Friday, November 18, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) To understand why America is great, at least 35,000 people-- some reports put the number as high as 50,000-- gathered on a cold, damp autumn night in New York to march three miles. There was no daily radio or television show blaring invitations, no guest speakers, no bands.
Contrast that with the Glenn Beck rally a few summers ago: a warm August Sunday afternoon, guest speakers galore, including then-flirty candidate Sarah Palin, with subsidized buses bringing church groups from all across the nation in to stand in a beautiful field and listen to speeches and music.
He drew 70,000 people.
Good work, OWS!
2) To understand why America sucks, Regis Philbin has logged more on-air time than any other television personality in history.
3) To understand why America is great, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have coaxed Aung San Suu Kyi into political activism again.
4) To understand why America sucks, this right-wing "Obama is Anti-Christ" spouting lunatic was able to get a gun.
5) To understand why America is great, the Green Berets are 50 years old.
6) To understand why America sucks, we live in a police state, even in church.
7) To understand why America is great, we can still have grass-roots political movements that express the will of a group of people looking to capture the opportunity to live the promise made to them of the American dream, that flummox the establishment.
8) To understand why America sucks, we can still have a faux political movement, funded with corporate money and organized by lobbyists, that can co-opt an entire political establishment.
9) To understand why America is great, look in a mirror.
10) To understand why America sucks, turn on the TV.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Discovery Channel Bends Over For Its Teabagging

Won't show program on climate change in the US

Things More Popular Than Congress

Well, Communism, for one thing.
Als, lawyers, the IRS...BP during the Gulf oil spill....


If hard work is its own reward, then why do those who reap the largest rewards have the easiest jobs?

El Cubano

I'm tempted to cut Cain a little slack on this, because New World Spanish differs from Old World Spanish, and even within the New World, Spanish takes different forms from South America to Nuyoriquo.
But, it's still funny watching him squirm.

It's Not Just Income That's Unequal

If you had told me even ten years ago that we in the United States could be heading towards a feudal system where the landed barons live inside the walls of a castle while the peasants, serfs and middle classes took their chances in the wilderness, I'd have laughed.
I'm not laughing anymore. Those 1%ers are serious about this.

Want To Know What Global Climate Change Could Look Like?


Well, No Surprises Here

Republicans would kill this nation, rather than raise one penny in taxes on the richest 1%.

Well, You Weren't Supposed To Like It

The US is installing more troops in Australia. Somehow, folks have a problem with this.
I will add the following observation: games of shadow chess worry me.

Good Timing

This could not happen at a better time.

NEW YORK - Two days after the encampment that sparked the global Occupy movement was cleared by authorities, demonstrators in New York City and around the country were promising mass gatherings Thursday in support of the cause.

In San Francisco Wednesday, anti-Wall Street activists swarmed into a Bank of America branch and tried to set up camp in the lobby. About 100 demonstrators rushed into the bank, chanting "money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations."

Thursday's day of action had been planned before New York City and park owners cracked down on the encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, but took on added importance to the protesters after tents, tarps and sleeping bags were cleared out early Tuesday and the granite plaza was cleaned for the first time since the group arrived more than two months ago.

"We will get boots on the ground again," said Rory Simpson, 29, who described himself as an itinerant activist as he made signs Wednesday evening. "This is not over yet."

So long as it's not boots to asses, everything should be OK. The idea is to take the message where it matters: to the people, and to the bankers.

The bankers won't care, but they must be challenged. The people will care, and they will listen-- most of them. It wouldn't surprise me if a counterprotest shows up, but so what?

This is all happening against the backdrop of two events. First, the attempt two nights ago to shut down OWS by throwing them out of Zuccotti Park, and second...

U.S. banks face a “serious risk” that their creditworthiness will deteriorate if Europe’s debt crisis deepens and spreads beyond the five most-troubled nations, Fitch Ratings said.

“Unless the euro zone debt crisis is resolved in a timely and orderly manner, the broad credit outlook for the U.S. banking industry could worsen,” the New York-based rating company said yesterday in a statement. Even as U.S. banks have “manageable” exposure to stressed European markets, “further contagion poses a serious risk,” Fitch said, without explaining what it meant by contagion.

