. The tiny little interest-rate difference they might get from a VLB is not worth it if, as is entirely foreseeable, they run into any kind of business or personal issue that could affect their ongoing financial security. Unless your business already big enough that you can out-negotiate one of the VLBs, in which case they need you rather than you need them, leave them to their own devices. And, btw, make sure your home mortgage will stay in-house with your local lender, not be sold on the secondary market. If, again, you have to take a small interest-rate hit, it is worth it to be able to deal with someone local, who has invested in your local community by lending and doing business with and within it, and who will realize that negotiating with you if you're in trouble is the best way forward, for the lender, for the community, and for you.

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I've done my share of representing consumer debtors when I was in law practice in Boston. It's not a practice for the faint hearted. If they can't pay their credit card bills, they're not going to be able to afford a competent lawyer.

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Mar 15, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

https://www.coloradopolitics.com/how-washington-came-to-rescue-us-banks/article_854f7949-8a83-5b3c-8764-defe6d3f4508.html

"Now Biden and lawmakers are calling for legislative changes to tighten financial rules on regional banks, perhaps restoring parts of the Dodd-Frank law that tightened bank regulation after the 2008-2009 financial crisis but were rolled back five years ago."

Biden once again is having to fix a situation produced by lobbyists' money that absolutely should never have been...a situation produced by Trump, Republicans, and several complicit Democrats.

https://popular.info/p/who-gets-bailed-out-who-gets-left

"Let's be clear: this is a bailout, which is a government intervention to prevent private loss. While the bank itself and stockholders were not bailed out, depositors were. The price of the bailout will be borne by the banking industry in general. And these costs will be passed down to anyone who does business with a bank."

I feel lucky to be using credit unions instead of banks at the moment. Also, glad to still be able to access independent journalism on Substack: the work of "so-called journalists."

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You of short memory obviously do not recall with the implosion of the credit union industry in the late 1980s. NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, had its hands full consolidating and selling off failed credit unions for just the same reasons that Silicon Valley Bank went under, because they couldn't square the circle between what they were having to pay depositors in interest and what and what they were charging as interesting on money they lent out. A good many of them failed, and investigators turned up a lot of fraud and mismanagement. I was there to see it happen.

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Actually, more than "Republicans" do this. When I read your post, I briefly thought it was addressing the practices of law firms hired by abusive HOAs here in Colorado in seizing one of their member's homes.

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I also have been pondering the wisdom of compensating executives with stock options while failing to control for dumping those stocks. They should be obligated to hold them until 90 days post- severance. Right now, it's incentive to pump and dump, then bail, leaving the shareholders who weren't in the know, and worse, the customers, holding the bag.

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The ultimate insider trading using market knowledge, future contract loss or gain, and other MANIPULATIVE actions to scam wealth. Stock Options are How You Rob A Bank

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The SEC should interview the CEO and any other inside executives who sold shares with inside information.

Regardless, there is a shareholder lawsuit looming and they will name all the insiders as defendants. They will spend millions in legal fees.

Either way there will be justice.

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If an executive is terminated for cause, whether by the banking corporation, or by operation of the law, meaning that the bank has been taken over by federal banking authorities, although stock options should be forfeit. No exceptions.

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Let's start calling this "Investi-gate" and the disingenuous Republicans "investies".

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“InFesties”?

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Love it!!!!

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De-testes

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We understand the importance of national security. But we wish we could spend that kind of big money to build modern high-tech net zero schools in our rural areas and low-income neighborhoods. Etc.

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Good schools need good teachers.

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...who are paid a fair wage.

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...like double what most teachers make now. It is mind blowing to me that we would not want to attract the very best talent to develop the most successful kids on the planet. Many teachers are treated like crap.

I live in an area of high property taxes. The teachers are paid really well and given the tools they need. The school district attracts very talented teachers.

A couple of towns over, the tax base is less. Guess what happens.

Zip code funding of education is another version of segregation.

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...and systemic racism.

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In TN the governor proposes wage increases as long as you agree to discontinue the automatic deduction for union dues. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Grrrrrrr

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And good teachers must be paid!

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Of the people, by the people, for the people. What would be bad about that?

