Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Buh-Bye Banksters!

In late October I joined with others in suggesting that people move their money away from the larger banks and also that they should trade in cash as much as possible to starve the credit card industry. See:

There really are alternatives to everything you do now. With money, you need to wise up and not just be a mark ripe for the con.

Some people don't even really engage in the system per se. They are on the borders of the economy. Cash may or may not have anything to do with how they are getting fed or supplying themselves with shelter. Living that way may not appeal to you so here's some more.

You can use local banks for most of everything for which you might have used a larger bank. Consider the credit union option also.

I'm seeing lots of commercials on late night TV for services that check your credit reports/ratings. Here's a funny idea: consider living your life without access to credit. Over the course of 30 years a $100K mortgage might cost you between $500-600K to pay off. What if you simply saved up the $100K yourself and then bought a house?

I know that there are upsides to playing with other people's money even if it is at a rate of interest. You get the house sooner, you might have the opportunity to flip the house for a profit within a short time. And so on...yeah, I get it.

But do you understand what it is costing you in terms of freedom to have things as they are right now?

Maybe we are all giving up far too much for the convenience of living off of money obtained on credit.

And we simply don't have to.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Obama 180°

Did he think the inter-tubes would forget?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why Movies Today Suck Ass:
RedLetterMedia Reviews
"The Phantom Menace"

In the directorial battle of wits between the young George Lucas and the old George Lucas the elder Lucas loses miserably. The young Lucas does have some idea about how to tell a story and when to delegate critical tasks to his betters - like Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. The result was the classic Star Wars trilogy that inspired technological advancements in film making and enthusiasm for the fantasy-adventure genre the world over. That much must be admitted.

But the older Lucas doesn't seem to have a clue. Heaping one overwhelming special effect on another, the older Lucas wants to fool you into believing he has a story to tell when he really fails on that count altogether. Like the bard said, "...it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

I don't have that much invested in this matter because I was never a big Star Wars fan anyway. But I still found this "review" funny as hell and worth watching in its own right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Great Quotes

"A man's respect for law and order exists in precise relationship to the size of his paycheck." - Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels." - Bob Thaves

Be Clear: The Buck Stops at the Desk of
the White House "House Negro"

There is no "news," only opinions about possible facts. So I don't know much, but I still have my own opinions loosely based on what I think the facts may be. If you read enough the facts bubble up to the top, just like the blood from meat when you are making a tasty stock before skimming off the scum. And scum is absolutely the right word for these facts...

I quote myself from May 31, 2009 - Obama's been prez for about 4 months, and you should read the whole post but here's a small bit from it anyway:



Obama hasn't floated a plan of his own and despite his previous support for a single-payer plan he has refused to allow any such plan to be discussed at recent healthcare reform negotiations. His claimed deadline may reflect the political realities of congressional elections in 2010, but it is also defeatist and melodramatic. Where was the forewarning on this? Now everyone is supposed to immediately jump in support of whatever Obama decides his plan will be even though he has refused to state just what in the hell it is? And the single-payer option is off the table? And it's now or never? By 1 August 2009?

He doesn't seem very hopeful, does he?

Obama is carefully orchestrating all of the reasons why any healthcare reform will prove impossible. And despite whatever Obama or any other Democrat may say of it in the future - they are intentionally dropping the ball on this reform issue because they lack both the leadership and the courage to do the right thing. Cowards all!

Let me float some ideas of my own with you...

Access to healthcare when you need it is a right and not a privilege. No one should be bankrupted by the vagaries of fate or accidental misfortunes concerning their health.

There is no reason to include the health insurance industry in any negotiations about healthcare reform. Why not? Because the health insurance industry is the problem and the source of waste that needs to be corrected.

Any plan that mandates that citizens must buy insurance from private insurers is a giveaway just like mandatory auto liability insurance. And the waste and enormous expense of healthcare will continue to escalate under such a reworked version of the status quo.

Our political representatives aren't going to do what's right because they fear the health insurance industry more than they fear you, the electorate. You are going to have to make them fear your displeasure more instead.


Then back in August I decided that this was all just distracting theater that would amount to nothing:



Given Obama's lackluster negotiating style it's hard to imagine any other result was intended. Obama has broken promises. He has given away the store for 2% with big pharma behind closed doors. Neither single-payer nor the "public option" was ever given serious play. It all seems so obvious now.

Greenwald goes on to say some "pie in the sky" shit as if things might still turn out alright, but you'll have to forgive me if I remain a cynical realist. The plan was to fail. If we pull success from defeat, I will NOT be crediting Obama for it. If success occurs it will be because torches and pitchforks were the next logical negotiating tactic.

It remains the assertion of this blog that the threat of violence is a transformative force and that's what Jefferson really intended by it all along. The fucker lived to the ripe age of 83, and that's obviously not because he was constantly spoiling for a fight. However, he did stand ready to take certain things all the way if he absolutely had to. There is a difference...

Cynic that I am, I observe that this protracted health care reform "dog and pony show" has also served the function of distracting all and sundry from the perhaps just as meaningful fleecing of the American Taxpayer when it comes to the bank bailouts - without meaningful oversight and a now broke FDIC - and the utter lack of Wall Street reform. The economic bubble just might get reinflated and all of these problems passed off to the next biggest fool after Obama.

Fantasy Sequence...

Interviewer to Obama: "Mr. President, what are your greatest accomplishments since you took office?

Prez Obama: "Well, first of all...wait, look over there!!!"


And that makes Obama a "House Negro" in my book, just like Brother Malcolm used to tell it:



I'm a field negro too.

And as a person of color myself, I don't feel like I have to excuse my use of terms like "negro." This blog is about social justice for all human beings. I have no qualms pointing out social injustices when I identify them nor naming our various tormentors for what they are. Some are the 1% themselves (who mainly sit at home and do nothing), and some are their helpers (who do all the work for their masters).

Be clear: Obama is a helper, even though he's supposed to be our man. But Obama's many campaign promises are turning out to have been empty rhetoric now entirely unsupported by the necessary follow-through actions.

So why tell you this shit again today? Well, there are more people that would appear to agree with me and the facts are starting to form a scum at the top of the human stew we have made of ourselves politically. And the "lefty" Democrats themselves are starting to get pissed off Obama too because Obama expects them to carry his water for him and maybe even commit political suicide too.

Digby says:


And Obama can say that you're getting a lot, but also saying that it "covers everyone," as if there's a big new benefit is a big stretch. Nothing will have changed on that count except changing the law to force people to buy private insurance if they don't get it from their employer. I guess you can call that progressive, but that doesn't make it so. In fact, mandating that all people pay money to a private interest isn't even conservative, free market or otherwise. It's some kind of weird corporatism that's very hard to square with the common good philosophy that Democrats supposedly espouse.

