Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Things That Make Me So Angry I Could...Aw, a Puppy

Quintuple the Tax on the Super Rich
At right is Larry Ellison's, the CEO of Oracle, smaller yacht. The modern Super Rich have boats that would have made John D. Rockefeller blush. See Pimped Out Yachts and HuffPost's slideshow of mega-yachts.

But, the Rich Need Our Sympathy
At least that is the message of the Wall Street Journal's Wealth Report. Every time I start feeling soft all I have to do is read it to inflame my anti-capitalist rage.

Cops Aren't Racist
Sometimes they are just arrogant SOBs. Again from HuffPost are a couple of cops plotting to blame a policeman's auto accident on the (white) victim. Remember this and never forget, just because a policeman says it doesn't mean it is true.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Don't Have a Short Attention Span, I Just...oh, Look, a Kitty

Another Reason
to tax the hell out of corporate executives. They are setting a record for greed.Conservatives Biggest Worry
is that the new G.I. Joe movie will not be jingoistic enough. First the Birthers, now this. Is it any wonder I just can't take them seriously anymore.

Sister Sarah's Descent
Okay, I know some (all, more than all) are sick to death of everything Palin. Still, Gawker's study of her descent into babbling idiocy is fascinating. Apparently, it is contagious.
David Frum and all you D.C. insider Republicans walking around with a hoity toity corncob securely wedged might want to consider too, your mind blindness. ~ Right Wing News
Is Rahm Killing Health Reform?
Whether fairly or not, the failure of any effective health care reform will be laid at the feet of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Maxine Waters and John Conyers have already begun that meme. I am not certain it is unfair. Emanuel has been undercutting Obama on his health care initiative for some time. I've seen it before where a CoS sells his own agenda ahead of his boss' priorities.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tax the Corporate Elite

Tax the hell out of them.

The only sound argument for not imposing higher taxes on corporate executives is that there are not enough of them to make a significant difference. The chart over there ---> explodes that myth. In our current oligarchic economy where a tiny handful of executives horde unto themselves a third of the nation's income, the corporate elite are the single best source of funds.

Now, I know what my conservative friends will say, if we tax corporate executives it will remove their incentive to work. To which, my answer is, what do executives actually do?

Like the lilies of the field, "they toil not, neither do they spin" yet they are nowhere near as pretty.
They party like Roman patricians (at left is Dennis Kozlowski's (then CEO of Tyco) 2003 birthday party, paid for by stockholders. They play golf. They play a lot of really expensive golf. Comerica, while sucking over $2 billion out of TARP, gifted its CEO with a $202,928 country club membership perk. Rather than working in their offices they are always jetting about hither and thither at shareholder expense.

As the class currently functions, corporate executives are a drain upon corporate earnings and shareholder dividends far beyond any small benefits they may produce in their spare time. Taxing their excess income would injury nobody of importance.
A field of Tiger Lilies -
more valuable than all the CEOs in the country.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Confronting the Police

Considering the Sgt. Crowley - Henry Gates situation.

Many (many, many) years ago I was driving home after one of those endless Sierra Club Executive Committee meetings. It was after midnight, I was hungry and tired, and I was less than interested in the legal speed limit. A Highway Patrolman's lights flashed behind me and I pulled off the freeway to take my speeding ticket.

Rather than ticket me, the cop tried to goad me to anger. While outwardly calm, the cop threatened me. He threatened to handcuff me, he threatened to arrest me. Not physically but verbally he was pushed me hard, trying to get me to react, to defend myself. If I had I would have found myself face down on the pavement with his knee on my back.

Had I gotten scared or angry I would have spent the rest of the night in jail. I used the same techniques needed for facing a vicious dog; I can't claim that as a deliberate strategy, it was an instinctive reaction. I looked the cop in the eye, remained calm, and displayed neither aggression nor retreat. After about ten minutes the cop backed down and left without even writing a speeding ticket.

