Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thank You for Voting NO

U. S. Representative Michael C. Burgess
1224 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
P: (202) 225-7772
F: (202) 225-2919

RE: Thank You for Voting NO

Thank You for Voting NO on this bottomless bucket bailout plan. Change the name of the game from “bailout plan” to “rescue plan”, it is evident somebody is bailing out and it is not the homeowners who are being foreclosed upon.

Who are we fooling? A rose by any other name is still a bailout.

Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.


Even before we bury the dead, the vultures are already picking over the bones.

Rudy Giuliani is positioning his law firm to cash in on Wall Street's train wreck - a move that has become a gift to political enemies of his pal John McCain.


Am I dreaming or what?

Thank you again for your courage. You have my support in the November 4 election against Democrat Ken Leach.

How the Texas delegation voted

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville
Rep. John Carter, R-Georgetown
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo
Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler
Rep. Al Green, D-Houston
Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston
Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston
Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano
Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford
Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock
Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco
Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth
Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas
Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio

Monday, September 29, 2008

BEFORE you go to the polls


BEFORE you go to the polls:

1. VERIFY your Registration Status BEFORE Election Day – Make sure you are listed on the registration roll by calling your local Board of Elections.

2. VERIFY your Polling Location before Election Day. Call 1-866-698-6831.

3. BRING YOUR I.D. Don’t Leave Home Without It! To be safe, bring your voter registration card, driver’s license, government-issued photo ID. If you have a problem voting call: Election Protection @ 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

4. VERIFY the date and location to vote early or absentee in your state @ then VOTE FIRST.

5. DO NOT WEAR anything with a candidate’s name. It is illegal to try to sway voters one way or another by the garb that you wear.

Amended and Endorsed by Eddie G. Griffin (BASG)

Tarrant County Elections
November 4, 2008 Election - Important Dates

September 5, 2008 First day to apply for a ballot by mail.

October 6, 2008 Last day to register to vote.
(Voter Registration applications must be received or clearly postmarked by this date.)

October 20, 2008 First day of in-person early voting.

October 28, 2008 Last day to apply for a ballot by mail.
(must be received, not merely postmarked)

October 31, 2008 Last day of in-person early voting.

November 4, 2008 ELECTION DAY
(polls open 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM)

November 10, 2008 Last day to receive absentee ballots sent from outside the United States (must have been placed in the mail by Election Day).

Friday, September 26, 2008

What do you mean, Sucker?


What do you mean, Sucker?

Genesis 11:6-9- And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off from building the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Babbling Idiots

Yesterday’s fiasco in Washington sent me scrambling for a word, and the word was “Babel”, because I saw a bunch of babbling idiots play out this insane government bailout plan on national stage.

One minute, you were all speaking the English language, agreed in principal on the tenets of this Bailout Bill. The next minute, the English language becomes “confounded”. It is called the Babel Effect.

Who is President George Bush calling a “sucker”, anyway: the American people or the Economy?

If the American people are not the suckers for bailing out Wall Street (which we are), then the Economy must be the “sucker”.(You bet, sucking our wallets, our bank accounts, our credit cards dry. So what, you probably have already spent over your credit limit like me)

If you are confounded in Washington, D.C., in the very seat of power, I am all the more confounded by your choice of words at this time of national crisis. “Sucker”, is the mouth disconnected from the brain?.

Are the American people “suckers” like as in fools? Or, is the Economy the “sucker” insofar as sucking the American consumer’s pocket dry?

Point of clarification, Mr. President: What do you mean, Sucker?

Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Solution to the Economic Crisis

Editor Note: I hate to complain about a problem and not offer a tenable solution

So let me lay out the outline for a comprehensive plan to solve the current financial crisis.

First, we should finish the job we started. That is to say, we should buy out the rest of the private investors in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Thus, homeowners who are threatened with foreclosure can seek a government-owned financial haven to restructure and refinance their mortgage debts, (maybe extending their 30-year note to 40-year notes, which are not now possible with private financial institutions). We know that private market capitalization of mortgage debt makes it impossible to restructure homeowners’ loans, nor can these institutions stop the bleeding of foreclosures or prevent glutting the housing marketing with foreclosed properties.

Second, we should finish buying out AIG and convert it into a full service financial institution where businesses and consumers would have access to alternative lines of credit and finance capital. With a full service government-own financial institution, interest rates would stabilize and GDP would not decline.

This plan assures the American people of their level of risk and provides a public haven for those in financial distress. Rather than providing the government with a $700 billion blank check to bailout Wall Street and reward its CEOs with obscene bonuses and golden parachutes, the American public’s dollar would bailout financially distressed homeowners and cash strapped businesses, with the added benefit of direct oversight and management. Rather than propping up Wall Street after its reckless leveraging of consumer and homeowner debt above and beyond acceptable risk levels, government oversight removes the cut-throat profit motive in the financing system.

This solution is more akin to the true American public sentiments to save the economy, without rewarding the fat cats on Wall Street. In the meantime, let the capitalist Free Market system heal itself, since it is no longer capable of extending credit to the current market and incapable of financing new development and commercial expansion.

Free Market principals dictate Wall Street should heal itself, and not place their burdens on the American public’s back.

We have already crossed into uncharted territory. We have precedence in the Savings and Loan bailout, where commercial property appraisals were intentionally and corruptly inflated in order to siphon off the excess value in the form of profits and executive bonuses. There is no doubt that, with the current bailout package, we will be faced with the same.

Mortgages, once deemed dead or valued at zero, would suddenly regain book value after being written off by mortgage lenders, and then auctioned to the government. What then was once of no value is suddenly pawned off on the taxpayer at an inflated appraised valuation.

