Friday Movie Night - The Meltdown of the House of Cards Edition

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!

 

We have some real gems this week! The list is long so make sure you click on the entire post, all are must see videos.

First are two exceptional documentaries, CNBC's House of Cards and Frontline's Inside the Meltdown. Former IMF chief economist Bill Simon gave an truth telling Bill Moyers interview that to truly deal with the financial crisis one must confront and break up the oligarchs. (you know our corporate elite).

Frontline is running a series on the financial crisis and the first installment, Inside the Meltdown is below.

Inside The Meltdown

 

A very good special, truly well done, is CNBC's House of Cards on the housing bubble.

 

Meta: 

Comments

After watching "Inside the Meltdown"

I think that this pretty much expresses my feelings on the issue.

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if you watch House of Cards, the CNBC one

You will consider strangling Greenspan.

Also, I'm sorry but this is something I just have no sympathy for. They stole my American dream! is the whine from one interviewee. Well, I am very sorry but buying a $500k house on a $9/hr wage with 4 kids ....I'm sorry but regular people have to know basic finance and in that case I have just a very hard time with sympathy for those who ignored that basic fact, they could not afford the home.

I remember hearing people where I live who clearly could not afford a home...here's one of my favorites, buying a home because they could not afford rent! Then many flipper idiots running around just in complete economic fantasy land thinking they could rent out a hovel for $1500/month (these are three nasty rooms in a large house) to make their payments and it was all good as an investment.

All of these people should have never been given loans in the first place but I also think some personal responsibility is in order here. Can some of these people even balance a checkbook, add and subtract to figure out they are over extended? Seriously.

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Apparantly NBC thinks their copyright

trumps our right to know. The end of House of Cards is no longer available- YouTube pulled it based on a copyright complaint from NBC.

All of these people should have never been given loans in the first place but I also think some personal responsibility is in order here. Can some of these people even balance a checkbook, add and subtract to figure out they are over extended? Seriously.

Actually, that is a HUGE part of the problem and a complaint I've had looking back on my high school and college educations.

I don't remember a single required class that taught me to balance a checkbook.  I certainly don't remember any classes on how to handle a credit card, what the words in the 2000 pages of documents you sign at closing on a house mean, or how to figure out a budget.

I did have a "personal economics" class, which stressed how much better Capitalism was than Communism and Traditional economies and had us play a computer game on how to handle a stock portfolio, and it was required, but it was so mickey mouse that I doubt anybody in my generation actually knows these things without being told.

I'd say at least 60% of the people in the United States don't have the training necessary to handle personal finances. And never will, because it's far more profitable for those who are paying for our "free and equitable" education to keep people in ignorance than to actually train them to understand.

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copyright, the Internets and content

Well, it's their documentary. If they pulled it, they pulled it.

The problem with online media is giving revenue streams to those who actually created the content.

I think of course they should enable embedding, sharing of content but the problem is the business model, ad revenues, and keeping those revenues going to the content/copyright holder.

For example, I see on youtube all of the time, people ripping off other people's content and then putting their own ads, which generate revenues to that stolen content.

That's ridiculous, the ads should be bound to the original content and revenues should go to the producer of that content.

Yet they need to enable online snipping, sharing of content.

Another problem is newspapers are imploding. Well, here's another problem, a professional journalist writes a great article, it's posted online and people (including us) quote it, link to it but there is no architecture to give that journalist/original online newspaper some money when their content is used.

I'm all for giving the original content producers some money...hell it's their work...

but the infrastructure just plain isn't there that is fair, doesn't cost the blogs and people "working for free" or gives revenues guaranteed back to the original producers of the work ...so,
you get what CNBC just did.

Why should they give that documentary away for free in all honesty (although I love all the ones that do!), it probably cost CNBC $300k or who knows how much to produce it...so getting the original professionals who make these things some money I think is important.

We do not want the world to become "for free" reporting and journalism because "for free" does not pay the rent.

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Maybe what we really need is public media

We do not want the world to become "for free" reporting and journalism because "for free" does not pay the rent.

