Talking Points 10th October

Hi all it’s Karnie with you..Every waking day is spent thinking about the credit crisis. It’s certainly become second nature to me. I wake up every day wondering, “What’s the latest? And have things improved?” Today shares across the globe have fallen, despite intervention.

Yesterday’s upturn was short lived. You’ve all been talking about it on the blog..BUT has every page in the book been turned, has everything possible been done to try and make the situation better? If not, what more needs to be done OR what more can be done? Or as Priya has posted..Is there an upside to the global credit crunch? You’ve been posting your comments here.


Below are two stories we’ve looked at in the past but would you like to discuss them again?


One month after the Olmypics the Chinese media tightening is back.  Are you surprised? Is press freedom in China just impossible to achieve?


More countries are abolishing the death penalty, that’s according to a latest report. Amnesty International say, Asia leads the way globally as the continent that carries out the most executions. Is the abolishment of the death penalty across the world inevitable?

245 Responses to “Talking Points 10th October”

  1. October 9, 2008 at 19:13

    Hi every one, I came across this topic on BBC Africa Have Your Say. Is letter writing dead? When last did you send a letter rather than a text or email? Have we lost the art of letter writing and should we revive it?

  2. 2 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 19:13

    Evening Nelson

  3. 3 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 19:18

    @ Nelson

    I have no idea when I wrote a letter. Although I do like to write stuff by hand

  4. 4 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 19:26


    2006, a letter to the girlfriend. Email and text are great for work and socializing, but the messages which are very personal are still best left to pen and paper. The idea that you have spent time preparing and planning what your going to say BEFORE you start and that you walked to the post office and spent some money (even though small) still means a lot to the receiver.

  5. 5 Jessica in NYC
    October 9, 2008 at 19:29

    Hi Kelsie—

    BBC World Service did a program called “In the Shadow of the Cartel”
    In Mexico, the government has deployed thousands of troops in an attempt to break up the powerful drug cartels but what effect is it having?

    Maybe I’m looking at this through a narrow and bleak view of the current state of the economy, but it seems like the governments spends a lot of money on useless programs. I do not know what the alternative is and am not saying let’s not fund anti-drug programs, etc. Isn’t it time to refocus the “War on Drugs”?

  6. 6 Venessa
    October 9, 2008 at 19:31

    I still send hand written thank you notes. I don’t really write letters but when someone does something kind for me I find it is best to express my gratitude by taking the time to write and send a thoughtful note.

  7. 7 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 19:33


    I think the Mexicans should be able to have assistance from other countries which are near Mexico but the other countries may have better equipment and more experience to destroy the cartel

  8. 8 Jennifer
    October 9, 2008 at 19:39

    @ Nelson

    Re: Letter Writing

    I think with people using technology more from telephones to computers there has been a drastic decrease in letters sent snail mail. The last letter I wrote was to my cousin awhile ago. I send greeting cards for special occasions but I don’t send handwritten letters otherwise. Sending email or texting is easy but I do like writing so I wouldn’t mind if it regained popularity. In my opinion, it’s more personal.

  9. 9 L Jackman, Gdansk
    October 9, 2008 at 19:42

    Letters are nice but they do take time, both to write and to get to the recipient. They can be both more romantic, official or threatening (just think of those big red letters) so I think the pen and paper carry power.

    As for Mexico, surely all interested parties should be together towards a co-ordinated and comprehensive solution.

  10. October 9, 2008 at 19:45

    @ Robert/Venessa, to be honest the last time I wrote a letter was when I wrote my final high school exam. In English language, we were required to write letter. Emails/text have simply taken over.

  11. 11 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 19:48

    Burglar 76 abandons career because it has become too difficult. Even criminals now affraid of doing a days hard work?


  12. October 9, 2008 at 19:50

    @ Jennifer, IMO opinion, I think the art of letter writing is becoming extinct. In these days of instant communication, the days of letter writing are probably numbered.

  13. 13 Jessica in NYC
    October 9, 2008 at 19:51

    @ L Jackman, Gdansk and Robert1987,

    Certainly, this is a problem many counties face. My comment was not geared at Mexico, but in general at all countries flighting the “War on Drugs”. I recently learned from a link that another blogger posted somewhere on WHYS that Alaska is the has the highest number of crystal meth users in the US. It seems like all countries in North, Central and South America are affected by drugs. So how are we winning the “war on drugs”?

    Also how do drugs affecting the rest of the world? What are your governments doing?

  14. 14 Shaun in Halifax
    October 9, 2008 at 19:51

    Isn’t the message more important than the medium?

    I don’t handwrite messages or letters because my penmanship is sloppy. But I can easily take as much time to thoughtfully construct, write and edit an email as I can a letter. How can a handwritten message be more ‘personal’ if the contents are the same as a typewritten one?

    If the only difference is a tactile vs. electronic display, why not print the email?

  15. October 9, 2008 at 19:53

    I’m wondering if American voters believe that there are people who vote twice, or if there are people hacking into voter machines trying to change voter counts?

    I hear the paranoia often, but I just can’t get my brain around conspiracies to rig elections… am I being naive?

  16. 16 Shaun in Halifax
    October 9, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Jessica

    I agree with you that it is time for a rethink of drug wars. From a psychological point of view, people start substance abuse as a way to escape something else. The addiction comes from use over time (or with coke/crack/meth, instantly). I’m not a huge fan of safe injection sites, but they are a way to reach some of the people who need the help. It’s very difficult to remember that an addict is a human being and not “a filthy drug addict who threw away his life and deserves to be locked up b/c he’s a criminal.”

    The last stat I heard is that something like 50% of the global economy is a result of the drug trade. It was either that or ‘off-the-books’ black-market type stuff.

  17. 17 Julie P
    October 9, 2008 at 20:02

    It’s a sad sign of the times when even Hugh Hefner loses a girlfriend. 😦


  18. 18 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 9, 2008 at 20:02

    Hi all!
    This is my take about the cartel problem in Mexico:

    The drug cartels have gain many power and spaces in the past years. Every day (or almost every day) someone dies because of drug-related violence. Public executions are “normal” now.

    Sometimes military intervention is the only way to tackle this kind of violence. The police is either corrupt or ineficient.

    I have to tell you, we are in big trouble… The drug industry has a lot of money, power and intelligence.

    The only viable solution that I can think is legalize the stuff that is making this industry so rich and powerful. Not only here, but in the U.S. too (the No. 1 consumer in the world and our neighbour). It would become less attractive to this criminals and the whole “appeal” will disapear.

  19. 19 Jennifer
    October 9, 2008 at 20:05

    @ Nelson

    I think that we have became too impatient to wait. Text messages are sent immediately and so are emails. We don’t want to put too much time into something either. Writing letters is more personal. Sure, you can thoughtfully type an email but there is something for having something written by hand in front of you. I don’t think I could see it…printing off a message and sticking it into a greeting card? 😀 I couldn’t do that! 😀

  20. 20 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 20:07


    Shaun, often the way the message is presented is often as important as the message itself.

    Letters require more time, concentration and effort than email. The lack of a delete key means that the writer needs to think through the message before they write. They can’t edit it for mistakes. The need to keep handwriting neat means somebody has concentrated on the letter (which takes more effort than typing I find). Then somebody had to spend money on posting it, and walking to the post box to post it. All that takes more effort and commitment to the message and reinforces it. Your telling the person that either they or the message is really important and I will go out of my way to tell you it even when I have an easier method.

  21. 21 Roy, Washington DC
    October 9, 2008 at 20:10

    @ Nelson

    I sent a letter last week to cancel a gym membership, but that was only because their membership agreement requires such notices to be sent “certified mail, return receipt requested” — which is kind of hard to do with email. Before that, I have no idea when I last sent a letter…it had probably been a couple of years.

    @ Jessica

    Agreed. Far too much effort is being spent on vilifying relatively harmless things like marijuana (no, I don’t use marijuana, or any other drugs for that matter), which takes away from being able to fight larger problems — like Mexican drug cartels.

  22. 22 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 9, 2008 at 20:11

    @Letter writing

    The last time I wrote a letter was for my grandma. The reason: she doesn’t have a computer 😀

    When I was a teenager I wrote letters to my friends and cousins from out of town… that was fun. I had tons of stationary paper and pens of every possible color. I used to decorate my letters with stickers or attach dried flowers… Very romantic indeed…lol!

  23. 23 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 20:14

    @ Luz

    I tried to but I gave up although one letter I am writing is over 700 pages long

  24. 24 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 20:37

    Non conventional method of splitting the assets in a failed marriage.


  25. 25 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 20:43

    Newly weds clean up litter to pay for a honeymoon.


    I found the last comments slightly ironic. The couple were congratulated for helping the town meet its environmental targets so that they could then go and book business class transatlantic flights!

  26. 26 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 9, 2008 at 20:45


    That would be a book, right?

  27. 27 Venessa
    October 9, 2008 at 20:47

    re: letter writing

    I enjoy getting letters in the mail and I like sending them. It’s fun to get mail that isn’t a bill, advertisements or offers to get me to borrow money I don’t need. My mother-in-law is the only person I know that is diligent about writing letters even though sending an email or picking up the phone is easier. It is a caring practice that deserves appreciation. Every time I take my in-laws to lunch or do something for them it never fails that I get a letter in the mail and I always look forward to them. Unfortunately her rheumatoid arthritis is making it increasingly difficult for her to write. She has typed some letters on the computer and mailed them out but given her challenges to write legibly I don’t think her gesture is any way diminished.

  28. 28 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 20:52

    @ Luz

    Technically speaking yes but it ONLY has a circulation of ONE

  29. 30 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 21:24

    (I’m back, Robert–many thanks)

    Morning/Afternoon/Evening (choose one) all!

    Letter writing has piqued everyone’s interest–I admit it has been a very long time since I sat down with a blank sheet of paper to handwrite a letter. In my experience, computers surprisingly make many people less verbose, despite the less intensive physical act of typing vs. handwriting. The topic feels especially relevant at the moment–I am digging through the correspondence of one John Jay via Columbia Library’s online portal.