We started a trend of nationalization of our financial industry, although everyone decries this is something we do not want to do. We are already trapped somewhere in between capitalism and socialism. However, if we are going to socialize risk and bear the loss and then turn around and allow the private sector to keep the prime assets and reap all the profits, we may as well nationalize both risk and profit taking.

That is the only way the American taxpayers can be assured of equity in the “new financial system” now under construction in Washington.

President George Bush is in no negotiating position because, within 40 days, he will be a lame duck anyway. And, Wall Street is in no negotiating position because it caused the mess.

Where I come from, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution, and the above is neither part nor parcel in the solution.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why We Reject John McCain

McCain Repeatedly Voted Against Raising The Minimum Wage. In the senate, John McCain voted at least eight times against measure to increase the minimum wage. [HR 2, Vote #23, 1/24/07; S.Amdt. 44 to S. 256, Vote #26, 3/07/05; S.Amdt. 128 to S. 256, Vote #27, 3/07/05; S.Amdt. 3079 to S.Amdt. 2951 to S.Con.Res. 101, Vote #76, 4/07/00; S.Amdt. 1383 to S. 1429, Vote #239, 7/30/99; S. 96, Vote #94, 4/28/99; S .Amdt. 3540 to S.Amdt. 3559 to S. 1301, Vote S.Amdt. 4272 to H.R. 3448, Vote #183, 7/06/96]

McCain Housing Speech Blamed Americans Who “Bought Homes They Couldn’t Afford” and Argued Against Vigorous Federal Intervention. On March 25th, John McCain delivered a speech on the housing crisis. According to the New York Times, “McCain appeared to be trying to confront questions about his dexterity in dealing with the economy, a subject that he has admitted is not his strongest suit.” During the speech, McCain said, “Some Americans bought homes they couldn'’t afford, betting that rising prices would make it easier to refinance later at more affordable rates.” The New York Times reported, “Mr. McCain argued this week against a vigorous federal intervention to address the crisis, saying Washington should not bail out banks and homeowners who in his view had knowingly taken on risky mortgages.” [New York Times, 3/26/08; 3/28/08]

McCain Voted Against Addressing The Disproportionate Number Of Minority Children In Prison. In 1999, McCain voted to table an amendment that required States to address juvenile delinquency prevention efforts and system improvement efforts designed to reduce, without numerical standards or quotas, disproportionate number of juvenile members of 'racial minority groups' who come in contact with juvenile justice system. The motion to table passed 52-48. [S 254, Vote #130, 5/19/99]

McCain Consistently Voted Against The Civil Rights Act Of 1990. In 1990, McCain voted against a bill designed to address employer discrimination at least 4 times. According to the Washington Post, the “Civil Rights Act of 1990 is designed to overturn several recent Supreme Court rulings that made it much more difficult for individual employees to prove discrimination. The legislation, being fought by business, also would impose new penalties on employers convicted of job discrimination.” [S 2104, Vote #304, 10/24/90; Vote #276, Vote #275, 10/16/90; Vote #161, 7/18/90; Washington Post, 7/9/90]

McCain’s Plan: Tax Cuts To For Businesses. According to the Associated Press, John McCain proposed a long-term economic plan that would lower the corporate income tax rate and provide several other tax breaks for businesses. McCain proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent. McCain said that his plan was “pro growth, less taxes and less spending” versus “the Democrats’ tired ideas of tax and spend.” [Associated Press, 1/17/08]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vote NO on Bailout

U. S. Representative Michael C. Burgess
1224 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
P: (202) 225-7772
F: (202) 225-2919

Monday, September 22, 2008

RE: Vote NO on Bailout

My Dear Congressman:

If ever this letter finds you naked with embarrassment over this obscene bailout package, let me be the first constituent to advise you to vote it down. And don’t think, for one minute, George Bush is in some kind of bargaining position to dictate the terms of this rescue. In fact, we could have cared less if AIG and the whole finance industry went under.

What vested interest do poor people have in finance? How many have a surplus in their bank accounts, a house rent-free, gas in their tanks, and food on the table?

When I came to you last year, with hat in hand, begging members of Congress to raise the minimum wage rate to provide some relief for the poorest of the poor, you lectured me about the virtues of the Free Market system and the law of Supply and Demand, and letting natural economic forces determine the labor market’s wage levels. If a person were was not satisfied with his or her wages, I recall you saying, he or she was “free” to seek employment elsewhere.

If these are not your exact words, they were clearly your sentiments. Now that this over-glorified Free Market system is bankrupt and on life support, as evidence by this massive nationalization of the financial industry, what have you to say about today’s $25-a barrel spike in oil? Why not just finish the job by nationalizing the oil industry, not to mention the auto industry? Then we would truly be a socialized oligarchy, letting the private sector reap all the profit while the taxpayer underwrites all the risk.

Not only would the government raise the debt ceiling in order to print more money, but flooding the market with more dollars, only dilute and devalue the dollars already in circulation. Next thing you know, we’ll be printing million-dollar denominations like Zimbabwe. The costs of commodities would skyrocket, not because the prices would actually go up, but because the diluted dollar would go way down in value.

Wall Street is all about saving Wall Street, not the average American consumer. Never mind the thousands whose homes were lost in foreclosure to mortgage companies, financiers, and bankers. When 99% of the nation’s wealth increasingly gravitates into the hands of fewer and fewer, we all find ourselves economic slaves of the one percent.

They hold the mortgages to our homes. They hold our money in the vaults of their banks. They hold our credit card debts and our car notes. They hold our retirement accounts. They hold our jobs, our livelihoods, our children’s future, and all our security. Now we are forced to dance to their music.

