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Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer

http://www.thedailyshow.c…pisodeId=220533

Just watched the showdown between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart from The Daily Show on Comedy Central last night. It’s worth watching if you’ve kept up with the back and forth and the original CNBC takedown by Stewart (See Jon Stewart Throttles CNBC).

I enjoy Stewart’s ongoing crusade against network television. He has similarly gone after CNN (Crossfire) for being more about entertainment than about reporting. Stewart is clearly in a better position to throw stones as he can pull apart the mistakes (and there are many) of the mainstream media; however, he is doing hard reporting. That it gets the networks up in arms is a testament to Stewart’s progress.

Having said that, I think there is a bigger picture that is widely being overlooked. That is that media outlets usurp individual authority on a very subtle and sinister level. Many Americans outsource their own analysis and thinking to these talking heads on tv. Ultimately, it is the Americans who put their trust in Cramer, who go to Fox News for “facts” and come away with more opinions, and who fail to take responsibility for their own behaviors and perpetuate their own victimized demise.

So even as I like how Stewart is going after the networks, I think the fingers should be pointed elsewhere — at the American people.

It is for that reason that the below clip, which is from around the 17 / 18 minute mark of the Hulu/Yahoo TV 21 minute snippet from last night, is fantastic.

Secondarily, I think Cramer’s explanation of how they were essentially duped into thinking 35:1 leverage ratios were okay is spot-on — at least, it fits extremely well with the business cycle argument that excess credit leads to seemingly prosperous or booming times. These booms more-or-less trick investors/businessmen/entrepreneurs into believing that things are fundamentally sound and returns will continue going up in perpetuity. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and beyond the infomercials that try and tell you otherwise, we human beings should realize when someone is trying to sell us snake oil!

So here we have some actually solid television programming — on a tv station that is centered around laughs.

JON STEWART: Honest or not, in what world is a 35 to 1 leverage position sane?

CRAMER: The world that made you 30% year after year after year from 1999 to 2007 . . .

STEWART: But isn’t that part of the problem. Selling this idea that you don’t have to do anything. Any time you sell people the idea that, “Sit back and you’ll get 20% on your money,” don’t you always know that that’s going to be a lie? When are we going to realize in this country that our wealth is work? That we’re workers. And by selling this idea that, “Hey man I’ll teach you how to be rich!” How is that different than an infomercial?

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Your home garden may soon come under Federal Regulation

http://blog.friendseat.co…es-small-farms/

Looks like big business is making another power grab via lobbying government officials to pass onerous laws that would shut down smaller businesses, and may be so poorly written and loosely defined that your regular gardener would fall under purveyance of the Feds.

Just look at this definition of a “Food Production Facility” from the bill (HR 875):

(14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

Note that what qualifies as a farm is not defined. I’m skeptical about this bill for two reasons:

  1. In an economic crisis like now, that the government would actively try and stifle growing your own produce seems beyond absurd. However, I have almost no faith in government being reasonable, rational, or competent enough to stop special interests from ridiculously offesnive power grabs such as this.
  2. A law that stopped home gardening could cause revolt. Americans do not want to be told what they can do on their own land. When that is growing illegal drugs like marijuana, most Americans will bend to puritanical beliefs. But when we’re talking about growing tomatoes? That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

The more bills I see that go before Congress, the more my fundamental distrust and conclusion of rampant government corruption is confirmed. For further reading, see HR 600 which would put back into practice the sort of borrowing practices that led to the subprime debacle, housing boom, and housing bust.

This bill is designed to allow corporations, with the help of their hired government guns, to force small competitors (you and me) out of business. This is as evil as it gets, folks. Since the dawn of man we have hunted and farmed our own food——it’s second nature. To be stripped of the most fundamental act of survival is equivalent to the kind of mass enslavement you only read about in history books, like the kind under Pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Lurking within the maze of technical lawyer-like jargon, the bill places wildly restrictive regulatory incumbrances on the average vegetable growing Joe-The-Plumber, small organic farmer, or anyone for that matter who may one day decide to grow a small garden. The bill would require anyone associated with growing, storing, transporting or processing food to be subject to inspections by federal agents of their property and all records related to food production; you would be required to conduct specials tests, maintain samples and records, and allow government officials to mandate the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, specific types of nutrients, packaging, and temperature controls. Violation of any of these provisions would subject the offender to property seizure, imprisonment and fines up to $1,000,000. The implementation of these bogus regulations are designed to be so cost and time prohibitive, no one would bother to grow their own food or risk being jailed and fined for participating in a black market.

(H/T Implode)