Saturday, July 27, 2013

US singer-songwriter JJ Cale dies, aged 74

We lost another 60's icon  :

US singer-songwriter JJ Cale has died of heart attack at the age of 74.
An announcement on his personal website said he had passed away at a hospital in La Jolla, California, on Friday.
Born in Oklahoma, Cale helped create the Tulsa Sound, which combined blues, rockabilly, and country. He became famous in 1970, when Eric Clapton covered his song After Midnight.
In 1977 Clapton also popularised Cale's Cocaine. The two worked together on an album which won a Grammy award in 2008.
Born in 1938, John Weldon Cale adopted the name JJ Cale to avoid being confused with John Cale of the Velvet Underground.
Building up on the success of After Midnight, he recorded Naturally - the first of his 14 studio albums.
He pioneered the use of drum machines, and was famous for his personal laid-back singing style.
However Cale always described himself as a songwriter rather than a singer, and his songs tended to enjoy greater success when performed by others - notably Tom Petty, Santana and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

This from Ted Rall --

No Banks Go Belly Up

Well, at least we have not had any more bank failures.  That's a good thing  --  I think.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shocking 'Extermination' Fantasies By the People Running America's Empire on Full Display at Aspen Summit Security Forum participants expressed total confidence in American empire, but could not contain their panic at the mention of Snowden.

Here is just part of an article on "Alternet".  Please go to the original and read the rest.  Follow link.

It speaks for itself.  It merely tells you how low we have fallen, how we no longer trust ANY of our "Citizens", how these fantasies of "security" have morphed into those of both "total information" and TOTAL CONTROL.

In today's American Empire YOU (and I) are SUBJECTS. 

I liked being a citizen better.
Seated on a stool before an audience packed with spooks, lawmakers, lawyers and mercenaries, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer introduced recently retired CENTCOM chief General James Mattis. “I’ve worked with him and I’ve worked with his predecessors,” Blitzer said of Mattis. “I know how hard it is to run an operation like this.”
Reminding the crowd that CENTCOM is “really, really important,” Blitzer urged them to celebrate Mattis: “Let’s give the general a round of applause.”
Following the gales of cheering that resounded from the room, Mattis, the gruff 40-year Marine veteran who once volunteered his opinion that “it’s fun to shoot some people,” outlined the challenge ahead. The “war on terror” that began on 9/11 has no discernable end, he said, likening it to the “the constant skirmishing between [the US cavalry] and the Indians” during the genocidal Indian Wars of the 19th century.
“The skirmishing will go on likely for a generation,” Mattis declared.
Mattis’ remarks, made beside a cable news personality who acted more like a sidekick than a journalist, set the tone for the entire 2013 Aspen Security Forum this July. A project of the Aspen Institute, the Security Forum brought together the key figures behind America’s vast national security state, from military chieftains like Mattis to embattled National Security Agency Chief General Keith Alexander to top FBI and CIA officials, along with the bookish functionaries attempting to establish legal groundwork for expanding the war on terror.
Partisan lines and ideological disagreements faded away inside the darkened conference hall, as a parade of American securitocrats from administrations both past and present appeared on stage to defend endless global warfare and total information awareness while uniting in a single voice of condemnation against a single whistleblower bunkered inside the waiting room of Moscow International Airport: Edward Snowden.  ..................................................

Exterminating People'
John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General who prosecuted the war on terror under the administration of George W. Bush, appeared at Aspen as a board member of Academi. Responding to a question about U.S. over-reliance on the “kinetic” approach of drone strikes and special forces, Ashcroft reminded the audience that the U.S. also likes to torture terror suspects, not just “exterminate” them.
“It's not true that we have relied solely on the kinetic option,” Ashcroft insisted. “We wouldn't have so many detainees if we'd relied on the ability to exterminate people…We've had a blended and nuanced approach and for the guy who's on the other end of a Hellfire missile he doesn't see that as a nuance.”
Hearty laughs erupted from the crowd and fellow panelists. With a broad smile on her face, moderator Catherine Herridge of Fox News joked to Ashcroft, “You have a way with words.”
But Ashcroft was not done. He proceeded to boast about the pain inflicted on detainees during long CIA torture sessions: “And maybe there are people who wish they were on the end of one of those missiles.”
Competing with Ashcroft for the High Authoritarian prize was former NSA chief Michael Hayden, who emphasized the importance of Obama’s drone assassinations, at least in countries the U.S. has deemed to be Al Qaeda havens. “Here's the strategic question,” Hayden said. “People in Pakistan? I think that's very clear. Kill 'em. People in Yemen? The same. Kill 'em.”
“We don’t smoke [drug] cartel leaders but personally I’d support it,” remarked Philip Mudd, the former deputy director of Bush’s Counterterrorism Center, earning more guffaws from his fellow panelists and from Herridge. Ironically, Mudd was attempting to argue that counter-terror should no longer be a top U.S. security priority because it poses less of a threat to Americans than synthetic drugs and child obesity.
Reflection was not on the agenda for most of the Security Forum’s participants. When asked by a former US ambassador to Denmark the seminal question “This is a great country, why are we always the bad guy?,” Mudd replied, “They think that anything the U.S. does [in the Middle East], even though we helped Muslim communities in Bosnia and Kuwait, everything is rewritten to make us the bad guys.”..................................................................