Indeed, there is the possibility that one day we could wake up and not be able to get our cash out of our ATMs or use our credit cards. There is also the possibility that our mortgage insurance would have gone through the roof and house note payments untenable.

This is not the working of free market laissez faire capitalism. This is the inevitability of the law of capital accumulation.

In other words, to them that have more is given; and to them that have not more is taken away, even as much as they have and more. Those with the most capital attract the more capital. Those with the head start in economic advantage and gain can only increase its lead over those left behind. That is why we are all wage slaves of the rich.

The proliferation of credit has put all of us in debt. We buy food and pay with our credit card. We buy gas and pay with our credit card. Almost everything we have is financed by credit. And, whatever little nest egg we have accumulated is offset by our debt, and our income is eaten up by interest and taxes.

On the surface, we may look like a prosperous nation. But underneath, our net worth is zero or less. Middle class America is no more. We are a myth of our own existence. The eternal struggle in the distribution of international wealth is no longer between rich and poor, but between the rich and the super-rich. The rest of us are sidelined in poverty.

Why should those of us who have already been eaten by the sharks care about the super-rich gobbling up the mediocre rich? We should have never bailed out Wall Street to begin with. They should have been forced to bite the bullet like the rest of us.

The rich has been leveraging the money of poor people all along. They take our payroll deposits and then gamble it on Wall Street. In good economic times, they give us a fraction of what they reap, albeit in the form of interest. We, in turn, are satisfied with the security of our deposit. And, for the most part, financial institutions have made good on their promissory, knowing that consumer deposits are backed, to some degree, by government-backed insurers.

But debt is leveraged upon debt like a house of cards. Financial institutions bank upon future consumer payments. Therefore, they capitalized consumer debt by borrowing against future payments, only to gamble more money in the stock market. When the consumer can no longer pay the debt, the financial institutions can no longer pay its debt. The big fish eats the little fish; and the bigger fish eats the big fish, and the biggest fish eats the bigger fish, and so on. The wealth of the nation is accumulated into the hands of fewer big fish.

It’s as natural in a capitalist economy as the law of gravity. But capitalism has reached its apex. Big capitalists are eating up the little capitalists.

It is no wonder that the slave can never accumulate the level of wealth of their slave masters or their descendants. Even going from chattel slavery to wage slavery, freemen still produced more wealth for their former slave masters than they could every possibly produce for themselves. A five percent raise for a CEO will always be exponentially greater than the same five percent rate hike for a wage earner. It is economically impossible for the wage earner to catch the CEO. It is economically impossible for slave descendants to catch up with the descendants of slave owners. Likewise, it is impossible for the worker to catch up to the financiers of consumer debt.

However, if the house of cards should fall, we would all, at least, go back to square one, to the days of the caveman, where the law of the Survival of the Fittest would apply equally to all. The slave then becomes equal to his slave master. The worker and CEO are in the same unemployment boat. Rich and poor would stew together in the same pot.

This was not the way it was meant to be. We are gregarious by nature, or so we say. We should be helping each other survive. But is this the way financiers treated homeowners on the brink of losing their humble abode? Did they step in to help; and, in helping, also help themselves? Not so!

They evicted without mercy, throwing homeowners onto the streets, and putting their houses back on the market to be resold and refinanced. However, now when they realize that they have glutted the housing market with foreclosed properties they can not resell, they cry to the government for a bailout, and the government wrings the pockets of the taxpayer and gives Wall Street whatever it wants.

Never have we seen a shift in burden like this since the days of kings and lords and dukes, when the peasants were enslaved by royal land owners. To live on the land and produce food for survival, peasants had to pay rent in the form of commodities which, in turn, supported the lavish lifestyle of the nobility. And, during economic hard times when crops failed, the same landlords evicted peasants off the land without mercy.

No sir, this is not free market laissez faire capitalism. This is medieval serfdom, a step back in time in the direction of caveman days. Will we revert to brute rule or a police state?

The vote before you and Congress is a Damned If You Do – Damned If You Don’t situation. Dig your way out of this hole, and then let’s talk about Socialism and nationalization instead of the Free Market and fairy tale laissez faire capitalism.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Economy Collapses: Every Man for Himself

By Eddie Griffin

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What in the world is going on? It’s anarchy!

Robber Barons stick up the federal piggy bank. Homeowners are being thrown out on the streets, houses being foreclosed on by mortgage companies, and mortgage companies are going bankrupt. It is a mad cycle of looting.

And, what do we do?

The government turns around and gives AIG $85 billion dollars to keep the financial markets from totally collapsing. With that same money, the government could have saved thousands of homeowners and stabilized the economy.

But no! That would have been too much like socialism. Bailing out poor homeowners would have been an unwarranted federal infringement upon the Free Market system.

So, what do we call the nationalization of AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac?

I tell you what to call it. Call it ANARCHY.

The economy is fundamentally sound. Who said that? If the economy were fundamentally sound on yesterday, how did it suddenly become an overnight crisis? Obviously, somebody didn’t know what they were talking about.

One day chicken, next day feathers and I am supposed to believe that all was well on yesterday.

I watched at homeowners boarded up their houses and fled Hurricane Ike, hoping their homes would be safe against the storm. And, I remember some homeowners in New Orleans standing by their windows, ready to shoot any looter that came along and threatened their property. But when the mortgage companies and banker come along with eviction papers, it’s a different story. We will protect our homes to the death, but when the Robber Barons send out the constable out to do their dirty work, we capitulate like a helpless baby.

Wall Street got drunk? Who said that?

