DINO Dogs, Villains and … to make you smile … the Worthy


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I went to town this morning with my buddy Fishin’ Jim, who had a bunch of prescriptions to pick up; he has both Medicare and secondary insurance which should be enough to cover his needs — but he is invariably confused and annoyed because both have different deductibles, limits, and pecking orders, not counting the eventual ‘donut hole’ … leaving him wondering how it is he pays more filling the same meds on one trip to the pharmacy than he does on another. And he knows he’s likely to get invoices demanding payment for this or that … what should have been covered but got caught in the crosshairs; all of which will take a flurry of calls to untangle. No matter the insurance, there are traps and stumbling blocks — nothing is straightforward or easy to understand — and deep at the bottom of it, you know they’re making money off of you as fast as they can.

Seniors everywhere all have the same dilemma — but, bless em, at least they have coverage. And they are among that well-insured generation that seems not to understand that they enjoy the last of such stability; a good Liberal, Jim says that he gets more upset when others get screwed than when he does, but he resents being so continually and deliberately confused! Amen and amen.

With the Republicans bellowing how effectively they’re killing healthcare reform and plunging Obama’s numbers closer to his Waterloo … a meme sadly but predictably picked up by MSNBC’s Matthews … and Politico, of course, who are announcing a Republican return to influence with little to warrant it [in fact, the numbers tell quite another story] … I was heartened last night by Charlie Rose who hosted Dr. Bill First [no longer as ruthlessly Stepford as when he was Pub majority leader] and Dr. Howard Dean in a discussion of the current healthcare propositions and probabilities.

First off, I admire Dean … I love his enthusiasm and I’ve always approved a truth-teller. I’m disappointed that the administration has treated him so abominably, which I suppose is due to the Rahm v. Howard difference in approaches that GOT us the DINO Dogs to begin with [Rahm's doing] — but gave Obama uplift with the 50 State Solution [Howard's doing.]

Both Frist and Dean think something will pass soon; both seem optimistic that Public Option will be included, although Frist opposes it. Dean said … and I completely concur … if the PO is not included, it cannot be called healthcare reform; simply insurance reform. Half a loaf … the rest to be baked at some later date. The Prez sez he’s still pushing hard for the PO; now we’ll wait until after recess to see how it shapes up.

In an article below, Nancy Pelosi calls the insurance companies villains — to my way of thinking, head villain of the political push is Max Baucus of Montana, leader of the Blue Dogs and the recipient of MILLIONS in HMO and Big Pharma money. There are six Senators involved in the Baucus caucus in the Senate Finance Committee, collectively representing 2.8% of the total US population; and that’s what’s holding us all up — one of democracy’s little glitches.

Just keep following the money, dearhearts — you’ll find the villains. As Bill Maher determines in last weeks New Rule, below, not EVERYTHING is about profit … and healthcare shouldn’t be. By the way, on Real Time he did NOT say the nun puts the thermometer in yer mouth!

The first article here is just for fun — but it speaks to the epidemic of Wackadoodle we’re enduring — I’ve never seen the like. I’m throwing in some fun videos on the topic; Sarah Palin hijinks … and remember, she’s still a comer for 2012. As further illustration of how far down the Rabbit Hole some of us are [and bonus,] I’ve added a trio of articles that you need to read to believe. The one by the employee of Goldman Sachs is just a jaw dropper.

Finally, here’s a pick-me-up to remind you that some of us are still sane and even inspired. Given the Medal of Freedom choices Dubby handed us, Obama’s … celebrated as Agents of Change … are a breath of fresh air; you’ll find the list of recipients here with bio’s, among them Teddy Kennedy, Desmond Tutu, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Jean King, Sidney Poitier, Stephen Hawking, Harvey Milk, the Rev. Joseph Lowery who delivered the benediction at the Inaugeration and 94 year-old Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow.

Ummmm, lemme see — males, females, blacks, whites, disabled, gay, South African and … cherry on the cake … the last remaining War Chief of America’s indigenous people. Diverse enough for you?

Now, THAT’s an America I can believe in!

Jude

Sarah Palin Vs. That Crazy Santa Cruz Lady (VIDEO)

William Shatner Makes Palin’s Speech Into Poetry (VIDEO)

Civil Warp
Steven Weber, HuffPo
July 29, 2009

When the history of the last 10 years of this country is writ (if anyone will give a good goddamn or be able to read anything that’s not in twit-speak) it will reflect the final moments before the two disparate, warring sides of the American psyche separated.

