notes dec 3

December 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

    Behold the TARP Map!

    by Paul Kiel, ProPublica – December 1, 2008 3:27 pm EST

    Tags: Bailout

    clip_image001

    Where is all that bailout money going? We’ve been keeping a running tally of the institutions receiving funds from the Treasury Department (as of right now, at least $241.84 billion has been committed). And now you can see where those companies are headquartered:

    Each marker represents a financial institution (so far, it’s AIG and 124 banks), and the size of that marker represents the government’s investment. Here is a full-size version of the map.

    Pasted from <http://www.propublica.org/article/behold-the-tarp-map-1201/>

    Most of us have been to too many "strategy meetings" where after its over the cleaning crew comes in and removes any trace that anything interesting happened. I’ve been experimenting with leaving all traces, as artifacts, and building up in the "room" an archeology of conversations. If we add to this a fifteen foot timeline of history, a six foot map of current complexities, and a good diagram of possible future scenarios (authoritarian centralization vs decentralized more democratic, for example) the "room" becomes a much more evocative place to have serious conversations about the future. I and my colleague Michael Shanks, Prof in archeology and classics, have been experimenting with the use and evolution of such an intriguing space, and the way the drama of the conversation can become like producing a drama of strategic conversations that make a difference.

    Center for Work, Technology and Organization

    Stanford University Department of Management Science and Engineering

    http://chuck-fromtheheart.blogspot.com/

    * Blog spot: Is KM dead?

    ————————

    Larry Prusak and Dave Snowden give their thoughts on an age-old

    question that will be just as relevant next year.

    http://www.knowledgeboard.com/item/2964/23/5/3

    http://blip.tv/file/1048981

    http://blog.jackvinson.com/archives/2008/07/24/dead_km_talking_sound_bites.html

    Pasted from <http://blip.tv/file/1048981>

    continuing on finance and economics.

    We are going to focus on the large issues to make sure we are being inclusive enough.

    what is money? Beyond just instrument. how? Why Psychology.

    A few weeks ago i went to a fascinating seminar on phlogyston, the idea that what made things burn was some element hidden in the material that burns. It took a lot of thinking and careful experiment to come to the oxygen-carbon theory. In the same way many people think that what is value in money is somehow intrinsic rather than a complex relationship – in this case with the whole society and its particular history.

    What are derivatives? How dependent on computing?

    Alternative forms of money. Is money part of the information chain and hence part of the knowledge chain?

    What real is debt and the dependence of interest on growth?

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/WTO/cgi-bin/faculty.php

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuGaqLT-gO4

    What are we learning about the conversations?

    That we need to hold in balance

    1. initial focus issue

    2. broadening the frame

    3. the details of the room as stage for the drama of the conversation.

    4. the importance of the participants. as Obama said "i like strong personalities and strong opinions."

    details, like the cookies, the refrigerator 9with its promise), the subdued lighting, the complexity of the room as being occupied, not empty, sound quality, and of course the graphics.

    It really is like putting on an opera, with consideration of all the senses.

    the motives and goals of the participants are very important, and people need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own presentations.

    Some sense of archive so that effects endure..

    Pasted from <http://dc.bigmindcatalyst.com/cgi/bmc.pl?node=5438&range=last>

    see for example

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuGaqLT-gO4

    What are we learning about the conversations?

    That we need to hold in balance

    1. initial focus issue

    2. broadening the frame

    3. the details of the room as stage for the drama of the conversation.

    4. the importance of the participants. as Obama said "i like strong personalities and strong opinions."

    details, like the cookies, the refrigerator 9with its promise), the subdued lighting, the complexity of the room as being occupied, not empty, sound quality, and of course the graphics.

    It really is like putting on an opera, with consideration of all the senses.

    the motives and goals of the participants are very important, and people need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own presentations.

    Some sense of archive so that effects endure..

    Pasted from <http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/61/edit>

    What are we learning about the conversations?

    That we need to hold in balance

    1. initial focus issue

    2. broadening the frame

    3. the details of the room as stage for the drama of the conversation.