There's a lot more  --  please go there.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detroit, and the Bankruptcy of America’s Social Contract

This from Robert Reich

One way to view Detroit’s bankruptcy — the largest bankruptcy of any American city — is as a failure of political negotiations over how financial sacrifices should be divided among the city’s creditors, city workers, and municipal retirees — requiring a court to decide instead. It could also be seen as the inevitable culmination of decades of union agreements offering unaffordable pension and health benefits to city workers.

But there’s a more basic story here, and it’s being replicated across America: Americans are segregating by income more than ever before. Forty years ago, most cities (including Detroit) had a mixture of wealthy, middle-class, and poor residents. Now, each income group tends to lives separately, in its own city — with its own tax bases and philanthropies that support, at one extreme, excellent schools, resplendent parks, rapid-response security, efficient transportation, and other first-rate services; or, at the opposite extreme, terrible schools, dilapidated parks, high crime, and third-rate services.
The geo-political divide has become so palpable that being wealthy in America today means not having to come across anyone who isn’t.

Detroit is a devastatingly poor, mostly black, increasingly abandoned island in the midst of a sea of comparative affluence that’s mostly white. Its suburbs are among the richest in the nation. Oakland County, for example, is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States, of counties with a million or more residents. Greater Detroit — which includes the suburbs — is among the nation’s top five financial centers, the top four centers of high-technology employment, and the second-biggest source of engineering and architectural talent. Not everyone is wealthy, to be sure, but the median household in the region earns close to $50,000 a year, and unemployment is no higher than the nation’s average. The median household in Birmingham, Michigan, just across the border that delineates the city of Detroit, earned more than $94,000 last year; in nearby Bloomfield Hills — still within the Detroit metropolitan area — the median was more than $150,000.

The median household income within the city of Detroit is around $26,000, and unemployment is staggeringly high. One out of 3 residents is in poverty; more than half of all children in the city are impoverished. Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit lost a quarter of its population as the middle-class and whites fled to the suburbs. That left it with depressed property values, abandoned neighborhoods, empty buildings, lousy schools, high crime, and a dramatically-shrinking tax base. More than half of its parks have closed in the last five years. Forty percent of its streetlights don’t work.

In other words, much in modern America depends on where you draw boundaries, and who’s inside and who’s outside. Who is included in the social contract? If “Detroit" is defined as the larger metropolitan area that includes its suburbs, “Detroit" has enough money to provide all its residents with adequate if not good public services, without falling into bankruptcy. Politically, it would come down to a question of whether the more affluent areas of this “Detroit" were willing to subsidize the poor inner-city through their tax dollars, and help it rebound. That’s an awkward question that the more affluent areas would probably rather not have to face.
In drawing the relevant boundary to include just the poor inner city, and requiring those within that boundary to take care of their compounded problems by themselves, the whiter and more affluent suburbs are off the hook. “Their" city isn’t in trouble. It’s that other one — called “Detroit."
It’s roughly analogous to a Wall Street bank drawing a boundary around its bad assets, selling them off at a fire-sale price, and writing off the loss.  Only here we’re dealing with human beings rather than financial capital. And the upcoming fire sale will likely result in even worse municipal services, lousier schools, and more crime for those left behind in the city of Detroit. In an era of widening inequality, this is how wealthier Americans are quietly writing off the poor.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A visit to "Some Assembly Required"

It's time to visit "Some Assembly Required" again.  After you read what I've put up  --  go to the original and read the rest.  If you then choose to go back to bed, pull the covers over your head and cry  --  I can not blame you.  If you decide to try and start a NEW political party  --  I can't blame you for that either.  Just don't believe what our "news" organizations "report". 

Oh yeah  --  go out there and learn some REAL history. 

In any case, please follow link to original.

Twas Always So: "Black criminality is more than myth; it is socially engineered prophecy. If you believe a people to be inhuman, you confine them to inhuman quarters and inhuman labor, and subject them to inhuman policy. When they then behave inhumanely to each other, you take it is as proof of your original thesis. The game is rigged. Because it must be." Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Waste Not, Want: Those who want to terrify us with the specter of death by debt have seized Detroit as their new rallying cry - it was the greedy unionized government workers who brought down the city and, they warn, will bring down cities across this great nation unless their pension rights are destroyed. That's the game plan. That and selling off the art to the usual suspects. Disaster capitalism at it's best. 

No Interest: Turkey's rebellion is spreading throughout the country. Not just that park in Istanbul, nor just a few major cities - it has spread throughout the southeast, with heavy clashes between the police and government troops and the protesters. No, you didn't see it on the evening news. 

Noted: Chicago schools are laying off 2,100 employees while the city puts $55 million into a college basketball arena. Priorities.

Ah, Those Guys Again: The Lemmings have decided not to even pretend to care about the environment, the earth, or the future and announced they plan to cut the EPA budget by 34% and to prohibit any federal rules that would limit carbon emissions from power plants, no matter how high the temperature or the tides rise.

Fairness Doctrine: All those CEOs making 468 times their average employee's wage write their compensation off their companies' taxes, driving our taxes up by $120 billion a year.    

