Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Criminals and the Slap on a Wrist

Original 4/13/05

Criminals that are lifers - do NOT need to EVER be allowed back in public. And if the "right to life" or "prisoner rights" groups want to PAY to keep them in jail for life then fine. Otherwise, let's bring back a sure method of making sure they don't harm us again. No, I am not advocating cutting off hands, or genitals, or any "offending" body part. I am saying that life-time criminals should not have life. Yes, the death penalty. We would save millions each year by dropping the “supermax prisons” off the tax-payroll.

This includes crimes from identity theft [they set out to destroy your life] to egregious child molestation and “slavery” [white, black, or other]; car theft to mob and drug crimes. ANY crime more serious than stealing a loaf of bread, and where the criminal shows they will be a problem for society forever.

Where do the "rights" groups come in? If they want these criminals alive, then they can DONATE THEIR MONEY to the state of their choice, with the money directed by law to the general upkeep of the prison population. NO money for TV's in every cell, or weights that just make criminals more dangerous when they do get out. There are many groups, mainly religious, who don’t want the death penalty; fine. And there are many people in jail, even “death row”, that are innocent; we need to make sure that we separate the one-time criminals from the career criminals. But even career-purse-snatchers are more than we need on the streets again. We spend tens-of-thousands of dollars hunting down these “small-time” thieves, so lock them up forever too.

And these jails do not have to be nice; how about un-used desert space, with AC for the guards and fans for the prisoners? Give them some play area, some balls (no bats) and gloves and other things for activities, so long as it won’t make them more dangerous. And if their relatives (or others) want to give extras that fit within the restrictions, fine - just don’t ask ME to pay for it.

Updated 10/28/09

One last point, food for thought, etc, and boy could this generate responses - America jails more of its population than any other nation. I do worry about WHY this is so [do we lock up minor offenders because they are are not white, like me?] because I start wondering if there is a conspiracy of some intent I don’t understand.

We need to find some way to reduce this number (better education?). My solution to crime, as outlined, will initially put far more behind bars, unless because of the “warning” of the law’s passage, they stop the activity beforehand. But when people realize they will be put away forever, including those “rich” folks on wall street and other places using drugs [just like purse snatchers, these “minor” repeat offenders take the police on a ride, costing us huge $$], then crime will go down. Remember that many in a family know that the spouse is at least doing “questionable things” like drugs, which support organized crime (the one thing “Bush 43” was right about). If they don’t want the family broken up, and possessions seized, then they will put pressure on the family member to stop, or kick them out themselves.

Identity Theft

Original  3/13/06

OK, maybe we have to have some method of determining, in this ever-expanding world of commerce, who is and is not likely to pay back borrowed money.

But the companies that have amassed our most secret information are not just selling it to "authorized" agencies, but are also not securing the data to keep it away from criminals.

And don't think you will be able to sue them for the breach, the subsequent ruination of your credit, reputation, ability to get a job, etc; because we can expect Congress to soon (if it doesn't exist already) pass a law protecting these "vital national resources" against "un-warranted litigation", just as they did the drug companies that make vaccines. That piece of legislation will certainly come back to haunt us - as companies make mistakes that easily should NOT happen, and they simply hide behind the 'law'. While we have to have vaccines, they have always come with warnings like "made with eggs - don't use if allergic"; but Congress has now taken our Constitutional protections from us!

On top of all this, if we catch the criminals that steal our information, and ruin our lives, they get a sentence of a couple months to a few years - then they go do it again! (see Criminals and the slap on a wrist)

Update 10/28/09

Now we have to also add to the mix - theft of your very personal medical records! The Federal Government wants to put ALL of your medical info online so even if you take a trip around the world and get sick/injured, you won’t get a shot of something you are allergic to, an MRI when you have a piece of metal that would be ripped through your body, etc. All of this is “good”.

I would love to see this happen. Imagine not having to pay for x-rays again because you were shipped across town but they lost the films, to state one easy case.

But let’s face it - your information had not been secured very well so far, and I doubt we can expect the companies writing the programs (software) to institute any methods to keep the data safe. They are in this to make money, and if making it secure would add $100K to the price, they won’t do it because someone else will underprice them for the contract. [Some help - see below]

What do we have right now? First, every doctor’s office demands your SS# - why? They are not paying you, so they don’t need it. Insurance companies want it too, though I don't think they really need it. But many of these offices have people working in the office with questionable backgrounds, so your SS# should not be released; even if they are not criminals, they don’t secure the data, and may send it wirelessly throughout their offices, making it easy for “drive-by hackers” to steal it. If you have insurance they give you a policy number - that is all any doctor needs. No insurance? Then you pay at the time of service, so again they don’t need the SS#. [I joined a bowling league - THEY wanted my SS# too!! (I did not give it, they flipped out; in about a year, they stopped asking for it from anyone)]

