[The Rude Guy Podcast #56 June 1, 2009]
This is Rich Zubaty, The Rude Guy no more. Paul Harvey of podcasting. Bringing you…the Rest of the Story.
Is Barack Obama still wondering how to regulate Wall Street? For goodness sakes. Here’s how to do it:
One: tax stock market transactions and use the money to pay for national health care. Just like Great Britain does. Exactly like Great Britain does. That slows rabid speculation, and gives us health care at the same time, which instantly makes our manufacturing more globally competitive.
Two: Limit all loan leveraging, to one part to eight. For each dollar banks and brokerages have on deposit, they can loan out eight. Not eighteen, not thirty-three, not sixty-three. Eight.
Three: ban loaning money to buy stocks. That’s just plain insane. If you got money you can buy stock, if you don’t you can’t. For fuck sakes. We can’t be leveraging stock purchases.
Four: ban derivatives, and credit default swaps, and securitizing mortgages for resale, and any other financial instruments designed to be so obscure no one knows how risky they really are. This will encourage investors to make real investments in real things, like factories and food and energy. Not more electronic digits zipping around the globe never landing anywhere and never doing anybody any good.
Five: reinstate the Glass Steagall Act, which separated banks, insurance companies and brokerage houses, like they had been, since the 1930’s, until conservative democrats Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin and Larry Summers came along and tore down the firewalls, and laid the rotting floorboards for the economic mess we are in now.
Do these five things and the global economy will snap back into shape again. No, we won’t have insane hollowed out growth like before. We will have stability. Sustainability. Not financial swamp rot.
I just heard Peter Orzag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, talk about how wasteful healthcare spending is, and how we can drastically reduce health care costs by eliminating unnecessary medical testing.
He’s absolutely right. I just racked up a $20,000 dollar hospital bill, which I don’t have the money to pay, for $20 dollars worth of healthcare, at my local hospital…I woke up at 2 am with a vicious pain in my gut, down by my appendix. A cop saw me leaning against my truck, which is my house, and convinced me to call the ambulance. The ambulance came, did heart tests on me, and said that my heart seemed to be OK, but if I was in pain I should drive myself to the Emergency Room.
At the emergency room they completely ignored my pleas about intestinal pain, and started performing heart tests. I finally had to beg them for something to take away the pain. They gave me morphine. But that didn’t even help, the pain was so excruciating. In the morning I was transferred upstairs to the hospital. A doctor came in and told me there were protocols he had to follow, so he was ordering a battery of heart tests. I told him he could order all the heart tests he wants, but my pain is in my gut and I should be getting something to decrease that. Maybe antibiotics.
He ignored me. The nurses ignored me. One nurse actually laughed at me when I said I wanted antibiotics. Nevertheless, they sent me off for all kinds of expensive heart tests. At 2 am the following morning, 24 hours later, I was still in so much pain, I asked to see a doctor. They said there was no doctor in the hospital. I blew up. “What the hell am I doing staying overnight in a hospital that has no doctor. I’d be better off sleeping in my truck!”
In a fury I started packing up to leave. A kindly nurse took the time to position me sitting up in a chair, which helped relieve the pain, and I made it through the night, but just barely. I’ve had a broken ankle and a broken kneecap, that hurt less than this intestinal pain. It was like a shark ripping at my guts. When the doctor came in that morning I complained loudly again. He gave me a blood test and found that my white cell count was up, and put me on antibiotics, LIKE I WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE, and within an hour the pain began subsiding. But now, since my white cell count was up, I had to stay in the hospital two more days.
So, 20 thousand dollars and thirty hours of excruciating pain, all because the heart nazis had commandeered the situation, and put me through all kinds of unnecessary tests. Meanwhile completely ignoring the real problem. And here’s the thing. In my medical kit, in my storage locker, I had a bottle of pills of the same antibiotic they gave me in the hospital. It cost 20 bucks when I bought it for an abscessed tooth, last year, in Mexico. I thought about taking it when the pain first came on, but I couldn’t get into my storage locker until 6 am, and it was only 2 am, so that’s why I drove to the hospital instead. Surely they would give me better medical attention than I could give myself. Right?
[RG voice: Outrageous]
This is what OMB director Orzag is talking about. This is how we can save healthcare money. Fuck protocols. Whose protocols? Right now the insurance companies have the doctors so scared, they waste all kinds of time and money, performing unnecessary tests, and end up providing painfully inferior healthcare, just so the insurance companies stay off their backs.
It sucks. Fuck the insurance companies. This is a whole other reason we need to boot insurance companies out of health care. They give inadequate coverage at the same time they are blowing health care costs through the roof. Lose/lose.
