Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm in the NY Times today. Well, on their web site.

I'm starting to get a little pissed off at the New York Times. They always want to be oh so polite and reasonable, but I think we're out of time for that sort of thing when it comes to climate change. While their news articles have been very informative, a lot of their opinion on the matter has been what they'd call "moderate and rational" and what I call "sticking my daughter with the problem so they can maintain their wonderful upper-crust New York lifestyle for as long as they can while tut-tutting about climate change."

Their Dot Earth column yesterday scolded a panel chairman for making jokes and not being "policy neutral." The author's main point was that "there is an unavoidable and counterproductive blurriness to the line between his personal advocacy for climate action — which is his right as an individual — and his stature as the leader of the panel, which was established in 1988 as 'a policy relevant but policy neutral organization.'"

I've really had it with their "don't rock the boat (even though the boat is sinking)" mentality, so I wrote this (http://goo.gl/QXc4x):

"And patrons of the theater should refrain from yelling 'Fire!' until intermission so as not to disturb the performance.
"Honestly, I wonder if people at The Times understand what they're printing in their own newspaper. What I read in your paper tells me that we are hurtling toward a global catastrophe caused by all the CO2 we've put in the atmosphere. Yet an editorial the other day called for a 'balanced approach' to new oil exploration (just a little more CO2, and then we'll really quit this time, we promise), and this piece implies that you prefer polite role-playing to someone who is actually attempting to avert this disaster.
Institutions like yours are supposed to provide leadership when we face grave threats. So far, the institutions have failed us, and, when the earth becomes crippled in its ability to sustain its inhabitants, future generations (if any) will surely damn our memory because of the passivity and timidity we've displayed."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why getting money out of politics isn't Liberal vs. Conservative

"How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians' stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers?…
"The money-making opportunities for politicians are myriad...accepting sweetheart gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation, practicing insider trading with nonpublic government information, earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings, and even subtly extorting campaign donations through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry. The list goes on and on, and it's sickening…

"Astonishingly, none of this is technically illegal, at least not for Congress…
"The corruption isn't confined to one political party or just a few bad apples. It's an endemic problem encompassing leadership on both sides of the aisle. It's an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests…
"This call for real reform must transcend political parties. The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this."
This is from a WSJ op-ed by Sarah Palin. Yes, that Sarah Palin.
Will she support the constitutional amendment introduced by Sen. Sanders to overturn "Citizen's United"? Well, she can't be right about everything, but the point is that getting money out of politics should be a front-and-center issue in the 2012 House, Senate and state elections. The time is now to get this issue in the front of voters' minds and make the candidates take a stand on whether they're public servants or private whores.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Et tu, Huntsman?

I never thought I'd agree with him on much of anything, but it always seemed like Jon Huntsman wasn't as craven, cynical or bat-shit crazy as the other Republican candidates. Maybe it was because he said he liked Captain Beefheart and tweeted, "I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming."
Well, he hasn't stabbed the evolutionists or Beefheart fans in the back yet, but he's now shown that he's willing to be as big a weasel as anyone else in the GOP race.
Huntsman appeared before the Heritage Foundation (strike one), says he wants more evidence that people are causing global warming (strike two) and couldn't even get the facts straight about the BS email climate "controversy" (and you're out).
I've never seen a group of candidates that are such horrible liars, so dangerously deluded and are really genuinely awful people. I thought competition was supposed to bring out the best, but with this election, the democratic "marketplace of ideas" has become a shoddy, barren discount store.
Read more about how Jon puts the "C" in Huntsman here and here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I made a song. It's Xtreme!

Didn't someone say "extremism in the defense of the planet is no vice"?
Half my friends hate the message. Fuck them.
The other half hate the music. Fuck them, too.
The corporation that put it on iTunes and Amazon said they were taking it down. Corporations are stupid, so it's still there. Fuck them. Here's a free copy. They won't be sending me any money anyway.
But you should visit the corporate monsters and give it a good review, if you want.

