Rick Scott – NET WORTH $85 million (down from a reported $250 million in 2010 after he spent $75 million of his own money on his 2010 campaign for FL governor and since it’s rumored he’ll spend $100 million of his own money for the 2014 election . . . puzzling numbers but then I was never very good at math.)
For Floridians, heartbreak is a constant. In my little town, just this month, demolition began on the historic winter home of the Barnum & Bailey circus, in the face of years of campaigns and fund-raising by citizens to preserve their heritage – located on municipal, not private, property.
And then this happened a few miles north. An added insult: the fixtures, windows, precious woods and more were only a nuisance, so they were left in place for the bulldozers. After all, the whole thing – as the story points out – was already 12 years old.
SARASOTA – A 6,100-square-foot house built just 12 years ago on this tony barrier island was being torn down Monday to make way for what neighbors say will be a three-story home for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
The half-acre bayfront property at 112 N. Washington Drive was bought five months ago for $4.25 million. . . .
The classically inspired house, designed by architect Clifford Scholz and built by the late Mike Collingwood, was yellow with white trim and had a double staircase leading to the front doors.
The arched Palladian windows were framed with white shutters. Iron gates over the gray paver driveway and an ivy-covered masonry wall provided privacy.
The property had two wings that made the pool area private, too.
It obviously was not sufficient for such a grandee who is, no doubt, a legend in his own mind. He came, saw a tear-down, did it.
This thing is kind of like health care. In spite of abundant evidence that Glass-Steagall worked (no bank failures for 50 years – approximately ’33 to ’83), those enjoying the fruits of today’s perverse versions of capitalism and finance, who are dedicated to making money with money (making things is so yesterday), will not tolerate anything resembling a reinstatement of that law. And they will win.
Here’s a People’s Warrior on CNBC facing the conventional opposition, laced with a bit of hostile mockery. This video was viral a few days ago, until it briefly disappeared because CNBC filed a copyright claim against, I believe, the Senator. Ahem?
That is what brought this video to the attention of the fine folks at Upworthy. They note that “It gets amazing at 2:08. At 3:42, she uses their words against them. And at 4:39 [it really rocks].”
Listen to her ‘splain it all – clearly, simply and confidently.
What David Frum called the conservative entertainment complex continues to dismiss and even mock any expressed concern about income inequality in the United States. They honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. This is one of the very best explanatory videos I’ve ever watched. It’s pretty viral right now, so you may have seen it. If not, take the full six minutes to watch; every moment of this is clear, precise, informative and ultimately of course quite alarming.
Any country that lets this continue dooms itself to oligarchy, to instability, civic unrest . . . a nasty future awaits and denying it doesn’t make it not so.
h/t friend Brian. (Nice to see you at the theatre too!)
Pure patriot is our Dick – these comments from a former Vice President will serve so well the interests of The United States out in the wider world. Thanks for having our back you creep.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.
Right. Because you didn’t tear the military to shreds with two wars over a decade – unless soldier suicides don’t count. And it doesn’t count that the military is overwhelmed with caring for those with traumatic head injuries. Or that we became so desperate for new cannon fodder that the Army lowered standards to accept felons. Mr. “I had other priorities” went on:
“The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal,” Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.
Cheney, a Wyoming native, said it was vital to the nation’s national security that “good folks” hold the positions of secretary of state, CIA director and secretary of defense.
Like Rumsfeld, who Bush wanted to fire but was continually blocked by Cheney.
“Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people,” he said.
Neither his website nor his Facebook page show any activity after June 2012. Many of us remember his infamous “rant heard round the world” on his MSNBC show in August of 2011, after which nervousness ensued in various quarters. It was full of ugly truths and made plutocracrats across the planet very very uncomfortable. And, I’m sure, angry. Shortly after, Ratigan abruptly announced he was ending the show and said he’d be launching some kind of collaborative activist entity. He put up a website, got on the Twitter and FB, sold his loft in NYC and went – where?
Here is a vid of the rant, and his own follow-up post about it. The transcript itself is below the fold if you would rather read, but the passion in the video is powerful and I think it’s well worth the three plus minutes of your time.
I picked up most of this at a blog called The Golden Age of Gaia which is, unsurprisingly given the name, a very metaphysical place. (The post is here.)
Dylan Explains his rant:
I’m Mad As Hell. How About You?
August 10, 2011
Yesterday, on TV, I exploded. I spent two minutes giving a primal yell at our political system, demanding the extraction of our money and dignity end. It was my most heartfelt and emotional moment on television, ever.