I watched this same thing happen to my mom, over and over again, on her hospital visits. Smiley Pakistani doctors running up huge unnecessary Medicare bills. They actually gave her open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve, three days before she died of colon cancer. The fucking beasts. Yeah, we can fix healthcare, by NATIONALIZING it. Get the goddamed insurance companies out of it.
I just started writing another book, which’ll probably take me a couple years to finish. But rather than wait that long to publish it, I’m going to regularly post excerpts from it, on this podcast, in both audio and text forms. Normally I do four rewrites of anything I publish in book form, and these excerpts will only have been rewritten twice, but it’ll have to do. Better than keeping the stuff hidden from sight for two years. Plus, maybe I’ll get some good feedback from you folks. Other ideas, or more stories and anecdotes to corroborate my ideas.
How the World Works. That’s the working title of the book. How the World Works.
As Che Guevara said: Americans worship the mythology of freedom and liberty. But most Americans are completely unaware of the forces that control their lives. Unquote. Writing now, in early 2009, it’s shockingly evident that the freedom and liberty enjoyed for the past ten years by the Wall Street banksters, which permitted them to invent and sell unregulated financial products, has caused the collapse of the global economy. Honest hard-working people, all around the world, have lost their jobs, their savings and their pensions. And they’re angry and scared.
But here’s the goofy part. These Americans who lost their jobs and savings, are still true believers in freedom and liberty. And the very banksters who just stuck a gun to the taxpayers heads, for over $3 trillion dollars in loans and bailout money, are now claiming, through their lackeys in the U.S. Treasury Department, that banks and financial markets do not really need to be regulated. What arrogance! What gall! The thinking person’s rule of thumb on this is: a company that is “too big to fail” is too big to go unregulated. It’s a no brainer. If you’re gonna to come to us begging for money later on, we’re going to have a look at how you’re running your business right now. There’s nothing unfair or unfree about that.
But that’s not how the world works. Fox News and Lardass Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages will start weeping alligator tears, over the loss of freedom and liberty, and the threats to capitalism, imposed by regulating banks and other financial casinos. And unless the American people wake up, and demand to live in an economy that is not run like a casino, where the Bankers House always wins, these sewer rats in two thousand-dollar suits, won’t change a thing…and in ten years the economy will collapse again, in a fool’s circus, of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.
But…I’m not just going to talk about economics. We need to look at politics and religion and science and school and media and even historical myths. Almost everything. Even what’s happening to our food. Maybe even sports if I can stomach it. I can find out more about what’s happening in America, by talking to any cab driver in Bangkok or Mexico City, than I can by asking the average American. That’s how shamefully uninformed we are. We have more media babble, and less accurate information, than any other country on earth. It’s depressing. It makes my ears droop. And it’s deadly to democracy. Stupid voters cannot make good choices.
A hundred years ago capitalists figured out that they could control elections, by controlling what people think about. And the way to do that was to own and control the newspapers, and then the radio and then TV. There are trainloads of traitors, from Ronald Reagan to Brit Hume to Lardass Limbaugh, who are willing to sell their resonant voices and their rotten souls, to huge corporate interests, for fantastic amounts of money. Oh yeah, the internet is a great new source of news and information. But how many people actually check out Truthout.org, and Al Jazeera in English, on a daily basis, to get another perspective on the world? Young Americans are more likely to get their news from Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart, which is great, as far as it goes. But it’s not enough.
And who the hell am I, to be spouting off about this. I am an elder. I am sixty years old. I’ve lived in 25 different countries, reading and writing and filming and talking to people. I speak parts of six different languages. I am not an average American. Not any more. I was a blue-collar house painter in Chicago, who got a full scholarship to the University of Chicago, and then fled to Paris to avoid fighting the Vietnam War…and never looked back. I have earned the right to my opinions. I have not sat behind a desk in Washington or New York, writing politically trendy articles, for 30 years. I have SEEN the world. I have BEEN the world. I have DONE the world. I have ingested news and information, which, quite intentionally, have been censored from the American people, by American corporate media, and even NPR. So I’m in a good position to tell you things you are never gonna learn from American publishing, radio or TV.
Americans do not know that our wealthy American lifestyle, is not made possible, because we are so good and smart and righteous – and our corporations are so incredibly efficient – but because poor people in Nigeria and Ecuador and Indonesia are shot and starved and thrown off their land, so we can grab their oil and gas and copper and bananas. We Americans don’t know that.
And George Will is never gonna write about it. George Will is never gonna explain how we need to spend as much on our military, as the entire rest of the world combined, because we need our troops out there, in 130, of the 190, countries on earth, helping strongman dictators keep their boots to the necks of the local people, so we can continue to bribe the thugs, and steal the people’s natural treasure. We don’t know this, because our government and our corporations don’t want us to know it. Because then, maybe, the next time we’re supposed to go to war to: protect “freedom and democracy”, we won’t be so hellbent to go do it. Won’t be so willing to fight and die for a preposterous lie.