The “exposures” of U.S. lenders to major European banks and the stressed nations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS, are smaller than those to some of the continent’s larger countries, Fitch said.

I respect Fitch Ratings, and have oftened referred to them on some matters. This time, however, I think they may be understating the case a bit.

The "GIIPS" problem is deeper than the European Union has admitted.

Think about it this way: who is holding the debt of those nations, about to default? Mostly, it's European banks. Some of those banks are on fairly stable ground, to be sure, but many are not. Indeed, some received bailout packages from the US in 2008 and 2009. And now, we're directly bailing out the EU.

Let me rephrase that: our debt is holding together their debt.

So if you went to the bank and mortgaged your house, then your neighbor came to you and said "Listen, I'm tapped, and I need to get my house fixed. Can you lend me a few?" Now you're not only in danger if you run into trouble, but if your neighbor loses his house, you've lost that money, as well. Yea, you can pay it back over time, but that's income you won't have later on.

Now, five nations are on the hook. Italy and Greece have had a minor crisis already. Of those five, while it's not likely all five will fold, it's also unlikely that none will.

If one does, it's conceivable the EU can survive. If two go, all bets are off. And two are already on the brink, barring a sudden influx of discipline and growth.

Meanwhile, Occupy will be keeping a public face for those who did not get a Fed-approved bailout two or three years ago. Occupy will humanize for the dishuman right wingers the face of the 99%. And Occupy will remind Bernanke and Obama that there is a more pressing need than bailing out Goldman Sachs or Citibank: bailing out people who have fallen through the cracks.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Italy's Solution To Its Debt Crisis?


Don't Worry!

The office cafeteria will stock Ensure.

Give Newt Credit

At least he also bites the hand that feeds him.

Teabaggers Sandbagged


Free Speech In A Vacuum Ain't Free Speech


Today's Final Jeopardy

What's the question?

Eat Your Vegetables!

I mean, pizza

Not Now, Not Ever

I don't see a point in freeing a man who committed such heinous acts.
I'd support parole for Mark David Chapman before I supported this creep.

There's Contrarian And Then There's


Who'da Thunk?

Democrats have become defense-spending hawks?

Another One Bites The Dust


Birthers Get A Boner

Obama makes a gaffe. A minor gaffe.

Zombie OWS

Well, they tried to kill it, but it's moving along despite the attempt. Mayor Michael Blomberg has shown himself to be an ineffectual leader, trying to take the easy credits without doing the hard work.
Keith Olbermann had a special comment last night thanking Bloomberg for being this movement's useful idiot.
There's plenty of good germinating in the ground that will grow out of all the crap put down yesterday. But that raises the question: Whither OWS?
It's a fair question: Where do they go from here? If you take the original intent to be that they wanted to call attention to the dramatic disparities in income inequality by occupying space in the financial districts, they've done that and changed the national dialogue. Now comes the next step. But what is it? What will it look like?
In a twist of fortune, there's a synchronicity going on here. It's nearly, and it might be a good time to regroup internally. Already, OWS has seen that participatory democracy (in the Greek manner) has its limitations, and has created representative "spokes councils" to deal with day-to-day matters like sanitation and food distribution.
Less than a general assembly, more than a committee, these are smaller groups of people who still need to reach consensus on an issue, but do not require the hundreds of people who had been voting on these matters.
This is a good development, in my view. In an age of 24/7/365 news cycles, there is no such thing as spontaneity any longer. Good decisions are not made by crowds quickly (curiously, bad ones often are. Ask any angry mob.) But decisions like these really do need to be sourced for quicker handling, lest the world at large look to these issues as the "face" of the movement.
I mean, you know, in the absence of a leader, the minutial behavior of the crowd becomes the issue and given the antipathy of the mainstream media towards any dissent from the corporatocracy, a sick kid taking a dump in the street becomes an image representative of the hundreds of scary dirty hippies crapping in the park.
As if...
It's generally agreed that the OWS movement has lost its raison d'etre of demonstrating against the corporatocracy, and it needs to get that focus back. It's taking steps in the right direction and while it does need to maintain a presence in the financial district, it's in danger of becoming a sideshow, a tourist attraction and nothing else.
I wrote several weeks ago that the movement would likely splinter, as people took a sharper focus on more narrow issues. I think that's about to happen, and this is a good thing. If it's done under the impress of OWS, and can be reasonably tied back to the larger mission-- to put faces on the 99%-- we can begin to see an agenda develop organically. The glacially pace of gathering in one park and making decisions by the hundreds and thousands makes the likelihood of survival smaller, in my view. As with the Spokes Councils, people will develop these narrower focuses on their own, and gather with like-minded folks. The minority opinions will find more favor in those, subject to reconciliation to the larger message of the movement. 
In effect, what OWS is creating is a business entity, believe it or not, with departments and processes and rather than a CEO with a board of directors, the board will consist of the "workers," the creators and implementors. A Marxist business entity, if you will, where the means of production is owned by those who do the producing.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011