US: Click here for iTunes or search for "Don't Shoot" by Green Means Stop. It's also available from Amazon here.

UK iTunes: Click here.

Canada iTunes: Click here.

Australia iTunes: Click here.

Ireland iTunes: Click here.

France iTunes: Click here.

Germany iTunes: Click here.

etc., etc.

Crony Capitalism

I just wrote this to a trader friend of mine. Some personal stuff has been redacted.

Here are two examples of how the current extreme corporate influence over our government winds up hurting you. And I mean YOU, xxxxxxxx. This first story xxxxxxxxxxxxxx found this appalling, calling this, if not illegal, than certainly something that is extralegal - A July 2008 meeting with Hank Paulson giving top money managers inside information on potential future Treasury plans for Fannie and Freddie.

Here's the link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-29/how-henry-paulson-gave-hedge-funds-advance-word-of-2008-fannie-mae-rescue.html

And here's the juiciest stuff (with bolding added):

Over sandwiches and pasta salad, he delivered that information to a group of men capable of profiting from any disclosure.
Around the conference room table were a dozen or so hedge-fund managers and other Wall Street executives -- at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. In addition to Eton Park founder Eric Mindich, they included such boldface names as Lone Pine Capital LLC founder Stephen Mandel, Dinakar Singh of TPG-Axon Capital Management LP and Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.
After a perfunctory discussion of the market turmoil, the fund manager says, the discussion turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paulson said he had erred by not punishing Bear Stearns shareholders more severely. The secretary, then 62, went on to describe a possible scenario for placing Fannie and Freddie into “conservatorship” -- a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets.
Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said.
The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information -- to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

That was under Bush. And under Obama? Here we go again!
From yesterday's WSJ (no link due to paywall). I'm bolding the important stuff.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wall Street Pushed Federal Reserve for Europe Action .


Wall Street executives, in a private meeting with a top Federal Reserve official in late September, recommended a coordinated effort by central banks to remedy the European financial crisis, according to Fed documents received in an open-records request.

The meeting, led by Louis Bacon, founder of hedge fund Moore Capital Management, preceded a joint action Wednesday by the world's major central banks, which banded together to provide liquidity to the markets through cheap U.S. dollar loans.

The Fed, ECB and other central banks took coordinated action to support the global financial system as Europe's rolling debt crisis continues to trouble markets. Vincent Cignarella and Charles Forelle discuss details on Markets Hub. Wednesday's moves involved central-bank coordination to lend to European banks, and it couldn't be determined what precisely prompted the Fed and the other central bankers to act. In the September meeting, the Wall Street executives suggested a different kind of coordination by central banks-boosting the global economy by buying securities or through other methods of injecting liquidity. Coordinated lending to European banks wasn't among their suggestions.

But analysts say Wednesday's broad stock-market rally was partly fueled by investors' expectations that central banks will do more to ease the crisis, such as the kind of central-bank coordination recommended by the members at the September meeting.

Mr. Bacon is one of 12 Wall Street members of a 14-member Fed panel, the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets, set up in the wake of the financial crisis to give New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley a pipeline into investors' thinking.

The Sept. 27 meeting with Mr. Dudley exemplifies the private meetings some Wall Street investors have with top Fed officials, in which they can gain access to potential early clues about Fed actions. Hedge funds have been pushing to get more information about the inner workings of the Fed, according to people familiar with the situation, as detailed in a Wall Street Journal page-one article Nov. 23.

The Fed's meetings with investors present a delicate situation for U.S. officials. They must balance the need for information from investors about the markets against the Fed's internal policy discouraging employees from arranging meetings with investors that would confer a commercial advantage.

The Fed's Mr. Dudley declined to comment. In a statement, Mr. Bacon defended the meetings, saying, "The Fed and Treasury canvass market opinions extensively through a variety of private-sector committees, contacts and trading desks in their task to fund the nation's exploding debt load, stabilize markets and optimize economic outcomes."