One More Once

Why were all the "Liberals", and so many "Progressives" so damn pro-Obama when ALL his words told me he was, at BEST, a "liberal republican", and most likely to the right of Dwight Eisenhower? 

Why were they "snowed" by his qualities as an orator?  Why didn't they actually LISTEN to what he said?

Why didn't they LOOK at Hillary's record  --  esp as a Senator? 

Why are so many so disappointed by Obama when he is who he said he was?  Also, did they really expect him to act as if he had 10 or 20 years experience on "Capitol Hill" when he just plain didn't?  Why did they expect him to forgo his "Joe Cool" act, and suddenly become a fighter?

Why can't the Republicans accept the fact Obama is NOT a "Socialist"?  Is their racism so overwhelming that they are totally blind to reality?  Do they know what a "Socialist" is?

Why are so many folks willing to vote against THEIR self interest when those pro0grams might actually help some of "THEM" (whoever "THEM" happens to be at any given time)?

How long will we continue to listen to those who wear the flag, proclaim their "patriotism", yet act as if they HATE everything the USA has accomplished, everything it stands for?

Will we EVER educate our people?

Monday, July 22, 2013

One more time

Once again, I'm taking a break.  I can't do it any more.

Just read what the "non-racist" right wing "Patriots" say when it comes to Zimmermen or Trayvon Martin. 

Listen to what folks are saying about "hoodies". 

Now, listen to some of our "Christian leaders" when it is about women, abortion, LGBT folks, and everything else they seem not to approve of.  Compare that with the words of Jesus. 

Now, take a look at how Orthodox Jews treat women IN BROOKLYN! 
Next check out how quite a few Muslims treat women.

Next, tell me why so many "liberals" are apologists for Muslims, while at the same time appearing to be anti-Semites?

Oh yeah  --  explain why the CHILDREN of Union members, who owe their decent life and education to the fact UNIONS allowed their fathers to earn a middle class income, are so damn anti-Union?

Explain why so many folks seem to LOVE Bloomberg?  Isn't he just an old fashioned Fascist?

How has it worked out that "lefties" are anti-gun, while right-wing folks are anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-GOVERNMENT  --  except when it requires keeping track of women's behavior, their sex lives, their need for contraception, and the fact they often try to act as if they are actual human beings?

Why do so many supposed "Democrats" appear to want to support various and sundry anti-abortion measures?  Have they too succumbed to the "Patriarchy Rules" party?

Who can I support?  Who can I trust?  When I do trust someone, and they are brought down by some minor sex scandal, why do I think they were set up?  Why is Senator Vitter still a Senator?  Why did Weiner resign when he didn't really show his "weiner"?  Why can't I believe ANYTHING on the "News"  --  be it CBS, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, NBC, or even Current?

Am I just going to write about Baseball, or my Cats?

I think not.  Time to recharge. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

More Batshit Crazy Burmese Buddhists: Mobbing The Muslims

Then we have more of this crap.  Please remember ALL religions are (as "they" say) "batshit crazy".  Gee-golly-gosh, don't you just LOVE these "religions of peace", the age old "wisdom of the East"?

Please follow link to original at "Atheist Oasis".

Lately, more Buddhists have been in the news – and the press is none too good.
Burma jails 25 Buddhists for mob killings of 36 Muslims in Meikhtila
A Burmese court has sentenced 25 Buddhists to up to 15 years in prison for murder and other crimes during a night of rioting, burning and killing in central Burma, after weeks in which it seemed only Muslims were being punished for sectarian violence aimed largely at them.
But the sentences handed down on Wednesday and Thursday did not erase a sense of unequal justice: a day earlier, a Muslim received a life sentence for murdering one of 43 people killed in March in the central Burmese town of Meikhtila.
A wave of violence in the past year in the largely Buddhist country has left more than 250 people dead and 140,000 others fleeing their homes, most of them Muslim. The attacks, and the government’s inability to stop them, have marred the south-east Asian country’s image abroad as it moves toward democracy and greater freedom after nearly five decades of military rule.
Many of the sentences were handed down on Wednesday, and the toughest stemmed from the deadliest incident of the Meikhtila riots: a brutal mob attack on an Islamic school, its students and teachers that killed 36 people.
Buddhist mobs torched Mingalar Zayone Islamic boarding school, Muslim firms and all but one of the city’s 13 mosques after a row between a Muslim and a Buddhist at a gold shop and the burning to death of a Buddhist monk by four Muslim men.
Although among the least associated religious traditions with violence, there is a robust history of Buddhist-related self-flagellation, suicides, torture, and wars.
Buddhism often promotes unproven nonsense concepts such as reincarnation and karma –again proving my repeated insistence that the idea of an afterlife – and as a transient factor the comic book idea that all deeds are written down in some invisible ledger to be paid off at some indeterminate point in the future – only pours gasoline on the fire.
The afterlife poisons all that it touches – regardless of which culture it hails from.
Till the next post, then.

John Galt and the Theory of the Firm

This from Prof. Krugman  --  it's a few days old, but I finally realized it's a must post.

