Friday, November 30, 2012

Arturo Sandoval "There Will Never Be Another You"

Keith Jarrett Trio:Stella by Starlight

Class Wars of 2012 By PAUL KRUGMAN

Today'sw column by Dr. Krugman  --  please follow link to original

On Election Day, The Boston Globe reported, Logan International Airport in Boston was running short of parking spaces. Not for cars — for private jets. Big donors were flooding into the city to attend Mitt Romney’s victory party.
They were, it turned out, misinformed about political reality. But the disappointed plutocrats weren’t wrong about who was on their side. This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor.
And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish “centrists” and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. This ensured not only that President Obama won by huge margins among lower-income voters, but that those voters turned out in large numbers, sealing his victory.
The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn’t. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election.
Before I get there, a word about the actual vote. Obviously, narrow economic self-interest doesn’t explain everything about how individuals, or even broad demographic groups, cast their ballots. Asian-Americans are a relatively affluent group, yet they went for President Obama by 3 to 1. Whites in Mississippi, on the other hand, aren’t especially well off, yet Mr. Obama received only 10 percent of their votes.
These anomalies, however, weren’t enough to change the overall pattern. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to have neutralized the traditional G.O.P. advantage on social issues, so that the election really was a referendum on economic policy. And what voters said, clearly, was no to tax cuts for the rich, no to benefit cuts for the middle class and the poor. So what’s a top-down class warrior to do?
The answer, as I have already suggested, is to rely on stealth — to smuggle in plutocrat-friendly policies under the pretense that they’re just sensible responses to the budget deficit.
Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we’re told — after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn’t we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent.
Or take a subtler example, the insistence that any revenue increases should come from limiting deductions rather than from higher tax rates. The key thing to realize here is that the math just doesn’t work; there is, in fact, no way limits on deductions can raise as much revenue from the wealthy as you can get simply by letting the relevant parts of the Bush-era tax cuts expire. So any proposal to avoid a rate increase is, whatever its proponents may say, a proposal that we let the 1 percent off the hook and shift the burden, one way or another, to the middle class or the poor.
The point is that the class war is still on, this time with an added dose of deception. And this, in turn, means that you need to look very closely at any proposals coming from the usual suspects, even — or rather especially — if the proposal is being represented as a bipartisan, common-sense solution. In particular, whenever some deficit-scold group talks about “shared sacrifice,” you need to ask, sacrifice relative to what?
As regular readers may know, I’m not a fan of the Bowles-Simpson report on deficit reduction that laid out a poorly designed plan that for some reason has achieved near-sacred status among the Beltway elite. Still, at least you can say this for Bowles-Simpson: When it talked about shared sacrifice, it started from a “baseline” that already assumed the end of the high-end Bush tax cuts. At this point, however, just about all the deficit scolds seem to want us to count the expiration of those cuts — which were sold on false pretenses, and were never affordable — as some kind of big giveback by the rich. It isn’t.
So keep your eyes open as the fiscal game of chicken continues. It’s an uncomfortable but real truth that we are not all in this together; America’s top-down class warriors lost big in the election, but now they’re trying to use the pretense of concern about the deficit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let’s not let them pull it off.


Sauter-Finegan Orchestra - Nina never knew - Joe Mooney vocal - 1952


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hedy West - Little Sadie

"Murder ballads"  --  a big thing in American Folk Music.  So, all you folks who look back to a "simpler time", a "better time", listen a bit to lyrics.  Think a bit of what they say.  Killing, drug use, all sorts of nasty stuff.  By the way, most done by good old "god-fearing" WHITE folks.

Golly-gee, how can that be?

Oh well, I guess human nature is just that, human nature  --  perhaps things really are a lot better these days.

Etta James & Dr. John - I'd Rather Go Blind (live BB King & Friends)

The Neville Brothers - Brother John/ Iko Iko

Wild Tchoupitoulas Big Chief Got A Golden Crown

The Wild Tchoupitoulas -Hey Hey (Indians Comin')

Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca Theme

""Manteca Theme" performed by Dizzy Gillespie with amongst others Quincy Jones, J.J. Johnson, Ernie Royal and Mongo Santamaria. From the 1954 "Afro" album. Composed by Gil Fuller, Dizzy Gillespie & Chano Pozo."

Duke Ellington Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue

"Ellington At Newport 1956 Often regarded as the best performance of his career, in 1956, Duke Ellington and his band recorded their historic concert at the Newport Jazz Festival, revitalizing Ellington's waning career. Jazz promoter George Wein describes the 1956 concert as "the greatest performance of Ellington's career... It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be." Ellington had lately been connecting the songs "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue" in a medley via a tenor solo from saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. At Newport, Gonsalves summoned a 27-chorus workout so inspired and transcendent that the audience was practically rioting by the time he had finished. Orchestra and audience both remained at a fever pitch for the rest of the show (vividly captured on the live album Ellington at Newport)."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Savage on Thanksgiving lesbian attack: ’2nd Amendment applies to queers, too’

In the wake of the insane attack on a lesbian lover of a family member  --  an INVITED GUEST  --  at Thanksgiving dinner, Dan Savage said, "The Second Amendment applies to Queers too."

I've been saying that for years, as have many other folks.  No matter what the penalties are for a "hate crime", they only apply AFTER the crime is committed. Even if the police were to respond in 3-4 minutes, the victim (let's say YOU) might still be DEAD.

We have to learn how to really defend ourselves  --  no matter how proficient you are at martial arts, a strong big man still might kick the crap out of you.  We all need something to make it fair  --  like a nice handgun that you know how to use.