Now I could go through pages of more problems with all this, but to get to the point, any data should be heavily controlled and protected. How? First secure the data at every stage of transmission with encryption, including (*especially*) over any wireless nodes since these are the easiest to steal from; and the encryption should be far better than the current 1,024 bit standard - more like 10K or 1Mbit scrambling that is changed on a random basis. With the amount of computing power available to criminals (equal to a supercomputer of just a few years ago) anything less will be decoded within days, if not hours! Think they won’t care that you had a broken leg when 12, or your “tubes tied” at 24, think again. Most of the activity involving computer data theft is now done on a large scale. It’s like a major retailer - to sell everything cheap you get everything cheap, and hope for a home run on a few products, but low-margin stuff still adds to the total volume and brings in a lot of $$ too. [Think about the standard ID theft - you may not be rich but they steal it anyway and over-charge on your dime. Then you may spend YEARS getting things straight while they sit in comfort. Even shoplifting is being done by organized groups.]

SO [some help] - contact your Senator and Representative today and demand a LAW that forces any companies (software, hospitals, etc) writing for or handling sensitive data to ensure that encryption is the most important factor in the process; that if your SS# is required at some point, that it is NOT displayed on every monitor or printout (they can substitute a randomly generated number at the federal level so it matches up only at the most protected point), and that mandatory sentences are imposed for any willful act that causes your personal information to be even potentially stolen (in other words, if your data is not protected then someone goes to jail even if you are not directly harmed - sentences could start with 30 days or a fine for stupidity, and the more egregious violations could result in 20 years-to-life).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Domestic Spying?

Original: 2/16/06

Let me preface this article with two things
    1. I agree with most of what they are doing, but not how
    2. I always assumed that the NSA/CIA/FBI was listening to international phone conversations, all the way back to Hoover & his FBI wiretapping of Dr. King, and anyone they chose out of an anti-war rally. Any government, unchecked, will do whatever they can get away with.

Now when I first heard the report (confirming my assumption) of the "domestic wiretaps without warrants" I was outraged. The media left open the idea that my conversations with friends were being listened to, because I was so upset after 9/11 that I went into the local FBI office and told them off (everything I accused them of - that the FBI/CIA had evidence before the attack that they did not act on was later proven to be true) so unfortunately that put me on their radar.

Then I started hearing from the administration; they tried to say it was necessary, and finally VP Cheney described what was really(?) happening - that one end of an international communication was coming from 'known terrorists', so I had to agree - this was needed in order to find out what was being planned so that the next attack could be stopped. If allowed, I would assist in such wiretaps, because it is a useful tool in a war.

But I still have a problem with the procedure used; Pres. Bush says to do wiretaps without going to the FISA court - ever. Pres. Bush reviews his own order and deems it correct every 45 days. Pres. Bush tells a few select Congress people about the operation, but tells them that they would be breaking the law and could be prosecuted if they reveal to anyone that they ever even met with him for any such briefing. So Pres. Bush makes up constitutional powers for international calls; it is not beyond reason then for us to assume that he has also decided that Article II has given him the right to listen in to domestic calls. After all, he is fighting a war, and "all is fair in love and war". Remember, too, that there are already laws that allow people to be picked up and held, without any notification, if suspected of treasonous acts (the Evansville 7 were picked up and detained for weeks and no contact, not lawyers or family, was allowed. And some of them lost their business because of the government's detention-without-evidence), and Jose Padilla was held without contact even though he is a citizen, and supposedly protected by our constitution. [I believe that these "laws" are unconstitutional, as supported by Amendments 4, 5, and 6.]

[Kind of sounds "divine" - he looks at what he has done - "and it is good." Scary, isn't it? Pres. Bush makes comments about a 'crusade', he tells a reporter that he does not consult his father (Bush 41), but his "Father", and now creates a new Presidential power (one without Congressional check and balance review) by his own will. {Mr. Bush needs to study Amendment 1.}

Isn't this the problem we are in right now, with Bin Laden and others claiming to pray to God for guidance, then claiming that God wants them to wage war? This looks more like two religious zealots fighting a war, but using other people's bodies for the ammunition! Looks like the "Founding Fathers" were right - when you have a state religion, you tend to use the state to fight your religious battles, so separation of church and state was mandated when the United States was formed. ]

The Administration says they won't go to the FISA court because it might decide that a "probable cause" requirement was not met. How could it not agree, if the NSA shows that the non-U.S. end of the conversation is a "known" terrorist? To have a known terrorist on the phone is basically the definition of probable cause.

