Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Place your bets ladies and gentlemen

Just a short post to add to the economic fire that's been going on for some 3+ years now. With the trappings of ministers and cabinet members and high level summits we've see all this before only now with a bit more educated eye.

Watch out for words like:
Decisive action = when we can get around to concocting an exact scheme
Conclusive action = It's never over until it's over and even then it's not over
Stability Union = a catchy phrase to make people feel good
Policy = What ever we can come up with that usually isn't part of the law
Financial constraints = figuring out a way to hedge the bet and make even more
Reforms = austerity programs only affecting the poor and middle class

Interesting to note that while the Euro countries trying to develop this bail out plan demand debt limits on the countries that are being bailed out, they are by this act creating more debt upon themselves by loaning the money. And in the process are borrowing most of the money to do it. But they are not satisfied with spreading the debt amongst themselves within the European Union. They plan to sell bonds on the open market. Ooow is this starting to sound familiar? Seem to recall some mortgage investments that were papered across the globe. And like the proverbial game of musical chairs whoever gets stuck with the worthless paper in the end looses.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What a cruel and ugly joke

There are seven countries that are in deep dodo debt wise. Iceland has managed to somewhat stem the tide from what I'm hearing but the rest are fiddling while Rome burns. As I reported earlier it's really nothing that average Joes have done but the continuation of the grand theft of world wealth. Those at the top of this dung heap have managed to game the system to their advantage. A simple strategy of moving wealth off shore then lower taxes to the top 1%. Tax cuts for average Joe amounted to a couple of lattes a week so it had little effect on him. But to those at the top it meant millions and at the same time sucked billions out of the support system. So what's going on right now? You will note that the markets were up by several hundred points today. That was on the news that Europe would somehow bail out the ailing nations set to default. The process isn't as easy as one might think however for in setting up the Euro zone (those countries that use a common currency) no body thought about the consequences should one country default. They may have a common currency but their way of dealing with fiscal responsibilities is sovereign. No one wants to be the ones bailing anyone out for fear of doing damage to their own healthy economy. They could crank up the money presses and merely print what they need but that might result in the hyperinflation that was seen in 1920s Germany (as in bring your wheel barrow full of loot to buy a loaf of bread).
What to do? What to do? The single minded one percent (and I use that term to mean world wide) will sit and wait letting the anxiety build. Fear forces normally rational people to do irrational things. You will note that Italy tried to sell treasury bonds with few takers. That forced interest rates higher causing them to buy back the offering. Now there was the big, although not finalized bail out deal that Germany and France are mulling over. A slight problem there. They don't have the authority to put any strings to any such offering. They can not issue a single bond because there was never an agreement when the European Union was formed to be able to do so. Greece as we have seen has instituted austerity and massive taxes. That is something that will kill their economy. We saw that in past history.
So what's going on you might ask? Stock prices seem to be going up by a couple hundred points in the last few days. That is a diversion. The news was that Germany and France had reached some kind of deal but I can tell you that they didn't or should I say couldn't. That prompted the large institutional investors to buy thinking something was resolved. But the banks and investment houses know better. I'd bet that they just forked over a good chunk of change buying hedges against a market crash. That's something very likely to happen in the next 10 days to two weeks. Everybody wants to kick the can down the road but they are running out of road. Eventually payments on debt must be made. It will be interesting though to see who has the money to cover those hedges. We saw what happened the last time this happened. That was 2008 when everything froze up. This time it will be far worse with entire countries going down the toilet. Can't keep selling promises and leveraging everything without consequences.

And a hat tip to Jim for the illustration - a soon to be proper use of our currency

Monday, November 28, 2011

The remains of our safety nets gets flushed

As we watch in shock and awe as the nations' assets go swirling down the toilet bowl I stumble upon the following clock.

Foreclosure Clock

Once every 15 seconds another poor working stiff is thrown out to the curb that is if he's so lucky to still have a job. Not a good picture after considering what was left of the safety nets has been sliced and diced by state budget cuts. All while the overlords go about their merry way not being able to decide on the 42 inch or 60 inch flat screen TV this year. Or will it be Aruba or Tahiti this year for winter holiday? But our overlords don't care and have said as much with their scoffing at police and firemen. They just might think differently when it's their property that's been burgled or the mansion ablaze and no one comes to the rescue. Sorry senator your call can not be completed as dialed. Due to budget cuts 911 service is no longer available. Your name will be put on a waiting list and we'll get back to you in a month or two. You won't mind.

But permit me to paint a grimmer picture if I have any more oil paints left. Today is the beginning of yet more budget cuts for many states and what exactly will that mean in the grand scheme of things. Hands tied yet again by those tax hating conservatives only leave forcing grandma off her cherished safety nets because after all a neocon never saw a social program to his liking unless it was a subsidy to his pals in the oil business. So where will the knife fall?

