Archive for August, 2011

Thank Heavens For Green Chile Roasting

A commentary by Craig Barnes

On a Monday in early August, nurse
2011, erectile
AIG (American International Group) filed claims in federal court against Bank of America alleging losses of $10 billion. The insurance giant claimed that the bank had intentionally disguised the risks of products to be insured. At the same time, recuperation
Bank of America was already being sued for $82 billion in a multitude of other suits.  According to The New York Times, JP Morgan was also being sued for almost $40 billion, Wells Fargo was being sued for $35 billion, Citigroup for over $2 billion.  All were alleged to have marketed securities as solid investments when at the time of the sale they knew that these representations were untrue. In legal jargon, when a person makes a deal based upon a fact that he knows to be false and intentionally disguises the falsehood, that is fraud.  The giants of American capitalism were therefore this August in a hugely costly family quarrel, suing one another for throat-choking amounts of fraud.

Humongous enterprises are suing to protect their balance sheets because—contrary to the theory of capitalism—the free market has not made everything right.  Worse, when the American congress decided on August 2nd that the way to solve the problem was for the government to spend less, resulting in less economic activity overall, the U.S. stock market in a few days lost 1,500 points.  Not only were the giants of finance suing each other; they were losing confidence in the market as their security.

At the same time, French bank stocks were pressured on the fear of default spreading from Greece, to Portugal, to Spain. Further, U.S. banks hold huge loans interwoven with those French banks and as a result of the European scare in three days the U.S. stock market fell at first, 600 points. Then the gambling started and the market rose hundreds. By then marketeers were only betting against each other and the market fell again hundreds, rose again, fell again, in a game of guesses and risks, hubris and chicken.

America’s free market capitalism has, over the last 30 years, failed to put more income into the hands of more people, has failed the middle and lower classes driving them under water, and now is, for the first time, failing those at the very top.  While they sue each other the stock market staggers and rises, staggers and rises, manufacturing stalls, people who already work two jobs cannot work more, or borrow more, and the governments of the U.S., Britain, France and Germany have all determined that they are going to help them less.

Capitalism provides no theory to explain why it is failing from top to bottom.  The oligarchs are searching out more people to blame, more to sue, and different momentary heroes to elect to high office.  Blame is, however, not a solution for bad economic theory.  Someone is going to have to think new.  Not just about stimulus.  About corporations. About property. About plutocracy.  About monopoly.

American government is also a mess.  In the words of former republican congressman Tom Davis, “The political system, Republican or Democrat, over the last decade has delivered two failed wars, an economic meltdown, 20 percent of homes underwater, [and] stagnant wages.” (NYT, 8/8/11, The Caucus.)  In other words, the American political system is also stalling out.

Anyone who has watched the minority party in the first two years of the Obama administration, and the stalemate of the last months over the debt ceiling will agree.  The American political system is dysfunctional at best, failing at worst.

While capitalists sue capitalists and everyone blames the politicians for not being able to fix the capitalists, and while the capitalists spend billions to elect people who will prevent their being fixed, it is clear that this is a political and economic culture that is in deep trouble.

Some effort will be made to change politicians in 2012.  But changing the incumbents in the congress or the presidency will have little effect if no one has a better story to tell, or something more promising than killing either government or corporations.  They do not need to be just killed.  They need to be newly understood and reframed in a world of scarcity, a world of limits to clean water and air, limits to growth, limits to greed, and limits even to the rights of property.

It is time to move beyond Adam Smith and Ayn Rand or misleading slogans like survival of the fittest.  It is time to start over, and this time to follow some new instinct that appeals to the heart and not just the sword. Start over, and if the heart leads to feminine principles or to generosity and community, have the courage to follow on. Start over, and touch the earth and when we touch it try not to everywhere make it sore. Start over, as if life mattered, as if it mattered more than the fear of death.  Start over as if to live for each other and as if the future mattered.  Start over.
By Thomas Wark

They’ve started roasting the green chile here in southern New Mexico.  This produces one of the great food aromas in the world, refractionist like baking bread or fresh-brewed coffee or grandma’s roladen.

All great chefs understand the importance of the olfactory element in  food.  So, too, do dogs, often with results that displease their human companions.

A few fortunate folks have developed keen olfactory skills for political odors, as well,.  In this country they’re called liberals.  Every now and then they catch a political aroma like green chile roasting.  More often than not, in these United States, what they smell is rotten meat.

They are underwhelmed of late by a really bad stink on the wings of the winds out of Texas.  Gov. Goodhair, as he was dubbed by the late, great Molly Ivins, wants to be our President.

Honest Injun!  THAT Gov. Goodhair.

The one whose only policy decision about the state’s record, impoverishing drought was, “pray for rain.” (It didn’t work.)

