Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Political Suicide...

Greetings good citizen,

Can you say ‘KA-BLAM’?

Why would I ask this? Isn’t that the sound commonly associated with blowing one’s own foot off?

Um, if I’m not mistaken, it was the party of whack jobs who LOST the last election by screaming ‘Drill here, drill now!’

Um, let me first dispel any illusion that drilling for oil off of America’s seacoast is going to result in more/cheaper oil for US consumers. That oil will be sold on global markets for the current global price. [Nobody is going to cheat those oil speculators out of their ‘cut’!]

Again, if I remember correctly, Bobo didn’t ‘campaign’ on (decidedly unpopular) expanded oil exploration, he ran on the promise of ‘energy independence’. Specifically laying out a policy of pursuing ‘alternative energy’ as a ‘two-edged sword’ which would create jobs as well as wean us off of our ‘dangerous’ dependence on foreign oil…

What do you suppose happened to that idea?

You don’t think the ‘Banksters’ slapped him upside the head and wagged their finger in his face while they told him, ‘You can’t do that! Do you know how much we have invested in Chinese wind technology? If you’re gonna ‘go green’, you’re gonna go green OUR way!

But still, after losing the last election, where the fuck did ‘Drill here, Drill now! Re-surface from?

If you ask me, Peak Oil ‘deniers’ appear to be running out of ammunition.

Obama Details Plan to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling

Published: March 31, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday described his proposal to open vast expanses of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, as a painful but necessary decision.

He said that his plan to allow drilling along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska — ending a longstanding moratorium on exploration from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean — would balance the need to produce more domestic energy while protecting natural resources. [!] But it is also intended to generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation. [What part of ‘sold on the global market’ do they think the public doesn’t get? Never mind that one of the ‘dangers’ of peak oil is the end of ‘cheap and easy’. It’s that last part that really rattles my feeble noggin’, how the hell does drilling more fossil fuel ‘help’ the environment?]

While Mr. Obama has staked out middle ground on other environmental matters — supporting nuclear power, for example — the sheer breadth of the offshore drilling decision will take some of [?] his supporters aback. And it is no sure thing that it will win support for a climate bill from undecided senators close to the oil industry, like Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, or Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. [It’s safe to say that Bobo has ‘accepted’ the idea he won’t be re-elected so he’s dropping all pretense that he ever supported the progressive agenda. Looks like Bobo is going to give Billy-Boy a run for his money when it comes to the title of ‘best Republican president’. If this isn’t W’s third term then you could sure fool me!]

“This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly,” [Excuse me? Did you think about it for a whole ten minutes or did we get it the same way you did ‘This has been a public service announcement, so STFU!] the president said in prepared remarks in a speech on energy security. “But the bottom line is this: given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we’re going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy.” [Um, let’s suppose they aren’t yanking our crank and we will soon find ourselves in a world suddenly devoid of oil that people/nations are willing to sell. Talk about your screeching halt, the ‘whiplash’ alone would kill millions! That’s the only way this meme of ‘we need to enlarge our personal oil reserves’ makes any sense.]

But Jacqueline Savitz of the environmental group Oceana countered on Wednesday: “We’re appalled that the president is unleashing a wholesale assault on the oceans. Expanding offshore drilling is the wrong move if the Obama administration is serious about improving energy security, creating lasting jobs and averting climate change.”

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

To critics who already were branding the decision both unnecessary and a threat to the environment, Mr. Obama said in his remarks: “There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling, But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and long term. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.” [Um, there is ‘no way’ they are going to succeed in keeping any oil found within our coastal waterways for ourselves…and it’s ‘fucking stupid’ to even entertain the idea!]

On the other hand, oil industry officials and Republicans in Congress claimed the president did not go far enough in making domestic resources available for exploitation.

House Republican Leader John Boehner on Wednesday criticized the administration for keeping the vast majority of America’s offshore energy resources off limits at a time when, the Ohio representative said, Americans want an “all of the above” strategy for promoting American energy production and creating American jobs. [Jesus! Either Beanie-boy is an absolute moron or he thinks the rest of us are! Like Obama’s ‘shovel ready’ projects, all this strategy will accomplish is to provide ‘job security’ for the relative handful of people already employed in energy exploration. Just as ‘Shovel ready’ provided job security for people already employed in roadway maintenance.]

Mr. Obama tried to answer that criticism as well.

“They’d deny the fact that with less than 2 percent of oil reserves, but more than 20 percent of world consumption, drilling alone cannot come close to meeting our long-term energy needs,” he said, “and that for the sake of the planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now.” [So why the fuck is num-num instituting ‘drill here, drill now?]

“Ultimately,” he concluded, “we need to move beyond the tired debates between right and left, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure all and those who would claim it has no place. Because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again.“ [What a crock of crap! There is NO WAY there are going to drill their way to ‘energy independence’ AND keep it for themselves! And if they did the ‘blow-back’ would be incalculable! Think we have ‘terrorist problems’ now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!]

The Senate is expected to take up a climate bill in the next few weeks — the last chance to enact such legislation before midterm election concerns take over. [I’m not even going to go there, these idiotic attempts at bipartisanship are beyond pathetic!]

Mr. Obama and his allies in the Senate have already made significant concessions on coal and nuclear power to try to win votes from Republicans and moderate Democrats. The new plan now grants one of the biggest items on the oil industry’s wish list — access to vast areas of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling. [The citizens of the US WANT the WAR to end…what do we get? Off-shore drilling (along with an off-shored economy!) WTF!!!]

But even as Mr. Obama curries favors with pro-drilling interests, he risks a backlash from some coastal governors, senators and environmental advocates, who say that the relatively small amounts of oil to be gained in the offshore areas are not worth the environmental risks.

The Obama administration’s plan adopts some drilling proposals floated by President George W. Bush near the end of his tenure, including opening much of the Atlantic and Arctic Coasts. Those proposals were challenged in court on environmental grounds and set aside by President Obama shortly after he took office.

Unlike the Bush plan, however, Mr. Obama’s proposal would put Bristol Bay, home to major Alaskan commercial fisheries and populations of endangered whales, off limits to oil rigs.

Actual drilling in much of the newly opened areas, if it takes place, would not begin for years. [And when it does begin people will be so desperate for oil they won’t give a damn about the environmental risks.]

Mr. Obama said several times during his presidential campaign that he supported expanded offshore drilling. He noted in his State of the Union address in January that weaning the country from imported oil would require “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.” [He did? Funny how the media ‘glosses over’ certain topics so they won’t upset powerful advertisers.]

Perhaps in anticipation of controversy, the new policy has been closely held within the administration. White House and Interior Department officials began briefing members of Congress and local officials in affected states late Tuesday.

It is not known how much potential fuel lies in the areas opened to exploration, although according to Interior Department estimates there could be as much as a three-year supply of recoverable oil and more than two years’ worth of natural gas, at current rates of consumption. [This number is not ‘static’ so actual yields could be dramatically lower.] But those estimates are based on seismic data that is, in some cases, more than 30 years old.

The first lease sale off the coast of Virginia could occur as early as next year in a triangular tract 50 miles off the coast that had already been approved for development but was held up by a court challenge and additional Interior Department review, officials said.

But as a result of the Obama decision, the Interior Department will spend several years conducting geologic and environmental studies along the rest of the southern and central Atlantic Seaboard. If a tract is deemed suitable for development, it is listed for sale in a competitive bidding system. The next lease sales — if any are authorized by the Interior Department — would not be held before 2012. [Um, Aren’t these the same leases that go ‘unpaid’ year after year because ‘nobody’ is in charge of collecting the fee?]

The eastern Gulf of Mexico tract that would be offered for lease is adjacent to an area that already contains thousands of wells and hundreds of drilling platforms. The eastern Gulf area is believed to contain as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, the richest single tract that would be open to drilling under the Obama plan.

Drilling there has been strongly opposed by officials from both political parties in Alabama and Florida who fear damage to coastlines, fisheries, popular beaches and wildlife. Interior Department officials said no wells would be allowed within 125 miles of the Florida and Alabama coasts, making them invisible from shore.

The Interior Department and the Pentagon are discussing possible restrictions on oil and gas operations in some areas off Virginia and Florida, home to some of the nation’s biggest Navy and Air Force facilities. States are also likely to claim rights to the revenues from oil and gas deposits within 3 to 12 miles of shore and to some portion of lease proceeds, officials said. [Too bad for the States that the oil industry is a notoriously poor payer AND very tightly politically ‘connected’.]

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar developed the offshore drilling plan after conducting four public meetings over the past year in Alaska, California, Louisiana and New Jersey. The Interior Department received more than 500,000 public comments on the issue. [Um and they only met with officials from four states! Talk about ‘political suicide’, now the general public knows what they’re up to!]

Mr. Salazar has said that he hoped to rebalance the nation’s oil and gas policy to find a middle ground between the “drill here drill now” advocacy of many oil industry advocates and the preservationist impulse to block oil exploration beneath virtually all public lands and waters. [Understand good citizen, the ‘public’ has been routinely ‘swindled’ out of the income these so-called ‘leases’ generate, and if you think that’s about to change I’ve got a bridge you might be interested in…]

He has called the offshore drilling plan a new chapter in the nation’s search for a comprehensive energy policy that can open new areas to oil and gas development “in the right way and in the right places,” according to an aide. [Despite being termed as ‘right/proper’ what we are really seeing is the ‘second phase’ of worldwide oil extraction…the easy to get at and refine stuff is spent, now it’s time to go after the stuff that’s harder to reach and more expensive to bring up.]