Education - estimated cuts 17% to higher education with additional cuts to K thru 12
Mental Health - estimated cuts 15 to 20% for programs like our state mental hospitals with no alternatives outside
Drug Programs - no more methadone for heroin addicts (oh that will just make the streets safe)
Child care - sorry low income working mothers find your own way to look after junior.
Jails, prisons, and detention facilities - good news for pedophiles you'll be out soon to roam the streets and with the above cut you'll have more to choose from.
Police - as city budgets feel the effects and cut police remember to tell them you've been not just robbed but assaulted too or they won't show up. That is unless you're holding a peaceful demonstration on the street in which case they'll call in back up.

The list goes on and on with the most devious and evil cuts to our safety nets I've ever witnessed. It's going to get very dangerous on the streets in the near future. Now I'm beginning to know what mom and dad experienced during the depression or at least soon will.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Monetary games and dead corpses

There was a times just a few years back that people were concerned that they would lose their house during the housing bubble. Prices on homes rose to an unrealistic level. The money for mortgages flowed like water with banks offering loans of 125% of the value. Now that should have been a tip off to anyone with half a brain that something was wrong with the system. Nothing goes up in price forever. There are some basic principles in acquiring a mortgage that were thrown out the window when all this happened. Regulations were lax ignored or simply eliminated. And as simple minded as the borrowers were the lenders didn't have to be too bright either. It was just a matter of filling out some forms, fudging some numbers and voila what the applicant thought he could not afford was suddenly affordable or so he though. The basic rule in mortgage however has always been that a loan could not be more than two and a half times a borrowers gross income. To do otherwise would definitely end in default. But the banks didn't care they were raking in the money from the loan fees and percentage points added to the loan. And what happened in the end? Just look around your neighborhood at all the empty homes that is if you yourself didn't fall for such a scheme.
There is one question that I never asked myself in all the years of homeownership. Exactly where does all that money come from to provide such a loan? One would assume that the bank would pull from it's assets to pay a former owner or builder much like a savings and loan. How wrong I was to find out that the money shelled out never existed in the first place. That is correct. When a mortgage is made the bank borrows the money. And where do they get it? From the Federal Reserve of course who prints money like it was a monopoly game. In fact for each dollar you hold in a bank that bank has multiplied that dollar to a factor of 9. They have leveraged it to the point where our system of money is virtually worthless. But we're not supposed to be aware of these facts. As long as the system is moving along and no one is paying attention no one seems to care. That is until the whole system hits critical mass and the house of cards starts to fall. We're seeing that happen right now. It started with housing then moved to business although the commercial downfall has been well covered up. Try looking for the statistics on business foreclosures. It's easier to find gold.
But now with the extent of all the debt (and I'm not even talking about our own federal budget) entire countries are beginning to fall. This Ponzi scheme of wealth has come to a head. Forget the national numbers. Look at the underlying loss of all the real estate values and you'll come up with something like 63 trillion dollars which is several times our GDP. And if you watch any TV at all you will note that anything remotely suggesting the emperor has no clothes will be met with ridicule and even violent arrests as we've seen with the Occupy movement. Capitalism is dead and the stench of it's dead corpse has finally permeated to the masses. They may not understand the process but they know something is wrong. And the powers that be raise the dead arm and wave it from time to time to try and keep the illusion going.
I look at the European bail out of countries and know that the money promised is nothing more than phony money printed on some press by some official sounding Department. Ah but forgive me in this day and age it's all done with computers. No need to transfer dirty dollar bills when a few key strokes will do the trick. It doesn't matter what political party you may see doing the talking because they are all part of the same game only this one doesn't have a winner when the house of cards falls.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Terror alert!

Forget the radical islamists thank you very much we have something better... A Black Friday sale at WalMart.

Updated 9:50 a.m. ET: A 55-year-old shopper was shot and wounded during a robbery near a Wal-Mart in Myrtle Beach, S.C., NBC station WMBF reported.
Tonia Robbins, 55, was shot in the foot after two men demanded her purse shortly after 1 a.m. ET Friday as she stood by the trunk of her car with friends.
Updated 9:45 a.m. ET: An explosive device was found at a break room at a Wal-Mart in Cave Creek, Ariz., according to reports Friday.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said a suspicious package was found inside a refrigerator in the store break room on Thursday. The store was evacuated as a precaution while deputies investigated the package.
Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET: A Black Friday shopper was shot and critically injured during a robbery outisde a Wal-Mart in San Leandro, Calif., early Friday, police said.

Just hope kitty is packing when he goes to that store.