And the emails poured in. I hit a chord, because it’s something we all feel. Take a look.
With the markets in turmoil and the global financial architecture groaning under the weight of fraud and corruption, it’s a good time to think about what leadership would look like. Believe it or not, we have had good leadership, purpose, integrity, and aligned interests in this country.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy faced a dilemma — how could he direct our intense competitive passion with the Soviet Union in a direction other than war? The answer was his call for America to beat the Soviets to the moon. Kennedy understood power; if he did not lead us towards peaceful productive competition, that same animus would have turned violent (see this key memo on the real rationale for the space race). So he took the passion and focus of our society, the technology of war and missiles, and turned it into a great mission to explore space. He gave us a shared goal.
But that’s not the full story. Kennedy also demanded we use the finest scientists and engineers to design the rockets, and made sure that the path to the moon was based on the best possible solution to get there. For large rocket boosters, he was open to chemical, nuclear, liquid fuels, or any combination. He did not put a commission of astrologers in charge, and he did not put political cronies with no scientific background in charge of designing the rockets.
He loves to peddle the tawdry and twist reality. His London papers, The Sun and the recently-deceased criminal enterprise The News of the World, do and did regularly soil the streets of that city. Here, The New York Post carries the same tawdry gene.
As is the case with the always-failing Moonie-owned Washington Times, the paper hasn’t earned a single dime in profit since Murdoch bought it in 1993. For a few years, he even dropped the price to 25 cents to prop up circulation (about 600,000). For comparison’s sake, The New York Times sells – in the City alone – about a million and a half papers every day and still makes a tidy profit.
That price by the way? The 25 cents? That was the cheapest single issue price in the country. (Have you noticed that keyboards no longer have a key for the cent sign.)
To support this rich man’s toy and to keep it on the streets so as to maintain a powerful voice advancing his own interests, both political and financial, costs Murdoch $70 million a year, almost a billion and a half dollars since ’93.
Calling Lou Dobbs . . . your show on the FOX Business Channel might want to report on such an epic business fail.
The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money last year to end world extreme poverty four times over, according to a new report released by international rights group and charity Oxfam.
The $240 billion net income of the world’s 100 richest billionaires would have ended poverty four times over, according to the London-based group’s report released on Saturday.
The group has called on world leaders to commit to reducing inequality to the levels it was at in 1990, and to curb income extremes on both sides of the spectrum. […]
The group says that the world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the latest world financial crisis only serving to hasten, rather than hinder, the process. Continue reading →
They’re up and running now and the Walton family own more wealth than 40% of the country combined.
(Via Brian from NYC, a once fellow-blogger and WW commenter, who now seems to have an actual life, so the only time I catch up on what he’s doing these days is on facebook which is where he posted this.)
You may recall that the world-wide financial collapse four years ago was entirely the fault of irresponsible mortgage seekers who demanded houses they couldn’t afford. In other words, the little people did it. Remember that?
Since then – and while a whole passel of criminals who posed as investment bankers, ripped off their investors and made themselves obscenely rich, continued to enjoy their summers in The Hamptons – our Justice Department has been distressingly silent.
Federal prosecutors hit Bank of America with a $1 billion-plus civil mortgage fraud lawsuit Wednesday, accusing the banking giant of engineering a scheme that defrauded federally-backed agencies during the national financial crisis.
The complaint . . . accuses the bank of using a loan-origination program called the “Hustle” to process mortgage applications at high speed with little financial checking . . .
The result was defective mortgage loans that defaulted after Bank of America sold them to federal mortgage loan guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, causing more than $1 billion in losses and thousands of foreclosures . . .
“Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara . . . [they] systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance – they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners and concealed the resulting defects,” said Bharara.
Now that we’ve heard from the candidates, here’s some reality. This overshadows everything. It’s not a national problem – it’s a global problem like so many of the other challenges we face these days. As has been said, by whom I cannot remember, ‘demographcs is destiny’. Which may be why the increasingly insular plutocrats of this globe are systematically separating themselves from the rest of us. They know very well what’s happening and will create their ‘safe zones’. Soylent Green guys, Soylent Green. (I really have been in a foul mood. Working on it.)
In comments yesterday, Jim Wheeler wrote a little letter to Mr. Romney after seeing the quote below about Vietnam service. Here it is.
Gosh, Mittens, I was there and I really, really missed you. And you know what? If you had been there it would have done wonders for your ability to empathize with the little people.