Please follow link to original

Via David Atkins at Digby’s place, Bloomberg Businessweek has a great piece about how an Ayn Rand-loving hedge fund guy is driving Sears into the ground.
One quirk, by the way, is that he doesn’t meet with his division heads in person; it’s all by video link. And look, I’ve seen that movie — probably a Syfy original, but I don’t remember (better than Sharknado, anyway); clearly, this guy doesn’t even exist, he’s a computer-generated hologram being manipulated by an evil IT guy.
But back to the economics: Eddie Lampert’s big idea is that markets and competition rool, so he’s forcing the different parts of Sears to compete for resources just as if they were independent firms, with individual division profitability the only criterion for success. According to BB, it’s not going well; but they don’t get much into the broader issues.
The first issue that should pop into anyone’s head here is, if the different divisions of Sears have no common interests, if the best model is competition red in tooth and claw, why should Sears exist at all? Why not just break it up into units that have no reason not to compete?
For that matter, why should any large firm exist? Why not just have small firms, or maybe just individuals, who make deals for whatever they need?
Of course, that’s not how we do things. We may live in a market sea, but that sea is dotted with many islands that we call firms, some of them quite large, within which decisions are made not via markets but via hierarchy — even, you might say, via central planning. Clearly, there are some things you don’t want to leave up to the market — the market itself is telling us that, by creating those islands of planning and hierarchy.
Now, why exactly that’s true — why some things are better done through market mechanisms, while others are better done through at least a bit of command-and-control — is a deep issue. Oliver Williamson (pdf) got a Nobel for helping elucidate some aspects of that issue (although that may not mean much to you, considering some of the people who’ve gotten Nobels).
The thing is, however, that for a free-market true believer the recognition that some things are best not left up to markets should be a disturbing notion. If the limitations of markets in providing certain kinds of shared services are important enough to justify the creation of command-and-control entities with hundreds of thousands or even millions of workers, might there not even be some goods and services (*cough* health care *cough*) best provided by non-market means even at the level of the economy as a whole?
So in a way Eddie Lampert is being consistent: he’s putting his money (or actually his investors’ money) where his ideology is, and applying market-worship to the internal management of his own company.
Of course, the purity of the experiment is sort of spoiled by the likelihood that there isn’t actually any such person, that he’s just a hologram. But still.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Obamacare Is the Right’s Worst Nightmare

Here's an interesting post from Prof. Krugman - please follow link to original

News from New York: it looks as if insurance premiums on the individual market are going to plunge thanks to Obamacare. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, the New York experience perfectly illustrates why Obamacare had to look the way it does. And it also illustrates why conservatives should be terrified about this legislation, as it takes effect. Americans may have had a lot of misgivings in advance, thanks to vast, deliberately spread misinformation. But I agree with Matt Yglesias — unless the GOP finds even more ways to sabotage the plan, this thing is going to work, it’s going to be extremely popular, and it’s going to wreak havoc with conservative ideology.
To understand what’s happening in New York, you have to start with what almost everyone at least pretends to believe: Americans shouldn’t find it impossible to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions that aren’t their fault. Two decades ago, New York tried to deal with this by imposing community rating: insurance is available to everyone, and the price doesn’t depend on your medical history.
The problem was that this created a death spiral: young, healthy people didn’t buy insurance, worsening the risk pool, driving up premiums, driving out more relatively healthy people, etc., until you were left with a rump of very ill people paying very high rates.
How do you deal with this? Well, ideally, Medicare for all. But since that wasn’t going to happen, you improve the risk pool by requiring everyone to buy insurance — the individual mandate. And since some people won’t be able to afford that, you also offer subsidies. Voila! ObamaRomneycare!
Where does the money for the subsidies come from? Partly by reducing corporate welfare: reducing overpayments for Medicare Advantage, reducing tax breaks for very generous insurance plans; partly with new taxes on the wealthy.
And while a few people will be hurt — young, healthy individuals too affluent to qualify for subsidies, wealthy taxpayers, etc. — a much larger number of people will be helped, some of them enormously.
Does this amount to “redistribution”? Well, yes — not as an end in itself, but yes, a lot of people will be made better off at the expense of an affluent few.
And Yglesias is right: there will be bobbles along the way, but this is going to become an immensely popular program. By the time Liz Cheney challenges Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign, there will be signs at the rallies declaring “Don’t let the government get its hands on Obamacare!”
Conservatives are right to be hysterical about this: it’s an attack on everything they believe — and it’s going to make Americans’ lives better. What could be worse?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Metallica - Enter Sandman

Even though I'm not exactly a "metal" fan, this is a tribute to the LAST #42, Mariano Rivera.    A great pitcher, a great Yankee, on his last (of 13) All Star Games.  The following is his entrance theme..

Monday, July 15, 2013

An Impertinent Question

The latest from Robert Reich  --  please follow link to original

Permit me an impertinent question (or three).
Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically destroy the U.S. government by (1) finding and bankrolling new candidates pledged to shrinking and dismembering it; (2) intimidating or bribing many current senators and representatives to block all proposed legislation, prevent the appointment of presidential nominees, eliminate funds to implement and enforce laws, and threaten to default on the nation’s debt; (3) taking over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority in federal elections; (4) running a vast PR campaign designed to convince the American public of certain big lies, such as climate change is a hoax, and (5) buying up the media so the public cannot know the truth.
Would you call this treason?
If not, what would you call it?
And what would you do about it?

