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When do you think is the best time to buy consumer electronics?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 14, 2008 4:55 AM PST

In our poor economical state, when do you think is the best time to buy consumer electronics?

Now that it appears our country is in a recession, I would be interested in knowing, from your economically astute audience, what the opinion is about when is the best time from now through January 31, 2009, to get a great deal on flat-screen TVs, computers, and other technical gadgets. With anticipation that many e-commerce manufacturers will not be able to unload the over-production of the mentioned items through retail outlets, I suspect there will be great deals to be had without having to pitch a tent the night before at a local retailer. When do you think is the right time to buy? In addition, do you have any buying advice tips or strategies you can share with all of us? Thanks!

--Submitted by Roger P.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read up on all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this member?s question.

Recession? What recession? --Submitted by iHateUserNames1111

Strike when the price feels right... --Submitted by Wolfie2k5

Provided you aren't picky probably after Christmas --Submitted by BigGuns149

If you have any additional advice, opinions, or recommedations for Ralph, please click the reply link and submit your answer. Please give examples if applicable. Thank you!
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Recession? What recession?

The right time to buy any consumer electronics is when you need it, or slighty prior to your anticipation of needing it. Keep in mind, that no matter when you buy, there will always be something cheaper and/or better shortly after you do so.

I remember when I bought my first state of the art 1GB hard drive. Cost me $5,000. I kicked myself when the new 2GB drives came out shortly after at about the same price. Since I'd spent all my money I couldn't get that one. Soon after, 4GB drives were all the rage. The point is, you'll never be able to get ahead of the curve. If you don't need it now, then wait. It will be cheaper soon. If you can't wait any longer, then buy it.

I remember a comic strip I read once a long time ago. There was a sign on the road that said "Last chance for 80 cents gas". So a guy pulls over to fill up and as he's filling up he asks the attendant "How much does gas cost at the next station ahead?" The answer: "70 cents". And so it goes with consumer electronics, they just keep getting better and cheaper, unlike everything else in the world.

By the way, recessions are self-fulfilling prophecies. When people stop buying and start hoarding their money, they create recessions.

I refuse to participate in the recession. You too, can be like me. It's up to all of us to pull ourselves out of the recession by spending instead of hoarding.

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I wonder about this post
by magnusfl / November 21, 2008 10:34 AM PST

how can you say that when company?s such as citi bank lay off 1 out of 7 employees major business such as Metromedia which owned steak and ale benagins and more totally collapsed circuit city closing over 100 locations just to name a few
plus a record number of people collecting unemployed checks

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nothing to wonder about
by dbatesphoto / November 21, 2008 3:16 PM PST

While many big companies are laying people off left and right at the bottom level/worker bees, they are giving huge Christmas bonuses to top execs for cutting costs by laying off that 7% even though the poor saps that get to keep their jobs will be working 7 day weeks for the next 6 month at what is equal to 8 day check no additional benefits still saves the company millions of dollars. Or better yet cut hours on the full staff down to part time so they lose their benefits and pay $1.50 on the dollar to hire temp workers who get no benefits at all and you just saved another million dollars a quarter. Party time in Vegas for the top execs just ask about that $400,000 "business trip" AGI took just weeks after getting how many Billion dollars in the first round of bail outs. Times like these less people are buying because Average Joe can't pay his bills let alone splurge while Billionaire Bill is getting millions out of DC to bail out his company so he can hire more execs to figure out the next way to work the system. Oh wait they already have with the next round of bail outs.

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When is the best time to buy----whatever
by Rick1217 / November 22, 2008 2:28 AM PST

You should realize by now that this country and the world is in a deep deep recession with a doom 2009. So if you MUST buy anything electronic, let me tell you what BestBuy manager told me yesterday 11/21: No sales maybe not even after Christmas. You can go to our website and see what will be on sale Black Friday but there are NO plans for any sales. In Orlando, NO business is having a sort of sale on anything! Last year at this time I was buying Tommy Bahama T-shirts for $12 plus a 20% discount; this year NOTHING is on sale in men's or women's clothing.
These retail place need all the money they can get to stay in business and they KNOW that Americans are generous, kind, loving and enjoy Christmas so therefore they know that Americans will max the plastic as always and still have a good size Christmas. It has happened every year for the past 50 years--and I am 62 and have seen all the recessions--of course nothing as deep and getting way deeper than this one. Just remember ONE thing: 2009 WILL BE MUCH WORSE.

