Monday, October 31, 2011

The news you can't use and couldn't care less about

Ever notice how when you click on your favorite news site up pops the drivel of the day. I realize that every day is not filled with informative eye popping headlines but sometimes the latest jaunt to the Google Wiki Yahoo News results in a real time waste. Did I know or do I care that there are 8 ways to cook asparagus? And no I really could care less about how to get rid of dark circles under my eyes except that maybe I need more sleep. More like did I bother to comb my hair before going out the door because you always get one of these feathers sticking up in the back that you didn't notice when you were shaving because your focus was on that tough chin area and not the back of your head?
Save me from the latest cat fight from tinsel town because I have no interest in who wore what dress to what function that landed up the latest diss headline in some gossip rag. Let me ignore the latest political gaff spewed from the mouths of political whores who'd say anything to get just a couple of points ahead in the polls. All as in better to get some attention than no attention at all. It'll do wonders for the tell all book sales later when the career in politics gets dashed on the rocks of reality. God I'm starting to sound like Ron James here eh?
Anymore the news is getting more like prospecting where you have to pan through worthless sand to get to something important. How did we get to this point? Hasn't our culture gone global? But lest we forget our outstanding educational system that cranks out the less than well informed that think a completed assignment only needs two of the five Ws because they can only think in 140 characters. Abbreviations may be fine for a quarterback calling plays in a noisy stadium but if this trend continues imagine what such text talk would do if it was used by world leaders. I'd give an example but my abilities in that language are like omg not great.
And I have no idea where this post is going so I'll let you carry on and keep on panning for the gold. And should you find anything of real interest send it my way and by all means use more than 140 characters because there's room and I think my attention span can handle it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Sunday

And time for the weekly installment of morning political talk shows. Avoidance of said programs is highly recommended by the shear fact that you will never see an opposing view and comic relief wears thin after endless talking points have been presented.
But I do have a theory as to the popularity of the latest clown that leads the pack from the republican clown car. Think for a minute. If you have exhausted every conceivable argument of the reverse Robin Hood doctrine that keeps your benefactors in the wealth that they have been accustom, and all of your stable of presidential hopefuls are looking more and more like third grade dropouts (sorry I know that's an insult to third grade dropouts) then what would you do? You would of course run the most unlikely destined to lose mouthpiece you could find. This would be knowing that he will lose and the candidate that you can really control who now resides in the white house will win by a landslide. I wonder just how long it took for them to turn Obama but I have my guesses. You may recall or not that Obama met with a few groups of the real money controllers in the Hamptons just prior to his election. And I'd bet that they laid down the law to him as they saw fit. He wasn't about to spoil their party which by the way is neither "democrat" nor republican. Think of any piece of legislation passed since he took office that didn't have tucked away in it yet another perk for the wealthy. And even those bills passed that did have a crumb for us working stiffs was watered down to the point of little or no benefit. All of this was under the guise of "ah gee I tried to get something better but I've been prevented". What better way to be a good servant serving a corporate master than to play into their hands.

You will note that none of these corporate criminals has seen so much as the inside of a courtroom. Even after senate and special investigations that clearly show wrong doing has our own Justice Department acted. It's only now that our federal government has failed to act that state attorney generals have brought the matter up to public scrutiny. Fraud is still fraud no matter how it's packaged and labeled. Just because it has a corporate label on it doesn't make it legal. And just because a president says it doesn't make something true or honest ( recall "I am not a crook"?) Indeed words and actions have become something to be closely watched. We've seen how congress espouses one thing on the senate floor and another at a town hall meeting. And now we have no meetings. So which is your true position on the matter senator? What's that you say? What day is it? And what city am I in? Oh we're so sorry we had to interrupt you from your meetings with lobbyists.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Time for a Friday working pussy

Ever notice street workers standing around a hole looking bored at the task at hand? I know what you're thinking. Four guys standing around looking at some torn up concrete, must be a government job. I have done my share of concrete removal over the years so I know what it's like and I'm here to tell you it's no picnic. Most street workers are lucky to make it to 60 before age and disability stop them. Breathing in concrete dust for years on end does wonders for the respiratory system too. So how do they manage. One cubic foot of the average concrete weights 100 lbs. So in order to get your roads and sidewalks back to their pristine uncracked state 4 or 5 worker will take turns hammering and wrenching the old material out of its' resting place. You can only work for ten or fifteen minutes at a time because the pain of such labor is so great. And by rotation the work gets done and usually ahead of schedule in most cases. So the next time you see a group of hard hats leaning on their shovels give a wave because I know that if it was you out there you'd be whining like a baby after hour or two.

I'm a bit perplexed. There's a call for a general strike on Nov. 2. by OWS. This seems a bit early. I know it is in response to events in Oakland but to try and organize such an event in such a brief period is at best impossible. So I'm not expecting anything major to happen next Wednesday but then again I didn't think the movement would spread as fast as it did. We will see...

bank fails later
One bank failed this week in IL

And on that topic I just went to a local credit union to start the process of moving my money out of one of the big banks. To my surprise there were 25 people ahead of me doing the exact same thing. And even the elderly gentleman behind me was doing the very same thing. As I said before this isn't fooling around. People are pissed and they aren't going to take it any more.
November 5 is "Move your money day".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The beatings will continue until morale improves