The difference between my encounter with the police and Mr. Gates' is: 1) I'm white; 2) I didn't react when the policeman tried to goad me into a confrontation. I am certain that it took both conditions to keep me out of jail that night.

Like my encounter years ago, I believe Sgt. Crowley was pushing Gates, trying to induce a fear/defense response that would justify an arrest. It is a common police technique taught at the academies. Crowley wanted the encounter to end in an arrest. A simple test whether race was involved is whether Crowley, in his long career as a police officer, has ever arrested a white man in circumstances similar to those of Mr. Gates. I suspect probably not.

Translating the News

I could make a career out of translating new articles into common sense English. Here are some excerpts from a Washington Post article titled Wall Street Jacks Up Pay, edited for clarity.

Executives of Wall Street's biggest banks are setting aside billions of dollars more to pay their executives.

So far this year, the top six U.S. banks executives have set aside $74 billion to pay their employees themselves, up from $60 billion in the corresponding period last year.

He [Chief Financial Officer Colm Kelleher] said the ratio of revenue to compensation would have been close to 50 percent if Morgan Stanley were able to exclude a $2.3 billion charge it took arising from an accounting rule related to the company's debt. had just phonied up its accounting like Enron used to do.

"Unfortunately, this means that Q2 was a pretty good quarter for the employees, but not so for the shareholders," Hintz said. Morgan Stanley stockholders are ignorant sluts we reem whenever and however we want.

Rainmaker traders and bankers take home millions of dollars a year while secretaries settle for much less. do all the real work for slave wages.

They [investment banks] continue to benefit from use a variety of other emergency federal programs to pay for these bonuses.

Several bankers noted that the amounts set aside are not a perfect measure of what will be paid out in bonuses at year-end. They will be much higher.

And an AP article about civilian contractors doing translation for the US military in Afghanistan. The whole article can be shorted to:
The Pentagon would rather have out of shape, elderly (some in their 60's and 70's), and indolent civilians who don't speak the native language than someone who is competent, fit, and gay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Incest at Treasury

We already know that the Treasury Department bleeds Goldman Sachs blue. Treasury officials are also developing incestuous relationships with lobbying firms.

Take former DC-based PR flack Fred Baldassaro, now with Treasury (in Washington DC there are only eight cents worth of difference between public relations and lobbying). In his old job Baldassaro provided PR interference for Wal-Mart's slimy practices among other less than stellar clients.

As a Treasury official Baldassaro is helping Ed Gillespie's lobbying firm recruit new clients by flacking for Gillespie at an off-the-record breakfast meeting at the lobbying firm's offices. Among the things promised for the meeting is advice on how to game the new ethics rules (however, being skilled PR people, they don't phrase it that way).

Dollars to donuts bet that in three years Baldassaro will revolving door himself into a cushy job at Quinn Gillespie. Takers?

Life As Music

Sarah's 19th Nervous Breakdown
You're the kind of person
You meet at certain dismal dull affairs.
Center of a crowd, talking much too loud
Running up and down the stairs.
You better stop
Look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.
(Rolling Stones)

San Diego's Anti-Seal Judge
there alone and late at night I'm dreaming
Of the disgustingness that seems to be driving me
I get it all and then I kill some more
and i always love it like I did before
Ahh there's blood on my hands will I be forgiven
(How I Club Seals - Malcolm Higgins)

Max Baucus - Political Whore
This time you fooled me, you played all the ticks
Now it's no wonder why they called you slick
You saw what pissed me off & did that no more
A sign of the times, a political whore
I have been taken by words I was told
I bought a package that's not what you sold
Lies become facts when you word them just right
(Lies In the Balance - Zaxas)

Police Taser Children
Life is based on power, authority, control
Hero with a badge or a fucking asshole?
Take an egomaniac with a meaningless job
Give him a gun and he thinks he's God
(Support Your Local Police State - Evil Empire {no link, the rest of the song sucks})

Monday, July 20, 2009

Financial Carnivores

They feed on living flesh. They are as compassionate as they are scrupulous, which is to say they are neither. If their acts are not criminal it is a fault in the law.