Nobody's "getting covered" here. After all, people are already "free" to buy private insurance and one must assume they have reasons for not doing it already. Whether those reasons are good or bad won't make a difference when they are suddenly forced to write big checks to Aetna or Blue Cross that they previously had decided they couldn't or didn't want to write. Indeed, it actually looks like the worst caricature of liberals: taking people's money against their will, saying it's for their own good.

And Greenwald has this stuff:


The administration is getting the bill which they, more or less, wanted from the start -- the one that is a huge boon to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. And kudos to Russ Feingold for saying so:

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), among the most vocal supporters of the public option, said it would be unfair to blame Lieberman for its apparent demise. Feingold said that responsibility ultimately rests with President Barack Obama and he could have insisted on a higher standard for the legislation.

"This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth," said Feingold. "I think they could have been higher. I certainly think a stronger bill would have been better in every respect."

Let's repeat that: "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place."
It's also worth noting how completely antithetical claims are advanced to defend and excuse Obama. We've long heard -- from the most blindly loyal cheerleaders and from Emanuel himself -- that progressives should place their trust in the Obama White House to get this done the right way, that he's playing 11-dimensional chess when everyone else is playing checkers, that Obama is the Long Game Master who will always win. Then, when a bad bill is produced, the exact opposite claim is hauled out: it's not his fault because he's totally powerless, has nothing to do with this, and couldn't possibly have altered the outcome. From his defenders, he's instantaneously transformed from 11-dimensional chess Master to impotent, victimized bystander.

The supreme goal is to shield him from all blame. What gets said to accomplish that goal can -- and does -- radically change from day to day.

I love that "11-dimensional chess" stuff. Hilarious. Idiocy on the face of it. Obama's a genius! No wait, he's a victim! Well played, Blue Dogs...

Fucking A...

And here's Anthony Weiner (Congressman New York's 9th District) complaining about it all:


"Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these people in charge? It’s time for the President to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the President to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate."

There's more at HuffPo too (although I sometimes find them to merely follow the progressive polls - this time they know that we progressives are really and truly pissed off):


"The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel," said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). "No public option, no extending Medicare to 55, no nothing, an excise tax, God!" he exclaimed about the Senate health care bill to Roll Call. "The insurance lobby is taking over."

What's it all mean? Obama is failing on every front. And there's no longer any reason to be distracted by this in name only attempt at "health care reform."

He meant to blow it. He is blowing it. It's blown.

Done deal.

They might still pull reconciliation out of their collective asses, but I doubt it. The oligarchy opposes it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Obama With Two Mouths

Counting on Progressive Sycophancy: They're For It AND Against It...At the Same Time

The Hill is now reporting that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says President Obama still supports drug importation legislation. However, Gibbs did not say Obama supports passing drug importation legislation on the Senate floor right now - at the same time another branch of the Obama administration (ie. his FDA appointee) is saying that the administration opposes importation and at the same time the Hill reports "The White House has not endorsed the Dorgan-Snowe-McCain measure."

This is becoming a nauseating pattern: Salon's Glenn Greenwald has documented the Obama administration's penchant for having the president say one thing, and then having administration officials say something very different - and often contrary. This has been most prevalent on the Afghanistan issue, which saw the President commit to begin a July 2011 exit strategy, and his national security officials take to TV to say that there would be no exit strategy in July 2011. Now it's happening on health care, too.

I would call this for-it-before-he-was-against-it, but that would be too straightforward. This is a new level of dissembling - I guess the administration is for it and against it at the same time. It's definitely a sort of cute, have-it-both-ways kind of thing - a way to play the wink-and-nod game whereby the public is told that the president is really bringing about "change" while the Washington Establishment is reassured that there's no real change in sight. And make no mistake about it: there's a formula to it.


Paraphrasing the Diceman:
"Either you suck corporate dick or you don't suck corporate dick."

Which is it, Obama?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News and Opinions Roundup

Here's a couple bits from Sirota:

Obama Admits We Can't Have Guns and Butter - Then Chooses Guns

During the Vietnam War, it became clear that America could not afford to simultaneously wage war on poverty and wage war in Vietnam. We could not have guns and butter at the same time...The same is true of the Afghanistan War, which will now cost at least $100 billion a year, thanks to President Obama's massive escalation. That's more than the same annual outlay for the universal health care bills being considered in Congress.


When Pundits Insist $141 Billion In Wall Street Handouts Is No Big Deal...

...it's a good sign of just how much the political goalposts in America have shifted, and just how completely the plutocratic ethos now dominate our "democracy." I bring this up in light of the White House now insisting that the Obama-backed Troubled Asset Relief Program will "only" cost taxpayers $141 billion. As you can see here and here for some examples, some professional political prognosticators insist this is awesome news - because hey, $141 billion isn't a big deal, right? And it's certainly not a big deal when the president is saying we barely have any resources for job creation, right?


Here's Joan Walsh from Salon.com:

Is the public option worth fighting for?

Influential liberals have begun arguing a funny kind of liberal Catch-22: The health insurance "public option" is already so diluted, it's no longer worth fighting for. Got it? Because liberal Dems got played by conservative Dems, they should forfeit the entire game.

Crazy as it sounds, it might also be true.


One more bit from Common Dreams:

Drill, Baby, Drill: Obama Administration OKs Oil Drilling in Arctic off Alaska

WASHINGTON -- The Interior Department today gave the go-ahead for Shell Oil to begin drilling three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, a move that opens the door for production in a new region of the Arctic.


For me this last bit is the drop of the other shoe - that's Obama representing very nearly the same agenda as Bush Jr. for fuck's sake!

And Walsh doesn't go far enough. I don't think there is anything left worth fighting for in this so-called "healthcare reform" push. I say it's time to chuck the whole thing and for the Democrats to admit that they are:

  • corporatist whores
  • stooges for a not very well-hidden Wall Street plutocracy
  • not interested in accomplishing anything that creates either peace or financial stability for a vanishing middle-class
  • unrelentingly faithful to the two-party shell-game in which neither party contains the pea of actual political change

So, I guess what I am hearing from our leadership is the following short list of "fuck yous":

  • we can't have healthcare reform because it costs too much (even though real reform would save us a bundle)
  • we can't spend anything on job creation or greening the nation
  • we can't bail out families facing foreclosure, just the banks that put them into the streets
  • there's plenty of money for banks, investment firms and insurance companies that are too big to fail
  • there's plenty of money for waging wars of choice and even escalating them too
  • and fuck it, we are an oil obsessed nation of war-mongers! Reason alone dictates we must shit where we eat.