Members of the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets include some of the biggest names on Wall Street, including Keith Anderson of Soros Fund Management; Mohamed El-Erian of Allianz SE's Pacific Investment Management Co.; Peter Fisher of BlackRock Inc.; Joshua Harris of Apollo Management LP; Alan Howard of Brevan Howard Asset Management; Deryck Maughan, a former chief executive of Salomon Brothers who now is at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; and David Tepper of Appaloosa Management LP.

There is no indication the meeting had any impact on the participants' own investments. Minutes of the meeting obtained by The Wall Street Journal include notes taken by Fed staff members-but no record of comments by Mr. Dudley or any Fed officials at the meeting.

Mr. Dudley previously has said in a statement that he is in "listening mode" during the meetings and that he is careful not to provide "insights into our thinking" during meetings with investors.

He also said it is important the Fed understand investors' thinking during periods of stress and that he filters out investors' suggestions on policy that reflect their own interests. Committee members have said the questions asked by the Fed in advance of the meeting can give clues to the Fed's thinking.

The bulk of the three-hour meeting with Mr. Dudley on Sept. 27 at the New York Fed headquarters addressed the fallout from the financial crisis in Europe. Mr. Bacon, who was asked by Fed staff members to lead the discussion, began by saying he felt a Greek default was "likely" and he believed there was a "sizable risk of an accelerated Greek bank run," according to meeting minutes.

Committee members also said they believed a default by Greece would lead to increased pressure on the already weak position of French banks and create funding strains for European banks, according to the minutes.

The group suggested a number of ways to address the European crisis, including "coordinated credit easing and/or quantitative easing by" the European Central Bank. The group also urged "central bank guarantees of sovereign debt," "investments in European sovereigns and banks," "implementation of capital controls" and "government guarantee of bank funding and/or depositors," as well as "recapitalization of the IMF," according to the minutes.

A draft agenda in advance of the September meeting included questions about U.S. fiscal and monetary policy as well as the crisis in Europe, according to the Fed documents.

The committee members held a conference call Sept. 14 to discuss the draft agenda, according to an email obtained through the open-records search. Following the call, the agenda items relating to Europe expanded, according to the records.

Among the questions of the final agenda: "What steps should policy-makers consider to cushion any adverse market and economic impacts in Europe and elsewhere of a credit event?"

Mr. Bacon has been asked to speak about Europe during meetings with the Fed a number of times. In an email exchange Sept. 20, a Fed official asked Mr. Bacon to lead the meeting. "I was wondering if you would consider leading off the discussion on Europe, as you did at a meeting last year," the official said in the email.

Mr. Bacon responded the same day in an email, saying: "Ok, I will take it on. All Europe, all the time-getting weary."

Write to Susan Pulliam at susan.pulliam@wsj.com

Gee, xxxxx, I bet that could have helped you if the government let you attend these meetings. But since you're not the 1%, not part of Goldman, not in the Lucky Sperm Club, you get to make your trades not knowing what these guys know. And you thought there were laws against that!

For me (and it's different for everyone). #occupy isn't about welfare, race, stopping the war or saving the titmouse. We've become too much of a corporatocracy, skewing things too far to benefit the short-term needs of big corporations. Remember, despite the Supreme Court, corporations aren't people; they're just a bunch of legal documents and agreements locked up in a box in Delaware somewhere that say the people signing them are going to endeavor to make money for the owners. Corporations themselves aren't capable of balancing their short-term mandate for profit against the other needs this country has, so they probably should only have a little more influence on government affairs than my cat does.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I like corporations.