Having said this though, if we're going to have an equitable and free society, information does in fact need to be free.  In other words, as far as I'm concerned, on any of these interviews is that the people's need to know trumps copyright.  If you can't get your money back in a for-profit industry like CNBC that has a billion bankers worldwide tuning in 24 hours a day on the first showing, then maybe you need to spin off such documentaries to a non-profit arm.

 

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well

ya know free TV paid for with advertising used to work just fine and dandy. Another alternative is to use public funds to these media institutions.

But we're pretty damn worker wage focused on EP, so can we truly argue that someone taking 3 months of work should magically give the results of their labor away for free?

I cannot.

On the other hand, I can tell you assuredly that business models and technological solutions to this issue of content, shared media and the Internets is not solved and many attempts to solve it are stuck on stupid. Signing off now, see me as a digital media rights conference for more. ;)

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Are you serious?

I think my sarcasm meter is failing.

I can't argue that the WORKER should give their initial performance away for free. I can, seriously, argue that the business model that locks away public information for more than a week behind a for-pay firewall is largely a social evil.

Those are two entirely different things in my mind.

Likewise, I can see preserving copyright for the first few printings of a given revision of a book. But preserving copyright when the author is long dead doesn't make sense to me.

For something closer to home- I can see preserving copyright on a piece of software that is actively available and being sold. But I can't see preserving copyright on outdated versions or on abandonware (for instance, I don't attempt to enforce copyright on my "Video Game Maker" for the TI-99/4A- in fact, if I heard of somebody still using it, I think I'd be flattered).

Copyright is a reasonable public good when it preserves public access and encourages content CREATION. Beyond that, though, I have my doubts as to the usefulness of Intellectual Property in general- far too often it seems to become a barrier to true innovation.

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yes I am

I did not say that the business model is antiquated and I also implied the technology itself is not addressing methods to keep a business model intact for paid content...

but I am assuredly saying that content creators deserve to be paid for their work, which is a major function of copyright as well as patent law.

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Initial pay or residuals

Is the question I raise.

I can see being paid initially. I can see the company that paid you needing to recoup their investment plus a reasonable profit.

I just can't see Walt Disney corporation still having a copyright on Steam Boat Willie. That makes NO sense to me. Eventually, fair use should win out and EVERYTHING should fall into public domain.

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yes comrade

and I will share my gruel with you too.

Free Winnie the Pooh! Free Winnie the Pooh!

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To some extent, yes

Isn't this a bit like decrying protectionism as racist, or nationalization as communist?

The good of the whole has as much right to be considered as the profit of the individual. Besides, how much work that you did even 2 years ago are you still being paid for?

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Having said this though, if

Having said this though, if we're going to have an equitable and free society, information does in fact need to be free.

Please show me where you have a right to have information free? CNBC is under no obligation to provide you anything for nothing.  That show came at a financial cost to them in hopes of recouperating it through ad sales.  As for the principle of all information being free, how far do you want to take that?  I'm sorry, and I know I'm going to take heat on this, but I don't believe you have a right to know everything nor that all info should come at no cost to you.  If I want to learn about a new language, then I will pay to buy a book on that language, and hopefully the author of that book will earn a living.

 In other words, as far as I'm concerned, on any of these interviews is that the people's need to know trumps copyright.

No it doesn't.  Show me were an interview, conducted by a private organization, in full knowledge to those being interviewed that it will be on a subscribed cable network channel, should come at no cost?  I would love to copy, and I have in the past (which I openly admit makes me a hipcrite) pasted television recordings or images.  But I always acknowledge my sources.  The people in the interview may not be property of CNBC, but the work done by the reporter and interviewer are and so is the film. 

 If you can't get your money back in a for-profit industry like CNBC that has a billion bankers worldwide tuning in 24 hours a day on the first showing, then maybe you need to spin off such documentaries to a non-profit arm.