This from "Raw Story" - follow link to original

In the wake of a vicious attack on a lesbian woman in Alabama, writer and activist Dan Savage reminded LGBT people, “The Second Amendment applies to queers, too.”
Savage spoke to Raw Story about a Thanksgiving Day assault on 23-year-old Mallory Owens, who was severely beaten by her partner’s brother, 18-year-old Travis Hawkins, Jr., in Mobile, Alabama. According to WKRG, Hawkins was upset that Owens was involved with his sister.
“With homophobia, you often see people exonerate their brother or sister and blame their same sex partner for the homosexuality,” he said. “When you see homosexuality as a sickness or an illness or a disease or a sin, you blame the person that’s ‘doing this’ to your relative. Unfortunately there isn’t a Gay Avengers organization that’s going to sweep in and kick their brother’s ass if he loses his mind.”
He continued, “The question to the family should be, ‘Why was he invited?’” Hawkins, Jr. had attacked Owens once before, striking her in the head with a wrench.
“If someone has a history of hitting people in the head with a pipe wrench, they shouldn’t get an invitation to Thanksgiving, or any family event, especially one where alcohol is being served. The question really shouldn’t be directed at the victim. The question should be directed at the violent brother and the family that’s apparently supporting him.”
Finally, Savage offered one piece of holiday advice to LGBT people who might he headed into iffy situations, reminding them that they have a right to protect themselves.
“Hey, if you’re going home and your family is violent and hateful,” he said, “Remember, the Second Amendment applies to queers, too.”
In Mobile, Owens’ mother told WKRG that her daughter’s injuries were so severe as to render her unrecognizable.
“He tried to kill her. He’s lucky he didn’t kill her. She’s lucky to be alive,” said Kristi Taylor of her daughter and Hawkins, Jr. “I didn’t recognize her when I got here. It’s hard to look at her like that.”
Owens was hospitalized with broken ribs and shattered bones in her cheeks and face. Surgeons have implanted multiple metal plates to stabilize the front half of her skull and enable healing.
Hawkins, Jr. was arrested on Sunday on charges of second-degree assault and bonded out that afternoon.
Owens’ sister, Avery Godwin, said, “I want him behind bars for life. He doesn’t need to be out, because if he does he could do this to someone else or he’ll finish it off with my sister.”
Owens, according to WKRG, has no health insurance. Supporters can donate to a fund in her name at any branch of Regions Bank.

Donate !!  Help out any way you can.  This woman's LIFE may well depend on it.


It behooves all to look more closely at the criminal suppression of Irish rights and independence by the British Empire.  Few talk about the hundreds of thousands of the Irish people sent to the West Indies, and the American Colonies as SLAVES (not "indentured servants") during the 17th and even the early 18th centuries.  Perhaps a greater knowledge of this history would help explain the resistance, and the American support of same.

Check out the history of the Irish sent to Barbados, among other places.  Look at the systematic suppression of the Irish by the British over MANY CENTURIES and you will no longer be surprised by the anger.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.

This from Alternet  --  please follow link to original

1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.
According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.
In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.
3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world's Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that's $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.
Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.
4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.
After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.
U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They've passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers' payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it's 22 cents.
5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.
That's enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.
That's enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN's World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.
For the free-market advocates who say "they've earned it": Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.
6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.
Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.
Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.
7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.
The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That's much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).
Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.
8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.
Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.
9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.
21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It's now less than $4,000.
That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you're still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.
With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.
10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.
That's about the same amount of money made by America's richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding.
Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S.
The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the United States. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.
A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO.
It's not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How To Get Rich!!

Something to ponder all you "Black Friday Warriors"  --  it's just a tweet, but food for thought.  The Waltons got RICH on GOVERNMENT MONEY.  They are the REAL "Welfare Queens"

Wal-Mart's poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.
@ClintonMath via web

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grand Old Planet By PAUL KRUGMAN

Dr. Krugman's latest column  --  more proof that REPUBLICANS HATE AMERICA.  The anti-science beliefs many Republicans have will lead us down a path of ruin.  Then no one will give a damn if they secede.

Please follow link to original

Earlier this week, GQ magazine published an interview with Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in which Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”
It’s funny stuff, and conservatives would like us to forget about it as soon as possible. Hey, they say, he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries — a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us.
But we shouldn’t let go that easily. Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party.
By the way, that question didn’t come out of the blue. As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Rubio provided powerful aid to creationists trying to water down science education. In one interview, he compared the teaching of evolution to Communist indoctrination tactics — although he graciously added that “I’m not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro.” Gee, thanks.
What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.
The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts.
But the same phenomenon is visible in many other fields. The most recent demonstration came in the matter of election polls. Coming into the recent election, state-level polling clearly pointed to an Obama victory — yet more or less the whole Republican Party refused to acknowledge this reality. Instead, pundits and politicians alike fiercely denied the numbers and personally attacked anyone pointing out the obvious; the demonizing of The Times’s Nate Silver, in particular, was remarkable to behold.
What accounts for this pattern of denial? Earlier this year, the science writer Chris Mooney published “The Republican Brain,” which was not, as you might think, a partisan screed. It was, instead, a survey of the now-extensive research linking political views to personality types. As Mr. Mooney showed, modern American conservatism is highly correlated with authoritarian inclinations — and authoritarians are strongly inclined to reject any evidence contradicting their prior beliefs. Today’s Republicans cocoon themselves in an alternate reality defined by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and only on rare occasions — like on election night — encounter any hint that what they believe might not be true.
And, no, it’s not symmetric. Liberals, being human, often give in to wishful thinking — but not in the same systematic, all-encompassing way.
Coming back to the age of the earth: Does it matter? No, says Mr. Rubio, pronouncing it “a dispute amongst theologians” — what about the geologists? — that has “has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” But he couldn’t be more wrong.
We are, after all, living in an era when science plays a crucial economic role. How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6.000 years old? How are we going to stay competitive in biotechnology if biology classes avoid any material that might offend creationists?
And then there’s the matter of using evidence to shape economic policy. You may have read about the recent study from the Congressional Research Service finding no empirical support for the dogma that cutting taxes on the wealthy leads to higher economic growth. How did Republicans respond? By suppressing the report. On economics, as in hard science, modern conservatives don’t want to hear anything challenging their preconceptions — and they don’t want anyone else to hear about it, either.
So don’t shrug off Mr. Rubio’s awkward moment. His inability to deal with geological evidence was symptomatic of a much broader problem — one that may, in the end, set America on a path of inexorable decline.

Everyday I Have the Blues - Count Basie


Anita O'Day - It don't mean a thing

My One And Only Love Art Tatum & Ben Webster

Bill Frisell ~ In My Life - Strawberry Fields Forever

August 31, 2012 Cite de la Musique, Paris
Bill Frisell - guitar
Greg Leisz - pedal-steel guitar
Tony Scherr - bass
Kenny Wollesen - drums

Jim Hall - All Blues

Post Thanksgiving

There were just the two of us for Thanksgiving.  We expected more, but circumstances changed in midstream - so, we were two.

Everything was very good.  Instead of cooking, we assembled.  All the usual sides (in truth, mine are better).  They were at least acceptable.  We bought a smoked turkey  --  a "Greenberg Family Smoked Turkey"  --  we were told it is delicious   ---   it really is.  Moist, smokey, tender, flavorful.  Whatever they injected it with, it enhanced the flavor.

Lots of good sandwiches coming.

The carcass and some of the skin will be used for soup - along with some of the meat.  First a nice (I hope) pasta e fagoli.  Then, whatever we think will work.

We also picked up some good cold cuts and cheeses  --  no going out for quite a while.

I was originally upset that we would be only two - but now, I think it was for the best.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's time, once again, for that TRADITIONAL AMERICAN Holiday we call THANKSGIVING!

Its Protestant, vaguely anti-Catholic origins, along with its thinly veiled racism make it the MOST American of AMERICAN Holidays.