And some of them are actually good guys.

Your Photo Of The Day

Personally, I think the Chinese are having a go at us.

Healthcare Reform And The Courts

I've been tossing this over in my mind the past few days, ever since it was announced that SCOTUS would review the Obama healthcare reform legislation for constitutionality this year.
The President is cutting it close. The decision will be announced near the height of the election campaign. He could easily have delayed the case until after his re-election.
Who gambles like that? Unless it isn't a gamble at all.

Cain's Vain Brain

I'm not sure that Herman Cain has the mental werewithal to be President. He might want to quit now, and go back to tossing pizzas.

MEMO To Republicans

When your top candidates still have 80% of the party opposing them, you got problems

He Said, They Said

Deep in my heart, I guess I want to deny that the Sandusky story is true, that somehow it was all a misunderstanding, that Sandusky's pleas last night on TV were genuine. It such a horrible story. It would be so much nicer if it turned out to be untrue.
And then the Times digs up ten more accusers.

And So It Begins

This was not unexpected, but it did not have to be inevitable

New York City police in riot gear swept into a Lower Manhattan park early today to remove hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who had been camping there for more than eight weeks to protest income inequality.

The action followed similar moves that shut camps in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon. New York police and the park’s owners told protesters at 1 a.m. local time to remove items including tents and sleeping bags, after which city workers cleared remaining belongings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. The park will remain closed until the city can review a judge’s restraining order seeking to allow protesters to return with their belongings, the mayor said.

“The First Amendment protects speech,” the mayor said in a press conference at City Hall. “It doesn’t protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over public space.”

Actually, Mayor Mike, the First Amendment right to assembly does precisely that, and it is not limited in the constitution. And Zuccotti Park, while a private place, was created in exchange for a zoning variance and therefore is quasi-public space. You've screwed the pooch, mayor.

But I digress...

It was inevitable that the protestors would be tested. Between the cold weather (which if I had been mayor and wanted this to die away, is what I would have waited for) and the anger of surrounding residents (sorry, there's a price for living near a stock exchange), something was bound to give. What was not inevitable was the forcible eviction of people who have been nothing but compliant to the concerns of officials and neighbors.

All kinds of excuses have been proffered: health risks (yes, because sooooooooo many of the protestors were being rushed to hospitals, and are uninsured...wait, that's the POINT!), security risks (crime at OWS is lower than the surrounding, still-well-patrolled neighborhood), sanitation (admittedly, hundreds of people create a mess over a period of time, no matter how well they clean up after themselves), community issues (all of which OWS was willing to address, and has always been willing to address), even inconvenience to the surrounding commuters and workers.

None of which is sufficient to justify tearing the thing down, destroying books and videos, throwing away food, clothing and shelter. None of which justifies debasing a peaceful protest that has done nothing but try to live within the law.

And now you leave them with fewer options than they started the protest with: jobs are harder to come by, housing is weaker than before, and no one will listen to the truth.

OWS scares the people who cheer on the dismantling of Occupy. The fact that young, bright people with college degrees-- people who should be higher on the ladder of success-- are forced to live for months in a park because they can't get jobs that pay them a living wage (nevermind allow them to pay off student loans) is a scar on the American conscience, and the people who oppose the OWS protests are terrified that, there but for the grace of God, go them. They want to be in denial of the facts because facts are scary things. Also, facts have a known liberal bias.

