Friday, November 18, 2011

Republican Voter Suppression in Wisconsin-stan

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Wisconsin is made up of retired Circuit Court judges and are supposed to be an independent agency. Criminals don't like having judges watch them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Conservatives all think they are David Koch, David Koch knows better the way a shark knows he's not a halibut

It was a little odd that the price of gold had that big rebound after the large drop in price caused by big hedge funds selling gold and other assets in September to meet margin calls. We now know that it was caused by unprecedented buying of bullion by so-called emerging market countries’ central banks. This news caused gold to drop 3% today.

This will likely put the total amount of gold purchased this year in excess of the record set 40 years ago after Nixon ended the Bretton Woods Agreement. Named after a hotel in New Hampshire known for its Alpine skiing, this agreement was put in place in 1944 as the Allies looked toward the aftermath of WWII. It fixed the price of gold at $32/oz and the US pledged to back world trade using a USD that could be converted to gold at this fixed price by any government.

While this approach had its good points, the real reason for doing it was to allow the big Wall Street banks to horn in on international banking previously dominated by Great Britain. You see, FDR had forced the Brits to turn over their gold reserves to pay for the War, and Bretton Woods made the USD the new world currency instead of the Pound Sterling. Oil was also required to be traded in USD and the US was the only big exporter.

This plan worked pretty well until the early 70s when all those dollars thatNixon had been spending on the Vietnam war started to inflate the USD and the Brits, among others, started demanding gold by the hundreds of tons. Nixon closed the gold window and inflation really took off. By then the US was for the first time ever a net importer of oil, although by today’s standards the trade deficit from oil was inconsequential. Still, the oil companies were able to create an artificial shortage and drive up the price drastically. This allowed the big companies in all industries to muscle out the smaller competitors who saw their own capital eroded by inflation. The big companies could sell corporate bonds.

President Carter started drinking the Maggie Thatcher kool-aid about the “deregulation” of basic industries. This really meant the slow death of unions which were blamed for the stag-flation of the 70s. It really was from the printing of money that was then put in the hands of big banks and corporations to fund the mergers and acquisitions craze under the new “deregulation” wisdom.

Reagan didn’t start the War on the Middle Class; he just made it into a Holy Crusade. Bigger was better, merging companies was more efficient, factories should be moved to lower wage states and that would supposedly make goods cheaper eliminating 90% of the farmers would make food cheaper. Everyone was enamored with the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and Reagan made them think this was within their reach. These were just a few of the conservative talking points of the time. None of them were new, but for the first time middle class Americans (even Democrats) started to actually believe them when coming from the Great Communicator.  They didn’t realize it, but the New Deal was slowly being dismantled around them.

Reagan used massive government spending to hide much of the economic damage, his strategy doubled the National Debt his first term and doubled it again in his second. Consumer credit went from just a way to buy a house to the way people paid for everything. They didn’t notice that their kids were only getting half pay and slowly it got to where everybody was getting half pay.

Well not everybody; the One Percent saw their incomes skyrocket and never stop going up. But more importantly, they now control the bulk of American wealth. More over, to quote David Koch when asked why he would steal oil from Native American wells, replied on tape, “I want what I’m entitled to: everything”.  This sense of entitlement is not an unusual belief among the One Percent. Rank and file Republicans don’t disagree with this either as they think they are the same as David Koch. David Koch knows better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Few Good Men... any war starts with one shot

The stock market fell sharply today, supposedly because of the exposure the US banks have to the evolving Euro collapse. In reality you are seeing the big US banks skim money from your 401(k). High frequency trading drives the market up and drives the market down. A fraction of a cent on every trade adds up when you do billions of trades. That may make you poor; the really big news today will make you dead.

Barrack Obama, President of the United States of America (a former Super Power) has kicked off the first cold war of the 21st century by stationing a single company of Marines in Australia. This will ultimately lead to, according to the joint press release, a 2500 man brigade that will occupy the Australian territories for “international cooperation and training purposes”.

While the Obama Adm. refused to link this force deployment to the only remaining super power, China, the 3rd world war implications didn’t escape many observers.  Much of this wasn’t spelled out clearly and among things not mentioned out loud was the stationing of strategic nuclear bombers under cover of having access to training at desert target ranges in Australia. The official version is that the planes using Australian airspace will be short range fighter-bombers, but what would be the purpose of that? F-35 or B-1B, it’s all just letters and numbers.

As the next cold war heats up you can expect to see the re-opening of USN bases in the People’s Republic of Vietnam. They have hinted at such cooperation in the past as Vietnam is the only country to have been invaded repeatedly by the People’s Republic of China. They can expect to fall shortly after the Democratic Republic of China (Taiwan) disappears in a fireball. That could happen any day now, or perhaps China will be satisfied with world economic domination for a time.

I’ve used that Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times” over and over again but nothing better applies. Richard Nixon started the ball rolling with his trip to China on behalf of Coca Cola, and that well-known Republican Bill Clinton made free trade with China a reality. Free trade means domination by the biggest, most ruthless competitor. The Neo-Con Republicans thought that meant them, but when the conquests of Iraq, Syria, Iran and so on, didn’t go their way, all of a sudden that meant that China was the dominant force on the planet.