So, here's a little Thanksgiving treat.


don't forget, have a Happy Thanksgiving  --  don't let either Uncle Charlie or Grandpa Horace drown in the soup when they pass out.  Do not allow any of the political arguments come to physical manifestations  --  pushing, shoving, drink throwing, punches or slaps.  Yelling and screaming are just fine  --  even expected (in some families).  If folks storm out in a rage/huff/fit of pique - or, all of the above - it just means there is MORE FOR YOU!!

If visiting other folks, please do not allow your envy to overwhelm you - a good front really means little.  Perhaps those folks were just trying to make your stay more comfortable.  If you can't accept that  --  "go in peace" (but go).

Once again  --  Happy Thanksgiving!!  (happy, happy, joy, joy)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The New Republicans

This from Dr. Krugman's blog.  Please follow link to original  --  there's a lot of good stuff there.  Go read it.

There has been a lot of talk since the election about the possible emergence of a new faction within the Republican party, or at least among the conservative intelligentsia. These new Republicans, we’re told, are willing to be more open-minded on cultural issues, more understanding of immigrants, and more skeptical that trickle-down economics is enough; they’ll favor direct measures to help working families.
So what should we call these new Republicans? I have a suggestion: why not call them “Democrats”?
There are three things you need to understand here.
First, on economic issues the modern Democratic party is what we would once have considered “centrist”, or even center-right. Obama’s Heritage-Foundation-inspired health care plan is to the right of Richard Nixon’s. Nobody with political influence is suggesting a return to pre-Reagan tax rates on the wealthy. Fantasies about Obama as a socialist, redistributionist hater of capitalism bear no more resemblance to reality than fantasies about his birthplace or religion.
Second, today’s Republican party is an alliance between the plutocrats and the preachers, plus some opportunists along for the ride — full stop. The whole party is about low taxes at the top (and low benefits for the rest), plus conservative social values and putting religion in the schools; it has no other reason for being. Someday there may emerge another party with the same name standing for a quite different agenda; after all, the Republicans were once defined by opposition to slavery, and the Democrats by rural voters (hence the donkey) and Tammany Hall. But that will take a long time, and it won’t really be the same party.
Finally, it’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded about both economic and social issues. But I worded that carefully: they “seem to be” open-minded; indeed, they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda. If they don’t deliver when it counts, they are excommunicated; see Frum, David.
Anyone who imagines that there is any real soul-searching going on is deluding himself or herself.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bank Failures

So, out of 50 bank failures this year we have 10 in Georgia, 8 in Florida and 8 in Illinois.  That adds up to 26 - more than 50% from three states.  Perhaps they are doing something wrong  --  you think?

#50 -- 10th in Georgia

CertusBank, National Association, Easley, South Carolina, Assumes All of the Deposits of Hometown Community Bank, Braselton, Georgia

November 16, 2012
Media Contact:
Greg Hernandez (202) 898-6984
Cell: (202) 340-4922

Hometown Community Bank, Braselton, Georgia, was closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with CertusBank, National Association, Easley, South Carolina, to assume all of the deposits of Hometown Community Bank.
The two branches of Hometown Community Bank will reopen on Saturday as branches of CertusBank, N.A. Depositors of Hometown Community Bank will automatically become depositors of CertusBank, N.A. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of Hometown Community Bank should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from CertusBank, N.A. that it has completed systems changes to allow other CertusBank, N.A. branches to process their accounts as well.
This evening and over the weekend, depositors of Hometown Community Bank can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.
As of September 30, 2012, Hometown Community Bank had approximately $124.6 million in total assets and $108.9 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, CertusBank, N.A. agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.
Customers with questions about today's transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-830-4725. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., EST; on Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., EST; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at
The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $36.7 million. Compared to other alternatives, CertusBank, N.A.'s acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Hometown Community Bank is the 50th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the tenth in Georgia. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Jasper Banking Company, Jasper, on July 27, 2012.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

GOP Rep. Scott "Sanctity Of Marriage" DesJarlais Exposed As Serial Adulterer

I know that I said no more posts for today  --  but this is too good to pass up.  From Joe.My.God.  --  another typical Republican  --  anti-choice, pro "traditional marriage", and a total scumbag.

follow link to original

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who swept into Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave, has been exposed as an adulterer many, many times over. DesJarlais is an ardent supporter of "God-given traditional marriage." His campaign website adds "AND PROUD OF IT!" Today's news comes via his just-released divorce files.

Obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple’s 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show. DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson did not respond to requests for comment. The attorney for the congressman's ex-wife said that at this point she does not have any comments to issue on her ex-husband's testimony. The transcript corroborates accounts given to the Times Free Press in October by one of the patients who had a sexual relationship with DesJarlais. The newspaper continues to grant her anonymity, along with all the women due to the nature of the testimony.
The bigger news, for most people following this story, is that the publicly strongly anti-choice DesJarlais supported his ex-wife's decision to get two abortions before they married. He also, allegedly, pressured one of his mistresses to do the same. Some are speculating that he may resign.
NOW, I'm done for the day.

A Thursday Post.

There's nothing that's really new today  --  The Republicans are still blaming their loss on "urban voters", "the blahs", "gifts from Obama", and, of course, the fact they could not steal the election, and their voter suppression tactics did not work.

"Benghazi" is still a buzz word, joined by "Susan Rice".  Senator John McCain once again shows why we were really smart in not electing him.  Sen. Lindsey Graham make us happy, every single day, that he is not our Senator, and has not (yet) come out.

Republicans are still, as usual, DICKS!!  Democrats are trying to move right, or to something D.C. "pundits" (those rich a$$h*les) call "the center" (well to the right of Barry Goldwater AND Richard Nixon - though I'm not quite sure of Goldwater).

We have guests arriving tomorrow for The Holidays  --  so, we've been trying to clean up our mess before they arrive    ----    WHAT, you think I have time to both CLEAN and do this blog?  You know nothing about old age and the need to scan every damn news source and blog just to get an occasional "nugget" (even though everyone else eventually gets the very same "nuggets".

That's all for today  --  see all y'all later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Insight From Dr. Krugamn

This from Dr. Krugman's blog  --  follow link to original

All About the Patriarchy

There’s a strand of thought — I identify it especially with Corey Robin, although he’s not alone — that says that conservatism isn’t really about the things it claims to be about. It isn’t really about free markets and moral values; it’s about authority — the authority of bosses over workers, of men over women, of whites over Those People.
Score one on the morality front: Pat Robertson, stern moral lecturer, says that it wasn’t Petraeus’s fault because “he’s a man”.

Will this be our future?