It truly amazes me just how societies can not get their acts together. From a national level all the way down to a small town the rallying cry is for more cuts. All the while the fat cats in the financial sector world wide continue to rake in the dough. This isn't happening in just this country but in Europe and Asia as well. The ones getting the bail outs aren't the people on main street but in the guise of some heroic effort as bail outs for a nation. All the while the people of those countries are getting the life blood squeezed from their existence. This is headed for the great downward spiral. As you cut jobs you reduce revenue in the form of taxes. The Eurozone may be patting itself on the back but they have failed to address the true problem. That would be a loss of income from taxes. They have cut and cheated their way to their own demise then have the gaul to laid blame on people who had nothing to do with the problem in the first place.
But alas the cuts will continue and people will suffer and it's always those at the bottom because after all who's easier to beat up? It's surely not the guy with body guards riding in the limo. We're already witnessing the beginnings of things to come. Open up the doors to the mental hospitals and lighten the case load. Lay off more police and firefighters and watch buildings burn and crime go unreported. Kick the poor off of Medicaid because, you know, they can barter for their health care. And when they show up at the emergency room turn them away because they use it too much.
Exactly how cruel has this world become? Where is the respect we were taught for our elders and the poor? And all of this while those at the top continue to suck the last drop of debt the very marrow of the bones of this country out of the very least that can afford it. They will cut and cut and cut until there will be nothing left but the parched white bones drying in the desert. And they won't even hang around to witness the demise. With a corporate jet to some far off private island they'll flee leaving the graveyard that they made behind.

And you thought there were scary things at Halloween. Jason doesn't have anything on these guys.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The news is just too funny sometimes

Perry tax plan or Cain tax plan?
When it comes time to pay your tax bill, whose tax plan will cost you less, Herman Cain’s or Rick Perry’s? For most taxpayers, the answer is likely to be Perry’s plan.
• The world's 23 flat-tax countries (The Tell)
• 5 tips to turn lower home values into tax relief

Monkey vs. hedge fund
A new study questions the value of exclusive “funds of hedge ...

The above two stories ran one under the other in Marketwatch last night. Nice juxtaposition eh?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Crisis revisited

I was reading the words of Thomas Paine last night from his work The Crisis and it got me to thinking how a piece written over 200 years ago could be as relevant today as it was back then. The circumstances might be different but the concepts are as cogent as they ever were. The first paragraph which I will copy below has a message for our inpatient youth who may think that these problems, that took decades to develop, will somehow be resolved in a week or two or even a month or two. How quickly we have forgotten our own youthful endeavors but for us the time is running out. We can only hope to leave this earthly coil with the satisfaction of knowing we left behind something better, something more compassionate and inclusive.

December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

If you take the time to read Paines' entire piece you will note that this was no highly orchestrated American army going up against the British but men from every walk of life who decided to take a stand for a cause greater than their own petty problems. Many of whom were from England itself. If they had the will and the strength to face such a formidable adversary in the dead of winter with less than adequate provisions then I'd say it can be done again. Yet the people of the marches and rallies that are happening at present fail to realize what strengths and resources they may have.
To step back and look at what is transpiring from a distance you see what appears to be the cries of a baby but when that child learns to walk it will be a different story.

What was glaringly evident in the piece is that even though our army of the 1700s was ill prepared it managed to prevail under the worst of circumstances. What it had then and we have now is the ability to solve problems on our own. Ignore it or ridicule it if you will but I'd say it will become a force to be reckoned with.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh what tangled web we

weave when we practice to deceive.

I was looking at the Greek debt problem trying to figure out just what caused all the commotion that you've seen in the news lately. Although I must admit it too like the occupy movement is getting shoved to the back burners of main stream media. So I did some digging but first pondered the reasons an entire country would go into default. My first thought was that they too had been sucked into our black hole of mortgage backed security con game. That did seem a logical choice for a country that had had the highest GDP figures of any country on that side of the world for years running. How wrong I was. After further review as the ref says in football I see that much of the countries wealth is neatly fleeing the country into Swiss banks. Now I don't know about you but I don't have the funds to hide them with the Swiss. So those doing this dirty deed are the top 1% of Greeks. The country's tax revenues are short by 49% because those at the top don't want to pony up their fair share. It is reported that these top 1% own some 10,000 companies off shore and pay no taxes (sound familiar?)

At last count the Greek debt is something like 200% of their GDP as of this writing. And just what was the government response to their predicament? Oh no they wouldn't think of inconveniencing those that have so much they don't know what to do with it. Their government slapped the poor and under classes with the highest taxes any nation has seen in recent history. Taxes on gas and electricity and goods and services. And when that wasn't enough a new round and yet more taxes were put on homes by the square meter. But the tipping point was in my opinion when pensions were slashed causing many retirees to go without health care. I'd guess that they have to pay a bit into the system to be covered. So what you see in the streets of cities like Athens is the result of these measures and it's not because working people are overpaid or lazy as some would have you believe.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gee if only I could do this with my debt?

Last night a gentleman at the protest was kind enough to give a quick overview about what is going on in this country in terms of our financial situation. Never mind the debt and deficit on the nations accounting books but look at what is going on in the private sector with our big banks. First let me say that even after being bailed out and some supposed changes to the system nothing really changed. The banks have yet to deal with all the subprime mortgages as well as most of the empty properties that they hold as assets, but what is worse is all the bad paper they hold from the unscrupulous selling of those mortgages, sliced and diced until no one knew who owned what. These wonderful pieces of paper when added up amount to a financial time bomb for our nation as a whole. Below is a very brief summary of what they are doing.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation…

Bank of America’s holding company — the parent of both the retail bank and the Merrill Lynch securities unit — held almost $75 trillion of derivatives at the end of June, according to data compiled by the OCC. About $53 trillion, or 71 percent, were within Bank of America NA, according to the data, which represent the notional values of the trades.

