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July 09, 2008

More Bad News

To one who is not in terminal denial, there seems no end to the stream of bad news emanating from all media sources, whether the TV set, the radio, the occasional anachronistic newspaper, or the web itself; each of which can now be searched and items found by Google with an efficiency that seems to be increasing by the week. Two recent examples, both heard in their entirety on my local NPR station will be cited and commented upon briefly.

The first is a riveting verbal description of the depressing conditions that exist at San Quentin, a venue already made infamous by several documentaries aired on MSNBC; but they had all missed the most important point made, almost casually, by Laura Sullivan in this one: most of the men now herded into a cramped prison gymnasium and living in dangerous, unhealthy, filthy, nearly impossible circumstances are parole violators! What that means is that the most populous and richest state in the union, which is now facing a budget shortfall of immense proportions is being brought to its financial knees by a combination of bureaucracy and a Correctional Offers Union long infamous for its intransigence,corruption and dishonesty.

The other bad news source was Terri Gross, whose interview of a knowledgeable expert on the mind-numbingly dull (to most of us) subject of mortgages allows an understanding of the latest grotesque scenario by which our leading financial institutions, once again, managed to parley their wealth, greed, and public trust into a gigantic scam that may have finally, by combining with a plethora of other missteps, brought the huge global economy to an unprecedented point of no return. It turns out to have been very simple: there was no oversight from the top down; every element of the scam, from the generation, sale, packaging, and (often multiple) resales of suspect mortgages was simply people doing their job. As the business grew ever more lucrative, so did the pressure to cash in. Had these people never heard of classic bubbles? Tulipmania, the S & L crisis? Enron? Surely the dot com crash?

The answer, as it turns out, is a resounding no.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 9, 2008 06:50 PM