  30. 31 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 21:26

    To take a lead from Nelson:
    What about written communication in general? Is the digital age reducing the quality of our written missives? I am currently tutoring students in the “art” of note-taking via spiral and ink pen; it’s a wholly new experience. Would the authors and writers of the past be at home in our digital age?

    A meditation on the “impermanence” of modern communication….from an unlikely character:

  31. 32 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 21:26

    @ Kelsie

    Take it away

  32. 33 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 21:28

    @War on Drugs:
    Many people around the world question the United States’ “prohibition” of illegal drugs…is it easier or more beneficial to attempt to stamp out drug use completely, or should we attempt to solve the illicit flow of narcotics through regulation and decriminalization?

  33. 34 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 21:38


    Paulson seems to be thinking about taking some examples from our side of the pond as well. He’s implied that he is consider a part nationalization like the British plan.


  34. 35 Dan
    October 9, 2008 at 21:39

    If the compensation committees from all of these Wall Street firms that paid executives hundreds of millions of dollars did their work in secret are they criminally liable under R.I.C.O. statutes?
    But if they gave away the hundreds of millions with the consent of the stockholders aren’t those stockholders civilly liable as the popular myth is is that the stockholders are the owners of the corporation and if that is so there is clear negligence here.

  35. 36 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 21:50

    @ Robert

    Yes I heard about that and frankly I hope it works

  36. October 9, 2008 at 21:51

    I tnk dat d digital age hs reduced d quality of r Coms. w’r 2 adctd2txt lingo n soundbytes.
    translate here

  37. 38 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 21:53

    Oh my gosh–that’s priceless.

  38. 39 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 21:54

    @ Dan

    I thought it would be the person who owns the majority of the companies shares,

  39. 40 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 21:56

    The modern tech destroying the written word?

    TV didn’t destroy the cinema. The two found niches in which they could co-exists. The internet and conventional written materials should find a similar setup. We will use the internet to find information, and books for entertainment reading. We will submit formal reports from our laptops but take notes from a live speaker using pen and paper as it is more flexible whilst working at speed.

    Perhaps just as there are two forms of most languages, a written one and a spoken one, a third may develop. This would be for quick internet and txting communication. This third form would exist along side the other two, complementing both and not diminishing either.

  40. October 9, 2008 at 22:04

    @ Kelsie, it takes great discipline not to use informal lingo when writing official texts.

  41. October 9, 2008 at 22:09

    @ Jennifer, one of the guests today on BBC Africa Have Your Say said he proposed to his wife via a letter and received her response via letter after a couple of weeks. He said he made the moment special and after 18 years or so he still has the letter and envelope. 🙂

  42. 43 Roy, Washington DC
    October 9, 2008 at 22:11

    @ Robert

    In looking at what that third form of language would be like, I’m reminded of the commercials that ran on TV here in the USA a year or so ago where the mother asked her daughter about her texting, and the daughter replied with lines like “OMG INBD” and “IDK my BFF Jill.”

    It’s fine for texting, but that’s where it needs to stay.

  43. 44 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 22:16

    @Roy and Robert:
    I remember that commercial–the trouble with TxtMsg is that it does not stay with text messages, but filters over into daily writing, especially among the younger generation, who are too often attempting to write entire essays in this “dialect.”

  44. 45 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 22:19

    I remember the ad as well. I don’t know whether it was a good or bad thing that I understood what the kid was saying!

  45. 46 Dan
    October 9, 2008 at 22:24

    Haven’t they always told us that stockholders are the “owners”. The one who owns the majority of the shares might have the biggest civil liability.
    It looks like we are in a full blown stock market crash today.

  46. 47 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 22:27


    Thats the generation after me like my teenage cousines

    @ Dan

    Yes I suspect you are wright

  47. 48 Peter Gizzi UK
    October 9, 2008 at 22:27

    Letter Writing.
    I think it all depends on the individual. I do write letters but use the computer to print them as my hand writing is so dreadful even I cannot always read it. Before the computer I used a typewriter. Still got it actually who knows might need it again one day. About 10 years ago a job application required a hand written letter. I filled an A4 page with legible writing but it took me over one hour. Not practical really. A broad nibbed fountain pen would have been better I think?

    Many of my friends do not have computers so we write or phone. My phone calls tend to be lengthy, 1 to 2 hours!

    I do not have a mobile phone and really do not want one. They have their uses I accept but when people in the pub sit at the counter texting I do wonder why they didn’t stay home? I go there for the company and conversation and do get annoyed when someone has to take a call. Suppose I’m showing my age. Grumpy old man.

    I have noticed in the pub quiz younger people cannot spell at all! I have to supress laughter sometimes. Also the art of conversation seems to be dieing (spelling?) too?

    Do love my MP3 player but never have it on really loud. I do try to be considerate. Won it in a pub raffle.

    Overall I think modern technology is fantastic but it does not stop me being human I hope? Hopefully it does not rule me either?

  48. 49 robert1987
    October 9, 2008 at 22:35

    President Bush is going to be issueing a statement about the globle financial situation shortly.

  49. 50 Anthony
    October 9, 2008 at 22:39

    @ robert

    Here is what he’s gonna hit in his speach:

    1) These are trying times that could result in something horrible.
    2) America is the best country
    3) America has the best, most resilient people
    4) We need to act fast or something bad will happen
    5) We, thanks to government, will overcome

    There, now you don’t have to watch it

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  50. 51 Dan
    October 9, 2008 at 22:50

    Is Bush capable of saying all that in one speech?

  51. 52 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 22:51

    (thanks, Robert; that’s the last time, I think)

    A ironic moment: I was just in line at the local sandwich shop, where–standing behind me in the line–a young lady was talking into a cell phone and used the phrase, “IDK, IMHO”–which she pronounced, “Eye-dee-kay; em’hoe”…. and so on.

    Seems the lines are truly blurred between the three, Robert 😉

  52. 53 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 22:53

    That can’t be a Bush speech! There’s nothing in it about “freedom,” “liberty,” or “terrorism”!

  53. 55 Julie P
    October 9, 2008 at 23:09

    @Dow hits it lowest point since the fall of the Roman Empire.

    Consider it a fire sale on stock.

  54. 56 Pangolin-California
    October 9, 2008 at 23:11

    @ Letter writing. I still have a pile of letters that were sent to me by an out-of-state girlfriend over 20 years ago. They were stuffed with dried flowers and still have a faint scent.

    The best letter I ever wrote was the thank you note I sent to my ex-wifes mother on then girlfriends birthday. Guys, do this at least once in your life as long as you can do it sincerely.

  55. 57 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 23:12

    Yeah, while Nero fiddles away.

  56. 58 Julie P
    October 9, 2008 at 23:13


    I don’t know about you, but it’s beginning to feel a lot like the Titanic.

  57. 60 Robert
    October 9, 2008 at 23:17


    Nice analogy, especially when you consider the fate of 1st class vs steerage passengers.

  58. 61 Julie P
    October 9, 2008 at 23:18


    I’ll read that when I get home. That’s a long read and it’s quitting time.

  59. 62 Venessa
    October 9, 2008 at 23:22

    re: war on drugs

    Drugs will NEVER be eradicated from society. Get over it people; humans like to get sideways once in awhile and have been doing it for hundreds of years! You don’t have to approve of someone else’s actions. Who gives anyone the right to be the moral police? I don’t care what people do to their bodies so long as it does not infringe on another individuals personal rights. If someone wants to stick needles in their arms or snort some cocaine I don’t care. It affects their body, not mine.

    The government could probably make a lot of money on regulation & taxation of drugs rather than spending millions on an unsuccessful crusade to do away with them.

  60. 63 Kelsie in Houston
    October 9, 2008 at 23:25

    Going to play Devil’s Advocate here…
    The counterargument (which I’m not endorsing, merely offering up for the record) is: sure, it doesn’t affect the rest of us, until a drug user, through the influence of his/her narcotic of choice, commits an assault, drives impaired, or does something incredibly foolish and distinctly illegal because of substance use. This argument holds that such occurrences would become more prevalent as a result of legalization because drugs would become available on a wider scale…

    Just to throw that out–again, not endorsing 😉

  61. 64 Venessa
    October 10, 2008 at 00:02

    Kelsie ~

    I expected that response. We certainly haven’t stopped drunk drivers from killing and the same is true of any other drug people choose to use that can indirectly hurt other people.

  62. 65 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 00:05

    Ok–so would you agree, then, that if drugs were legalised, they would be so in a framework similar to that we impose on alcohol consumption?

  63. 66 Venessa
    October 10, 2008 at 00:15

    Kelsie ~

    Absolutely I would propose a similar framework that is imposed on alcohol. The problems that drugs bring including alcohol will never be solved but it seems like instead of wasting millions trying to eliminate drugs perhaps we could make money regulating use instead.

  64. 67 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 00:18

    Agree wholeheartedly; if you can’t beat it, regulate it (and make some cash in the process).

    Also: are you a moderator?

  65. 68 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 10, 2008 at 00:26

    I don’t think the amount of addicts will greatly increase if drugs are legalize.

    What I know is that legalizing drugs and taxing people from consuming them will destroy a very dangerous drug industry that has killed many people in order to keep profiting for something that, if it was legal, wouldn’t have such value. You are only seeing this problem from the side of the consumer.

    Two months ago a “comando” of narcotraficantes executed another narcotraficante in the middle of a street in my city. They had semiautomatic weapons. My husband and my younger daughter were 4 cars away from the execution. Luckly nobody, aside from the executed drug dealer, was hurt. But it could happen. We are feed of that kind of violence.

  66. 69 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 00:30

    Hi, Luz Ma:
    I understand what you’re saying–do you think the violence and gang warfare in Mexico might end if the U.S. ended the “War on Drugs,” or would a second black market emerge under the newly “legitimate” one?

  67. 70 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 00:42

    The Bush speech will at 3pm UK time today so I think that is going to be 9am your time in the USA

  68. 71 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 00:48


    That would be the Central time zone. That would mean 10, 9, 8, 7,6, and 5 am.

