Monthly Archives: November 2011

In South Carolina, you get arrested. On Wall Street, you get adulation.

Different strokes, different folks.

A woman in South Carolina was arrested for public obscenity for  having these on her car. It’s still in Court.

On Wall Street it’s different dontchaknow. Behold the industry icon, the brass balls that keep the world spinning and the testosterone flowing in lower Manhattan. This manifestation of the ‘Bull Market Deity’ lives and snorts outside the NY Stock Exchange, where he is also a popular tourist attraction. Whatever you do, do not tell the cops!

They’re coming for Christmas

Which is very very good news around here!

Conan does a Jon Stewart: Can you say ‘press release’?

We’ve got a release here and a good looking news reader – who needs rewrite?

How can I market my books and myself for FREE?

Run for president.

From a Bachmann email to her supporters yesterday:

 

One mask for all: Vendetta! Guy Fawkes! Move Your Money!

I just realized that today, Bank Transfer Day or Move Your Money Day or whatever they’re calling it in your town, is also Guy Fawkes Day. Serendipitous? More likely designed to coincide. Anyway, here’s a weird xtranormal creation to mark the day (getting this up with only seven minutes of November 5 left – whew!). Picked up at Balloon Juice.

I moved my money almost a year ago from JP Morgan/Chase to a much smaller, more local bank. And I’m very happy I did. And they know my name too.

 

Wonder when FOX will correct this one? Hint: never

This ran yesterday at FOX Nation – no update yet . . . of course, she said no such thing.

According to video of the event Thursday and a transcript of the speech  provided by the EPA, Jackson spent part of her speech debunking . . . media reports that claimed the agency intended to “triple its budget and add 230,000  new regulators . . . .”A massive expansion was never a possibility — and the people who cited the  230,000 new EPA jack-booted thugs knew that,” she said.

Got that? Mocking the EPA expansion charge, she reassured her audience that there was no possibility that the EPA would add 230,000 new ‘jack-booted thugs’.
No offense given, but offence taken. The blogosphere outrage is in full swing. The fake story is out there and will remain. And now Lisa Jackson joins the ranks of Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones, both victims of blog smears.

Clocks back

Tonight!

Ezra and Ron: not a Love Story

Puts me in mind of these fellows

In The New York Review of Books, Ezra Klein finds little to love about Ron Suskind’s new book, The Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President. Perhaps because Suskind found little to love about the economic advisors Obama surrounded himself with and the resulting policies, which, Suskind says, led to the decline in Obama’s poll numbers.

In criticizing this conclusion (and some others) as unproven, Klein makes an important point – one too often ignored in the current conversation – a point which may end up being just an historical footnote, if Obama is not re-elected (I’m confident he will be). But it’s a reminder of how much time we waste puzzling over what history tells us is quite predictable.

The President’s poll numbers aren’t the mystery Suskind presents them as. If you want to know what killed Obamaism, the answer is the stagnant economy. No president, no matter how politically graceful or personally confident, looks good in the midst of an economic crisis. When unemployment rose during the 1980–1981 recession, President Ronald Reagan’s approval ratings fell below 40 percent and his party lost twenty-six House seats in the midterm election. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Federal Reserve twisted toward austerity too early and sparked the 1937 recession, Democrats lost more than seventy seats the following year. No one would accuse either president of insufficient charisma or weak leadership. Americans don’t want leaders so much as they want jobs. And that’s Obama’s problem now, too.

I’ve read two of Suskind’s earlier books and found both to be  well sourced and so well written as to reach that novelistic heaven of “couldn’t put it down”. But I haven’t yet read this one, so can’t comment, except to say I usually find Klein to be a fine reporter and writer as well.

A touch of class for Saturday

Thanks to friend Shep for the link that led me to this, which I have watched four times this morning. These guys are new to me and now I officially adore them.

Friday oldie!

Have you – since your teenage years – ever slept till 1:00 pm? Well, I just did. Bad night, tossing and turning. Fell asleep at 5:30am or so. And slept straight through. Most enjoyable but it feels seriously weird. It’s still morning for me.

However, the day itself is still correct. Today is Friday. As I post these oldies, I find myself now very fond of singers and songs that I dismissed at the time. Like this one – The Everly Brothers sounding lovely.

 

The Newtster has some advice for Herman Cain

My first advice is what he hasn’t done, which is say nothing until you sit down with your lawyers and with the people who know the facts,” Gingrich said. “You thoroughly and completely understand them and you go through a period where everybody asks you —  in your team —  every possible negative question so you thoroughly understand what will happen.”

Got that?

Mr. 4-to-9 Percent also thinks it’s between Romney and his excellent self now.

Here.

What’s in the waffles?

First there was this:

In Carson City NV, a man shot seven and killed four people at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP).  It was tragic and he was crazy.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A man who stormed into a Carson City IHOP restaurant with an assault rifle . . . . he killed four people before ending his own life . . .

Then came this – Not tragic, but comic:

Four Georgia men were arrested this week in connection with a scheme to conduct an attack with explosives and the deadly toxin ricin . . . Federal investigators said they had them under surveillance . . . infiltrating their meetings in a Waffle House.

[I chuckled at this part] “The four gray-haired men [in their late 60’s and 70’s] appeared in federal court Wednesday . . .  apparently had trouble hearing the judge, some of them cupping their ears.”

I’m jaded, I know, but don’t these events beg the question – was it the waffles?

The U.S. and Iran

After WWII, Winston Churchill said “To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war.” Someone tell that to the remaining neocons, the ones blustering about showing Iran who’s boss.

