PHOENIX, ARIZONA Topic: TiM READERS' FORUM
In this issue...Some reactions to... "Wall Street Boom, Main Street Doom," a CHRONICLES column, October 1998.
Some reactions to... "Stock Buybacks: Corporate 'Cabbage Patch' Dolls...," (TiM GW Bulletin 98/10-10, 10/31/98)
Some reactions to... "A Wall Street Bailout; a Main Street Sellout," (a letter to NEWSWEEK, Oct. 14, 1998)
Some reactions to... "A Mother of All Stings," TiM GW Bulletin 98/1-7, 10/21/98)
Some reactions to... "Clinton's High Approval Rating: What a Farce," TiM GW Bulletin 98/10-4, 10/17/98)
From TiM's "Ostrich of the Month" Award...
...To TiM's "Letter of the Month" Fan Mail
Some reactions to... "Wall Street Boom, Main Street Doom," a CHRONICLES column, October 1998.
U.S./OKLAHOMA:AMERICANS MUST TAKE CONTROL OVER POLITICAL PROCESS TO AVERT ECONOMIC DISASTER
PHOENIX - We received the following comment from Thomas Kip Walls, a TiM reader from Oklahoma. The author and contributor of this comment holds a Masters Degree in business, and has worked for the Federal Reserve Bank, making presentations on the role of monetary and fiscal policy. He has taught accounting, economics, and management in two state colleges, administered personnel and benefit programs, and performed forecasting and financial analysis, management, and systems analysis for Fortune 100 companies. And now, here's what Mr. Walls had to say about the subject TiM piece:
OKLAHOMA, Nov. 2 - The economic statistics are starting to further reflect the understanding I have been attempting to present to all political parties and economic planners reading these various forums. The September savings rate has dropped to the lowest level since 1938. This lack of savings and, in fact, "dissaving" (meaning, living off one's reserves), or the use of credit card and retirement savings, is not caused by negligent or ethical or immoral improper behavior of Americans. It is caused but by such unethical, inappropriate, self profiting, and anti-American economic policies of bureaucrats, executives, and politicians in both parties and all parts of the federal and state governments.
We further today heard of the fifth month of decline in domestic economic activity, which will perpetuate itself in more layoffs and less buying power. This is a self-fulfilling feeding, a spiraling self-defeating result of long-term domestic economic policy, and a dependence on international markets for the sale U.S. goods.
These self-defeating policies have been installed since the seventies, and are perpetuated by both parties through the New World Order, NAFTA's, etc. Americans must take control over the political process to avert economic disaster and further destruction of basic American freedom's and values.
Real wages, a measure of what a paycheck will buy, have also reached a 40-year low, which now is reflecting in the savings rate. I believe this will be a difficult situation for the Federal Reserve to control, as monetary and fiscal policy has a less broad-based domestic consumption, and production to stimulate. Both of these critical factors have been destroyed by the political mindset of the past 30 years, and it is that mindset that must be changed, or we will have more of the same as the domestic situation gets worse.
The current congressional attempt to change the bankruptcy laws is an indication, a symptom and a cover up of a failed economic policy. It is not the attitude of the majority Americans, but the negative attitude of the majority of politicians and planners to do what is best for the United States and Americans.
Thomas Kip Walls
TiM Ed.: And just think, Tom, on Friday (Oct. 31) the stockmarket rose because of the supposedly rosy economic figures (the 3.3% 3Q98 GDP growth). Never mind that two-thirds of it was fueled by consumer SPENDING - the flip side of the argument for savings which you're making. Never mind that earlier last week another report was released showed that the consumer confidence had declined to its lowest level in two years (the survey was done between Oct. 1-15). Which, of course, signals a downturn in the 4Q98 spending (and thus, the GDP).
Never mind that the 3Q98 corporate earnings were down 3% to 4%, making it the worst quarter since 1991.