I'll give you one more bit from Chernynkaya commenting on HuffPo (the best stuff is often in the comments):



How disgusted and pessimistic am I about our government? I talked to my young adult kids and told them to leave the US for somewhere in Europe while they are young enough to make a life there-- a life where corporations haven't destr0yed democracy, where government's role is to protect its citizens, where they can live without the fear of poverty if they should be so foolish as to get ill. So far though, they seem to want to stay.


So there you go, "American Idiocracy" in inaction!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama/Ackbar Trap!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama's Economy, Obama's War

Here's Sirota asking much of the same questions I myself would ask (and I'll call out my favorites below too):

Some Simple Questions After Obama's Afghanistan War Speech

- Would you be OK sending yourself or a loved one over to face combat and potentially death for the mission Obama articulated in Afghanistan? If not, how could you support sending other people?

- Simple budget question: Should we now believe that escalating the Afghanistan War at the same annual cost of universal health care will save more than 45,000 Americans a year (ie. the number of Americans who die every year for lack of health insurance)?


Keep in mind all of the things we can't afford because of all of the things that remain in play no matter what stripe of president happens to occupy the oval office.

No, you can't have universal health care. Yes, your children are cannon fodder.

A Tale of Two Headlines

Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public: Alice Schroeder

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.


Obama Administration To Shame Lenders That Don't Offer To Modify Mortgages

The U.S. government will start to publicly identify those companies that are failing to give troubled homeowners permanent loan modifications, and hound them daily to monitor their progress, the Treasury Department declared.


That's some startling contrast to be behold there: Bankers arming themselves against a feared mass uprising in which their heads will end up on pikes and brain-dead Obama's apparently clueless notion that corporate entities are capable of feeling shame for raking in the loot he has actually handed them via bailouts and the continuing unaccounted for help from the Fed.

Shame? They are giving themselves bonuses on the taxpayer's dime, for fuck's sake!

Another Epic Obama Fail!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just a thought...

"Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others." - Edward Abbey

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fuck It! Skip the Bird...Drink Brawndo!!!!!!111

A Thanksgiving Prayer - William S. Burroughs

To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive...

Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream, to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killin' lawmen, feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where nobody's allowed to mind his own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the memories - all right let's see your arms!

You always were a headache and you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Be Thankful for the Genital
Torture of Gitmo Detainees!


And I did Google it, see:

"Gitmo Detainee's 'Genitals Were Sliced With A Scalpel,' Waterboarding 'Far Down The List Of Things They Did'"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beyond All Belief: Corps Want Slavery

I've known about this issue for a really long time, but here is some recent coverage of it by David Sirota, Maddow and Colbert:

From the I Shit You Not File: Business Aims to Relax Bans on Products Made with Child & Slave Labor



Colbert's Segment:

Monday, November 9, 2009

David Sirota on PBS Now

Sirota remains focused on the bottom line. In short, Dems better achieve some real progressive change or face voter wrath in 2010 and beyond.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care Reform H.R. 3962: Just Say No!

Kucinich voted no and here's why:

John Geyman M.D.'s informed opinion of the bill last Thursday:

Yeah, there are some useful tweaks to existing health care insurance here that should pass into law and I'm not opposed to every word of this bill or anything like that. But I am opposed to the mandate that exists to buy insurance from the private health insurers and I equally resent the fact that a fantastically robust Medicare for all style provision is entirely lacking in the bill. I am also pro-choice, so no joy there either.

I could give a fuck if this bill passes or not. I rather hope it does not. I'd frankly rather that the health care crisis get worse rather than to approve a measure so insubstantial that it is little more than a thinly disguised handout to the private health insurance industry by way of a mandate to buy health insurance. The working poor will not be able to spend 18-20% of their income on private health insurance in this way and I very much doubt that any subsidies will alleviate that crushing burden.

The mandate to buy insurance will not likely prove to be constitutional, in my opinion. It's one thing to tax an individual and then to provide public services in return; and it's quite another thing altogether to force anyone to contract with other private entities just because the federal legislature seems to think you should.

So, if this passes we're headed for a showdown on the issue of "freedom of contract" - because contained within the idea of the freedom of contract is the freedom to not contract at all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Maine: No to Gay Marriage

What's upsetting about all of this is how minority rights are being put to a vote. It's a complete breakdown of one of the fundamental purposes of government: to protect minority rights against majority rule. The government needs to step in and clarify EVERYONE'S rights as per civil union/marriage.

RuinedSaint on HuffPo commented: "It's akin to 2 wolves and a rabbit voting on what to have for dinner."

Or as Pastor Martin Niemöller in the era of German Nazism put it:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

These are crazy times. Goodbye U.S.A....

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Worthy Speech

In our day certain economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. A second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, or race, or creed. Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines throughout the nation.

  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom, freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

  • The right of every family to a decent home.

  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

  • The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security...we must be prepared to move forward in the implementation of these rights to new goals of human happiness and well-being. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States from a speech made in 1944.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Universal Healthcare

This image seems very appropriate for a day in which the supposed "public option" got watered down to almost nothing at all. All the political BS we've gone through, and for what? It's all smoke and mirrors in the haunted theater of social injustice.

I am starting to get the idea that when Dems say "reform" they mean "grease up and grab your ankles."

This is not what I wanted. It's not even close.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's in Play Right Now on Health Care Reform

Rachel Maddow provides an excellent explanation of what is in play right now. There is an enormous disconnect between what the government is calling the "public option" and what most people think is meant by that term. We have to be very careful that if we support health care reform at all, that we don't water it down so much that it is ultimately ineffective and thereby open to criticism as if we had actually given it a proper chance, when we perhaps really didn't.

This being the grotesque corporatist country that it is, I am not hopeful of meaningful reform. Reid is playing a bit of bait and switch here with his flam-flam description of what he has actually proposed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Anthony Weiner Brings the Pain

A new study by Representative Anthony Weiner (D – Queens & Brooklyn), member of the Health Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Caucus on the Middle Class, revealed that 151 members of the House and Senate currently receive government-funded; government-administered single-payer health care - Medicare.

On the list of recipients are 55 Republicans who have steadfastly opposed other Americans getting the public option, like the one they have chosen.

Weiner said, "Even in a town known for hypocrisy, this list of 55 Members of Congress deserve some sort of prize. They apparently think the public option is ok for them, but not anyone else."