That compares with JPMorgan’s deposit-taking entity, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, which contained 99 percent of the New York-based firm’s $79 trillion of notional derivatives, the OCC data show.

The shorter translation of what's going on here is that they are taking worthless investments and rather than keeping it on their books and eventually writing it off as a loss against their bottom line are dumping it on the American taxpayer (FDIC). Now stop to think that the country's annual budget is only $15 trillion.

And these were the banks that took bail out money to the tune of $2 trillion and gave their CEOs some very sweet bonuses. God Willy Horton was right if you want to rob something go to a bank but in this case if you want to rob a nation be a bank.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Almost forgot our Friday furry friend

Busy watching and helping out with OWS Seattle branch. A lot of very dedicated people out there camping out to make a statement. What they fail to realize is the extent of the power right here on line and the influences that can be gained with such rapid communications. There are however a few drawback in trying to communicate ideas in 140 characters or less especially when so many ideas are flowing at once. That said we will see how things will progress as people begin to realize the shortcomings.

Bank fails later

Now back to the revolution

Bank fail update 4 bank failed this week 2 in GA one in FL and one in CO

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gadaffy Duck is dead and other unimportant news

With the passing of the general and dictator we is yet another middle eastern (or would that technically be African?) country thrust into being destabilized with the loss of another government structure. You should be aware that that leaves a power vacuum when the lights of the presidential palace are shot out. Exactly what this will mean in the short term is anyones' guess. We've had such precious little inside information for the last many years. Even the opposition was quick to repel any outside ground force assistance when offered. Hopefully we will be able to open up a dialogue with opposition groups to understand them better but I think we all know some of the basic demands that lead to this uprising. Funny to stop and consider some of the underlying factors and they're not always about money but about many of the things money can't buy such as respect, fairness and justice.

There was the other night the republican debate. No I didn't bother to watch the 'show' because the best parts are always saved for pundit material later. I have seen more decorum in a Three Stooges pie fight than I saw there which has lead me to the opinion that this is nothing more than a clown circus with the appeal to a preteen audience but that would be an insult to preteens.

A note or two on the occupy wall street movement. As this is still the early phases of the organizing phase it's interesting to note that their resources are gaining by the day. In NY what started as a small gathering with cell phone and lap top coverage has blossomed into a semiprofessional communications system with some high tech equipment. The somewhat casual nature of the reporting is a rather refreshing break from the stale and rigid nightly network news which has tried to control opinion for several decades as it's corporate masters see fit. The beauty of this new manner of reporting is that even the audience can be involved with immediate questions and responses as long as all are civil about the process.

Restaurant nudity to be debated in San Francisco
In San Francisco it's perfectly legal to walk around in the buff but verboten to cover up with a blanket and sleep on the ground.
Go figure.

Greece is on fire and why should it be? The people there are suffering from the same criminality of their financial sector. Nothing like beating on the victim after he's been mugged and robbed.

Lindsey Lohan did not show up for community service as ordered by the court (as if anybody really cares). Hope you'll enjoy your upcoming time in prison. Keep thumbing your nose at the judge girl and see how far it gets you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A recipe for disaster

Take one Alzheimer's patient

Add one dry drunk

Throw in heaping amounts of cash

Blend in a moderate amount of mixed nuts

Stir vigorously while making sure no one is looking

And there you have what I call the Dish d'jour Disaster which is best served cold because after all who has the money to heat it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is it Wednesday already?

Okay I'm writing this on Tuesday but by the time I get finished it'll be Wednesday. How time flies when helping to direct a revolution. Great kids but they haven't quite figured out the soft underbelly of corporate America and where to shove the knife figuratively speaking that is.
You may have seen the blurbs on all of the TV channels of the tents and the signs and chants , but the real news isn't on TV it's right here in cyberspace. Quietly getting organized with tweets and Facebook entries and numerous videos. They may be slow on the upswing but it's coming together in a very unique fashion. Never have I witnessed democracy in action like this. At present the focus is on establishing a functioning structure and support organization. No easy task in the best of times. Resources are limited but the ingenuity of this bunch is impressive. And why shouldn't it? It has the backing of an army of well educated experienced individuals who had the misfortune of loosing their jobs to cheaper overseas employees. So don't shrug off this crowd just yet. This is only the beginning and what you see on the street is but the tip of the iceberg. If the politicians aren't shaking in their boots in DC they should be. This will be a force to be reckoned with shortly.
Why you may ask have no demands been made? Simply for two reasons, first it's taken quit a while for the group to gel. Unlike our broken government everyone has a say about the decisions presented. That may slow the process down but it makes for a strong position once something is passed. And second the diversity of the group is amazing. Young, old,middle aged, black, white, hispanic, foreign born, gay, straight this is an all inclusive movement that has one primary focus. What's that? To get rid of the things that divide us and focus on the real problems we face. Like Red Green would say "We're all in this together".
I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't see some very large companies crumble and fold in the very near future as the result of the outcome of the occupy wall street movement and it won't be with pitchforks or torches either, What better way to beat an opponent than by using the same corrupted system that he created.
No 'the man' crapped on the wrong people this time around. They are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore. Any out of work lawyers out there? The group is always looking for fresh talent. You know where to go. Doesn't pay much just maybe your future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A strange dream and other machinations

Had one of those strange dreams the other night. I'll tell you about it but let me put you in the drivers' seat and tell me what you think.
You were driving down a 4 lane highway on a long journey. The road is fresh blacktop and the trip is going well. As time passes the road begins to narrow. What was once a smooth trip with plenty of room for all drivers now is congested and the four lane is now down to two one ways with a steep median in the middle. Suddenly you notice that the once nice road surface has turned from smooth black top to gravel and looking up ahead it looks as if it will turn to a dirt road. You decide to turn around but the only way is to try and find some exit. With none to be found you look to the median for any turn around. With a large line of cars behind you you manage to find a dirt path up the steep median but as you get to the crest to look down at the other direction you see that there is no road going back.