  69. 72 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 00:50

    Where did you hear about this? I can’t find it on a major US news source…

  70. 73 Roberto
    October 10, 2008 at 00:51

    RE ongoing financial crisis:

    ——- As we wait for the next shoe to drop of the giant cyclo mega milipede to drop, here’s a tasty little blurb to wrap the daily warped news reports with:

    Just before the infamous wall street crash of ’29, General Motors had climbed up to a 4 billion capitalization value. This back when Studebaker, Dusenberg, Packard, Fraser-Nash, Stutz, American Motors, were still around. Only Ford and Chrysler left.

    Anywhoo, GM became the number one corporate entity in the world for decades, leading a chairman to remark, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the US. Well, at the close today, GM has less capital value than in 1929, less than 4 billion value.

    And the US technically ain’t even in a recession yet.

  71. 74 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 00:54

    Row between Great Britain and Iceland threatens to get nastier…

    Am I the only one who is amused just slightly by the headline?
    Gordon Brown to sue Iceland…over frozen bank deposits.

  72. 75 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 10, 2008 at 01:08

    I don’t know if it would end, but for sure will decrese.

    Alcohol and cigarretes are legal here and in the States. Of course there is a black market, but it is not dangerous in terms of public security. I think it would be the same with drugs. We just have to look back in history… e.g. The Alcohol Prohibition in the U.S.A. at the begining of the XX century.

  73. 76 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:10

    India is celebrating the festival of Dussehra

  74. 77 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:14

    Kelsie here in the UK we apparently used anti terrorism laws to seize the assests of one of the banks operated in Iceland. Personally I find this a bit of an over reaction.

  75. 78 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:20

    Just read that on the Guardian–wow. It does sound as though the Icelandic decision has caused serious disruption throughout the U.K. on the local level…Mr Darling’s conversation with the Icelandic PM must be very alarming to #10…

    Mr Brown said he would take “all appropriate measures” to protect the British economy at PMQ yesterday–he must have been serious.

  76. 79 Venessa
    October 10, 2008 at 01:25

    Roberto ~

    “Well, at the close today, GM has less capital value than in 1929, less than 4 billion value.”

    On the upside maybe we’ll see some new car companies using alternative energies emerge in the US as a result. I don’t think that would be bad at all.

  77. 80 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:28

    @ Kelsie

    Personally I think that at the end of this if Gordon Brown is relieved of his duties then I would think and Alistair Darling would either step down from the job of chancellor of the excheor ( finance minister ) or just get fired

  78. 81 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:30

    @ Venessa

    Have General Motors decided on the faite of one of there leading brands which they own as in HUMMER

  79. 82 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:31

    When does Parliament stand for elections next? Another year and a half? Do you think Mr Osbourne would make a better Chancellor of the Exchequer (since that’s looking like who it will probably be) than Mr Darling? It sounded like Mr Osbourne was actually pushing the government to go nearly this far, if not further, during PMQ…

  80. 83 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:32

    I don’t either–although cheap oil appears to be striking back to an extent…

  81. 84 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:33


    For the election the latest it can be held is May 2010

    Did you heard about the british MP who was arrested in Columbia

  82. 85 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:35

    No–who? George Galloway? lol

  83. 86 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:37


    My local MP Michael Fabricant the armed police thought that the white powder was Cocain and in fact in was only innocent coffee maide

  84. 87 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 01:39

    In my state, we at one time in new york state,
    had problems with smuggling…..

    What country are “u” talking about…

    Thanks for being moderator…

    @India is celebrating the festival of Dussehra…
    I hope everyone in India, will have a joyous holiday…


  85. 88 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:41


    The DPRK has banned IAEA inspector access to its nuclear plant at Yongbyon. What to make of this? Grandstanding petulance, or a matter of genuine concern?

  86. 89 Robert Evans
    October 10, 2008 at 01:45

    I would have apolied pressure to my friendly local councillor do talk to the people above him to get my MP out of there custody

  87. 90 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 01:49

    It is not a very good idea!!!

    *Row between Great Britain and Iceland threatens to get nastier…
    Here is the problem, it will get nasty and i am very sorry for the innocent
    by-standers in the conflict…


  88. 91 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 01:53

    @MP arrested,

    I’m a tad disappointed it wasn’t John Prescott. He looks so much like Jabba the Hut, I would love to see Jabba the Hut dragged off in cuffs.

  89. 92 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:54


    We will NOT go to war over this issue instead we will just sue them if we cant deal with this issue diplomatically

  90. October 10, 2008 at 01:56

    Um, Kelsie, I havene’t read everyone on the thread, but I would suggest you check out John Mulvey’s post on the “Who is to blame” heading.

    He used a word and a tone certainly not acceptable on the WHYS blog. Hw was answering sombody and I did not see how far back the animosity went.

  91. 95 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 01:56

    John Prescott’s twin:

  92. 96 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 01:56

    @MP arrested

    I would have preferred it to be Gordon Brown

  93. 97 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 01:57

    Sure thing–that was before I got on this evening…I’ve read and pulled it for review. Thanks for being attentive.

  94. 100 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 02:01

    @ Count Iblis

    So now its the turn of the Nikkel 225 to lose a substial amound

  95. 101 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 02:07

    Personally I would want all of the stock markets suspended for up to a week and so that would give the Central Banks to start to sort this financial issue out

  96. 102 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 02:10

    Thanks for the correction…I know, that would be a great lawsuit–Since Steve is a lawyer, he could answer the question in what location would the lawsuit be filed in….

    @ The Markets in Asia:
    It is getting to become a very amount of market value,
    being erased….


  97. 103 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 02:20

    @ Dennis

    If Iceland was part of the European Union then the case could be taken to the EU Parliament

  98. October 10, 2008 at 02:38

    Question – and do remember that I am an old git.

    The US election has now hit a new depth – guilt by association, Republican reading Obama’s books and asking did he sell cocaine on the streets and whatever is next – the question mainly is – how low should campaign politics be allowed to go?

    Should what is being said be allowed?

    Would this kind of insinuated race hate be allowed in your country?

    If there is an attack on Barack Obama due to people crying out “Kill him!” at John McCain rally should John McCain be prosecuted for allowing this as incitement?

    a reference to shouts of “treason,” “terrorist” and “kill him” by audience members at McCain events following mentions of Obama. The Arizona senator himself has yet to directly address the negative comments.


    Sorry for not adding link.

  99. 106 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 02:40

    Will it probily would in certain areas of the country that is

  100. 107 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 02:52

    @ Robert1987,
    Thanks for the information…According to some research
    i did since–the last post….The country is suing, the case
    could be file in the United Kingdom courts system—since
    it is the U.K. case!

    The idea of suspending the markets for a period of
    time, i.e. a week….in a way-sounds like a brilliant
    idea in theory!

    I am very happy, that the couple didn’t put the wedding on
    the credit card….


  101. 108 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 02:53

    Evening, Will–good to see you:
    Of course I can’t speak for anything but the United States–however:
    I am disappointed to see us engaging in this behavior in an election during which the eyes of the entire world are quite literally upon us.

    Because “free speech” is in high demand here in the United States, I don’t think there is any recourse—and in all fairness, both parties engage in this base mudslinging. What I would hope is, instead of having this all disallowed, that the electorate will look past this to the real issues…

  102. October 10, 2008 at 02:58

    Hi Kelsie

    I am all for free speech, any one who knows me knows this is the case. What I am getting into is that, OK – the Obama camp are not 100% clean on this issue, but I have yet to hear such vitriol that calls for the other candidate to be killed – that is getting onto very scary and dodgy ground to me – especially when McCain can easily tell the crowd to stop it and it is neither wanted or encouraged.

  103. 110 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:02

    Ok now I understand that (“You betcha!”)…I don’t think Mr McCain could be held personally responsible, but I do think his campaign should disavow such ridiculous extremism.

  104. 111 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 03:02

    To the banking crisis in Iceland…i found this link for a story
    related to it…on 9 October 2008….



  105. 112 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:03


    The McCain campaign is desperate to win, it’s not going to get disavowed.

  106. 113 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:04

    I agree–but I think he should.

  107. 114 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:06

    Kelsie, I think McCain should pull out the race, but he’s not going to.

  108. 115 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 03:06

    Soooo….when does it cease being a campaign rally and become a lynch mob?

    Very dangerous ground indeed.

  109. 116 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 03:08

    @ Julie P

    If such behaviour is perceived as something that could aid a campaign, then heaven help America. Does such extreme behaviour actually impress any significant number of voters? I’d have thought a disavowal would help the campaign far more than silence but, if I’m wrong, this is just sickening.

  110. 117 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:10


    Right now he’s singing to his base who lapping it up. Conventional wisdom says he’s turning off the indy’s, the very people he needs to win.

  111. 118 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:12

    @Bob and Julie:
    The Republican campaign has lately been much less circumspect in projecting the “positive” image of its candidate vs. the negative image of polarizing the attendees through diatribes against “that one.” I don’t think it would reach lynch mob proportions (but people in large groups are known to do ridiculous things—the little tea party in Boston a couple hundred years back, for example), but the specter of one could harm Mr McCain’s chances in states where the memory of “lynch mobs” remains stark.

    It seems to me that Mr McCain’s disavowal of these remarks would be important to his political survival in key swing states, since he would not want to be associated with blatant death threats on his opponents.

  112. October 10, 2008 at 03:17

    I agree with Julie to some degree – McCain is STILL campaigning with Palin, yet she hasn’t been out to do press interviews – Jesus some even say that she is being lined up for 2012.

    She is demanding about interviews, ask Obama that, this and the other – where is she on the talk shows, or God forbid CNN?

    These people are getting mad, and that, as Bob rightly says, the whole scenario is turning more into a southern lynch mob rather than a political rally – why does the US media put up with it?

  113. 120 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 03:19

    Put another way, a few “ifs”:

    IF Obama wins, and

    IF there is an assassination attempt against him…

    …will this footage be all over the news showing that the Republican party and their supporters advocate assassination as a method of political change?

