Friday, March 26, 2010

Early Morning Pick me up Ditty of the Week

I rediscovered the CBC. They wake me up every morning now and I'm liking it more and more.

I also savor every day the irony that  if I want to get a good mix of alternative rock, classic and old decades standards - including jazz and blues -  music, I can only count on my national public radio. All private radio have been formatted to death as to become lifeless clones of one another, as we all know. Their only goal is to jam the same repetitive, mindless, "products" down our collective throat.

And they wonder why radio is dead.

Radio is the perfect example of the wide divide that exist between the theory of competitive diversity and how it is applied right now. The forces at work are destroying opportunities for dissident voices and different approaches to problems. At the same time, they are destroying opportunities for a healthy, diversify, striving competitive market.

Monopolies are being born and small businesses, the real way to attain economical independence and fortitude for most of us little guys, are snip at the bud.

So, obviously, I never said that capitalism is bad or its fundamental principals are without merits: it is the way that greed transforms this ideology into a destructive force, as it always does with all ideologies, that makes it
so unnerving.

Repugs are not fighting for freedom or democracy or even capitalism, but for a pure oligarchic dominion of sovereign monopolies.

Companies as the new kings and queens of Americas, left unchecked to act as they please...

Now cue to music. This song as been in my head - in a good way - for a whole week now.

It's called Kick Drum Heart from the Avett Brothers. It's cute and wild and it rocks hard all at the same time.

A totally schizo of a good time, banjo included.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shutter Island: When the Camera Becomes Still and the Bad Guys are Free

When the action is all psychological and the bad guys have won, what happen to Martin Scorsese' s camera?
I respect Scorsese and love  most of his films, I'm generally surprised  by Leonardo DiCaprio and his passionate acting slowly grows on me with each successive performance. Because of all this  I was awaiting Shutter Island with real trepidation and anticipated a satisfying and smart thriller, stuffed to the hilt with DiCaprio/Scorsese chemistry and the artful touch of a Master Director in top shape.

Well, that's not what happened.

Anybody who grew up on a steady diet  of X-files will have guess within 30 minutes the 2 possible outcomes of this movie: unfortunately they do not take up the most interesting one, nor the most thrilling. We can't help but think how snidely Mulder would have crack the case all the while charming one of the dour nurses for sport. But since it's all for the sake of good acting on DiCaprio's part and one of the most clever last sentences uttered in movies  in the last 10 years, we forgive.

I thought  all of this must be a parable, a symbolic construction on the modern state of Man bla-bla-bla  since nothing knew is presented here. We could feel how DiCaprio's character could be seen as an Everyman trying to survive in a world giving to lies and violence with no shelter or warmth  to give him hope. But, the real mystery was that even thought I was wrong  and no second degree was hidden in the fold of Scorsese's mind this time, I could not let Teddy Daniel, the U.S. marshal lost in this leaded waste land, faces his despair alone.

DiCaprio's furry brows and clear baby eyes hold us to the screen as much as we would want to leave this Island behind us too. His search for the proper answer to atrocities and manipulation (should we stay civilized, should we let our outrage wrecks loose, should we retreat in a dream world of our own making where we are the heroes: protecting all the innocents, including our fragile egos, our so delicate minds and susceptibilities...), his quest for the meaning of being humane in a climate of provoked paranoia and delusions make us hope in turn for his success. Finding an answer could really help us right now to face the  everyday craziness and hysteria of the  contemporary American landscape, tea bags and all.

But of course, his success is our demise. Not a pretty picture for us who are left in the asylum with our crazy doctors and bad hospital food. This man fall from grace leaves us with a bitter after taste.

With Ben Kingsley making an appearance, used as always as the devious joker sprung from a very creaky Jack-in-a-box.

And I must add: those are some mighty powerful matches...

More Water for Thoughts...

As you can see: there is a problem. It is huge and not just, as those pics suggest, in 'under' developed countries.
Europe and the States have their own 'over' developed, 'over' polluted water bay to think about.

More pics at GigaPica.

Got Any Better Ideas?...