For example, there was the family separation of 474 days out of 540 during which my wife raised our three boys alone, closed on the purchase of a house and made all the major family decisions without me. For example there were the incessant hours of boredom punctuated by moments of fear and immense loneliness. For example there was the frustration of having politicians trying to run the goddam war by sitting around a coffee table drinking bourbon while we were racing up and down the South China Sea lobbing 8 inch shells into attacking Viet Cong. For example there was the immense pleasure of receiving one’s wife’s accumulated 17 daily letters, each numbered consecutively because she knew they would arrive that way, and because there was no fucking email or satellite video then.
But never mind, Mittens. You can take consolation with all those souls you won for the Lord in France. After all, there are all kinds of sacrifice.
I’ve never seen a number like that. That comment thread is at David Corn’s original MoJo article about the video from a Romney fundraiser where, to quote Corn:
Romney displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative.
2751 Frackin’ comments! Also, class warfare anyone?
If so, this could be the biggest thing this campaign season since Newt Gingrich’s head. Per Mashable, a techy sorta social network sorta site:
Mitt Romney’s tax returns are reportedly in the hands of a team of hackers who plan on releasing them publicly at the end of the month unless a ransom is paid.
The group allegedly obtained the files from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Tennessee office on Aug. 25, in what was described on PasteBin as a Mission Impossible-like caper:
Romney’s 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney’s tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.
The files are to be released to the public on Sept. 28, according to the PasteBin document.
Last month, the Texas leg banned ‘critical thinking’ from the public school curriculum. Now, via Andrew Sullivan, there’s this – weep and be ashamed.
Apparently wanting to steer clear of fancy highbrow academic stuff like research or informed assessments, North Carolina has banned using recent science to guide policy making.House Bill 819, which passed today after the governor let the deadline to stop it slip, restricts all sea-level predictions used for policy-making to be based on “historical data,” effectively sending science back to 1900. The law will prevent policy-makers from using a recent study by the state’s Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) which predicted the sea level will rise by 39 inches in the next century. Developers were upset about the prediction that might cause reluctance to invest in the area.[Source]
Here is a man who’s spent a good part of his adult life preparing to be the President and who’s actually been running for the better part of a decade. And now here is a man squirming in front of the cameras, trying to sidestep and avoid answering entirely predictable questions. Entirely predictable.
I’ll bet his political advisors over the years warned him of the danger if he did not prepare. And I’ll bet he thought they were over-reacting. I’m sure he thought people really wouldn’t care.
Romney is increasingly sounding like someone who believes that whatever he chooses to share with the electorate ought to be enough for them. Noblesse oblige and all ya’know.
Sometimes the blinders are lifted. And sometimes people do the right thing. ALEC is bleeding members. Really important members. Take that you damn NRA.
Now maybe a few of our State legislatures might try writing laws themselves again, if they haven’t forgotten how.
Five more companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), the No. 1 computer maker, have left the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) since the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla
ALEC is a Washington, D.C.-based group that lobbies for laws in state legislatures, including the “stand your ground” law. George Zimmerman, 28, who’s been charged with second-degree murder in the case, has cited the law as part of his defense.
The others to resign are CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), private MillerCoors LLC and BestBuy (NYSE: BBY), respective giants in drugstores, tractors, beer and electronics retailing.
Last month, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), the No. 3 PC maker, quit ALEC after the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and other liberal groups launched anti-ALEC activities. Nearly 30 companies and nonprofits have quit by now.
(I’m pasting-in this clip from the WSJ to show that this is a bona fide story and not something out of a Muslim commie Kenyan anti-colonialist way gay anti-American dream factory.)
Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke.That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesn’t disparage his former employer, the filing said.
The Duke board voted for Johnson’s resignation, and since Johnson was eligible for severance if he quit for “good reason,” he is able to collect his $44 million. Grist calculates that Johnson’s pay package comes out to $5.5 million per hour, if he actually put in a full 8-hour day.
M y brother was here last week. We talked a lot about many things. He’s a fine conversationalist he is. And I’m not bad, so we had a good time. But he’s got an edge on me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge. And personal experience wtih much of which he speaks.
He’s a PhD in Philosophy, a former priest who studied texts in Latin and Hebrew. He’s a father and a grandfather. He’s a sailor and a superb do-it-yourselfer (a longtime fantasy of mine is to have him prisoner for a week in my house with his tools and no books. That would be sweet.)
He’s a lecturer, a college professor, a prolific author and travels extensively to meetings and workshops here and in Europe and in Africa. I’ve no idea how he has time to do any of these things. It’s annoying.