    4. the importance of the participants. as Obama said "i like strong personalities and strong opinions."

    details, like the cookies, the refrigerator 9with its promise), the subdued lighting, the complexity of the room as being occupied, not empty, sound quality, and of course the graphics.

    Pasted from <http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/62/edit>

    It really is like putting on an opera, with consideration of all the senses.

    the motives and goals of the participants are very important, and people need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own presentations.

    Some sense of archive so that effects endure..

    Pasted from <http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/62/edit>

    It really is like putting on an opera, with consideration of all the senses.

    the motives and goals of the participants are very important, and people need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own presentations.

    Some sense of archive so that effects endure..

    Pasted from <http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/62/edit>

    By George Fri
    edman

    Related Special Topic Page

  1. The 2008 U.S. Presidential Race

    Three weeks after the U.S. presidential election, we are getting the first signs of how President-elect Barack Obama will govern. That now goes well beyond the question of what is conventionally considered U.S. foreign policy — and thus beyond Stratfor’s domain. At this moment in history, however, in the face of the global financial crisis, U.S. domestic policy is intimately bound to foreign policy. How the United States deals with its own internal financial and economic problems will directly affect the rest of the world.

    One thing the financial crisis has demonstrated is that the world is very much America-centric, in fact and not just in theory. When the United States runs into trouble, so does the rest of the globe. It follows then that the U.S. response to the problem affects the rest of the world as well. Therefore, Obama’s plans are in many ways more important to countries around the world than whatever their own governments might be planning.

    Over the past two weeks, Obama has begun to reveal his appointments. It will be Hillary Clinton at State and Timothy Geithner at Treasury. According to persistent rumors, current Defense Secretary Robert Gates might be asked to stay on. The national security adviser has not been announced, but rumors have the post going to former Clinton administration appointees or to former military people. Interestingly and revealingly, it was made very public that Obama has met with Brent Scowcroft to discuss foreign policy. Scowcroft was national security adviser under President George H.W. Bush, and while a critic of the younger Bush’s policies in Iraq from the beginning, he is very much part of the foreign policy establishment and on the non-neoconservative right. That Obama met with Scowcroft, and that this was deliberately publicized, is a signal — and Obama understands political signals — that he will be conducting foreign policy from the center.

    Consider Clinton and Geithner. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war — a major bone of contention between Obama and her during the primaries. She is also a committed free trade advocate, as was her husband, and strongly supports continuity in U.S. policy toward Israel and Iran. Geithner comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he participated in crafting the strategies currently being implemented by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Everything Obama is doing with his appointments is signaling continuity in U.S. policy.

    This does not surprise us. As we have written previously, when Obama’s precise statements and position papers were examined with care, the distance between his policies and John McCain’s actually was minimal. McCain tacked with the Bush administration’s position on Iraq — which had shifted, by the summer of this year, to withdrawal at the earliest possible moment but without a public guarantee of the date. Obama’s position was a complete withdrawal by the summer of 2010, with the proviso that unexpected changes in the situation on the ground could make that date flexible.

    Obama supporters believed that Obama’s position on Iraq was profoundly at odds with the Bush administration’s. We could never clearly locate the difference. The brilliance of Obama’s presidential campaign was that he convinced his hard-core supporters that he intended to make a radical shift in policies across the board, without ever specifying what policies he was planning to shift, and never locking out the possibility of a flexible interpretation of his commitments. His supporters heard what they wanted to hear while a careful reading of the language, written and spoken, gave Obama extensive room for maneuver. Obama’s campaign was a master class on mobilizing support in an election without locking oneself into specific policies.

    As soon as the election results were in, Obama understood that he was in a difficult political situation. Institutionally, the Democrats had won substantial victories, both in Congress and the presidency. Personally, Obama had won two very narrow victories. He had won the Democratic nomination by a very thin margin, and then won the general election by a fairly thin margin in the popular vote, despite a wide victory in the electoral college.

    Many people have pointed out that Obama won more decisively than any president since George H.W. Bush in 1988. That is certainly true. Bill Clinton always had more people voting against him than for him, because of the presence of Ross Perot on the ballot in 1992 and 1996. George W. Bush actually lost the popular vote by a tiny margin in 2000; he won it in 2004 with nearly 51 percent of the vote but had more than 49 percent of the electorate voting against him. Obama did a little better than that, with about 53 percent of voters supporting him and 47 percent opposing, but he did not change the basic architecture of American politics. He still had won the presidency with a deeply divided electorate, with almost as many people opposed to him as for him.