These soulless creatures described in this New York Times article spent the early part of the decade suckering people into take on insane amounts of debt in incomprehensibly complex sub-prime mortgages contracts. Mortgages designed to drive people from their homes down the line.

Now, these leeches are attacking the same victims, promising to modify their debt burdens, too often including mortgages they wrote in a previous incarnation. Of course, first the victims has to pony up obscene amounts of money and the modifications tend to have a success rate slightly worse than a San Diego Padre pinchhitter.

I feel the need to apologize to leeches at this point because leeches are nowhere near as bad as these serial financial rapists.

Friday, July 17, 2009

White Men Can't Think

This has been a country basically built by white folks. ~ Pat Buchanan
South of the Mason-Dixon Line this country was entirely built using the sweat and blood of black folk. This is a country built through the wholesale slaughter of red folk. This is a country that could not feed itself today without the stooped labor of brown folk.

I am a white man of Finnish-German-Irish heritage and, yes, I am proud of that. My pride does not require me to pretend that the melanin content of my skin makes me better than someone else. I don't belong to the same race as Pat Buchanan; I probably don't even belong to the same species.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Republican Insurrectionist

We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box... That's the beauty of our 2nd Amendment rights.

Catherine Crabill is a Republican candidate for the Virginia state legislature. Before moving to Virginia she was part of the New Mexico militia movement. She believes that Timothy McVeigh was innocent and that Janet Reno blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. She believes that if Republicans don't win elections they should use their Second Amendment rights to take the government by force. You know, by, like, blowing up federal buildings.

Even a few Republicans believe she is batshit insane. Although, if you read the comments you'll realize that sanity is a rare commodity among Republicans nowadays.

The Ft. Collins 14

More proof that war, any war, all war, is an evil, soul sucking endeavor.

Upon returning from Iraq (I started typing "Vietnam" because this is not a new story) fourteen soldiers went on a crime spree, killing eleven people including an infant daughter. What is most disquieting is the excuses the Army is giving.
  • 65 percent of violent crimes committed by soldiers were done by troops who had not been to war (So the Army is claiming that basic training is enough to turn normal young American boys into homicidal maniacs)
  • pervasive substance abuse among some troops
  • mental illness already present in recruits (Drug-addled lunatics are our best recruitment source)
  • the failure of Army leaders to get soldiers the help they need likely contributed to the violence (Our commanders are a bunch of fuck-ups)
I keep coming back to the notion that war is an insanity performed by the demented for the depraved.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slavery 2.0

There is a fascinating, if incredibly disturbing discussion at The Atlantic regarding creating a market for the buying and selling on human organs. Some excerpts from the comments.
  • We need quasi-market mechanisms to attract more living donors ~ From the author, Megan McArdle
  • if the courts were to recognize property rights in organs, making it is possible to sell organs within the legal system, it would become very, very difficult to stop all kinds of illicit "chop shops" from emerging. ~ a lawyer
  • You're ignoring the beneficial aspects for the financial markets if we could build derivatives such as credit default swaps based on kidneys. We could also have people mortgage their kidneys, and the mortgages could be collected into collateralized debt obligations, which could be sold to secondary markets. Your kidney could be rated AAA, AA, A, based entirely on a ratings agency ~ I'm not quite sure who this guy is except he is a free-marketeer and totally insane
  • it was about your rights when you sold, or received a kidney - a situation more similar to buying or selling a motor car. ~ (responding to the lawyer who noted that there would be no adequate compensation for someone defrauded out of an organ) from someone needing a kidney transplant
  • Another idea is to get rid of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, with the proviso that riding without a helmet is prima facie consent for organ donation. ~ From someone waiting for a cadaver donation of kidney and pancreas
  • We should grow fetuses that would otherwise be aborted to harvest organs from. We could have entire organ farms and no one would need to die waiting for a spare part. ~ don't know if this guy is serious
India allows for the buying and selling of organs and, as a consequence, has an active criminal black market in body parts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Randon Thoughts

Summer Schedule
With summer, my computer spends more time idle, a concession to the fact it is a heat generator during a time when there is way too much heat already, thank you. So, if the occasional, or frequent, day goes by without my writing here it is just my small effort to fight global warming and has nothing to do with my grabbing a book and a beach blanket (and a beach) and being irresponsible.