See the full 55 member list at the link above.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two Interesting Moves on the Board

Dylan Ratigan, outraged by Wall Street bailout socialism, makes the following comments and recommendations:

The Fix
1. Move money to small banks (to starve the bigger banks)
2. Pay with cash (instead of credit cards)
3. Contact lawmakers

I like the first two suggestions because actions speak louder than any words. Do it - as much as you can, starve the banks and use cash.

Still and with that said, I have to reveal that I don't love this Dylan Ratigan guy. Shockingly, I find this guy overly combative and browbeating to his guests. You'd think with my own rhino thick skin and foul mouth - the one I am so eager to have spew expletives almost all the time at every conceivable target - you'd think this trait of Ratigan's wouldn't bother me at all. Alas, I think he needs to be more professional given the numbers of eyes and ears to which he has access. Rachel Maddow gave a guy a total beating just last week but she did it fairly professionally and generally stuck to the format of a formal debate. She didn't just interview the person and ask tough questions, she finally confronted the man with conclusions and opinions of her own that she wanted to share with her viewers. It was pretty epic. See it here (and Dylan: take note!), Rachel interviews/debates Tim Phillips of the 'astroturf' organization "Americans for Prosperity":


Meanwhile, Alan Grayson has created a website for people to list the names of the people that have died because of congress' inaction on health care reform. His site is called "Names of the Dead" and includes some very informative links. The site is running really slow right now...

Go to these links and see for yourself:


This guy has huge balls. Sure, maybe he sees his chance as a political opportunist. As long as he does the right stuff, I don't mind it one bit. Someone has to take a leadership position in the absence of the U.S. Prez taking the leadership role.

Yeah, that's right - another shot at Obama (a.k.a. Mr. Very Weak Tea)...

Monday, October 19, 2009

How the World Really Works

I found this hysterical. Yes, it's wildly mean-spirited - but ultimately that may be the source of its blacker than black humor.

This must be how Cheney or the CEO of Blackwater think. For them, the deaths of others does equal cash in untold millions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goldman Sachs 2009 bonuses to double 2008’s


On Thursday, Goldman Sachs will announce the firm's bonus payments for 2009. Analysts expect the bonus pool to mushroom to $23 billion -- double the bonus pool paid to employees in 2008. Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs said that it had put aside $11.4 billion for bonuses during the first half of the year.


How much is $23,000,000,000?

For one thing, it's enough to send 460,000 full paying students to Harvard University for one year, or 115,000 for four years.
Story continues below...

It's enough to pay the health insurance premium for the average American family ($13,375) 1.7 million times.

It's enough to upgrade 191 million computers to Windows 7 operating system (priced at $119.99), or to buy 115 million iPhones at $199.99 (provided the recipient was willing to sign a two-year contract).

Or, apparently, it's enough to reward the employees of Goldman Sachs for a bonanza trading year, at a firm where average employee compensation was recently $622,000 -- and likely to be greater this year.

The $23 billion figure could leave some American taxpayers woozy -- the US government bailed out Goldman Sachs with a multi-billion payment last year, which the firm has since repaid.

But while Goldman is likely to pay its biggest bonuses ever to employees, the firm pays very little in taxes worldwide. In 2008, the company was said to have paid just $14 million in taxes worldwide, and paid $6 billion in 2007.

The firm's corporate tax rate? About 1 percent. According a prominent tax lawyer, "They have taken steps to ensure that a lot of their income is earned in lower-tax jurisdictions."


Yes, that seems fair doesn't it?

I can't wait to hear the news that congress has botched health care reform later today...

Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong. I'd love to hear of some great success for social justice for the other 99% of the country. You know, the ones that do actually pay taxes worth a damn.

Goat Fuckers at CNN:
"Nobody Leaves More Things There"

To be fair, Stewart and the Daily Show are at least partly responsible for the conflation of comedy and what currently passes for television journalism. Stewart has again and again revealed television journalism for the empty, talking heads garbage that it really is. If it weren't such effective propaganda and advertising, television news would be an abandoned mode of entertainment/infotainment. But yes, TV news "journalism" has its uses to the powers that be.

On the other side of this is the fact The Daily Show is one of the few places you can actually get real information about political matters of the moment. The Daily Show's whole raison d'être is pointing up the failings of television journalism for laughs. Interestingly, while they are doing that very thing the truth of many matters is more clearly revealed on The Daily Show than most of the supposed journalism taking place on all of the several 24 hour news networks combined!

I exclude the following shows from condemnation: Bill Moyers' Journal, The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. But seriously, consider that those shows represent maybe 11 hours a week of programming and then compare that to what occurs for 168 hours a week on several stations. Wiki says that there are at least 5 such 24 hour news networks: CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. That's 5 x 168 = 840 hours of nearly all mindless fluff instead of actual journalism.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 12, 2009

The "Why" of Obama

Why is Obama seemingly all things to all people? Well, that's sort of how he won the election...

While "Junior" was in office, there was absolutely no point in hoping for anything. We were just waiting out the time until he left office. Oh, how we waited!

And then Obama entered from the left and he was talking the talk. The guy is one smooth talker, like a televangelist with his message of "HOPE" for the world of tomorrow. Obama talks the talk that resonates in the ear of leftists and progressives. At the time of his candidacy Obama was saying that if he had the White House and the Dems controlled congress we could end the wars, stop torturing our pretended enemies, get single payer health care and reform the banking industry and the financial services sector too.

But once Obama was in office it was back to the endless prevarications and back-peddling that we have all come to expect from the average politician. It could be that monied interests and their endless lobbyists have a stranglehold on the federal legislature. In D.C., it's supposedly six lobbyists to each congress critter, and that's just for the health care lobby! It's even possible that the entrenched power of the now mortally wounded GOP is still sufficient to the task of hobbling Obama's every effort toward achieving a true progressive agenda. Because the GOP is the party of "No." And "Yes," we get that part of it.

So why do we still believe in this guy? Why bother to "HOPE"?

Because Obama has very carefully positioned himself as the center of all things political. Because Obama's is the party of "MAYBE."

This Modern World

Obama wins the Nobel and Tom Tomorrow "auto-magically" gets new material!

Bill Moyers, Simon Johnson and US Rep. Marcy Kaptur



MICHAEL MOORE: We're here to get the money back for the American People. Do you think it's too harsh to call what has happened here a coup d'état? A financial coup d'état?

MARCY KAPTUR: That's, no. Because I think that's what's happened. Um, a financial coup d'état?


MARCY KAPTUR: I could agree with that. I could agree with that. Because the people here really aren't in charge. Wall Street is in charge.


