They use to refer to John Kerry as a flip flopper when he was running against George W. Bush for the presidency. Now both Bush and Ben Bernanke, in a matter of a week, change their stance on the state of the American economy. Only last Friday did the two come to terms with a reality the rest of the United States was living.

President Bush on Friday acknowledged more starkly than ever that the economy has slipped into trouble, dogged by falling home prices and turmoil in financial markets.

“Our economy obviously is going through a tough time,” the president told the Economic Club of New York in a morning speech at a Midtown Manhattan hotel.

Shortly after Mr. Bush spoke, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, issued fresh warnings about the gathering wave of home foreclosures while pledging new regulations to limit the impact and crack down on predatory mortgage lending.

“Foreclosure rates have increased substantially,” Mr. Bernanke said during a speech in Washington before a meeting of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“Behind these disturbing statistics are families facing personal and financial hardship and neighborhoods that may be destabilized by clusters of foreclosures,” Mr. Bernanke said. (NYT)

I’ve never expected anything from our president. As Maureen Dawd points out, “Boy George crashed the family station wagon into the globe and now the global economy. Yet the more terrified Americans get, the more bizarrely carefree he seems.”

But Bernanke is someone I respected. He doesn’t come from a family that made most money by owning oil companies, like the man who appointed him. And he is an intelligent individual that understands, and has always been fascinated with, economic depression and the Fed”s role during these times. He wrote “Essays on the Great Depression“.

One would think Bernanke would be more in tune with the struggles of middle and lower class American families. But we’ve yet to see him take any real action to slow down their affliction. Instead, he bails out rich douche bags breaking his own conservative rule about the Fed interfering too much in the financial markets.

The Federal Reserve seemed to toss out the rule book altogether when it assumed the role of white knight, temporarily bailing out Bear Stearn.

Mr. Bernanke has become Wall Street’s most important and most powerful friend. Many executives are praising him for his creativity and willingness to act boldly. (NYT)

Back in 1998, when the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund required a Fed-arranged bailout, Bear Stearns refused to join the rescue effort. Jimmy Cayne, then chief executive at the firm, told the Fed to take a hike. (NYT)

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If you’ve had a whiff of the journalism industry within the past few years, you’ll realize it’s a little influenced, to say the least. Used to be that if something was sponsored in a newspaper, it would’ve blatantly had the word “Advertisement” on top. Now you have to decipher if something is worth your time or not, by flipping through pages to make certain if the product mentioned in the article is advertised or not. I’ll tell you from experience: likely, it is.

This interesting clip is part of a worthwhile documentary called, “The Corporation.”

There are some old school (and some naive young) journalists that detest this practice, and are quickly shut down if they speak against it. Reasons being very simple: bills to pay.

The thing is, newspaper industry is a business too. And with the internet being the source for all things instant, including news, its understandable the reasons for not jeopardizing advertising dollars during a time when you are loosing all your target audience to the web. Consequently the newspaper (and t.v. news) industry is slowly loosing its integrity, some might say.

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Folks in the United States worry about blocking their children from viewing offensive material either on T.V. or on the internet. I worry about that too. Little kids should not be exposed to extreme violence or programming of sexual nature. What’s the program called that does takes care of that? “Net Nanny” or something like that, right?

What do you think is the equivalent of Net Nanny out there in Iraq for when kids are exposed to real life violence over there in the Middle East? That was my question when I saw this pic in the NYTimes today.

Joao Silva for The New York Times

Yes, once again more people died in the name of protecting white folks in a brown country.

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Oh. My. God. Predatory lending everywhere I look in this country, the United States of America.

I’m certain you’ve seen news left and right on subprime lending. Some focus on the turmoil it’s causing on the financial market.

Others on the mortgage companies themselves getting into a bit of trouble because of their abuse of position that they practiced.

…potential borrowers were often led to high-cost and sometimes unfavorable loans that resulted in richer commissions for Countrywide’s smooth-talking sales force, outsize fees to company affiliates providing services on the loans, and a roaring stock price that made Countrywide executives among the highest paid in America.

But I’d like to bring your attention to the little guy. You know the one who doesn’t have a fancy financial degree. And whose house is being foreclosed at never-before-seen levels, all across the country.

Worcester and four other Massachusetts counties saw home foreclosures increase by at least 80 percent during the last 12 months, according to ForeclosuresMass.com.

Sylwia Kapuscinski for The New York Times

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Do you really believe most armed men in Iraq are American soldiers?

Well welcome back to planet earth. Here’s a little video for you to catch up to reality.

Sarcasm aside, the reason there isn’t a draft in the United States is because contractors are paid, by the U.S. government, to find young men and women to risk their lives for obscenely high salaries.

Maybe that isn’t the worst thing. Sure, chances of one being blown up unexpectedly are at an uncomfortable levels. But you aren’t anymore poor. If you didn’t have the opportunity, your life, in another scenario, would be a little more challenging, to say the least.

But what’s troublesome, is that unlike all other companies who the government does business with, these “War on Terror” contractors have really no rules they must adhere to.

The private security contractors working for the State Department have operated under murky legal guidelines. While U.S. laws apply to contractors working for the Pentagon, workers for the State Department do not fall clearly under American or Iraqi law, allowing some to escape punishment for wrongdoing.

In the LATimes article linked above, an Iraq war veteran, Janessa Gans, said that she was dumbfounded by the carelessness of Blackwater employees.

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