One of the things we talked about was labor and labor unions. I said I thought that the union model, as practiced today, has failed. It was the right model for a long time but is the wrong model for these times and needs to be reinvented.
He disagreed. But here’s some evidence that, for maybe the first time ever, because some very smart people are saying the same thing, I was right and he was wrong.
The relevant discussion is the first 20 minutes or so here from yesterday’s Bill Moyers’ show. It’s fascinating.
This is Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, testifying in front of Congress today. See the cufflinks? Like them? They carry the seal of The President of the United States. Doesn’t matter which president – could be any one of them. (Good looking guy though . . . )
When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis
Chris Hedges wrote this article in 2007 – before there was a Tea Party, before the world economic meltdown, before the dysfunctional congress . . . and before Citizens’ United.
Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age — he was then close to 80 — we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”
. . . He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as the Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo . . .
Adams understood [then, in 1988] that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society . . .
The mounting despair [now] rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding. . .
. . . the powerbrokers in the Christian right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the House before the last elections earned approval ratings of 80 to 100 percent from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups — the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council
Again, he wrote this in 2007. And I agree with him, it’s the thing I fear most, and now our stateless corporate oligarchs have been given the gift of the Tea Party as hapless ground troops. And the poor sods will celebrate in the streets when they take Congress.
In the mid-80’s, Ronald Reagan sat down with Speaker Tip O’Neill and crafted a few fixes to secure Social Security as a self-funding program for the next quarter century. It worked, just as planned. They knew, as did congress then and as does congress now, that future congresses would be required to do the same from time to time. They knew then as they know now, that Social Security is sound policy and a sound program, unless . . . .
For nearly a century, this marvel of policy engineering has kept generations of our elders out of poverty.
For all of that time, it’s also had enemies, determined to destroy it. In the 80’s, Reagan and O’Neill and the sensible policy establishment (much more centrist then) in Washington hadn’t yet heard of Newt Gingrich or Grover Norquist or Pete Peterson (well, those aforementoined ‘enemies’ had heard of Peterson all right – he financed them). Nor did they know that a well-funded campaign was already underway to convince younger Americans that SS wouldn’t be there for them, while quietly engineering its destruction.
They’ve pretty much succeeded. Because they knew that all it would take to break Social Security was to refuse to fix it.
Terrific post yesterday about the banks and our Congress at The Erstwhile Conservative. Duane over there does – as I told him – the ‘heavy lifting’ while I occupy myself with Maru and oldies.
He points us to a warning from Sen. Byron Dorgan [ALERT: NY Times link] in 1999 about the dangers of repealing the Glass-Steagal Act, but they did it. They:
[Duane] . . . passed the Financial Services Modernization Act, which finally allowed commercial and investment banks and securities and insurance companies to stop slyly shacking up with each other and unite in unholy but legal matrimony.
[Dorgan in 1999] I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930′s is true in 2010…We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.
Duane quotes two more Democratic Senators:
[Sen. Bernie Sanders today] Let me just say again what many people will not be happy to hear. Wall Street is extraordinarily powerful. Congress doesn’t regulate them, the big banks regulate what Congress does.
[Sen. Dick Durbin three years ago]…hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place
Let me, Moe, add another quote, a more recent one, from Bush 43’s speechwriter, David Frum:
Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. [Note from Moe: Krugman warned constantly about repealing Glass-Steagel; the WSJ supported it.]
The late Octavia Butler was an important sci-fi author and a favorite of mine. In re-reading her Parable of the Talents 15 years later, I came across this verse. It feels frighteningly relevant to the world we inhabit today. But she did leave out something I think is an essential part of today’s regressive right-wing narrative: Find someone to blame.
Ignorance protects itself. Promotes suspicion.
Suspicion engenders fear.
Fear quails, irrational and blind.
Or fear looms, defiant and closed.
Blind, closed, suspicious, afraid.
Ignorance Protects itself. And protected, ignorance grows.
(Narcissist that I am), I’ve been perusing old posts here at Whatever Works (actually, I am trying – without much success – to find something).
My browsing brought me back to this one. It’s from last April when Donald Trump was flirting with being the most-powerful-man-in-the-whole-widest-world, while simultaneously planning his epic expose to prove Obama’s really a secret KENYAN!
But he wasn’t always on Sean Hannity’s ‘A’ List. Here’s the pre-birther Donald:
“By imposing a one-time 14.25 percent net-worth tax on the richest individuals and trusts, we can put America on sound financial footing for the next century.” –Writing in his book, The America We Deserve, January 2000
“I’ve been around for a long time. And it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.” –Interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, March 2004