Explainin' Palin
Sister Sarah keeps being thrown up in our faces for the same reason we can't seem to escape Paris Hilton. They are celebrities, although there is no rational reason why. Some people will cross burning coals on their bare knees to see them, although there is no rational reason why. They are attractive, in a slutty, trailer trash kind of way. Their IQs, combined, add up to moron. They both seem to enjoy putting their social and moral dysfunction on public display. They attract attention in the same way people can't look away from a freeway accident. It's not right, but there it is.

Life Is a Bad Bond Film
A View to a Kill is generally considered the worst of the James Bond film. The story has an evil genius (is there any other kind), Max Zorin, plotting to use explosives along the San Andreas Fault to make California disappear into the Pacific Ocean. His reason: to increase the value of his computer chips (and, because he is an evil genius).

Today, AltaRock Energy wants to use explosives along the San Andreas Fault to break up the bedrock and release geothermal energy that they can sell. They have tried the technique in Switzerland and caused so many earthquakes the project had to be shut down. AltaRock has been keeping the Switzerland failure secret from U.S. regulators. California is one of the most seismically active regions in the world (which is why they want to play here) and has had some of the most damaging earthquakes in world history. A perfect place to play with earthquakes, if you are a evil genius in a second-rate movie.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Republican Schism?

I think we may be witnessing the breakup of the Republican Party. The Republican coalition (anti-tax wealthy, neo-cons, religious fundamentalists, and Southern racists) is to dogmatic too hold up as a minority party. Each wing bitterly hates the others.

The Base seems to have coalesced around a Southern, openly racist philosophy that is leaning toward regional secessionism. Non-racists Republicans, the RINOs, are being ruthlessly attacked, but they are many of the party's leaders and most of their funding sources. The tea parties now routinely boo Republican politicians. The neo-cons and the movement conservatives are in open warfare now they don't have a real war to forge a common bond over.

When Sarah Palin said she will campaign for non-Republicans it is being interpreted as meaning she will campaign for select conservative Democrats. That is a mistake, what she was saying in a not very subtle way is that she will back the formation of a third party. The Vanity Fair article and her quitting as governor immediately after mark her irreconcilable break with the Republican Party.

If Palin keeps her promise (always problematic) then she may well do to the Republican Party what the Locofocos did to the antebellum Democratic Party. Sister Sarah is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Banking Alchemists At It Again

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ~ Rita Mae Brown
From time immemorial the goal of alchemists has been to turn base metal, like lead, into gold. We, in these times of science and reason, have assumed alchemy is now only the stuff of fairy tales. We would be wrong.

Bankers drove the world's economy to its knees by practicing a form of alchemy where worthless debt was repackaged (securitized) and sold as gilt-edged investments. While there were certainly flimflam men involved, most of these bankers truly believed they had magically turned garbage into gold and were honestly shocked when the alchemy turned out to be a fool's dream.

Well, the bankers are at it again. They are taking financial rubbish (Baa2-rated securities), packaging them into CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and through the magic that is the banker's mysterious arts those CDOs become AAA-rated debt. Anyone with his feet on the ground would realize immediately that this is utter foolishness. No one can take lots of financial lead and, by the simple act of bundling it, turn that lead into gold. But modern bankers are not bounded by the laws of nature or logic.

Which brings me to the concept of Bankslaughter. Bank executives should be held legally liable if their attempts at financial alchemy blows up in our faces. There was a time when to be a banker was to be the epitome of prudence. If people aren't naturally prudent they ought to enter another line of work, such as shark wrestling.