This from "Echidne Of The Snakes".  The title above is mine, the excerpt below is hers.  If our "rabid-right-wing-religious-anti-woman-Republican-zealots" have their way  ---  this might well be our future.  After all, what does the loss of a few women mean when measured against the ALL HOLY FETUS?  Don't forget, one insane, anti-woman, Republican Political Genius said that the days of a mothers life being in danger are OVER.  Said modern medical science has put to an end the possibility of death from childbirth.  Since when did HE become any sort of expert?

Please follow link to read the rest.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar Dies After Being Denied an Abortion

The Irish Times reports:

Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Intensive care
The dead foetus was removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on the 28th.
An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy two days later found she died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.
Let's make this clear.  She was miscarrying.  The fetus could not be saved.  According to the Irish law abortion is legal to save the life of the pregnant woman.  She was in agony.  But she had to wait until the fetal heartbeat stopped.

Then her own heartbeat stopped.  ..................................................

follow link for the rest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Please notice   ---   right after Pres. Obama won a HISTORIC victory, the give aways to Wall Street begin.  NO COMPROMISE ON SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE!!

Bill Black” Wall Street Uses the Third Way to Lead its Assault on Social Security

The following long post is from "Naked Capitalism"  --  it actually ties into my "Headlines" post.  Please follow link to the blog  --  go there and read more stuff.

 By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted with New Economic Perspectives

Third Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously here and here to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group.
Eric Lautner documented Wall Street’s effort to become even wealthier by privatizing Social Security in articles and his recent book (“The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press)).
I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux “liberal” or “moderate” “Democratic” quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time.
The National Journal ran an article on November 8, 2012 entitled “Left Divided over ‘Grand Bargain.’
Groups concerned with protecting entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare are finding themselves at odds over whether an overarching fiscal deal during Congress’s end-of-year session would help or hurt their cause.
The AFL-CIO organized a day of action on Thursday–part of a broader post-election campaign to protect entitlements–with dozens of events scheduled nationwide to urge lawmakers to avoid such a deal.
A “grand bargain” to prevent the year-end onset of tax hikes and spending cuts “could cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, all to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans,” the labor group argued on its organizing site. But the union campaign is being met with resistance from others on the left.
“We, like you, are ecstatic about the reelection of President Barack Obama and what it means or American growth and prosperity,” wrote Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy for Third Way, a liberal think tank with a centrist approach, in an open letter to the groups involved with the day of action. “However, as fellow progressives, we were disappointed to learn that you will be leading an effort against the President to impede a balanced grand bargain.”
In order to protect safety-net programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, the left must embrace reform, Kessler writes.
Let me attempt again to make the basic facts clear. Third Way is not a “liberal think tank.” It does not take “a centrist approach.” It is not run by “fellow progressives.” It is not concerned with “protecting entitlements.” It is not even a “think tank.” Third Way is a creature of Wall Street. It’s version of “protecting” the safety net was made infamous during the Tet offensive in Viet Nam when the American officer explained that “it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.” Third Way is the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which seeks to defeat Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren running against Wall Street sycophants like Senator Scott Brown and seeks to unravel the safety net programs that are the crown jewels of the Democratic Party. Wall Street’s “natural” party is certainly the Republican Party, but Wall Street has no permanent party or ideology, only permanent interests. Third Way serves its financial interests and the personal interests of its senior executives. Wall Street has always been the enemy of Social Security and its greatest dream is to privatize Social Security. Wall Street’s senior executives live in terror of being held accountable under the criminal laws for their crimes. They became wealthy by leading the “control frauds” that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession. This is why Wall Street made defeating Warren a top priority.
Third Way is run by a man who Lautner terms an “acolyte” of Pete Peterson. Peterson is a Republican, Wall Street billionaire who has two priorities – imposing austerity on America and privatizing Social Security. Privatizing Social Security is Wall Street’s unholy grail. They would receive hundreds of billions of dollars in fees and ensure that their firms were not only “too big to fail,” but “too big to criticize” if they could profit from a privatized retirement system. (We do not know who funds Third Way because it refuses to make its donors public. Given who dominates its Board of Trustees, however, the donors must be overwhelmingly from Wall Street.)
Third Way’s self-description has some elements of honesty, admitting that it is “led by a prominent private sector Board of Trustees, drawn from finance, industry, academia, the non-profit sector and government.” The order is revealing – the board is dominated by finance, with a thin veneer provided by industry, and with the barest patina of “academics” and “government.”
Here are key excerpts from their web site identifying their board.
• John L. Vogelstein
Mr. Vogelstein is the Chairman of New Providence Asset Management, LLC and Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus, LLC. [He co-managed that huge private equity firm.]
• Bernard L. Schwartz
Mr. Schwartz is Chairman and CEO of BLS Investments, LLC.
• David Heller
Mr. Heller … was … the Global Head of Equity Trading for Goldman Sachs.
• Georgette Bennett
Dr. Bennett—an award-winning sociologist, criminologist, and journalist…. [Yeah criminologists!]
• William D. Budinger
William D. “Bill” Budinger is the founder of Rodel, Inc., where he served for 33 years as its chairman and CEO. [Rodel manufactured semi-conductors.]
• David A. Coulter
Mr. Coulter serves as Managing Director and Senior Advisor at Warburg Pincus, focusing on the firm’s financial services practice.
Mr. Coulter retired in September 2005 as vice chairman of J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. He previously served as Executive Chairman of its investment bank, asset and wealth management, and private equity business.
• Jonathan Cowan
Prior to co-founding Third Way, Mr. Cowan founded and ran Americans for Gun Safety…. In 1992, he co-founded Lead…or Leave, which became the nation’s leading Generation X advocacy group. [He lobbied to protect “second amendment rights” to bear arms and led a Pete Peterson inspired group urging “Gen X” members to unravel the safety net.]
• Lewis Cullman
Mr. Cullman was the Founder and President of Cullman Ventures, Inc., a diversified corporation that included the At-A-Glance group, which manufactures and markets diaries….
• William M. Daley
William Daley served as President Obama’s Chief of Staff from January 2011 until January 2012.
Prior to his Chief of Staff role, he was Vice Chairman … of … JPMorgan Chase, from 2004 until 2011.
As Special Counsel to President Clinton in 1993, Daley coordinated the successful campaign to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
He was co-chair of the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. [This is code for deregulation of finance.]
• John Dyson
Mr. Dyson is Chairman of Millbrook Capital Management, Inc. (MCM), a private investment firm.
• Robert Dyson
Mr. Dyson … is Chairman and CEO of the Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp., a privately owned, diversified investment holding company….
• Andrew Feldstein
Andrew Feldstein is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of BlueMountain Capital Management….
Prior to co-founding BlueMountain in 2003, Mr. Feldstein spent over a decade at JPMorgan where he was a Managing Director and served as Head of Structured Credit; Head of High Yield Sales, Trading and Research; and Head of Global Credit Portfolio. [“High yield” is a euphemism for junk bonds.]
• Brian Frank
Mr. Frank is a Director and Portfolio Manager at MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm founded by Michael Dell.
• Michael B. Goldberg
Mr. Goldberg joined Kelso & Company in 1991 as a Partner and Managing Director. [Private equity.]
• Peter A. Joseph
Mr. Joseph has been in the private equity investment business for over twenty years….
• Derek Kaufman
Derek Kaufman is Head of Global Fixed Income at Citadel LLC. He is a member of Citadel’s Portfolio Committee.
Prior to joining Citadel in 2008, Mr. Kaufman was a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase….
• Derek Kirkland
Mr. Kirkland is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Morgan Stanley’s Financial Institutions Group in Investment Banking.
• Ronald A. Klain
Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is President of Case Holdings, and General Counsel of Revolution LLC. [Case is an investment fund for the holdings of AOL’s founder.]
• Thurgood Marshall, Jr.
Mr. Marshall is a partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, and a Principal of Bingham Consulting Group. Mr. Marshall counsels and devises strategies for advancing clients’ interests before Congress, the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies. [He is a lobbyist for a firm best known for representing financial firms.]
• Susan McCue
Ms. McCue is President of Message-Global, LLC, a strategic communications and public affairs firm she founded in January 2008 to advance progressive campaigns, activism and issue advocacy in the U.S. and globally.
• Herbert Miller
Mr. Miller, former CEO and Chairman of The Mills Corporation, one of America’s most innovative and successful mall developers and managers, founded Western Development Corporation (WDC) in 1967 and serves as its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Stockholder.
• Michael Novogratz
Mr. Novogratz has been President and Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC….. Prior to joining Fortress, Mr. Novogratz spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs….
• Andrew Parmentier
Mr. Parmentier is a Founding and Managing Partner of Height Analytics. He and fellow Managing Partner John Akridge formed the company in January 2009. He has worked in the financial services industry since 1997….
• Kirk Radke
Recognized internationally as one of the top private equity attorneys during his 28 year career at Kirkland & Ellis….
Among professional activities, Mr. Radke is Co-Chair & Organizer of the International Bar Association Private Equity Symposium, Founder of the Private Equity General Counsel Network, Founder of Legal Series and Co-Founder of the Private Equity Law Firm Roundtable.
• Howard Rossman
Dr. Rossman is a President and Founder of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc. and a Vice Chairman of its parent, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc. He is responsible for all aspects of fund management, including manager due diligence, strategy analysis and asset allocation.
• Tim Sweeney
Mr. Sweeney has been President and CEO of the Denver-based Gill Foundation since October 2007. For more than 30 years, he has worked to advance equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.
• Ted Trimpa
Mr. Trimpa is a partner with the international law firm, Hogan Lovells LLP.
• Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein
She has over 24 years of experience in venture capital and specialized equity investing. [S]he was a Partner of Warburg Pincus, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.
• Joseph Zimlich
Mr. Zimlich is the Chief Executive Officer of Bohemian Companies, a group of family-owned real estate and private equity holdings.
Twenty of the twenty-nine trustees come from finance (counting the lawyer whose specialty is representing private equity firms). Their most common background is Mitt Romney’s – private equity – and hedge funds. The nine non-finance members include:
• A Pete Peterson acolyte who previously created supposedly centrist front groups for gun rights and an effort to enlist “Gen X” in Wall Street’s assault on the safety net
• A developer of giant malls
• A semi-conductor manufacturer
• A manufacturer of diaries
• A criminologist/journalist
• A PR specialist
• A gay rights activist
• A lobbyist at a firm best known for representing finance
• A lawyer
The board includes three representatives of “main street” (malls, semi-conductors, and diaries). They are not heavy hitters compared to the finance representatives. On finance issues, Third Way is Wall Street. It is run by Wall Street for Wall Street. It is liberal only on social issues such as gay rights – and Wall Street created Third Way to focus on finance.
I have explained in other articles the incoherence and ineptitude of the financial policies that Third Way (including Casey, who temporarily left Third Way’s board to serve as President Obama’s chief of staff, where he urged Obama to adopt austerity and the Great Betrayal. I have explained how those policies would have thrown the nation back into recession and doomed Obama’s chance for re-election. Third Way has learned nothing from their errors – they continue to push the Great Betrayal and austerity. Their overriding goal is to begin the process of privatizing Social Security. The fact that their policies would cause a gratuitous recession, immense misery, and terrible electoral losses to Democrats does not represent a policy failure to Wall Street. Wall Street would be the grand winner if we began to privatize Social Security as Third Way proposes.
The “left” is not divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac. Opposition to austerity and the Great Betrayal is not a left v. center issue. Wall Street’s proposed financial policies are terrible for virtually all Americans.