In many of the newly opened areas, drilling would begin only after the completion of geologic studies, environmental impact statements, court challenges and public lease sales. Much of the oil and gas may not be recoverable at current prices and may be prohibitively expensive even if oil prices spike as they did in the summer of 2008.

Um, I don’t know about you good citizen, but I certainly didn’t see that coming! Worse, there are several ‘off the wall’ assertions being made here that are outright lies!

Naturally, they are politicians and this is to be expected. Perhaps we need to take a moment and mourn the loss of anything even resembling ‘subtlety’

What disturbs me most is the increasing sense of ‘desperation’ being displayed by the ‘spin-masters’…they’re losing control of the lies and they’re not quite sure what to do about it.

Sorry good citizen but any of you that doubted ‘peak oil’; this is the ‘convincer’. It is what would logically follow passing the half-way mark in ‘known reserves’.

More, er, diabolical is there have been people staring down this hole for a long time, doing precisely what we’re doing here, trying to figure out what comes next and what comes after that.

Let it suffice to say that you can only see just so far ahead with any degree of certainty. The trouble with variables is they are indeed ‘variable’.

The next decade will witness a ‘rush’ of alternative energy, stretching out fossil fuel supplies into the near future…what is unknown is how ‘reliable’ renewables will be in practice as opposed to theory.

If the parts prove to need replacement on too frequent a basis, you put yourself right back where you started with a ‘resource shortage’.

Going after the ‘harder to extract' oil is, er, frightening enough because the next ‘stop’ on this dead-end railroad is governed by price, where the ‘cost’ of extracting the fuel exceeds the benefit reaped from harvesting it. (Meaning you use more energy than you extract.)

Bizarrely this is one instance where ‘cost’ has absolutely nothing to do with dollars and cents.

You can’t expend ten ‘joules’ of energy to harvest a single joule, even nature respects the laws of mathematics/diminishing returns.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Signs and portents II

Greetings good citizen,

If we were to just look casually over the past couple of months we would notice several rather disturbing developments taking place…not that the MSM hasn’t done an excellent job of downplaying/dismissing the implications of these events.

While, alternately, doing their damnedest to whip the public into a frenzy over a largely ‘uninspired’ health care reform bill that nobody particularly likes.

But, backtracking a few steps into yesterday’s post, the fact that excessive profit taking by the investor class has shrunk our economy to something that could be blotted up with an eyedropper. (This is what is meant by my statement that they have ‘sucked up all of the money’ from our society. Instead of re-distributing the profits, they pocketed them!)

The question is whether or not we are ready to take a swan dive off of a high cliff into an extremely polluted river…or if we have already jumped?

I guess we will have to examine the evidence and draw our own conclusions.

State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage

Published: March 29, 2010

California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.

And states are responding in sometimes desperate ways, raising concerns that they, too, could face a debt crisis. [Considering the entire capitalist world adopted ‘creative accounting’ back in the 1990’s to disguise the economic degradation caused by globalization, is this really ‘news’? Well, it is to Tea Partiers…but what do you expect from a crew that thinks Reagan was a ‘Great President’?]

New Hampshire was recently ordered by its State Supreme Court to put back $110 million that it took from a medical malpractice insurance pool to balance its budget. Colorado tried, so far unsuccessfully, to grab a $500 million surplus from Pinnacol Assurance, a state workers’ compensation insurer that was privatized in 2002. It wanted the money for its university system and seems likely to get a lesser amount, perhaps $200 million. [You can only rob Peter to pay Paul for just so long because the day will eventually come when Peter doesn’t have anything left to steal.]

Connecticut has tried to issue its own accounting rules. Hawaii has inaugurated a four-day school week. California accelerated its corporate income tax this year, making companies pay 70 percent of their 2010 taxes by June 15. And many states have balanced their budgets with federal health care dollars that Congress has not yet appropriated.

Some economists fear the states have a potentially bigger problem than their recession-induced budget woes. If investors become reluctant to buy the states’ debt, the result could be a credit squeeze, not entirely different from the financial strains in Europe, where markets were reluctant to refinance billions in Greek debt. [Technically good citizen, if the country is ‘broke’, where are investors getting the funds to buy municipal debt? The Fed perhaps?]

“If we ran into a situation where one state got into trouble, they’d be bailed out six ways from Tuesday,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard and a former research director of the International Monetary Fund. “But if we have a situation where there’s slow growth, and a bunch of cities and states are on the edge, like in Europe, we will have trouble.” [Um, where do you suppose Mr. Rogoff has been for the past thirty years? How is it even possible that a qualified economist can pretend to be ignorant of the ‘economic desert’ that ‘their ilk’ has created? (Academic economists don’t actually ‘create’ policy; they merely act as ‘advisors’.)]

California’s stated debt — the value of all its bonds outstanding — looks manageable, at just 8 percent of its total economy. But California has big unstated debts, too. If the fair value of the shortfall in California’s big pension fund is counted, for instance, the state’s debt burden more than quadruples, to 37 percent of its economic output, according to one calculation. [This is more conservative ‘jiggery pokery’ as not all contributors to CALpers are currently eligible to draw these funds. They play this same ‘game’ with Social Security by including people who have not even paid anything in never mind being old enough to draw benefits! This is the downside of requiring parents to obtain Social Security numbers for their children at birth!]

The state’s economy will also be weighed down by the ballooning federal debt, though California does not have to worry about those payments as much as its taxpaying citizens and businesses do. [Um, what do you suppose ‘Scary Mary’s’ political leanings are?]

Unstated debts pose a bigger problem to states with smaller economies. If Rhode Island were a country, the fair value of its pension debt would push it outside the maximum permitted by the euro zone, which tries to limit government debt to 60 percent of gross domestic product, according to Andrew Biggs, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who has been analyzing state debt. Alaska would not qualify either. [Um, good thing Rhode Island ISN’T a member of the ‘Euro-Zone’, eh? Not that this matters to anyone inside the American Enterprise Institute. Oh, and another thing, while I have you here, the word ‘institute’ can be used by anyone, anyone at all.]

State officials say a Greece-style financial crisis is a complete nonissue for them, and the bond markets so far seem to agree. All 50 states have investment-grade credit ratings, with California the lowest, and even California is still considered “average,” according to Moody’s Investors Service. The last state that defaulted on its bonds, Arkansas, did so during the [First] Great Depression.

Goldman Sachs, in a research report last week, acknowledged the pension issue but concluded the states were very unlikely to default on their debt and noted the states had 30 years to close pension shortfalls. [There’s a bit of candor you don’t often encounter!]

Even though about $5 billion of municipal bonds are in default today, the vast majority were issued by small local authorities in boom-and-bust locations like Florida, said Matt Fabian, managing director of Municipal Market Advisors, an independent consulting firm. The issuers raised money to pay for projects like sewer connections and new roads in subdivisions that collapsed in the subprime mortgage disaster.

The states, he said, are different. They learned a lesson from New York City, which got into trouble in the 1970s by financing its operations with short-term debt that had to be rolled over again and again. When investors suddenly lost confidence, New York was left empty-handed. To keep that from happening again, Mr. Fabian said, most states require short-term debt to be fully repaid the same year it is issued.

Some states have taken even more forceful measures to build creditor confidence. New York State has a trustee that intercepts tax revenues and makes some bond payments before the state can get to the money. California has a “continuous appropriation” for debt payments, so bondholders know they will get their interest even when the budget is hamstrung. [Excuse me?]

The states can also take refuge in America’s federalist system. Thus, if California were to get into hot water, it could seek assistance in Washington, and probably come away with some funds. Already, the federal government is spending hundreds of millions helping the states issue their bonds. [What isn’t being discussed and should be is how much these ‘investors’ are being promised. It has been proven time and time again that there is nothing more profitable than business dealings with government…any government.]

Professor Rogoff, who has spent most of his career studying global debt crises, has combed through several centuries’ worth of records with a fellow economist, Carmen M. Reinhart of the University of Maryland, looking for signs that a country was about to default. [Why do you suppose he did that?]

One finding was that countries “can default on stunningly small amounts of debt,” he said, perhaps just one-fourth of what stopped Greece in its tracks. “The fact that the states’ debts aren’t as big as Greece’s doesn’t mean it can’t happen.” [Does anyone else see what’s happening here? Can you hear the Tea Partiers in the background, cocking their weapons?]

Also, officials and their lenders often refused to admit they had a debt problem until too late. [Um, is blockhead talking about ‘sovereign nations’ here, nations capable of printing their own money? This argument is missing so much information you can’t tell which end is up!]

“When an accident is waiting to happen, it eventually does,” the two economists wrote in their book, titled “This Time Is Different” — the words often on the lips of policy makers just before a debt bomb exploded. “But the exact timing can be very difficult to guess, and a crisis that seems imminent can sometimes take years to ignite.” [Um, nope, because we have some mighty convincing evidence that ‘Scary Mary’ and her conservative buddy’s hope you don’t pick up on.]