They do make a profit.  And they are under no obligation to spin off anything to any non-profit arm.  Tell me why they should make a non-profit?  Because information should be "free"?  Where are they constitutionally obligated to do this?  This is like saying I have a right to take your work and distribute it for nothing to the public.  If you're an author or artist with no other means of income, well this would be devistating.  And before you tell me "well that's fiction or art", I can guarantee you that as soon as folks push for "information being free", the definition of information will begin to change.

One last thing, CNBC, it may surprise you, isn't watched religiously by "billion bankers."  There was a stupid comment on Daily Kos about day traders and CNBC, how they watch it all day.  I will admit that I have it on, but on mute.  Most of the traders that I know, CNBC is background noise. In reality, most get their news off the net like Dow Jones Newswire for a princely sum each month. 

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everything for free

That whole philosophy works great when you, as the content/worker/creator either have a trust fund and really a nice free ride on social services benefits in some socialist country, or at least Mom & Dad footing your bill for all of your living expenses while you philosophize about how all things should be free....

Take open source. I love open source, I use open source, do I contribute back to open source? Uh, frankly no, not unless someone is paying me to do it! That's real engineering work man, why am I going to give all of those skills away for free...I'm trying to earn a living here!

(obviously I do not have a trust fund, parents or live in a nice socialist country)

I understand the desire to create open source, especially those trying to bust the Microsoft monopoly, reduce the costs of gaining access to technology, etc. but at some point someone needs to be paid for their labor.

(EP, the exception, this is my work for free project but it isn't any heavy intellectual property either!)

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I'm not saying everything for free

I'm saying INFORMATION for free- as in, one should be able to have access to all information in a democracy to be a good citizen to vote.

If economics gets in the way of that (and it does) then we need a reasonable mechanism to free the information from the economics.

I worked on public domain and shareware programs LONG BEFORE open source was ever dreamed of. But that's not entirely what I'm talking about- artists and original content creators deserve to get paid for the hours they work. But I see no reason to pay somebody, in perpetuity, for something they've had nothing to do with for several years. And I see a very real argument FOR historical data being available for free in a democracy.

Otherwise, you might as well live in an Oligarchial Dictatorship, like China, where information is restricted on a need to know basis.

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Moral hazards would not exist in a system designed to eliminate fraud.

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drop it Seebert

Look, argumentative rants are not something I want to spend my own time on.

A film, media, documentary is not "information" or raw data. And....nothing is "for free". Your library is funded with public funds, your education is funded with taxpayer funds.

Wikipedia has paid for staff, benefactors.

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First Amendment

A well-educated public is necessary for the conduct of business in a democracy.

That's one of the basic principles of democracy. VERY basic principles.

If you don't believe that information should be free, then you might as well live in a dictatorship- because you believe that only a minority should be making the decisions.

That is why I do not believe information should be hidden behind "a princely sum each month".

Having said that- yes, for profit news services should be allowed to exist; I'm just saying that their copyright should be subject to the public need to know.

I'm also of the belief that they can make a very decent profit off of the initial "scoop". And yes, I have released in the past, many writings and software programs into the public domain.

Moral hazards would not exist in a system designed to eliminate fraud.

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being realistic about economics of information

I won't argue about the public being well informed. Ignorance of issues and actions needed for reform is one of this nation's biggest problems. Saying this, seabert, I take issue with you implying that I would want to live in a dictatorship. Frankly, that's a reckless statement to make. When it comes to the democratic process, that is our electoral process and the candidates, please show me where info is being withheld? Last election season, you couldn't make a step without hearing about Obama this...McCain that. And I would say the same for more local elections.

So are we talking about information about things that could kill you? If there is a chemical leak or something worse like say a Chernobyl, then odds are that it won't be a secret for long. Not in an age of 24 hour news networks and wire services like the Associated Press. Even mundane info like road construction is made public?

Regarding economic info, please tell me who is keeping info like job cuts and company bankruptcies from you? No one is. You want the price of oil? Futuresource.com has it for "free." Want to know the latest bid/ask on IBM or GE or Microsoft? Yahoo Finance.