And they should be scared. There's 99% of Americans who, if they suffered a catastrophic illness or the loss of a job or a divorce or some humiliation of equivalent degree, would be in precisely the same position as these people are now. All 326.7 million of us.
This isn't a bunch of dirty smelly hippies. These folks represent the rest of us. They do not lie when they call themselves the 99%.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pretty Decent Electoral Strategy, Mittens

Mitt Romney has decided, finally, to try to win the GOP nomination next year

Investigate Kevin Hiltunen

He's retired from the NYPD on a disability pension, but he seems able enough to throw a 33 year old man around like a sack.
Investigate, try, and then send his sorry ass up to SingSing where he can be a shower toy.

I Dunno

These folks sound like a right wing plant

This Week In Anthropomorphism

Spiders seem awfully human here, dontcha think?

Guess Who Else Railed About Tax Inequality?


Another Quirk Of The Body

You can prevent heart getting your teeth cleaned?
We've long known about the connection between tooth decay and any number of deadly illnesses, but this goes one step beyond.

Supercommittee Ain't

Rather than be courageous and act now, the Soopercommittee has decided to kick the can of the nitty gritty of deficit reduction down the road.

Another Another Cog In The Wheel

Congresscritters can avail themselves of insider trading information.
Apparently, this is legal. With all the campaign finance laws that actually DO exist, a Congresscritter's stock portfolion, even those held in trust, ought to be public knowledge.

Conservatives Get Butthurt Because They Have Boring Candidates

Don't blame CBS. Blame the fact you shop for candidates like a drunk sailor in a whorehouse with only $50.

Another Cog On The Wheel

Whether you support the Teabaggers or Occupy Wall Street, one thing is clear: so long as those who sit in power can benefit from the system, that system will never change.

AUSTIN, Texas—Rick Perry, who bashes federal spending everywhere he goes on the presidential campaign trail, has spent 11 years as Texas' governor asking Washington for money.

Perry sought and received $24.2 billion in stimulus funding for Texas while saying the program was bad federal policy. He helped secure more than $100 million to protect against drug violence and illegal immigration on the Mexican border. The governor also endorsed his state's request for money under President Barack Obama's new health care law, though he now promises to help repeal the measure should he win the White House.

Most of all, Perry asked for emergency federal aid for victims of wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, flooding and crop-killing heat waves and freezes in his state's 254 counties. Texans hit by natural disasters "deserve a more immediate, compassionate response from their federal government," Perry wrote in a November 2009 letter complaining that the Housing and Urban Development Department was slow in aiding hurricane victims.

I'm not going to get into Rick Perry's psyche here. It's pretty obvious that he would do a disservice to his state by not seeking Federal aid, and while he may be the blazingly closeted hypocrite this article makes him out to be, we should remember that Barack Obama made a similar pledge (about accepting campaign contributions and lobbyists serving in his administration) but finds himself cozying up to special interests, lobbyists and the corporatocracy, all to get re-elected.

Similarly, tax breaks for the rich aren't about to go away so long as those rich can pony up more money than Croesus to serve to candidates and for "issue ads" and superpacs. Stephen Colbert's Colbert Superpac is one of the cleverest political satires I've ever seen, bringing to the forefront a vital issue while at the same time making a spectacle of it.

Government spending, campaign finance reform, inequitable taxation; none of these are likely to go away anytime soon barring a massive revolt from you and me, I'm afraid.

There's more. Much more: transparency in governance, election reform (to prevent put it politely...pre-counting of votes), accountability, and the chance to be heard by your elected representatives. None of these are likely to change anytime in the near future.

The Occupy folks have it right. We as a people cannot sit idly by in private, becoming disgusted and dismayed at the direction our nation is taking. We must take action, even if that action is to sit idly by in public, demonstrating our disgust and dismay on national television night after night.

It's easy to mock OWS as a bunch of confused kids with no clue what they want or how to go about getting it, but you know what?

They're one step ahead of the rest of us. We're all confused. They're just admitting it.


That's No Woman

Man, is the shit going to hit the fan in the Cain household after this story fully breaks.

Voting Rights? Revoked.

But gun rights? Oh hell yea.
Thank you, NRA and Teabaggers.