    Presidents are not as powerful as they are often imagined to be. Apart from institutional constraints, presidents must constantly deal with public opinion. Congress is watching the polls, as all of the representatives and a third of the senators will be running for re-election in two years. No matter how many Democrats are in Congress, their first loyalty is to their own careers, and collapsing public opinion polls for a Democratic president can destroy them. Knowing this, they have a strong incentive to oppose an unpopular president — even one from their own party — or they might be replaced with others who will oppose him. If Obama wants to be powerful, he must keep Congress on his side, and that means he must keep his numbers up. He is undoubtedly getting the honeymoon bounce now. He needs to hold that.

    Obama appears to understand this problem clearly. It would take a very small shift in public opinion polls after the election to put him on the defensive, and any substantial mistakes could sink his approval rating into the low 40s. George W. Bush’s basic political mistake in 2004 was not understanding how thin his margin was. He took his election as vindication of his Iraq policy, without understanding how rapidly his mandate could transform itself in a profound reversal of public opinion. Having very little margin in his public opinion polls, Bush doubled down on his Iraq policy. When that failed to pay off, he ended up with a failed presidency.

    Bush was not expecting that to happen, and Obama does not expect it for himself. Obama, however, has drawn the obvious conclusion that what
    he expects and what might happen are two different things. Therefore, unlike Bush, he appears to be trying to expand his approval ratings as his first priority, in order to give himself room for maneuver later. Everything we see in his first two weeks of shaping his presidency seems to be designed two do two things: increase his standing in the Democratic Party, and try to bring some of those who voted against him into his coalition.

    In looking at Obama’s supporters, we can divide them into two blocs. The first and largest comprises those who were won over by his persona; they supported Obama because of who he was, rather than because of any particular policy position or because of his ideology in anything more than a general sense. There was then a smaller group of supporters who backed Obama for ideological reasons, built around specific policies they believed he advocated. Obama seems to think, reasonably in our view, that the first group will remain faithful for an extended period of time so long as he maintains the aura he cultivated during his campaign, regardless of his early policy moves. The second group, as is usually the case with the ideological/policy faction in a party, will stay with Obama because they have nowhere else to go — or if they turn away, they will not be able to form a faction that threatens his position.

    What Obama needs to do politically, then, is protect and strengthen the right wing of his coalition: independents and republicans who voted for him because they had come to oppose Bush and, by extension, McCain. Second, he needs to persuade at least 5 percent of the electorate who voted for McCain that their fears of an Obama presidency were misplaced. Obama needs to build a positive rating at least into the mid-to-high 50s to give him a firm base for governing, and leave himself room to make the mistakes that all presidents make in due course.

    With the example of Bush’s failure before him, as well as Bill Clinton’s disastrous experience in the 1994 mid-term election, Obama is under significant constraints in shaping his presidency. His selection of Hillary Clinton is meant to nail down the rightward wing of his supporters in general, and Clinton supporters in particular. His appointment of Geithner at the Treasury and the rumored re-appointment of Gates as secretary of defense are designed to reassure the leftward wing of McCain supporters that he is not going off on a radical tear. Obama’s gamble is that (to select some arbitrary numbers), for every alienated ideological liberal, he will win over two lukewarm McCain supporters.

    To those who celebrate Obama as a conciliator, these appointments will resonate. For those supporters who saw him as a fellow ideologue, he can point to position papers far more moderate and nuanced than what those supporters believed they were hearing (and were meant to hear). One of the political uses of rhetoric is to persuade followers that you believe what they do without locking yourself down.