As for the argument that Bankslaughter "deters the normal but doesn’t touch the reckless until it’s too late," may I point out that all laws do this. Manslaughter laws save lives because the vast majority (the "normal") are deterred. The reckless are still reckless but with laws society has the ability to get their sorry asses off the streets and into prisons where they can't repeat their recklessness.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Whites Only Pool (Updated x 2)

Racism. Worst yet, racism against children, in Philadelphia, PA - July, 2009
The Creative Steps Day Camp paid $1900 to the Valley Swim Club in the Philadelphia suburb of Huntingdon Valley to use their facilities for 90 minutes per week. Huntingdon Valley is old (average age 46), white (94%), and Republican.

When the children, with adult supervision, arrived the club authorities took one look at their dark skin and ordered them out of the pool and forbade their return. It seems, according to club president John Duesler, the kids threatened the "complexion" (his word) of the club. Too many black children, you see.

To do this to children is beyond evil. There is not a level of Hell deep enough to house Duesler and his minions. I join with the good people of Pennsylvania who believe that every day that the Valley Swim Club remains open is an affront to all that is decent in this nation. Close them down. Now.

Update: Via DailyKos - Protests of the Valley Swim Club are being organized. Girard College is stepping up and providing pool access to the children. The ice cream shop Gumdrops & Sprinkles is treating the kids to a free day of candy and ice cream making. There are good people on this Earth.

Second Update: In the comments, Anonymous just sort of naturally assumed that the children in question were "misbehaving" and "causing a commotion" and "disruptive." This is an old excuse for segregation, those people are just too uncivilized to be allowed around decent white folk. Sorry, not buying it. I'm sure the children were behaving as all children everywhere, of any skin tone, do when they come in contact with a swimming pool.

And, yes, I did use a photo from Selma, Alabama dated 1931 because the Valley Swim Club hearkens back to those benighted times.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Palin ... can now become Barack Obama’s worst nightmare. ~ Erick Erickson, Redstate
If the worst threat to Obama's naptime is the fear of what Sarah (Department of Law) Palin might say next then the President will never need a Sominex or a glass of warm milk again. No retorical Freddy Krueger she.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sister Sarah's Higher Calling

Sarah Palin has revealed that the reason she resigned is to pursue a "higher calling." I feel safe in assuming she is not taking a vow of chastity, becoming a nun, and opening a hospice in Sierra Leone. So, what might be her higher calling?
I'm gonna be a celebrity
That means

Somebody everyone knows
They're gonna recognize my eyes,

My hair, my teeth, my boobs, my nose.

~ Roxie Hart, Chicago
And even her toes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Why Sarah, Why?

So, I'm writing about boring old Goldman Sachs and missed the breaking news of the month - Sarah Palin is resigning as Governor of Alaska with 17 months left to serve.

While there is good in this, that media whore Mark Sanford is going to have to start parading around dressed like Bruno to get his sexual dalliances noticed now, this is mostly just horrible. What am I going to do for laughs? What about poor Tina Fey? What is certain is she did not discuss this with her aides. That leave the big unanswered question, why?
  • Republican fans claim she is setting herself up for a run for the presidency. That is silly. Sanford goes AWOL for a week and a majority of his state want him fired. Palin goes AWOL for a full third of her only term in office and she won't be accepted as a serious candidate for anything. Only possible if Palin is a political imbicile.
  • She's taking a job on FOX News. Sarah has a limited remaining shelf-life as a sex symbol, maybe only five years before there is not enough make-up to hide the wrinkles and she turns from MILF to aged Cougar. She has decided to chase the money while she is still young enough to be a golddigger. I think very likely.
  • There is a major scandal about to break. This is the speculation at Firedoglake. People as greedy and narcissistic as both Sarah and Todd Palin are only a forged check or an undone zipper away from scandal. Sarah has been traveling alot which is an open invitation for either one to make a booty call. There is a very good chance of this.
  • Sarah's preggers. Which would not be a scandal unless Todd isn't the father. Then there is the question of Bristol's or, God helps us, Willow's fertility. They are both at a dangerous age to be mostly unsupervised which they mostly have been. I doubt it and I hope not.
  • She is tired of the rough and tumble world of politics. She just up and QUIT! This is Andrea Mitchell's speculation. If so, it would certainly confirm what we all were saying about her not being ready for the big fish tank and we should all thank God she never made it to Washington. But, "I'm resigning to spend more time with my family" is such a cliche and is never, ever, the reason why someone resigns. I doubt it.
I say she has already signed a contract with Murdock and that is why the hurried resignation. I predict she will be taking Bill O'Reilly's primetime spot by August 10.