The last, moist threads linking those two factions are at their breaking points, with each side the embodiment of an ideology whose ultimate fear is the opposition’s complete dominion over the other, thus signaling the end of America as a country and arguably the greatest and most successful experiment in democracy the world has seen.

On the current flashpoint of health care, the shrill voices of opposition, having hoarded their profits, are inundating the masses with primal fears of death and evoking iconic evil. And like good, sensitive, easily manipulated children, they believe Mommy and Daddy could never be wrong, could never be cruel.

In the instance of health care for all Americans, they have declared a war on reason. The instigators of this assault, one must assume, had to have been emotionally broken as children. They cling to myths and have developed a mortal hatred of the truth. They seethe and simplistically demonize their opponents in order to understand the purpose of their own existence in this short life; if they didn’t they might realize that perhaps they had no purpose, no practical reason for being here at all. And when their arteries eventually burst, they will need the very health care they assail as wicked.

And the poor folks who are stirred to hurling mindless vitriol at the idea of health care for all Americans are, of course, the victims of a massive scam: drench the herds in low-brow entertainment, decry long-held fact based beliefs, isolate people’s genuine feelings of pride and hope, add a dash of primal fear and stand back.

They are the Gullible Americans (to go alongside their Ugly cousins) and their fear based psychology cannot conceive of traitors in their midst — unless the traitor is of a darker color or has a foreign sounding name. From swift boats to birthers, the sales pitches have reached a level of fervor seen only in tent meetings, full of hyperkinetic gobbledygook and political glossolalia.

The division is clear. It is, finally, right versus wrong. And on this side of the division we declare:

it is wrong to for a modern, wealthy country to not provide all its citizens with health care.

It is wrong to not provide better education.

It is wrong to go to war unilaterally.

It is wrong to cater to corporate interests when ordinary people are disadvantaged and struggling.

It is wrong to cater to radical, ignorant, religious zealotry and to give it a place at the table when it should be banned to the fringes.

It is wrong to foster a distrust of progress.

It is wrong to have a fear of “otherness.”

It is wrong to perpetuate institutionalized racism.

It is wrong to deny science and to avoid culpability in the polluting of our planet.

These are the things a thinking, modern, progressive nation stands for. Those on the other side of the divide — well, we’ve seen what they believe in. And, sadly, we’ve lived it. ++

Who Wins the Battle During August Recess Will Determine the Fate of Health Care Reform
Mike Lux, HuffPo
July 30, 2009

Usually when I leave DC for a few days, as I did recently, my mood and hopefulness about the country improves — it’s a lot easier to be hopeful when you meet real people working in their communities for change. And usually when I talk with my insider Democratic friends in DC, my optimism fades because everyone in DC tends to be so cynical and overly-cautious. But on this trip, I got really depressed with the steady drumbeat of bad news coming out of the traditional media about health care. When I got back yesterday, though, and started talking to people who were actually working on things here, I remembered how relentlessly negative big media tends to be, how every story emphasizes the conventional wisdom story line about how health care reform is impossible to pass.

This health care fight is just one motherf-er of a battle. Every step of the way will be really hard and really painful. The final trade offs will piss virtually everybody off. Passing something real, something that actually matters, has never been more than a 50/50 proposition. But talking with people on the Hill and at the White House, and watching what has happened over the last 24 hours, I now believe our chances at real reform are still alive.

The fact is, Henry Waxman and Nancy Pelosi forged a deal with the Blue Dogs that didn’t require them to give up anything that really mattered very much on the substance. While the Energy and Commerce bill will be the worst of the 3 bills reported out of House committees, it still has most of the important things you would want to see in a health care reform bill, including a decent public option. It is a great thing that progressive members of the House are pushing back hard against the bad compromises that were made, though, because progressives need to send a clear signal that they will not be rolled. When the 3 bills are merged during the August recess, that pressure will help deliver a very solid version of the legislation.

Speaking of the August recess, while I am not thrilled that the House put off the floor vote until after it happens, that is also not a disaster for us. But it is a test for those of us who believe in serious health care reform. The battle over who wins the organizing and message fight in the August recess — grassroots reformers or the astroturf insurance lobby in league with right wingers everywhere — will decide the fate of health care reform, pure and simple.