Wall Street got drunk only because King George II opened up the winery. This is what happen when drinking with friends, and the friend lets drunkard take control of the wheel.

But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. (Isaiah 28:7-8)

All Tables are Full of Vomit

"All investors know they are taking a chance when buying stocks or mutual funds, but now one money market -- the safest of all stock investments -- has done something once unthinkable and actually lost money… The Reserve Fund's Primary Fund, the very first money market mutual fund ever established, had its value fall below $1 this week, thanks to investments in now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers… Falling below $1 is called “breaking the buck." ("First Stocks, Now Money Markets?" by Scott Mayerowitz, ABC NEWS Business Unit)

Drunk and Delusional

“The fundamental structure of money market funds remains sound. These funds are subject to strict regulation governing credit quality, liquidity, diversification and transparency,” the Investment Company Institute, the industry's trade association, said Wednesday.

Fundamentally sound? Where have I heard that song before? The same drunkards gulping from the keg are the same at the till.

And, that little nest egg we set aside for our retirement, or send a child to college, or weather economic hard times now has a crack in it, and the yoke of our investment is seeping out.

All I can say is: Every man for himself. In the meantime, I am locking my doors, boarding up my windows, and standing watch with my shotgun, ready for the first invader who tries to come in and take my stuff. I’m putting a sign out for the constable that says, “Warning: Bad Dog”.

UPDATE from AP Business Writers Patrick Rizzo and Jeannine Aversa

NEW YORK – Wall Street's biggest crisis since the Great Depression forced the Federal Reserve and central banks in other countries to pump billions of dollars into the world's banking system in an urgent bid to stop further damage.

The Fed plowed as much as $180 billion into money markets overseas. At home, the New York Federal Reserve acted to ease a spike in overnight lending rates by injecting $55 billion into the banking system.

Wall Street initially rallied, but it shed the gains and traded mostly lower by midday. Treasury securities and gold soared as investors fled to their relative safety.

Worries about even the safest investments intensified as Putnam Investments suddenly closed a $15 billion money-market fund after institutional investors quickly pulled out cash.

And the two remaining major Wall Street investment banks — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley — were under siege.

President Bush canceled an out-of-town trip to stay in Washington and to huddle with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Bush pledged to do all that was necessary to stem the crisis, whose fallout threatens the already fragile economy.

"The American people can be sure we will continue to act to strengthen and stabilize our financial markets and improve investor confidence," Bush said.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that if he were president, he would fire Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox.

The move by the Fed and its overseas counterparts was aimed at boosting waning confidence and getting banks around the world to open their ever-tightening purse strings. Banks have been increasingly reluctant to lend to each other as distrust spread throughout the financial system.

A sharp rise in borrowing costs has worsened as bad bets on dodgy mortgage-backed securities claimed more Wall Street giants. The total amount of commercial paper fell by $52.1 billion for the week that ended Wednesday, as banks cut back the short-term loans companies from small garment factories to General Electric Co. depend on for their daily operations. At the same time, the interest rate on those short-term loans more than doubled, with rates for seven-day paper jumping to 4.5 percent from 2.5 percent.

Asian stocks closed lower. European shares rose, but struggled to maintain the gains.

Russia closed its stock exchanges for a second day Thursday as President Dmitry Medvedev pledged a 500 billion ruble ($20 billion) injection into financial markets to stem a dizzying plummet in share prices — and quash fears of a repeat of the country's 1998 financial collapse.

The Dow Jones industrials slipped about 25 points in whipsaw trading by early afternoon Thursday after dropping 450 points Wednesday when a Fed bailout of American International Group Inc., one of the world's largest insurers, failed to settle the markets' frayed nerves. About $700 billion in investments vanished and trading volumes set new records Wednesday.

Investors were dumping their money into 3-month Treasury bills, considered one of the safest investments around. Gold prices spiked to nearly $900 an ounce, up $45.

Demand for super-safe Treasuries surged Wednesday, sending the yield on the 3-month Treasury bill briefly into negative territory for the first time since 1940. That meant investors were willing to pay more for certain Treasury securities than they expected to get back when the investments matured, a rare event.

Putnam Investments said its board voted to close the Putnam Prime Money Market Fund effective at the close of business Wednesday. Putnam will distribute all fund assets to institutional clients. The fund had required a minimum $10 million initial investment.

Putnam says the closure is not linked to the credit quality of the fund's holdings, but is a reaction to "marketwide liquidity issues." The money manager said investors pulled out money en masse Wednesday, even though the fund has maintained a safety benchmark of holding at $1 in assets for each dollar invested.

Putnam says the fund has no exposure to the financial firms Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual or AIG.

Worries that other financial companies could fail cast a pall on the central banks' step, however.

Morgan Stanley's stock price plunged again Thursday as the investment bank scrambled to strike a major deal or raise more cash that will reassure investors and prevent more damage to its free-falling shares.

John Mack, CEO of the bank — now one of only two large standalone investment banks — reached out to China's Citic Group overnight about a possible investment, according to a person familiar with the talks. Morgan Stanley is also considering a combination with retail bank Wachovia Corp. and an investment from Singapore Investment Corp., one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were still ongoing.

Goldman's stock was down nearly 15 percent to $98.40 in afternoon trading, having lost nearly 70 percent of its value in two weeks.

In Washington, the president was to meet with economic advisers, including Paulson, over much of the day. "Our financial markets continue to deal with serious challenges," Bush said. "As our recent actions demonstrate, my administration is focused on meeting these challenges."