And as usual bank fails later
Update:This week no banks failed

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving merriment and mayhem

It all started simple enough. Sister Sue though it would be a great idea to do an invite for thanksgiving for all the kin folk. Sadly she had long forgotten what extremists made up the gene pool of that family tree. Uncle Harry had made a fortune in corn plasters back in the 50s when that was the thing. Now in his late 80s hard of hearing and a staunch ultra conservative it was a miracle that he'd even considering showing up for such an affair. Then there was aunt Ethel, a puffy stocky woman a few years younger than Harry's advanced age. She was that type of woman who'd use just a tad too much make up and wore that sickeningly sweet old lady perfume that left a vapor trail where ever she went. Her favorite past time at any gathering was discussing her gaul stone operation that was better than ten years ago. The details of which changed as time past and embellishments were added. Also the type of woman who was certain she had contracted the latest malady as seen on the front page of the morning newspaper.
Harry was one of those odd beasts. While he maintained a stiff and proper exterior it was discovered that he had a panty collection stashed in the basement although no one would speak of it. But it did make others wonder what other proclivities Harry was hiding. He certainly did have a perverse sense of humor. While Sue was busy preparing "the bird" for the family feast Harry thought it would be a novel idea to slip a cut out of bra and panties just before the turkey was finished cooking to get the above image. Sue being good natured decided just to make it her joke when the presentation came time. The kids sure snickered when aunt Sue gingerly set the platter on the table.
All was going well with the "pass the gravy" and mouthfuls of mash potatoes but then cousin Jeb just had to bring it up. Said he was going down to a peace march in the square tomorrow. Like a lit fuse you could see Harry's face ready to explode. And then the name calling commenced. "Commie!, fascist!, Nazi!, socialist! spewed across the room to the point that even the dog took cover under the couch. Kids were screaming and crying, aunt Ethel grabbed her chest as if to indicate her final heart attack. Sue grabbed a chair to try and separate the two sides.
Little did anyone know that the insidious black sheep of the clan cousin Zeb had played another one of his pranks. Zeb wasn't too bright but he did have a knowledge of gun powder. Always wanting to do something to make front page news he ingeniously slipped his little surprise into the bird. How he did this without Sue's knowledge is still unknown to this day. And as mash potatoes flew and gravy was spilled glasses knocked over a small but very messy explosion was heard. Not the type that would hurt your ears mind you but more like a low frequency thud. It was at that point that Zeb sitting with a cheshire cat grin on his face stood up picked up the remains of the bird and took it outside to show off to the world his prized trophy.

Now if you think any of this is real and the names were changed to protect the guilty you'd be wrong. It was just a little thanksgiving tale to keep you amused because after all who watches those dumb parades any more and the football games haven't started yet. Not that I watch them either.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greek tax revolt

Update: Here's a screen grab from the outside of the building at 7pm the night before last.

I had hoped to get a good image of the number of people outside of this building but nothing and it's not being reported anywhere on the web other than through a livestream.

So What's Happening Here?
As you may or may no know the Greek economy has been in turmoil for a while now. As I last reported the wealthy were basically getting away with murder economically speaking. Little did I know just how bad things really are over there. You may have heard about the austerity package that regular folks were meant to swallow but but just how bad was never really reported until now.

From a news report by workers world:
Taxation on the Greek population is to increase by a whopping 29.1%, whereas business and company taxation is to decrease by a further 22% relative to the 2011 budget. Government spending on public sector wages, pensions, welfare, and insurance contributions on pension funds, is to decrease by 5.3% relative to the 2011 budget.
Direct taxes are set to raise Є24.2 billion, up by 17.4% relative to the 2011 budget. Taxes on pensioners, workers, small shopkeepers, peasants will be up by 29.1%; taxes on companies, down by 22%. The new regressive property tax is set to raise Є3.6 billion.
VAT levels will rise. Fuel prices will rise. Household tax reliefs will be abolished or cut. Multiple levels of emergency taxation will be introduced.
On the spending side, Є19.4 billion are allocated to pensions, down by 3.3% in relation to the 2011 budget). The public sector wage bill is expected to go down drastically; for example, the monthly wage of a young school teacher is expected to go down from Є1240 to Є850 by the end of 2012.
Overall public spending on pensions, education, health, and transport is to be reduced from Є18.8billion in the 2011 budget) to Є17.1billion.
But arms spending will increase by a whopping 66.7% in relation to the 2011 budget, from Є600 million to Є1 billion.