The conventional wisdom in the media is simply wrong about the nature of the health care fight: the Senate Finance committee is not determinative. That’s what the Republicans, the insurance lobbyists, the conservative Democrats want everyone to believe, and that mantra is being pushed day and night in the offices and hallways of the DC establishment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Four committees out of five did the right thing, and the signal that I’m getting from the White House is that they are still fighting hard for the public option, and Senate Finance is not the end all and be all. What will change the dynamic is progressives winning the organizing and messaging fight in August. Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate, and at least two Republican Senators from a small progressive-leaning state in play. If our side out-organizes the insurance/right wing astroturfers, if the White House and Reid and Pelosi put every bit of muscle into winning the fight for real reform, it can still happen. Everything is at stake here, as I wrote yesterday: if we don’t win this fight, the Obama Presidency, Democratic prospects in the 2010 election, and any hopes we have for victories on other big issues are all in deep, deep trouble. But we still have a real shot at winning this battle, and now is when we need to pull out all the stops to do it. ++

Pelosi: Health Insurance Companies The Real “Villains”
Jeff Muskus, HuffPo
07-30-09

Forget the Blue Dogs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday. The real “villains” in the fight for health care reform are insurance companies.

Work on the legislation resumed Thursday morning after more than a week of delays to accommodate conservative Blue Dog Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Blue Dogs won significant concessions and also forced delay of a full House floor vote on the final bill until after Congress returns from its upcoming month-long recess.

But Pelosi on Thursday cast the blown deadline as a positive, arguing that the process is further along than it would have been with no date set. Meanwhile, her blistering attacks against health insurers offered a good preview of what to expect from Democrats trying to rally support for reform back at home.

“They are the villains in this. They have been part of the problem in a major way,” Pelosi said of the insurance industry after her weekly press conference. “It’s almost immoral, what they are doing,” she said, referring to industry lobbying against a public insurance plan option. “Of course, they’ve been immoral all along. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening, and the public has to know about it.”

The current system works so well for insurers that they don’t even want subsidies, Pelosi claimed. “They’ve had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the American people and the health of our country,” she said, adding that it will be tough to keep them from getting their way. “This is the fight of our lives.”

Pelosi referred to the health insurance industry’s campaign against reform — specifically, the public option — as “carpet bombing” and “shock and awe” during the press conference. She also sought to present a unified Democratic front, dismissing complaints from progressives that they have been shut out of negotiations dominated by swing Blue Dogs on Energy and Commerce.

“Progressives have been well represented,” she said, noting that all three House committees that have worked on health care bills are chaired by progressives.

The public option currently outlined in the Energy and Commerce Committee is significantly weaker than the other two House committee bills, and more closely resembles that of the Senate health committee, in that it unlinks the plan from Medicare rates, leaving negotiation to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Pelosi reiterated her desire for a stronger public plan Thursday, but did not commit to it.

“I am for the strongest possible public option,” she said. The Senate health committee bill “is one that I think would be okay. It’s not my preference. My preference is a stronger bill. But it meets the test of having an effective public option.” ++

Nothing ‘Centrist’ About Them
Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Nation via HuffPo
July 27, 2009

At this moment — when 72 percent of the nation supports a public plan option and 14,000 people lose their healthcare every day — the House Blue Dogs and conservative Democratic Senators are doing just about everything they can to cripple real health care reform.

So why does the media keep ceding them the label of “centrist” or “moderate” as if they are the guardians of mainstream values? In a recent profile on reform slayer Max Baucus — Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and creator of his majority Republican “Coalition of the Willing” — Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen refers to Baucus as “a longtime centrist in the Democratic caucus.” Even Harold Meyerson — who along with E.J. Dionne and Ruth Marcus keeps the Washington Post op-ed page from being neocon central and is one of the best in the business at understanding the ideologies at play in Washington — in a recent op-ed repeatedly decries the “centrist Democrats” such as the Blue Dogs who fight against taxing the richest 1 percent of Americans and promote a “can’t-do” view of government.

All Things Considered host Guy Raz recently introduced a story on “forty centrist House Democrats from the so-called Blue Dog Coalition [who] are threatening to block the proposal in its current form….” He also spoke of “Congressman Mike Ross [who] heads up the Health Care Taskforce for the centrist Blue Dog Democrats.” Want to see how “centrist” Mike Ross is? Check this out.