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It's very nice to have an adult at the helm in the White House working with our allies, instead of the child who wanted to throw sand at everyone. In 1814 we were fighting the Britts and Canadians...thankfully for the last time...and we got a National Anthem out if it...because of the...drum roll please...the Privateer ships we built right here in Baltimore, in Fells Point specifically, that vexed the Britts so much, they came up the Chesapeake...not for crab cakes...but to burn the White House and desecrate the Capital, with the intention of coming here and destroying our ability to build these incredible ships. (which are now represented world wide by our Pride of Baltimore II Captained by Jan Miles) The folks in DC put up a shallow defense and ran away. But not here in Baltimore. We worked together....black, white, free, enslaved, women, Rev War Vets...wow, it was a woke mob...defended this house (thanks to Under Armour for the slogan) and defeated the strongest nation on earth....and got a song we now play at Football games. Fast Forward to 1940. FDR...yea that socialist guy who who worked with the commies to help defeat the Nazi's...FDR started us on a path to building Liberty Ships to help keep...you're correct, our old enemy the Britts free. And we, the US, built more Liberty Ships in Baltimore at Fairfield, right across the river from Ft. McHenry than anywhere else during WWII...helping to turn the tide on Herr Hitler. And I'm extremely proud that my grandmother Elsie christened the last Liberty Ship built in 1944 at Fairfield. #384 the Samar...(named for a not wonderful part of our history) and the Samar ended up serving in and around China. Which gets me back to Biden and our allies. I'm glad he plays well in the international sandbox...and has a clue. Lets build subs together and protect this house. Thus endeth the local history lesson....from the land of the free and home of the brave. Cue the fly over by A-10's.

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Actually the Samar was named for the Battle off Samar on October25, 1944, commonly known in the Navy as "the Navy's Finest Hour" and also "the victory of Democracy's Navy" because the men on the ships in the battle were all Reservists.

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I'm sorry but that's not possible. The ship was launched on Oct 19 and my grandmother was contacted by Bethlehem Steel on Oct 12 to christen the ship which is named Samar in that letter. I have the documentation and will write about it later on my page. There was an incident on the island of Samar I believe during the Span Am War, that was not one of our finest hours. I need to go back and pull up that research. Things are busy here, so not sure when I'll get to that. Appreciate you paying attention...I just want you to have the facts.

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Nice historical rundown Mike.

I was born in the bay area of California in 1944 because my dad found work at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, building Liberty ships.

Another point of our Anglo Alliances over the centuries is the new AUKUS. When I was in the AF working at NSA, in 1967, we had a classification CANUKUS, which was for Canadian, UK & US eyes only. I remember seeing the GCHQ envelopes from England with their emblem pressed into the red wax seals.

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Thanks Rob. One of the projects on my documentary to do list is Liberty Ships. Here's a video we did for John W Brown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cyA2rCz37c&t=130s

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Thank you Heather.

Biden (aka Sleepy Joe) at 80 keeps rolling up his sleeves and, with his amazing teammates, attending to the people’s business - which includes making the world a freer and safer place for lives and democracy. I can’t help but think that, in making choices, he considers present and future generations.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

How sad for the future of our children. Our planet. From today’s letter. It is more than a budget line. It is the failure of humanity to need war to find its way to PEACE. “…the Pentagon’s proposed 2024 budget proposal…is the largest peacetime budget in our history. It’s about $25 billion more than the $816 billion budget Congress approved for 2023.” Those who know war and violence firsthand know war and military arms do not lead to permanent peace. We rob our children of a peaceful future.

Martin Luther King Jr:.”A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence, Delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” Dwight D. Eisenhower. Speech in Washington, 16 Apr. 1953,

Gandhi: “ If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children.”

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My heart and my philosophy of life agree with these sentiments. We should be investing far more in education, housing, potable water, sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture (check out the Netherlands: https://billalstrom.substack.com/p/food-glorious-food) and preventive health care.

But there is a problem. The values above are of little interest to the forces of authoritarianism. Xi and Putin respect only one thing: power. I don't know how the defense budget should be built or how we should defend ourselves. But if we do that at the expense of peaceful, positive endeavors then we are out of balance.

I think there is enough money to do both. Protect and provide. Three American men own as much money as the bottom 50% of Americans. Time for a reassessment and an assessment. A claw back. A redistribution of our National Treasure.

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I remember this WaPo article from last year, and indeed posted it on my Facebook page when it came out. I am so proud of my former home country for the things it sets about to do...and DOES! I said then, if THIS country put our minds and money to such things, there is nothing we couldn't do. The Dutch themselves so often tend to preface so many statements with, "Well, we're just a tiny country, but..." when describing their accomplishments. Their inbred Calvinism seems to prevent them from drawing much attention to themselves. When I lived there I never ceased to be amazed at some of the things they could get done. Of course, there were the wrong-headed ideas here & there, but at least they tried! Their pragmatism is a worthy model to follow.

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Agree Bill.

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I have heard proposals from time to time of creating a cabinet level "Department of Peace". It is so foreign to our way of doing things that it sounds weird, but while I would not claim that we do not strategize how to defuse aggressive conflicts nor that we can do with a well prepared military, should not skillful efforts to deescalate potential and active conflicts not have a more visible and central presence in our national strategies?