In Greece, a newly elected prime minister may have struck the match last fall, when he announced that his predecessor had left a budget deficit three times as big as disclosed. [Um, geez, how does that turn into the new guy’s fault? Oh, that’s right, eight years of financial devastation instantly became Obama’s fault the minute Bush headed for the hills.]

Greece’s creditors might have taken the news in stride, but in their weakened condition, they did not want to shoulder any more risk from Greece. They refused to refinance its maturing $54 billion euros ($72 billion) of debt this year unless it adopted painful austerity measures.

Could that happen here? [That all depends on who would be holding the gun? Could investors ‘sue’ the US if one of the states defaulted on its bond(s)? Um, would this be wise considering who is a nuclear power and who isn’t? Okay, THAT was a bit heavy handed…let’s back track a few inches and pull the next smaller club out of the bag…the ‘extraordinary rendition’ mashee! “We don’t need no stinking Habeas Corpus!” So, do you feel lucky today, punk? Well, do ya?]

In January, incoming Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey announced that his predecessor, Jon S. Corzine, had concealed a much bigger deficit than anyone knew. Mr. Corzine denied it. [Gee, you don’t think the Republican is lying do you? Although Big Jon DID return to Wall Street…hard to say just who is more credible here…]

So far, the bond markets [Who own freakin’ Congress] have been unfazed.

Moody’s currently rates New Jersey’s debt “very strong,” though a notch below the median for states. Moody’s has also given the state a negative outlook, meaning its rating is likely to decline over the medium term. Merrill Lynch said on Monday that New Jersey’s debt should be downgraded to reflect the cost of paying its retiree pensions and health care. [Again, left unstated here is what happened to the money that was supposed to be paid into the pension funds? I vaguely remember a lot of taxes being slashed over the past three decades in an effort to make the climate more ‘business friendly’ and something about pension fund ‘overpayments’ being used to cover shortfalls created by these largely ‘unsuccessful’ moves to attract investors to the various states.]

In fact, New Jersey and other states have used a whole bagful of tricks and gimmicks to make their budgets look balanced and to push debts into the future.

One ploy reminiscent of Greece has been the use of derivatives. While Greece used a type of foreign-exchange trade to hide debt, the derivatives popular with states and cities have been interest-rate swaps, contracts to hedge against changing rates. [You don’t suppose ol ‘Scary Mary’ was instructed to ‘repeatedly’ draw parallels to the Grecian crisis, do you? It didn’t take the GOP long to replace Judith Miller, did it?]

The states issued variable-rate bonds and used the swaps in an attempt to lock in the low rates associated with variable-rate debt. The swaps would indeed have saved money had interest rates gone up. But to get this protection, the states had to agree to pay extra if interest rates went down. And in the years since these swaps came into vogue, interest rates have mostly fallen. [And who do you suppose ‘sold’ these municipal customers on the strategy of using expensive Credit Default Swaps?]

Swaps were often pitched to governments with some form of upfront cash payment — perhaps an amount just big enough to close a budget deficit. That gave the illusion that the house was in order, but in fact, such deals just added hidden debt, which has to be paid back over the life of the swaps, often 30 years. [You don’t suppose those brokers didn’t make out like bandits come ‘bonus time’, did they?]

Some economists think the last straw for states and cities will be debt hidden in their pension obligations. [Why is this ‘failure’ so critical good citizen? Could it be because it might cause cops, firefighters and teachers to ‘walk off the job’ if their pension obligations aren’t honored? What are you gonna do, call the cops?]

Pensions are debts, too, after all, paid over time just like bonds. But states do not disclose how much they owe retirees when they disclose their bonded debt, and state officials steadfastly oppose valuing their pensions at market rates. [Why do you suppose State budget officials refuse to admit to the piss poor condition of their pension funds? Understand, these guys are ‘civil servants’, the politicians they answer to come and go but these guys are there for the duration. Worse, there is nothing they can do to prevent a two-term, just passing through, politician from looting their pension fund or keeping the politician from handing the account over to his ‘buddies’ (for a fee, naturally!)]

Joshua Rauh, an economist at Northwestern University, and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago, recently recalculated the value of the 50 states’ pension obligations the way the bond markets value debt. They put the number at $5.17 trillion. [Um, many states are extremely ‘liberal’ when it comes to handing out retirement benefits, some might even say ‘too liberal’.]

After the $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds was subtracted, there was a gap of $3.23 trillion — more than three times the amount the states owe their bondholders. [And guess who is going to demand first crack at the States’ tax coffers? Who do you think should get it?]

“When you see that, you recognize that states are in trouble even more than we recognize,” Mr. Rauh said. [Understand good citizen that these libertarian nutjobs who believe in social Darwinism and doesn’t think any State employee ever deserves a pension! Should be damn happy they had a job in the first place.]

With bond payments and pension contributions consuming big chunks of state budgets, Mr. Rauh said, some states were already falling behind on unsecured debts, like bills from vendors. “Those are debts, too,” he said. [Bloomin’ genius, that one!]

In Illinois, the state comptroller recently said the state was nearly $9 billion behind on its bills to vendors, which he called an “ongoing fiscal disaster.” On Monday, Fitch Ratings downgraded several categories of Illinois’s debt, citing the state’s accounts payable backlog. California had to pay its vendors with i.o.u.’s last year.

“These are the things that can precipitate a crisis,” Mr. Rauh said.

These ‘signs’ are ominous enough but while driving my daughter to Band practice tonight (my peanut plays the Trombone) I was listening to NPR and another bit of ‘old news’ resurfaced…

The report where the government was ‘taking over’ the issuance/administration of student loans. Unlike mortgages, student loans are ‘bullet-proof’ the only force capable of discharging them is ‘death-personal’…and yet banks are no longer interested in writing (and profiting) from this business.

What does this tell you?

More succinctly, what does this say about the expanding ‘economic desert’?

Can you say Banana Republic? Because it sure as hell is looking like these ‘eventualities’ are ‘baked into’ calculations regarding the future of the USA.

Back to the bigger question, why are all of the state suddenly ‘broke’? You don’t suppose ‘globalization’ has anything to do with it? I mean, heck, if your workforce shrinks down to nothing you aren’t generating enough tax revenue to support basic operations never mind cover pension obligations for the people who make it happen everyday.

There’s no such thing as ‘something for nothing’…and our corporate overlords most certainly knew what they were doing when they started campaigning to off-shore our entire fucking economy.

The good news is idiots like ‘Neutron Jack’ Welsh are still alive…it is so much more satisfying than hanging a corpse! Then there are all of the thieves who ‘stepped down’ from the chairmanship of major Wall Street firms…they are all ‘guilty as sin’ too.

Not that ‘punishing’ these criminals will alter the trajectory of our rapidly decaying nation, but it is necessary if we are to restore ‘justice’ to this land.

Tick-tock good citizen, how much time do we have before the fabric of society turns to dust and it’s ‘every man for himself?’

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Monday, March 29, 2010

Pinheads, Punks and Plutocrats...

Greetings good citizen,

Headlines across the spectrum are screaming for attention today but I, moron that I am, choose to ‘revisit’ a topic we haven’t touched upon…er, ‘recently’. (Probably more than six months have elapsed since the last time I raised this particular ‘red flag’.)

Naturally, it comes at a ‘price’. So I’m gonna start ‘back-peddling’ in defense of the individual who will be the recipient of tonight’s kick in the gonads because what he stated here may not be what he meant…

What could be so ‘offensive’?

Let us examine this seemingly innocent statement found in the second paragraph of today’s editorial:

“preventing a recurrence of the immense bank runs that were a central cause of the Great Depression”

Geez good citizen…were you of the impression that ‘bank runs’ CAUSED the original Great Depression and that we aren’t in a Depression now because there haven’t been any ‘bank runs’?

We’re talking a Nobel Prize winning economist here…um, I suspect he MIGHT mean that bank runs ‘contributed’ to The Great Depression…but ‘caused it?’ Uh, nope.

Because you see, even an ignoramus like me knows that the ‘problem’ THEN is EXACTLY THE SAME as the one we are experiencing NOW!

The unmitigated ‘devastation’ of the customer base by sensationally greedy bankers/employers. The ‘bank runs’ of the late twenties and early thirties were merely a side effect of a much deeper problem…the rapacious capitalists had sucked ALL of the money out of the economy and their bought and paid for politicians (just like ours) let them! (There’s a reason why FDR instituted a 90% income tax on everything over $100,000. The greedy brought ‘re-distribution’ upon themselves!)

Um, if the ‘lapdog’ economists of the era used this unlikely ‘cover story’ (to preserve capitalism) um, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see it ‘re-surface’ (even in the absence of ‘bank runs.’)

But then again, no bank runs means we aren’t experiencing a ‘Depression’! (Just like only counting people actually receiving benefits as unemployed does wonders for the unemployment rate…just don’t look too closely at the ‘labor force participation rate’, which provides a very grim picture indeed.)