So how was the government going to collect these draconian taxes? By adding them to electric bills. You don't pay the bill and they cut off your electricity. The peoples' response was forceful. They took over the building you see above and shut down the electronic equipment that tracks billing. They are at present occupying the building refusing to leave. This morning some 1500 protesters stood outside the building preventing police from entering.
In communicating with the livestream media there I was able to get a bit more information about their police. It seems that police over there are not like here in the U.S. Their police are not part of the 99% and are not under the same oppressive taxes that their countrymen endure. They weren't hit by this 29.1% tax. And it was my impression that there is indeed a great deal of corruption in their police force there.
Whether they can persevere for any length of time before the riot police storm the building is anyones' guess. But one thing is for certain this in not going to end any time soon. A general strike is being called by the electrical union that will shut down the city and possibly the entire country as was done once before.

I'll try to get a screen shot later showing the crowd connections permitting.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The act of saying one thing and doing just the opposite.

One would think that this malady was a type of contagious disease in todays' political climate. It's gotten to the point where to read and understand not just the clown circus but the powers in office you need to take lessons from Professor Backwards. The touters of "death panels" were nothing more than a scare tactic until of course they gained power and brought it to a reality by cutting grandmas' safety nets. Then there was no need for some expensive medical administrative process. It's pay up or die!
And what other evil plots were hatched under the guise of altruistic gibberish? Off hand I can think of too many to list but take the ever so heartfelt provision of providing health care to low income children. That in the long run turned out to be nothing more than a temporary exercise in futility. Like proud owners of cute puppies holding the up for show, it was a different story when the cameras were turned off and the poor pups were bashed with a mallet. Sorry kid budget cuts means you can't see a doctor after all. What a cruel joke to play when the kid finds out he won't be getting that life saving operation. You want to be the one to tell him?

We're getting raped and robbed in this country and we don't even have the right to complain about it lest we get our heads bashed in or pepper sprayed. Gee I thought that's what we are fighting for in so many other countries. Oh that's right hypocrisy reigns supreme these days. Never mind you're on your own. Let anarchy rule. Only two choices for making a living in these hard times. Selling guns or Prozac.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An open letter to congress

Dear congress

You have spent the last several months attempting to finalize a national budget. No easy task from anyones' standpoint. You have however overlooked the consequences of the actions you are about to take. With the best of intentions both sides stand rigid in their political ideologies however one side has another agenda that has nothing to do with solving the problem. You have a choice now. You can either continue to fight with locked horns until some deadline hits or put aside your petty differences and act accordingly. To slap an across the board 10% cut in all programs is no solution. It will only make matters worse. If you think what is happening in the streets today is bad now consider what will happen when even those whose job it is to protect public security are laid off due to lack of funds (something we're already beginning to see). We the majority did not create this economic problem but we are guilty of allowing it to happen by not paying closer attention to what you've done the past twenty or thirty years. The laws of long past were written for a reason. They were put in place to prevent the kinds of things that are happening now. Capitalism was never meant to be a form of gambling yet with the current disregard for principles it has eroded into just that. We truly do not need any new set of complex regulations or agencies. The laws of old were quit specific and very effective. They kept this nation moving forward through up turns and downs. You might just consider reinstating some of them and we wouldn't have the mess we face now. And as an added benefit you won't even need a lengthy and difficult process of having to write such legislation. The work has already been done for you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pussies with dirty laundry

No political campaign season would be complete without this however it seems the pickings are slim this time around. Only a little groping has surfaced. But then again the season is still very young. And of course our feline friends here could care less whether the laundry's dirty or not. They just want a cozy soft spot after a feast of tuna. With political candidates it's a different story. They devote entire staffs combing every shred of document that might benefit their perverted sense of decency. So what if you saw Mary Jane's underwear in the fifth grade and the teacher caught you. Nobody cares about that now. Ah that's right the teacher said it would go on your permanent record to follow you to you death bed and nothing good will become of you with a bad record.
But with this lot from the clown circus there's no need to delve into pasts. If they aren't stumbling over themselves in fits of stupidity they're busy with their circular firing squad. A village idiots' convention is more adept but no less entertaining. But the novelty just may wear off. How many more months do we need to endure this before the general election? Until then let the clown wagon rolls on. Gad they sure sound like clowns with names like Mitt, Newt, Ron, and Herman. Each with their complete lack of knowledge as to how to fix our broken country and even less knowledge of foreign policy.

Oh and one more thing. My sincerest apologies to the pussies but to their credit they do have an olfactory endurance.

bank fails later as usual.
There was two this week in IA and LA and if memory serves correct that brings the total since this storm hit to nearly 400.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Have a little experiment for you

Think of people whos' first name is Richard, David or Tom. Pick one. Think of all the people you can think of by that name.

Keep thinking

Okay time's up. Now ask yourself. Why were most of the names either TV or film stars?
Makes you wonder what really influences our lives doesn't it?