Masters of Evil

If only half of what Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone is true, than Goldman Sachs is every great global conspiracy theory combined, with offices in New Jersey. They are the rumored Illuminati made flesh. They employ Fu Manchu, Professor Moriarty, and Ernest Blofeld in middle management positions. Hanibal Lecter is the corporate caterer. I wouldn't be surprised if you look at Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein with unprotected eyes you will instantly turn both blind and insane.

I've commented before about Goldman Sachs and continue to believe that company is a great threat to President Obama. I've calling them devils and I do believe that Goldman Sachs is a criminal cancer with grasping invasive tentacles in the governments of every major economic nation on Earth, most especially the United States Treasury Department. Goldman Sachs in not above the law, they are the law. When it comes to investment banking Goldman Sachs controls both the writing and enforcement of the law.

As conspiracy theories go, this has something for everyone. For radical conservatives it allows them to indulge their Jewish Conspiracy worldview without being obviously anti-Semitic. Radical liberals (like me) see it falling neatly into our belief that unbridled capitalism allows criminals to rule.

A few more links: More Matt Taibbi, Goldman Sachs Responds, Eight Cases for a Goldman Conspiracy, a Manifesto titled "Goldman Sachs: The Real Conspiracy - Looking Behind The Curtain."

The Usual Disclaimer: Goldman Sachs attorneys need be aware that I continue to worship at the altar I have built to your company. Just last night I sacrificed an unwilling virgin (see photo below). By the way, do you know just how hard it is to find virgins these days? So, cut me a little slack, will ya Beelzebub?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Suffer (Starve) the Little Children

Cynthia Davis (R) of the Missouri state legislature is Chair of the Committee on Poverty and the Committee on Children and Family. As such, she opposes the state's efforts to help feed poor children. As she says, "Hunger can be a positive motivator."

As the photo at right proves, Davis is herself an evil mother who feeds her own children on (gasp) pizza, thus depriving them of the motivation they need to go out and forage for themselves. Shouldn't every child know that rats taste like chicken? There are even reports that she steals food from lobbyists to feed her lazy, unproductive offspring.

Even with such poor mothering skills at least one of Davis' children is growing up right (if she grows up at all). A couple of years ago, on Easter Sunday, one of Davis' younger daughters was found wandering alone along Highway K, obviously scrounging the gutters for her Easter supper as Jesus intended.

Predictably, Democrats with their radical Feed the Children agenda, have attacked Davis. But, Think Progress goes too far in actually extensively using direct quotes from Davis.

Fortunately, one voice has stood up to defend Davis, The ever brilliant Stephen Colbert.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Random Thoughts

Sister Sarah is the gift that keeps on giving
Republicans are continuing to bitch slap each other silly over Sarah Palin. It's a better spectator sport than tennis.

Because she is such a MILF
"Featuring some pretty hot pics scattered throughout the article." How Conservative Grapevine (July 1) described an article about Palin in Runner's World.

Conservatives Love Bin Laden
Conservatives have been reduced to hoping and praying that Osama Bin Laden will blow up a major American city. Listen to them and you can hear the pain in their voices as they worry that Americans won't be slaughtered...
’Cause wishin’’ and hopin’’ and thinkin’’ and prayin’’
Planning and dreamin’ his kisses will start.
That won’t get you into his heart! ~ Dusty Springfield