    A very dangerous road to start down.

  114. 121 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:20

    I have no idea why the media is putting up with it, but it is exposing the underside of the Republican Party that I have wanted others to see for a long time – they are dangerous extremists.

  115. 122 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:20

    The networks are frustrated with Mrs Palin’s intransigence, but have apparently decided to accept it as reality, which is frustrating in turn for the electorate.

  116. 123 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:22

    @World markets:
    Nikkei-Dow down 11% ( – 954)
    Australia down 7.4% ( – 271)
    South Korea down 9%

    ..any hopes for a rally tomorrow in London and New York?

  117. 124 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 03:29

    I think that would be literally PR Armageddon for the Republican Party, regardless of culpability.

  118. 125 Jennifer
    October 10, 2008 at 03:29

    @ Nelson

    I think that’s very sweet! My future husband would win brownie points for something like that. 🙂

  119. October 10, 2008 at 03:31

    Bob –

    I think that was the real intention of my question. Just a little foresight is needed and the McCain camp should be telling people to stop – because violence that can erupt, and I don’t think that the lipstick poodle is as white as white as she claims.

  120. October 10, 2008 at 03:33


    I thought you were married and had 3 kids! But congratulations on getting married. 🙂

  121. 128 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:33


    Funny you should say that, Anderson 360 just said that on his show.

  122. 129 Brian
    October 10, 2008 at 03:35

    @ Will

    “- why does the US media put up with it?” Because the media is in the business of making money. News (real, imagined, speculated etc.) is just the way they do it. Whatever makes more money will probably get aired.

  123. October 10, 2008 at 03:36

    😐 Well I ain’t THAT white-haired yet, Julie!!

  124. 131 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 03:38

    Re: Credit Crunch

    Up until now I’ve largely subscribed to the “everyone is to blame–borrowers shouldn ‘t have overstretched and lenders should have been more careful” theory.

    However, did anyone else clock the interest rates being talked about by “John in Houston” on last night’s WHYS show?

    He borrowed at 8% (already well over the odds) but had budgeted for fhis and only defaulted on the mortgage when the interest he was paying hit 16% and finally 22%. These interest rates bear no relation to what was happening to the base rate being set by the Fed and I would defy ANYONE to be able to cope with those numbers. Heck–he would have been better off charging his house on a Visa card!

    Does anyone know if these numbers are typical for a “subprime” mortgage? If so, I was wrong to think that part of the problem was stupidity on the part of borrowers–it was greed by the lenders, pure and simple.

    Are there laws against usury in the USA?

  125. 132 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:38

    Will, that day is coming! 😉

  126. October 10, 2008 at 03:40

    Brian –

    I do agree, of course, but wouldn’t it be up to media outlets to be a bit more forthright in what they have to say about such happening?

    It is ridiculous that this should be aired in such a way.

    I must admit – one thing that did cross my mind was that those who shouted such things were Republican plants – those cries were extremely close to the mics. But if that were the case – wouldn’t that make the situation even worse?

  127. 134 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:42


    I spoke with a woman yesterday who has a subprime loan. She said her ARMS was first at 9%, but after it was over the interest rate went up to 16%. The bank did come back and lower the rate to 9%, so she wouldn’t default.

  128. October 10, 2008 at 03:43


    I am distinguished!

    And as a disclaimer about John McCain – if you do look at the YT video when the “terrorist” shout was made he did look really taken aback by it.

  129. 136 Brian
    October 10, 2008 at 03:44

    @ Will

    I have lost faith in much of what the Media presents as “fact” these days. (Except, of course, the BBC!)

    There was a time when I actually thought the media outlets were there to help us poor unenlightened ones to understand what was happening, but once I settled in my mind that they are simply making money, like any other company, I was able to step back and view the presented info much more circumspectly.

  130. 137 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 03:51

    Will, you are the most distinguished man on the blog!

  131. 138 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 04:11

    @global markets:
    Singapore is officially in a recession: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24475055-601,00.html

  132. 139 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 04:14

    Julie and I were talking about this outside the blog:
    Al-Jazeera offers a program called “The Listening Post” critiquing the actions and coverage of the worldwide media:

    A recent program called into question the relations between the financial reporting network and the businesses themselves, arguing that the ties and amicability of these reporters and their networks–riding on friendship and goodwill from the businesses themselves–might have influenced reporting in the run-up to the present parlous state of the global economy…

  133. 140 Kelsie in Houston
    October 10, 2008 at 04:17


    “Nigerians are compulsive text senders…”

  134. 141 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 04:18

    Well, the Australian stock market is playing the “ME TOO” game with huge losses again today.

    As usual, this has nothing to do with the fundamental values of the companies listed…it’s just just the speculators guessing what might happen elsewhere in the future.

    I don’t know how we do it but surely it’s time that share values reflected the true values of the companies involved, not the manic depressive lemming-like nature of the typical market traders.

  135. 142 Jennifer
    October 10, 2008 at 04:21

    @ Will

    I am definitely not married…I have no kids, and I am not engaged….

  136. October 10, 2008 at 04:23


    Once the DI hits 7999 or 8000 people should start buying again. Cos it gunna go up from there.

  137. 144 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 04:38

    True, Will.

    ….which goes a long way to show how this is more to do with a cynical method of making a profit off market fluctuations than the values of the listed companies.

  138. 145 Brian
    October 10, 2008 at 04:42

    @ Bob,

    I soooo agree. Speculators are as close to evil as I can imagine. Especially when the world food markets become commodities, and are simply used by people behind computer screens to make money for themselves

  139. 146 Jessica in NYC
    October 10, 2008 at 04:43

    I love this story!!!! From the Chicago Tribune: Dart for president

    I sheriff in Illianos orders his officers not to follow court order and stop eviciting people from their resisidents. As it turns out, many renteres are being evicted even though they pay their rent. The landlords were not paying their mortgages, so the court order the tenants to be evicted. The Sherriff is hoping that banks will change their policies even though he could be held in contempt by the court. I’d vote for Dart as President!

  140. October 10, 2008 at 04:56

    Bob –

    If it drops below 7500 – the world really is caving in and we had better get ready to skin cats for fur and use dogs for hunting. 😉

  141. 148 Julie P
    October 10, 2008 at 04:58

    Will, I seem to remember the DOW getting near 7000 or 8000 right after 9/11. We didn’t fall over dead.

  142. 149 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 04:58

    Oh well. It had to happen.

    The US “National Debt Clock” no longer HAS ENOUGH DIGITS TO RECORD THE DEBT!

    Really, this is pretty serious–but ya gotta laugh!

    Is there such as thing as a “sub prime government bond market”?

  143. October 10, 2008 at 05:11

    But, Julie – you had a war to keep the GDP up. 😉

  144. 152 David N in Oregon
    October 10, 2008 at 05:45


    I like that Sheriff story too. All this has me wondering: If things really do unravel, will we be without a strategy (understanding that the government’s consists entirely of military force) to refrain from destroying our own communities through rioting & looting?

    On occasional trips through LA, it strikes me that the place would be a war zone in about 10 minutes if anything happened to the water supply. Pretty tenuous situation and we’re really all in it given our dependence on basic food, warmth & often water needs coming from elsewhere.

    If it just stopped coming? Would we be able to come together as communities and ration what was on hand until a replacement set of motives (other than the current dollar flow system) was in place to drive the distribution of necessities?

    Or would we turn on each other, loot & burn, get killed battling the police & military & ourselves…destroy the infrastructure and reduce chances of stabilization?

  145. 154 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 06:13

    @ Kelsiie re: financial reporting’ incestuous relationship with Wall Street

    It was long noted that the financial reporting could only sing one note and that note was BUY. Buy this, buy that, buy more, buy now, buy when the market is up, buy when the market is down.

    Why would you believe these guys?

    @ Bob- We call that the government bond market here in the US.

  146. 155 David N in Oregon
    October 10, 2008 at 06:18


    Both, it sounds like. No different that any other tribal mentality (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian) trapped and left to fester in a cage.

  147. 156 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 06:30

    @ David re: strategy for reshaping shattered economies.
    See http://www.culturechange.org, or John Michael Greer

    I’ll tell you what’s not going to work. Giving the banks the keys to the printing presses and no leash around their necks.

  148. 157 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 07:00

    Hi Pangolin

    So here’s a taste of a world without credit, just dipping a toe in for the last few weeks. How do ya like it so far? 🙂

  149. 158 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 07:13

    Asian markets are a sea of red right now.

    All Ordinaries down 8.20%
    Shanghai Composite down 2.85%
    Hang Seng down 7.03%
    BSE 30 down 5.00%
    Jakarta- CLOSED
    KLSE Composite down 0.13% (a bright spot)
    Nikkei 225 down 7.49%
    NZSE 50 down 4.72%
    Straits Times down 6.51%
    Seoul Composite down 4.13%
    Taiwan Weighted down 1.45%

    Get your diving bells and helium tanks because she’s headed for the bottom folks. The whole global economy. This is what happens when you let primates play with the big boys toys.

    Nature BATS Last

  150. 159 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 07:24


    16% seems extremely unlikely, and 22% is somewhere between insane and impossible. I think that guy was having a spot of fun.

  151. 160 David N in Oregon
    October 10, 2008 at 07:25


    Well, I live in Portland, and the story on the site you referred to assumes a MUCH more enlightened population than we actually have here.

    I’d like to think there would be something like a local logic applied to any nation-wide crisis. The corporations have had their turn at bat. We should list the worst of them alphabetically and sanction them to death one by one…like they do to governments they don’t like.

  152. 161 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 07:36

    Jonathan- I’m a doomer, you should remember that. It pretty much looks the same with triple scoops of schadenfreude.

    I’m looking forward to the auto-de-fe for the bank CEO’s followed by the bonfire of the vanities. All in theatrical form performed by the San Francisco Mime troupe of course.

    The same free-market-fundamentalist niggits that decided that the US couldn’t afford socialized health care are demanding socialized banking. Never mind the people who suffer and who are ill; THIS we have money for.