Monday, November 14, 2011

What a game

I'm not talking about the one you might have seen on Sunday afternoon. I'm talking about Wall Street. And add to the mix the bundles of cash our congress makes from gaming the system. How delicious it was to read the micro expressions on the faces of congress when asked if they might think there was a bit of conflict of interest when they were sat on subcommittees making the rules for companies while at the same time benefited from stock purchases from those same companies. "Lie to Me" was such a great learning program. A twitch of the lip a raise of an eyebrow and you just announced to America you lied. But why should I be surprised? After all congress is not under the same rules as the rest of us peons. Didn't know that? It's true. Where we would be facing 5 to 10 in a state pen for insider trading they get a free pass complements of rules that they passed. You don't need to be in the Mafia. Just make it to Capitol Hill in D.C. and you're set for life.

Ah but there's more to this tangled web than some bloviated spider sucking its' victims dry. Think you know why the stock markets act as they do? That just because some tin horn dictator gets bumped off in a far away land that that some how effects the price of washing machines a world away. Oh think again. It's called program trading done by super computers. The guy with the fastest and the biggest one wins every time. That computer doesn't care what happens to anybody. You life doesn't mean a tinkers damn to it. It's set to execute orders faster than light speed. We could be swimming in oil and it will make the price of crude jump making a tidy profit for the investment house. Then the losses get dumped on the little guy with junk no one in their right mind would buy if they actually did their homework. But I guess homework always was a dirty word in the eyes of the sheeple it is after all made up of two four letter words.

As I said before the shit storm is about to commence. No one has done anything remotely constructive in fixing our financial mess and that includes the rest of the world. Head line reads Greece and Italy headed for recession. Well no shit sherlock. Slap austerity measures on any country and see how fast it rebounds. The beatings will continue until moral improves.
Like it our not you are part of this game. There's no getting out. No cashing in of chips here. Anything you buy has been effected by this game of chance. Only the house always wins in this game because the cards are marked and the dealers are bought off.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result or something to that effect. So as we look out to the near future horizon we see what? Our wonderful government buying into chorus of tax cuts and austerity programs. Unfortunately this choir failed history class. They failed to note that in order to lift this country out of depression required massive government spending and it was paid for that time around with large increases in taxes on the wealthy. Never before have I witnessed the level of lack of compassion from first the meanies on the right and the enablers on the left. But I think we all know the reason for this behavior. I've seen more dignity displayed from a whore than our present legislators. But I guess a bought person is a bought person when it comes to our government. We've seen little to nothing in the way of relief from our present situation. And why should our congress act when their Johns are making a killing at the expense of the rest of us and getting well compensated for their lack of action? Put all the deadlines you want on any budget deal and they'll just kick the can down the road farther because their overlords are to busy selling worthless paper (adding absolutely nothing to the benefit of mankind I might add).

And now we are seeing the results of this financial squeeze with people taking to the streets because you can only suck so much blood out of a host before it discovers the bloated leech hanging on its' posterior. If you think that some security sweep of a public park is going to solve the problem think again. This Occupy movement is here to stay whether on the street of not. They know that when things are bad that there is freedom and freedom as it was once said is having nothing left to lose.
Those of the 1% have tried to define this movement in terms of overused slurs. Every manner of term that separates has been tried with little effect. Main stream media has done its' best to serve its' master and throw labels and smears too numberous to mention with little effect. The real revolution however will not be televised it's right here in cyberspace.
Those at the top should be worried because this is no rag tag bunch of slackers. These are people from all walks of life many with far more experience and education than our ineffectual leaders. In talking to several the other day I find more degrees than a thermometer and more experience than any congressman. But the latter isn't saying much considering the lack of response to the problem. So as I see it the game of cat and mouse will continue only this time the cat is way outnumbered and the mice are smarter. At some point the two will realize that they are actually on the same side and the owner is just sitting back enjoying the hunt.

To end let me say that business as usual can not continue. It will not move anything forward. Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results has resulted in our present condition. But the real question will be how to wrench power from our government without destroying the place in the process?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ever wonder where our nations money comes from and how it gets spent?

Hopefully this list will line up so you can see it properly if not take a trip to wiki and look up federal budget.