Ellen Brown has reported that the public bank option is gaining support. According to Brown, four states are considering the concept, which is a proven banking system for North Dakota. This end run around the useless Too-Big-To-Fail comatose banks is a real threat to Wall Street. But this concept is perfectly legal. The four states considering the bill are Michigan, Washington, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
I have written about the "Move Your Money" concept and certainly this public bank system would strengthen the community banks. Perhaps in the aftermath of this states rights movement, Ben Bernanke wants absolute control over the smaller community banks. Indeed, if these banks caused the economy to grow, he would have less ability to tamp down inflation by controlling lending, as he does now by giving banks the option to borrow low and invest in treasuries instead of main street.
Ben would have to go back to monetary policy or capital requirement controls to control the overheating of the economy. That would be good because it would mean that ponzi housing scams and the like would not be so manageable. We don't want them to be manageable because we don't want them to happen. If big banks knew that they were vulnerable to assured destruction in the face of their ponzi excesses, then the likelyhood of anything like this happening again would diminish.
Indeed, the public state banks could diminish the power of the New World Order in economics.
Not only have these four states opted to consider the state bank concept, but there are seven candidates running on the state bank platform. Ellen Brown has reported that these candidates view Washington as having abdicated responsibility for making sure that the states can keep their budgets under control. She makes the case that the only state left with a surplus is the only state with a public state bank, North Dakota.
It is time that the issuance of money be returned to the people, and indeed, through state public banks this would be the effect. I hope that we can get behind the concept. We could even nationalize the Fed to make sure that lending is placed with effective banks, not comatose ones.
The Fed, then, would have still power to control the overheating of the economy by the tried and true methods of interest rate control or by simply requiring higher capital requirements for all banks. For those who think that interest rate control is not the way to go, then perhaps that method could be abandoned in favor of simply requiring the higher capital requirements in times of excess money creation.
Then there would be no more stealing from the taxpayer in order to make banks whole. This simply must stop and banks cannot profit off treasuries in the way that they have been doing. Most of us are in agreement that stealing from the treasury is a bad idea. This idea of state banks that Ellen Brown has championed for some time may just be the way to rescue main street from the excesses of Wall Street and rescue the average Joe from the credit crisis.
Disclosure: No positions
About the author: Gary A
Gary A picture
I am retired from Fresno County. I like to blog and comment on financial matters. I knew of the housing bubble in late 2005, way before Cramer. And I am an all star on Hubpages with over 100 hubs published. My handle is "bgamall" on Hubpages. I am most proud of:... More

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

World Water Day: Can I Wish you Well...

...No. Of course not.

That would be such a bad pun, I would blush...

But here it is.

And here they are. Pictures to make you think about more important stuff than bad puns.

To find out more about those picture, go to The Frame website of the Sacramento Bee. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Partisan Politics: Watch Where you Shop....

Well,  being in Greedland, one have to align oneself to the level of the Greed people and talk a language they will understand.

To get their attention, words like Democracy, Freedom and Respect can't translate well since they mean an entirely new thing in Greed speech as we can see when Pope Glen Beck the Loonie and Fuhrer Rush use them to talk to the fateful masses.

So, the only alternative left is to vote with your money. Put your cash where YOUR will is not theirs.

Not a new concept, I know, but still effective. Most of the time old ideas (like Democracy, Freedom and Respect) are the way to go. Look at how Repug have been using the same scare tactics since the Reconstruction and how it still work like a Swiss clock!

So here's a wonderful tool to help you think before you shop:

Partisan Political Contributions by U.S. Companies

Companies donate to political campaigns in order to gain some leverage over policy making processes.  This fun interactive graphic (via) allows you to see which companies donate primarily to Republican and Democratic campaigns, and which straddle the political fence.  These are the companies with the largest total contribution:
The most Republican leaning:
The most Democratic leaning:
You can also search by type of company.  For example, media and entertainment:

Many thanks to and the Good Guide for those illuminating graphics.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Looking at the Setting Sun

Bob Herbert is gentility and lucidity incarnated.

I always wonder tough how he can stay that way in all circumstances. After all he sees and understands....

Where's do the outrage go? But he does inspire a lot of us to take in the damages done and take notice of where we're heading.