Administration officials refused to attend a closed-door briefing with House Republicans Thursday morning, said Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the GOP leader, leaving their congressional allies in the dark about recent actions to prop up insurer American International Group Inc. and whether further bailouts might be on the horizon.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman, was peeved when Paulson twice canceled appearances he was to have made before the panel this week. Senators will have to wait until Tuesday to hear from the Treasury secretary and Bernanke on the financial meltdown.

A group of House GOP conservatives circulated a letter to Paulson and Bernanke calling on them to "refrain from conducting any additional government-financed bailouts for large financial firms.

Asked by lawmakers Tuesday if they could promise there would be no more government rescues of major financial institutions in the wake of the bailout for AIG, Paulson and Bernanke refused to commit, said several sources familiar with the conversation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

The Fed said it had authorized the expansion of swap lines, or reciprocal currency arrangements, with the other central banks, including amounts up to $110 billion by the ECB and up to $27 billion by the Swiss National Bank.

The Fed also said new swap facilities had been authorized with the Bank of Japan for as much as $60 billion; $40 billion for the Bank of England and $10 billion for the Bank of Canada.

All told, Fed action increased lines of cash to central banks by $180 billion to $247 billion.

For more than a year, investors around the world have watched with growing alarm as the U.S. economy, the world's largest, has struggled to right itself before being tipped over the edge by massive foreclosures, shrinking consumer spending and rising inflation.

The turmoil has swallowed some of the most storied names on Wall Street. Three of its five major investment banks — Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch — have either gone out of business or been driven into the arms of another bank.
After the government bailed out the insurer AIG and a money fund "broke the buck," investors were worried about the riskiness of most assets.

It was the fourth consecutive day of extraordinary turmoil for the American financial system, beginning with news on Sunday that Lehman Brothers, would be forced to file for bankruptcy.

The 4 percent drop Wednesday in the Dow reflected the stock market's first chance to digest the Fed's decision to rescue AIG with an $85 billion taxpayer loan that effectively gives it a majority stake in the company. AIG is important because it has essentially become a primary source of insurance for the entire financial industry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Houston's Real Problem: "Katrina Nightmares"

HAT TIP to Darwin Campbell at LoneStar Power Pages

How could FEMA leave thousands of black people stranded in New Orlean's flood-bowl in the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina? In very much the same way they are now overlooking thousands of black people stranded along the Gulf Coast, in the wake of Hurricane Ike... same tragedy... same story... but the outcome could be worse.

Black residents feeling like “Castaways”

“No phone, no lights no motor cars, not a single luxury, like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be”

HOUSTON- Houston has a real problem.

Many of its African-American men, women and children are having Katrina nightmares.

Only this time, they are not trapped in the Big Easy, they are trapped on the island called Houston.

It is these set of circumstance affecting thousands of residents who feel they have been left high and dry in dozens of homes and neighborhoods in the south Houston area.

On the dark streets and from house to house, the questions citizens are asking are:

Where’s FEMA? Where’s the help from Houston city officials?

CenterPoint Energy reported it had restored power to 500,000 customers but about 1.6 million are still in the dark.


Since her electricity went off after Hurricane Ike struck, Ashlie Vinson has spent her time worrying about how to care for and feed her three kids.

Living in a hot apartment with no water and ice, Vinson and her children, ages 6, two and one, are eating the last of their pre-packaged foods, wearing the same clothes and are running low on diapers and other basic paper items.

“It seems like it is every man for himself,” she said. “I am very disappointed with FEMA, the Red Cross and city officials. No one cares what happened to us here.”

According to her, the number of break-ins and lawlessness is increasing as days go by and she fears for her safety and the safety of her children.

For her, life has stopped, but her frustrations are growing with others who feel that no one is concerned about their plight.

“It’s a tough road ahead and I am not optimistic,” she said.


Debria Brown said her neighborhood has gone from the first to the third world in a matter of hours after Ike.

“We have been waiting, but no one has contacted us,” she said. “It’s a real mess down here and many of us are running low on supplies, have no gas or transportation out of the neighborhood,”

According to Brown, she has only seen helicopters pass overhead, but has not seen or heard from any representatives of FEMA, The Red Cross or the city of Houston.

People in the community have banned together and started the clean up process and are sharing goods, but still have no where close to secure needed clean water and ice.

She also contends that the media focus is more on Galveston than on the plight of inner city residents who were told to stay put before the storm hit.

The help stations are too far away for many of us with many being as far away as 15 to 20 miles.

“We need help now,” she said. “We need help here now.”


Jillian Brown and Kelly Vinson said resources are in short supply in the Pearland area.

Vinson said panic set in after people had a difficult time finding gas, water, ice and food.

“No one is talking to us, not FEMA or city officials,” she said. “Basic words on radio or in front of television cameras won’t do. We need action now.”

As she waited in line at the Phillips 66 near Meacham and the airport, she was one of 75 people lined up to get gasoline and frustrated that more is not being done.

“It may not look as bad as (Hurricane) Katrina was, but we sure are being treated like the people of Kartrina,” she said. “The words of the day are hurry up and wait. Officials don’t know the meaning of help.”

In her community, neighbors have started on their own and are pitching in to clean up hoping that help will soon be on the way.

Houston South

Food and water is in short supply in Joseph Demouchet’s neighborhood.

“Time is the main issue,” Demouchet said. “Right now, we are patient and living off what we have, but who knows how long that can last.”

In one neighborhood, some elderly residents living in assisted living are without power disabled and without oxygen – The city is yet to respond to their needs.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. “People should not have to live like this.”

Demouchet said waiting on FEMA and contacting them has been frustrating. Hours have been spent on the phone with little to no results. Even more frustrating than having no electricity is the lack of FEMA and Red Cross help stations that could provide a minimum amount of water and ice.