MARCY KAPTUR: Let me give you a reality from ground zero in Toledo, Ohio. Our foreclosures have gone up 94 percent. A few months ago, I met with our realtors. And I said, 'What should I know?' They said, 'Well, first of all, you should know the worst companies that are doing this to us.'

I said, 'Well, give me the top one.' They said, 'J.P. Morgan Chase.' I went back to Washington that night. And one of my colleagues said, 'You want to come to dinner?' I said, 'Well, what is it?' He said, 'Well, it's a meeting with Jamie Dimon, the head of J.P. Morgan Chase.' I said, 'Wow, yes. I really do.' So, I go to this meeting in a fancy hotel, fancy dinner, and everyone is complimenting him. I mean, it was just like a love fest.

They finally got to me, and my point to ask a question. I said, 'Well, I don't want to speak out of turn here, Mr. Dimon.' I said, 'But your company is the largest forecloser in my district. And our Realtors just said to me this morning that your people don't return phone calls.' I said, 'We can't do work outs.' And he looked at me, he said, 'Do you know that I talk to your Governor all the time?' He said, 'Our company employs 10,000 people in Ohio.'

And I'm thinking, 'What is that? A threat?' And he said, 'I speak to the Mayor of Columbus.' I said, 'Why don't you come further north?' I said, 'Toledo, Cleveland, where the foreclosures are just skyrocketing.' He said, 'Well, we'll have someone call you.' And he gave me a card. And they never did. For two weeks, we tried to reach them. And finally, I was on a national news show. And I told this story. They called within ten minutes. And they said, 'Oh, we'll work with you. We'll try to do some workouts in your area.'

We planned the first one after working with them for weeks and weeks and weeks. Their people never showed up. And it was a Friday. Our people had taken off work. They'd driven from all these locations to come. We kept calling J.P. Morgan Chase saying, 'Where's your person? Where's your person?' And they finally sent somebody down from Detroit by 3:00 in the afternoon. But out people had been waiting all morning and a lot of people that's how they treat our people.


MARCY KAPTUR: Think about what these banks have done. They have taken very imprudent behavior, irresponsible. They have really gambled, all right? And in many cases, been involved in fraudulent activity. And then when they lost, they shifted their losses to the taxpayer. So, if you look at an instrumentality like the F.H.A., the Federal Housing Administration. They used to insure one of every 50 mortgages in the country. Now it's one out of four.

Because what they're doing is they're taking their mistakes and they're dumping them on the taxpayer. So, you and I, and the long term debt of our country and our children and grandchildren. It's all at risk because of their behavior. We aren't reigning them in. The laws of Congress passed last year in terms of housing, were hollow. Were hollow.

Foreclosures in my area have gone up 94 percent. And we know the basic rules of economics. Housing leads us to recovery. Housing was the precipitating factor in this economic downturn. Unless you dealing with the housing sector, you aren't going to have growth in this


MARCY KAPTUR: Congress has really shut down. I'm disappointed in both chambers, because wouldn't you think, with the largest financial crisis in American history, in the largest transfer of wealth from the American people to the biggest banks in this country, that every committee of Congress would be involved in hearings, that this would be on the news, that people would be engaged in this. What we're seeing is-- tangential hearings on very arcane aspects of financial reform. For example, now we're going to have a consumer protection agency to help the poor consumer, who doesn't understand all of this, rather than hearings on the fundamental new architecture of reforming the American financial system, so that we have prudent lending, capital accumulation at the local level again; that we encourage savings and limit debt by the American people. Our country needs this. Those aren't the hearings that are happening.

If you want a marker at the Federal level of how serious we are to get justice out of this financial crisis, look at the F.B.I. Look at the number of people who are really prosecuting and investigation mortgage fraud and securities fraud. It is so small

I've been one of the Members of Congress trying to increase by ten times the agents to get at the justice issues for the American people. For companies that have been hurt. For shareholders that have been hurt. Our government isn't doing it. That it's very easy to look at the budget of the F.B.I. in mortgage fraud and securities fraud and say, 'How serious is the government?' And until those numbers increase, we will not begin to get justice.


SIMON JOHNSON: Well, the final end of the last vestige of Glass-Steagall came in just now in August. Unnoted, but I think very significant. Goldman Sachs, you remember, was an investment bank, a securities company. Not allowed to be a commercial bank; didn't have access to the Federal Reserve and this ability to tap into the money supply of the country. Until September of last year, when the crisis broke, they were allowed a very short notice to convert to being a bank holding company. This was what saved Goldman Sachs in my opinion. Also Morgan Stanley. Which meant they could stay in the securities business. And they could also have access to the Federal Reserve. In August, just now, they converted to what's called a financial holding company. That may seem like a technical detail to you, but this means they can borrow from the Fed, at essentially zero interest rate now.

They can invest in, I mean, as far as we can see, from the outside, looking at their portfolio, anything they want, including, you're going to love this one, they just bought some stock, big chunk of stock in a Chinese automotive company. Okay? So, that's your money, that's your Federal Reserve, financing a highly speculative investment. And if it goes well, they get the upside. And if it goes badly, that's another one for us.


BILL MOYERS: Does President Obama get it?

MARCY KAPTUR: I don't think President Obama has the right people around him. The poor man inherited a total mess, globally and domestically. I think some of the people that he trusted haven't delivered. I urge him to get new generals. It's time.

SIMON JOHNSON: Louis the Fourteenth of France, a very powerful monarch, was famous for having many bad things, you know, happen under his rule. And people would always say, 'If only Louis the Fourteenth knew. I'm sure he doesn't know. If we could just tell him, he'd sort it out.' You know. I'm skeptical.


Exactly. As always with Moyers - dead on target. And Kaptur was a revelation! I don't know much about her, but to me she comes across as intelligent and full of passion for her work as a legislator. Johnson always worries me a little because of his IMF background, but he pulls no punches here.

And I'm skeptical also. I think Obama gets "IT." He just has a different agenda than you and I. He's a corporatist operative - politicians are all of a kind - and we are the disenfranchised.

I am a radical liberal.

We are in a post-constitutional era. By which I simply mean that we don't really have a rule book any longer. We are in the era of government by "winging it."

I am a champion of a hybrid economy because I think capitalism as we imagine it is utterly broken - and even if it wasn't broken it would be wholly inadequate to the task of being the economy for the future.

I champion socialized safety nets for the entire population. After all, it's exactly what the corporations and banks got - individuals certainly deserve at least what legal entities receive and even more.

I disdain the power of the corporations of the world. We have to knock them down to a manageable size. Corporations are the biggest problem of the post-constitutional era because the kind of capital power they represent was undreamed of at the time of the writing of the Constitution. Corporations are not only not individuals, the only true purpose of any corporation is to serve the public good as a servant of the people.