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by guiri_too / November 22, 2008 2:42 AM PST

How can he say that? The man is right.

WE create the recession. Someone starts a scare or a rumor..

People STOP buying stuff.

The people that work in the stores where you stopped buying stuff are now getting laid off because no one is shopping where they are and the management instead of waiting and riding it out, hears and reads the recession rumors and panic and lay people off.

The people that got laid off now have NO money to shop with so they can't shop where you work and now YOU get laid off and YOU can't afford to shop and...

Do you get the idea?

People take their money out of the bank 'cause their scared and if everyone does, the banks will fold because NO bank actually HAS the money that everyone has deposited. That money is being invested and is floating around in the economy, invested in other businesses and so on so when EVERYONE asks for their money back, they can't pay up.

During the depression if people had remained calm, it probably never would have happened or at least not as bad.

YOU create the recession, NOT ME and the guy that posted this.

My life has not changed at all because interestingly enough, I MAKE THE SAME MONEY I did a few months ago...go figure..

As for circuit city, they deserved to close. Their service was beyond appalling. I tried to shop there many times during the last two years and never ONCE did anyone try to help me. Instead Best Buy got my business and I must have spent 10 grand in hardware just by my little ol' self. Yeah, no wonder they folded..

I will however miss Comp USA though.


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by afro2358 / November 22, 2008 3:09 AM PST
In reply to: Recession

A person can not buy anything if they dont have the money to buy anything with. If a person lose their job because of no fault of there own, you can not blame them. The blame is those "White Guys" in Wall Street and those "White Guys" in Washington D.C. who could have prevented this from happening in the first place. And trust me, it will get worse before it gets better and it might head in your neck of the woods. Like i said before, "A recession is when your next door neighbor or someone you know just lost their job, and a Depression is when "You" are out of work.

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by kmne68 / November 22, 2008 3:54 AM PST
In reply to: Recession

Ahhhh yes, let's bring race into this because that is what electronics and economics are all about.

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Now who's stereo-typing?
by stephiel1 / November 22, 2008 10:55 PM PST
In reply to: Recession

This is not about race. The economy is all about people that spent money they didn't have. Now the banks want their money back, and people are losing their houses. People get scared and stop spending/want their money back from the banks (just like in the Great Depression. Ever seen Its a Wonderful Life?). People lose their jobs because employers aren't bringing in the same amount they did last year, then we have even more people not spending.
On top of that, you get the auto makers who invested so much in SUVs despite rising gas prices; now we have a glut of SUVs and not enough cars that people want to buy.
We put ourselves in this hole. The only way to get out is to act normal, spend when we can and not when we can't.

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Now Who's stereo-typing
by afro2358 / November 23, 2008 12:14 AM PST

The party is over now, people better start saving their money. You can not eat or maintain a roof over your head with Electronics. This generations never seen a Depression, but, i feel in my heart that it's coming. My mother once told me that during hard times, there are three things for survival: Food, Clothing, and Shelter. Everything else is "Secondary". The people who was running this country really blew-it. Our Government should just let Wall Street and the 3 Auto makers file for Bankruptcy and use the rest of the $300B dollars to take care of "Main Street". Main Street is not the reason why we're in this economical mess, but Main Street is now going to suffer for it.

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Why not place the blame where it belongs...
by damnfingers / November 30, 2008 11:22 PM PST
In reply to: Recession

on those misguided individuals who think that "home ownership" is a right and directed the banks to make loans to all those people who couldn't afford to pay them back. I think that's called pandering for votes...and I blame the Democrats.

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Placing Blame
by afro2358 / December 1, 2008 3:15 AM PST

I blame "All" the politicians in Washington who could have done something about this, rather Democrats or Repulicans. But, it's too late now. Go help us all.

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Flush Washington in the toilet where they belong...
by scottjmills / December 15, 2008 8:45 AM PST
In reply to: Placing Blame

Here here to the statement they "all" are in on this regardless of party. The subject is when is it good to buy though, and from what I'm seeing, if you have some money set aside for an electronics purchase, now is a great opportunity! Just make sure your set everywhere else (food/shelter/low debt).