Guess the stockmarket traders prefer to turn a blind eye to any negative news, and use the obsolete historical data to back up their "bullishness." Such is life on Wall Street when so much cash chases so few "blue chips." But it's also proof that the stockmarket has become decoupled from the country's economic activities. Like any casino, it is driven by cashflows. Period. All else is just a decorum to give it an aura of respectability.
UKRAINE:WHAT ABOUT THE EXCHANGE RATE DICTATORSHIP?
PHOENIX - We received the following comment from a TiM reader in Kiev, Ukraine:
KIEV, Ukraine - The authorities have come up with an exchange rate of 3.595 Grivnyas to the U.S. dollar, as a measure (of how) to deal with the "crisis".
Changing money at places other than the official Bureau de Change is illegal (in the Ukraine). To many Ukrainians, the concept that it is illegal is very deeply embedded; the concept that it might not be illegal is not even envisaged.
But let us think what it actually means: We are being told that an adult person is not allowed to look another responsible, legally independent adult in the face, and decide to give them one dollar. In exchange, they are asking for a certain number of Grivnyas, say 3.595, 4 or 10 Grivnyas. Then, they are not allowed to repeat the operation 100 times.
If two people do this, they have to worry about a third party, the Big Brother, pouncing on them to explain: "Hey, you two! Stop this free market nonsense. You want to make a deal? Well, each of you will have to go through a Bureau de Change where everything will be decided for you."
Isn't it an elementary freedom for two individuals to agree upon an exchange and carry on with it ? A cow for a goat, a goat for a chicken, an egg for a spoon, whatever. It's YOUR problem; your individual decision.
Fine, there is a crisis. Fine, (the government may) control some capital flows (although it will not work either). But to actually infringe so profoundly into peoples' lives, so as to dictate the terms of trade, is surely a violation of basic principles.
Fixed, artificial exchange rates are harmful to the economy in the first place. But perpetuating the perception in the former Soviet Union that citizens are mere numbers; cogs in the wheels of the economy in which they have nothing to decide; perpetuating this myth is surely causing more damage, psychologically, than the actual fixed rate.
I protest against this general state of affairs (and especially against the apparent overwhelming acceptance, apathy even, over such control measures, even by "free-thinking" expatriates). Or is it me going crazy?
TiM Ed.: No, Mr. Kotschoubey, it's not you going crazy. Every freedom-loving American would reason the same way, and should join you in your courageous protest against such a dictatorship of capital. Down with the " Bureau de Change!" "Long live the free market economy!" Isn't that what the western bankers who have installed such a system in the Ukraine have been telling you all along? So let them taste some of their own medicine. Let them practice what they preach. Or else get out and leave the Ukrainians to trade "a cow for a goat, a goat for a chicken, an egg for a spoon," as they have been doing for centuries.
-----------Some reactions to... "Stock Buybacks: Corporate 'Cabbage Patch' Dolls...," (TiM GW Bulletin 98/10-10, 10/31/98)
U.S./WASHINGTON:THE THOMAS PAINE OF WALL STREET HAS SOUNDED THE ALARM
PHOENIX - We received the following comment from Steffan Bertsch, a 49-year old lawyer practicing in the state of Washington, who has written many articles on the legal system and economics. He is also author of two books, and has been a legal guest analyst on over 100 radio shows, and a few television programs, too:
WASHINGTON (state) - Your articles are so refreshingly candid. Wish the media circulated them as widely as they deserve to be. The Cabbage Patch Dolls is written in such a plain language that anyone with eyes and ears should see and hear the message. The Thomas Paine of Wall Street has sounded the alarm. Bravo!
Steffan M. Bertsch
TiM Ed.: For those of the TiM readers who are not familiar with American history, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an English-born author, and a leader of the American Revolution.