Hunger Games, U.S.A. By PAUL KRUGMAN

The latest column from Dr. Krugman.  Please follow link to original

Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.
The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.
For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).
Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.
So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
Given this awesome double standard — I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” does it justice — it seems almost anti-climactic to talk about facts and figures. But I guess we must.
So: Food stamp usage has indeed soared in recent years, with the percentage of the population receiving stamps rising from 8.7 in 2007 to 15.2 in the most recent data. There is, however, no mystery here. SNAP is supposed to help families in distress, and lately a lot of families have been in distress.
In fact, SNAP usage tends to track broad measures of unemployment, like U6, which includes the underemployed and workers who have temporarily given up active job search. And U6 more than doubled in the crisis, from about 8 percent before the Great Recession to 17 percent in early 2010. It’s true that broad unemployment has since declined slightly, while food stamp numbers have continued to rise — but there’s normally some lag in the relationship, and it’s probably also true that some families have been forced to take food stamps by sharp cuts in unemployment benefits.
What about the theory, common on the right, that it’s the other way around — that we have so much unemployment thanks to government programs that, in effect, pay people not to work? (Soup kitchens caused the Great Depression!) The basic answer is, you have to be kidding. Do you really believe that Americans are living lives of leisure on $134 a month, the average SNAP benefit?
Still, let’s pretend to take this seriously. If employment is down because government aid is inducing people to stay home, reducing the labor force, then the law of supply and demand should apply: withdrawing all those workers should be causing labor shortages and rising wages, especially among the low-paid workers most likely to receive aid. In reality, of course, wages are stagnant or declining — and that’s especially true for the groups that benefit most from food stamps.
So what’s going on here? Is it just racism? No doubt the old racist canards — like Ronald Reagan’s image of the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy a T-bone steak — still have some traction. But these days almost half of food stamp recipients are non-Hispanic whites; in Tennessee, home of the Bible-quoting Mr. Fincher, the number is 63 percent. So it’s not all about race.
What is it about, then? Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rant that launched the Tea Party, called “losers.” If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Insanity

Zimmerman guilty of NOTHING???  How can that be?  He killed an innocent young man.  He followed.  He disobeyed a direct order from the Police.  He is, at the very least guilty of being a TOTAL ASSHOLE.  Also, at the very least, manslaughter.

A travesty.


first  --  France is NOT collapsing. 

second  --  Texas State Troopers CONFISCATED maxi-pads, tampons, etc. from women who were bringing them into the hearing where the Texas Senate voted to maintain the status of WOMEN as second class citizens  --  if actually that high.

third  --  The information we get regarding Egypt is incomplete, confusing, and NOT NEWS  --  it's biased and merely opinion.

fourth  --  Zimmerman/Martin trial is taking up most of the "news" time on many "news" channels   ----   meanwhile all sorts of other crap is happening.  A lot of news has been avoided, ignored, and downgraded   ---   after all, actual information might just upset people.

fifth  --  The entire congress attempting to eliminate, and/or curtail food stamps does not get near the exposure it warrants.  Doesn't anyone else wonder what hungry people, at the end of their rope will do?

How dumb, stupid, uncaring, un-American have we become?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yanis Varoufakis: Europe Resorts to Authoritarianism to Paper Over Banking and Austerity Failures

Here, from "Naked Capitalism" we have some news about the ongoing European "situation".  It's been going on for so long that most folks are bored by it.  Of course those who are still suffering are NOT bored by it.  I suspect further authoritarian tactics will be necessary in the future.

Anyway, please follow link to original.