The one who brags about the “Texas miracle” of increasing jobs during the recession, whereas in fact in true job creation data Texas ranks last among the 50.

The one who has compelled the state’s history teachers to tell their pupils that Newt Gingrich and Phyllis Schlaffly are “great Americans,” whereas Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez are not.

The one who primed his base for his presidential run by staging a great pray-in featuring some of the most whacko, racist, ill-informed Christofascists on the face of the earth.

The one who set the all-time gubernatorial record for executing prisoners who suffered from mental disability.

Ramblin’ Rick thinks he can pull Texas out of the union with a stroke of his pen; calls Social Security and Medicare unconstitutional and — get this — thinks the way to get this country moving again is to suspend ALL Federal laws and regulations. And one of his lesser gaffes: Fed Chief  Ben Bernanke commits “treason” when he takes even mild regulatory action to keep the country solvent.

In Iowa, a handful of kooks got together in Ames to eat pork tenders and proclaim Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota congressperson, their favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. This makes her Gov. Goodhair’s principal rival.

What a pair!

Bachmann could improve her knowledge of her country’s history by studying even Goodhair’s cockeyed version of it.  Last I heard she thought Paul Revere crossed the Delaware to warn Manchester, NH, that the British were comin’, which alerted Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain boys to win the battle of Lafayette, Ind.  Something like that.

She and her hubby made their little fortune by praying homosexual people into heterosexuality, the way God intended it.  Maybe her contest with Goodhair will come down to a praying contest.  What a choice to inflict on God!

Meanwhile, vile odors waft unto us from Minnesota and from Texas.  Fortunately, they come together right at the point of heavy green chile roasting, which neutralizes them.
Read more by Thomas Wark at http://www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

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Start Over

By Thomas Wark

 

It’s Like Having a Reverse Midas Touch; All That’s Gold Turns to S—
Paul Krugman (whose name Kidglove can’t even pronounce) said it, read more and said it well: “The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.”

If even the President of the United States won’t stand up to them, who’s going to lead the effort to “defeat and marginalize” these idiots? I’ve cupped my ear, my friends; the answer isn’t blowin’ in the wind.

What’s really depressing for intelligent, visionary, progressive Americans is that the extremists of whom Krugman speaks won’t be satisfied until they’ve destroyed and dismantled everything good the federal government has done in the last 100 years.

When Kidglove caved in on the phony deficit “crisis,” he opened the door for them to destroy Social Security (“the dole”), Medicare (“socialized medicine”) and Medicaid. No doubt the Cato Heritage squad is already putting the plan for this into the hands of the corporate puppets in Congress, something enabling us poor suckers to put roughly the equivalent of our Social Security payments into their beloved Market, so the hedge fund managers who pay no taxes can steal billions more.

Meanwhile, at the back door, the wolf has already entered the house of environmental protections.  Goodbye, clean air.  So long, potable water.  Hello,  cancer.  Goodbye, Grand Canyon, Arches, Vermillion Cliffs and a thousand other beautiful and wonderful places owned by We, the People.  Hello poisonous mining, fracking, drilling, coal burning and mountain top removal.  Goodbye green landscapes, blue skies and sweet-smelling earth.  Hello mercury run-off, fiish kills, oil spills and black lung disease.  They’ve already slipped a rider into H.R. 2584 (the 2012 appropriations bill) to severely weaken many environmental regulations.

In time, they’ll eliminate or emasculate OSHA,  the EPA and what shred of manhood remains in the NRC.  Fukushima II, anyone?

Here’s a sample of what they’ve already got in the legislative pipeline:

–Natural gas and oil drilling in and around Arches National Park.

–Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

–Increased amonia emissions from power plants.

–Ending requirements for better gas mileage in automobiles beginning in 2016 and reducing limits on carcinogens in exhaust emissions.

–Allowing chemical companies to dump pesticides into waterways and publish false information on pesticide labels.

–Repealing health-based air quality standards fior offshore oil operations.

–Eliminate regulation of mountaintop removal water runoff into streams, ash from the burning of coal and  hard rock mining.

There’s more.  Much more.  ALEC, the right-wing source of Koch- and Exxon-friendly state legislation, is propagating  laws to make it virtually impossible for environmental groups to sue polluters.

And then there’s education.  Besides cutting  funding for public schools they will in effect subsidize (with taxpayer money) private, religious schools through things called vouchers.  Any inducement for our best and brightest to become teachers will be doused by cutting teacher pay, benefits and pensions, a la Wisconsin.

The concept of trust-busting and regulating corporate crime is as old as Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency.  Deregulation, depending upon the Holy Market to regulate itself and allowing corporations to run the country is the new, raw deal.