The quotations above are apt. Certainly all three of the speakers had looked painful and destructive conflicts squarely in the eye.

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I believe it was Marianne Williamson’s idea for a Dept of Peace.

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023

Ellen Devens "I believe it was Marianne Williamson’s idea for a Dept of Peace."

Author Marianne Williamson announced (in 2019) her plan to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace.

The proposed department, which would have to be created by an act of Congress, would "𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘩 𝘰𝘧 𝘨𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦𝘴."

"𝘐𝘵'𝘴 𝘪𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘎𝘦𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘉𝘶𝘴𝘩'𝘴 𝘚𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘦𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦, 𝘋𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘥 𝘙𝘶𝘮𝘴𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘥, 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥, '𝘞𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘦.'"

(one of many sources) https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/08/19/marianne-williamson-unveils-department-peace-plan-includes-peace-academy-proposal-2020-elections/2049803001/

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Ron, the Right would be ALL OVER Williamson's idea as the ultimate in "wokeness". "Peace" is just SO "woke", don'tcha know!

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Seems like all the good things are woke things. Like books and reading. Like accurate history lessons. Like making room for people to be who they are. All these things are bad according to dumb-em-down DeSantis.

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With DeSantis it all comes down to: "If I don't like it, it's 'woke'."

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Yes. And an excellent idea too.

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Still a good idea.

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Anyone remember the "Peace Dividend"? It was a term used, I believe, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when the U.S. was on good terms with the Soviet Union and there was no need for a huge military budget. Political leaders talked about how the money saved could be used for the public good. I look back now and it amazes me how quickly the "Peace Dividend" dried up.

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Funny how "austerity" became a watchword and the phase "We're broke" trotted out even is the rich got hugely richer after wave after wave of tax cuts for the rich. The original Reagan argument that we would make up on volume the money we were losing on every transaction never seemed to find it's way to the public purse. A whole lot about the "Good Old Days" was not so good, but somehow promoting the notion of the common weal, clean air, minimum wage, was not denounced by half the nation as "communism from the pit of Hell".

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Give me a break. Our declining defensive capabilities have emboldened China et al. Do you think they really care about “peace”?

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Our defense budget is the largest of any country’s, by several times over. What makes you think our defensive capabilities have declined? China is emboldened by the political chaos created by the banana-Republican crazies, and misunderstands Biden’s ignoring the antics of the GOPers and focus on undoing the damage Trump did, as weakness.

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I think China has been particularly emboldened by the massive technologies and manufacturing capacities Wall St. exported to China. Not that they would not have begun to rival us on their own, but we, in exchange for cheap Chinese labor, gave up a lot of what had been America's economic base in the 20th Century. "Offshoring" was the Republican idea of "job creation".

" I got to go to the Olympic Games in China. It's pretty impressive over there how quickly they can build things, how productive they are as a society. You should see their airport compared to our airports, their highways, their train systems. They're moving quickly in part because the regulators see their job as encouraging private people. It's amazing. The head of Coca-Cola said the business environment is friendlier in China than in America. And that's because of the regulators. That's because of government."

- Mitt Romney

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Mike,

Just an observation: While the United States was waging a 20 year war on brown people in the Middle East who were no threat to anyone,

China was using that same time to build peaceful partnerships with a very, very large number of countries all over the world. Chinese diplomats are now very active in many countries and China has joint infrastructure projects in many countries, including building a modern Nuclear Power Plant in England.

So, yes, I actually DO think that the Chinese care about "Peace". The evidence of that is the last 25 or so years of history.

Now? Has China, during that time, also built a military?

Sure. Why not? With the United States running around the planet for the last 60 years bombing/invading any country that is not European, protection from a US Invasion is a real concern worldwide among non-European peoples.

And? For darn good reason.

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What you say makes sense. Did we learn from our own invasion of Iraq I wonder?

I’m simpleminded. I believe anyone who loves their children wants peace.

Think about what people are going through right now who have no peace. Like Ukraine for example. There they were, working, going to school, playing sports, sitting down at the dinner table together, when this monster invades their homeland with a lie and explodes the people and their children all to hell.

Russia needs to go home now and help their own country heal and prosper together as a nation of decent people. Da?

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I don't think you are simple minded, Susan. Most of the "anyone's who love children," are mothers, those who know how precious is the child who comes through them and becomes man or woman. Others are the fathers who engaged and help forge the character of the man or woman who would be used as fodder to worship and wage war. Your empathy shows. Thank you.

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Yes. I do.