Let us proceed with tonight’s offering:

Punks and Plutocrats

Published: March 28, 2010

Health reform is the law of the land. Next up: financial reform. But will it happen? The White House is optimistic, because it believes that Republicans won’t want to be cast as allies of Wall Street. I’m not so sure. The key question is how many senators believe that they can get away with claiming that war is peace, slavery is freedom, and regulating big banks is doing those big banks a favor. [Take it from someone who lives in the State that already has ‘RomneyCare’, if this is healthcare reform, we in a heap of trouble! Because they didn’t ‘reform’ Jack…]

Some background: we used to have a workable system for avoiding financial crises, resting on a combination of government guarantees and regulation. On one side, bank deposits were insured, preventing a recurrence of the immense bank runs that were a central cause of the Great Depression. On the other side, banks were tightly regulated, so that they didn’t take advantage of government guarantees by running excessive risks. [I ask again, how much of our current crisis is due to ‘financial risk-taking’ and how much is due to the ‘pauperization of the labor force?’ (underpaid and overcharged)]

From 1980 or so onward, however, that system gradually broke down, partly because of bank deregulation, but mainly because of the rise of “shadow banking”: institutions and practices — like financing long-term investments with overnight borrowing — that recreated the risks of old-fashioned banking but weren’t covered either by guarantees or by regulation. The result, by 2007, was a financial system as vulnerable to severe crisis as the system of 1930. And the crisis came. [You only provide ‘half’ of the story here, Mr. K, sadly, the other half rests behind the ‘golden child’ of globalization. Great for capitalists, sucks for everyone else!]

Now what? We have already, in effect, recreated New Deal-type guarantees: as the financial system plunged into crisis, the government stepped in to rescue troubled financial companies, so as to avoid a complete collapse. [Yet no one can explain why these institutions shouldn’t be allowed to ‘collapse’ (due to their own grievous errors)] And you should bear in mind that the biggest bailouts took place under a conservative Republican administration, which claimed to believe deeply in free markets. There’s every reason to believe that this will be the rule from now on: when push comes to shove, no matter who is in power, the financial sector will be bailed out. In effect, debts of shadow banks, like deposits at conventional banks, now have a government guarantee. [Um, it is doubtful this can be successfully ‘pulled off’. The ‘social fallout/blowback’ from this crisis isn’t about to ‘disappear’.]

The only question now is whether the financial industry will pay a price for this privilege, whether Wall Street will be obliged to behave responsibly in return for government backing. And who could be against that? [Why gee, wouldn’t it be the same thieves that have profited handsomely from the crisis…at least temporarily (because they have destroyed the currency in the process.)]

Well, how about John Boehner, the House minority leader? Recently Mr. Boehner gave a talk to bankers in which he encouraged them to balk efforts by Congress to impose stricter regulation. “Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you, and stand up for yourselves,” he urged — where by “taking advantage” he meant imposing some conditions on the industry in return for government backing.

Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, promptly had “Little Punk Staffer” buttons made up and distributed to Congressional aides.

But Mr. Boehner isn’t the problem: Mr. Frank has already shepherded fairly strong financial reform through the House. Instead, the question is what will happen in the Senate. [The fact that the public remains ignorant of the details of these proposals is more than a little disturbing.]

In the Senate, the legislation on the table was crafted by Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. It’s significantly weaker than the Frank bill, and needs to be made stronger, a topic I’ll discuss in future columns. But no bill will become law if Senate Republicans stand in the way of reform.

But won’t opponents of reform fear being cast as allies of the bad guys (which they are)? Maybe not. Back in January, Frank Luntz, the G.O.P. strategist, circulated a memo on how to oppose financial reform. His key idea was that Republicans should claim that up is down — that reform legislation is a “big bank bailout bill,” rather than a set of restrictions on the banks. [The big ‘hole’ in this idea is the public will not be deceived by this sort of wrangling. Only already brain damaged Republicans will buy this nonsense.]

Sure enough, a few days ago Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, in a letter attacking the Dodd bill, claimed that an essential part of reform — tougher oversight of large, systemically important financial companies — is actually a bailout, because “The market will view these firms as being ‘too big to fail’ and implicitly backed by the government.” Um, senator, the market already views those firms as having implicit government backing, because they do: whatever people like Mr. Shelby may say now, in any future crisis those firms will be rescued, whichever party is in power.

The only question is whether we’re going to regulate bankers so that they don’t abuse the privilege of government backing. And it’s that regulation — not future bailouts — that reform opponents are trying to block.

So it’s the punks versus the plutocrats — those who want to rein in runaway banks, and bankers who want the freedom to put the economy at risk, freedom enhanced by the knowledge that taxpayers will bail them out in a crisis. Whatever they say, the fact is that people like Mr. Shelby are on the side of the plutocrats; the American people should be on the side of the punks, who are trying to protect their interests.

Um, central to this argument is the ‘necessity’ of having a banking system at all. Now I advocate that ‘money’ serves a useful purpose to society but that single useful purpose is defeated by ‘for profit’ banking.

You can clearly see the mayhem created by allowing ‘special interests’ to charge you for access to what essentially serves as a ‘regulator’ for (primarily) the local economy.

That mess only gets larger when you add in the ‘noose’ of ‘global reserve currency’ into the mix. Local economies wither and die once profits from global monetary arbitrage cost a nation to lose ‘competitive advantage’ (a totally bogus/artificial concept by the way, there is no such thing.)

Back on topic…

Our economy DIDN’T collapse due to ‘bank runs’ so it is a bit ludicrous to see claims that this is what drove an earlier worldwide event.

If this is what Zimbabwe Ben really believes, we’re really screwed!

Understand that you still have ‘money’ just not enough to live as you’d like to…which by extension, brings us to a larger point.

The housing market isn’t going to recover (or even stabilize) until the pool of ‘qualified buyers’ grows significantly.

What will it take to make that pool ‘grow’? Wages will have to increase, or the price of homes will have to fall significantly. (Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Understand, the wealthy DON’T rely on the value of their ‘stack of lumber’ for the lion’s share of their ‘net worth’. Which is just the opposite for the average ‘paycheck peasant’.)

Well, what you need to understand is the ‘New Economy’ will shrink to fit the needs of the prosperous. The fewer prosperous there are, the fewer the opportunities to personally prosper will exist.

Like all things ‘capitalist’ the onus is upon you to either ‘prosper’ or to be useful to the prosperous. Without a ‘customer base’ there is very little chance that you will prosper. (Even if you discover/invent the greatest thing since ‘sliced bread’.)

Contrary to the prevalent myth, capitalism isn’t about prosperity for you, it is about preserving prosperity for the prosperous. Every couple or three generations, the prosperous ‘consolidate’ their grip upon the markets and the world descends into ‘debtor’s hell’.

And each time it descends, fewer and fewer climb out. Which leaves us with a disturbing possibility, what if this time everybody who goes down, stays there?

Just something to ponder as you puzzle over the global economy that no longer needs you…

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Sunday, March 28, 2010


Greetings good citizen,

Once again we encounter MSM political maneuvering intended to distract us from what has become the ‘norm’. After more than a solid year of ‘inaction’, the president has decided to start exercising some of that power Mr. Bush left for him. (Which is to point out that the newly elected president has done absolutely nothing to ‘roll back’ the power grabs made by his predecessor, adding them to the pile being slowly built up by many past administrations.)

Hard to say what is more disturbing, this sudden flurry of activity or the fact that the Executive office once again finds itself beleaguered and besieged by a Congress so influenced by lobbyists that it can’t break free from the constant state of deadlock?

The ‘critics’ of Democracy point to precisely this type of ‘procedural wrangling’ as the ‘downside’ of democratic forms of government. They say these ‘deadlocks’ hinder swift action when the nation needs to be ‘nimble’…although the only time governance requires ‘agility’ is when the interests of the public are being undermined.

Worse, those who freely ‘criticize’ democracy usually do so while wrapping themselves in the banner of liberty…while advocating either monarchy or fascism in democracy’s place!

I am no fan of ‘representative’ democracy because ‘proxies’ can (and have) been bought. If I can’t take the time to educate myself and decide directly on the issues I certainly don’t want to be forced to live with the decisions of someone who sold my vote to the highest bidder.

But it is a choice YOU don’t get to make. In fact, the system, as it currently exists, bars you from making any decisions save the choice of who will make decisions in your name without ever consulting you!

Yeah baby, that’s what they call ‘freedom’ (although no one in their right mind would call it that!)

So what is the ‘quality of freedom’ when the situation leads to this outcome ?

Obama Bypasses Senate Process, Filling 15 Posts
Published: March 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama, making a muscular show of his executive authority just one day after Congress left for spring recess, said Saturday that he would bypass the Senate and install 15 appointees, including a union lawyer whose nomination to the National Labor Relations Board was blocked last monthwith the help of two Democrats. [Well, how could president Obama appoint ‘scum’ like a lawyer for a labor union to ah, um, what post did he appoint that guy to? Which begs a different question good citizen…the question of what happened to the Democratic ‘party apparatus’ that it hands its endorsement to people who OPPOSE union leaders? How the FUCK did those people get into the party? Or, more succinctly, how, er, ‘accurate’ is anyone’s ‘party designation’ if these basic values are, er, ‘for sale’?]

Coming on the heels of Mr. Obama’s big victory on health care legislation, Saturday’s move suggests a newly emboldened president who is unafraid to provoke a confrontation with the minority party. [Most of us would hope this newfound courage would result in some desperately needed criminal prosecutions of people who were actually responsible for destroying the US economy…oh wait, that would mean prosecuting politicians! That ain’t gonna happen…yet.]