    I believe I’m in sympathy with the protest signs recently seen on Wall Street lettered “Jump!! You (deleted)’s!! Jump!! Perhaps a suicide booth installed next to the bankers heart.

  153. 162 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 07:47

    @ Jonathan

    Re: Interest Rates

    I must admit to some scepticism myself but see Julie P’s post at 3:42AM which adds some credence to this story.

    If the rates being charges DID double from “high” to “Yowch” and then “Boinggggg” then this is a significant part of this saga that we haven’t heard yet.

  154. 163 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 08:22

    Seventy-five Wachovia executives are taking a cruise to, well, celebrate I guess. When you run a major financial institution into the ground you deserve a Mediterranean cruise on the company dime.

    You can only hope that the captain is named Odysseus.

    @ David- I’m not saying that it’s a plan people will adapt. I do think it’s a better plan than continue driving our big pick-ups until we run out of oil and then stand around slack-jawed. T. Boone Pickens and Sara Palin aren’t going to get us to a stable state economy. The people and the banks were promised endless growth economies.

    Reality, always wins in the end. We conform to it or get ground between the stones of her gristmill.

  155. 164 Robert
    October 10, 2008 at 08:22

    Sub Prime

    I’ve heard of similar high rates (20+ %) in the past. The logic is that the person signs on at the low rate and then they are trapped and pay the bigger amount for the rest of the loan period.

    Now from the banks perspective, they are a big risk for default hence the need for a big returns. I think everybody would understand why this is done. What is bad and unforgivable are the tactics empolyed with cheap rates and covering up of the variable rate aspect (as Anthony mentioned in yesterdays on air, with one of the banks trying to cover up just how bad it could be).

  156. 165 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 08:31


    So it’s just the same old line as always, then? Well, at least it’s out in the open, unencumbered by economic voodoo or other trimmings.

    I’ve seen you use the word, but don’t quite know what “doomer” means. As nearly as I can tell, it means embittered malign nihilist?

    I have little patience for people who think that killing and eating the rich would improve the lot of poor people, because they’re wrong and reckless and (if anyone would listen to them) potentially destructive. But at least they want to help someone somehow.

    Do “doomers” only want pain and destruction, as an end in itself, not even a means? They sound like spiritual terrorists. How sad and empty they must be.

  157. 166 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 08:44


    Well, whatever the numbers, it’s not really “a part of the saga that we haven’t heard yet.” At least, we’ve heard it in the US. “Subprime” refers to the borrowers’ credit; people with bad credit are worse risks and thus pay higher interest rates. The alternative is not low interest rate loans to them, but no loans to them, More accurately, no legal loans to them. The rates they then pay to pawn shops and mafiosi in the shadowy and black markets respectively are in quadruple digits.

  158. 167 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 08:46

    @ Robert

    Re: “High risk” mortgages

    The man interviewed yesterday on the WHYS programme claimed that he was pushed in the direction of the “sub prime” lender not because of a bad credit rating but simply because he’d never used much credit before. Obviously we can’t know if he was telling the truth but he sounded credible on air.

    I’d be very curious to know if there are any other indications that people were being pushed in the “sub prime direction” by major lenders in order to maximise the interest rates they can charge.

    Frankly, I’d have to say that rates in the 16-22% range actually increase the chance of default because those numbers would be unsustainable for most people–a few percent over the standard rates would have been far more realistic.

  159. 168 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 09:02


    No, no, it’s not as you describe. A homeowner is not “trapped into paying the bigger amount for the duration of the loan period.” When rates go down, or your credit gets better, or the value of your house goes up, or a better offer comes along for whatever reason, or you go out and find one, you simply refinance–replace the existing mortgage with a new and better one.

    Anyone who has ever bought a house knows that the process involves a hip-deep pile comprising hundreds of pages of disclosure documents of all sort, including the exact terms of the loan, in excruciating detail, with breakdowns and descriptions and amortizations and analyses and explanations, all legally mandated, right down to the size of the type. I can’t imagine how anyone could call the mortgage industry “unregulated” with a straight face.

  160. 169 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 09:03

    @ Jonathan~ Was there an argument for or against something or did you just need all those words to express your sense of superiority?

    Here is a nice essay detailing the differences between cornucopians, moderates, and doomers in energy related arguments. They are shorthand terms for people with various opinions on future energy availability and distribution. Note; one can still be a doomer believing in mal-distribution of adequate resources will be the default.

    I’m sure you find it hard to believe but I actually traffic in ideas rather than platitudes and textbook solutions once in a while. Those so inclined may find a contribution I made to understanding why house prices will keep falling here. I’m a minor voice there but rather satisfied nonetheless.

    Why should you bother with a broke-up handyman like my anyway?

  161. 170 Robert
    October 10, 2008 at 09:26


    You are trapped for the duration of the loan. If you have a 5 year loan at a variable rate then you either 1) have to continue paying for the full term.
    2) buy your way out with whatever the pentalty rate is.

    Given that a lot of the sub prime borrows don’t have significant cash reserves, option 2 is unlikely to be open to them, so they are stuck.

  162. 171 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 09:29

    @ Jonathan re: your statement…. When rates go down, or your credit gets better, or the value of your house goes up, or a better offer comes along for whatever reason, or you go out and find one, you simply refinance–replace the existing mortgage with a new and better one.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Next you’ll be telling us that real estate agents can be paid to represent homebuyers.

    Or…. The altruistic practices of credit card companies are……

  163. 172 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 09:30


    Unfortunately I didn’t hear the show, but your description is detailed enough to respond to. First, your final conclusion is quite right. That kind of interest rate is obviously impossible, and I can only think there was chicanery involved.

    Now some technical stuff about credit ratings: If you haven’t used credit, or not recently, or not much, that’s a bad mark against your credit rating–or “score”–because you don’t have a significant credit history to look at and rely upon. So the two are not opposed–little credit history and bad credit rating.

    I have heard that some borrowers were signed up for subprime mortgages when theiy could have gotten better ones. But let’s step back and think about this. If there was ever and time and place where capital was abundant and lenders were chasing borrowers and lining up and begging them to borrow, this was it. The little guy–the person without much means, who would have been doomed to live out his days as a renter, watching house prices climb faster than his income, and unable to save a 20% down payment–never had it so good. Mortgages were available with no down payment, and/or less stringent qualification requirements, all kinds of things. It was a textbook “buyer’s market.” Was it possible in spite of all that to get a bad deal? Sure. It always is. But it wasn’t easy. Someone who doesn’t bother to shop around for the biggest purchase of his life is making a pretty obvious mistake.

  164. 173 Robert
    October 10, 2008 at 09:31


    If you have no credit history then you are a high risk to a bank. Because your an unknown entity you are considered a risk until you prove otherwise. Granted less of a risk than somebody with a bad credit history but still a risk.

    Hence the advice by some that you take out a credit card when your 18, spend about £20 every month on it and pay it off in full. By the time you apply for the serious loans for houses and cars you’ll have a credit history and have a better chance of getting a loan.

  165. 174 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 09:33

    @ Jonathan

    Perhaps old news in the US, but there are several aspects of what came out last night that I found “new parts of the saga” for me.

    First is the possibility that people who might have been able to qualify for standard mortgages in the past were being pushed into the sub-prime market. So far I’ve only heard one suggestion that this might have been the case but think it may merit some further investigation.

    Second is the absolute interest rates themselves. When I heard of higher-risk mortgages at increased interest rates I assumed they be a few percentage points up, not double or almost triple the norm. This strikes me as way over the top and, as I said earlier, likely contributing to the possibility of default rather than protecting the lender.

    Third is the story that interest rates seem to have been arbitrarily raised to totally outrageous levels. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to Google what was happening to the Feb base rate for the past few years but, from memory I would have expected mortgage rates to move by a relatively small amount, not move from 8 to 22%. If true, something very wrong was being done.

  166. 175 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 09:43

    Re: Credit ratings

    Perhaps things are different in the USA but I was once told by a UK mortgage broker that credit ratings are less of an issue for a mortgage than for most other forms of loan.

    There were two things that mortgage lenders were most interested in:

    First, they want to be satisfied that the home itself is worth more than the value of the loan since the house is their security. Since a mortgage is a secured loan, the lender is largely protected whatever happens to the borrower.

    Second, they want to have evidence that the borrower has sufficient disposable income to meet the anticipated payments. Even though the loan is secured, obviously they’d rather avoid the hassle and expense of foreclosure.

    This is not to say that credit checks aren’t done–they are–but the two “biggies” are a surveyor’s valuation of the house and evidence of income. A person with a limited (but not adverse) credit history is certainly not automatically rejected–unless of course in the “brave new world” this could be used as an excuse to double interest rates!

  167. 177 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 09:52


    Thank you for the energy “doomer” link; I will read it. Your other link, to the “oftwominds” blog, I had already read when you posted it before. Congratulations. I was a tad dubious about some of your assumptions, including that neither income nor population in the U.S. would grow, and that unemployment would get so high as to force millions of people out of their houses and into their relatives’ houses, but you made a forceful case with color and passion and wit.

    I was disturbed to see you tonight taking such pleasure at the idea that people should suffer and die–even rich people and the otherwise unworthy. I guess I’m just funny that way. You have said something recently about personal bad times, and I’m sorry to hear it. I wish you the best.

    I know full well that you “traffic in ideas,” and I enjoy discussing them with you. I don’t mean to be a “bother,” though, and if you would rather I didn’t, just tell me so, and I will stop.

  168. 178 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 10:01

    Man Succumbs To 7-Year Battle With Health Insurance

    September 22, 2008 | Issue 44•39
    DENVER—After years of battling crippling premiums and agonizing deductibles, local resident Michael Haige finally succumbed this week to the health insurance policy that had ravaged his adult life.