What we are witnessing today on the streets is the result of poor planing, bad management and a pervasive corruption that has taken hold in the corridors of our government. Never in my life time have I seen well educated highly experienced people cast out of their jobs as if they were yesterdays' garbage. People with 20, 30, and yes even 40 years of experience now stand at the unemployment line many with little hope of ever returning to the workforce. They played by the rules, did and gave all that they could yet somehow are now called lazy or bums or worse. This is not the only insult to injury that's about to transpire. With the failure of the passage of the jobs bill and the upcoming budget debate (you remember the budget that can they kicked down the road) state budgets are facing a similar fate if not worse. With each slice the hole in our safety nets grows larger. To those arrogant enough to think that it will not affect them are fooling themselves. Money can only grow when there are real assets and value some where in the mix. You can only sell a worthless promise for so long until someone decides to cash in theirs. At that point the house of cards falls. One must remember that the game didn't change after the last meltdown. The problems were not addressed. The fake solutions were nothing more than a smoke screen so that the game could continue, but we're now seeing the beginnings of the next collapse. Glossing over the problem with more printed money is not going to solve things. Yes it may look rosy for a while but it's more like covering cancer with acne cream. It doesn't fix the problem. Nor does cutting the revenue stream by lowering taxes. What's needed is a tax increase with the money used to fix our crumbling infrastructure. If we continue on our present path then those in our nations' capital just may be fearful of venturing outside of D.C. Not that they would have to fear a constituent but fear the results of their own making such as a bridge collapse. Karma is a hellish thing.

What machinations are unfolding before our very eyes today on the streets? This is no evil revolt to take over the world. This is an outcry against injustice. Of seeing laws, rules and our sense of basic fairness thrown out the window. When some laws are enforced while others are ignored it gets to the very heart of peoples' souls. You will note that no demands list has been presented to our leaders and may wonder why. That's a simple question to answer. What good would it do? When both political parties must answer to their corporate masters it's obvious they will only respond with a "lip service" form letter or email. What many people on the streets protesting don't realize is that they have the power but it doesn't come from working with a broken government. It will come from within them. It will come by changing the financial landscape and moving what little money they have from those corporate overlords. When a child won't share his toys what do we do? We take his toys away and give him time to change his ways. Remember we paid for his toys.

The clock is ticking. If no agreement on the federal budget is reached soon then the super duper committee will try and work things out but should it fail then there's a stipulation that a 10% across the board cut comes into play. Let's see how those in congress play chicken with that one.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday pussy revolution

Last night I had the pleasure of witnessing the revolution up close. All of the lame stream media does not know what to make of this phenomena. They have images of the protests of the Vietnam era. They couldn't be farther from the truth. They have this idea that some one or some organization is behind all that is going on. They'd be wrong. This may have started with a group calling for a protest on Wall Street which did happen. About 100 protesters did show up in mid September to show their displeasure with the banks and investment houses. Main stream media ignored it as they have done for most protests of late that don't fit their corporate purposes. You'll note the the Tea Bag revolution was promoted long in advance of it's actual happening and called a grass roots movement even though people were bused in with the support of the Koch brothers. That movement was only started so that the candidates with radical right wing ideas could gain office with the help of the Kochs who dumped millions into the process.
But this is a different revolution that is not working with corporate media. Even the pages of Yahoo and Google news do not tell the real story. While the outdated means of communications (print and TV) thinks that they are still relevant, the entire process has quietly changed without much notice. What used to be spread by word of mouth in a slow and laborious process now moves faster than any teletype could tap out characters. It was fascinating to watch as information was disseminated at lightening speed and fact checked just as fast. Information can now be verified in minutes rather than having to wait for the film at eleven. And there are rules of etiquette in this process. Anyone not following them is given a warning and the next time is removed from the conversation. It isn't some slick packaged process but it does work.
But the one thing that has given me great hope for the next generation is their sense of compassion and ability to get things done in short order. I had always worried that in the event of some disaster that those of the younger crowd would be clueless. Nothing could be further from the truth. I watch as they solved problems within an hour or less that would take any company a half a day to solve. But the beauty of this revolution is that it's not limited to just one group. It includes young, old, black white and every manner of backgrounds. Even the police are part of this because they know that their jobs benefits and retirements could be next.
Yes I do believe change is coming. It's just that they are working out the details now. That is why you've not seen any demands list or working framework. They are realizing just how hard it is to form a new structure from scratch especially when everyone has a voice in the process.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The protests continue and grow

New and important live feed from the Occupy Wall Street Seattle protest.