I see headlines

I've been reading headlines.  They sicken me.

Let's be clear  --  Obama is NOT a "progressive".  He is who he has said over and over again he is - a "Clintonian sorta-lib".  You want something progressive out of him  --  fight for it, work him, yell and scream  --  MAYBE then.............................. .

No one really gives a flying fuck about "Benghazi".  The fact we lost folks is a bad thing.  It's a horrible thing.  It was NOT a "plot" by our "terrorist-sympathizer-Muslim-madrasa-trained-Nazi-Communist-I hate-white-people-foreign-not-really-American" President.  AND, no one but some wing-nut-rabid-right-wing-republicans care.

General David Petraeus is a product of the Media, a typical Washington bull-shit-artist, and was most likely dumped for other, more serious reasons.  In any case, I think it good his coup failed, and that the CIA rose up to get rid of him  --  or something like that, or not.

The Republicans STILL DO NOT HAVE A CLUE.  If they actually accept reality  --  they dissolve the party, come out, embrace their inner Democrat, and work for a more egalitarian society.  They admit we all need health care, all require paid vacations, good jobs, good PUBLIC SCHOOLS, need a totally updated infrastructure, and that the Public Works Projects will keep our economy humming for years.  They will also reign in Wall Street, the Koch brothers and their ilk, and tell their rabid supporters the truth   --  they were just kidding all these years.

Instead of slinking away, these cowards will stand up and apologize to Nate Silver  --  after that, these same Republican operatives will admit they know nothing about math, polling, statistics, and last, but not least WOMEN.  They are the REAL "girly-men".

Paul Ryan will finally embrace his "inner clown" and stop pretending to be a "policy wonk".  People will also realize it is not WONK but WANKER  --  an easy enough mistake.