Another fine piece by the overseer of the Watchtower.

A Ruinous Meltdown

Published: March 19, 2010
A story that is not getting nearly enough attention is the ruinous fiscal meltdown occurring in state after state, all across the country.

Readers' Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations — the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor — are getting badly hurt.
Arizona, struggling with a projected $2.6 billion budget shortfall, took the drastic step of scrapping its Children’s Health Insurance Program. That left nearly 47,000 low-income children with no coverage at all. Gov. Jan Brewer is also calling for an increase in the sales tax. She said, “Arizona is navigating its way through the largest state budget deficit in its long history.”
In New Jersey, the newly elected governor, Chris Christie, has proposed a series of budget cuts that, among other things, would result in public schools receiving $820 million less in state aid than they had received in the prior school year. Some well-off districts would have their direct school aid cut off altogether. Poorer districts that rely almost entirely on state aid would absorb the biggest losses in terms of dollars. They’re bracing for a terrible hit.
For all the happy talk about “no child left behind,” the truth is that in Arizona and New Jersey and dozens of other states trying to cope with the fiscal disaster brought on by the Great Recession, millions of children are being left far behind, and many millions of adults as well.
“We’ve talked in the past about revenue declines in a recession,” said Jon Shure of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “but I think you have to call this one a revenue collapse. In proportional terms, there has never been a drop in state revenues like we’re seeing now since people started to keep track of state revenues. We’re in unchartered territory when it comes to the magnitude of the impact.”
Massachusetts, which has made a series of painful cuts over the past two years, is gearing up for more. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told The Boston Globe: “There’s no end to the bad news here. The state fiscal situation is already so dire that any additional bad news is magnified.”
California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.
In the first two months of this year, state and local governments across the U.S. cut 45,000 jobs. Additional layoffs are expected as states move ahead with their budgets for fiscal 2011. Increasingly these budgets, instead of helping people, are hurting them, undermining the quality of their lives, depriving them of educational opportunities, preventing them from accessing desperately needed medical care, and so on.
The federal government has tried to help, but much more assistance is needed.
These are especially tough times for young people. “What we’re seeing now in Arizona and potentially in New Jersey and other states spells long-term trouble for the nation’s children,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician who is president of the Children’s Health Fund in New York and a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“We’re looking at all these cuts in human services — in health care, in education, in after-school programs, in juvenile justice. This all points to a very grim future for these children who seem to be taking the brunt of this financial crisis.”
Dr. Redlener issued a warning nearly a year ago about the “frightening” toll the recession was taking on children. He told me last April, “We are seeing the emergence of what amounts to a ‘recession generation.’ ”
The impact of the recession on everyone, of whatever age, is only made worse when states trying to balance their budgets focus too intently on cutting services as opposed to a mix of service cuts and revenue-raising measures.
As Mr. Shure of the Center on Budget noted, “The cruel irony is that in a recession like this, the people’s needs go up at the same time that the states’ ability to meet those needs goes down.”
Budget cuts also tend to weaken rather than strengthen a state’s economy, especially when they entail furloughs or layoffs. Government spending stimulates an economy in recession. And wise spending is an investment in everyone’s quality of life.
All states have been rocked by the Great Recession. And most have tried to cope with a reasonable mix of budget cuts and tax increases, or other revenue-raising measures. Those that rely too heavily on cuts are making guaranteed investments in human misery.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anger: Red, Hot, Real and to the Point




I hope that John Cory will forgive me if I try to share his outrage and hunger for justice. 

We must stop the insanity: it must be done before irreparable damage is done to this country and it becomes ungovernable by normal citizens. 

We are seeing a wonderfully orchestrate coup by the corporate powers that be to hijack a whole nation for profit. Their only line of defence is that this treasured pie will soon be shared through jobs creation and all this power and all the riches will trickle down to the Wal Mart masses.


Sign the petition: at least, you'll be able to have your Howard Beale's moment from the movie Network and let it all out: 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!'

Sometimes, insanely defending humanity is the only response to people drunk on numbers, guns and power.