    More at link. 😉

  169. 179 Katharina in Ghent
    October 10, 2008 at 10:02

    Hi Bob,

    Re: Credit ratings: This reminds me of something I saw on CNN about a year ago, when the credit crunch first hit. The woman (financial adviser) said that whatever you do, don’t cut your credit card in half. Get rid of your debts, but don’t get rid of the means to get credit, because otherwise you kill your credit record. If you’ve never had a credit card because you didn’t need it, you’ll have a much worse credit rating than someone who’s always in debt and just barely makes the payments. This type of banking I find rather disturbing, because it rewards the financially unreliable much more than the responsible ones.

  170. 180 Katharina in Ghent
    October 10, 2008 at 10:03

    @ Pangolin / duct tape:


  171. 181 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 10:04


    That’s EXACTLY the phrase you used about oil company stock, after I explained that profits went to stockholders as dividends, a couple of weeks ago: “Next you’ll be telling me that just anyone can just go and buy this “‘stock.'”


    I’ll tell you that mortgages can be refinanced, because they can. I’ve done it, friends and lovers and acquaintances have done it, gazillions of people have done it. It was a huge part of the mortgage business.

    I’ll tell you that buyers can pay real estate agents to represent them, too, because they can, and do. It’s called a “buyer’s agent.” It’s not common, but it’s possible, and it’s done.

  172. 182 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 10:15


    We were talking about mortgages, which are not 5 years but 30 years. Some had “prepayment penalties,” some didn’t, some were (relatively) higher fixed rates and some were variable rate, with low initial rate so people could qualify who otherwise couldn’t, and they had all sorts of rates and terms. They were easy to compare because the rates and terms were disclosed in standardized ways in accordance with strict Federal laws. Because there was so much liquidity, the market was competitive, and borrowers could shop around for good rates and terms.

    The alternative to “greedy bankers making unsound loans” is greedy bankers NOT making loans to anyone except the already well-heeled, which locks out most people from ever owning a house, or starting a business, or getting ahead in any substantial way. Unfortunately, it looks as if that latter scenario is going to be the case for a while. It’s a whole lot less fun for everyone.

  173. 183 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 10:23

    Jonathan~ The triple scoops of schadenfreude was a bit of a snark. When several members of my extended family of myself have been working for twenty-odd years to get some attention to environmental and social justice issues seeing your enemies go splat has it’s pleasures.

    The poor have been with us that whole time and at least in the US their plight is worse now than it was in 1980 or 1990. Twenty years of Republican rule in the last twenty-eight haven’t exactly raised up the working poor. Median wages have been flat for much of that time in “real” dollars.

    I am pessimistic by nature but also creative and constructive. That means I put thirty-pound felt on my own roof when fifteen will do because I know that a leak will cost me far more than the added cost of the material. Two coats of fiberglass went on my dory and it doesn’t leak a drop.

    As a self-proclaimed “doomer” I seek out solutions that will lift up people with minimal resources. I can’t assume that I or anyone else will have parts imported from anywhere. As a reminder I sit here with an obsidian hand axe next to my computer. The human race was uplifted by the understanding and manipulation of sharp rocks. We can start from there again; if necessary.

  174. 184 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 10:28


    I know I’m always the “know-it-all,” but I’ve made it a personal mission to know about credit ratings/scores/records, and I really do know this one. It’s not quite as simple as you describe.

    If you’re heavily in debt and making minimum payments, your credit score will be low because you’re overextended. If you’ve never had credit, your score will be low because your reliability is unknown.

    Apart from obvious bad stuff like late payments or worse, the most important factor is your debt expressed as a portion of your available credit. Hence the advice you saw about not closing a credit card account. The scoring company doesn’t know your income, but they know how much total credit you have available to you, and how much of it you’re using. The smaller portion of it you have borrowed, the better, pretty much without regard to the absolute amounts.

  175. 185 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 10:33

    Bankers could retain the mortgages that they make rather than establishing a risk and selling it on. The AAA ratings those investments were given mean nothing because the investors losses exceed the rating agencies worth by several orders of magnitude. The ratings agencies, like the assesors, make money by making their clients happy.

    Real estate agents represent themselves getting paid and nothing else. I have yet to hear of a buyers agent refusing to pass a bad mortgage if that would have meant a loss of comission.

  176. 186 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 10:49


    We could compare statistics about standards of living, but our main departure is about that notion you have of “enemies,” and the very dated construct of class warfare that informs you that rich people are the reason why poor people are poor. It just isn’t true. But I won’t argue that with you, because you’re committed to your framework. Also because that business about banging rocks together suggests a romantic notion of preindustrial society–poverty unimaginable in this day and age–that you describe in wistful tones. Heck, we could start all over again. We could indeed, but (a) the results would be the same–some people would be richer than others, assuming a free society–and (b) it would take thousands of years again. So we’d do better not to, doncha think?

    So your message is mixed: You’re filled with righteous outrage at the notion that the citizens of the richest country on earth might not be getting richer at the pace you’d like them to, while at the same time you’re concerned that they’re using too much energy already (although they would use far more if they were richer), and you have contempt, loathing, and white-hot hatred for the ones who do get rich.

  177. 187 Zainab
    October 10, 2008 at 11:29

    -Is the abolishment of the death penalty across the world inevitable?

    I don’t think that the world should abolish the death penalty.. why should we?? there are people deserve to punish.
    If the killers and criminals don’t have their right punishment legally by the court, it will be a chaos.. cuz all people will try to acheive justice themselves. People won’t be able to see the killers alive..
    But i think what we should abolish is the way of death penalty.. that is for example i don’t approve using the electric chair …etc.

    yours truly
    Zainab from Iraq

  178. 188 Robert
    October 10, 2008 at 11:39


    The most importent word in your reply is “was”. Previously people could take a series of mortgages to take advantage of the introduction rates. In such a market people are not trapped because there are plenty of oppotunities to move.

    Now the mortgage market is much tighter it is more difficult to switch mortgages. The result is people who can’t move providers, HAVE TO stay with the current one. They are trapped in these deals and can’t escape the higher rates. This is starting to happen in the UK, especially with people from the failed lenders like Northern Rock. NR is trying to shrink its books by making its rates unattractive, but few other banks want to take the loans, hence the borrower is stuck on an unattractive deal.

    P.S., not sure about the US, but the in British system of mortgages we take a 25-30 year payback time, but the loan period is in 1, 2, 5 or perhaps 10 year durations and take out a new loan at the end of each. Over the course of the mortgage you could easily have 10 different loans. Each time you change your deal there are arrangment charges and penality fees if you cancel early. The result is that it costs money to find a cheaper deal, and some are not able to do this.

  179. 189 Roberto
    October 10, 2008 at 12:04

    RE Financial crisis:

    ——– Longtime US corporate flagship GM now worth less than in 1929.

    Gots more in common with the Dodo bird than it does modern corporate viability.

    Whole of western corporate world awash in money all locked up in the global banks who are too scared to do business with all the crooks that run the other banks.

    Geez, boys and girls, even the mafia does business with the other crooks in town. If real people who work and produce real products weren’t getting skewered and slow roasted, this crisis would be supreme comedy.

    Turns out they still pop out emperors in no clothes down at the leadership birthing nurseries after all these years of evolutionists telling us how advanced modern big brained man is with all his technological advances, advances in efficiency, and advances in politics and business models.

  180. 190 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 12:06

    @ Roberto

    How has General Motors and Ford managed to survive

  181. 191 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 12:28


    “Awash in money?” Um, no, not. That’s the point.


    The mortgages you describe in the UK are completely different from American mortgages, whcih work as I described them. The “attractive” rate principle you describe doesn’t make sense; a rate that would be “attractive” to a a bank and to purchasers of its debt would be high; a rate “attractive” to a borrower would be low.

  182. 192 Bob in Queensland
    October 10, 2008 at 12:45

    @ Jonathan & Robert

    As a veteran of the UK mortgage scene I have to say I’ve never encountered the system Robert describes. The usual term for a UK mortgage is 25 years (now sometimes up to 30 with the price inflation on houses) and that’s the term of the loan in my experience.

    What can vary are the length of introductory offers (“1% under the normal rate for the first 1/2.3 years”), a fixed rate term (after which you re-negotiate or revert to a variable rate) and the minimum duration you have to keep the mortgage before you can cancel without excessive penalty.

    Deciding on what options are best for you can be tricky!

    With all the options and introductory offers it’s pretty common to re-mortgage several times during the 25 year term (in addition to each time you upgrade your house of course) but I’ve not experienced the type of loan(s) Robert describes.

  183. 193 Robert
    October 10, 2008 at 13:03


    Perhaps its that introductory offer and minimum terms that I’m thinking of. With the massive competition that has been occuring over the last 5 years it has been very easy to switch mortgage deals once the minimum time has expired and even jump between different companies ( I seem to remember at one point your new bank would pay any penalty fees you got from your old one if you switched). For all intents and purposes you are therefore taking a 30 year mortgage as a series of shorter loans over the duration of the mortgage. Perhaps its just an odd look on the system since we have done this type of jumping around in the past rather than sticking to one provider.

  184. 194 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 13:20

    As goes general Motors, so goes America!

    It seems this statement might turn out to be true. Didn’t the global change in doing business (which has culminated in this crisis) begin at the time when GM shut down a profitable plant in Flint Michigan?

    It might be a time to rent a copy of Pretty Woman and watch it again.

  185. October 10, 2008 at 13:22

    Hi Karnie
    No press freedom in China, admittedly, but have a look around at the editorial sweat shops in Tehran.
    CNN anchorman Shirzad Bozorgmehr used Iran News in Tehran as a source of information for CNN and Christian Amanpour for several years. Some 84 people, including staff, editorial and the entire crew of the daily was devoted to digging out news day after day for Amanpour. The information was relayed to the lady at specific hours so that it did not interfere with feeding time of her child.
    Some at Iran News were paid as little as $80 – $100 per month. Thank God CNN has got its own set up in Tehran now. Doesn’t say much CNN and Amanpour though. Iran News has been drained dry and is not worth the paper it’s printed on today.
    The media has a duty to itself, first and foremost, and to help and train journalists. Once exploitation sets in, it is easy to trample on the rights of newsmen and reporters and muzzle the press.