U.S./MARYLAND:LOGIC IS NOT PART OF CORPORATE WORLD
PHOENIX - We received the following comment from Dr. Bela Szepesy of Maryland. He summarized our 3,000-word report as well as anyone could:
MARYLAND - A good piece indeed. So, IBM and Dell buy back their shares to inflate the price. The CEO's benefit by selling stock they own. Down the road this is hurtful to shareholders, because the company's future growth is imperiled. At some point, the stock price will fall as equity decreases and earnings plummet from the competition of companies that do invest in new and better products.
The other tragic side of this story is that big companies fail to pick up technology by buying young companies in the early stage. By the time a takeover comes, the company taken over is robust and expensive. It would be far better for IBM to risk capital on buying small companies with new tech and developing them. Alas, logic is not part of the corporate world.
Dr. Bela Szepesy
U.S./WASHINGTON:THREE STAGES OF HOW THE TRUTH WINS
PHOENIX - We received the following comment from Gerald Adkins of Saint Martin's College, in Lacey, Washington:
WASHINGTON (state) - Bob, you are obviously in peak form with this article. I feel I have had a business course on one of Wall Streets "shell games." I would feel better about all that you said if I didn't have all the few eggs I have for retirement riding on a [name withheld] retirement account. Your final comment about what is left in the account will no doubt come to pass.
Please note my new tag line. I may have stolen it from you.
Gerald Adkins, M.S.
Mr. Adkins' Tag Line: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed; second it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident." (Schopenhauer)
-------------Some reactions to... "A Wall Street Bailout; a Main Street Sellout," (a letter to NEWSWEEK, Oct. 14, 1998)
U.S./ALABAMA:I AM WITHDRAWING MY MONEY
ALABAMA - Good point, Bob. For myself (you may color me a "kooky-paranoid"), I plan on withdrawing from bank in July '99 - six months before Y2K - despite all brow-smoothers.
U.S./MICHIGAN:WHO SAID THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE?
MICHIGAN - Right you are. I just had to borrow $1,000.00 from my credit union (personal, unsecured loan) to buy a used vehicle. Over 24 months the rate is 18%. I've yet to see any kind of drop, this is exactly what I've paid all along, 9% per year. Worse yet, it's compounded MONTHLY...
Who said the truth will set you free? Sometimes it just makes you realize you are a slave...
U.S./IDAHO:DEBT IS GOOD - IF FOR A GOOD CAUSE
IDAHO - I'm assuming you have a cozy home that suits your needs already? How did you acquire it--by cash lump sum or mortgage?
To tell couples with children who are living in sub-standard housing not to borrow in order to acquire the house of their dreams, seems to me to be unrealistic and destructive of families and the economy.
The key is to live within one's means - get a loan when interest rates are low (like now), and make a substantial down-payment so that one's monthly mortgage payments are relatively easy to meet. Low interest rates benefit more than Wall Street. They help every American who still dreams of access to a piece of the pie.
One reason Amish communities flourish is that affluent patriarchs regularly loan to newlyweds at very low interest. The key is payments within one's means. Loans and lenders are a blessing. Without them, Americans would be reduced to a quasi feudal system and upward mobility would be a thing of the past.
Michael A. Hoffman II
--------Some reactions to... "A Mother of All Stings," TiM GW Bulletin 98/10-7, 10/21/98)
AUSTRALIA:IT'S NOT A CONSPIRACY
WOOLONGONG, Australia - I get Bob's stuff and am happy to receive it, because I respect Bob's intelligence, and the stuff he offers (is) an intelligent rival perspective to the mainstream media. I agree with your (and his) perspective of WHAT is happening, and I agree with you about its extremely undesirable consequences. There must be a better way.
Where I disagree with you guys is on the reasons for all this. You all seem to think it's a giant international conspiracy, and that the politicians and bankers and media are all in on it. There is simply no evidence for this. It can all be explained by simple stupidity and greed. The net effect of the many weaknesses of international political, social and economic systems is to give the appearance of some conscious effort on "their" part. It's easy to believe that "they" are moving in concert when "their" interests coincide.