Good luck!

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Not that simple
by kcmargulies / November 22, 2008 10:39 PM PST
In reply to: Recession

Fear plays a role, no doubt. But so does overextended credit.
I felt uneasy when people who had no jobs and put no money down were buying homes just to flip them in a quick sale with 20% profit.
The economy by then had turned into a pyramid scheme.
Fear plays a part, but a heck of a lot of people are in debt. People did dumb things like refinancing to take exotic vacations.
The money is gone, but the debt remains...

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the best time to buy consumer electronics
by wahid65 / November 22, 2008 8:43 AM PST

If I have a sufficiently money I will buy without doing no calculs and without looking back, because prices of computers (laptops)for example will always be better the next time around. So buy it with no regrets and enjoy it because if you will keep a lot of attention to this kind of things likes the word "recession" I think you will not enjoy your life. Consequently my advise is " enjoy your life and if you have the possibility to buy anything which it is necessary for you: buy it immediately and don't hesitate because our life is short and you don't know what will happen tomorrow because only god can know that".
best regards

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The best time to buy Consumer Electronics
by afro2358 / November 22, 2008 7:55 PM PST

You sound like a person who lives with their parents and dont have to pay rent like the rest of us. So, life is on their shoulders not yours. Life is good hey?

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Best Time to Buy Computers, TVs, electronics
by Roger Panning / November 24, 2008 3:15 PM PST

To afro2358 -posted 11/23/08 3:55 PM.

I, Roger P, am a 66 year old disabled Vietnam Veteran that lives on a fixed income, having a spouse that has no health insurance, experiencing a crash of my Windows 98 SE OS on a 9 year old PC and a flatline CRT TV. My grandson lets me borrow his laptop so I can use it at this ridiculous hour and get it back to him when I take him to school. Oh! my R E N T just went up by 12%. But don't despair.
Someday you'll find a more constructive way to express your hostility to those that deserve it, contrary to those that are looking for help.

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Best time to buy....Recession where???
by samagnolia / November 22, 2008 12:23 PM PST

Best time to buy will be in January. When Christmas is over and sales are down.
As far as places like Circuit City laying off so many..well, they were right around the corner from me, moved out and left an empty building only to move further down the highway into a nice new building! This happened the same week they laid a bunch of people off....hmmmmmm...wonder who's fault that was??
They deserve what they get. I live in a big metropolitan city too. There are signs in so many businesses for help wanted..what I am seeing is a lot of people who want a hand out and don't want to work or their work ethic is so poor that they make terrible employees.
I agree that we should spend if we have it...don't if you don't. Prices are good but they are always going to be better somewhere else. I check places like for items I am interested in, otherwise watch your local newspaper.
I have a day job and a small business and my business is booming...

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I agree
by TheRockMan / November 21, 2008 10:42 AM PST

Dude, I couldn't agree more about the 'self fulfilling prophecy' aspect of the recession hat you mentioned. The more people think there's a recession and start hording, the more it starts to look like a recession.

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the economy is a huge Ponzi scheme
by ktagliam / November 24, 2008 11:27 AM PST
In reply to: I agree

sorry, but the fact is the economy is a great big Ponzi scheme.

If the only way the economy can sustain itself is by American's purchasing imported goods, we are in a boat load of trouble. You cannot have an economy without producing, whether it is farm goods, raw materials, or manufactured goods. The "knowledge sector" is a myth.

Whoever let Hank Paulson control the keys to the candy store must be out of their mind. It was obvious from the get-go he would bail out his Wall Street buddies and screw everybody else over. He can bail out Citi Corp but is going to let PNC buy out National City with money PNC "borrowed" from the "Bail out" program? I smell a huge stinky rat.

Needless to say, help for Main Street will not arrive till Obama arrives. But the money will be gone by then. Bush said today he doesn't want to just use half the $700 trillion, he thinks he needs to use it all. Which means nothing left by the time the guy gets there who might do something for mainstreet,

As for electronics? Check the going out of business sales, but be careful... frequently, the liquidators are MORE expensive than the competitors. Circuit City's liquidators, for example, charged $1499 for a Samsung 46A550 and the same tv was $1299 from... Circuit City... that is, the stores that aren't in liquidation.