So many things are completely upside down these days that I'd have to start at a very elementary level to fully air my thoughts on any of these ideas, but that's the quick and short strokes of it.

It is good to talk of peace, but keep your sword to hand. It's a bumpy road ahead, folks!

Bill Moyers: "A Leveraged Buyout of Democracy"

Moyers has been on fucking fire this last season, here's why...


SEN. MAX BAUCUS: My job is to put together a bill that gets 60 votes. Now I can count and no one has been able to show me how we can count up to 60 votes with a public option in the bill.

BILL MOYERS: Of course not. They can't get 60 votes. Not when the people who want a public alternative can't possibly scrape up the millions of dollars Baucus has received from the health sector during his political career.

Over the last two decades, the current members of the Senate Finance Committee...have collected nearly 50 million dollars from the health sector. A long-term investment that's now paying off like a busted slot machine...Of course, like water seeking its own level, big money finds its way around every obstacle, and was soon up to its old tricks, filling the pockets of friendly politicians. Today none dare call it treason. So how about calling it what it is: a friendly takeover of government. A leveraged buyout of democracy.

Outrageous? You bet. But don't just get mad. Get busy.

Al Franken's Supply Side Jesus

Sunday, October 11, 2009

American Zombie

Hmmm, there's a lot of talk these days about the meaning of zombies in popular American culture. I don't see the mystery in it really. For one thing the zombie is clearly an offshoot vampire; which itself is most likely a kind of fictive re-imagining about cannibals; and cannibalism itself is largely ceremonial in its practice wherever it is still observed. What's it all about?

"The dead govern the living." - Auguste Comte

It is about the oppressive weight of following in the footsteps of those now departed or soon to be departed. It is the weight of culture when the way we've been doing things doesn't work anymore.

Here's the most obvious aspect of culture that doesn't really make sense anymore:

That's crazy offensive right? But is it really that far off the mark? Consider the following Bible quotes:

Acts 2:24
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

John 6:53
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."

Does it still seem so crazy to note that the Jesus myth closely resembles other myths that are largely accepted as absurd and almost humorous in their nature? Why should we set the Jesus myth aside for special treatment? Do you really believe in the myth that there is a father in the sky that will judge and care for you after you are dead? And I don't mean as a comforting thought that occasionally crosses your mind when you seek for some kind of continuity - or perhaps in a stressed out situation bargaining against death as you might in a foxhole - I mean truly believe it down to your core. Do you?

Well, I don't believe a word of it.

The stories collected in the Bible are an amazing product of culture. Biblical passages are at turns mythic, lyrical and sometimes even shockingly absurd. Maybe there really aren't great justifications for people turning into a pillar of salt, being oppressed like Job because of a wager between God and the Devil nor for a man like Noah to have drunken sex with his daughters. Those stories are mere myths. Stories passed from fathers to sons until they took on the hard basis for western culture. But that doesn't mean we have to believe in those silly stories today. The Song of Solomon may have lost none of its beauty but that doesn't make it true.

Today we are still ravaged by the power of myths. There are still stories that keep us in check. Traditions that truly are the rule of the dead over the living. Certainly, Christianity is one. Capitalism is another. And a whole variety of prejudices represent still others.

I look forward to a day when we can step boldly into the light and declare ourselves free of myths and absurdities. We have to confront the realities of the world and the universe at large with our ability to reason. And every time some old fart - usually some fucking Republican - cries about the destruction of culture do try to remember what that person is really trying to champion: the unreasoning maintenance of the status quo.

Is that really what you want?

It's not what I want at all.

For centuries we were all monarchists. We have significantly abandoned that project at this time except as a symbol or to draw in the tourists.

The old ruling class transformed itself into the new capitalists. "You can have your newfangled democratic republic, just don't take our wealth away from us," they said.

But, see? something has to come next...

Do you suppose capitalism is going to work best for the 6,789,804,942 that are currently living on this planet? How long will we try to force a square peg into a round hole before we abandon the project?

Do you want to be controlled by the dead?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Major Label Serfdom: Edwyn Collins

Edwyn Collins says: "Non serviam." More here:

Copyright Drama Prevents Artist From Sharing Music on MySpace

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Truth is an Absolute Defense:
Alan Grayson vs Conservative Talking Heads

This is really very interesting stuff. I am AMAZED at the AMAZEMENT shown by the conservative talking heads at the fact that it has taken this long for anyone to call them out on their endless bullshit, to play them in the same way they try to play others. They did not like it one bit. They want to keep nonsensical talking points before the public thereby accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Where were these talking heads when endless GOP members and other conservative talking heads reduced the political conversation to this level of bullshit? You know who I mean: Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage etc. - to a man, interchangeable mudslingers (Hey, I see an Adam's Apple, kay?!). And now all of a sudden they don't like it? Well, fuck them!

One of my favorite "teaching points" here would be the way the GOP operative tries to get back onto his talking points of tort reform and free market competition - as if resolving those matters would in any fucking way equal better health care for even one person. Despite the obvious corporatist whoring which obviously unites the GOP, they stay on point and never veer off track or play by another's team rhetorical strategies.

Political debate takes place in a sewer. There are no heroes except those that prevail and accomplish their goals. Anything else means fuck all.

Progressives need to learn that indulging the rhetoric of the other side makes for very bad sound bites. Don't listen. Don't play "fair." Speak! Make your point. Keep it short and sweet. Make no fucking apologies for what you want to say and for god's sake do not equivocate. Say what you mean and say it mean.

"I would like to apologize. I would like to apologize to the dead." - Alan Grayson

Democratic Super Majority + Limp Dick vs.
Don't Get Sick + Don't Fuck = Epic Fail!

Here's a funny thing about health care reform: people die from lack of access to health care.

Oh wait, that's not funny - that's totally fucking frightening! But, you know, the Dems have it hard getting anything done since they have a super majority in congress.

This is what ultimately happened to health care reform, as depicted on "Late Show with David Letterman."

It's abstinence only, folks! Don't get sick. Don't fuck. We are under the thumb of the party of: NO!

As in "no empathy."

"It's not about the specifics - it's about wanting to oppose reform, wanting a political victory, wanting to undermine the president and the democratic majority."- Arianna Huffington 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Public Option = No Peace!

What did I get for voting a straight Democratic ticket this last time?


I will not support any Democrats again for the rest of my life if they can't at a minimum pass the public option. We have a Democratic Prez, they own congress - and yet they can't do anything constructive in favor of a progressive agenda. Their collective bargaining strategy is to throw away the best option from the first and then water down an already compromised position until there is nothing left worth supporting.