Defeat them?  Marginalize them?  Not in Dr. Kidglove’s U.S.A.

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, tadalafil the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130,000 jobs, ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, tadalafil the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130,000 jobs, ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
A commentary by Craig Barnes

On a Monday in early August, recipe
2011, website
AIG (American International Group) filed claims in federal court against Bank of America alleging losses of $10 billion. The insurance giant claimed that the bank had intentionally disguised the risks of products to be insured. At the same time, Bank of America was already being sued for $82 billion in a multitude of other suits.  According to The New York Times, JP Morgan was also being sued for almost $40 billion, Wells Fargo was being sued for $35 billion, Citigroup for over $2 billion.  All were alleged to have marketed securities as solid investments when at the time of the sale they knew that these representations were untrue. In legal jargon, when a person makes a deal based upon a fact that he knows to be false and intentionally disguises the falsehood, that is fraud.  The giants of American capitalism were therefore this August in a hugely costly family quarrel, suing one another for throat-choking amounts of fraud.

Humongous enterprises are suing to protect their balance sheets because—contrary to the theory of capitalism—the free market has not made everything right.  Worse, when the American congress decided on August 2nd that the way to solve the problem was for the government to spend less, resulting in less economic activity overall, the U.S. stock market in a few days lost 1,500 points.  Not only were the giants of finance suing each other; they were losing confidence in the market as their security.

At the same time, French bank stocks were pressured on the fear of default spreading from Greece, to Portugal, to Spain. Further, U.S. banks hold huge loans interwoven with those French banks and as a result of the European scare in three days the U.S. stock market fell at first, 600 points. Then the gambling started and the market rose hundreds. By then marketeers were only betting against each other and the market fell again hundreds, rose again, fell again, in a game of guesses and risks, hubris and chicken.

America’s free market capitalism has, over the last 30 years, failed to put more income into the hands of more people, has failed the middle and lower classes driving them under water, and now is, for the first time, failing those at the very top.  While they sue each other the stock market staggers and rises, staggers and rises, manufacturing stalls, people who already work two jobs cannot work more, or borrow more, and the governments of the U.S., Britain, France and Germany have all determined that they are going to help them less.

Capitalism provides no theory to explain why it is failing from top to bottom.  The oligarchs are searching out more people to blame, more to sue, and different momentary heroes to elect to high office.  Blame is, however, not a solution for bad economic theory.  Someone is going to have to think new.  Not just about stimulus.  About corporations. About property. About plutocracy.  About monopoly.

American government is also a mess.  In the words of former republican congressman Tom Davis, “The political system, Republican or Democrat, over the last decade has delivered two failed wars, an economic meltdown, 20 percent of homes underwater, [and] stagnant wages.” (NYT, 8/8/11, The Caucus.)  In other words, the American political system is also stalling out.

Anyone who has watched the minority party in the first two years of the Obama administration, and the stalemate of the last months over the debt ceiling will agree.  The American political system is dysfunctional at best, failing at worst.

While capitalists sue capitalists and everyone blames the politicians for not being able to fix the capitalists, and while the capitalists spend billions to elect people who will prevent their being fixed, it is clear that this is a political and economic culture that is in deep trouble.

Some effort will be made to change politicians in 2012.  But changing the incumbents in the congress or the presidency will have little effect if no one has a better story to tell, or something more promising than killing either government or corporations.  They do not need to be just killed.  They need to be newly understood and reframed in a world of scarcity, a world of limits to clean water and air, limits to growth, limits to greed, and limits even to the rights of property.

It is time to move beyond Adam Smith and Ayn Rand or misleading slogans like survival of the fittest.  It is time to start over, and this time to follow some new instinct that appeals to the heart and not just the sword. Start over, and if the heart leads to feminine principles or to generosity and community, have the courage to follow on. Start over, and touch the earth and when we touch it try not to everywhere make it sore. Start over, as if life mattered, as if it mattered more than the fear of death.  Start over as if to live for each other and as if the future mattered.  Start over.

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The Reverse Midas Touch

By Thomas Wark
Once again the Republican party, this including the Worst Congressman in History who is named Stevan Pearce and purports to represent southern New Mexico, information pills is calling its jackass a pony and putting a feather in its cap.  But that’s not Macaroni.  That’s equine excrement.

They’re trying to bully television stations into refusing to air an ad by a progressive group that asserts — accurately — that the House Republicans’ infamous “Ryan Budget” would end Medicare.

It is a clear and obvious fact that House Republicans would end not just Medicare, meningitis but also Medicaid and other social programs that benefit  the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the impoverished.