I like corporations. I like children and dogs, too, but you have to tell them all "no" once in a while.
Just because I didn't feed my dog the fifteen meals a day that he wanted, that doesn't mean that I'm anti-dog. And I'm not anti-capitalist for wanting to reduce the influence corporations have on our politics.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Climate Talks

Congratulations to #OWS and the occupiers everywhere. Here is a great example of how the #occupy movement is fostering worldwide change: Some diplomats from developing nations may occupy the upcoming climate change talks until some real progress gets made.
I wasn't a great believer in the efficacy of the overnight/tents/confrontation aspect of the movement, but results like this are quickly changing my mind.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Kelly Mann & I should agree on


@KellyMann6 @OccupyChicago
Quit making excuses and blaming other pep if u can't get ahead.If I could do it w/o any handouts so can anyone


Maybe not u personally but a large part of occupy movement believe in sharing the wealth.Wealth they didn't earn.

Hi Kelly!
Congratulations on the hard work you've done and the success you've achieved. Most people agree that good, productive work should be rewarded. And to me, that implies that the rewards shouldn't be going to the trust-fund children, the financial masters of the universe that caused the Great Recession, the crony capitalists who use their money to influence Congress to pass laws that enable them to make more money by polluting our country (and stick the taxpayer with the bill for cleaning up their mess), the media giants who make their money by cynically misleading hard-working people like you...
If we can both agree that these people haven't really earned their money, then I think you can begin to understand that we're not radicals. We want fairness for hard-working people like you, and right now we think the top economic 1% has more political power than they deserve. We think that's bad for the entire country, and rebalancing that power will make all of us more able to do the hard work we want to do and be fairly rewarded for that work.

The Unasked Question

Seriously, here's the question that should have been asked by now at a Republican debate: Our previous President seemed to be an orthodox free-market and freedom loving conservative, and when he left office we were bogged down in two costly wars, in the middle of a severe recession and his approval numbers were extremely low. Why would your Republican presidency be any different?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Would you want your daughter to date a person who can never stick to one story and has to blatantly lie to get people to like him? I wouldn't want that kind of scumbag coming around my house.

BREAKING: First Romney TV Ad Falsely Presents McCain Campaign Quote As Obama's | ThinkProgress


The Zen Master argues against the #Occupy Movement

This is a prime example of the childish anger and the intellectual laziness that is sinking this country. He was bothered that #occupychicago was blocking traffic. There are lots of times I don't get to go where I want because of other people...like, say, when tens of thousands of people want to go to some stupid Bears game when I want to travel on Lake Shore Drive, but I'm able to manage my feelings without pulling out the old angry-white-male-meets-petulant-child crap.



I support the #occupy movement. I've spent many happy hours @ #occupychicago (not days, sorry, but I'm doing more than most people). But here's a cruel fact: if your #occupy movement is fighting cops, that means you've failed. You've failed to rally enough people - if you want to do something the cops don't want you to do, the only way to succeed is with overwhelming numbers. Otherwise, be prepared to take your lumps and go to court for what you believe in and acknowledge that you've succeeded more as a fringe group rather than as an entity that represents the 99%.
We're fortunate in Chicago that the occupiers mostly recognize that fact and that the cops learned a lot from the mistakes of 1968. So we're able to get the message out, have some arrests that lately seem on both sides to be just street theater, nobody gets hurt and the reputations of Chicago and #occupychicago aren't tarnished.


Did Obama say Americans are lazy? No. But 60% of the eligible voters didn't participate in the 2010 election, so I guess I need some help finding a better word to describe us.

The Gloves Are Off

When did it become acceptable for adults in this country to act so childishly, selfishly angry? Was it during the 80s, when the pendulum swung back from rationalism and we elected a movie star president, not because what he said made sense, but because his nonsense gave us an excuse to be irresponsible, and the childish anger of the "oppressed" white male was a natural outcome? I vote yes.
So when I see cops dousing pepper spray on a group of sitting kids, despite the constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and the cops are cheered by self-styled "patriotic" Americans, then I have to say that this country has hit a new low in immaturity and it's time to call out these fake patriots for being the children they really are.