Occupy Seattle
Last night two protesters at the Seattle protest were arrested and a tent confiscated. The two were released with no charges filed. The tent was released on it's own recognizance. :-)

When I started keeping track there were about 300 protest sites in the country with just one two or three protesters at each site. Later in the day those numbers increased both by the number of cities and participants to around 500+. In just one week the numbers and locations increased threefold and the locations went worldwide. At present there are over 1600 locations. Some only have 2 or 3 protesters but it is a representation and it will grow as things get worse. The next three or four weeks will tell as the federal budget must be dealt with.

Eventually some concrete ideas must come from this movement. If those in power are afraid they should be. Given the right focus this movement could easily change the system in short order. What they might not realize at present is the economic power they wield. Each individual may have only a few bucks in the bank but collectively that amounts to a rather large sum. Should there be a shift in those funds, banks will take notice. A simple change with Netflix resulted in a consumer revolt. It's a simplistic example I know but the point is that things done on a small scale can have a large effect in the grand scheme of things. Imagine a large swath of people pulling their funds out and using only cash for purchases. That is exactly what happened in the 1930s when the faith in banks failed. This time around the situation is a bit different but the outcome may be similar. A shift to credit unions could easily bring down the largest banks.

What should have been done and what needs to be done.
1.There was never an accounting of the crimes of the last administration. Had anyone done what they did as average citizens they'd be serving rather lengthy sentences in a federal pen. From false information to outing a CIA agent all that got us into an illegal war these were just a few aspects of the very nature of the shift in this country. All the principles that most sane Americans hold dear were flushed with the passage of the Patriot Act. When torture became an okay thing because (you know) it worked on that TV show last night, we were doomed to what we have now.

2. No one went to jail for what was foisted on the American public in terms of mortgages. I defy anyone to actually read and understand the terms of such a mortgage agreement even with a college degree in English. Sorry I can only assume you need an additional degree in law with extended training in contract law. All of this was pushed from higher ups who saw no one guarding the hen house and enforcing the rules. The real kicker in all of this was when investment firms were able to package loans that they should have known were questionable. But nobody cared as long as the loan fees were rolling in. Did anybody go to jail for all of this fraud? Not one that I can think of. When someone was willing to lend 125% the value of an asset with no down payment or closing costs it should have been a tip off to a bad business arrangement.

3. With the passage of every major piece of legislation of the last 9 years there has been some type of direct or indirect tax break for the wealthy. There was lip service to small business with breaks they could not use with the current economy. Some would have you believe that this movement is against capitalism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We all rely on the system for the day to day operations of the economy but the present system has become perverted. When the profits are returned to the company and shareholders yet the losses are dumped on the taxpayer this is a clear indication that this is not capitalism. It's one issue to give a corporation a temporary loan to keep it afloat when it's trying to adjust to difficult economic times, but it's quite another to give that money only to watch as the company continues to do the things that got it in trouble in the first place. When a gambler has blown all his cash and spread markers all over town (in this case the world) you'd be a fool to give him one more dime.

More later...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And now for a Dcap moment

A list of republican candidates in photo cartoon fashion for your viewing pleasure.
Viewer alert: You may find these images disturbing or offensive sorry but this is snark get over it.

First Up: Mittens Romney as the Kraken

Never saw a regulation that he wouldn't like to eliminate or water down to the point of ineffectivity (okay I made that word up so sue me Randal does it all the time). And true to party line he's never seen a corporate tax cut he didn't like. And like the monster of the illustration he'd think nothing of gobbling up the jobs and sending them off to foreign lands. Got to keep the lobbyists happy you know.

Next up: Rick (hang em high) Perry or as I like to call him George W. Bush's dumber cousin.

You won't mind starting your day at work (that is if you have a job) with a prayer for rain. Why you ask? In case your house catches fire you'll need something to put it out after Rick has laid off all the firefighters. Your kids will like the fact that they won't have to go to the doctors because he cut their medical coverage unless they're a pre-teen girl then mom and dad will have to flip for a shot. Wouldn't want them coming down with cancer before they're sexually active now would he. And I just can't seem to warm up to a guy who takes glee in his execution record.

Next up: Herman Cain Mr. 9.9.9

Doesn't he have just such a high opinion of his own race?
And his wonderful tax plan would finish the job Bush started. It would effectively place all the tax burden on the middle class and the poor. It would, according to economists, eliminate the entire federal government not leaving even enough to drown in a bath tub. There's got to be some revenge issues with this guy. Forget Sharia law I'm sure this guy could come up with some doozies.

And then there's: Crazy Michele Bachmann

I'm sure her first priority would be a campaign to wipe out the homos with the help of fag fighter first dude husband. Makes me wonder if he doesn't have a wide stance in the restroom wink wink nod nod.

Sorry Dcap I did the best I could but I still can't hold a candle to either you or Darkblack.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today the jobs bill vote