The psychology of belief in conspiracies has been well explored, and goes back a long way in human history. Coincidences and conjectures and convenient interpretations are not enough - not with UFOs, not with the paranormal, not with Christianity (yes, I am a paid up member of the Australian Skeptics).
My weapon against all this stupidity is to argue for rationality and fair play in all things. In the words of the Monty Python song: "I hope there's some intelligence somewhere up in space, 'cause there's precious little here on earth". Examine the facts from some different premises, and see what happens.
U.S. (state unknown):THANKS; I HAVE SUSPECTED "THE STING"
U.S. (state unknown) - THANK YOU!!! I have suspected this sort of thing was happening (the sting described below), but couldn't figure it out and put it together...
Of course, it started when FDR created the FICA, and was well-established by the Savings & Loan Banking bailouts. And more recently by Greenspan's bailout of the hedge funds, with his admission that to let these private funds fail would bring down the world financial system. But, these geniuses running the hedge funds were smart enough to let the media say they were stupid and failed...
Again, Bob, thank you for all of your postings. I treasure them as one of the only sources of honest information.
-------------------Some reactions to... "Clinton's High Approval Rating: What a Farce," TiM GW Bulletin 98/10-4, 10/17/98)
PHOENIX, Oct. 17 - So Bill Clinton's approval ratings continue to run above 50%, despite the embarrassing Zippergate, the establishment media surveys would have us believe?
What a load of horse manure! Just check out Ross Perot's Web site (www.perot.org/cgi-bin/vote.pl) which provides for continuous voting on that and other questions.
But if you're too busy to browse the Net, let us summarize it for you. As of Oct. 16, 10:00 PDT, 93.4% respondents thought that Clinton should resign. And 91.1% thought he should be impeached if he didn't (resign).
Guess the Communist News Network (CNN), the National (deception) Broadcasting Network (NBC), and/or other "national" polling organizations must be surveying some extra-special kinds of extra-terrestrials Americans? For those of us with our feet firmly planted on Planet Earth seem to be saying quite plainly: "Out with the Billary duet!"
Oh, by the way... Thought you'd like to know that The Web Lampoon (an Internet publication) reported mockingly that Monica Lewinsky had entered a nunnery. Their reasoning? She should be eminently qualified to be a nun since she has been spending so much time on her knees. J
P.S. For more on "Bubba Clinton," check out the NEW YORK POST's Sept. 28 story, "I Was a Victim of Clinton's Reign of Terror: Actress."
AUSTRALIA:WHAT A BULL! NOT A FAIR POLL
SYDNEY, Australia - Perot's Web site or any similar "polling" technique is far from a random sample. Of course, those most likely to visit Perot's web site (or yours) are likely to be ill-disposed towards Clinton.
How would you regard a similar poll, with opposite results, on a pro-Clinton web site? You would rightly dismiss it as being a biased sample.
TiM Ed.: You're making a good point re. Perot's site not being representative as a random sample. But how do you explain the major (liberal) media being caught talking out of both sides of their mouth? Here's what another TiM reader said about it...
U.S./COLORADO:COULDN'T AGREE MORE...
COLORADO - I couldn't agree more. "Klinton" is waiting to be king of America. He wants his humble subjects to acknowledge that. He's in the wings polishing his head for the crowning event.
U.S./MICHIGAN:NO BULL! EXCEPT FROM MAJOR MEDIA
MICHIGAN - The online survey for either CNN or MSNBC had a poll that went directly contrary to what they themselves were reporting. Impeachment was something like over 70%... approval rating in the 40%-range... And this was a few weeks ago when they were reporting their polls as showing just about the opposite.
TiM Ed.: Hm... With all the practice the major media have had, one would think that by now they've at least learn to lie consistently. Besides, for all the statistical flaws, 91% plus DISAPPROVAL rating at the Perot site doesn't leave much room for the imagination, does it?