The "tea-party" folks will STOP complaining about the gubmint from their gubmint "mobility devices", while living of their gubmint Social Security and Medicare.  They WILL understand that a stable society just might protect old coots (like me) better than one 1911 and an AK47.

5 Reasons Why the Christian Right Is Warning of a 'Revolution'

This from Michelangelo Signorile.  Please follow link to original

Days before the election Pastor Robert Jeffress of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas compared President Obama to Hitler, telling 600 other pastors at a luncheon that if they didn't speak out on the election, it could lead to another Holocaust. On election day Franklin Graham, railing against the president, said on CNN that "this election could be America's last call before the return of Christ." (After the election Graham said that the country was now on a "path to destruction.") It shouldn't come as a shock, then, that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC), reacting to the reelection of the president and victories for gay marriage in four states, issued a dire warning of "a revolt, a revolution" if the Supreme Court now rules in favor of same-sex marriage, with "Americans saying, 'You know what? Enough of this!'"
The court may do just that on Nov. 20 if it lets stand the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The court is also likely to take on the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been ruled unconstitutional by several federal appeals courts.
It's outrageous that Perkins would even remotely suggest violence ("I hate to use the words," he said, "but I mean a revolt, a revolution"), particularly given that FRC was itself targeted by a gunman and Perkins was the first to claim that rhetoric against his group is what caused that violence. It betrays the fear and desperation now gripping the leaders of the decades-old political movement known as the Christian right, which is faced with some vexing realities:
1. There may no longer be enough of them. Contrary to what some may have predicted, evangelical voters turned out for Mitt Romney, a Mormon, making up a greater percentage of the electorate than they did in 2004, when they helped reelect George W. Bush, and giving a larger percentage of their vote (78 percent) to Romney than they did to John McCain in 2008. It's not about loyalty. What they're facing is something much more difficult: the rise of the "nones," which I wrote about a few weeks ago. The fastest-growing religious category comprises those who have no religious affiliation, now the second largest category after Catholics, and even larger among younger voters. They overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage and abortion rights, and they largely vote Democratic. And polls show that even a majority of younger evangelicals themselves support marriage equality.
2. Attempting to fix the "demographic problem" that the media (and conservative pundits) have been buzzing about in recent days isn't going to solve anything. GOP strategists, as well as cultural conservatives like Maggie Gallagher, former president the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), talk about how they now have to reach out to Latinos solely by changing their tone on the issue of immigration, claiming that Latinos are with them on the social issues. But this is wishful thinking at best, and stereotyping at worst. In fact, Latino voters mirror the rest of the country on gay marriage or are even more supportive of it. Exit polls and pre-election polls showed that Latinos favor marriage equality even more than the larger population, and that large majorities of Latinos favor abortion rights. Similarly, targeting the African-American community has proved futile, as Maryland, with its large African-American voting population, approved marriage equality.
3. Catholics, who make up the largest religious group in the country, can no longer be relied upon in any big way. The Vatican can talk about the sin of homosexuality until St. Peter rolls over in his tomb, but a majority of Catholics in the U.S. helped reelect Barack Obama, and in polls a majority support marriage equality. Prominent conservative Catholic leader Deal Hudson even recently admitted that gay marriage "doesn't raise the temperature of the bulk of the Catholic Mass-going voters" any longer, and that "attitudes about homosexuals have changed so much over the last several years."
4. Single women overwhelmingly voted for President Obama and Democrats, and men and women are remaining single much longer than they did even 10 years ago. Barely half of American adults today are married, a record low. Comments by Senate candidates about rape and abortion -- elucidating positions on abortion that are mirrored by that of Paul Ryan -- served to wake up many people to the reality of what the Christian right's agenda is all about when it comes to women's bodies and their relationships to men, and that's particularly salient for single women.
5. Nine states now have marriage equality. According to Freedom to Marry, nearly 17 percent of the U.S. population lives in states that allow gays and lesbians to legally marry or that honor out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. If the Supreme Court allows the Prop 8 decision to stand in California, that number will jump to well over 25 percent. Nearly 39 percent of the U.S. population lives in states with either full marriage equality or some sort of broad legal recognition of same-sex relationships, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. As Joe Sudbay demonstrated in a smart post last week, the trend lines are going in the wrong direction on this issue for the Christian right. The GOP sees this and will be forced to either cleave off NOM, FRC and others or see public support for the party continue to erode.
I'm not suggesting that the Christian right is dead or going away anytime soon. While barely over 50 percent of Americans support marriage equality in most national polls, there obviously is a large minority that is opposed to it. And in some states, like North Carolina, which passed a ban on gay marriage just this past May with 64 percent of the vote, a large majority of the population is in line with the religious right's agenda. The hate we've seen spewed into the political discourse this year was bone-chilling and among the worst we've seen, with preachers speaking out against gay marriage by calling for gays to be rounded up or killed by the government, but it's going to get uglier and nastier, and the battles only more intense. When they start talking about "revolution" and "revolt," we all had better pay attention. The last thing we should be doing is sitting around thinking we've won.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Distribution of Economic Pain From the Financial Crisis in One Chart

From "Jesse's Café Américain"  --  please follow link to original.

This is fo all the folks who blame their current plight on the poor, Mexicans, and those darn "libtards".  Take a look at who has what was once YOUR money.

No wonder the wealthiest ten percent feel so clever, and even perhaps triumphant.

The collapse caused by the widespread banking fraud has barely affected them, whereas it wiped out most of the last ten years of growth in the middle class and the poor.

In my considered opinion this is largely the result of policy and tax decisions that have been made by the government over the past twenty or more years, in which they fostered a financially predatory economy.

Financial bubbles are often wealth transfer mechanisms, and in this case it appears that you can also keep what you kill.

From Amir Sufi, Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago.

Net Wealth Shock in US, by Net Worth Percentile

Wave of Evictions Leads to Homeless Crisis in Spain

This from "The New York Times" - please follow link to original.  By the way, the crisis is NOT over.  Things have NOT been "stabilized"  --  unless it's for the banks and the rich.