I have no great hope that this will pass as we've seen by all of the legislation of the past two years either it will fail or be watered down to the point of being ineffective. So the plan B as it is is to try and break the bill into parts that can be passed. I can just imagine the parts of the bill that will be diced and served up for consideration. I'd almost bet that yet another payroll tax cut is in the offing as that is the only thing republicans seem to hear like a dog whistle. The problem there is two fold. As we know congress has said that such tax legislation must be offset with cuts elsewhere. And where do you think those cuts will come from? Not from the top 1%, that's a given. Of course it will come from those at the bottom who have the least to give. The other issue here is just how a payroll tax break would affect someone who's out of work and doesn't get a check in the first place. And an employer isn't going to hire someone just because they can get a tax break. There has to be demand and a need for the product first. Tax cuts of that nature only work when the economy is humming along. It gives an added kick by giving people more discretionary income that they can then go out and blow on things they really don't need but gives another a job making that needless widget. But even then it's liable to be some guy in China making the widget.
I watched for over 30 years as most of our manufacturing jobs got shipped over seas. First it was the Steel industry that packed up an entire plant and sent it to Korea. That was in the 70s. In the 80s I noted that TVs once made in this country were first being made in Canada then Mexico and then produced in China. At present it doesn't look like American workers want to be brought down to the economic level of the Chinese. They may have a blazing hot economy but at what cost to their workers? There are workers in South East Asia who make barely enough to feed themselves. That can of tuna on your shelf cost about 11 cents in labor to produce by workers making less than $5 a day. If we continue on our current economic path we will experience the same fate. Even now there are those that must choose between medical bills and rent. People in the middle and at the bottom are getting squeezed and the talking heads wonder why people are taking to the streets.
This is only the first part of our economic equation. Wait until November when the budget must be passed. You remember that can they kicked down the road because nobody wanted to deal with it. In that budget are yet more cuts to middle and lower America. You think October was a busy month for protests? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Monday, October 10, 2011

OWS update

It's getting difficult to count all of the organizations that are joining this movement. Every day I find one or two more getting on board. Some might espouse that this is just some fringe group. They would be very wrong. Originally started by a Canadian group called Adbusters to call attention to the inequities between average Americans and Wall Street, the movement has grown city by city week by week into a nationwide phenomena. And why not? With little else to lose and much to gain the unemployed have no better use for their time. When someone like that has made hundreds of inquiries, sent out as many resumes only to experience "we're not hiring" if they're lucky enough to even hear that phrase. Usually it's no response. But this group isn't made up of just the unemployed. There are those who have lost their homes to greedy and unscrupulous banks and mortgage lenders. Those who were told their retirement savings were safe but now have little left to show for it after the meltdown. And in reading the economic tea leaves the other shoe is about to drop. Nothing like sucking the last drops of blood from the victim.

On a local and personal level the summer wasn't totally cruel with the employment situation but I'm now seeing a slow return of full parking spaces around the neighborhood during the day.

So if you wish to view first hand the response to the carnage of the last few years I give you a list of links below: (the group that started it all)

And for a list of organizations supporting this movement I give you:
• United NY
• Strong Economy for All Coalition
• Working Families Party
• TWU Local 100
• SEIU 1199
• CWA 1109
• Communications Workers of America
• CWA Local 1180
• United Auto Workers
• United Federation of Teachers
• Professional Staff Congress - CUNY
• National Nurses United
• Writers Guild East
• Community Voices Heard
• Alliance for Quality Education
• New York Communities for Change
• Coalition for the Homeless
• Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)
• The Job Party
• NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
• The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center
• The New Deal for New York Campaign
• National People's Action
• Human Services Council
• Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
• Citizen Action of NY
• Common Cause NY
• New Bottom Line
• Tenants & Neighbors
• Democracy for NYC
• Resource Generation
• Tenants PAC
• Teachers Unite

Friday, October 7, 2011

Due process

Kill list

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The above would be the fifth amendment to the constitution. This past week U.S. drones targeted and sucessfully fired upon and killed a U.S. citizen, all without so much as a hearing, inquest or real investigation. The accused had no chance to plead a case or offer any defense. By our own laws this man was murdered. It puts our government in the position of being judge, jury and executioner. It is not a good president. It reduces our legal system to that of a lynch mob. No matter the heinousness of the crime all persons are entitled to due process otherwise we have become a nation of no laws and are at the mercy of the whims of those in power. Even the death penalty itself is not administered in a just manner. Ask yourself if you can define the circumstances under which it is carried out. You can't because there are no set circumstances. But even when it is put "on the table" as a possible outcome no one can determine the rational behind the decision because there are no set parameters in our law.

So you may wonder if I am for or against the death penalty. I'd say I am for it but only in the most extreme cases. It should be the rarest of penalties and only administered after sufficient due process. I believe even Bin Laden was tried in absentia in the courts before we acted against him and he wasn't an American citizen. Still the amendment only says "person" and not U.S. citizen.

Addendum: There are those in this country who are teetering on the thin line of free speech when they advocate violence. Such is the case of one Alabama militiaman a few years ago who advocated throwing bricks through the windows of any and all democratic office windows. But he didn't stop with just such an incitement. He left the door open for further violence when he made this statement:“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
And just what was his major grief? He was unhappy that there was going to be a Health Care bill, an effort to get health care for all. And indeed many office windows were broken and one member of congress was shot. So by some of our readers thinking this man should have no trial but be assassinated. He did incite violence by his speech. And I'd venture he could be linked to groups or individuals who did.