Why aren't we 100% behind the Prez? Because he is not 100% in the leadership position. He can't get our support unless he champions goals worthy of our support. All this incrementalist bullshit is just that - bullshit!!!

I wanted single-payer. The Dems tossed that out without a second thought and tried for a public option instead. I have the distinct feeling that we can't even get that. You can't start bargaining from the middle position and expect to have anything like real reform. Real reform is to the left of the middle. It's thinking outside the box at this point. In 2009, true health care reform is a political impossibility. And we aren't hearing too much about Democratic leadership on the issue because all the important Dems have their lips firmly attached to and encircling corporate cocks.

Do we have financial reform? No.

Do we have mortgage reform or any meaningful foreclosure help for Main Street? No.

Do we have any significant oversight of the banking, financial institution, or insurance company bailouts? No.

Have they passed any legislation to return normal consumer protections to student loan debts? No.

So what have they done for me lately? Nothing.

Oh yeah, like I will ever vote for them again. For what? I can't even get a reach-around here while they are taking turns fucking my ass.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Graft vs. Consumer Choice


Arkansas "Democrats" Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Rep. Mike Ross - we come for you! Be the public servants your constituency demands of you or prepare to get your lives turned upside down as every crooked deal you have ever made is exposed to the daylight. The Walmart-ization of Arkansas is over. With their backs against the wall economically, the true ruling class of this country is finding its backbone. And you have made it so.

Stand tall or fall, motherfuckers!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Keep Health Care Profiteering Legal!

Billionaires for Wealthcare

Protect Insurance Companies PSA

Rachel Maddow Talks to Bill (Only a Bill)

Lila Rose: Abortions Performed in Public


I'd hit it. But damn, what a dingbat...!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Understanding Conservatism

Once again, I quote from Bill Moyers Journal last Friday...


SAM TANENHAUS: Well, one reason is that America very early on in its history reached a kind of pact, in the Jacksonian era, between the government on the one hand and private capital on the other. That the government would actually subsidize capitalism in America. That's what the Right doesn't often acknowledge. A lot of what we think of as the unleashed, unfettered market is, in fact, a government supported market. Some will remember the famous debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, and Dick Cheney said that his company, Halliburton, had made millions of dollars without any help from the government. It all came from the government! They were defense contracts! So, what's happened is the American ethos, which is a different thing from our political order-- that's the rugged individualism, the cowboy, the frontiersman, the robber baron, the great explorer, the conqueror of the continent. For that aspect of our myth, the market has been the engine of it. So, what brought them together, is what we've seen in the right is what I call a politics of organized cultural enmity. Everybody--

BILL MOYERS: Accusatory protest, you call it.

SAM TANENHAUS: Accusatory protest. With liberals as the enemy. So, if you are a free-marketeer, or you're an evangelical, or a social conservative, or even an authoritarian conservative, you can all agree about one thing: you hate the liberals that are out to destroy us. And that's a very useful form of political organization. I'm not sure it contributes much to our government and society, but it's politically useful, and we're seeing it again today.


Tanenhaus is quite generous with his praise of conservatism. To a degree I can almost agree with some of it too. The sticking point for me is the disconnect with reality that seems to exist at the heart of conservatism: you can't be a rugged individualist if your every move is subsidized by the government. Just as you can't oppose a government health care system and still accept Medicare. Just as you can't possess billions and still try to claim some sort of absurd underdog status. Well, actually conservatives can claim anything they want. And they do tend to claim some truly insane things.

It's just that the rest of us can also immediately identify those many preposterous claims for all of their inherent hypocrisy and rightly reject them.

And that's why conservatism is dying.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Novelty vs. Quality

Why You Can’t Get a Good Phone With Verizon


Verizon’s extremely conservative approach to new handsets, the company’s long and rigorous testing procedures and its emphasis on the network rather than the phone has created a portfolio that’s a complete buzz kill, say experts.


Hmmm...lemme see if I can work this out...


Can people really give a shit what sort of tool they use to get stuff done. Are people that fucking stupid and trivial. Oh wait, I forgot I live in the United States. I have my answer already. Wired is one of those sites that lingers lovingly over every fucking rumor that exists about new technology. The fetish with the "next big" technological device borders on the truly perverse. It's just STUFF, people. Do yourself a favor and buy that hooker/gigolo that would cure you of all of these sexual sublimation problems. Jeez...!

Here are my thoughts on technological devices: Does it get shit done? Does it do what you wanted it to do? Are there extra cool things that it does? Is it quality? Will it last?

I would hate to inform on myself about how old some of my bits of technology happen to be. But, like a proper geek, I can claim that my server is a from the mid 90s - it's old as fuck and still does the job, thank you for your concern.

Quality beats novelty, now and forever. If you must spend, spend on quality.

Then, wring the fucker out of every drop of possible use. When this thing - whatever it may be - is finally good and fucking dead maybe you can consider getting another newer and better one.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Per Person, U.S. Health Care Now Costs...

4 Countries With Better Healthcare Than Ours


There's little dispute that the United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Our nation spends about $7,300 per person on healthcare every year, nearly 2.5 times the average for developed countries, which is $2,964, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


The source is normally deemed credible so I have therefore chosen to cite this important stat. Elsewhere it only costs people around $3K per annum for health care that is better than, or at least as good as, our health care system in terms of documented outcomes.

Good to know.

Potter in Support of H.R. 3200
Opposes Baucus-Care

Wendell Potter:
...if Congress goes along with the so-called "solutions" the insurance industry says it is bringing to the table and acquiesces to the demands it is making of lawmakers, and if it fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called...

...The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.

H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, encompasses a comprehensive set of reforms that address the critical need for expanded coverage, lower health care costs, and greater choice and quality. Other legislative proposals, including the "Baucus Framework" being considered by the Senate Finance Committee's "Bipartisan Six," would benefit health insurance companies far more than average Americans.


more and more Americans have fallen victim to deceptive marketing practices and bought what essentially is fake insurance.

The insurance industry is insistent on being able to retain what it calls "benefit design flexibility." Those three words seem innocuous and reasonable, but if legislation that reaches the president grants insurers the flexibility they claim they must have, and requires all of us to buy coverage from them, millions more of us will have little alternative but to buy policies that appear to be affordable but which will be prove to be anything but affordable if we become seriously ill or injured.

The big insurers have spent millions of dollars acquiring companies that specialize in what they call "limited-benefit" plans. Not only are the benefits extremely limited, the underwriting criteria established by the insurers essentially guarantee big profits.