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Need? What need?
by ethanw / November 21, 2008 10:57 AM PST

Much as we'd like to help the electronics industry and the economy in general, what's this about the best time to buy consumer electronics is when you need it? You never really need consumer electronics. You may want it, but before you buy what you want, do a reality check on how secure you are and the whole country is and may be before you make that purchase. Otherwise, you may well need a Garmin to show you how to get out of the hole.

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Sometimes You Do Need Electronics
by Dialady / November 21, 2008 11:40 PM PST
In reply to: Need? What need?

Gotta say there are times that you do need new electronics . . .like when I bought my new laptop and the screen was too small to work with constantly in web design, I NEEDED a 22" monitor so I could read text . . .LOL.

We've just bought a new house and the previous owners had a small flat screen mounted over the mantel on the fireplace. Since they took the TV and all the mounting equipment with them, there are LARGE holes above the fireplace. Plus the location of our current TV, is the exact place where the Christmas Tree goes. Thus, we need a Plasma TV to go on the mantel so I can put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. That is a definitely NEED . . .LOL

Oh, and we bought and sold a house in October. We are NOT participating in this media driven recession either.

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need vs want
by howjef / November 22, 2008 10:54 AM PST
In reply to: Need? What need?

i want to continue to use use my 10 year old hp running sin 95/98.
I need to replace it in order to conect via broadband.

I need to replace it in order to be able to use wireless n so my other computer to get online.

as an aside. there is an old story of a man who sold hot dogs on the side of the road . whenever people asked how he was doing. he always said business was great.
it was great enough that he was able to send his son off to college. the son study business and the economy.
the son came home and and offered to help out his father at the stand.
he explained to his father all the things he needed to do for the business.
the son felt the business was very very bad. there was not enough money coming in and his suggestions were to close the business because it was so bad.

it takes a balance of reality and of hope for all of us.

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The sometimes mean spirit of NEED vs WANT.
by Daniel J. Scott, III / November 23, 2008 6:52 AM PST
In reply to: need vs want

There are some grumblings here of rich vs poor, of racism; all the usual social "ego" problems, loathing and self pity. I suppose since they have been expressed , it is only fair to say that there is something in each view that should require some type of rational discussion;--but need vs want and the availability of funds, would seem to be the the bottom line for new purchases in a failed economy.
Those of you who are pompously, independently affluent; and who expressed political views ignoring the plight of the country; likewise those with KKK Symtoms, and of course, the exiting ruling party; which has had it's way with our nation and the world, creating wars for bucaneer business profiteering; should pull back there Hannity and Limbaugh looser attitudes for at the next four years, and silent the drum beats of WAR and attempts at laying blame for all this, on the poor and middle class; for not spending what they don't have on what they could not afford; and the new coming administration for what Georgie and Dicky Boy(s) have created for us all, Bless America.

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The problems Georgie and Dickie boy left for all of us???
by lcabarney / November 29, 2008 11:36 PM PST

Talking about recklessly placing blame. Georgie and Dickie did nothing in office without the blessing of the Democraticly led Congress and Senate....Well, Dickie did shoot someone while hunting. If it makes you feel better to place blame on Bush and Cheney, well keep your uneducated thoughts to yourself. Tax laws and regulations do not always lend itself to efficiently running businesses... businesses could run much more efficiently if the laws were different. If a recession is a pull back from an over heated economy, then we certainly are in one. Media published hype and fear cause an overcorrection, making things worse. I hope it is more of a shake out of companies that were not effectively managed. I feel a greater responsibility for ones actions would benefit everyone, from the ceos and unions draining the coffers of huge companies to main street citizens over spending and shirking their promise to repay.

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lcabarney 11/30/08.....uneducated thoughts to yourself.....