Even a good regional paper like Louisville’s Courier-Journal — in rightly blasting the Blue Dogs as “deplorable” for being “unable to muster the spine to pay for health care reform with even so innocuous a measure as higher taxes on the richest 1 percent of Americans” — calls them “centrist”.

The danger is that promoting the view that these conservative Democrats are somehow at the center of our politics plays into the hands of those who would like to marginalize progressives as far outside of the mainstream. (And I have no doubt K Street is advising Republicans to constantly refer to their Democratic allies as “moderate” and “centrist”.) It also misrepresents what most Americans want from the government in these times.

As Drew Westen, professor of psychology at Emory University, founder of Westen Strategies, and author of the invaluable The Political Brain, told me: “The average American, according to all available data, has largely moved slightly left of where it was in the Reagan years, and with changing demographics, it will be far left of Reagan and Bush in twenty years. So to call Democrats who are substantially right of the center of the electorate (let alone of their party), like Heath Shuler, ‘moderates,’ is both to misrepresent the center of political gravity in the general electorate and in the Democratic Party.”

How we tell the story of this battle for health care reform matters and will impact whether the battle is won or lost. So-called “centrists” are far from the center of this debate. They are, in fact, out of touch and out of the mainstream — like the rest of their conservative brethren. ++

New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit
Bill Maher, HuffPo
July 23, 2009

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a “war profiteer” was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­– like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason –­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you’re going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that’s where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That’s why America has the world;s largest prison population ­– because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite’s day. I thought, “Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.”

But maybe they aren’t. Because unlike in Cronkite’s day, today’s news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter’s time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there’s health care. It wasn’t that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that’s good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they’re run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They’re not hospitals anymore; they’re Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America’s largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it’s not a right, it’s a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they’re always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what’s wrong with firemen? Why don’t they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks! ++

    Wackadoodle Bonus

The Hose Of Authority
digby, Hullabaloo
7/30/09

Here’s Pat Boone writing for World Net Daily:

    The American people have long opposed abortion, same sex “marriage,” universal, socialistic health care and a host of other ultraliberal causes; current polls confirm we still do. But the waterboarding began, literally, within the first three days of this new administration. With no instigation from Congress, the freshman president picked up his new hose of authority and, by executive order, overturned the long-standing Reagan-era regulations prohibiting foreign aid going to organizations that finance overseas abortions – and handed international Planned Parenthood, chief provider of abortions worldwide, 200 million taxpayer dollars!

    And now, while we’re strapped down by the Democrat-controlled Congress, gasping and gulping beneath a flood of strong-arm tactics, the “health reform” bill taking shape outlines a “minimum-benefits package” that will be universal – that is, required of every American’s insurance plan, whether provided by a private firm or by the government.

    Cunningly, abortion isn’t specifically mentioned, but will be decided by a “Health Benefits Advisory Committee,” handpicked by the president and his HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, who already has a record while governor of Kansas supporting late-term abortions! See how this “taking advantage of a crisis” thing works?

    But we’re not helpless yet, folks. We’re drenched and near-drowned and gasping for breath, but there’s a growing coalition of staunch Republican and “blue dog” Democrats in both houses of Congress digging in their heels and saying, “Wait! This is all too much, too fast! We need time to read and digest and consider this torrent of legislation. Mr. President, hold off!”

    And that gives us debt-soaked citizens a chance to rise up and gasp and spit and shout: “MR. PRESIDENT, AND YOU, TOO, CONGRESS! YOU WORK FOR US! NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! WE VOTED YOU IN! AND WE CAN TAKE YOU OUT! STOP THIS WATERBOARDING!!”

That excerpt stands alone, but you really need to read the whole thing — and World O Crap’s deconstruction — to fully grasp old Pat’s POV: The good waterboarding saved the Brooklyn Bridge while the bad waterboarding is universal health care. It’s hard to explain because, well, it’s insane. You have to read it for yourself. ++

The road to socialized medicine
STAR PARKER, Capital Hill Blue
July 28, 2009

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee.”

Many demoralized souls felt over recent months that this famous appeal in “America the Beautiful” had been falling on deaf ears.

But we’ve had a miracle. The socialized medicine freight train, chugging down the track with seeming insurmountable inevitability, has been, for the moment, derailed.

And, miraculously, the derailment has occurred because of values as well as economics.

Conservative Democrats have parted company with their liberal colleagues because the health care legislation in process will bust our federal budget and deliver new federal abortion funding.