I Am Angry

11 March 2010
Buzz up!
American flag behind barbed wire, and all that it implies, 06/15/09. (photo: Public domain)
American flag behind barbed wire, and all that implies, 06/15/09. (photo: Public domain)

am angry.
I'm tired of pundits and know-nothing media gasbags. I'm tired of snarky "inside politics" programming. I am sick of the bigotry and hatred of "birthers" and faux patriotic cranks and their GOP puppet masters. And I'm really pissed at the Democratic Party that confuses having a plate of limp noodles with having a spine.
I'm going to vomit if I hear the word "bipartisanship" one more time.
It was "bipartisanship" that gave us this activist conservative Supreme Court. A Supreme Court that says money is free speech and corporations are persons except when real people try to hold them accountable for their greed and poisonous ways.
"Bipartisanship" gave us the Patriot Act and FISA and illegal wiretaps and two wars and "free speech zones" and "no fly" lists. God bless bipartisan America.
I get nauseated every time the Senate explains how it takes a super majority to do anything for the American people. Tell you what Senate Bozos, if it takes 60 votes to pass legislation then it should take 60% of the popular vote to get you elected.
When some Tea Party crank says, "I want my country back," I respond, "No madam, you want your country backward."
When a deficit-mongering politician says, "How do we pay for this?" Why not ask, "What did you Republicans do with the surplus we Democrats left you?"
When a compassionate conservative says, "Healthcare reform is socialism," why not answer, "No, sir it is the moral and American way to care for people."
Yes, I can hear it now: "You are naïve and simplistic. These are complicated matters and require sophisticated solutions. Democrats are a big tent and strive for balance. But Republicans block our path at every turn. We are thinking and considering new ways to work in harmony with everyone."
Bite me.
The only thing you get with "harmony" is a Barbershop Quartet.
Democrats stop being Republican Lite. Stop whining about that mean GOP and their nasty messaging. Grow a pair, get a message, get a bumper sticker and hang it out there. Get some strong vivid talking points.
G-O-P = Greed Over People.
Greed Kills - jobs, people and the economy.
Terrorism is Viagra for Republicans: The more fear - the more excited they get.
When a soldier dies for America, who dares ask if they were gay or straight?
Don't act so shocked, Democratic Party. Have you looked around lately?
You're losing the young vote that showed up to elect Obama. You're losing those old enough to remember real Democrats. Why? Because you don't talk to them any more than you talk to me. You talk at me. You talk around me. You talk down to me. You talk about me. You don't talk with me. And you don't inspire and you don't champion and without that you are nothing more than an arbitrator of compromise and abdication.
You are facing a bully. Deal with it!
Republicans want the country backwards. They champion superstition over science because it entrenches ignorance and bigotry and captures the easily frightened.
Republicans treat the Constitution the way they treat the Bible, with selective interpretation and selective application to others while exempting themselves from judgment and accountability.
Republicans preach the gospel of fear because fear is darkness and darkness covers their theft of civil liberties and Constitutional principles.
For thirty years the Republican Party has claimed the mantle of law and order but now quake in dread of the American judicial system when putting terrorists on trial. How criminal is that?
Torture is illegal. Period. John Wayne and Jack Bauer were not our Founding Fathers - only in the make-believe world of Republican drugstore-patriots.
DADT needs to be repealed. Now. It is unconscionable, immoral, and disgusting.
Empathy, compassion and equality are not pejoratives. They are American values proven again and again throughout our history.
Republicans believe that bake-sales and cookies for chemotherapy best determine the value of life and healthcare because life is a pre-existing condition and the "free market" should not have to take on such a high risk - after all, no one gets out alive, so why should the corporation be left holding the bag? Unless of course the price is right.
Republicans believe that government should keep its hands off healthcare but should put its hands inside a woman's body.
Republicans believe in small government - small enough to hold the "right" people and small enough to be owned and operated by the "right" people. And who are the "right" people? Them. Not you.
Democratic Party, DNC, DLCC, DSCC or whatever your acronym - I have only one question for you: Really?
You can't win against these guys? You can't get your message out against these guys? You can't give America leadership against these guys?
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