Yves here. Because the European slow-motion train wreck is turning out to be particularly slow, it’s almost become background noise in the US, almost a lesser version of the now two lost decades in Japan. But what is happing in Europe is less benign and less likely to be able to continue anywhere near that long.
Japan, despite its economic malaise, continues to rank at or near the top of advanced economies in social wellbeing indicators. Part of that may be that the island nation exaggerated how bad things were so as to allow it to run a really cheap currency (at least until the financial crisis induced the unwind of the yen carry trade) and maintain a robust export sector. But another big element was that Japan opted for a model of shared sacrifice (particularly an even further narrowing of the gap between average worker and executive pay) in order to maintain employment levels.
By contrast, the Troika has lurched from the verge of crisis to verge of crisis so often that it’s not hard to adopt a “wake me when it’s about to be really over” posture. One can credit the Eurocrats with having perfected the art of doing the bare minimum to get them through successive emergencies without resolving any of the underlying issues. For instance, I’ve been remiss as far as commenting on the European plan, such as it is, for resolving failed banks. You might understand why after reading the money section of today’s discussion of it by Delusional Economics:
Reuters has more on this point…
…the new authority will be handicapped by the fact that it will have to wait years before it has a fund to pay for the costs of any bank wind-up it orders. In practice, this means it could be very difficult to demand any such closure.
Officials say the plan foresees tapping banks to build a war chest of 55 billion to 70 billion euros ($70 billion to $90 billion) but that is expected to take a decade, leaving the agency largely dependent on national schemes in the meantime.
So by 2025 there maybe a credible backstop fund. But seriously who is going to wait that long ? Spanish banks are already in serious trouble, and you’ll note that Spanish house prices continue to fall at pace, the Portuguese are also looking shaky, The Netherlands is on the beginnings of what looks to be a very slippery slope, and many other nations, Greece and Cyprus to mention just two, are still in significant economic strife.
But that’s not the truly immediate issue with this proposal. That, once again, is the German camp:
Germany has warned this may violate the EU’s basic laws by usurping national control over finances.
“We have to stick to the given legal basis, as otherwise we risk major turbulence,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday in Brussels. “I would strongly ask the commission in its proposal for an SRM to be very careful, and to stick to the limited interpretation of the given treaty.”
Or in other words, German banks don’t want to be saddled with the burden of allocating capital to support the banking systems in other nations. This reaction should, of course, be no surprise to anyone following the European crisis for any length of time. German EU policy has always been about protecting domestic banks. Anything that levels the playing field against Germany, including things like EU-wide deposit insurance, has always been knocked back. With Basel pushing for further reform on risk-weightings, I can only see this getting worse because the German banking system has a significantly understated capitalisation issues that it would like to keep as quiet as possible.
This one certainly isn’t over, especially with just 2 months until the German elections.
So shorter: the banking resolution plan is not only certain to be too little, way way too late, but it’s not even a credible plan because the Germans haven’t agreed to the fundamental mechanism of sharing banking risk across the Eurozone. We are way way into the Herbert Stein land of “that which is unsustainable won’t continue” but the Eurocrats have managed to defy what ought to be inevitable for an impressively long period of time.
But all this increasingly expert can-kicking is coming at a cost, and that’s the destruction of democracy in the periphery, and potentially of functioning societies. Greece is being turned into a failed state. Basic services like garbage collection and hospitals are breaking down. If there was any logic in breaking Greece on the rack, one assumes it was meant to serve as some sort of example.
But even if the Troika harshly punishes the defiant, quiet submission to its dictates isn’t looking like a much better alternative. The obedient followers of austerity are simply digging their countries into deeper and deeper holes. What happens when you have a half a generation of young people who’ve spent the early part of what would normally be their early careers not working or barely working? They’ve lost time, skills, no doubt become demoralized. And if these economies were to miraculously start showing some life again, they’d not be the first one hired. It would be new and more recent graduates.
The behavior of the putative European leaders is wildly reckless and irresponsible. It’s a fundamental renunciation of what society is supposed to be about, which is a sharing of effort and burdens for the collective good. The elites may think they can stay in their cocoon while the masses suffer, but as social decay progresses, you’ll see a breakdown in services, in public health, and more and more difficulty in maintaining security.
Varoufakis argues that the failure to address the economic problems means the Troika will rely more and more on authoritarianism.
By Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens. Cross posted from his blog
This blog was initially established to discuss the global crisis of 2008 and, in particular, to promote our Modest Proposal for Resolving the Euro Crisis. As Version 4.0 of the Modest Proposal is being prepared (and will be published early next week), it is perhaps time to take stock of almost four years of Euro Crisis.
The Eurozone Crisis used to have three components. Now it has developed a fourth; possibly the most toxic.
As we all know, it all started with a banking crisis, which caused investment and liquidity to fall into a hole, which spawned a public debt crisis, which in turn reinforced the investment crisis, the result being more bank failures and higher public debt. In its infinite wisdom, the Eurozone decided to treat this multiple crisis as if it were just a debt problem, and to implement savage budget cuts and mammoth tax hikes. Incomes fell sharply reinforcing all three of the sub-crises: banks fell deeper into their black hole, debt to GDP ratios rose and, naturally, investment crossed into negative territory.
Our Modest Proposal, from its first version in 2010, identified these three crises and urged Europe’s leaders to deal with them in an integrated fashion; to avoid dealing with the debt problem as if it were independent of the banking malaise or of the dearth in investment; to desist from pretending that Greece’s crisis was separate from that of Ireland’s, Italy’s or indeed Germany’s. The Modest Proposal offered three simple policies, which could be implemented without Treaty changes, without fiscal transfers, even without troikas, haircuts or bank account confiscations (recall Cyprus).
Three and a half years passed and Europe remains in denial, committed to the same toxic remedy. While there has been movement along the lines of the three policies that we prescribed back then, Europe’s leadership always made sure that its baby steps in that direction would be cancelled out before there was a chance of making progress. On debt, they insisted on funding the EFSF-ESM with CDO-like eurobonds that came with the domino effect built into them. On direct bank recapitalisations, they chose to make these conditional on a banking union project which, naturally, ended up as the red herring that our leaders pretend to be chasing after; a ploy by which to avoid breaking up the cosy link between national politicians and local bankers. On investment, apartt from some interesting ideas from Mr Draghi (on how the ECB could incite the money markets to treat more kindly investment projects in the Periphery) all we have had was the re-labelling of unspent (pitiful in sum) structural funds as a ‘Growth Pact’. The only policy on which Europe has shown remarkable decisiveness is universal, self-defeating austerity.
Of course, by now, everyone sees that this policy is the century’s greatest own-goal. So, the only way of continuing with its implementation is by turning to authoritarianism; by turning nasty; by bending the rules of democracy; by persecuting the weak so that the less weak fall into line; by winking to the neo-nazis and closing down public broadcasters (re. the Greek government’s social policies and closure of ERT); by cutting the meagre support that the unemployed and the sick receive – all in the name of reform and efficiency.
In short, Europe’s governments must increasingly rely on authoritarianism in order to ‘maintain course’, both in the manner in which they treat their citizens and in the manner in which the treat each other; the Northern governments their Southern counterparts in particular. Thus we have the fourth crisis: the crisis of European democracy. And the longer Europe remains in denial about the systemic nature of its crisis the larger the democratic deficit and the more Europeans will look at Europe as the problem (rather than the solution)

Great Post -- No?