Just two days ago, all 41 Senate Republicans sent Mr. Obama a letter urging him not to appoint the union lawyer, Craig Becker, during the recess. Mr. Obama’s action, in defiance of the Republicans, was hailed by union leaders, but it also seemed certain to intensify the partisan rancor that has enveloped Washington. [How much more ‘intense’ could it possibly get? The next step is bloodshed and we’re all very curious to see how that is handled…or not.]

“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disprove of my nominees,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis.” [Just as President Bush appointed UN hater John Bolton as US envoy to the United Nations during a congressional ‘recess’. For some bizarre reason the Bush White House didn’t share the Obama administration’s ‘sense of urgency’ when it came to staffing government offices.]

It was the first time the president has used his constitutional authority to fill vacant federal positions by making recess appointments, thus avoiding the requirement for the advice and consent of the Senate. Mr. Obama, who currently has 217 nominees pending and 77 awaiting action on the Senate floor, said Republicans had given him little choice.

“At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months,” Mr. Obama said. “I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.” [You can’t fault the president, he’s given ‘the party of no’ plenty of slack…What excuse do the Republican’s have for not acting upon 217 appointments? Can you imagine their outrage (and the media’s) if the shoe were on the other foot?]

With lawmakers back in their home states and Mr. Obama spending a quiet family weekend at Camp David, the White House issued the statement announcing the president’s intent to appoint Mr. Becker, and 14 others, mostly to fill positions on his economic and homeland security teams. [Um, you’d think the ‘specific’ positions filled would be of great interest to the public but apparently the press doesn’t think so…]

The White House said the 15 nominees had been waiting, on average, seven months to be confirmed. They are expected to begin work over the next week; the president’s action will enable them to serve without Senate confirmation until the chamber adjourns at the end of 2011.[So why didn’t bobo just seat all 217 positions? In for a penny, in for a pound!]

Republicans, who have cast Mr. Becker as a pro-labor radical, issued a flurry of angry statements. [now there’s a shock, isn’t it?] They wasted little time in reminding reporters that when George W. Bush was president, then-Senator Obama had railed against the recess appointment of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, saying that Mr. Bolton would be “damaged goods” and lacked credibility without Senate confirmation. [Honestly good citizen, is there anyone out there (who isn’t a rabid Republican) that doesn’t have serious reservations about Mr. Bolton’s, er, mental stability?]

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, called the president’s move “yet another episode of choosing a partisan path despite bipartisan opposition.” [Um, if that doesn’t redefine the term ‘chutzpah’ I don’t know what does! (Given the ‘bipartisan-ship’ displayed by the Republicans to date!)]

Another Republican, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, said in an interview that he could understand Mr. Obama’s frustration; he said that most of the other nominees were noncontroversial and that his concern was centered primarily on Mr. Becker. “He has a precedent,” Mr. Coburn said of the president, “Others have done it, so I’m not critical of him doing it. But I am critical of the Becker appointment because he doesn’t have the votes.” [Examine that statement and contrast it with the rest of the facts as they are laid out here…217 appointees pending and there’s nothing ‘controversial’ about them EXCEPT that the Republicans in congress have the power to block their appointments…because they can. Now how many of you will have your heads explode when the MSM announces a major Republican victory this coming November? Worse, you had best start preparing yourself mentally for the defacto ‘election by the media’ of local Republican candidates, much like what happened here with Scott Brown.]

Recess appointments are a common tool for presidents frustrated by the confirmation process. Mr. Obama’s action puts him on a par with Mr. Bush, who had made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency. Mr. Bush had an especially intense tussle with Democrats over judicial appointees; during the course of his two terms in office, he made a total of 171 recess appointments, although 72 were to part-time positions, according to the Congressional Research Service. President Clinton made 139 recess appointments. [So, why is this suddenly ‘more common than anyone realized’ tool being touted as the unexpected surge in presidential authority? More importantly it points directly to the increasing non-functionality of the government…something the people are NOT being asked to address. Well, should WE fix this good citizen or should we just let the same people who allowed things to get to this point to handle it? Do you smell gasoline? I smell it too!]

With the exception of Mr. Becker, the White House said most of the 15 nominees being installed by Mr. Obama have bipartisan support. Indeed, in a sign that Mr. Obama did not want to go too far in inflaming partisan passions, he resisted using his executive powers to install one of his most contentious candidates, Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor, to lead the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. Ms. Johnsen has drawn the ire of Republicans for her work as a lawyer for NARAL Pro-Choice America as well as her outspoken opposition to the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies. [Do the Republican’s fear the indictments they so richly deserve? How ‘brave’ does the president look now?]

Saturday’s announcement is certain to cheer some of Mr. Obama’s strongest supporters, who have been arguing that the president should take on Republicans in a more forceful way. Gay rights advocates were elated to see Chai R. Feldblum, a Georgetown University Law professor who advocates on gay issues, claim a spot on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a result of Mr. Obama’s action. [Okay…so they gave us one specific appointment along with one official denial…which tells us what?]

But perhaps no group will be as heartened as union leaders.

For months they had complained that Mr. Obama was too timid in responding to Republican opposition to Mr. Becker, a former associate general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Service Employees International Union. Labor leaders were also unhappy that the labor relations board has been largely paralyzed since January 2008 because only two of its five seats have been filled since then. Mr. Obama also appointed Mark Pearce, a New York labor lawyer, on Saturday to fill a fourth seat on the board. [Is this where the ‘contentious’ appoint was made? The ‘roll over and play dead’ labor board?]

Last month, the Democrats fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a threatened Republican filibuster of a vote for Mr. Becker. Two Democrats, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, joined Republicans in the 52-to-33 vote. [That’s a whole bunch of ‘abstains’ there! If you ask me this whole fiasco is foolishness in the extreme, we shouldn’t ‘elect’ anyone to public office. It’s high time we put the laws beyond the reach of those who would manipulate them for their personal advantage!]

In their letter to the president, Republicans wrote that Mr. Becker, a former law professor at U.C.L.A. and the University of Chicago, “could not be viewed as impartial, unbiased or objective” in labor board cases. A law review article he wrote, saying that employers should not have a voice in unionization elections, angered many businesses and Republicans. But in Congressional testimony, Mr. Becker said that those were his personal views and as a labor board member, he would follow the letter of the law.

Two other candidates who are getting recess appointments, Jeffrey Goldstein, the nominee for a high-level job at the Department of Treasury as under secretary for domestic finance, and Alan D. Bersin, the nominee for commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security, were still being vetted by the Senate Finance Committee.[?] Mr. Obama’s decision to bypass the vetting drew criticism Saturday from the senior Republican on the panel, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa. [Mr. ‘Obstruction’ himself!]

Mr. Grassley said Mr. Goldstein was still answering the panel’s questions about his work for a private equity firm, and Mr. Bersin was answering questions about “what appeared to be conflicting information about his documentation and disclosure” of household employees — questions that, the senator said, were “directly relevant” to the positions they will hold.

Um, don’t tell me, we have yet another political appointee who A.) hasn’t paid taxes in decades and B.) hired an illegal alien (totally unaware, of course!)

Oh and in keeping with the great spirit of ‘bipartisanship’ they’re both fucking Republicans! [Don’t know that but just saying, ya know?]

Um, the term ‘hell in a bucket’ comes to mind when pondering the rapid descent into the abyss this nation is taking, thanks to the ‘over-abundance’ of predators we failed to exterminate.

Which leads us to the central question good citizen, just how responsible ARE WE, the average Joe and Jane who don’t and have never had a voice in ‘the process’?

Is this ‘our fault’, could we have asserted our will and nipped this crisis in the bud?

For all of the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda,’ Monday morning quarterbacking going on, we can say with a high degree of confidence that there isn’t (nor was there ever) a friggin thing we could have (legally) done to alter the course of the nation.

The tools aren’t there (and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it!)

Yup, good citizen, we have no ‘legal avenue’ open to us capable of altering the trajectory of our society…which has been altered by the self-interested, for their own benefit, without our input (save the rubber stamp we handed to our ‘bought and paid for’ elected representatives.)

If you’re genuinely interested in Liberty and freedom, we have to resort to some ‘less than legal’ activities. I belabor the obvious when I point out that WE are unlikely to prevail in THEIR courts.

Tends to be an ‘insurmountable obstacle’.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Friday, March 26, 2010


Greetings good citizen,

Seems as though I’ve turned into quite the ‘contrarian’ as things go flying off the rails during this slow motion train wreck. It seems as though there is nothing the status quo can do that isn’t related to preserving their own interests, while being paraded for us in the media as ‘government benevolence’.

Which is to ask if this isn’t an ‘agenda within an agenda’? The people are already hopping mad and ready to march on Washington (but won’t…yet) because they don’t want to be perceived/portrayed by the media as (Whacko) ‘Tea Partiers’.

(And you KNOW that is precisely who will be ‘credited’ with the next massive protest, especially if it turns violent!)

The latest ‘assault’ on our battered and bruised consciousness is the most recent plan in the government’s ceaseless efforts (not to ‘save’ homeowners) but to save the (banking industry’s cash cow) ‘housing market’.