“We decided to pull it together ourselves,” he said. “If our government won’t help us, we decided to cooperate and help ourselves neighbor to neighbor.”

LUFKIN- As state officials focus on rescue efforts in Galveston, hundreds of residents from Beaumont and Port Arthur are sitting in shelter in Lufkin feeling forgotten and uncertain about their futures.

This week could be their last one in the shelter without more volunteers and financial assistance.

“I could never have imagined things being like this,” said Texas activist and filmmaker Ricky Jason. “Life is on hold and out of our hands and we have no one to turn to.”

Jason is living in a shelter with about 150 others from Beaumont, Port Arthur, Nederaland, Orange and Houston chased from their homes by Hurricane Ike last week.

“It appears Galveston is more important than Beaumont and Port Arthur,” he said. “Why is the media only focused on them, rather than us. Is it because we are Black folks needing help over here?”

According to Jason, residents face an uncertain future at the Keltys First Baptist Church Shelter in Lufkin because the FEMA, The Red Cross and state officials have not given any assurances that the shelter will continue to be open to stricken residents.

The shelter is operating on the bare minimums providing only the basics of shelter, bedding, hygiene and a minimum meal barely meeting basic daily nutritional requirements.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is demanding that FEMA respond quicker with help and assistance for displaced residents and continues to urge them to stay put.

“Residents who have evacuated, stay where you are,” said Gov. Perry. “The worst thing that could happen is for people who are in a safe area where there is food, water and electricity to return to communities that have yet to have essential services restored.”

Power companies in areas affected by Hurricane Ike continue to work around the clock to restore electricity. To date, power has been restored to 700,000 customers; however 2.2 million customers remain without power. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas has launched a feature on its website to allow customers to check power outages by entering their utility provider and zip code at

“We need help now because we can’t go home. We have no power, no sewerage and no water services,” a frustrated Jason said. “Now they are telling us we may not be able to stay here because of the lack of funding support for evacuees. I know what the homeless feel like now.”

Derrick Collins brought his family of 11 out of Port Arthur running from Ike, but now is worried that he may not be able to find shelter for his family after Wednesday.

“This is a communication issue and it makes me very upset,” he said. “FEMA is not talking to us, the Red Cross is not talking or helping us and don’t know what the future holds.

Both Jason and Collins said it is impossible to return to the city because officials are not allowing residents back in and damage to neighborhoods is so extensive that it could take another four to six weeks to restore power and services that could make conditions livable again in the cities.

“We feel tensions growing,” he said. “We want answers and we want it now.” As of Monday afternoon, 295 shelters were open throughout the state housing more than 34,000 evacuees; more than 720 truckloads of water and 560 truckloads of ice have been distributed throughout the storm-affected areas.

The State of Texas currently has 49 Points of Distribution (PODs) open. For a listing of the most current POD locations, visit The state will continue to supply resources as needed. There are also several FEMA-operated PODs open throughout the disaster area.

Texas residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Ike who evacuated to another state may call 1-877-541-7905 to reach the Texas 2-1-1 network and obtain information on how and where to apply for food stamp benefits or seek additional assistance.

Texas residents displaced by Hurricane Ike who evacuated to another area of Texas may call 2-1-1 from any Texas landline or Texas cell phone to obtain information on how and where to apply for food stamp benefits or seek additional assistance.

Janice Carrier, who lives in the shelter with her husband and grandchildren, said going back is not an option.

“We went back after Hurricane Rita and it was horrible,” she said. “Being here is far better than going back and I hope we are allowed to stay longer.”

She said the family groups have come together at the shelter and are trying to make the best of the situation.

While shelter personnel have been responsive, she worries that all that could come to a screeching halt without word from FEMA.

“They have treated us with dignity and respect,” she said. “The best part is we are with family. We have faith, feel blessed and will trust God to guide our steps.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tail Wagging the Dog wearing Lipstick

Does it make any difference what John McCain and Sarah Palin say of their opponent Barack Obama? Not according to the mass media. In their appetite for "red meat", they eat from Karl Rove’s table of bloody flesh. It makes no difference that the reporting is full of untruths, distortions, and outright lies.

NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell questions Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker about how a frivolous story like pig-lipstick comment by Barack Obama can be transformed into a national controversy.

Whitaker literally claims that Senator John McCain’s much ado about nothing is really a ploy in “driving the news cycle day after day”.

So, what is Whitaker implying? Is he saying that John McCain is manipulating the media by feeding them trivia non-stories in order to evade the real issues?

WHITAKER: I keep waiting to see what animal we're going to find -- put lipstick on tomorrow. You know, we've had pit bulls, we've had pigs. It's turning into a very campy version of Noah's Ark. But, yeah -- look, I think, on one level, this seems like a frivolous story, but I think it does tell us two things that I think are important to watch. One is how good the McCain campaign is at hand-to-hand combat, at basically driving the news cycle day after day. Obviously, it's true that they don't really want to talk about the state of the economy, they don't want to talk about George Bush's record, so they've got to get other things to talk about, and they're very good at that.

NBC News political director Chuck Todd said earlier the same day on MSNBC's Morning Joe that the story was "a faux controversy" and that the media had "taken the bait on this lipstick thing" which he called "a joke" and "laughable."

Eddie Griffin Commentary

It gets no plainer than this: The tail is wagging the dog.

How can the mainstream media be manipulated like this? Simple, John McCain initiates and controls the course of the conversation. The media cannot get a real substantive question in edgewise.

I suspect some of the top media executives have a vested interest in the McCain candidacy and in manipulating the outcome of this election. Television news personalities see it, but are too helpless to stop it. Those who do show a little backbone gets an assignment in Siberia.