  186. 196 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 13:22

    @ Selena

    GM have decided to close a plant in the UK for around eight days over the next month or so

  187. 197 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 13:25


    Apparently, they closed the Flint plant in its most profitable year ever… closed it for good.

  188. 198 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 13:27

    Selena do you know what was produced there

  189. 199 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 13:33

    Google Michael Moore’s Roger and Me and you will find a lot of information on the subject. The documentary was about the closing of the Flint plant. Flint was Michael’s home town.

    Many people hated Michael Moore for exposing the underbelly of corporate America.

  190. 200 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 13:35

    @ Selena

    I do not like the guy

  191. 201 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 13:39

    I don’t think liking the guy matters much. 🙂

    What he said about the plant closure was on the mark!

  192. 202 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 13:53

    Good Day Karnie and the rest of the World Have Your Say friends!

    One month after the Olmypics the Chinese media tightening is back. Are you surprised? Pretty much, i am not surprised by the return of media tightening!

    Is press freedom in China just impossible to achieve? I think it is maybe hard to achieve and not impossible….


  193. 203 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 13:54

    It well have been but I just wonder how much longer it is able to continue to trade

  194. 204 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 13:55

    Is the abolishment of the death penalty across the world inevitable?
    i think it is going to happen, it would be a good start…

    interest of full disclosure: this is my own opinion and does not represents the opinions of the BBC…


  195. 205 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 13:59

    @ Dennis

    I fear that the ruling people may have something to hide and thats why they have tightened media freedom

  196. 206 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 14:06

    @ Robert1987,
    About media freedoms:
    i think it is needs to happen, and i think that olympics
    in china, would have been the starting point towards
    media freedom…in the country….

    i don’t believe in keeping secrets! except in the case
    of certain things…


  197. 207 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 14:08


    Closing down a profitable plant–ah, yes, a notorious “greedy” capitalist trick!

    Elementary logic should clue you in that there’s something wrong with that formulation. Right?

  198. 208 robert1987
    October 10, 2008 at 14:11

    @ Dennis

    We I think that the communist party should be removed from power

  199. 209 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 14:12

    in the interest of full disclosure:

    about general motors and its financial crisis….i do know people who
    work at general motors company…

    now, it is a sad day for the american company, that they are having financial


  200. 210 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 14:14

    To robert1987 comments October 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    [and i am including everyone else into this statement]

    i also think that the communist party, should be removed
    from power!

    but, i don’t want to have another 1989 problem in beijing…in


  201. 211 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 14:17


    Can you give us your take on why a profitable plant (car, fish, etc. because GM was not the only profitable plant that hit the dust) would be closed then?

  202. 212 Brett
    October 10, 2008 at 14:17

    i also think that the communist party, should be removed
    from power!

    Like Saddam?

  203. 213 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 14:19

    You perfectly describe the usual considerations for mortgage lenders. The huge ifnlux of money during the boom permitted lower down payments and less stringent income documentation; credit ratings were relatively more important. Rapid price appreciation made those changes both necessary and justifiable.

    Most people shop around for a good deal. A few people don’t, and pay more than they need to, even in a favorable market. Sensational cases make the news, but as always, the truth lies in the aggregate statistics. Lenders don’t have much “muscle” to “push” in such a competitive market, or to charge you more then the other lenders.

    No “arbitrary” interest increases. Some loans had very low rates and/or payments for an initial period. The terms, incuding future changes, are well-documented and disclosed–that’s required by law. Not related to prime rate changes; that’s different.

    Human nature demands finger-pointing and blame-placing, but the real problem is just that home prices went down, which nobody expected because it hadn’t happened before in modern history. Nothing as exciting as greed, lust, or immorality.

  204. 214 Dennis@OCC
    October 10, 2008 at 14:20

    I think that SADDAM—be removed was a brilliant and great idea….


  205. 215 Brett
    October 10, 2008 at 14:21

    And who is going to invade and occupy?
    Whops, I mean “remove” the communist party?
    The US?

    Or do you think the people will actually be able to do it themselves?

  206. 216 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 14:25


    Well, why should I? I don’t know the specifics, but then I’m not the one carrying on about it, asserting self-contradictory things.

    I’m surprised to see you express any interest in something being “profitable” or not, since you have, I think, asserted your distaste for profit, which you call “greed.” Why your sudden interest in it now? I should think, the less profit the better, since by your lights, profit can only be made from the sweat and toil of the exploited noble peasant workers, being “exploited.” Only when the “exploitation” stops do you fondly recast it as the “employment” that it was all the while.

    Hold your nose for a moment, and imagine yourself a business person. I know, eeewww. Why would you close a profitable plant?

  207. 217 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 14:39


    Let’s try it his way. You say “profitable” plants; is it any better, or worse, to close a profitable plant than an unprofitable one, and why?

  208. 218 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 14:43


    I have no particular distaste for profit.

    My distaste is for the exploitation of people who work their hearts out only to be thrown to the wolves.

    How many times in the past twenty years have the lives of workers been derailed because some “greedy” operators decided that there was more money to be made in mergers and acquisitions and selling worthless paper than there was in conducting fair business?

    The chickens have come home to roost!

  209. 219 Katharina in Ghent
    October 10, 2008 at 14:43

    @ Jonathan

    Human nature demands finger-pointing and blame-placing, but the real problem is just that home prices went down, which nobody expected because it hadn’t happened before in modern history.

    Could it be that home prices went down because there was a construction boom and eventually the market had gotten satiated? When everyone who wants a home, has one, then it will become more difficult to sell yours. Too many developers were building too many houses, thinking that there is an endless demand for houses, but there wasn’t. I think it was the bursting of this specific bubble that caused the current mess in the first place.

  210. 220 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 14:54


    Ah, thought I’d lost you.

    No distaste for profit, except that it’s gleaned from the noble workers who work their fingers to the bone/hearts out/etc to make a profit for the greedy employers’ profit, right? Thence to be thrown to the wolves/shoved under the bus/etc.

    Seems pretty distasteful to me.

    Hmmm. If there’s more money to be made in “selling worthless paper” than making cars, or cleaning fish, or whatever, that should be a relief to the no-longer-working-their-fingers-to-the-bone workers. Right? Since you declined to engage in the little thought experiment I proposed, here’s a question: Are people better off working their fingers to the bone blabla, or not? Is there any condition you can imagine under which workers would be happy? (Bear in mind that if they do too well, they become the despised rich.)

  211. 221 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 15:01


    I refer you to Drake’s post!

    When there is more money in worthless paper, the worker at the bottom is just unemployed. S/he, unfortunately, sees none of it.

  212. 222 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 15:03


    Perhaps you completely misunderstand me. A few million dollars is not rich.

    Should I say super-rich?

  213. 223 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 15:20


    “Drake’s post?” I don’t see it. “A few million dollars?” I didn’t say anything about ” a few million dollars.” Although I have to say that in Flint, or really anyplace in America, most people would consider someone who has a few million dollars “rich” indeed! You sound very much out of touch with the common man–what does it take to be considered “rich” in your rarefied stratum? In terms of assets, or income, as you like.

    You may say rich or super-rich, as you wish. I only wish you’d respond to what I say instead of what I didn’t. We were talking about plant closures. Since when they’re employed, they’;re exploited, and when they’re unemployed, they’re, well, unemployed, can you describe the circumstances you would LIKE to see for the good people of Flint, or wherever?

  214. 224 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 15:29


    Yes, that’s what I meant, exactly right. It’s the classic, textbook example of a business cycle. It happens all the time. Constantly. In all kinds of industries. Normally, the people who lose are the business people (the “greedy” ones who take risks to produce what people want and need), and the people who benefit are the consumers (the “noble exploited workers.”)

    Obviously this current mess is a different animal, qualitatively and quantitatively, altogether. But the genesis was a very familiar, normal event. There are, in the world, worse things than a well-housed populace, I think. You no doubt know that I oppose virtually all government mandates on principle, but if I were to favor any, it would be for every American to visit a few other places in the world, including at least one poor country, in Africa, or Asia, just to have a point of reference. Most of us seem not to have the slightest clue.

  215. 225 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 15:32


    We are not on the same page. 🙂

    The people who made a couple of million on the stock market are not the cause of the problems we face globally.

    It is too late for the people of Flint. But if there is a lesson to be learned, it is to keep profitable businesses open. Why move manufacturing to countries where wages are lower, simply to maximize profits?

    There should be an acceptable profit margin which benefits everyone, not just the schemers at the top.

  216. 226 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 15:40

    It’s the classic, textbook example of a business cycle.

    I do hope you are right.

    But, if such is the case, why is the conservative Republican government panicking and pouring government money into everything?

  217. 227 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 15:41


    Well, I’ve opened the book to the same page now for the third time.

    But I still don’t know what you would see as the right way for people to live, since when they’re employed, they’re “exploited, woorking their hearts out, fingers to the bone,” and when they’re unemployed, they’re unemployed, and you have said you disapprove of both circumstances. Is the question unclear?

    And I still don’t know how profit can be good when you’ve defined as the sweat of other people’s efforts, and inherently undeserved.

    Why is it “too late for the people of Flint?” Are they sheep, incapable of thinking for themselves, fit only for mechanical, dangerous factory work? Unable to get educated in any of Michigan’s famous schools? Glued to the spot, somehow not able to go anyplace more promising?

    I open the book, and you slam it. No wonder we’re not on the same page.

  218. 228 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 15:48

    @ It may be shut but I didn’t slam it shut, Jonathan.

    Maybe it was that wind of change that is rustling the pages! 😉

    Let’s leave it shut for a bit and see what happens in the next little while. You could be right. The current economic crisis may just be a classic business cycle and not rot undermining the foundation.

    Let’s hope so, for all out sakes!

  219. 229 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 15:49


    The answer of course is that US auto companies are competing against foreign auto companies, and doing a poor job of it. I don’t know what a “profitable plant” is for a company that loses billions of dollars every quarter, but presumably it wasn’t profitable enough, so GM set one up someplace else, where the work could be done more efficiently. Or else the model that plant made was phased out. Again, I don’t know. There’s a lot of possible reasons.

