Saturday, August 04, 2007

Squelching Freedom of Speech with Lawsuits

Longtime correspondent Aaron Krowne, proprietor of the valuable Mortgage Lender Implode-o-Meter has been sued by one of the firms which imploded. This is clearly intimidation via lawsuit and an attempt to deprive Krowne of free speech.

In my opinion Corporate America knows no bounds when it comes to profits. Enron et. al. was not the end, it was merely a training exercise. The level of lies and deception currently being spun by vested interests in the housing, real estate, mortgage lending and investment banking spaces beggars belief. Now they're trying to eliminate the right of citizenry to question their business practices and finances via lawsuits.

Aaron needs some help to pay his legal bills, which are $20,000 now and expected to climb to $50,000. I have sent over a donation, and I suggest you check out his site and read why you might want to support his fight as well: Mortgage Lender Implode-o-Meter.

In other news, I've posted new Reader's Journal commentaries. There is an excellent series of comments (and one telling chart) on global warming, observations on quality of cars and kitchenware by Dorothy S. and James C., an exchange between Michael Goodfellow and myself over auto mileage standards and other car topics, and Mark D. on Harun's commentary on the "Long War" (see below).

I also updated Recommended books and films with the 11 books on Iraq and the Mideast which were mentioned this week.

Frequent contributor Riley T. sent in two stories relating to yesterday's entry on the coming Fourth Turning:

"I just wanted to relate two stories.

The world's smartest man lived in Germany, Born 1887. He was as astute business man as he was smart. In 1930 or so he recognized the nature of things in Germany and decided to make a change. The fact that he was a Jew also play a part in his decision. Maybe you heard of him his name was Aaron Gold. Aaron got all his family and friends together and talked them into selling every thing and leaving the country.

They purchased a large ship, loaded it with all their goods and all the material that they would need to start a new life. They sailed away from Germany in 1932 and went to a beautiful island paradise in the Solomon Islands. What happened to Aaron and all his family and friends? I don't know and never was able to find out. The Island he went to is called, Guadalcanal.

I have seen pictures of Guadalcanal after the U.S. Marines and the Japanese Imperial army finished with it and there literally was not a blade of grass left alive.

I know a man that was a young man in 1945 Germany. The family was of good position and well off before the war. In 1945 after the war was over his father traded their grand piano for a bag of potatoes.

I am reminded of these stories because there are many stories today of Americans moving to Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and many other places. Some are even moving to Yuma, Arizona if you can believe it.

The big wheel turns and there is no escape. I thought every one knew that."

Riley and I have discussed the interesting question: where are the best places to live while the Fourth Turning plays out? Obviously, such a place must be close to sources of food and energy, because extreme dependency on long supply chains for those essentials is the very definition of insecurity and social instability.

As Riley's stories illustrate, such a place must have political and social stability (hence the long popularity of Costa Rica and Canada). Stability in crisis is of course relative, as gringos who parked their money in Mexico just before the extreme devaluations there can attest.

Extremes of weather require more energy and limit growing days, so that might set some parameters on liveability. Access to water is also essential.

My own thoughts turn to the American Midwest, with its plentiful water, long traditions of tolerance, agriculture and community. Forget ethenol--the wind blows in Iowa all year, and windmills are sprouting like young corn. Yes, it's cold in winter--as it is in much of the U.S. No doubt every state has its share of great places to live while the nation works through 15 years or so of financial pain and cultural malaise. Just from my own travels, I can think of places in California, Oregon, the Virginias, Kentucky, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa--the list undoubtedly includes all states.

But regardless of the locale, the key in my view will always be community; if people share and care, then all sorts of hardships can be weathered.

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