Republicans Underhanded Racist Movie

The most pathetic case of Republican bred racism is coming to a theater near you, October 3rd, with the release of “The American Carol”.

The trailer to this movie, advertised as a comic satire aimed of moviemaker and political critic Michael Moore, The American Carol swipes at African-American dignity by exploiting former black child star, Gary Coleman, in the degrading role of a Coon Caricature like Stepin Fetchit.

This is political and it is not funny. Will white people laugh at this? God forbid.

Everybody knows that the former child star, Gary Coleman, has been an out-of-work actor for many years. Everyone knows that he suffers a birth defect that stunted his growth. As a child on the popular television show Diff’rent Strokes (1978-186), he was cute and cuddly to an African-American fan base, when few black actors were featured on tv.

In the latter years, he fell on hard times, went bankrupt, and attempted suicide on several occasion. He also suffers from a kidney disease and is in terrible need of a transplant. This is where Hollywood Republican moviemaker David Zucker and FOX News Commentator Bill O’Reilly comes in, not to rescue the destitute actor, but to exploit him for what dignity he has left. This is the same Gary Coleman, they rumored, who tried to sell his underwear on E-Bay.

In the movie trailer above, notice how the trickster try to caricaturize Barack Obama as being associated with Arab terrorists.

How much more subtle can the devil get?

September 11 Rally for Troy Davis Day

Georgians for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) will hold a rally for Davis on September 11, 2008, from 6 to 8pm on the steps of the Georgia Capitol.

(APN) ATLANTA – The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will hear from the attorneys of Troy Davis, a Georgia man on death row, on September 12, 2008, at 9am. Representatives for Davis had filed a petition with the Board requesting clemency this week.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Citizen Tags McCain and Palin with Unanswerable Questions

Reported by Eddie Griffin

The McCain-Palin Express made a whistle stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They thought they would stop at El Pinto Restaurant for a photo op. All went well, until they ran into Jim Angela and his wife Angela and 16-month old daughter Caterina.

The encounter was photographed, not by the mainstream media, but still shots from a camera phone. It is proof that Mr. Angela’s story is true.

HAT TIP to Jim Angela

Excerpts from: “How an AMERICAblog reader asked John and Sarah real questions at a photo opp today. Palin notes that Stevens is under indictment.”

An AMERICAblog reader was having lunch in Albuquerque, New Mexico today, when who should drop in for a substance-less photo opp? John McCain and Sarah Palin. And you'll be surprised to know that when both of them were asked polite but substantive questions by our reader, they refused to answer.

Our family today had an interesting encounter that I wanted to share with you. We were eating at El Pinto restaurant in Albuquerque. It is the most popular New Mexican restaurant in town, a large sprawling compound with a number of dinning rooms and patio spaces.

We were eating outside in the patio closest to the main road and had just finishing lunch when I saw the McCain bus drive by! It was followed closely by a number of police motorcycles, secret service SUVS, and press vans. It was obvious they were coming to El Pinto!

I decided this might be my one chance, to ask one question of each candidate. I carried Caterina (16 months) along with me to meet the candidates.

I worked my way through a number of other dinners and secret service and finally got to the patio on the other side of the restaurant. I could see John McCain ahead of me shaking hands with folks… I had a baby in one arm and an iPhone in the other!

McCain worked his way up to me and Cat and as I shook his hand, I asked, "Sir, I respect your service but, why were you against the GI bill?" Senator McCain, paused, he looked a bit surprised at the question and then he said, "Nice to meet you." I repeated the question and he repeated his non-answer. He quickly worked his way down the line. So much for straight-talk!

McCain worked his way up to me and Cat and as I shook his hand, I asked, "Sir, I respect your service but, why were you against the GI bill?" Senator McCain, paused, he looked a bit surprised at the question and then he said, "Nice to meet you." I repeated the question and he repeated his non-answer. He quickly worked his way down the line. So much for straight-talk!

I have been genuinely curious as to why he wouldn't support a bill so important to veterans (McCain opposed this bill from the beginning and then skipped the vote)… I think this reaction is not unique and the press must feel the same pressure that I felt. Perhaps that explains why his poor support for veteran issues isn't well known.

Sarah Palin was next! I couldn't resist trying for a better photo. It is still blurry, but talk about a close encounter.

Sarah first looked at Caterina said hello, and I shook her hand.

I asked, "Are supporting Ted Stevens this year?"

She replied, "He's under indictment you know...his trial is in September."

I replied, "But are you voting for him?"

She walked away without answering.

A Day in the Life of a Community Organizer

9/9/2008 9:54 AM

Before 8 am this morning, I had a problem with the Fort Worth ISD. My grandson had to go to the emergency room because some school cafeteria worker forced a salad (with cheese) upon him for lunch. Eating cheese is as deadly to him as peanut butter is to some kids. But the cafeteria worker would not listen to him, nor inquire into his medical records.

By 10 am, I was able to pull up my email, only to find out that Brother Bernard, president of Dunbar High School Parent-Teacher Organization, is in jail. His case is a misdemeanor treated by the judge as a felon. The court refused him bail. Now Brother Bernard wants to put me on his visiting list, so I can come and hear this ridiculous case.

As I write, the school problem appears to be settled. The vice principle assured me that my grandson’s lunch diet would be changed. In the meantime, I am concerned because a child’s voice was summarily quashed. I suspect a school culture that is harsh to students who try to explain their situation or problem to school personnel. I suspect there is a get-tough-with-students attitude behind it, something endemic to ghetto public schools.