Subsidized health care delivered through a proposed government insurance plan would inevitably mean abortion funding in the standard benefits package. The only way around this would be explicit language to prohibit it.

Attempts by Republicans in three House committees to insert such language were defeated, despite a handful of conservative Democrats joining them.

Now a broad coalition of pro-life organizations has initiated a campaign to fight any health care legislation permitting new government abortion funding.

President Obama has called this an attempt to “micromanage” health care benefits. Planned Parenthood has echoed these sentiments.

Is the concern of these pro-life groups legitimate? You bet it is.

Pro-abortion forces have been forever calling abortion health care. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, defines its business as providing “reproductive health care.”

Or consider our president’s thinking.

Then Senator Obama stated his disagreement with the Supreme Court decision banning partial birth abortion because it “departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women.”

Partial birth abortion is a procedure in which a doctor kills an infant near birth by smashing its skull and sucking out its brains. The Supreme Court acted in 2007, thank God, to make this illegal. The decision permits the procedure if the life of the mother is danger.

Yet this is unacceptable to our president. He wants vaguely defined health considerations, beyond the question of the life of the mother, to permit what is essentially murder.

For pro-aborts, murder, if the victim is an unborn child at any stage of development, is health care.

So, yes, we can be sure that, without specific prohibiting language, legislation that directs new federal funding to individuals for health care will cover abortions.

There is particular irony that Obama and others championing health care reform insist that it’s unrelated to abortion concerns.

We hear a lot of talk about eliminating waste and having more preventative health care. But the most powerful health care initiative we could get is the last thing they will propose: Traditional family values. The same values undermined by the liberal abortion regime and moral relativism they promote.

A wide array of studies shows married individuals physically and mentally healthier than singles.

Among the 47 million uninsured that we hear so much about, two thirds are unmarried.

And, according to a recent study on the uninsured published by the Employment Policies Institute, “lack of health insurance is not likely to be the major factor causing higher mortality rates among the uninsured.” The higher mortality rates tie more closely to behavior that leads to poverty, such as poor education and dysfunctional lifestyles.

Let’s capitalize on the miracle that has occurred with a truth initiative about our health care crisis.

New government bean counters, programs, taxes, spending, and subsidies are not the answer.

For those currently on private plans, we need less, not more government. More competition and health savings accounts.

For the uninsured, break the cycle of poverty with school choice and rebuilding families in poor communities.

Health care is not about bureaucrats but about individual human behavior. We should be talking about a culture of life and the traditional values that sustain it. ++

Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education

Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools
Michael Lewis, Bloomberg
7/28/09

From the moment I left Yale and started working for Goldman Sachs, I’ve felt uneasy interacting with those who don’t.

It’s not that I think less of Goldman outsiders than I did while I remained among you. It’s just that I feel your envy, and know that nothing I can do or say will ever persuade you that I am no more than human.

Thus, like many of my colleagues, I have adopted a strategy of never leaving Goldman Sachs, apart from a few brief, spasmodic attempts to make what you outsiders call “love” or “the beast with two backs.” Goldman recognizes how important it is for its people to replicate themselves. We bill no performance fees for the service.

Today, the sheer volume of irresponsible media commentary has forced us to reconsider our public-relations strategy. With every uptick in our share price it’s grown clearer that we who are inside Goldman Sachs must open a dialogue with you who are not. Not for our benefit, but for yours.

America stands at a crossroads, and Goldman Sachs now owns both of them. In choosing which road to take, ordinary Americans must not be distracted by unproductive resentment toward the toll-takers. To that end we at Goldman Sachs would like to dispel several false and insidious rumors.

Rumor No. 1: “Goldman Sachs controls the U.S. government.”

Every time we hear the phrase “the United States of Goldman Sachs” we shake our heads in wonder. Every ninth-grader knows that the U.S. government consists of three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent, and the third we have no interest in at all. (Note there isn’t a single former Goldman employee on the Supreme Court.)

What small interest we maintain in the U.S. government is, we feel, in the public interest. Our current financial crisis has its roots in a single easily identifiable source: the envy others felt toward Goldman Sachs.

The bozos at Merrill Lynch, the dimwits at Citigroup, the nimrods at Lehman Brothers, the louts at Bear Stearns, even that momentarily useful lunatic Joe Cassano at AIG — all of these people took risks that no non-Goldman person should ever take, in a pathetic attempt to replicate Goldman’s financial returns.