My last post, "incisive Analysis" was (pick one) Great, Incisive, Brilliant, Terrible, Redundant, Stupid, Silly, Wonderful, etc.

Please pick one (or more).  If you have a comment  --  please do.

More music to follow.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

incisive Analysis

I realize folks who read this blog might be upset simply because I've been posting music instead of my trenchant, sharp, keen, incisive, analysis of current events  --  usually written by other people.

So, in response to overwhelming demand   -----   Cardinal Dolan is a fat, lying, fuck, in addition to protecting pedophiles.

Have a nice day  8^)

Roland Kirk - We Free Kings

Roland Kirk - Tenor Saxophone, Manzello, Flute, Stritch
Hank Jones - Piano
Wendell Marshall - Bass
Charlie Persip - Drums

Roland KIRK & Jack McDUFF "Kirk's work" (1961)

Roland Kirk - Once in a While

Roland Kirk - Tenor Saxophone, Stritch, Manzello, Flute, Siren, Oboe, Castanets
Jaki Byard - Piano
Richard Davis - Bass
Elvin Jones - Drums

Friday, July 5, 2013

Leon Russell Willie Nelson Maria Muldaur Bonnie Raitt

J J CALE After midnight 1971

Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson & Leon Russell - Jambalaya

Leon Russell / A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

A SONG FOR YOU - Leon Russell & Friends (1971)

For Independence Day, Let's Remember a Leak That Helped Spur the American Revolution:

This from "The Rude Pundit".  Follow link to original.

There have been many "Snowdens" over the years.  We tend to look upon them as heroes today.  Anyone who exposes tyranny is a hero.

By the end of his life, no one loved former Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson. A loyalist's loyalist, Hutchinson led the state during both the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. He was hated by the Americans and never fully accepted by the leaders of Great Britain, where he lived after fleeing the gathering war fever. After he died, John Adams pretty much called him a dick.

But the man wrote letters, tons of 'em. Someone gave Benjamin Franklin a stack of letters that Hutchinson, as chief justice and then governor, along with province secretary Andrew Oliver, wrote to Great Britain in 1767-1769, letters that said things like, "I wish the good of the colony when I wish to see some further restraint of liberty rather than the connection with the parent state should be broken," as well as asking for more British troops to help squelch the nascent rebellion. Hutchinson implored the receiver to keep the communications secret.

For his part, in 1772, Franklin showed the letters only to the leaders of the Revolution, but Adams said, "Fuck that," and printed some of them in the Boston Gazette in 1773, which, of course, caused a huge public uproar against Hutchinson and fanned the flames against the British. When three people were charged by the British with the leak, and two others were going to duel over accusations of who stole them, Franklin stepped up and said he did it. It cost him his job as Postmaster General. Hutchinson put himself into exile in England for the rest of his life rather than face impeachment at home. He became something of a right-wing troll for the crown, as one letter of his criticizing the Declaration of Independence demonstrates.

In his confession, Franklin admitted to the leak of the letters, but he defended his intentions: "They were written by public officers to persons of public station, on public affairs, and intended to procure public measures; they were therefore handed to other public persons who might be influenced by them to produce those measures." And then Franklin concluded with a great middle finger to those accusing him of some kind of treason: "The chief caution expressed with regard to privacy was to keep their contents from Colony Agents, who the writers apprehended might return them, or copies of them, to America. That apprehension, it seems, was well-founded; for the first agent who laid his hands on them thought it his duty to transmit them to his constituents."

Franklin thought that the people deserved to know what their leaders were plotting against them. That we honor him today must mean we believe there is some good to such actions.

Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

This is from a few days ago.  Doesn't matter.  It just shows, once again, how corrupt The Roman Catholic Church is.  The anti-gay, traditionalist, self styled arbiter of moral values, Cardinal Dolan not only has "feet of clay", but he's a DAMNED LIAR. 

Then again, what else do you expect from a Cardinal?

Please follow link to original.

 Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday reveal that in 2007, Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, then the archbishop there, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation.
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has emphatically denied seeking to shield church funds as the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009. He reiterated in a statement Monday that these were “old and discredited attacks.”
However, the files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show.
The release of more than 6,000 pages of documents on Monday was hailed by victims and their advocates as a vindication and a historic step toward transparency and accountability. They were well aware that the archives would bring unusually intense scrutiny to the country’s most high-profile prelate, Cardinal Dolan, who as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the archbishop of New York has sought to help the church turn the corner on the era of scandal.
Cardinal Dolan has been regarded by many Catholics as part of the solution. In public appearances, he has expressed personal outrage at the harm done to children, apologized profusely and pledged to help the church and the victims heal.
But the documents lift the curtain on his role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood.
“As victims organize and become more public, the potential for true scandal is very real,” he wrote in such a request in 2003 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican office charged with handling abuse cases until he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
Victims on Monday called for a federal investigation into the actions of Cardinal Dolan and his predecessors, but the cardinal sought to deflect criticism by saying in a statement Monday that he welcomed the release of the documents.
The current archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki, had announced his decision to release the documents in April, one day before a judicial hearing. Lawyers for abuse victims had asked a judge to compel their release.
Archbishop Listecki released a letter last week warning Catholics in his archdiocese that the documents could shake their faith, and trying to explain the actions of church leaders while offering apologies to victims.
“Prepare to be shocked,” he wrote. “There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders.”
The files include documents from the personnel files of 42 clergy offenders with “substantiated” allegations, going back 80 years. (The names and identifying features of victims were redacted.) Also included are the legal depositions of Cardinal Dolan and another former Milwaukee archbishop, Rembert Weakland, and a retired auxiliary bishop, Richard J. Sklba.
Milwaukee harbored some of the nation’s most notorious priest pedophiles, including the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, whom a church therapist assessed as having molested as many as 200 boys during his two and a half decades teaching and leading St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., and Sigfried Widera, who faced 42 counts of child abuse in Wisconsin and California. Father Murphy died in 1998, and Father Widera committed suicide in Mexico in 2003.
In his letter, Archbishop Listecki said the documents showed that 22 priests were “reassigned to parish work after concerns about their behavior were known to the archdiocese,” and that 8 of those “reoffended after being reassigned.”
Advocates for abuse victims objected that the archdiocese did not release the files of many others accused of abuse, including priests, deacons, nuns, schoolteachers and choir directors. The files do not include any known priest offenders who were members of religious orders (like the Capuchins or Jesuits) who served in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
Follow @NYTNational for breaking news and headlines.
“It’s still less than a complete disclosure, but it’s a giant step in the right direction,” said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for many of the alleged victims. The documents were posted on both his Web site and the archdiocese’s, but they were arranged differently to buttress each argument.
Cardinal Dolan was deposed about his handling of abuse cases and the assets of the archdiocese in February, just before he left for Rome for the conclave to elect a new pope. The release of the documents is the byproduct of a bitter standoff in bankruptcy court between the Milwaukee Archdiocese and 575 men and women who have filed claims against it alleging that priests or other church employees had sexually abused them.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, saying it was the best way to compensate the victims and resolve the controversy. It became the eighth Catholic diocese in the United States to do so. Since then, negotiations between the two sides in Milwaukee have broken down: the church has argued that about 400 of the 575 cases are invalid, while lawyers for the victims have accused the church of hiding assets.
In January, the archdiocese said it had spent about $9 million in legal and other fees in the bankruptcy process and was going broke.
In 2007, the year Cardinal Dolan asked to transfer the funds, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision that in effect lifted an unusual law that had long shielded the church from sexual abuse lawsuits. When he was later accused of trying to shield church funds, Cardinal Dolan said on his blog in New York that it was “malarkey” and “groundless gossip.” Archbishop Listecki and former Auxiliary Bishop Sklba invoked a theme that many other church officials have used in the past to explain their conduct: that their missteps reflected a broader lack of awareness about child sexual abuse in society.
Archbishop Listecki wrote that he did not want to make excuses, but that church officials had relied on the advice of doctors and therapists who were “seemingly more concerned about ‘Father’ than about the children.” He said the documents would reveal “the progression and evolution of thinking on this topic.”
However, the Rev. James Connell, a priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese who helped to form a group called Catholic Whistleblowers, said in an interview that he did not find this claim credible.
“I was in high school in the 1950s,” he said, “and I learned about statutory rape in high school. An adult having sexual activity with a minor is a crime. We knew about it then, so you can’t claim that social thought changed.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Paul Desmond & Jim Hall Quartet - Alone Together

Paul Desmond (alto sax), Jim Hall (guitar), Eugene Cherico (bass), Connie Kay (drums)

Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond -- Stardust

Thelonious Monk & Gerry Mulligan - 'Round Midnight

Thelonious Monk - piano, Gerry Mulligan - saxophone, Shadow Wilson - drums, Wilbur Ware - bass. From the album "Mulligan Meets Monk".

Monday, July 1, 2013

Anita O'Day Ain't Misbehavin'

Anita O`Day Ain't Misbehavin with the Nat "King" Cole Trio

Anita O'Day - Honeysuckle Rose

Anita O'Day - Trav'lin' light

Peggy Lee - I Don't Know Enough About You

Nat Adderly 1960 - Violets For Your Furs

It's Monday

It's Monday  --  I think it's time for more music.  In Arizona, 19 firefighters died while fighting a wildfire.  This is truly a tragedy.  Of course, those who hate government, who hate infrastructure, who want EVERYTHING "privatized" -- though how you make a profit fighting wildfires without it being far more expensive than as a function of government is beyond me -- want "maximum effort" on the part of government to control this destructive fire.  After which, they will (most likely) call for a REDUCTION in taxes.

I really dislike these silly people  --  so, it's time for more music.