SEVILLE, Spain — The first night after Francisco Rodríguez Flores, 71, and his wife, Ana López Corral, 67, were evicted from their small apartment here after falling behind on their mortgage, they slept in the entrance hall of their building. Their daughters, both unemployed and living with them, slept in a neighbor’s van.
“It was the worst thing ever,” Mrs. López said recently, studying her hands. “You can’t image what it felt like to be there in that hall. It’s a story you can’t really tell because it is not the same as living it.”
Things are somewhat better now. The Rodríguezes are among the 36 families who have taken over a luxury apartment block here that had been vacant for three years. There is no electricity. The water was recently cut off, and there is the fear that the authorities will evict them once again. But, Mrs. López says, they are not living on the street — at least not yet.
The number of Spanish families facing eviction continues to mount at a dizzying pace — hundreds a day, housing advocates say. The problem has become so acute that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has promised to announce emergency measures on Monday, though what they may be remains unclear.
While some are able to move in with family members, a growing number, like the Rodríguezes, have no such option. Their relatives are in no better shape than they are, and Spain has virtually no emergency shelter system for families.
For some, the pressure has been too much to bear. In recent weeks, a 53-year-old man in Granada hanged himself just hours before he was to be evicted, and a 53-year-old woman in Bilbao jumped to her death as court officials arrived at her door.
Yet at the same time, the country is dotted with empty housing of all kinds, perhaps as many as two million units, by some estimates. Experts say more and more of the evicted — who face a lifetime of debt and a system of blacklisting that makes it virtually impossible for them to rent — are increasingly taking over vacant properties or moving back into their old homes after they have been seized.
Sometimes neighbors report such activities. But often, experts say, they do not. It is a temporary and often anxious existence. But many see no alternative.
The Rodríguezes fell behind in their payments trying to help their daughters, who both lost their jobs and have three children between them. Their daughters had come to live with them after being evicted themselves. “I could not let my children and my grandchildren starve,” said Mrs. López, who used to work as a cleaner in a home for the elderly.
No one tracks the number of squatters. But Rafael Martín Sanz, the president of a real estate management company, says squatting has become so common that some real estate companies are reluctant to put signs on the outsides of buildings indicating that an apartment is available.
“The joke is that half the people touring apartments that are on the market are actually just picking out which apartment they want to squat in,” he said.
Most of the evictions take place quietly, with embarrassed families dropping the keys off at the banks. But in some working-class neighborhoods, there are weekly clashes with the police and bank officials, as housing advocates and volunteers try to resist the evictions.
In Madrid’s Carabanchel neighborhood, a crowd protesting outside a basement apartment recently shouted “shame on you” to a cluster of bank and court officials who had come to evict Edward Hernández and his family. But Mr. Hernández’s lawyer, Rafael Mayoral, sized up the picture and predicted he would be able to negotiate a postponement. The crowd of supporters, he said, outnumbered the police officers.
Mr. Hernández, 38, who worked in construction, bought the apartment for $320,000 in 2006, but he lost his job three years later, he said. He thought he had negotiated with his bank to pay less for a while. But one day, he said, he got a letter saying that his apartment had been auctioned.
Mr. Hernández and his wife have their eye on an empty apartment they intend to occupy. Failing that, the couple will have to split up, he said. His wife would go back to live with her mother, who is behind in her own mortgage payments and already housing her other adult children. Mr. Hernández would live with his brother, who lives with his young family in a studio apartment
By the end of the morning, bank and court officials had agreed to postpone Mr. Hernández’s eviction for six weeks. He still faces a debt of more than $330,000, more than he paid for the apartment. In Spain, mortgage holders are personally liable for the full amount of their mortgages. Then penalty interest charges and tens of thousands of dollars in court fees are added at foreclosure. Bankruptcy is no answer, either — mortgage debt is excluded.
Trying to stem the flow of homeless, the Spanish government has asked the banks to adhere to a code of conduct that protects, to some degree, the very poorest Spaniards, and many of the banks have signed on. But advocates say that the code offers relief to such a narrow slice of homeowners — those who have no working adults in their household and who paid less than $260,000 for their homes — that it is unlikely to have much effect.
Elena Cortés, the councilor for public works and housing for Andalusia, the region that includes Seville, said that during the boom years the government rarely built any low-income housing. On top of that, the country has never had much rental property. Now, as families are evicted they have nowhere to turn. In a written statement, Spain’s banking association, the A.E.B., said banks were looking to avoid evictions whenever they could through negotiation.
The Rodríguezes began living in the luxury block, Corrala Utopía, in May with only a few belongings, a move that was organized by members of the 15-M movement, the name given to people who became organized after the countrywide protests that began on May 15 last year. One member of the group, Juanjo García Marín, said the property was chosen because it was mired in legal proceedings that might give the families more time to stay there.
Neighbors have given them furniture, and donations of food arrive most days. On a recent evening, Mrs. López was using a generator to keep her lights on and her refrigerator running. Others in the building also have generators, but some cannot afford the gasoline to keep them running.
After dinner, Mrs. López’s 13-year-old grandson arrived, announcing that he needed a place to do his homework. His mother’s apartment upstairs had no lights.

David Frum Becomes the New Grand Archon of the Order of the Shrill!

This from Brad DeLongs blog  --  that is, Prof. DeLong.  Anyway, please follow link to original - then follow his links to originals, etc., etc.

David Atkins observes:
Frum on Morning Joe: a remarkable 15 minutes of television: Former Bush speechwriter David Frum made a remarkable appearance on Morning Joe.... He begins with this:
Mitt Romney's message is:
I am going to take away Medicare from everybody under 55, I'm going to cut Medicaid for everybody but about a third, and I'm going to do that to finance a giant tax cut for me and my friends, and the reason I'm doing that is because half the country contribute nothing to the national endeavor.
Then about four minutes in, something even more attention-grabbing after Scarborough bloviated about Thatcher and Reagan appealing to the common man:
Since the loss of the election, we have heard an enormous amount of discussion from Republicans on television and newspaper columns about immigration as an issue... but all of us who are allowed to participate in this conversation, we all have health insurance. And the fact that millions of Americans don't have health insurance, they don't get to be on television. And it is maybe a symptom of a broader problem, not just the Republican problem, that the economic anxieties of so many Americans are just not part of the national discussion at all.
I mean, we have not yet emerged from the greatest national catastrophe, the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And what are we talking about? The deficit and the debt. And these are important problems, but they're a lot easier to worry about if you are wealthier than you were in 2008, which most of the people on television now are again, if you are securely employed, which most of the people on television now are. But that's not true for 80% of America. And the Republican Party, the opposition party, needed to find some way to give voice to real urgent economic concerns held by middle class Americans. Latinos, yes, but Americans of all ethnicities.
None of the panelists on Scaraborough--not Joe himself, not David Gregory, not Chuck Todd, none of them--dared to answer Frum's devastating indictment of them. Not of the Republican Party, but of them. It was uncomfortable, and then blithely ignored.
After five full minutes of inside-baseball speculation on Republican leadership games during which Frum looked like he might pull a Howard Beale... he finally got a chance to speak again
I believe the Republican Party is a party of followership. The problem with the Republican leaders is that they're cowards.... The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past four years. And that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won't soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of a major conservative institution when he told me that our donors think the apocalypse has arrived.
Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.... Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces the nature--I mean, it's just a simple question. I went to Tea Party rallies and I would ask this question: "have taxes gone up or down in the past four years?" They could not answer that question correctly. Now it's true that taxes will go up if the President is re-elected. That's why we're Republicans. But you have to know that taxes have not gone up in the past. And "do we spend a trillion dollars on welfare?" Is that true or false? It is false. But it is almost universally believed.
That means that the leaders have no space to operate.
And to think that the guy who coined the phrase "axis of evil" is now the moral conscience of the Republican Party.
How low they have truly fallen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Romney Is President By MAUREEN DOWD

