Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quotation for Today: Saving the Middle Class

"There isn't any question that income inequality has increased over the last three decades or so, despite a conservative campaign to discredit the notion."
Michael Hiltzik

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quotation for Today: America's Electronic Roundup

"The government has been swooping up millions and millions of communications by ordinary people, then sorting through them to figure out what they really want." 
Cindy Cohn

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Leo Gerard: Republicans are 'the party of Henry Potter'

Many of you are familiar with Frank Capra's Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) in which the themes of community and greed are explored. Today, we have Leo Gerard writing profoundly about the subjects of community and greed.

Quotation for Today: Shop 'til You're Drunk (Магазин 'сезам вы пьяны)

“It feels productive in a way — like I didn’t just come home drunk and pass out, I went home and did something.”
Amanda Schuster

Monday, December 26, 2011

California's Prop 13 Redux (Californie imposition foncière redux)

In 1978, Californians, via the initiative process, enacted Proposition 13. Proposition 13 basically froze real property tax rates in place for the next 30-plus years.  Now, a group has brought a lawsuit to challenge Proposition 13 on constitutional grounds.

Quotation for Today: Poverty's Insidious Effect On Children's Health

“It comes as no surprise whatsoever that such enormous inequities would be present. It is grossly unjust and will have health and economic impacts on the state of California for generations to come."
Harold Goldstein, DrPH

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Quotation for Today: A Legal System Wanting Justice

"I know this is not me. I don't know what else to do. God help me."
Phillip Reed

On the other side of the break, you can read more about Mr. Reed's story and the accounts of others with experiences like his.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Breaking News: NATO Alliance Could Be Imperiled

Two key countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- because of a dispute between them -- may be endangering the alliance.

Lawrence O'Donnell and KIND

On the other side of the break is an MSNBC video that features Lawrence O'Donnell discussing the charitable organization Kids in Need of Desks (KIND).  

Gangsters and Banksters - A Serial Tale Part IV

Once more, we have a tale of banksters acting like gangsters.  In this story, the banksters' gangster activity occurs in the home mortgage industry.

Quotation for Today: Serf Is Up

The destructive fires of the Little Depression that began in December 2007 continue to rage. Meanwhile, the leaders of the developed nations -- contemporary Herbert Hoovers all -- wring their hands in weakness and indecisiveness. Today's quotation captures the main elements that contribute to our leaders' helplessness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Destroying the Constitution in the Name of Religion

Religious zealots and their political kindred, in an effort to make the United States government an arm of the conservative "Christian" coalition, are attacking the Constitution of the United States.

Quotation for Today: Polecats And Skunks (Putois et les mouffettes)

In the quotation for today, we are offered another example of how a certain politician has an estranged relationship with the truth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Travel Day

I'm traveling today. So there will be little, if any posting.

Quotation for Today: Hamlet on the Potomac

The quotation for today highlights the fact that our vacillating, Hamlet-like Speaker of the House, John Boehner, cannot decide whether to be for middle- and working-class Americans or against them (probably against them).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Martin Rowson's 'Moral Collapse'

The 'moral collapse' of British Prime Minister David Cameron's administration is viewed through the artistic eye of The Guardian's cartoonist, Martin Rowson.

Quotation for Today

The enclosed quotation is part of an article that gives us a clear look at free-market economics and its accompanying ideology, and who benefits from free-market ideology and not truly free markets.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies and Romney Lies

Across the break are excerpts from an article that discusses Mitt Romney's -- a leading Republican presidential candidate -- "discomforting hostility for the truth."

Quotation for Today

As the presidential race shifts into high gear, it is clear -- as pointed out in today's quotation -- that the American people will continue to hear Republican presidential candidates spew the most dastardly lies about President Obama.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vaclav & Lena (Вацлав и Лена)

The book Vaclav & Lena -- a tale of young Russian immigrants (рассказ о молодых русских эмигрантов) living in Brooklyn, New York -- is reviewed by the author.