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I share your sentiments, but then there’s Putin and the communist greed that is China. Add anger left from colonialism that has fueled racism. Humans have a long way to go to sustain themselves on this, or any other, planet. (If we cannot sustain ourselves on this one, how could we on a less habitable one?) If we cannot get ourselves together to reduce carbon emissions and save our food, we do not value ourselves enough to continue.

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Well said. Too bad our common sense doesn't match our rapidly evolving technology.

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I think of Disney's animation of "The Sorcerers Apprentice", the difference being that we're on our own. Flooding was a problem in that one too.

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I'm not sure that there ever was or ever can be a true "communist" county, at least on a large scale. In any case, China's government is a problem, and our Billionaires helped to to become much more of a problem for the rest of the world.

The question "If we cannot sustain ourselves on this one, how could we on a less habitable one?" is brilliant. I never heard it put just that way. The more we look into it, the more factors happen to be "just right" on this planet which is surely a rarity even in this ginormous universe. A couple of professors wrote a book called "Rare Earth" explaining why intelligent life may be rarer than one might guess just looking a the abundance of stars). If this planet had not been so thoroughly "just right", we just wouldn't be here. We are fools to further mess it up.

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I get a sense of how long I've been out of the country when I see veterans lumped in with "Blacks and LGBTQ+". Who will Kessler deem unessential next? And when all those fat old white men have eliminated everyone else, they will turn on each other. Best to skip to the chase and let the fur fly.

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Till, excepting their nails

And the tips of their tails,

Instead of two cats, there weren't any.

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There once were two cats from Kilkenny. Each thought there was one cat too many..I used to read that rhyme to my sons 40 years ago. If ever there’s a description of today’s Republican Party for 2nd graders.

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Hopefully, we'll soon be to the "they fought and they fit, they scratched and they bit" part.

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We're already seeing some of that. They have lost a bit of their "We are Borg, resistance is futile" lockstep. That alone won't defeat them, but it provides an opening for a left hook.

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“They fought and they fit, and they scratched and they bit...”

There. Together, in reverse, we have it. And it’s an apt analogy.

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Kessler is a malicious malevolent moron.

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No….THIS is offensive…

Kessler wrote, “but the company may have been distracted by diversity demands.”

….and overlooks the fact that white men have managed to bring our country to its knees while they ravage business and legislation for the sake of power and $$.

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You may disagree with TC, and may find his sailor's language offensive frequently and his writing style abrupt at times. He, however, knows how to promote his own Substack writing appropriately, and almost always brings an otherwise missing perspective to the table.

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It sounds like Libor wants to quit this group.

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Craig, Nah, he’s here as a disrupter. Its a mission

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Dave he deserves the Heave Ho in the sense that he is the idiot, er Idiom.

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Sounds like another troll promoting his blog.

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I can hardly wait.

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Libor. TC offends in a most poignant manner, giving back in manner fitting the object of his rancor. The rest of of us can be considered the “polite” ones if you will, but I enjoy TC’s bite as a guilty pleasure, and of course Mike S gets his licks in too

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You owe me a new irony meter.

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I would think veterans have training that would be invaluable to business. Meeting all those challenges forges character!

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Thank you, Gayle. My husband is a veteran, and it wasn't until I met him that I understood that veterans are not, as you say, monolithic or homogenous in their training. He served in the Air Force during peacetime and never flew a plane; rather, he worked in a hospital overseas. And he's an unabashed liberal!

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Wonderfully lucid and detailed explanation. May I share this?

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Thank you Gayle. While I've never served myself, as an Occupational Therapist since 1980, I've worked with veterans from an number of different types and places of service and have seen some of the difficulties they face post service.

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"Training" gets my automatic respect. Heartbreaking how this country judges its own. Thanks for these revelations Gayle.

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As a fellow veteran and with great surprise and pleasure I can hereby declare myself a proud member of HCR's "LFAATHWFF" : a convenient acronym for "Letters From An American To Her 'Woke Folk' Forum". The first iteration was "LFAATHWFF+99" (which I defined as the Venn intersection of all of us "protected" people with an IQ of over 99, but scrapped as both obvious and cumbersome ;-)

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I just call it LFAA University. I'm here to learn from as many folks as I can, from the Professor to gandolf gray (mia, for good cause). I am not a Veteran (since I couldn't lie on the form back in the late 70's) but I have worked with many, and am the child of a WWII Veteran.

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Well you qualify on other grounds, Ally, and glad to have you among us.

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I hereby grant you veteran status by virtue of acknowledging you as an honorary member of the First Cavalry Air Mobil Attack Helicopter Battalion of which I served my fellow Americans for the awesome duration of slightly less than two years. Recognizing that your service in excess of thirty years to our fellow Americans putting it on th