    Since the company is losing billions, I don’t know what you mean by “an acceptable profit margin which benefits everyone.” Is it acceptable to you that the company lose billions? Would it be more acceptable to lose even more, by NOT “seeking to maximize profits?” Seeking to maximize profits is the obligation of the managers; it’s why they make the big bucks. And how they can supply cars, and employment. Or, if you like, exploitation.

  220. 230 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 15:52


    I didn’t say “the current economic crisis is just another business cycle.”

    What I said was “Obviously this current mess is a different animal, qualitatively and quantitatively, altogether.”

    See the diff?

  221. 231 selena in Canada
    October 10, 2008 at 16:39

    “Obviously this current mess is a different animal, qualitatively and quantitatively, altogether.”

    If it started out as a another business cycle, how did it get to be a different animal?

    And, how does one choose what stock to buy now? Many reputable companies are not going to survive this crisis!

  222. October 10, 2008 at 16:54

    NATO to Destroy Afghan Opium
    TEHRAN – How brave and well-intentioned, but how is NATO going to destroy 10,000 Tons of opium annually produced in Afghanistan?
    The time honoured tradition of opium cultivation in the region won’t disappear overnight! Seventy, eighty years ago it was legal tender, a valued commodity, a source of revenue for Iranians and Afghans. In the fifties and sixties and up to 1979 it was a prescription drug, obtainable across the counter at Chemists. Addicts had a plentiful supply of reliable and pure opium, not the rubbish that is being peddled on murky street corners in backwaters today. Every user had a card and supply quota.
    In pre-Revolutionary days, batches of young, assorted and European tourists flocked to Tehran on their way to their smoke havens in Afghanistan, but what should we do with opium addicts today? We have some 4 million in Iran and doubtless as many in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    Is there an alternative crop for Afghan farmers to ensure them a livelihood? Opium is worth $15-$20 per kilo on site. It fetches $1,500-$2,000 per kilo in Tehran. It increases fifteen or twenty-fold in value by the time it reaches Europe.
    Shouldn’t NATO ask regional countries what to do before starting a bloodbath? What is to become of addicts? Should we set up safe havens as in Holland and supply free medical aid?
    If NATO tries to eliminate and eradicate Taliban plantations and opium, there will be retaliation, more fighting and destruction. Haven’t we learnt anything from the seven-year occupation of Afghanistan?

  223. 233 Dinka Alpayo Aliap ,kampala
    October 10, 2008 at 17:08

    On Drugs War. No one and no powerful country will ever succeed militarilly or politically on DRUGS WAR on the globe because something which is connected to the diets, traditional believes,norms or religions of someone cannot be eliminated by any means except on burial places because they donot have political leadership or should world retreats from confronting them will makes things worst.

  224. 234 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 17:28

    Well once again we’ve descended to sneering denouncements of those lazy, grubby workers who are to dull to think of anything to do with their lives but work at the local plant. How dare they demand job security from people who will make more in a year than they will make in their lifetimes. How ungrateful.

    If they don’t like their grubby jobs they could go to the universities supported by the money they don’t have to get degrees that may not get them job security after all. Let’s just ignore that the road to wealth is all too frequently paved with mommy and daddy’s wealth and connections.

    There is a reason that people around the world cheer when a CEO dies. People KNOW through harsh experience that the value of their labor is stolen rather than shared and built upon.

  225. October 10, 2008 at 17:45

    HYi Dinka Alpayo Aliap ,kampala
    Reyr October 10, 2008 at 5:08 pm
    Is there a lot of addiction in Kampala? What is the general attitude to drugs in your part of Africa?
    Is it true that the Columbian cartel is using Africa as a transit route for their consignments?
    What would be the best way of dealing with addiction and the drug trade?
    Is the military involved – on the take? Or in any other way in the drug trade?

  226. 236 Dinka ,kampala
    October 10, 2008 at 17:46

    On Economics Crisis.The bad things is that it affects vunerables people now and it look good when we come to the world new growing problems as everyone now is concentrating on how to makes money instead of how to makes problems for others as we experience in the past.Thanks to the GOD.

  227. 237 Dinka ,kampala
    October 10, 2008 at 18:19

    If China government is rates as a one of world highest executions place, then why should world worry in the sametime about the death of DARFURIS(Fur as we known them in sudan) civillians or genocide taking place in darfur, they are killing masters and there is the time which minority will hits back.

  228. 238 Pangolin-California
    October 10, 2008 at 18:32

    iRe: addiction and the drug trade.

    It is impossible to completely eliminate the drug trade. The best thing to do is to regulate it so that the drugs addicts get are pure and in known doses. This allows time for the salvation of the addict to be plotted and put in action.

    There are herbal preparations, drugs if you will, that can release people from the scourge of physical addiction. The release from mental health issues, physical pain and emotional distress that cause addicts to start require a living person to work with.They also require that we value every person without exception.

  229. 239 Jonathan
    October 10, 2008 at 19:03


    Opium was available legally until 1979? That’s interesting. Has banning it caused a great deal more trouble than it solved? That’s what I think you implied, and that’s been our experience also.

    Every American addict pays about $100 every day for heroin, which would cost more like $5 if legal.

    Eradicating their cash crop is also unlikely to gain cooperation or make friends among Afghan farmers, I suspect.

  230. October 10, 2008 at 20:39

    Hi Pangolin-California
    Hi Jonathan
    Pangolin is absolutely right. The issue of addiction should be tackled by professionals. Yes, tolerating addiction at the same time as looking for cures. The addict needs help like any other physically and mentally ill patient. Opium is primarily a sedative, the main ingredient of morphine. It certainly has its uses.
    Jonathan banning opium is absurd since it makes it more expensive, diluted and abused. So many are involved in the drug trade. Iranian law enforcement agents may confiscate 25% of drug hauls crossing Iran, but that is a drop in the ocean. It is a lucrative business and there may even be legitimate rings, well organized operations with large amounts of cash for all involved. Yes, it was legalized prior to 1979. The issue now is more complicated.
    Heroin addiction is lethal since communal use of needle often leads to AIDS infections and death. The fatality rate from addiction in prisons is very high. “Eradicating their cash crop” no. Rather “buying production” like the surplus food program in the States is certainly an option, otherwise things could degenerate into the Mexican drug scenario with gruesome vengeance killings and slaughtering of innocent individuals.

  231. 241 Bryan
    October 10, 2008 at 22:32

    Contrary to the philosophy of a couple of people on this site, the poor do not have an automatic right to be elevated above their status by some kindly father figure waving a magic wand which sprinkles cash on them.

    Ain’t nothing preventing nobody from lifting himself out of poverty with determination, hard work and a coupla sparking brain cells.

  232. 242 Jennifer
    October 11, 2008 at 01:26

    @ Bryan

    “Ain’t nothing preventing nobody from lifting himself out of poverty with determination, hard work and a coupla sparking brain cells.”

    That’s true! I worked my butt off to have the little I have. Why are other people not able to do the same? I know there are people who are not able to do for themselves but there are people who simply expect everything to be gave to them. Learned helplessness and the you owe me attitude do everyone a disservice.

  233. 243 Matthew
    October 11, 2008 at 04:06

    Everyone, you can dress up and down the issue of the Financial Crisis as many ways and as many times as you like. The PLAIN FACT and TRUTH of the MATTER is that this is WANTON UNTRAMMELLED GREED and AVARICE on a MASSIVE and INCOMPREHENSIBLE SCALE. And it has been under the watch of the Bush administration for 8 years.

    I was party to inside information 3 years ago, from a commodity dealer friend, working in City of London financial markets. He said at the time that there’s a RECESSION ON HOLD and it’s not far away from actuality. People are living on borrowed time, were his words. The mortgage side of things was being falsely propped up, and that it wouldn’t take much for a massive default to occur. He was talking about the UK economy and not the spiralling downwards global situation that is apparent at the moment. He didn’t want to buy a house for that reason and was happy to continue renting. He reneged and bought a large house in prosperous South London. He deeply regrets going against his better nature, particularly with his financial nouse, a young family to feed, and an affluent lifestyle to uphold and maintain. He would be classed as a successful player who was duly rewarded. He was not a guy who was excessively raking it in, but compared to most people I know he was considerably better off. But he worked hard, long hours and frequently at weekends, as some do. The latest is he has had to leave London to be relocated in a different but so called safe (LOL) financial sector elsewhere. This is a shock to me and much more so to him.

    I have had many discussions and disagreements with him about the way the city and financial sectors operate. He reluctantly would agree with many of my arguments about the unfairness of the impositions and imbalance in financial contracts and the dichotomy of remunerations of base producers in many different countries etc, etc, that don’t come under the umbrella of burgeoning and ever expanding economies.
    After the Lehman’s collapse and AIG fiasco. What do top AIG executives do but in the full knowledge of a financial free fall go for a conference, stay in a hotel $1000.00 dollars a night, the most expensive cuisine. What a truly fine example of the execs drawing in resources, tempering their lifestyles, and setting a wonderful philanthropic display of how to react to extraordinary circumstances in a responsible and purposeful manner.

  234. 244 Bryan
    October 11, 2008 at 07:22

    Jennifer October 11, 2008 at 1:26 am,

    I am glad we agree. There will always be poor in this world, but in the US, and in many other countries, there is always at least the possibility of changing one’s circumstances.

  235. 245 Pangolin-California
    October 12, 2008 at 10:19

    Contrary to the philosophy of a couple of people on this site, the poor do not have an automatic right to be elevated above their status by some kindly father figure waving a magic wand which sprinkles cash on them.

    Ain’t nothing preventing nobody from lifting himself out of poverty with determination, hard work and a coupla sparking brain cells.

    Got cancer? Actually, you do; everybody has some cancer cells in them at all times. If they start dividing rapidly you might get to learn what being poor is like.

    One should never tempt Karma in this way.

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