Understand good citizen, buying houses and furnishing them with the latest toys IS what passes for the US economy. Without this ‘business model’ our banking sector will collapse.

How ‘bizarre’ is this? The $23 trillion dollars spent by the government ALREADY in bank bailouts and guarantees is almost entirely centered on the domestic Real Estate market, which is valued at roughly $7 trillion.

Are these numbers disturbing? They should be.

Somebody is getting it stuffed up their backside…and I think we all know who ‘somebody’ is. Don’t have a mirror handy by any chance, do ya?

U.S. Plans Big Expansion in Effort to Aid Homeowners
Published: March 25, 2010

The Obama administration on Friday will announce broad new initiatives to help troubled bankers homeowners, potentially refinancing several million of them into fresh government-backed mortgages with lower payments.

Another element of the new program is meant to temporarily reduce the payments of borrowers who are unemployed and seeking a job. Additionally, the government will encourage lenders [with oodles of cash] to write down the value of loans held by borrowers in modification programs. [The only ones getting soaked here will be…where’s that mirror again?]

The escalation in aid comes as the administration is under rising pressure from banker owned Congress to resolve the foreclosure crisis, which is straining the economy and putting millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. [Which would ‘sink’ the economy] But the new initiatives could well spur protests among those who have kept up their payments and are not in trouble. [Protest all you want, it doesn’t change a thing!]

The administration’s earlier efforts to stem foreclosures have largely been directed at borrowers who were experiencing financial hardship. But the biggest new initiative, which is also likely to be the most controversial, will involve the government, through the Federal Housing Administration, refinancing loans for borrowers who simply owe more than their houses are worth. [Wait a minute Slim! Hasn’t the taxpayer had more than their share of this debt dropped into their lap? We’re already ‘on the hook’ for many times the full value of the nation’s entire housing stock! How many more times do we have to buy every house in the nation?]

About 11 million households, or a fifth of those with mortgages, are in this position, known as being underwater. Some of these borrowers refinanced their houses during the boom and took cash out, leaving them vulnerable when prices declined. Others simply had the misfortune to buy at the peak. [Understand good citizen, it’s not that people re-financed ‘irresponsibly’, for time out of mind (and even today) the ‘bankers’ controlled this game. These ‘reckless’ loans are not the ‘borrower’s fault’.]

Many of these loans have been bundled together and sold to investors. Under the new program, the investors would have to swallow losses, but would probably be assured of getting more in the long run than if the borrowers went into foreclosure. The F.H.A. would insure the new loans against the risk of default. The borrower would once again have a reason to make payments instead of walking away from a property. [Read this paragraph again…it doesn’t make any sense. Sadly, re-reading it doesn’t make it any more comprehensible. The ‘more in the long run’ statement assumes (and there’s that word again) that housing prices would recover BEFORE all existing structures rot and return to nature! WTF!]

Many details of the administration’s plan remained unclear Thursday night, including the precise scope of the new program and the number of homeowners who might be likely to qualify.

One administration official cautioned that the investors might not be willing to volunteer any loans from borrowers that seemed solvent. That could set up a battle between borrowers and investors. [This ‘battle’ could be coming anyway, people are tired of getting ‘ripped off’ for ‘money pits’ that are never paid for (because of the constant need for repairs/updates.)]

This much was clear, however: the plan, if successful, could put taxpayers at increased risk. If many additional borrowers move into F.H.A. loans, a renewed downturn in the housing market could send that government agency into the red. [How did this, er, ‘consumer alert bulletin’ slip in here? You don’t suppose this was the whole point behind publishing this article, do you?]

The F.H.A. has already expanded its mortgage-guarantee program substantially in the last three years as the housing crisis deepened. [And the MBS market vaporized] It now insures more than six million borrowers, many of whom made minimal down payments and are now underwater.

Sources said the agency would use $14 billion in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some of which it could dangle in front of financial institutions as incentives to participate. [Um, excuse me but didn’t we just spend $23 Trillion (with a ‘T’) dollars bailing these criminal fuckers out? (Of their bad Real Estate bets) Why do our politicians think their ‘bankster overlords’ need to be ‘enticed’? Which is to ask, good citizen, just how ‘far gone’ is our political system? Put a fork in it?]

Another major element of the program, according to several people who described it, will be to encourage lenders to write down the value of loans for borrowers in modification programs. Until now, the government’s modification efforts have focused on lowering interest rates. [Um, if you make a bad business decision, you ‘eat’ the end result. You make a bad life decision, same thing. Which begs the question that has been busting everybody’s balls since this bullshit began, why aren’t these fuckers being FORCED to accept their losses? (Rather than being made whole at the taxpayer’s expense?) Hold on to that question mark, we’ll return to it later.]

Lenders began offering principal forgiveness last year on loans they held in their own portfolios. In the fourth quarter, however, this process abruptly reversed itself, for reasons that are unclear. The number of modifications that included principal reduction fell by half.

Bank of America, the country’s biggest bank, announced this week that it would forgive principal balances over a period of years on an initial 45,000 troubled loans. [45k out of 11 million? Um, this is like a hundredth of a freaking percent! Is the comeback here “Hey, it’s better than nuthin’? How about it’s as good as (nuthin)]

Another element of the White House’s housing program will require lenders to offer unemployed borrowers a reduction in their payments for a minimum of three months. [Whose hat do you suppose they picked THAT ridiculous time period out of given how many of the long term unemployed are going into their SECOND YEAR of benefits?]

An administration official declined to speak on the record about the new programs but said they would “better assist responsible homeowners who have been affected by the economic crisis through no fault of their own.” [Are you wondering what I’m wondering, just who gets to make THAT judgement call?]

The new initiatives would expand the government’s current mortgage modification plan, announced a year ago with great fanfare. It has resulted in fewer than 200,000 people getting permanent new loans. As many as seven million borrowers are seriously delinquent on their loans and at risk of foreclosure.

While fewer people are beginning default, the number of borrowers who are seriously distressed is rising. [They made a similar ‘idiotic statement’ like this last month!] In the fourth quarter, the number of households at least 90 days past due on their mortgages swelled by 270,000, according to a report issued Thursday by the comptroller of the currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

“The government is seeking to persuade people to stay in their homes by aligning the mortgage debt with the asset value, which is the only viable path to real housing stability,” said one person who was briefed on the government’s plans. [Um, there’s a term for this and it’s called ‘putting a floor’ under the market…the bad news is nobody knows where that floor actually is. Worse, it is not a function of what the property is worth, it is what a buyer can afford to pay…and in this job market, that ain’t much!]

The number of foreclosures in the fourth quarter rose 9 percent, to 128,859. An additional 38,000 owners disposed of their homes in short sales, where the lender agreed to accept less than it was owed. [Freaking ‘lenders’ have been made whole on ALL of the properties they hold mortgages on several times over. So a ‘short sale’ isn’t an accurate term to describe this transaction, is it?]

A person briefed on the new plan said the number of underwater borrowers who qualified for the plan could be in the millions. The government is not planning to solicit loans for the program, stressing that it is voluntary. [Which tells us what? That the banks, using our money, reserve the right to dangle the ‘debtor’ out the window, shaking them down for every cent they can squeeze out of them, before agreeing to accept terms only somewhat more favorable to the borrower. Isn’t the current ‘re-default rate’ still over the 70% mark?]

The administration recognizes that some people’s finances have deteriorated so far that they are beyond help, the person said. People in that situation simply cannot afford the houses they are living in, the person said, even if the mortgages were reduced. [Which tells us what good citizen? It tells us how predatory these mortgages really were! It wasn’t about matching homeowners with homes, but about bundling mortgages for bonuses! Friggin’ thieves!]

“All these programs are geared toward people for whom it makes sense, for whom it’s workable when all is said and done,” the person said. “Some people are too far gone.”

And not all of those people who have ‘gone too far’ were borrowers! Lenders sure as hell have ‘crossed the line’ too but we don’t see any prosecutions pending, two years after the fact.

And perhaps this is the most disturbing part as far as this article is concerned. Here we are, two years later and people are still losing their homes (because lenders stiffed them!)

Um, like I said, why is this happening is a question that needs to be revisited. How many times does the public need to pay the banksters for the nation’s housing stock? Did this massive public debt that was handed over to ‘private investors’ bring about the current crisis in Social Security?

It is highly unlikely that ‘A’ is not directly related to ‘B’. Not that ‘privatizing’ Social Security would have altered this outcome.

Is it the ‘social Darwinist’s’ plan to insure that Social Security fails? (If only to justify their own ideology?) Which poses an even more frightening proposition…just how much control DO these ‘Social Darwinist’s’ have?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Thursday, March 25, 2010

More questions than answers

Greetings good citizen,

Conservative calls for civil disobedience (actually the destruction of public property) in reaction to the passage of Health Care Reform fell on deaf ears yesterday after the MSM (once again) displayed its (willful) ignorance of the ‘will of the people’.

The public isn’t nearly as ‘outraged’ as the MSM claimed…nor was the MSM able to provide ‘proof ’ of an outraged populous, (action shots of rioters in the act…even protesters carrying signs) further shredding their already mangled ‘credibility’. It seems the Tea Party ‘movement’ isn’t nearly as large as the corporate owned media would like you to imagine it is. (This ‘man-power’ shortage is evidence; they didn’t have enough people ‘on the payroll’ to ‘spit’ on passing Democratic politicians inside congressional offices AND to picket outside as well.)