Today a Friday pussy

Not much to be delighted about today. The beavers by the way are hunkering down in their dens for the winter so it's pussies till next spring.
The zombie apocalypse is slowly taking shape about the time of a worldwide meltdown. One being a fun fantasy while the other being a real event. From what I'm reading be prepared for a replay of 2008 only this time it will be in spades. Here's what I've gathered only this is just the tip of the iceberg as the expression goes. The first stimulus package money has run it's course. That is why Obama is pushing so hard for a second. The banks have still not cleared all the foreclosures off their books from the first round. True many of the sub primes have been dealt with but there is the next level, the Alt-A loans, that are about to hit their peak this month and next. Those are the mortgages that adjust every few years. And the requirements to refinance at present are so high it's unlikely that a homeowner could do that especially considering the value of their homes has gone down over the last three years. Banks to their credit (I don't usually say anything nice about them) have actually lowered mortgage rates to below 4%. That is I believe not enough to stave off another round of foreclosures. Local governments have had to raise property taxes to make up for the slumping markets and loss of revenues. This is not to mention the increases in food prices and gas (although gas has been coming down lately it's still higher than it was a year ago). To add insult to injury a new round of lay offs has been proposed and reported by several financial and tech firms.
Wall Street is another factor in the meltdown scenario. They were given trillions in loans and guarantees and what did they do? Did they reinvest in America to get things going again? They did not. They took the money and leveraged it to an even higher level than before. But this time when the house of cards falls there won't be anyone there to pick up the pieces because all of that money is intertwined with the financial institutions of Europe. The talking heads on the financial networks are touting the very same things they did the last time this happened. Everything is just ginger peach, nothing to worry about, nothing to see here. All the while the smart money is running for cover in liquid assets. Greece is at present the biggest 800 lb. gorilla in the room. If they get bailed out then it will look like a reward for failure. If they don't get bailed out and default then there could be a domino effect that would spread to the rest of Europe and beyond. To somehow think that we are isolated from them is foolish thinking. And I see the Euro has dropped in value today as the credit ratings of Greece and Spain have been lowered. Not a good sign of things to come.

Bank fails later if I think about it

Thursday, October 6, 2011

OWS (analysis)

This is like watching the start of a raging fire. With the beginnings of smokey smoldering embers then a small flame you can watch as it spreads quickly. This morning I watched as America gradually took to the streets. At first glance 488 cities around the country were counted then 497 followed by 537 and on and on. At present nearly 600 cities are involved in this movement. Some had only two people at a meeting place but it was still early.

This is not some temporary anomaly either. This is the result of the desperation and frustration experienced by millions in this country. I can only imagine what the people of the countries in the middle east felt like having endured such economic and oppressive conditions for decades. And I know they experienced much worse not being able to say a word of descent about it. It makes one wonder what the tipping point is for an individual. At what point does a society say enough? We are at that juncture. The sleeping apathetic masses have awoken and they are peaceful but not happy campers. The problems and questions are many and the solutions and answers few. They are fed up with being the pawns of a political chess game where no one wins. And those decision makers at the top fail to realize that amassing all the wealth does not mean they won the game because when that happens the game is over. When they have it all and everybody else has nothing the great world wide economic machine stops. This is a world wide crisis. This is a very large game of chicken. Four nations are on the verge of collapse and the lending nations are debating whether to bail them out. Ironically Russia has forgiven much of it's loans and paid off much of it's debts. It can thereby sit back and watch the meltdown should it happen.

We will have to wait and see if any propositions come out of all the demonstrations but one thing is for certain, we can not go on much longer on the present course. You can no more cut your way to prosperity than you can eat yourself skinny. There are solutions and they don't involve setting up yet another wasteful government agency. We as a nation have been down this road a few times in the past and it didn't take a lifetime to fix the problems. We (collectively) have the solutions. We just need to get them out there. I'll throw my ideas out here in a later post. In the mean time stay warm and keep calm.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rip Steve Jobs

It was some time in the early 1980's that I had the pleasure of meeting both Steve Jobs and Steve Wazniach at a mall in California. I had been working on the road and it was a ritual to stroll the local malls on Saturday after work. Computers, at least personal computers, were just a dream back then. I always wanted one but I had no idea what I'd do with one if I had one. I had read articles about the P.E.T. computer in Popular Science and they looked so cool and futuristic. You need to remember that before this people used typewriters for papers and letters and most of them were not of the electric kind. At over $2000 each I recall telling the two Steves at the time I'd love to own one after I made my second million because I gave up on my first.
Fast forward to 1995 I was able to get a bit of discretionary income. I looked around for one of these new fangled things. Reading reviews and looking and studying all about the RAM and hard disks etc. I went to several stores only to be more confused. At one store I was looking at Apple computers and the sales guy said " you don't want one of those there's one over here that's much cheaper. It was of course a PC. I looked at it totally confused and not knowing how to operate it. No this wasn't what I wanted I was looking for something better. I found another store and looked at several Macs. I finally noted that there was a tutorial in the upper right hand corner and clicked on it. In 15 minutes I was up and running with at least a basic understanding of how the damn thing worked.

So to you Steve Jobs may you rest in peace. You have changed the world of computing and technology. I hope that those of your organization can live up to the example you set.

Don't start the revolution without me

(Reminds me of the way the the antagonist reformed in that Terminator movie)

Things are now moving so fast I can barely keep up with the changes. What started out as a small protest on Wall Street is growing faster than bamboo in a rain forest. In a little more than three weeks what started as that small protest has gone nationwide and is moving worldwide in short order. What got nearly no coverage by the main stream media now gets a spot on the nightly news however brief. But like a duck, what's going on out of sight (under the water line) is almost mind boggling. This is truly disheartening when you compare it to the response to Katrina. With little to no resources this protest grew in just a few weeks. Imagine if we as a nation were to tackle our currents problems in such a manner. A bit sloppy yes but the speed of the accomplishment sure would be impressive.
It's almost difficult to keep track of the events that have transpired in just the last few days. Out of the small but growing New York group the movement has gone nationwide with movements in nearly every state. If that didn't leave a lasting impression the movement has moved across borders and gone worldwide. It's hard to keep up with all the organizations joining and adding their expertise. In N.Y. city it started with the Transit Union after they refused to transport arrested protesters. Somewhere in the mix was the nurse's union whom I suspect were working towards this goal long before it started. The local teachers union has joined. The AFLCIO has sent a letter of support. Colleges and universities have scheduled a walk out for 12pm today.