For too long we have allowed others to emulate us. Now we are working productively with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the Congress to ensure that we alone are allowed to take the sort of risks that might destroy the financial system.

Rumor No. 2: “When the U.S. government bailed out AIG, and paid off its gambling debts, it saved not AIG but Goldman Sachs.”

The charge isn’t merely insulting but ignorant. Less responsible journalists continue to bring up the $12.9 billion we received from AIG, as if that was some kind of big deal to us. But as our CFO David Viniar explained back in March, we were hedged. Our profits from AIG “rounded to zero.”

People who don’t work at Goldman Sachs, of course, find this implausible: How could $12.9 billion round to zero? Easy, but you just need to understand the mathematics.

Let’s assume AIG transferred $12,880,560,250.34 of taxpayer money to Goldman Sachs. A Goldman outsider, asked to round this number, might call it $12,880,560,250.00. That’s not how we look at it; at Goldman we always round to the nearest $50 billion, so anything less than $25 billion rounds to zero.

Think of it that way and you can see that $12,880,560,250.34 isn’t even close to not rounding to zero.

Rumor No. 3: “As the U.S. government will eat the losses if Goldman Sachs goes bust, Goldman Sachs shouldn’t be allowed to keep making these massive financial bets. At the very least the $11.4 billion Goldman Sachs already has set aside for employees in 2009 — $386,429 a head, just for the first six months — is unfair, as the U.S. taxpayer has borne so much of the risk of the wagers that generated the profits.”

Really, we don’t know where to begin with this one. It is wrong-headed in so many different ways!

Let’s begin with the idea that the taxpayer is running a bigger risk than we are. The billions he stands to lose are trivial; after all, they round to zero.

The real risk, when you think about it even for a minute, is the risk we take ourselves: that Goldman will cease to exist and we will cease to be Goldman employees. To flirt with such tragedy we obviously need to be paid.

Rumor No. 4: “Goldman employees all look alike.”

Several recent newspaper photos have revealed that a surprising number of Goldman Sachs workers are white, male and bald. That non-Goldman people glance at such photos and think “Holy crap, they even look alike!” just shows how deeply anti- Goldman bigotry runs in American life.

We at Goldman represent unique clusters of DNA; if we bear some faint surface resemblance to one another, and to creatures from the 24th century, it is only because our superior powers of reasoning lead us to hold in our minds exactly the same thoughts, at exactly the same time.

A shared disinterest in growing hair, for instance, isn’t a coincidence of nature but an expression of healthy like- mindedness.

“The world is a pool table,” our naked-headed CEO likes to tell us. “And all the people in it are either stripes or solids. You alone are the cue balls.”

Rumor No. 5: Goldman Sachs is “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Those words are of course taken from a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine and they are transparently false.

For starters, the vampire squid doesn’t feed on human flesh. Ergo, no vampire squid would ever wrap itself around the face of humanity, except by accident. And nothing that happens at Goldman Sachs — nothing that Goldman Sachs thinks, nothing that Goldman Sachs feels, nothing that Goldman Sachs does –ever happens by accident. ++

“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington … I’m asking you to believe in yours.”
~ Barack Obama

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One Response to DINO Dogs, Villains and … to make you smile … the Worthy

  1. jacksmith says:

    LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY. (Thomas Paine)

    We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

    I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP’s ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!

    YOU CANT HAVE AN INSURANCE MANDATE WITHOUT A ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION. MANDATING PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE AS YOUR ONLY CHOICE WOULD BE A DISASTER AND UNETHICAL, CORRUPT, AND MORALLY REPUGNANT. AND PROBABLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS WELL.

    These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

    Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

    But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

    But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

    Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will make you feel better too.

    There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

    I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

    You have been AMAZING!!! my people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. :-)

    God Bless You

    jacksmith — Working Class

    I REST MY CASE (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

    * Richard Shelby of Alabama
    * Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    * John McCain of Arizona
    * Mel Martinez of Florida
    * Johnny Isakson of Georgia
    * Mike Crapo of Idaho
    * Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    * Sam Brownback of Kansas
    * Jim Bunning of Kentucky
    * David Vitter of Louisiana
    * Kit Bond of Missouri
    * Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    * Richard Burr of North Carolina
    * George Voinovich of Ohio
    * Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
    * Jim DeMint of South Carolina
    * John Thune of South Dakota
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
    * Bob Bennett of Utah

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