Estimated receipts for fiscal year 2012 are $2.627 trillion.
$1.141 trillion - Individual income tax
$329 billion - Corporate income tax
$925 billion - Social Security and other payroll tax
$103 billion - Excise tax
$30.0 billion - Customs duties
$14.0 billion - Estate and gift taxes
$66.0 billion - Deposits of earnings and Federal Reserve System
$20.0 billion - Other miscellaneous receipts
[edit]Total spending
Further information: Government spending
The President's budget for 2012 totals $3.729 trillion. Percentages in parentheses indicate percentage change compared to 2011. This budget request is broken down by the following expenditures:
Mandatory spending: $2.382 trillion (-3.2%)
$761 billion (+2.6%) - Social Security
$485 billion (-0.6%) - Medicare
$269 billion (-2.5%) - Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
$612 billion (-14.0%) - Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending
$242 billion (+17.1%) - Interest on National Debt
$13.0 billion (-54.0%) - Troubled Asset Relief Program
Discretionary spending: $1.344 trillion (-3.1%)
$553.0 billion (+0.7%) - Department of Defense
$118.0 billion (-26.0%) - Overseas Contingency Operations
$79.9 billion (-1.8%) - Department of Health and Human Services
$77.4 billion (+6.2%) - Department of Education
$58.8 billion (+3.1%) - Department of Veterans Affairs
$49.8 billion (+0.5%) - Department of Housing and Urban Development
$50.1 billion (-0.9%) - Department of State and Other International Programs
$43.2 billion (-0.9%) - Department of Homeland Security
$29.6 billion (+4.2%) - Department of Energy
$28.2 billion (-7.2%) - Department of Justice
$23.8 billion (-7.1%) - Department of Agriculture
$18.2 billion (-6.7%) - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
$13.4 billion (-4.1%) - Department of Transportation
$14.0 billion (+0.8%) - Department of the Treasury
$12.1 billion (+0.3%) - Department of the Interior
$12.8 billion (-8.3%) - Department of Labor
$8.8 billion (-2.3%) - Department of Commerce
$4.6 billion (-6.2%) - Army Corps of Engineers
$9.0 billion (-10.3%) - Environmental Protection Agency
$7.8 billion (+4.6%) - National Science Foundation
$1.0 billion (-1.0%) - Small Business Administration
$1.3 billion (-11.1%) - Corporation for National and Community Service
$6.0 billion (+200%) - Disaster costs
$44.9 billion (-3.9%) - Other On-budget Discretionary Spending
The Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan are not included in the Department of Defense regular budget, but are included in Overseas Contingency Operations.

But for the average person there are a bunch of things not considered here. If you were to look at this from a purely Washington D.C perspective all might seem well and good but for those of us who have to live in the real world it's a different story. One may get an increase in Social Security benefits while the price of food, gas and medication and co-pays go up. And the increases have not been in the single digits either. Also not considered are the effects on already strapped state budgets. The feds may increase an aspect of the budget while the state has no choice but to make cuts. We've already seen that with children's' health care eliminated and homeless shelters closing. And just how is it that education can see an increase in its' budget while colleges and universities are increasing their tuitions and limiting enrollment? Most college grads I've spoken to could kick themselves for being saddled with such a high debt starting out life. A debt they know they'll never be able to pay back even with the best intentions.

I have a few ideas that would change things in short order but I know they would never make it to the senate floor. Start with a one quarter percent tax on any and all stock and bond transactions. Bring corporate taxes in line with what the rest of us working stiffs pay. Heavily tax lobbyists for the privilege or better yet ban them all together. They can plead their position but no money can change hands.

And lastly I leave you with this thought post veterans day:

"No corporations are buried at Arlington Cemetery"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scaredy pussy hides from possible nuclear fallout

There's a 30 foot hairline crack in a containment building at a nuclear plant in Cleveland. No sweat off my brow you say? I don't live anywhere near the great lakes. Let somebody else deal with it it's their problem. And there in lies the rub as Shakespeare would say. Much of our aging infrastructure has gone without inspection for far too long. With the shear amount of items to be checked it wouldn't surprise me if many items go without inspection because we've lost touch with what needs inspecting with changes of personnel and shifting responsibilities. Cities moving the job to counties, counties moving it to the state while the state lost funds from the federal government so nobody does the job anymore. Only when an accident occurs does responsibility surface and it's usually not pretty.
Back to the example one Davis - Besse Nuclear plant on the south shore of Lake Erie. I've worked with concrete for some 20 years as part of haz mat. We often had to remove concrete walls and floors to get to the bad stuff. Even the best quality concrete has a life span. On average it's about 50 years but over that period the material slowly becomes brittle. As it passes about 40 years it becomes far easier to remove because it's strength has diminished. Most of our nuclear plants are closing in on the 40 year mark. But once again greed is raising it's ugly head. With so much money invested in such an operation companies are trying to squeeze every nickel out of the aging structures. So I have to ask at what point do the returns on the dollar diminish? When will the game of chicken end? Like a game of Jinga one more chance is taken until the structure falls apart only the consequences this time won't be putting the pieces on the floor back in the game box.