Perhaps the more interesting question here is how this variety of public humiliation proceeded ‘unhindered’ by police as well as being broadcast nationwide? If these people were outside, protesting the Afghanistan war, cops with riot batons would have rendered most of them unconscious before hauling them downtown to be booked for ‘civil disobedience’ and locking up.

Guess it’s still ‘Okay if you’re a Republican!’

Well pay attention people because the next bit of corporate ‘slight of hand’ is about to be unleashed. A story I ran less than a week ago has made it’s way into the MSM…

So we arrive at tonight’s offering

Social Security to See Payout Exceed Pay-In This Year
Published: March 24, 2010

The bursting of the real estate bubble and the ensuing recession have hurt jobs, home prices and now Social Security. [Once again we see the general public being blamed for something they had no hand in.]

This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office. [Naturally, the nitwits don’t make the obvious connection, the hundreds of thousands of lay-offs, many of them due to ramped up off-shoring as well as the collapse of the domestic automobile industry as being directly responsible for this ‘early’ shortfall in SS revenues.]

Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, said that while the Congressional projection would probably be borne out, the change would have no effect on benefits in 2010 and retirees would keep receiving their checks as usual. [This, naturally, is not ‘the point’ of this warning article, in five years time, the sleazebuckets who had nothing to do with ripping off the Social Security Trust (only because they were too late for that party) will pronounce the fund ‘bankrupt’ and propose ‘eliminating’ the program.]

The problem, he said, is that payments have risen more than expected during the downturn, because jobs disappeared and people applied for benefits sooner than they had planned. At the same time, the program’s revenue has fallen sharply, because there are fewer paychecks to tax. [Geez, ya don’t think we have a problem with our predatory ‘private employer’ system, do ya? Would ‘massa’ be so cruel?]

Analysts have long tried to predict the year when Social Security would pay out more than it took in because they view it as a tipping point — the first step of a long, slow march to insolvency, unless Congress strengthens the program’s finances. [Um, damn good citizen! Could the ‘problem’ be as simple as ‘mis-management’? Does anyone else see the huge ‘hole’ in the idea of trying to plan for future retirements when you have zero control over future costs? That’s stupid in the extreme…but it is not ‘insurmountable’ because you CAN control costs by managing output levels! Of course that would be socialism…something that’s never been tried because we don’t have enough ‘honest people’…which the crooks like to call ‘stupid people’.]

“When the level of the trust fund gets to zero, you have to cut benefits,” Alan Greenspan, architect of the plan to rescue the Social Security program the last time it got into trouble, in the early 1980s, said on Wednesday. [Um, so numbnuts, who ran the Fed, (a private corporation) was incapable of making the necessary ongoing adjustments to keep the fund solvent? What the Fuck does that tell ya? Oh, PS by the way…have a gander at the census figures and try to figure out where the shortage of people paying into the system is coming from…we have had a steady increase in population, while the workforce (percentage of labor force participation) has steadily decreased! Hello, anybody home?]

That episode was more dire because the fund could have fallen to zero in a matter of months. [causing the entire economy to collapse] But partly because of steps taken in those years, and partly because of many years of robust economic growth, the latest projections show the program will not exhaust its funds until about 2037. [Why do you suppose they are unwilling to repeat the ‘salvage operations’ they undertook 20 years ago? Because most Boomers were still young enough to either fight to get their money back or to force the government to keep paying. Now a majority of the boomers are in their fifties and thought to be ‘too old’ to fight back…big mistake.]

Still, Mr. Greenspan, who later became chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, said: “I think very much the same issue exists today. Because of the size of the contraction in economic activity, unless we get an immediate and sharp recovery, the revenues of the trust fund will be tracking lower for a number of years.” [To his credit he is one of the few calling ‘Bull Shit’ on the ‘phantom recovery’ that only the MSM can see.]

The Social Security Administration is expected to issue in a few weeks its own numbers for the current year within the annual report from its board of trustees. The administration has six board members: three from the president’s cabinet, two representatives of the public and the Social Security commissioner. [Um, wonder what the ‘qualifications’ are for the civilian representatives on the SSA board? Do you have to be a Republican? AND your IQ cannot exceed 80 or is that the restriction just for the Democratic representative (because the Republican representative is assumed to already meet the IQ restriction?)

Though Social Security uses slightly different methods, the official numbers are expected to roughly track the Congressional projections, which were one page of a voluminous analysis of the federal budget proposed by President Obama in January. [Um, unspoken but pointed at in this article is the huge surge in petitions to collect Social Security Disability Pensions, supposedly restricted to the 100% disabled, there aren’t enough investigators to keep everyone ‘honest’. These pensions are seen as a way to ‘stay afloat’ financially while the recipient tries their hand at ‘self-employment’.]

Mr. Goss said Social Security’s annual report last year projected revenue would more than cover payouts until at least 2016 because economists expected a quicker, stronger recovery from the crisis. Officials foresaw an average unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in 2009 and 8.8 percent this year, though unemployment is hovering at nearly 10 percent.

The trustees did foresee, in late 2008, that the recession would be severe enough to deplete Social Security’s funds more quickly than previously projected. They moved the year of reckoning forward, to 2037 from 2041. Mr. Goss declined to reveal the contents of the forthcoming annual report, but said people should not expect the date to lurch forward again. [Um, it will be interesting to see how they plan to pull this off in light of the rapidly expanding ‘economic desert’ that is our economy?]

The long-term costs of Social Security present further problems for politicians, who are already struggling [?] over how to reduce the nation’s debt. The national predicament echoes that of many European governments, which are facing market pressure to re-examine their commitments to generous pensions over extended retirements.

The United States’ soaring debt — propelled by tax cuts, wars and large expenditures to help banks and the housing market — has become a hot issue as Democrats gauge their vulnerability in the coming elections. President Obama has appointed a bipartisan commission to examine the debt problem, including Social Security, and make recommendations on how to trim the nation’s debt by Dec. 1, a few weeks after the midterm Congressional elections. [Are any of you ‘deluded’ enough to think all of this is ‘mere coincidence’? Talk about horrible timing! WHO (indeed) would believe our ‘bad luck’ (brought on by an obvious failure to plan ahead?)]

Although Social Security is often said to have a “trust fund,” the term really serves as an accounting device, to track the pay-as-you-go program’s revenue and outlays over time. Its so-called balance is, in fact, a history of its vast cash flows: the sum of all of its revenue in the past, minus all of its outlays. The balance is currently about $2.5 trillion because after the early 1980s the program had surplus revenue, year after year. [Um, geez, who do you suppose ‘spent’ all of that ‘surplus revenue’? (Because it is ‘gone’, the two and a half trillion dollars in the trust fund consists of IOU’s.)]

Now that accumulated revenue will slowly start to shrink, as outlays start to exceed revenue. By law, Social Security cannot pay out more than its balance in any given year. [Wonder who the ‘genius’ was that came up with THAT legislation? (Not that it particularly matters.)]

For accounting purposes, the system’s accumulated revenue is placed in Treasury securities.

In a year like this, the paper gains from the interest earned on the securities will more than cover the difference between what it takes in and pays out. [That’s right good citizen, go back to sleep, nothing to see here…but if you’re smart, you’ll be planning on being somewhere else by the middle of the decade as the civil unrest is going to be more than you can deal with being broke and all.]

Mr. Goss, the actuary, emphasized that even the $29 billion shortfall projected for this year was small, relative to the roughly $700 billion that would flow in and out of the system. The system, he added, has a balance of about $2.5 trillion that will take decades to deplete. Mr. Goss said that large cushion could start to grow again if the economy recovers briskly. [Seriously good citizen, what do you think the odds are that the economy will ever see ‘real’ growth in your lifetime, here in the land where we are all ‘redundant’?]

Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office’s projection shows the ravages of the recession easing in the next few years, with small surpluses reappearing briefly in 2014 and 2015. [Um, excuse me? We’re supposed to ‘take heart’ in the idea the ‘recession’ MAY BE easing A FEW YEARS from now? WTF! (Whatever the hell they’re smoking, they’d better start passing it around!)]

After that, demographic forces are expected to overtake the fund, as more and more baby boomers leave the work force, stop paying into the program and start collecting their benefits. At that point, outlays will exceed revenue every year, no matter how well the economy performs. [Um, hard to tell what’s more ‘problematic’ here, the fact that these assholes are projecting a budget shortfall or the fact that they’re trying to make it off like this was ‘unforeseen’?]

Mr. Greenspan recalled in an interview that the sour economy of the late 1970s had taken the program close to insolvency when the commission he led set to work in 1982. It had no contingency reserve then, and the group had to work quickly. He said there were only three choices: raise taxes, lower benefits or bail out the program by tapping general revenue.

The easiest choice, politically, would have been “solving the problem with the stroke of a pen, by printing the money,” Mr. Greenspan said. But one member of the commission, Claude Pepper, then a House representative, blocked that approach because he feared it would undermine Social Security, changing it from a respected, self-sustaining old-age program into welfare. [Geez, how much you want to bet ‘Claude’ was a Republican?]

