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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/27/2009 - 01/03/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, January 02, 2010

What about that swine flu...

no one would ever consider it was just a bogus scam to enrich big pharma... oh, no-o-o-o-ooo...!
Although it is too early to write the obituary for swine flu, medical experts, already assessing how the first pandemic in 40 years has been handled, have found that while luck played a part, a series of rapid but conservative decisions by federal officials worked out better than many had dared hope.

The outbreak highlighted many national weaknesses: old, slow vaccine technology; too much reliance on foreign vaccine factories; some major hospitals pushed to their limits by a relatively mild epidemic.

But even given those drawbacks, “we did a lot of things right,” concluded Dr. Andrew T. Pavia, chairman of the pandemic flu task force of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Federal officials deserve “at least a B-plus,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University’s medical school.

Even Dr. Peter Palese, a leading virologist at Mount Sinai Medical School, who can be a harsh critic of public policies he disagrees with, called the government’s overall response “excellent.”

i don't chase after conspiracy theories, believe me... i've got too much to do dealing with the real world...

nonetheless, it simply amazes me that we can just sit back and soak in our belief that all these super-greedy, power-hungry folks who call all the shots for us peasants always act in the interest of the common good and take the spin of an article like this without even a shrug of skepticism...

yeah, i know... SOME of our esteemed leaders really do try to work on behalf of the common good, but i think they're the rare exception and their efforts invariably get neutered by those who are all to willing to leave them by the side of the road as just so much discarded street pizza...

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Obscene tax breaks on obscene bonuses

these banksters are so over-the-top greedy it fairly boggles the mind...
Along with Wall Street’s resurgent bonuses will come a jump in an ancillary benefit: tax breaks.

For all banks and Wall Street firms, “I’m sure we’re talking $200 billion total compensation, which would create a tax savings for the firms of $80 billion,” said Robert Willens, an accounting and tax analyst in New York who runs a consulting firm, Robert Willens LLC. The figure does not include bonus plans by hedge funds, which are likely to reduce their payouts after a down year.

The tax deductions, which will increase the bottom line of the banks, are perfectly legal and not new. They come as compensation for 2009 has roared back after the largest banks paid back billions of dollars in federal aid, an outlay still fresh in the minds of taxpayers. As pay goes up, so do the deductions.

Many American banks already pay minuscule federal income taxes, because of various deductions and clever tax planning; the payout-related breaks will reduce their tax bills further in coming years.

The biggest tax break will go to Goldman Sachs. It expects to award its employees $23 billion in bonuses — the most in its history — after having paid back $10 billion. Because most employee compensation is a deductible expense under tax laws, Goldman Sachs, which is technically taxed at a top corporate rate of 39 percent, will save about $9 billion in federal income taxes on the bonuses it pays out for 2009, Mr. Willens said.

The tax breaks cover both cash awards and stock options. Banks can generally carry back losses related to compensation two to five years or forward 20 years, depending on when the payouts are made in a given tax year.

the fact that over one billion people around the world are going hungry while these bloated bastards continue to rake in amounts of money that an average person can't even fathom is one shitty way to start off a new year...

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Dubai ushers in the New Year with massive fireworks display (using more money they don't have)

from itn courtesy of juan cole...
The new decade makes it's entrance in the Middle East - the United Arab Emirates welcomes it with fireworks over the Burj Al Arab building.

once you're accustomed to obscene, over-the-top, insanely ostentatious displays, it's hard to give 'em up...


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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The CIA - oops, I mean Blackwater - dodges accountability... What a bunch o'crap...!

erik prince's cia cut-out organization never did have to worry about being held accountable...
Judge dismisses all charges in Blackwater shooting

A federal judge on Thursday threw out charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 people in a 2007 shooting in downtown Baghdad.

and a happy new year to all...!!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And the bailout just keeps on rollin'

never mind the poor saps who can't find jobs...
The federal government said Wednesday it will take a majority ownership stake in the troubled auto lender GMAC, providing another $3.8 billion in aid to the company, which has been unable to raise from private investors the money it needs to staunch its losses.

The new aid package for GMAC, coming as most large banks are repaying the government, underscores both the problems afflicting the company and its importance to the Obama administration's efforts to revive the auto industry.

GMAC, which already has taken $12.5 billion in direct federal aid along with other forms of government support, is the largest lender to General Motors and Chrysler dealerships and to their auto-buying customers.

The Treasury Department said it will increase its stake in GMAC to 56 percent from 35 percent. It also will hold about $14 billion in what amount to loans that GMAC may eventually be required to repay. The government plans to appoint four of the company's nine directors.

i'm tellin' ya... we're fast closing in on a full year in office for the guy who suckered us in with the audacity to promise change we can trust... ok, big-mouth... where is it...? with damn few exceptions, we could be wrapping up a ninth year of bush... there's damn little daylight between the two of 'em, 'ceptin for the fact that obama's at least able to read, write and speak... big whoop...

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Karachi ablaze

not good...

al jazeera...

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Sigh... Are people just intentionally blind to the realities of what's going on...?

i may have taken a break from posting but it's really hard to take a break from reality... after a long, three-leg flight back from pennsylvania, we arrived only to find that our bags - for a party of five, that would be EIGHT bags! - didn't arrive with us... as we were filing the missing bag report, there was a couple in front of us doing the same thing... as i listened to the conversation between them and the agent i overheard this...
agent: there was a big mess in los angeles today with the tsa... they were inspecting every bag and it's been giving us lots of problems...

woman: yes, and that's what they intended when they did their little stunt in detroit... just because we don't believe in the same god they do... and WE get to pay the price...

oh, fer god's sake, woman...! are you willfully blind or simply missing some critical brain cells...? YOU'RE missing a couple of bags, WE'RE KILLING THEM AND THEIR CHILDREN and YOU'RE angry because WE'RE paying the PRICE...? i bit my tongue because i knew if i said something, there was a good chance i would quickly devolve into an ugly rage and that wouldn't do anything but make things worse...

when is this insanity going to end...?

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