Now if you think this is nothing more than a bunch dope smoking hippies with too much time on your hands think again. There's the students who are saddled with loans amounting to what used to be a mortgage. You have older workers (age 50+) who got dumped when the economy soured many who have yet to find work. There are those who lost their homes to robo signing foreclosures even though they may have been current in their payments. There's those without health care too young for Medicare not broke enough for Medicaid. There are those that had their retirements funds vanish with the wall street meltdown. So unless you're one of the one percent your employment and future is not guaranteed.

Time to run the walkouts are about to start. Current time 8:53am Wed. 10/5/11

Updates later

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The evil Koch brothers

These guys would sell their grandmother if they thought they could get a nickel for her. They've made it a life's work of screwing over people, bribery and environmental murder. One of their pipelines in Texas leaked gas and incinerated two teens, An independent engineer hired to investigate the "accident" said the condition of the pipeline amounted to Swiss cheese. They have been sited many times for oil spills and fined hundreds of millions of dollars yet continue to make billions.
When a brother Bill Koch decided that he had had enough of the business he sold his shares only to be shortchanged by the other two.
The two (David and Charles) are behind the Tea Party movement and are hell bent on ridding this country of corporate regulations as well as Social Security and Medicare. Their role model was their father who had a helping hand in the founding of the John Birch Society. That, if you're forgotten is the extreme wing of the republican party that Barry Goldwater ran off in the 1960's as being too extreme. Well they (Birchers) are back and under the tiny tent the republicans set up.

When you're out shopping and you run across these products I hope you'll skip them as the profits go to the Kochs.
Lycra fiber and Stainmaster carpet. Georgia- Pacific LLC, which Koch owns, makes Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels and Quilted Northern bath tissue.
No wonder I can't afford TP.

Yeah I think it's time to rise up and take back our country and I'm not talking about the 1890's either.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet revenge

Two Alabama game wardens have devised a smoking send-off for avid hunters and gun enthusiasts: For a small fee, the pair will turn cremated ashes into ammunition that the deceased's loved ones can fire at will.

Now will somebody please use that amo to shoot that two timing floosey that ran away with the delivery guy?

More odd news later.

But now for something different. It appears that that little protest on Wall Street is growing. What started out as about 100 protesters is gaining momentum and this is no astroturf movement either. I've seen young people in high school to as old as 90 take part in this and they all have one thing in common. They are tired of the top 1% getting all the breaks. Small protests are popping up all over the country and in other countries as well. Of course the lame stream media is giving little coverage to the events but it seems to be growing (sorry to use the over used term but) viral. Protests are scheduled for nearly every city across the country. Other groups are forming and joining this movement. All inspired by the events in Egypt and the middle east.

Some of the links:

Occupy Together
October 2011
Occupy wall street

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The impending apocalypse - film at eleven

Crazy hairy ants, massive bioluminescent blooms, reservoirs of blood (I know it was just bacteria but play along anyway would you?), never ending droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, pestilence and pillaging pirates must we go through these trying times every 50 or 100 years or so? Will we see that prosperity around the corner that FDR spoke of? At present I think not. I give my own personnel perspective on the matter. Some time back a bill was passed to help avert an economic downturn we all know as "the stimulus package". It was however way too small and a bit too late to change the snowball created by George W. Two wars and 4 tax breaks was all it took to bring down the economic engine to a near grinding halt. What did that hopeful package gain me? There was 120 hours of training which resulted in one job that lasted three days. But then several months later when my shoe leather was starting to look exceptionally tasty I was called out for an 8 month gig. Not exactly rebuilding the nations' infrastructure it did however pay the bills. But seeing as how this was tied to that bill it did at least keep the status quo at least for me. Was the money well spent in terms of new energy savings etc.? Not exactly because here's what happened. Much of that stimulus package required those using it to jump through government red tape i.e in the form of grants. As we all know or should writing a government grant request is no easy matter even for those with the experience. For the average homeowner it meant digging through government web sites and wondering if you even qualified. If you did you still weren't sure how much a grant would be until the process was complete. Then there was the deadline. It was only several months from the inception of the programs' beginning. And here's another fly in the ointment. Workers had not been trained and certified to do the work. So what was the end result? Intending to do thousands of homes in our area it landed up being a couple of hundred with much of the money never being spent.

It is now October and all of the package has expired. It may have kept several workers off the unemployment rolls but not as was expected. So now we have stimulus II before congress. I think we all know where one side stands and it's not with us. We don't have a spending problem, We have a revenue problem. Nearly all of the guys I worked with these last eight months hold outside part time jobs just to make ends meet. Maybe we should lower the salaries of congress and make them do the same. "Congressman you wouldn't mind waiting tables at night to make up for a 30% cut in pay now would you"?

One last thing about the economy before parting. This is the month where the adjustable rate mortgages hit their peak. Those that were unable to refinance at a fixed rate are screwed. And many of them are now upside down in their mortgages so they can't.

One final note: Should you see a guy at the freeway on ramp with glasses a mustache and no ass* holding an out of work sign treat him with a bit of respect would you? That just might be me.

*worked ass off years ago and keeping it that way