An old American tradition: Occupy Washington

In 1932,  unemployed and denied payment of the wartime bonuses they’d been promised, 43,000 WWI veterans from all over the country, calling themselves The Bonus Army, marched on Washington, DC. There, they built and occupied an encampment (from local rubbish) known as Hooverville. Many had their wives and children with them since they were otherwise homeless anyway.

While they were there, the  Senate voted down a bill to pay the bonuses, and the police were ordered in to break up Hooverville, which they did, killing two vets. But when the police raid failed to break up the camp, President Hoover ordered the army in.

At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, two regiments, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, “Shame! Shame!”

Shacks that members of the Bonus Army erected on the Anacostia Flats were left burning after the confrontation with the military.

After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and gas . . entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped.

However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested.[9] A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack . . .

During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, later President of the United States, served as one of MacArthur’s junior aides.[14] Believing it wrong for the Army’s highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow American war veterans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: “I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there,” he said later.

This was not the first time MacArthur, a figure of adulation – especially on the right, ignored his Commander in Chief. He did ther same to Truman in the Philippines after WWII. Truman, being Truman, just fired him. If America had ever fallen to a fascist military dictatorship, MacArthur would probably have been the guy at the top.

 

As a woman, as a liberal, let me just say . . .

. . . that I think many claims of sexual harassment in the workplace should be viewed with some skepticism and close scrutiny. Sure, sometimes it’s real and ugly and all that stuff. But far too often it’s not. I’ve known young women who see harassment in a clumsy compliment, and seem not to know the difference.

I don’t care if Cain did or didn’t. He’s only on a book tour anyway.

Politics, like all of life, needs a little more cowbell

Speaking of Glenn Beck

. . . which I was, if you count saying (two posts below) that he doesn’t matter anymore. Anyway, speaking of Glenn . . .

// Goldline, a company that used endorsements from Glenn Beck and other conservative icons to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers, has been charged with theft and fraud in a 19-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday by local officials in California.

. . . marks the latest in a series of allegations leveled against the gold dealer, which pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities — including two former presidential candidates — to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold every year.

The complaint alleges that Goldline “runs a bait and switch operation in which customers, seeking to invest in gold bullion, are switched to highly overpriced coins by using false and misleading claims,” according to a statement released by the consumer affairs division of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.

I grabbed this little something from Goldline’s website; I’m sure Beck’s lawyers are screeching their outrage even now, insisting it be taken down – even though I thought I once heard Glenn say that Jesus wanted us to buy from Goldline.

They haz met the enemy, and they iz them

Lookee here.

Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms

Some people who don’t matter. Anymore.

  • Joe the Plumber
  • Sharon Angle
  • Christine O’Donnell
  • Michelle Bachman
  • Donald Trump
  • Herman Cain
  • Rick Perry
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Sarah Palin (Sarah oh Sarah – where are you?)
  • Alan Keyes
  • Fred Thompson
  • Tom DeLay
  • John Edwards
  • Rudy Guilliani
  • Steve Forbes

 

Memories. Remember this guy?

Jeff Gannon! Aka James Guckert! Aka Johnny Goesch! Bush-era   uncredentialed White House reporter. Frequent White House visitor. Male prostitute whose web presence solicited ‘ratings’ from customers. Loudly defended by Sean Hannity*.  There are a million theories about how the fellow gained the kind of access he did – in ’05 the Secret Service became very interested in answering the ‘how’.

Guckert [Gannon] made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 White House press briefings. He had little to no previous journalism experience, previously worked as a male escort, and was refused a congressional press pass.

White House records showed frequent visits by Gannon to the White House when there were no press conference, sometimes checking out but not checking in and sometimes checking in but not out.

Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance [at press conferences] however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits. Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings.

Such good times.

*HANNITY: Now, Jeff Gannon, who is a terrific Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for Talon News, actually shot me an e-mail today, and he’s about to break a story in an exclusive about these CBS documents. [The Sean Hannity Show, 9/10/04]

Why Occupy Wall Street? Here’s why.

The surprise $5.00 debit card fee banks recently imposed on their customers is going away.  Bank of American, Sun Trust, JP Morgan Chase and others are now trying to tiptoe off the front pages.

We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, the bank’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement.

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co last week decided to cancel test programs, while SunTrust Banks Inc and Regions Financial Corp said on Monday they would end monthly charges and reimburse customers.

For most Americans, the fee was a step too far from those ‘job creators’ who earlier wallowed in ugly, amoral behaviors screwing not just us but each other, and sent us into a four year trailspin of a recession that could take as long as a decade to repair.

This time, I think those ‘bankers’ peeked out their windows and were a bit frightened by what they saw.  So I’ll call this a victory for Occupy Wall Streeters around the nation and around the world.

Thomas Friedman (forever the inspiration for the wartime Friedman Unit, or the F.U. for short), reminds us this week about one Citigroup transgression for which they’ve just been fined $285million (chump change these days), a transgression emblematic of the duplicitous and amoral behavior that hurt us all so badly.

. . .  with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.     

According to the SEC complaint:

. . . Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing which $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”

For decades we’ve let them indulge in the worst form of crony capitalism without the rule of law that should govern such institutions. Unbridled greed took hold. And it’s been destroying capitalism. It is anti-capitalist.

Friedman goes on:

. . . .what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin. . .  bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”       

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from Opensecrets.org calculates that the financial services industry spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined.

We can’t afford this any longer.

Indeed we cannot. We now stand witness to the destruction of what it took us 250 years to build.

I don’t see anyone with power stepping up, leaving it up to the people.  And, no matter the tired 1960’s stereotypes the right is so enthralled with, that is why we have Occupy Wall Street.