TOP OF THE MORNING: Deal with the reason why our schools are failing and why kids are dropping out. (Ref. “Back To School? For What? Bumbling Bureaucracy, Student Neglect, Failing Grades Dog Public Education” by Darwin Campbell, Lone Star Power Pages, September 8, 2008)

Did I ask for this? As a child rights advocate and community organizer, it is my inheritance.

You see, my morning started at 7 am with prayer and a cup of coffee. On Tuesday mornings, a few faithful brothers who oversee the church flock come together to go through a long list of prayer requests and rendered up prayer to God on behalf of each and every one of them.

And, the day is just now getting started.

9/9/2008 11:17 AM
Eddie Griffin

Friday, September 5, 2008

Democracy Now! Amy Goodman Jailed at the RNC

Community Organizer ALERT I

From Eddie Griffin

Friday, September 05, 2008

Our friend and colleague Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, was arrested at the Republican National Convention while trying to question the St. Paul police about the detention of Producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. The Democracy Now crew was covering the story of street protest at the RNC when they were arrested. Amy was charged with misdemeanor obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer.

About Democracy Now
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Link TV ch. 375); and on the internet. DN!’s podcast is one of the most popular on the web.

Democracy Now!’s War and Peace Report provides our audience with access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts.

Perils of a Free Press
During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, as was a photographer for the Associated Press.

Eddie Griffin comments
It seems like only yesterday we were criticizing the Communist Chinese for brutal suppression of protesters and journalists who covered their story during the Beijing Olympics. Should we be surprised that the same has happened in St. Paul, Minnesota?

Police states are not just endemic to China, Russia, Zimbabwe, and other countries where human rights have no meaning. We find our country equally as totalitarian under the US homeland security policy.

What is amazing is the fact we saw the protests and arrests on national television and never considered the fate of the demonstrators. Had it not been for the arrest of Amy Goodman, we would have silently acquiesced to the city and state’s right to detain.

No, this is not right. Ms. Goodman is one of the finest journalists in the business. We have often relied on her report, when all we received from the mainstream media was propaganda.

(See Amy Goodman’s report on the Corporate Media)

Democracy Now’s Call to Action

Today it is critical that you make your voice heard in the Ramsey County Attorney and St. Paul City Attorney offices. Demand that they drop all pending and current charges against journalists arrested while reporting on protests outside the Republican National Conventions.


Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner

Susan Gaertner for Governor

St. Paul City Attorney John Choi

Send copies to

Community Organizer ALERT II

We all heard Republican Vice President select Sarah Palin devalue the role of community organizers. And since that time, several notable community organizations have been irate. Not even Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama could ignore the denigrating innuendo.

On Monday, September 8, community activists with blogs are going to make their voices heard. Barack Obama already has.

Obama To Palin: What's Wrong With Being A Community Organizer?

A Photo History of Community Organizers

John McCain ties the Score

By Eddie Griffin

Friday, September 05, 2008

I could care less about feelings, but Senator John McCain tied the score last night at the Republican National Convention. Therefore, I don’t even want to discuss how people feel about the RNC or the DNC. All I know is this morning’s polls showed McCain with 42% and Senator Barack Obama with 42%.

This reminds me of the battle won by one man. In a fierce war of attrition between two equal sides, the battle was won by the one lone survivor. The rest of the battle was lost to mutual annihilation.

The only way to beat John McCain is by one vote.

What is the attitude behind one vote? Lest we take it for granted that our one vote doesn’t count… lest campaign workers relax the last mile of the way or give up for lack of endurance. When the outcome will be determined by that single vote, each one vote is critical.

Both candidates offer change, but the question is: from what to what? To the money people, some changes will deplete their privilege, wealth, and status. They will do everything within their power to keep this from happening.

That’s what this election is all about: The one vote heard around the world that brings down the powers-that-be.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pit Bulls & Lipstick

Satire by Eddie Griffin

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Forgive my mental regression, but I’m like a 5-year old when it comes to understanding Sarah Palin’s “pit bull and lipstick” statement.

Mommy, mommy, look at the pit bull wearing lipstick.

That doesn’t even sound right? The only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick, and Sarah Palin wants to be known as a “hockey mom”. The pit bull analogy doesn’t make sense unless she is trying to convey toughness.

Damn! All we need is another pit bull in the Whitehouse. Listen to all the barking over there, and now she is the Big Dog, a pit bull. Shessh!

Let’s get the dogs out of the Whitehouse and don’t put a pit bull guard dog in the yard. Silly Dog, barking at the moon.

Metaphors can be used to a candidate’s detriment. Why didn’t little Ms. Sarah just come straight with us and tell us how tough she really is? What about her vengefulness? That’s part of the same brand of Palin toughness.

In a hardball game against the best political team in history, a woman has to be tough on one side and tender on the other.

Do not preach to me about family, pride, dignity, and morality, just because I am a Democrat. He that is without sin cast the first stone.

Don’t pick up the rock, Sarah. There is an unborn at stake.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

AfroSpear at DNC: HOPE Come Alive

TAVIS SMILEY | Black Women in Europe | PBS
Stockholm-based blogger Adrianne George shares her experiences of bringing the Democratic Party nomination of Sen. Barack Obama to Blacks in Europe.

TAVIS SMILEY | Jack & Jill Politics | PBS
Cheryl Contee (aka Jill Tubman) of Jack & Jill Politics explains how bloggers must get stories that go beyond mainstream TV coverage.

TAVIS SMILEY | Pam's House Blend | PBS
Pam's House Blend editor and publisher Pam Spaulding tells us how DNC access for bloggers changes the political landscape and discusses how LGBT issues have been addressed this election season.