Quotation for Today

Today's quotation, presented on the other side of the break, focuses our attention on education.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Le Economic Forecast for France

The new economic forecast for France is now public and it effectively condemns to the economic dustbin (poubelle économiquesthe expansionary-austerity policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Quotation for Today

The world's economies continue to suffer severely from the effects of the financial crisis that began in 2008, and world leaders remain anxious over the lack of international cooperation to solve these ongoing economic problems.  The quotation for today, cited on the other side of the break, elevates the leaders' concerns about the lack of cooperation.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Channeling Thomas Jefferson to Understand Modern Class Warfare

 This post will take us onto historical and contemporary economic ground.

Revealing "the deepest layer of reality our species has ever probed" (video included)

The search for the Higgs particle (aka Higgs boson) and the importance of that search are explained by Brian Greene.

Quotation for Today

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults don’t have to live with the fear and uncertainty of going without health insurance. Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered."
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Levey, Noam N. "Millions of young adults getting coverage under new healthcare law."  Los Angeles Times 14 December, 2011: online edition. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Search for " the God particle"

The search for "the God particle" or Higgs boson has been in the news of late.  To learn more about Higgs boson and the search for it, continue with this post across the break.  Once there, you will get a picture of the research for this hypothetical elementary particle nicknamed "the God particle."

Quotation for Today

“Although I cannot go into detail about the ongoing review of these and other state-law changes, I can assure you that it will be thorough — and it will be fair.” 
Eric H. Holder,Jr., Attorney General of the United States
Savage, Charlie. "Holder Signals Tough Review of New State Laws on Voting." The New York Times 13 December, 2011: online edition.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amazon, A Leviathan of the Contemporary Gilded Age, the online retail behemoth managed by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, is undermining our local communities in a fashion reminiscent of Standard Oil; which to some observers of the Gilded Age was the worst of the Gilded Age's corporate leviathans.

Le Rejecting Economic Austerity

In protest of the economic austerity that is being imposed on the French people by their government, rallies are being held across France today.

Quotation for Today

"Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five conservative members of the Supreme Court handed for-profit corporations the right to secretly flood political campaigns with tidal waves of cash on the eve of an election, they moved America closer to outright plutocracy, where political power derived from wealth is devoted to the protection of wealth."
Bill Moyers

Moyers, Bill. "Moyers: Why 'We The People' Must Triumph Over Corporate Power." AlterNet 11 December, 2011: online edition. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gangsters and Banksters - A Serial Tale Part III

On the surface, the failure of MF Global, a firm ran by Jon S. Corzine, seems to be another incident of gangsters and banksters losing other people's money.  However, as you read more about MF Global's failure and other seemingly unrelated financial news stories a different pattern seems to develop.

The America "Syndrone" -- Part II

As the story cited in this post illustrates, more and more we are sliding down that slippery slope to a militarized society.

Quotation for Today

"The reason the eurozone is governed by rules is that few of its member-states – least of all its wealthier North European ones –have any appetite for fiscal union. Crudely, rules (gouvernance) exist because common fiscal institutions (gouvernement) do not. But rules are no substitute for common institutions. And tighter rules do not amount to greater fiscal integration."
Simon Tilford and Philip Whyte, Tilford is chief economist at the Centre for European Reform and Whyte is a senior research fellow at the CER.
Centre for European Reform. (2011) Why stricter rules threaten the eurozone [Pamphlet, PDF medium]. Tilford, Simon and Philip Whyte: Authors. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Le Dominique de Villepin Announces Presidential Candidacy

On Sunday night, during an interview on France's TF1 television channel, Dominique de Villepin announced his 2012 candidacy for the President of the French Republic.

The Smartest Guy in the Room

“Let me just say, if Newt Gingrich is the smartest guy in the room, leave that room.”
Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Dowd, Maureen. "Fire and Ice." The New York Times 10 December, 2011: online edition

Can You Feel That?

In Congress, the corporate- and one-percent-controlled Republicans -- who now run the U.S. House of Representatives -- just passed a bill that will give corporations the power to make public your personal television and movie viewing habits.