The Republicans say they are not, either, ending Medicare; they would still call their program “medicare,” even though it would NOT pay for your medical care the way Medicare does.  Confusing?  The Republicans want it that way.  What they call “medicare” is in fact a system of providing vouchers that you could use to pay a private insurer for medical coverage — if you can find one that will accept your vouchers as payment in full for a policy, which of course no private insurer will do since they’d all be free to raise premiums far above the value of the vouchers. It would legalize robbery by insurers from the people who can least afford to be robbed.

This is the basic Republican philosophy: government exists to serve the interests of only the richest and most powerful people and institutions in the land. The most powerful institutions in the land, of course, are corporations, which, according to the Worst Supreme Court in History are people, too.  Real people — workers, family farmers, small businessmen, the unemployed, the sick, the tired, the poor, those who speak with funny accents, those whose skin is the wrong color — are not entitled to suck at the teat of government because that causes the richest and most powerful people to  pay taxes, which are sinful, evil things that only the sick, the tired, the poor and the afflicted should have to pay because they can’t afford multimillionaire lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to create loopholes that allow them to pay virtually no tax.

So stop whining.  Crawl off somewhere and suffer in silence, you lazy unemployed  slobs, you welfare queen sluts, you baby-factory refugees, you ignorant  non-English speaking leaches, you tree-hugging enviro nerds, you bleeding-heart Commie ratfink libruls, you  . . . well, you know who you are.

This is Merka, by God, the land of the Red, White and Blue, the flag-waving, tea–bagging, race-baiting, other-hating, war-making, bloodthirsty, world-ruling home of the brave and land of the free.

Love it or leave it.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), approved
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), approved
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), Hemophilia
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, viagra
six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, diabetes and pregnancy to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, hospital wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

It’s Like Having a Reverse Midas Touch; All That’s Gold Turns to S—
Paul Krugman (whose name Kidglove can’t even pronounce) said it, more and said it well: “The real question facing America, ampoule even in purely fiscal terms, ailment isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.”

If even the President of the United States won’t stand up to them, who’s going to lead the effort to “defeat and marginalize” these idiots? I’ve cupped my ear, my friends; the answer isn’t blowin’ in the wind.

What’s really depressing for intelligent, visionary, progressive Americans is that the extremists of whom Krugman speaks won’t be satisfied until they’ve destroyed and dismantled everything good the federal government has done in the last 100 years.

When Kidglove caved in on the phony deficit “crisis,” he opened the door for them to destroy Social Security (“the dole”), Medicare (“socialized medicine”) and Medicaid. No doubt the Cato Heritage squad is already putting the plan for this into the hands of the corporate puppets in Congress, something enabling us poor suckers to put roughly the equivalent of our Social Security payments into their beloved Market, so the hedge fund managers who pay no taxes can steal billions more.

Meanwhile, at the back door, the wolf has already entered the house of environmental protections.  Goodbye, clean air.  So long, potable water.  Hello,  cancer.  Goodbye, Grand Canyon, Arches, Vermillion Cliffs and a thousand other beautiful and wonderful places owned by We, the People.  Hello poisonous mining, fracking, drilling, coal burning and mountain top removal.  Goodbye green landscapes, blue skies and sweet-smelling earth.  Hello mercury run-off, fiish kills, oil spills and black lung disease.  They’ve already slipped a rider into H.R. 2584 (the 2012 appropriations bill) to severely weaken many environmental regulations.

In time, they’ll eliminate or emasculate OSHA,  the EPA and what shred of manhood remains in the NRC.  Fukushima II, anyone?

Here’s a sample of what they’ve already got in the legislative pipeline:

–Natural gas and oil drilling in and around Arches National Park.

–Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

–Increased amonia emissions from power plants.

–Ending requirements for better gas mileage in automobiles beginning in 2016 and reducing limits on carcinogens in exhaust emissions.

–Allowing chemical companies to dump pesticides into waterways and publish false information on pesticide labels.

–Repealing health-based air quality standards fior offshore oil operations.

–Eliminate regulation of mountaintop removal water runoff into streams, ash from the burning of coal and  hard rock mining.

There’s more.  Much more.  ALEC, the right-wing source of Koch- and Exxon-friendly state legislation, is propagating  laws to make it virtually impossible for environmental groups to sue polluters.

And then there’s education.  Besides cutting  funding for public schools they will in effect subsidize (with taxpayer money) private, religious schools through things called vouchers.  Any inducement for our best and brightest to become teachers will be doused by cutting teacher pay, benefits and pensions, a la Wisconsin.

The concept of trust-busting and regulating corporate crime is as old as Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency.  Deregulation, depending upon the Holy Market to regulate itself and allowing corporations to run the country is the new, raw deal.

Defeat them?  Marginalize them?  Not in Dr. Kidglove’s U.S.A.

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

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