Forget the debates, draw up a list of pertinent questions and make them answer. Example: see this format in action with candidate John Edwards
THE TRUTH EMERGES: The Government was NEVER prepared to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

THE DEFINITION OF CHUTZPAH: Black Friday -- cost of Thanksgiving soaring according to Merrill Lynch

Chutzpa is the Yiddish word that denotes an unbelievable gall, insolence and audacity. A word that is often used in the phrase "Can you believe the Chutzpah of that [fill-in a suitable naughty word here].

Now from Reuters we have an real-life example of chutzpah...

"The cost of Thanksgiving is soaring, according to investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co, which may help explain the gloom among U.S. consumers as they head into the holiday season."

"Merrill Lynch, the world's biggest brokerage and one of the most powerful names on Wall Street, calculated a Thanksgiving cost-of-giving index using the prices of traditional holiday meal items such as turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie -- as well as the cost of flowers, gifts ranging from toys to clothing and electronics, plus gasoline, hotels, air fare, and greeting cards."

"The index has risen 7.9 percent year-over-year in the approach to the festive season -- a huge swing from a drop of 4.4 percent a year ago. In fact, this is more than double the historical trend for this time of year and the second highest since 1999, said David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch North American economist, in a report."

It is nice that they have so carefully calculated the cost of groceries and other holiday related goods while ignoring the precise "mark-to-market" pricing of the toxic derivative packages that were handled in the months previous to Thanksgiving. Or that they were so observant of the risk that they were pushing into almost every nook and cranny of the American economy.

Which leads us to the most egregious example of chutzpah...

"'One reason why consumer confidence is receding at a time of year when everyone would be so joyous may be because the cost of partaking in the holiday spirit has soared and bitten deeply into purchasing power,' he wrote.

Or  could it maybe, possibly be, that the entire nation is suffering from the financial meltdown and mortgage debacle caused by Merrill Lynch and their greedy cohorts as they have pushed the United States economy closer to the brink of disaster with their packaged derivatives and SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles)? 

"'Black Friday,' the day after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday and the start of the traditional year-end spending spree, threatens to be a Bleak Friday this time around."

Tell that to the employees that have been laid off at First Franklin (purchased for approximately $1.2 billion)  or who fear for their jobs and those who lost their jobs at the now-bankrupt Ownit Mortgage (20% ownership for $100 million). It is much blacker for thousands of mortgage-related workers who were laid off by mortgage companies nationwide which were compromised by the machinations of Wall Street firms such as Merrill Lynch.

Holidays and Merrill...

However, some current, as well as former Merrill employees have a lot to celebrate. One in particular comes to mind. Former Chief Executive Officer Stan O'Neal who should have been summarily fired and stripped of any perks, privileges and excessive retirement benefits instead of being "retired" and allowed to walk away with an approximate $160 MILLION. Great compensation for the leader of a company which wrote down losses of $8 BILLION in a single quarter.

And how about Merrill's existing employees who will share in the approximately $38 BILLION in bonuses as reported by Bloomberg news...

"Shareholders in the securities industry are having their worst year since 2002, losing $74 billion of their equity. That won't prevent Wall Street from paying record bonuses, totaling almost $38 billion."

"That money, split among about 186,000 workers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos., equates to an average of $201,500 per person, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The five biggest U.S. securities firms paid $36 billion to employees last year."

So, as the holiday season progresses, you may want to repeat the Wall Street manta instead of singing Christmas Carrolls:  "take no prisoners -- churn 'em and burn 'em! fal-lah-lal-lah-la"

What can YOU do?

Remember that one of the symbols of Wall Street and Merrill Lynch's logo is the BULL. Consider public pronouncements from Merrill on the causes of a "black holiday season" to be so much BULL[insert the appropriate word here]!

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and wish to thank all of my readers for their attention to my blog entries and insightful comments.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Cost of Thanksgiving soaring: Merrill Lynch|Reuters

Wall Street Plans $38 Billion of Bonuses as Shareholders Lose|Bloomberg.com


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

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“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

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