Quotation for Today

Today, America is an outlier among industrial nations. Its distribution of income looks closer to that of Argentina than, say, Germany.
So it is perhaps unsurprising that our recent economic crisis had some characteristics of boom-and-busts in less developed nations. It was triggered, in part, by 1 percenters on Wall Street persuading regulators to remove restrictions on their casino. 
Eduardo Porter
Porter, Eduardo. "The 1 Percent Club’s Misguided Protectors."  The New York Times 10 December, 2011: online edition. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Europe Seethes

The current anger in Europe -- supposedly because of the United Kingdom's veto of an atrocious economic austerity plan advanced by Germany with the support of Mrs. Merkel's French poodle -- is at the boiling point.

The Roberts Court's Special Hearing: Texas Redistricting Case

The Roberts Court announced it would hear "special arguments" in the Texas redistricting case.

Quotation for Today

"Much more difficult – the main beneficiary of the Iraq war was the Iranian government. Iraq traditionally was a sort of buffer but that has now disappeared because of the stupid policy of the US and Tony Blair's government."
Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP (UK) (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1995-1997)

Rustin, Susanna. "Is war with Iran inevitable?" The Guardian 9 December, 2011: online edition UK 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Protecting the Gordon Gekkos

As a reminder, Gordon Gekko was Oliver Stone's "greed-is-good" character in the movie "Wall Street", and today we get a look at a "real-life Gordon Gekko" courtesy of Paul Krugman.

Quotation for Today

"Never has Europe been so necessary. Never has it been in so much danger."
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic

"Eurozone crisis: Talks to save euro begin in Brussels." BBC-UK 8 December, 2011: online edition 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Brazil the "Sucuriju Gigante" of South America?

As Brazil grows in wealth it is beginning to flex its new found powers in old, imperial ways.

Social Security and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

This story is one filled with hypocrisy. It is a tale of a politician publicly advocating one thing while privately doing the opposite.

Quotation for Today

"What is going to have people pushing their euro notes around in wheelbarrows, as they famously did their Deutschmark notes in Weimar Germany's hyperinflation, is not, at the moment, inflation – it is a collapse of the eurozone."
Timothy Garton Ash

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Think Tank: UK Now in Depression

The United Kingdom is considered to be in a depression and will be until the year 2013 according to the UK think tank -- National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

We Need A Contemporary George C. Marshall

To begin, we need to review a little American-European history where George Catlett Marshall is introduced anew.

Quotation for Today

"The fact is, this crisis has left a deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. And major banks that were rescued by the taxpayers have an obligation to go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit."
Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

Remarks by the President on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas: given on 6 December, 2011.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gangsters and Banksters - A Serial Tale

Again, we have another case where bankers are aiding and abetting a possible criminal enterprise.

Le - OECD On Income Inequality

The OECD has published a new report on income inequality in developed nations.  This report may complement President Obama's speech on income inequality that he plans to give today in Osawatomie, Kansas.

Bothaina Kamel

Because of the dramatic political changes occurring in Egypt, Bothaina Kamel can now run for president of that country.

Quotation for Today

“Because of it, our country is, at last, making health care a basic human right. It is a majestic thing.”

Donald Berwick, M.D.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who is Ryan Matthews?

If not for a tenacious British lawyer and generous, British financial support -- via the British-based group Reprieve -- Ryan Matthews would be another poster child for the tragic miscarriage of justice that; a common outcome in the American legal system.

Quotation for Today

"Republicans are giving themselves whiplash on the issue of taxes: Republicans have one position on taxes for the wealthy and another position when it comes to everyone else." 

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Mascaro, Lisa. "Republicans caught between a tax break and a hard place." Los Angeles Times 4 December 2011: online edition

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NATO Conference on Afghanistan

On Monday 5 December, 2011, NATO is holding a security conference to discuss Afghanistan, and the stated purpose of the conference is to discuss NATO support for Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Le - Iran Shoots Down U.S. Drone

Iran claims it shot down an RQ-170 Sentinel - an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone). 