You'll notice I said "free" instead of free.  Whether its price quotes or information on say kuala bears.  Whether it's at your local library or the internet.  It costs money to host this information, costs that need to be recouped some how.  The question becomes where the cash comes from.  Futuresource and Yahoo Finance pays for itself through advertisments.  Your library gets it from taxes.  If I wanted to read articles on the Financial Times, I need to pay a monthly or yearly price. 

Even if the news story is long since become old, there is still costs involved.  How do you plan on accessing say a housing story from a month ago?  Chances are the internet, and that means server costs. The question now changes to who will house that old info?  If it's a commercial news site, well chances are you will either get bombarded with ads or have to pay a fee.  But sometimes ad revenue does pay the bills.  Ask yourself this, how is it out of all the newspapers that have gone online, only the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times is moderately profitable or at least not underwater like the New York Times?  The economics of information is changing, the old industrial era models do not work anymore.  If news organizations are to warehouse this information, then they have a right to ask for a fee if they want.  I'm sorry seabert, but you can't get something for nothing.

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I'm not asking for something for nothing

I'm asking for publicly available archives, to be specific. AND THAT IS IT. Not "something for nothing". Just links that don't go dead just because somebody, belatedly, wanted to enforce copyright on something they aren't going to get any more money for no matter how hard they try.

And, if we had actually had the truth about what went down in September, do you really think EITHER Obama or McCain would have been electable? In fact, if we actually had DEMOCRACY in this country instead of an OLIGARCHIAL DICTATORSHIP, do you really think either of the so-called "major political parties" would be anything more than a minority ground under the heel of "tyranny of the majority"?

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I still have

House of Cards on my DVR, just may find a way to save it on other media. Thanks for the heads up!

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free vs. oh not quite free vs. oh gee, the DVR

that was really my original point. It was the best overview to date on the financial crisis, far better than Frontline and Frontline is usually the "king" for in depth documentaries.

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Nationalization amidst Globalization

Is it time to revisit Game Theory and John Rawls yet...maybe sing coombiyaah?;-) Yes, the media confusion and obfuscation does tend to blur, but the fact is...Pat Buchanan is correct. Illegal immigration is not about racism, anymoreso than is a solid industrial policy in our own interest. Charity begins at home. We've been generous and tolerant to a fault, and according to WTO's own statistics (matched against various currency boards), a serious adjustment is now justifiably in order.

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different concept in this context

Nationalization in this case simply means the government grabs a private enterprise. There are many forms of nationalization but no body is talking about communism or even a mixed economy, they are saying the only entity big enough to clean up this mess is the government but to nationalize or government complete takeover of these financial institutions simply to open them up, clean up the mess, throw out the bad assets and return them to the private sector (and I'll assume a flurry of new regulations to accompany this effort).

Nationalist, or that as a political objective is more of a fine line but it's quite clear other nations have a sense of country and putting their citizens, country first. Makes sense the world is a series of nation-states...that's it's structure. We're not "one world order...yet".

The end game of unlimited migration is the ability to manipulate labor supply on a scale never seen before and that will erode wages, workers rights plus destroy community, cultural and social networks.

On the agenda for some time, has been on the globalization/WTO/corporate "trading people" motif. I think it's critical to unravel the spin, the agenda and how this lowers wages, workers rights....globally.

But it's a fine line though because too much nationalism can lead to....well, we know what it can lead to!

So two very different concepts here....
maybe that's why this term nationalize is getting such a bad rap.

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Self-sufficiency?

But it's a fine line though because too much nationalism can lead to....well, we know what it can lead to!

Self sufficiency?  Imperialism?  I'm not sure that either is the bogeyman we pretend it to be.

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The Nazis were nationalists

so were skin heads. That's what I am referring to.

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I think the problem is

We in America have a hard time separating people who use good economic sense to drive bad things, and those who use good economic sense to drive good things.

We have a tendency to blame the economic sense rather than the other aspects of the agenda.

We do the same thing with communism.

Nationalism is not a bad thing, in and of itself. Fear of the other is not a bad thing, in and of itself. Using those things for imperialistic ends, of course that's a bad thing- but the bad thing is IMPERIALISM, not NATIONALISM.

Centralization is the enemy, not specific economic systems.

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