U.S./NEW JERSEY: TRY A BETTER POLL...
NEW JERSEY - Good grief, I wouldn't trust a Perot poll anymore than a CNN poll. Why don't you steer your readers to a poll site that has credibility? www.zogby.com
TiM Ed.: Because I had not heard of it until now. Thank you for the tip.
U.S./ARIZONA:... WE DID: THE ZOGBY POLL
PHOENIX - Here is what this independent pollster found out:
"Almost two out of three voters say that they are angry about the Clinton-Lewinsky Affair and a majority overall are angriest at the President. Seven in ten voters say that Clinton has no one to blame but himself and a majority agree that the whole affair dragged on because Clinton refused to tell the truth in the first place.
While Democrats lead Republicans by three points in the generic vote, it is customary in our polls that the Democrats must be up by five in order to break even. What is of further importance here is that one in three of those "undecided" voters say that the Clinton-Lewinsky Affair will be important in determining their vote for Congress and by a factor or thirty-five to twenty, they are more likely to vote Republican than Democrat.
By a factor of two to one, voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who either voices support for or is campaigned on behalf of by the President."
The latest answers to the most important constitutional question were as follows:
"If it turns out that the President encouraged anyone else to lie under oath, do you think he should consider leaving office?"
Yes 58%; No 36%; Not sure 6%. r
U.S./MASSACHUSETTS:MORE MEDIA ACRONYMS
MASSACHUSETTS - Gary Kendall of MIT offered us his choice of media acronyms:
CNN: Clinton News Network
ABC: All 'Bout Clinton
NBC: Nothin' But Clinton
NPR: National Propaganda Radio
PBS: Propaganda Broadcasting System
-----------------------TiM's "Ostrich of the Month" Award...
PHOENIX - Returning to our "Ostrich of the Month Award"... here is an October reaction to the Clinton poll which we got from a TiM reader whom we shall identify only as T.K.:
"The reality is that people really don't care what goes on behind closed doors when it comes to sex in high places. IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID."
...To TiM's "Letter of the Month" Fan Mail
Re: "Put the UN Justice on Trial" - letter to the WSJ (Sept. 23)
The depth of your knowledge and your ability to tell a forceful and moving story are remarkable. Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of the truth, and thank you for including me on your mailing list.
------------------For your smile J -
MASSACHUSETTS - Here are some actual exchanges from MA courts, recently reported in the MA Bar Association journal:
Q: How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: All your responses must be oral, okay? What school did you go to?
How Do I Reload This Damn Thing?
WASHINGTON - Nominated for quote of the year is the statement made by Representative Dick Armey. When asked if he were in the President Clinton's place, would he resign, responded: "If I were in the President's place I would not get a chance to resign. I would be lying in a pool of my own blood hearing Mrs. Armey standing over me saying, 'how do I reload this damn thing?'"
Braggers Not Welcome in Arizona
LAS VEGAS - A Californian, a Texan, and an Arizonan, attending a convention in Las Vegas, were standing in a seedy bar enjoying a few drinks.
The Californian grabbed his wine spritzer and knocked it back in one gulp. Then he threw the glass against the back wall, smashing it to pieces. He told the other startled drinkers that the standard of living was so high in California that they never drank out of the same glass twice.
Next the Texan finished drinking his margarita, and also threw his glass against the back wall. He loudly proclaimed that in Texas not only were they all rich from oil, but they had so much sand that glass was cheap, and he never drank out of the same glass twice, either.
Next, the Arizonan drank his beer, drew a revolver, and shot the Californian and the Texan. As he was returning the gun to his holster, he told the wide-eyed bartender that in Arizona they had so many Texans and Californians that they never had to drink with the same ones twice.
Also, check out other TiM READERS' FORUMS... April 1998, May 1998, Part I, May 1998, Part II, June 1998, July 1998, August 1998, September 1998, October 1998, November 1998, December 1998, Part I, December 1998, Part II