You May Have Missed This

Again, our country -- with Republicans controlling the United States House of Representatives -- finds itself embroiled in a church-state issue.

Quotation for Today

"If I were looking for effective management of a project, a company or a country, this is exactly the kind of management I would not want to have.  Bain partners think the profits they made are a sign of their brilliance. It's not brilliance. It's lurking around the corner and mugging somebody."

David Foster

Le - Politician Compares Mrs. Merkel to Bismarck

Arnaud Montebourg, a French politician, compares the policies of Mrs. Angela Merkel (Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany) to those of Bismarck.  Montebourg's comments seem to have caused a bit of a brouhaha in France.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Is U.S. Trade Policy A Debacle?

Yes, and as the story on the other side of the break highlights, the U.S. trade debacle can negatively impact mature and budding industries, equally.

Predators in the Schoolhouse

The for-profit corporate octopuses are thrusting their arms into the education waters in new and unseemly ways. 

Thought for Today

"Indeed, work — once the pathway to a rising standard of living — has become for many a route to downward mobility."

"Been Down So Long ... ." Editorial. The New York Times 2 December 2011, online edition.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Le News - EU to sanction Iran

Two excerpts from an article (in french language) published in Le Figaro-fr describe the EU plans for concerted action against the financial and oil industries of Iran. There is not a unified position among the EU members as to what, if any action should be taken against Iran -- national interests come into play.

Quotation for Today

"A joint liability for others' debts is not acceptable."

Mrs. Angela Merkel

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quotation for Today

“The bigwigs of the corporations knew this, but they figured we’re going to make billions out of it, so who cares? The government is going to bail us out. And the problem loans will be out of here, maybe even overseas.”  

James Theckston

L'affaire Iran - A Call for Action

As a result of the Iranian "students" taking over the British embassy in Tehran, an international effort to take action against Iran seems to be building up a full head of steam.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Protesters Pepper-sprayed, Again

Today, we have another reported example of the police utilizing excessive force against American citizens who are exercising their Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and peaceably to assemble.

Anti Free-Speech Bill Moving Through Congress

The publisher of the Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas, describes how a bill to control speech on the internet is working its way through Congress.

Quotation for Today

“This is the neediest period I’ve seen in my 20-year career.”  

Leah Schmidt, Nutrition Director, Hickman Mills C-1 district, Kansas City, Missouri.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"1979" British Style

In 1979, the United States experienced the "Iran hostage crisis"; the storming of the American embassy in Tehran.  A terrorist event that occurred in conjunction with the Iranian revolution.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gangsters and Banksters

It appears the banksters have been "cleaning" the gangsters' illegal drug-trade money.

China's economy collapsing?

Is China's economy on the brink of collapsing?  Some well-known China watchers and market players seem to think so.

Understatement of the Day

"I know the immigration issue is being used against us." Sheldon Day (mayor of Thomasville, Alabama) speaking about Alabama's new immigration law and its effect on business in that state.

"The Price of Intolerance." Editorial. The New York Times 27 November 2011, online edition.

Five-Alarm Fire Bell

Robert J. Shiller, Yale professor of economics and finance, writes that a lack of government action to reduce unemployment could result in "social discord for years to come."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The America "Syndrone"

We live in an age where satellites can track us from thousands of miles away in space and our mobile phones can act as monitoring devices.  Now and with the application of drone aircraft to police work, we are moving into the age of up-close-and-personal "espionage."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review and Foreign Affairs

An account of terrorism peppered with insight into the international intrigues of governments and businesses is what Ms. Hakakian has provided in Assassins of the Turquoise Palace.  The terrorist event - a slaughter of Iranian exiles - takes place in Berlin Germany during the fall of 1992.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A New Worker Era?

The enclosed link takes you to a New York Times op-ed that describes "The Age of the Superfluous Worker"; a look at the effects of modern capitalism on workers.