I'm usually not a huge Maureen Dowd fan  --  but this column seems to hit the spot.  follow link to original

IT makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing.
(Though, as “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver jested, the White House might have been one of the smaller houses Romney ever lived in.)
Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.
Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.
Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.”
In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.
As W.’s former aide Karen Hughes put it in Politico on Friday, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.”
Some Republicans conceded they were “a ‘Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ world” (although “Mad Men” seems too louche for a candidate who doesn’t drink or smoke and who apparently dated only one woman). They also acknowledged that Romney’s strategists ran a 20th-century campaign against David Plouffe’s 21st-century one.
But the truth is, Romney was an unpalatable candidate. And shocking as it may seem, his strategists weren’t blowing smoke when they said they were going to win; they were just clueless.
Until now, Republicans and Fox News have excelled at conjuring alternate realities. But this time, they made the mistake of believing their fake world actually existed. As Fox’s Megyn Kelly said to Karl Rove on election night, when he argued against calling Ohio for Obama: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”
Romney and Tea Party loonies dismissed half the country as chattel and moochers who did not belong in their “traditional” America. But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot.
The election about the economy also sounded the death knell for the Republican culture wars.
Romney was still running in an illusory country where husbands told wives how to vote, and the wives who worked had better get home in time to cook dinner. But in the real country, many wives were urging husbands not to vote for a Brylcreemed boss out of a ’50s boardroom whose party was helping to revive a 50-year-old debate over contraception.
Just like the Bushes before him, Romney tried to portray himself as more American than his Democratic opponent. But America’s gallimaufry wasn’t knuckling under to the gentry this time.
If 2008 was about exalting the One, 2012 was about the disenchanted Democratic base deciding: “We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.”
Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.
When the first African-American president was elected, his supporters expected dramatic changes. But Obama feared that he was such a huge change for the country to digest, it was better if other things remained status quo. Michelle played Laura Petrie, and the president was dawdling on promises. Having Joe Biden blurt out his support for gay marriage forced Obama’s hand.
The president’s record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos. Now, on issues from loosening immigration laws to taxing the rich to gay rights to climate change to legalizing pot, the country has leapt ahead, pulling the sometimes listless and ruminating president by the hand, urging him to hurry up.
More women voted than men. Five women were newly elected to the Senate, and the number of women in the House will increase by at least three. New Hampshire will be the first state to send an all-female delegation to Congress. Live Pink or Dye.
Meanwhile, as Bill Maher said, “all the Republican men who talked about lady parts during the campaign, they all lost.”
The voters anointed a lesbian senator, and three new gay congressmen will make a total of five in January. Plus, three states voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post’s Ned Martel that gays, whose donations helped offset the Republican “super PACs,” wanted to see an openly gay cabinet secretary and an openly gay ambassador to a G-20 nation.
Bill O’Reilly said Obama’s voters wanted “stuff.” He was right. They want Barry to stop bogarting the change.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

WaPo's Jennifer Rubin Admits She Misled Her Readers

I just love the way the rabid-right-wing is doing their own "etch-a-sketch" thing in their "commentary"  --  now telling us EVERYTHING they said was wrong.

The following from "Media Matters For America"  --  please follow link to original

Jennifer Rubin has endured no shortage of criticism for using her Washington Post blog to blatantly and counterfactually shill for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. And in the aftermath of Romney's electoral defeat, she's tacitly acknowledging as much. Today Rubin offers her post-mortem of the Romney campaign, casting it as ineffectual and unequal to the task of removing an incumbent from the White House -- an assessment that flatly contradicts her aggressively pro-Romney pre-election writing.
Here's Rubin's November 7 take on the Romney-Ryan campaign:
Until October it was the Perils of Pauline campaign. It moved in fits and starts on foreign policy. The message was rarely consistent from day to day. Gobs of ads were aired to no apparent effect. The convention speech was a huge missed opportunity. Romney made a lunge now and then in the direction of immigration reform and an alternative health-care plan without giving those topics the attention they deserved. The communications team was the worst of any presidential campaign I have ever seen -- slow and plodding, never able to capitalize on openings. It was hostile, indifferent and unhelpful to media, conservative and mainstream alike.
Matters did improve once Ed Gillespie moved forward to take charge of the message. A message at least became discernible. The ads certainly were simpler, more direct and more attuned to making a case for Romney's agenda. But if not for a stunning series of performances in the debates and unexpected eloquence on the stump in the last month, Romney almost surely would have done worse than he did. A presidential race needs more than a good month to be successful.
Let's take what she's written here, in the cold reality of a Romney loss, and compare it to what she wrote when the Romney campaign was still in full swing.
Rubin now: "The convention speech was a huge missed opportunity."
Rubin then: "Mitt Romney accepted the nomination of his party for president with a speech that showed he can rise to an occasion, and let us see a side of him that was compelling and heartbreaking." [Right Turn, 8/30]
Rubin now: "Romney made a lunge now and then in the direction of immigration reform and an alternative health-care plan without giving those topics the attention they deserved."
Rubin then: "The media are doing their best to disguise the unpleasant fact that Mitt Romney has been more forthcoming on immigration than the president has in more than three years in office." [Right Turn, 6/24] "This isn't that hard: Romney will repeal Obamacare. He has always favored protection for people with preexisting conditions who move from one employer-provided plan to another or from an individual-purchased to an employer-provided plan." [Right Turn, 9/10]
Rubin now: "The communications team was the worst of any presidential campaign I have ever seen -- slow and plodding, never able to capitalize on openings."
Rubin then: "The Romney team, to a greater degree than most campaigns, has been criticized and lampooned. Too timid. Too unfocused. Too slow. Too inept. But this week demonstrated that the campaign officials are more skilled than they have been depicted, and their errors and stumbles have in large part been obliterated in the lingering glow of the convention. There is some personal vindication for them as well." [Right Turn, 8/31]
Rubin now: "But if not for a stunning series of performances in the debates and unexpected eloquence on the stump in the last month, Romney almost surely would have done worse than he did. A presidential race needs more than a good month to be successful."
Rubin then: "We've made the case that not only the first presidential debate but the debates as a whole recast the race and vaulted Mitt Romney into a position to win the race. Pollster Charlie Cook is the latest election guru to agree." [Right Turn, 10/31]