If I were truely unschooled, I would not have voted for the right President to lead this country going forward in the midst of such chaos; but someone spouting a mean spirited view, as I had wrote, can obviously not see the forest for the Right Wing Hills of war profiteering. I have had a first hand view of what that is about; in 1965 I was thrust into a war to "keep the communists at bay",we didn't want them coming to our country disrupting our way of life,(as if). The first place we went to in South East Asia was a rubber tree plantation; I was told that if the "enemy" should target this for distruction we will quite certainly have to fight to hold this to the last man,(the graduate, "..remember plastics boy plastics..), these plantations were soon obsolete. Later that season after traversing many klicks and being involved in a skirmish requiring a dustoff for dead and gravely wounded; we arrived at our planned objective,just as the jungle suddenly ended. It was a moonless night, so even the blue light night scopes we used at the time were not clear as to all that we were seeing; so maintaining personal and radio silence, we set a listening post and individual fire zones, while waiting until dawn. Our initial orders were to move to the objective, set up and hold at all cost. The sun came up that morning and a Huey H1 arrived with a 50 caliper anti-aircraft machine gun and a dozen or so cases of mines and various explosives. Prior to the chopper landing we cleared and perimetered the area,revealing a previously dug reinforced gun emplacement directly in front of a French Coca Cola Headquarters and Bottling Plant; with huge digging and grading machines spread all over the makeshift clearing as though the drivers suddenly stopped them without completing there work. After a limited discussion as to how we would handle this situation, since casualties had occurred in getting here, without knowing what the "objective" was.... we set charges to all the outlying machinery and the factory, dismantled the machine gun and pulled back to the jungle and waited.... This obviously was not the end of the story but that is all that is necessary here. Yes even with our Tax Laws as they are; leaning more toward Big Business than to the Middle Class; Outsourcing brings greater profits for the Corporate CEO's and cronies and lower overhead; and in some cases less oversight as to how things are made. You add even more insult to what you would like to be a onesided statement on your part; after dubbing me reckless for aluding to Dickie and Halliburton and Blackwater etc.; you write about union busting so that the Corporations can reap even more excessive prifits. I have come late in life to this, but I am a Union man and now know without Unions in this country poor products and unbridled profiteering would be the norm not the exception. Yes we need more regulatory control over corporite greed and the Banking Industry as this bailout has helped greatly the Greed aspect of all this; since giving money without a directive as to how it is to be spent; buying up companies and pay out unearned Dividends to Stock Holders, and let's not mention the Junkets... History of the Human expierence tells us that given opportunities to do better makes most people optimistic; you seem to be laying a great deal of blame on main street for what was a Corporate Greed Grab and much of it Bate and Switch; check out the loss of jobs in our America; I am not surprised that people find it hard to pay their bills and Mortgages, shirking!!??? I don't pretend to know what planet you are living on, but I am here in the middle of this one, Bless America, Slainte'

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Tricky **** II, King George, etal...
by kevb1959 / November 30, 2008 4:39 AM PST

We are in a war against turistss. There's no doubt that there are some very scary people who hate us because not who we are and not because of our Democracy, but rather our collusion and support of oppressive regimes in the Middle East and other places. I'm only hoping that with the Democrats controlling the House, Senate, and White House. That we'll show the rest of the world that we mean business when it comes to changing the status quo over the past so many years. I'm afraid though my hopefulness is tainted with a great deal of naivete'. What I think one of the first things that has to happen as a gesture to the rest of the world is to hold the people who lied us into war culpable for their wanton disregard for human life in exchange for profit. Aside from that...what an amazingly complex and difficult set of tasks need to be addressed immediately as soon as the new administration takes office. But these folks and their ilk need to held responsible for the damage they've done to the planet and our economy.

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Yes, shirking
by lcabarney / November 30, 2008 9:39 AM PST