Over the past several weeks, I have repeatedly told audiences around the country that the public option should not just be an "option" to be bargained away at the behest of insurance companies who are pouring money into Congress to defeat substantial and essential reforms. A public option must be created to provide true choice to consumers or reform will fail to truly fix the root of the severe problems that have been caused in large part by the greedy demands of Wall Street.

By creating a strong public option and restricting the insurance industry's ability to enrich executives and investors at the expense of taxpayers and consumers, H.R. 3200 will truly benefit average Americans.

The Baucus plan, on the other hand, would create a government-subsidized monopoly for the purchase of bare-bones, high-deductible policies that would truly benefit Big Insurance. In other words, insurers would win; your constituents would lose.

It's hard to imagine how insurance companies could write legislation that would benefit them more.

Over the coming weeks, I implore each Member of Congress to put the interests of ordinary, extraordinary Americans--the people who hired you with their votes--above those of private health insurers and others who view reform as a way to make more money.


And what did Baucus get for his sniveling capitulation to the private health insurance industry?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oligopoly! Not Capitalism...

Wiki says:
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). The word is derived from the Greek oligo 'few' plus -opoly as in monopoly and duopoly. Because there are few participants in this type of market, each oligopolist is aware of the actions of the others. The decisions of one firm influence, and are influenced by, the decisions of other firms. Strategic planning by oligopolists always involves taking into account the likely responses of the other market participants. This causes oligopolistic markets and industries to be at the highest risk for collusion.

More here:


Americans Have Been Taken Hostage

The American people have been taken hostage to a broken system.

It is a system that remains in place to this day.

A system where bank lobbyists have been spending in record numbers to make sure it stays that way.

A system that corrupts the most basic principles of competition and fair play, principles upon which this country was built.

It is a system that so far has forced the taxpayer to provide the banks with the use of $14 trillion from the Federal Reserve, much of the $7 trillion outstanding at the US Treasury and $2.3 trillion at the FDIC.

A system partially built by the very people who currently advise our President, run our Treasury Department and are charged with its reform.


Why is this? Who does our Government work for? How much longer will we as Americans tolerate it? And what, if anything, can we do about it?

As we approach the anniversary of the bailouts for our banks and insurers -- and watch the multi-trillion taxpayer-funded programs at the Federal Reserve continue to support banks and subsidize their multibillion bonus pools, we must ask if our politicians represent the interests of America? Or those who would rob America of its money and its future?

As a country, we must demand that our politicians stop serving those whose business models are based on systemic theft and start serving those who seek to create value for others -- the workers, innovators and investors who have made this country great.

Living in the Asylum...

...it's hard to understand that everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - from elsewhere thinks of U.S. Americans as socio-political-economic morons.

Seriously. They do. Fact.

U.S. film distributors are right to fear a Conservative Christian backlash in this case. And that is very sad. Conservative hooliganism of every stripe seems to rule the day.

We operate on the basis of some of the most dumb-ass, fucked up, political ideology ever conceived. People on the right need to stop dreaming about Capitalist-Libertarian-Conservative Christian pie in the sky. It ain't gonna happen. Not while the corporatist can skim off the top of a culture that serves them so well. And no, you aren't going to win the lottery nor become wealthy enough to join their ranks. The existing class hierarchy is incredibly rigid and people rarely move from one class to one higher up on the ladder. If anything, and given the current economic climate, there are plenty of people on their way down that ladder - so make way.

If there was an industry in which the U.S. might still - maybe - see itself as a leader it would be in the sciences and technology. But given the tactics of the radical-right I should think that there might be a dumbing down of the next American generation in the offing. Do you suppose that the folks at Genentech are Creationists? Do you imagine that we shall find cures for humanity's many ills by merely praying for them?

We were screwed the minute Europeans sent Puritans and Quakers packing to the New World. This nation is the political offspring of a people possessed of a very narrow world-view.

Evidently Chickentown

© 1980 John Cooper Clarke

the fucking cops are fucking keen
to fucking keep it fucking clean
the fucking chief's a fucking swine
who fucking draws a fucking line
at fucking fun and fucking games
the fucking kids he fucking blames
are nowehere to be fucking found
anywhere in chicken town

the fucking scene is fucking sad
the fucking news is fucking bad
the fucking weed is fucking turf
the fucking speed is fucking surf
the fucking folks are fucking daft
don't make me fucking laugh
it fucking hurts to look around
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town

the fucking view is fucking vile
for fucking miles and fucking miles
the fucking babies fucking cry
the fucking flowers fucking die
the fucking food is fucking muck
the fucking drains are fucking fucked
the colour scheme is fucking brown
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking pubs are fucking dull
the fucking clubs are fucking full
of fucking girls and fucking guys
with fucking murder in their eyes
a fucking bloke is fucking stabbed
waiting for a fucking cab
you fucking stay at fucking home
the fucking neighbors fucking moan
keep the fucking racket down
this is fucking chicken town

the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town

the fucking pies are fucking old
the fucking chips are fucking cold
the fucking beer is fucking flat
the fucking flats have fucking rats
the fucking clocks are fucking wrong
the fucking days are fucking long
it fucking gets you fucking down
evidently chicken town

Talking Heads Agree!

In short, Robert Reich and Pat Buchanan both agreed that some big banks should have been allowed to fail. When two such politically polar opposites agree on anything it has to be accepted that anyone with functioning brain cells should also agree with them.

So why did congress bail out the banks in the precise manner that they did? Why didn't they follow a Swedish style plan as recommended here on this blog? Why was congress better pleased to condemn the U.S. to a jobless recovery ala Japan (a.k.a. the "Ten Year Plan")? Why was the taxpayer of today, and of future generations also, asked to pay for this hideously undemocratic and anti-capitalistic bailout?

As my old pal, Cicero of Rome, once said: "Cui bono?" "To whose benefit?"

The 1% got floated their life rafts first. The rest of us can go straight to hell. But right, there is no such thing as class warfare. It just so happens that every branch of government in this country seems to only do things that benefit huge corporatist interests. It's not intentional; it's a mere accident of fate.

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Below we have Elizabeth Warren schooling us on the way the federal government has utterly failed us. Believe what you like, what they didn't do was anything like the right thing because they didn't stop ANY OF THIS from happening variously through anti-trust proceedings, RICO, existing anti-monopoly laws, SEC regulation, etc. In fact, if anything, the federal government entirely caused this to happen by deregulating the financial and banking markets in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Ultimately, even Warren doesn't go far enough. she's wearing the kid gloves here. We have a completely corrupt collapse of our nation as we know it, and the throat of the American public has been symbolically placed into the psychopathic grip of financial Jack the Rippers that want to dismember the body politic.