And one last note, this was the agency that the absentminded Rick Perry couldn't remember that he'd like to rid us of, the Department of Energy which inspects and certifies these nuclear power plants. He's the guy who railed against any stimulus package while at the same time stuffed the state coffers with that very same money.

bank fails later Update: one bank failed in GA this week bringing the total to over 400 banks since the mess started.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clean up on aisle 4

Enough is out now on Penn State football that I feel safe to comment. The extent of the damage will follow for some time into the future. And unlike someone at the very top who can hide behind the Justice Department this matter was dealt with swiftly with the ousting of Joe Paterno and others. If only someone would have done the right thing in the first place this might have been but a minor stain on the university's athletic program. But no it had to be swept under the rug in hopes that no one would see the lumpy carpet. Records and accomplishments will only take you so far in hiding an ugly reality and truth. But fear not the extent of the damage will be long forgotten in a generation or so. Because as we all know the show must go on and disgraced coaches are fairly quickly forgotten whether it's a chair thrown across a court or some stupid racial slur blurted out in anger in the end all is forgotten as years pass. Maybe that is for the better because after all coaches are picked from the human race and aren't the gods we make them out as.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Something Titillating for a Tuesday

I must give this women credit. She sure knows how to bring attention to the issues. This would be Aleksandra Shevchenko who is protesting against the policies of the Vaticans' long held anti contraception anti abortion stances. She was finishing up a tour of protests through out Europe that ended in Romes' Vatican Square. Must say she got my attention. I'll have to look into this further.

Then there is the nefarious activities of the soon to be not front runner Herman Cain as the clown circus keeps rolling along. Come on Herman you know you had to do better than an upgraded suit and dinner to land this one. Maybe a $999 tip might have done the trick but considering your approach I kind of doubt it. Hey don't you know that sex is limited to after you make it to the White House?

Well at least he didn't get caught like a certain football assistant at Penn State. Didn't really read all the details on that one but I guess it gives new meaning to phrase "horsing around in the locker room". And by the staid and proper image so many organizations are trying to present you'd think we lived in the Victorian era. But then those who have studied that period of history know that it wasn't all cracked up to what was reported. Just wonder how they got out of all those corsets and such is a mystery but they did have more time on their hands among other things. Cell phones, computers, video games, dvds, and tivo can be distractions to such physical pleasures.

Okay okay it's Monday night, I cheated but there'll be no pay offs for this one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gonna make you an offer you can't refuse

Ya gonna take our offer and like it see. We don't care about some pip squeaks trying to muscle in on the action here. And we don't care if you have to sell your grandmother to pay us back cause that's not our problem see. Cross us and the boys upstairs 'll make sure you're sleepin with the fish see. We own ya now. Ya got that?

And here we have a simple analysis of the Greek situation as written by Anthony (insert "the" + favorite animal here) Gangster. Only Tony is no street hood. He's a world leader or group of leaders putting the muscle on a relatively small country. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. And if anyone out there has studied their history we know this won't end well. So you might ask why any settlement is taking so long. First it's a simple matter that if any resolution is delayed then anyone in the financial game stands to make even more money. This is done when word comes out about a possible resolution. It doesn't matter if the news is good or bad because money is made either way (remember short selling?). With the speed of supercomputers and some very savvy statistical brainiacs a regular Joe doesn't have a chance. But what I've said before and I'll say again is that we are witnessing one of the greatest thefts in world history all done under the guise of saving humanity. But what the winners in this game might fail to realize is that they're running out of players to fleece. That only leaves the prospect of turning on each other. And we know that won't end well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pussy Bourgeoisie

If you know me or have read this blog you know that I'll go to the ends of the earth to find out what's going on in this world. Yesterday I was talking to some folks in Egypt and Greece. Thankfully they spoke English because I speak only bits of several foreign languages and not fluent in any. It's all Greek to me for the most part. In Egypt they are very proud of our actions taken against Wall Street. One photo they posted showed an Egyptian flag at one of the protest marches in Solidarity. From the articles posted they too are experiencing a rather brutal crack down on their right to protest. Trumped up charges have lead to lengthy jail stays and most cases come before a military tribunal and not some civilian court. Nothing like treating your people like soldiers to make things better.
In Greece the situation is tense but they seem to know the outcome of the sham that they call a government. As you may recall their president called for a referendum vote on accepting a bail out. As I mentioned in an earlier post the strings attached to that rescue were severe austerity measures aimed squarely at the people who could afford it the least. The speaker who I talked to over there is living in Athens but will now not be able to live there due to the cost of living and the employment situation. This reminds me of something out of a medieval saga where the crown prince demands more taxes out of the poor villagers when they can barely eat now. No, the people there aside from being outraged and taking to the streets understand that this will take a while to remedy. They knew that the referendum was only a ploy to keep the current president in power just a few days or weeks longer. You think maybe that'll give him enough time to move his own funds to safety before he gets tossed?

Yes there is a lot of anger out there and there should be. That cat sandwich up there has come to represent the 99% while its' owner lord and master the 1% is about to chow down.

bank fails later

Now back to the revolution

Two banks failed this week one in UT and and in NE

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Little guys are starting to win

Don't take this as some sexist slam it wasn't meant to be only the best image that I could find to illustrate a point. And sorry for the mixed metaphors I was in a hurry.