First off, thank you for your service. Second, I voted for Obama as I feel he can instill the greatest confidence in the United States that has been lost of late; not just our economy but also our direction as a country. I do place blame on every individual that shirks responsibility for their actions...ceos that receive millions for running a company into the ground, the union for demanding unreasonable income for their services (avg GM worker makes twice what Toyota's worker makes???), and for Joe main street that files for bankruptcy after maxing their credit cards knowing they wont have to be repaid. I know many Americans lost their job through no fault of their own, and my only response to that is life isnt always fair and if they do have good morals and work ethic, someone needs them as an employee (I could use several) and God will look out for them. I know too many people who intentionally get fired to collect unemployment, fake injurys to collect disability, or abuse the system because they are too lazy to work for what they want. I have had someone file for bankruptcy against me for thousands that I could not spare and live better than most. Is that fair?? I think that there was a time when unions were needed, and I dont see that now. I am not necessarily in favor of a flat tax, but the current tax code does not reward efficiently run businesses. If more compensation in life was performance based, then more in life would be performed well. As a union man, you probably saw a great deal of waste and why should you outwork your coworker doing the bare minimum for the same money? Do you really think that is fair? Unions make it hard to remove such dead weight that is dragging troubled companies down....not to say the corporate jets and other such frivolous spending aren't a part of the problem. Can you imagine the USA's GDP if every single person was paid what they were worth because the incentive to produce would be directly reflected in their paychecks? I appologize if my comment before hurt you, but it is way too easy and unfair to place the blame of the world on the current President....I would not want to be in his shoes. My guess is you wouldn't either. And I hope we voted for the right President.

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Yes Shirking
by afro2358 / November 30, 2008 10:34 AM PST
In reply to: Yes, shirking

It's not the president of the United States who run this Country (He's just a Figure Head), It's all those white Lawyers in Congress who run this Country. And boy, did they mess this Country up, "Big Time".

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I agree the President is a figurehead, but...
by kevb1959 / November 30, 2008 1:07 PM PST
In reply to: Yes Shirking

I agree he's a figurehead but for the first six years of his administration pretty much everything he wanted was rubber stamped by a Republican controlled House and Senate. Now that there's a change in political winds it seems that he's got enough Republican and Democratic support(what's up with these Dems who still vote for everything he proposes) in the senate to filibuster pretty much everything that the new Democrats are trying to do. Not to mention that his cronies in the banking and auto industries are going to take that money from the taxpayers and put it into offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes on it. Now this has got me started on this tragic series of events in Iraq. We don't want to lose? We shouldn't be there in the first place. There was no Al-Quida in Iraq until we got there. There was no connection between Saddam and 9/11. Besides it was a CIA coup that put Saddam in power... and we sold his regime those weapons of mass destruction he used on his own people. And at the time when Rummy was there making all nice with Saddam in the 1980's no mention of those events so much as put anyone in the press corps panties in a bunch. What a mess and now over a half million people are dead so that these guys could cash in on 9/11. Besides the whole real reason we went to war with Iraq was because Saddam threatened to start using Euros instead of dollars. After the first Gulf War Iraqi stockpiles of WMD's had been accounted for and destroyed. And after we blew them halfway back to the stone age a couple of years later he reconstituted his nuclear programs? I was born at night but it wasn't last night, but I was amazed by how many people actually bought into this load of crap. All of them that promoted and propagandized including the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches supporting this this war via the mainstream media- esp. Fox news and other right- wing radio and newspaper outlets need to be held accountable for crimes against humanity. I think the appropriate place to hold these trials would be Nuremberg. After all in historical terms there isn't much difference between Iraq and Poland when it comes to the political tactics used to gain popular support for the excuses in going to war. Either way I just hope the screen door don't hit Bush and Cheney's asses on the way out of the White House. And take that *********** Rice too.

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I agree....
by afro2358 / November 30, 2008 9:14 PM PST

Yes, As far as i'm concern, President Bush is by far the Worst President in my lifetime, and i'm 58 years old. But, what concerns me now is looking forward with this Economy. We are Totally "Broke", we (United States)are so far in Debt it's crazy. And it seems like the way the New President want to solve this problem is to do what President Bush has already done and as you can see it's not working. We just can not spend our way out of this mess,where is all this money going to come from? I'm no economist, but, there is no way in hell you can do this or keep doing this. The United States can't keep running to China to borrow money. I would say "Let all these Companies (Citigroup, all 3 Auto Makers, and the like) fail and file for Bankruptcy and let the chips fall where it may. Taxpayers money should not be used to be bailing Private Companies out of situations they put themselves in. No Company should be "Too Big To Fail". That money should be use to bail-out "Main Street" not "Wall Street". Like i always said: "Capitalism is what got us in this mess, and Capitalism is what going to fail us as a nation". Worst case senario, what will happen if a Communist China Calls back all their loans from the United States?

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