    His appointments match the evolving realities. On the financial bailout, Obama has not at all challenged the general strategy of Paulson and Bernanke, and therefore of the Bush administration. Obama’s position on Iraq has fairly well merged with the pending Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq. On Afghanistan, Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus has suggested negotiations with the Taliban — while, in moves that would not have been made unless they were in accord with Bush administration policies, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has offered to talk with Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and the Saudis reportedly have offered him asylum. Tensions with Iran have declined, and the Israelis have even said they would not object to negotiations with Tehran. What were radical positions in the opening days of Obama’s campaign have become consensus positions. That means he is not entering the White House in a combat posture, facing a disciplined opposition waiting to bring him down. Rather, his most important positions have become, if not noncontroversial, then certainly not as controversial as they once were.

    Instead, the most important issue facing Obama is one on which he really had no position during his campaign: how to deal with the economic crisis. His solution, which has begun to emerge over the last two weeks, is a massive stimulus package as an addition — not an alternative — to the financial bailout the Bush administration crafted. This new stimulus package is not intended to deal with the financial crisis but with the recession, and it is a classic Democratic strategy designed to generate economic activity through federal programs. What is not clear is where this leaves Obama’s tax policy. We suspect, somerecent suggestions by his aides not withstanding, that he will have a tax cut for middle- and lower-income individuals while increasing tax rates on higher income brackets in order to try to limit deficits.

    What is fascinating to see is how the policies Obama advocated during the campaign have become relatively unimportant, while the issues he will have to deal with as president really were not discussed in the campaign until September, and then without any clear insight as to his intentions. One point we have made repeatedly is that a presidential candidate’s positions during a campaign matter relatively little, because there is only a minimal connection between the issues a president thinks he will face in office and the ones that he actually has to deal with. George W. Bush thought he would be dealing primarily with domestic politics, but his presidency turned out to be all about the U.S.-jihadist war, something he never anticipated. Obama began his campaign by strongly opposing the Iraq war — something that has now be come far less important than the financial crisis, which he didn’t anticipate dealing with at all.

    So, regardless of what Obama might have thought his presidency would look like, it is being shaped not by his wishes, but by his response to external factors. He must increase his political base — and he will do that by reassuring skeptical Democrats that he can work with Hillary Clinton, and by showing soft McCain supporters that he is not as radical as they thought. Each of Obama’s appointments is designed to increase his base of political support, because he has little choice if he wants to accomplish anything else.

    As for policies, they come and go. As George W. Bush demonstrated, an inflexible president is a failed president. He can call it principle, but if his principles result in failure, he will be judged by his failure and not by his principles. Obama has clearly learned this lesson. He understands that a president can’t pursue his principles if he has lost the ability to govern. To keep that ability, he must build his coalition. Then he must deal with the unexpected. And later, if he is lucky, he can return to his principles, if there is time for it, and if those principles have any relevance to
    what is going on around him. History makes presidents. Presidents rarely make history.

    Tell Stratfor What You Think

    The Big Lie

    Catherine and News & Commentary,

    November 28, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Here is a must-see video: 137 pages of foreclosure notices in the Detroit Free Press BEFORE the bailout and resulting layoffs from the big three auto makers:

    In 1989, while I was serving as Assistant Secretary of Housing, my staff noted that there was one town in which 70% of all the mortgages in the town were in default and owned by FHA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

    I suggested that the town or county create a trust or corporate structure and swap stock in the entity for the mortgages. Such an idea was not possible then. It is now. Today, many of the defaulted mortgages are owned by private financial institutions. However, they are dependent on federal bailouts. So, it would be federal financing that would be financing the debt-equity swaps.

    In later proposals, I suggested that the federal government provide waivers to allow for significant reengineering of federal spending, contracts and regulations within the area where doing so would improve return on investment to taxpayers. Indeed, take those two steps along with grassroots efforts for community gardens, local food coops, community currencies, and various transition town and financial permaculture options and you could really start to create vitality on the ground. And that is before integrating suppressed energy and health care technology which could be incredible.

    Somehow, we have to see through the big lies. First is that the economy is in trouble. The economy is not in trouble. Our spirit and the culture is in trouble. We can’t build a strong economy by marketing drugs and the war on drugs into our communities. We can’t build a strong economy by making it impossible for teachers to teach. We can’t build a strong economy by permitting trillions of financial fraud and theft from the government. We can’t build a strong economy by taxing people so we can subsidize large corporations who make products that people don’t want and don’t need. If we make money by doing things that help people to fail, then our economy will fail. This is, however, a political problem. It is not first and foremost an economic problem.