Us Peonage, as Randal Graves would call us, are beginning to put a crack in the establishment containment bubble dome forged through years of gnawing away at our rights and economic positions. What started as a simple protest in a park in New York city has quickly spread first nationally then globally to the likes this world has never seen. But the best part is the effects that this is having on the very people who's duty it is to provide our security. Realizing that they too are part of the majority they are stuck in a rather precarious position. That is to do either the will of their overlords who hold most of the wealth in this country or side with the protesters, the now unwashed masses.
In Oakland just a few days ago the mayor wiping egg from her face and facing a possible recall vote has had a change of heart and issued a memo stating that all non essential city workers were to take Wed. off to join in the protests. No one in Hollywood could have written such a script as I'm sure the audience would have scoffed it off as being unbelievable yet here it is happening in Livestream for the world to see as it unfolded.
This certainly has sent a mixed message to the Oakland police department as indicated by a letter from it's police union:

OAKLAND (KRON) -- The union representing Oakland police officers says its members are confused by the city's response to the Occupy Oakland movement.

In an "Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland," the Oakland Police Officers Association says, as a union, it identifies with some of the goals of the Occupy movement.

We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families," the letter reads. "We are severely understaffed with many City beats remaining unprotected by police during the day and evening hours."

The letter notes its members followed Mayor Jean Quan's orders to clear Frank Ogawa Plaza and remove Occupy Oakland protestors. Within hours, the letter notes, the mayor had allowed demonstrators to return and set up tents.

Union leaders say they're also confused that the Mayor is giving most city workers Wednesday off to participate in the general strike Occupy Oakland is holding. At the same time, all police officers must report for work.

"That’s hundreds of City workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against 'the establishment,'" the union's letter says. "But aren’t the Mayor and her Administration part of the establishment they are paying City employees to protest? Is it the City’s intention to have City employees on both sides of a skirmish line?"

The letter wraps up with a call for leadership from city officials.

"We love Oakland and just want to do our jobs to protect Oakland residents." it says. "We respectfully ask the citizens of Oakland to join us in demanding that our City officials, including Mayor Quan, make sound decisions and take responsibility for these decisions. Oakland is struggling – we need real leaders NOW who will step up and lead – not send mixed messages. Thank you for listening."

editors note: And now if we could just get our military to do an all out assault on the Hamptons we could have a mop up team finish the job by Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ah geez it's starting all over again

As we all may recall form the economic meltdown of 2007 that great Ponzi scheme seems to be rearing its' ugly head again. No I'm not talking about Bernie Madoff but what had happened to Goldman Sachs and the Lehman Brothers investment firms. A snipet from the Wall Street Journal :

MF Global collapse sparks FBI investigation
The fallout from MF Global Holdings Ltd.'s collapse intensified as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted to issue subpoenas to the securities firm and the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned to examine whether client funds are missing, according to people familiar with the situation.

MF Global admitted to federal regulators that money had been diverted out of customer accounts, according to a federal official who said the move violated the law. Aaron Lucchetti has the latest on The News Hub.

The two moves are the result of a discrepancy of hundreds of millions of dollars in the New York company's books that was discovered just before MF Global tumbled into bankruptcy Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.

It isn't clear if the discrepancy, about $900 million as MF Global raced to sell itself over the weekend, was caused by money being diverted by company officials desperate to meet margin requirements or collateral calls as the financial situation became dire, these people said. Another possibility is that the gap reflects bookkeeping or accounting errors, as well as a delay in recording transactions in MF Global's books given the securities firm's far-flung trading and clearing operations.

Now I'd bet that anyone with a retirement account (remember many pension funds rely on these investment houses) may not know if their retirement is safe. The funds after all investments are as diverse as can be imagined. If you bother to actually read a prospectus I'd bet that many of the companies listed you've never heard of. And knowing exactly what is going on with your money at any given moment would be near to impossible. But we all rely on the honesty of those we instill with our trust. We can only go by past performance which is never an indication of future gains (a standard warning neatly tucked in the fine print). However this example is the reason Glass Stegal was put in place so many years ago. That Act split investment houses from banks so that bankers could not play Vegas with our money and loose it before we had a chance to spend it,

This isn't exactly the greatest theft in American history as compared to 07 but it sure isn't helping the situation. And seeing as how the game of chance is still going on we'll have to wait and see when the other shoe drops. So many things are right on the tipping point at the moment it's scary to sit back and watch. But keep your eyes peeled over the next three weeks as the perfect storm develops.

And let me add: You think anyone of them will go to jail?... I don't think so either.