We Americans don’t know that paying money to politicians is a crime in most countries. It’s called graft. It’s called corruption. You can’t give money to a politician! Or you go to jail. But here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, politicians spend every day of their political lives “raising money” for their campaign war chests. And the people who give them money, get “access”. They tell this smiley servant of the people, what matters to them and what they think should be done about it. That’s why our government systemically favors the rich over the poor. The politicians know what the bankers want. They don’t know what the homeless want. Because the bankers pay money for “access”, and the homeless don’t. Systemic graft and corruption.
And on and on. Every human being born into a human society is born into the agenda of that society. If you’d been born in the rainforest in Papua New Guinea you might spend your days shooting monkeys with blowguns, and collecting the shrunken heads of your neighbors. In America you will spend your entire life working for banks. Banks will loan you the money to buy the things you need, but cannot afford. And you will get up every morning and go to work to make the money to pay them back, plus interest. Let’s not forget that interest. New Guineans are drones to tribal warfare. Americans are drones to banks.
People have been living in houses for tens of thousands of years. But only in the past hundred years did bankers come up with the idea, of lending money to people to buy houses. This is a very recent idea in human history, and what it did is transform shelter from being a fundamental human right, into a competitive market commodity. How in the world did we give banks the power, to sell human necessities, to the highest bidder?
[RG voice:] outrageous
At the time of this writing, due to the collapse of the housing bubble, one out of nine houses in America is vacant, unoccupied. And yet a million homeless people are sleeping on relatives’ couches, or under bridges, or living in cars. And this capitalist system of ours is unable, to put homeless people, into vacant houses. Even just as temporary caretakers. How degenerate can we get?
Our corporate market cruelty, horrifies people in the rest of the world. Almost anywhere on earth, a person can claim an unused plot of land, and put up a shack and outhouse on it. And over the decades, and over generations, he and his family can improve their dwelling, one nail at a time. But not in America, where zoning laws and building codes are designed to inflate housing prices to benefit bankers. So…we are going to look at rent and mortgages and homelessness, and see if we cannot push the reset button on the insane way Americans relate to shelter.
And we are gonna look at growth. The Great God of Growth. I will say this over and over again, in every different way I can think of, until some people out there finally start getting it. When times are flush we all complain about too much growth, and how the greedy developers are paving over our rivers and forests, and poisoning our lakes and skies. And how we live in a society where rampant consumerism is drowning us in cheap junk.
But the instant our certifiably insane, and life-threatening, economy, hits a speed bump, all the TV and radio pundits start blathering about how we need more growth, and we have to bail out banks so they will lend us money for growth, and if we don’t grow, we’ll die…and it’s all bullshit. We need an economy that’s able to feed people and shelter people and give them medicine, without growth. Like we had for 150,000 years. A sustainable economy. Not a corporate banksters endless nightmare growth economy, that is guaranteed to fry the planet and rot your soul. Sustainability is not just for farmers anymore.
And…there are other things worth knowing about How The World Works, that are being discovered by quantum physics. Fascinating things, like how the universe is expanding faster now, than it did when it first exploded in the Big Bang, which makes no sense at all, and is precisely the opposite behavior of any explosion, any of us have ever seen. Normally explosions slow down, they don’t speed up. What’s that about?
Or how ‘bout the fact that a photon normally exists as a wave, unless we are observing it, in which case it exists as a particle. But the really strange thing about this is, a photon can “see” into the future, to the extent, that it can tell whether we are going to observe it or not, and it shapes its footprint accordingly. What this means is that time is not what we think it is, and also that tiny particles like photons and electrons have…what? I hesitate to call it consciousness. Awareness, maybe? Can they actually think and make decisions? That doesn’t sound right. But if not that, then what? How can these subatomic particles “see” the future, and “change” their behavior.
What are the implications of these facts? What do they tell us about “hidden worlds” or other “dimensions”? What indeed do they tell us about God, who reputedly hangs out in those hidden worlds and other dimensions? This is not goofy stuff. This is a valid investigation. And one that you will not find pursued by corporate-funded academic science. They just wanna discover things they can patent and sell.
So let’s find out How the World Works, and then see what it means. We probably should start with a look at some history, and the myths we have grown up with, which, more often than not, either are no longer true, or never were, and in either case, they do little more than obscure How The World really Works.
Come on. Help out. Go to happyfool.orG or therudeguy.com, and send me a few bucks. Make a donation. I need support to keep going. Or else I’ll send the ghost of Paul Harvey to go haunt you in your sleep.
[RG voice] ha ha ha