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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 10/11/2009 - 10/18/2009
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer - report from the frontlines of the financial coup

need any more evidence that we've been the victims of a financial coup...?

what i find absolutely hysterical about this article is the leading sentence in the article's second paragraph...

Bailout Helps Fuel a New Era of Wall Street Wealth


It may come as a surprise that one of the most powerful forces driving the resurgence on Wall Street is not the banks but Washington. Many of the steps that policy makers took last year to stabilize the financial system — reducing interest rates to near zero, bolstering big banks with taxpayer money, guaranteeing billions of dollars of financial institutions’ debts — helped set the stage for this new era of Wall Street wealth.

a SURPRISE...? are you shitting me...? the only thing that's a surprise is that the nyt thinks that ANYBODY could think it's a surprise...

also unsurprisingly, we haven't even begun to hit the final tally at the check-out counter...

$1.4 Trillion Deficit Complicates Stimulus Plans

The Obama administration said Friday that the federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that just ended was $1.4 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars greater than the year before and the largest shortfall relative to the size of the economy since 1945.

didja get that...? "nearly a TRILLION dollars greater" than last year...? keee-rist...!

dave degraw has been doing good work chronicling this bald-faced highway robbery...

When we say financial coup, we're not giving you hyperbole. We're telling you the technical term for what has occurred.

Don't take our word for it, investigate it for yourself.

he offers the following links for your reading pleasure... nice work, dave...

Memo to Financial Investigators: Dig Deep

The Wall Street Coup D'Etat

Heated Press Debate Over $83 billion For Health Care, But Silence On At Least 20 Times That Amount Gone to Wall Street

Geithner's All Ears for Debt Cartel

Paulson's Revealing Phone Records

Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds

Goldman Tops $3B in Profit, Blows By Estimates

JPMorgan Posts $3.6 Billion Profit

$140 billion! Record Payday for Wall Street

$23 billion! Goldman Sachs 2009 bonuses could buy insurance for 1.7 million families

A Hidden $34 Billion Bank Subsidy? Study Exposes How Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Large Banks

Top Financial Services Committee Members Rely Heavily On Finance Campaign Contributions

The Fight for Financial Reform

Foreclosures: 'Worst three months of all time'

Good News on Wall Street Means… What Exactly?

U.S. unemployment rate closes in on 10%

Still on the Job, but at Half the Pay

Bill Moyers: Wall Street Rescue Report

To Hell With Wall Street! Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's Fight Club

Publicly-Owned Banks Can Help States and Residents

Take America Back From the Banks - Showdown in Chicago


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

What SHOULD we do...? What CAN we do...?

david degraw...
How much longer can people remain passive?

When reality is smacking you in the face, you have to eventually reach a point where you begin to act, where you fight back. You cannot continue to be passive when you are working harder than ever, for less money and benefits (if you’re fortunate enough to still have a job). You cannot continue to be passive when your medical bills are piling up as your health declines. You cannot continue to be passive when inflation is outpacing your buying power and your home and bank account are being sucked dry by ever-increasing interest rates. You cannot continue to be passive when your debt is growing faster than your income. You cannot continue to be passive when the environment is getting more destructive with severe storms and mass devastation all around you. You cannot continue to be passive when you voted for change, and ended up with more of the same.

You cannot continue to be passive when thousands of your dollars have been taken from you and your family and given to the billionaires who caused the economic crisis to begin with, and these thieves are still giving themselves multi-millions in yearly bonuses.

The bottom line is… You cannot continue to be passive when your very existence is threatened.


Popular outrage is at the highest level in a generation. The mainstream press seeks to defuse it, while the right wing is cleverly hijacking it through outlets like Fox News and with corporate shill pundits like Glenn Beck. We cannot let them get away with it. We must present the facts to the formerly passive and uniformed. We must seize this moment and begin repairing the world before it’s too late. The window of opportunity is closing fast!

no argument on this end... with some like-minded colleagues, i'm in the process of plotting and scheming to put something positive in place for afghanistan and, even though it might be a small thing, it's better than sitting around wringing my hands...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

While you're gagging on the previous post, you might as well gag on this as well

what about it, wall street...? what about it, jpmorgan chase...? what about it banksters...? brother, can you spare a dime...?
UN: Record 1 billion go hungry

Parents in some of Africa's poorest countries are cutting back on school, clothes and basic medical care just to give their children a meal once a day, experts say. Still, it is not enough.

A record 1 billion people worldwide are hungry and a new report says the number will increase if governments do not spend more on agriculture. According to the U.N. food agency, which issued the report, 30 countries now require emergency aid, including 20 in Africa.

The trend continues despite a goal set by world leaders nine years ago to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015.

"It's actually a world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries," said Otive Igbuzor, the head of international campaigns for ActionAid International.

"We know a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition," he said.

Spiraling food prices have added to hardships, especially in the world's most desperate countries where the poor could barely afford a single daily meal to begin with. The inflated prices — which caused riots across the globe last year — have stabilized but remain comparatively high, especially in the developing world, Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told AP Television News.

i imagine there are a lot of that one billion who don't feel a lot like singing...
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?


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A lucky star's above, but not for me

these three articles touting the dow breaking 10,000, the just-announced $3.6B 3d quarter profit of jpmorgan chase and the totally obscene bonus payout predictions remind me of the george and ira gershwin song, "but not for me"...
Dow Closes Above 10,000 For First Time In A Year

UPDATED at 4:15 p.m.