    Hence, giving lawless institutions more money to help the economy get moving will not work. It will simply rape more out of the real economy. It is monetary and financial racketeering. The message is “crime pays.” More bonuses for speculators, less money for engineers, scientists and teachers. The message is one designed to destroy the morale of honest, hardworking people throughout the economy.

    Another big lie is that we need the banks to lend. We don’t need more debt. We need the stolen money returned. We need existing laws enforced. We need lawfulness. We need income. We need equity. We also need to be able to invest our equity where we want. Millions of Americans lose millions every day gambling on the lottery or going to casinos. At the same time, unless we are millionaires, it is nearly impossible to buy stock in our local businesses. Federal regulation says that it is “too risky” to invest in ourselves and our neighbors.

    A really big lie is that we need consumption to keep the economy going. Indeed, if we start to circulate equity locally and through our networks, we can create a financial system in which we generate savings and financial capital gains from reducing consumption and building alignment between our financial ecosystems and our natural ecosystems. Indeed, the healthier the local environment or the better the local education and cultural life, the more it would cause stock values to rise.

    I appreciate that this is not an attractive idea for the people who profit from selling $1 trillion plus of weapons and military services, but perhaps they would change if we collectively could find a way to tell them, “no.”

    America’s economy is suffering from economic warfare and an organized crime tax designed to destroy it. The strength of the economy and of the American people despite this onslaught speaks volumes about the extraordinary wealth potential of America, our people and our democratic spirit.

    Extraordinary wealth is possible. What is required is a change in spirit, in culture and in politics. To paraphrase Utah Phillips, “our economy is not dying, it is being killed. And the people killing it have names and addresses.”

    Forget bailouts. Let’s stop doing those things that are destroying our real economy and let’s stop financing and supporting the people who are doing it.

    7 Responses to “The Big Lie”

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  2. Richard
    Nov 28th, 2008 at 6:43 pm
    Dear Catherine: Well said…yet I am reminded that it may take a collective gestalt to move the masses..Much like your prior aweful experience with the federal government, “they” too ( the enforcement policies and it’s beaurocracy?? ) opposed my livelihood, and unlike your experience, I was federally incarcerated ( I’m not certain which could be judged worse ); and so, in my mind the government is not held in very high esteem…and in reality not for some time dating back to the 1960’s. I am reminded of Stephen and Ina May Gaskin’s ( Tennessee ) FARM and the caravan he organized to tour around the country. He proposed a simple message-Love One Another-Get back to the Land. These are perilous times; and the powers that be must be aware that they are treading on many people’s lives who have a boiling point…I am reminded of the frog in the slowly simmering boiling pot of water…With each week another bailout proposal is announced, and implimented; and yet the “folks”, as Bill O’Reilly likes to “them”, are not outwardly alarmed-nor are they rebellious–I suppose most Americans are easily manipulated..that’s my opinion.. they must be… otherwise how could they permit a $7.8 trillion outpouring into the financial system and not for a minute seem alarmed ( that’s 50% of our annual national GDP )–Have we been that muted as a society?? Were the founders so much more attuned so as to raise up and rebel??? And for a Tea Tax???–true they were not the majority by a long shot–But their cause was just and the British whose step child we were, were defeated ( with the aid of Hessians and the French )…It’s Black Friday-you know-shopping day–What I recall is that retailers from year to year depend on this weekend to fill their balance sheets with nearly 50% of their yearly business–WOW!! One weekend!!! Members of my family still maintain a family owned hardware/janitorial supplies business in NYC…they face severe times. Yet their love of oppulence will be their downfall—In general not many people are prepared for another Great Depression…not many live on the farm anymore, have mechanical skills nor the minimal talents it takes to gear down to a relatively hand to mouth economy…The psychology to persevere has been washed away from our collective memories and much pain is in front of those who are unable to prepare. This era will bring about an enormous retrenching in the common man a renewal of ethics and values of decencey or we will all perish..I look forward to your f
    uture kind words and solutions for those who have ears. warm regards, Richard Gordon CP

    Inserted from <http://solari.com/blog/?p=1869>

    http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/69

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