Mr. Greenspan said that the same three choices exist today — though there is more time now for the painful deliberations. [Um, no irony should be lost on the fact that Randites absolutely HATE Social Security…and guess who was/is a class ‘A’ ‘social Darwinist’?]

“Even if the trust fund level goes down, there’s no action required, until the level of the trust fund gets to zero,” he said. “At that point, you have to cut benefits, because benefits have to equal receipts.”

Hard to say just how ‘uptight’ anybody should be getting about this…er, news. From the way things are going, there won’t be a U.S. government to ‘back’ a Social Security program before too long…and yes good citizen, should it come to a ‘Palace Coup’ the ‘new Regime’ gets to pick and choose what it will and will not do and ‘for whom’.

Bizarrely, a conservative victory (usurpation of power) would result in the defacto ‘liquidation’ of any and all opposing political parties…followed closely thereafter by the elimination of ‘elections’ altogether. Since we’re all ‘on the same team’ there’s no need to ‘challenge’ the status quo, is there?

How big do you think the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ would become? You’d think it would be universal BUT there are too many who are too ready to go along with just about anything so long as they can enjoy ‘peace’ and relative tranquility.

Naturally, those who would sell their liberty for peace and tranquility deserve neither!

So good citizen, when they kick down your front door, how you gonna go…with your hands on your head or the trigger of your gun?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Striking a Blow....

Greetings good citizen,

My attention isn’t attracted to the same things that rivet ‘normal people’ to their preferred news source. I can only begin to guess how many of you are ‘genuinely interested’ in the behind closed doors Kabuki Dance that produced ‘mandated Health Care’ without the advantages of a ‘single payer’ system.

As residents of my State will tell you, this isn’t Obama Care, it’s Romney Care! Yup, Mitt did it first…and being a Republican, he really did it all right! If you should find yourself on the ‘free’ version of Romney Care, good luck finding a care provider! (Cue ‘Mission Impossible’ theme.)

Naturally, this is not what the media is telling us. Um, nope, for some bizarre reason the MSM thinks that the largest economy in the world being dead last (and basically failing again) to implement ‘universal healthcare’ is something worthy of a page in the History Books.

We can only wonder if ‘NOT universal healthcare’ will ultimately be blamed for the collapse of our civilization?

But enough quibbling, let us proceed with our examination of the great Democratic attack on Wealth Inequality!

In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality
Published: March 23, 2010

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago. [Yes, Mr. Leonhardt is not the first to equate the passage of this decidedly capitalist solution to the Reagan ‘privatization’ scheme as the ‘first step’ towards the unwinding of the Reagan Revolution, better known as ‘Morning in America’.]

Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.

Nearly every major aspect of the health bill pushes in the other direction. This fact helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue, even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan. [Um, this is rich! There isn’t a need to bring about an ‘end’ to the ‘age of Reagan’ as it is collapsing all by itself! If this is the ‘bone’ Barack’s ‘benefactors’ have provided him to throw to us it’s a mighty meager offering.]

Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would “mark a new season in America.” He added, “We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.” [Sadly good citizen, under capitalism, if your paycheck (or your health care coverage) doesn’t ‘cover’ you, it’s not their problem, its yours! This is going to turn into a HUGE ‘fuck you’ from our corporate overlords!]

The bill is the most sweeping piece of federal legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965. It aims to smooth out one of the roughest edges in American society — the inability of many people to afford medical care after they lose a job or get sick. And it would do so in large measure by taxing the rich. [We can only wonder what this means considering most of the ‘truly wealthy’ have their money squirreled away in off-shore ‘tax havens’. Will the ‘merely well-off’ have to pick up the slack?]

A big chunk of the money to pay for the bill comes from lifting payroll taxes on households making more than $250,000. On average, the annual tax bill for households making more than $1 million a year will rise by $46,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group. Another major piece of financing would cut Medicare subsidies for private insurers, ultimately affecting their executives and shareholders. [I’d like to digress for a moment on a topic that really frosts my backside and that is the disturbing shift from using the word ‘holder’ in place of the word ‘owner’. When we’re standing in the smoking ruins of our civilization, will these retards really try to claim they were just ‘holding’ the wealth of the nation?]

The benefits, meanwhile, flow mostly to households making less than four times the poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four people. Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies or to join Medicaid. (Many of the poor are already covered by Medicaid.) Insurance costs are also likely to drop for higher-income workers at small companies. [Left to our imaginations is whether or not any of those ‘savings’ find their way into the employee’s pocket, because none of the savings realized by higher deductibles and co-pays were ‘shared’ with the people paying half of the cost.]

Finally, the bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. [Um, the number of working American’s has also remained ‘static’.] As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.

The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s). Even affluent families ineligible for subsidies will benefit if they lose their insurance, by being able to buy a plan that can no longer charge more for pre-existing conditions. In effect, healthy families will be picking up most of the bill — and their insurance will be somewhat more expensive than it otherwise would have been. [Um, 2019! That’s nine years from now, WTF! And that 85% figure looks highly suspect as well, like there’s a ‘qualifier’ in there somewhere. Something along the lines of 40% of the workforce DOESN’T work full time…making that 135 plus million figure ‘highly suspect’. Um, most part time employers don’t offer health insurance and there’s no mention as to whether or not that ‘loophole’ has been closed. This also makes the cited current figure of 85% ‘highly suspect’.]

Much about health reform remains unknown. [How frightening is THAT?] Maybe it will deliver Congress to the Republicans this fall, or maybe it will help the Democrats keep power. Maybe the bill’s attempts to hold down the recent growth of medical costs will prove a big success, or maybe the results will be modest and inadequate. But the ways in which the bill attacks the inequality of the Reagan era — whether you love them or hate them — will probably be around for a long time. [Um, I’m still think it will result in a big FU for the average person…I was tempted to say worker but they’re getting mighty rare; and while your attention is on this ‘bullshit’, they ain’t doing nothing about that! (And they’re hoping you won’t notice.)]

“Legislative majorities come and go,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, lamented on Sunday. “This health care bill is forever.” [Makes it sound that much more ominous, doesn’t it?]

Since Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign in 2007, he has had a complicated relationship with the Reagan legacy. He has been more willing than many other Democrats to praise President Reagan. “Reagan’s central insight — that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic,” Mr. Obama wrote in his second book, “contained a good deal of truth.” Most notably, he praised Mr. Reagan as a president who “changed the trajectory of America.” [Can’t argue with that, Reagan grabbed the yoke of national aircraft and pushed forward for all he was worth, pointing us straight towards the ground! Is anyone else disturbed to see Barry ‘praising’ this Republican PR construct? I lived through the Reagan years and all I can remember of those times were endless carnage, there’s nothing to praise!]

But Mr. Obama also argued that the Reagan administration had gone too far, and that if elected, he would try to put the country on a new trajectory. “The project of the next president,” he said in an interview during the campaign, “is figuring out how you create bottom-up economic growth, as opposed to the trickle-down economic growth.” [Sadly, this is impossible while the status quo remains intact. Ironically, Barry has ‘the mandate’ to destroy the status quo but he lacks the will to do the job as he tries to navigate a mythical ‘middle ground’.]

Since 1980, median real household income has risen less than 15 percent. The only period of strong middle-class income growth during this time came in the mid- and late 1990s, which by coincidence was also the one time when taxes on the affluent were rising. [Hard to say if that feat can be duplicated considering our legislators slept while our nation became a hollowed out shell. Too late to claw back what never should have been let go in the first place.]

For most of the last three decades, tax rates for the wealthy have been falling, while their pretax pay has been rising rapidly. Real incomes at the 99.99th percentile have jumped more than 300 percent since 1980. At the 99th percentile — about $300,000 today — real pay has roughly doubled.

The laissez-faire revolution that Mr. Reagan started did not cause these trends. But its policies — tax cuts, light regulation, a patchwork safety net — have contributed to them.

Health reform hardly solves all of the American economy’s problems. Economic growth over the last decade was slower than in any decade since World War II. The tax cuts of the last 30 years, the two current wars, the Great Recession, the stimulus program and the looming retirement of the baby boomers have created huge deficits. Educational gains have slowed, and the planet is getting hotter. [So go ahead and ‘jump’ if you want to!]

Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer — what is the proper balance between the market and the government? — remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum.

Before he became Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers told me a story about helping his daughter study for her Advanced Placement exam in American history. While doing so, Mr. Summers realized that the federal government had not passed major social legislation in decades. There was the frenzy of the New Deal, followed by the G.I. Bill, the Interstate Highway System, civil rights and Medicare — and then nothing worth its own section in the history books.

Now there is. [?]

I suspect that if there are history books in our future that this ‘event’ will become an important, even ‘pivotal’ chapter…just not in a good way.

This is NOT health care reform, not by any stretch of the imagination. As it has been stated clearly in other parts of the media, this legislation really represents a major boon to the Health Insurance industry by requiring all adults to ‘pay in’ with no guarantee of coverage.

As I stated earlier, we have had Romneycare here in Massachusetts for three years now and the horror stories would curl your hair!

There’s a big difference between ‘looks good’ and is good. But I belabor the obvious as we have all been the ‘victims’ of empty capitalist promises our entire lives.

You know like I know that all is not as it appears and certain ‘exclusions’ apply.

So was history made?

Time will tell.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,