The Dow closed above 10,000 moments ago, pushing above a psychological barrier it has not recorded in more than a year.

The Dow briefly crossed 10,000 at about 1:15 p.m. today, then retreated, then punched above 10,000 after 3 p.m. and held on until closing.

and for those of you looking for work, choke on this...
JPMorgan Chase Reports Strong Profit of $3.6 Billion

JPMorgan’s results — $3.6 billion in profit for the third quarter — fanned hopes on Wall Street that the nation’s financial sector was entering a new period of prosperity, despite lingering troubles. The bank’s robust showing, amid tentative signs that its consumer loan losses might soon peak, has set the pace for other big banks that will report results in coming days.

but before you head to the bathroom to retch, be sure to check this...
Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout
Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package

Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.

if you're feeling like the victim of a con job that might just be because you are...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Corruption in Afghanistan...? D'oh...!


you gotta be shittin' me...
The top commanding officer in Afghanistan has revealed a belief that “rampant government corruption” has given the Taliban and al-Qaeda an edge in the war. The conclusion came in a recent secret document put together by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. Though the document requests more troops, it warns that more troops may not prevent the Taliban from taking back Afghanistan.

Corruption in Afghanistan became public knowledge after the presidential election in Afghanistan was revealed as rigged by independent election observers. Fraud investigations discovered that 1.1 million 'questionable votes' were given to President Hamid Karzai, and that the subtraction of these votes was enough to push Karzai below 50 percent.

"Corruption in Afghanistan became public knowledge after the presidential election in Afghanistan was revealed as rigged by independent election observers..." WHAT...? great god almighty...! i can't believe any responsible journalist could write such a statement with a straight face... i've been coming here to afghanistan since march of last year and corruption is as omnipresent as dust in the air...

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Yeah, what DID happen to Argentina...?


as i've previously opined in many previous blog posts on argentina, i really love the country and seriously don't think argentina has to take a back seat to anybody in the potential department... it's beautiful, it's big, it's incredibly blessed with resources and great people, but i also don't think there's any country anywhere more adept at shooting itself in the foot...

from the nyt via mercopress...

What Happened to Argentina?

A century ago, there were only seven countries in the world that were more prosperous than Argentina (Belgium, Switzerland, Britain and four former English colonies including the United States), according to Angus Maddison’s historic income database.

In 1909, per capita income in Argentina was 50% higher than in Italy, 180% higher than Japan, and almost five times higher than in neighbouring Brazil. Over the course of the 20th century, Argentina’s relative standing in world incomes fell sharply. By 2000, Argentina’s income was less than half that of Italy or Japan.

The chart below shows the relationship between income in 1909 and income in 2000 in 1990 dollars, and Argentina is the extreme outlier. The gap between 2000 income and predicted economic success, based on 1909 income, is larger for Argentina than for any other country. Why did that once-wealthy nation do so poorly?

In its pre-World War I heyday, Argentina thrived as a trading giant shipping beef and grain abroad. After World War II, formerly poor countries including Japan, Korea and Italy followed an export-led model to wealth. A combination of external shocks (two world wars and the Great Depression) and protectionism caused Argentina to turn inward.

Peronism was not only protectionist, but it also favoured large state enterprises and significant regulation of the economy. Neither strategy has been particularly good for growth. Argentina’s inbred banking system has historically had trouble weathering severe shocks. Decades of political instability have made property rights insecure and investment unattractive.

maybe someday they'll get it together...


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

NSA's world of automated surveillance on steroids

again, no surprise for any of us who have been following these things...

james bamford writing in the new york review of books via information clearing house...

On a remote edge of Utah's dry and arid high desert, where temperatures often zoom past 100 degrees, hard-hatted construction workers with top-secret clearances are preparing to build what may become America's equivalent of Jorge Luis Borges's "Library of Babel," a place where the collection of information is both infinite and at the same time monstrous, where the entire world's knowledge is stored, but not a single word is understood. At a million square feet, the mammoth $2 billion structure will be one-third larger than the US Capitol and will use the same amount of energy as every house in Salt Lake City combined.

Unlike Borges's "labyrinth of letters," this library expects few visitors. It's being built by the ultra-secret National Security Agency—which is primarily responsible for "signals intelligence," the collection and analysis of various forms of communication—to house trillions of phone calls, e-mail messages, and data trails: Web searches, parking receipts, bookstore visits, and other digital "pocket litter." Lacking adequate space and power at its city-sized Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters, the NSA is also completing work on another data archive, this one in San Antonio, Texas, which will be nearly the size of the Alamodome.

Just how much information will be stored in these windowless cybertemples? A clue comes from a recent report prepared by the MITRE Corporation, a Pentagon think tank. "As the sensors associated with the various surveillance missions improve," says the report, referring to a variety of technical collection methods, "the data volumes are increasing with a projection that sensor data volume could potentially increase to the level of Yottabytes (1024 Bytes) by 2015."[1] Roughly equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text, numbers beyond Yottabytes haven't yet been named. Once vacuumed up and stored in these near-infinite "libraries," the data are then analyzed by powerful infoweapons, supercomputers running complex algorithmic programs, to determine who among us may be—or may one day become—a terrorist. In the NSA's world of automated surveillance on steroids, every bit has a history and every keystroke tells a story.

there's a lot more but i find it odd that any mention of echelon (see my previous posts on echelon here) is omitted...

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