The times are getting more interesting every day and if the Republicans have their way the next President will be unable to find China on a map, let alone be one that will have a policy that favors the peasants of the former United States of America. The impotence of the United State was brought to the forefront today as NASA announced the recruiting of the next Astronaut class. In reality, they will be the very first Amerikan Cosmonaut class as no American spacecraft exists, nor are there plans to build any. In the future, Americans will hitchhike with the Russians. The Chinese are getting close to launching their own space station.  Interesting times indeed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congress shall make no law... abridging... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Euro denominated bonds sold off big today and this drove the price down and interest rates up. Even in the northern European countries where the Right Wing wisdom holds that the people are hard working, tax paying, frugal and (shhh), white. The only exception was Germany which is considered the last safe haven for the Euro and there interest rates fell on high demand for bonds.

US stocks were up in late trading despite the gloom and doom in Europe and the potential risk to US banks, as the basic economic news in the US remains positive. Consumer sales were up in October and manufacturing surveys suggest significant growth which was the opposite of the conventional wisdom of surveyed economists.

It wasn’t all good news, hourly wages adjusted for inflation have fallen nearly 2% in the past 12 months. Declining wages are indicated by the continuing high weekly jobless claims as better paid workers are fired in favor of minimum wage workers. In Texas many of almost forgotten Rick Perry’s jobs are less than minimum wage.

Speaking of the forgotten Governor of Texas, Iowa’s Republican primary is only 49 days away. It has become a four clowns in a pie fight, circus. Herman Cain leads at 20% having locked in the misogynist vote, he’s followed by Ron Paul with the Libertarian fantasy vote at 19%. Then you have Mitt Romney with the “we’re okay with Mormons, if they have money, vote” at 18%. Bringing up the rear is Newt Gingrich at 17%, coasting along on the “Definitely a corrupt politician but maybe he’s not crazy”, vote.  This leaves 26% that doesn’t want to vote for any of them. (it’s called a caucus like the Democrats, but that process is too complicated for Republicans, they just vote like any other primary)

The less than bright Mayor of Oakland has let slip that there is in deed a conspiracy to evict the Occupy Movement from public spaces. The refrain from the supposed representatives of the people is that the First Amendment allows free speech but no camping. That “Right of Assembly” phrase that follows in the same sentence, is strangely absent from their talking points.

In deed, in the days of the Constitution’s founders when traveling to New York could take weeks on horseback, the decree that The People wouldn’t be allowed to camp on public land in order to Petition Their Government, wouldn’t have been considered as legitimate. That would have been the position of the Crown and the British East India Company that they rebelled against. It’s time to rebel while you still can still do so peaceably.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mitt's 11-11-11 plan

 The stock market trailed off today with the realization starting to sink in that just putting lackeys of the bankers in charge in Greece and Italy isn’t really going to help. The new nails in that coffin are that Italy is still paying above 6% to sell bonds and now Spain is above 6% as well. The right wing continues to decry the Welfare States of Europe but the numbers don’t show that to be the problem. There are countries in northern Europe with much stronger social programs that are doing just fine as they aren’t trapped by the Euro. The Euro zone rules allowed excessive amounts of capital to flow into certain countries where the return was larger and now bond traders are looting and pillaging these countries as they must pay these debts back in a currency that doesn’t match the output on their economies but rather that of the German powerhouse.

The right, when faced with such facts falls back on racism, southern Europeans are lazy, corrupt and don’t pay their taxes, of course. The Irish too, you know what they’re like (free college education is a sin to the right). Spain is of course is full of Mexicans and Portugal is… where is Portugal? They speak Portuguese in Brazil, it must be another South American Commie country, somewhere near Venezuela.

The only Euro zone country with any real problems is Greece and its only real problem is that corporations don’t pay their taxes, otherwise they could cope. The rest of this mess is entirely a result of bankers and hedge funds. These countries do bear responsibility in that they don’t throw the pirates out like Iceland did. I mean Iceland, the entire population wouldn’t make a good sized town anywhere else and they stood up to them. That’s a hint that we don’t have to give into them either.

Mitt Romney came out Friday with his 11-11-11 plan, its not a tax plan like Cain’s but that was the date he commemorated so eloquently by announcing his intention to throw all the Military Veterans under the bus. He has seriously proposed doing away with VA Medical and replacing it with vouchers to buy private insurance. In other words only Veterans who are wealthy enough to meet the co-pay required to get insurance will get healthcare.

It will be a big money maker for Republican crony insurance companies and a knife in the back for those who paid for freedom with their bodies. Already 500,000 Iraq/Afghanistan Vets have gotten VA care out of 2.5 million who have been deployed so far. Mitt is only following the Republican Party line. The sick should pay for their own care and only then at huge profit for other Republicans.

You can forgive Mitt, or not, for his lack of understanding and empathy for the plight of Veterans, he did his service during the Vietnam War with several years of missionary work in the Provence wine region of France, also known as the French Riviera. In the 2008 primary season he basically lost Iowa by telling a Veteran who challenged his support for the Iraq war while nobody in his family has ever served, Romney said he was in fact a real patriot. His response to the Vet’s challenge was that “none of my [five] sons need to serve in the military as they were doing their patriotic duty by working on my campaign“.

Holding a French Chateau against the onslaught of communism is as close as most modern Republicans ever got to serving their country anyway. Avoiding war shouldn’t be held against them except that they are more than willing to sacrifice your children for the very profitable racket of war.