What about this? 'A' in Afghanistan talks to 'B' in Kansas. "B' then calls 'C' in Boise. At this point, we are told that the NSA should then listen to the B/C conversation, but go to FISA right away for an "after the fact" warrant. But they have to give probable cause, so they must tell FISA about the A/B conversation; except that they are ordered by Mr. Bush to not tell about this call. NOW they can't use the B/C call in court because it was an illegal/secret wiretap or - will someone lie about a source to try to get the tap used in court later, only to have any prosecution fail when the truth about the tap becomes known?

The irony of all this debate about secrecy is
- if Pres. Bush had used the FISA court, as the LAW states he must, then we would not have all this discussion right now. This entire 'secret wiretap' plan fell apart because of those who said it was wrong, and illegal, and who left their jobs in protest. It is a 99% probability that one of those dissenters confirmed to the press what I had always assumed. And - what is the real story; did they leak over international, or truly domestic, wiretaps?

SEC, SPE’s and SIV's - How Wall Street is constructed to take from YOU

The SEC,  SPE’s and SIV's

 Securities and Exchange Commission and Special Purpose Entities

and Structured Investment Vehicles

Started  2/17/04 and updated 12/05/07 -

When Harvey Pitt was placed in charge of the SEC, democrats screamed immediately that he was wrong, without really supplying any proof (that was reported in a reasonable fashion). So every time I heard it, I said to myself, and others I talked to, “give him a chance”. Then after a while, some evidence was presented that showed that Mr. Pitt should be removed.

Of course, the new Chairman, Mr. Donaldson, as it was in the beginning with Mr. Pitt, was heralded as “someone who knows where the skeletons are” on Wall Street. EXCUSE ME, but it occurs to me that if they know where problems on Wall Street are at, then they either would have made news telling where the problems were years before, or they are part of the problem!

Eliot Spitzer has done this country a great service – he has pointed out that Wall Street is set up for the rich to get richer (he has not necessarily said it in those words, but that is the result), and has been from the start. I don’t care what his political aspirations may be because he has done something that needed to be done; he has shone a bright light on the backroom dealings that are big business, and the rats there are being shot (figuratively).

Insider deals giving extremely rich (Mr. Bernie Ebbers comes to mind) people more ways to make money with no risk is one thing that now shines in the Spitzer light. Though in some cases the people actually did trade with the firms involved (new reports say Ebbers didn’t), it is still not a fair way to do business, here in this country of “equals”. How can anyone say that making sure that a select few rich people are given the chance to make money while shutting out millions of other potential investors is the right way to do business?

Mr. Spitzer is doing what the SEC would not – enforce the law, and in some cases cause new laws to be made. But everything that he is doing is just what the SEC was supposed to have been doing for the past 60 years! CNBC had a program on in 2003 by Sue Herrera that looked the SEC and the NYSE, what precipitated its founding, and whom was placed in charge. As I remember the show, a banker, and one of the richest men in America, was given the job of getting it all going. But that show also pointed out how many things were still done in the smoky back rooms. Funny how things never change over time, unless forced from the outside.

And then we come to SPE’s – those “Special Purpose Entities” dreamed up by accountants. That’s right – accountants. With all the purpose of a mafia lawyer, they looked at how they could modify legitimate methods of branching off sections of a company, but with the apparent purpose of filtering off assets and debt to places where no one could gain access to the records. Some of those, as profiled in news accounts, had companies created by corporate insiders funneling millions of dollars (both real and imagined, I believe) to places where the money could just disappear, leaving behind just the debt. And of course, a company with only debt files for bankruptcy and “dissolves into the night”. While there are still questions about the purpose of all of them, reports were that ENRON made over 4600 SPE companies. Some may have had legitimate reasons to exist, but NO ONE will ever convince me that these, with few exceptions, were for "sound business practices".

And where was the SEC while all this was going on? ENRON (and others) started making SPE companies years ago, so why had the SEC never investigated them? Surely they won’t try to say that they never had the funds to do their job, will they? Why, just one of these, with the proper penalties (read that as “how to fund the SEC through lawsuits against unscrupulous companies and individuals”) assessed, would have paid for then next, and then some. But of course, as I pointed out above, there is no way that these “skeleton” sleuths were going to rat on their cohorts.

Now don’t start thinking that Congress is going to start really getting involved either. Sure, they want to make a good showing, calling witnesses in so the elected officials can read their prepared remarks for the cameras, and then the witness can either “take the 5th” or sit there and claim “I don’t recall”. But you will never get any real action from Washington, because they all know where their campaign money comes from, and in over 200 years, we have perhaps had 2 officials upset the apple cart (read that: cut their political throats), and I may be generous in stating that much.


SEC is Run Amuck Again

Here we are in November 2007, and AGAIN we are faced with the SEC failing to do it's duty, this time in regards to lending institutions. Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, even UBS, are now on the hot seat for risky lending in the many tens of billions of dollars! And what has become the quick way of getting the debt out of sight?: the equally wrong banking version of a SPE [the Special Purpose Entity of Enron fame]- called a SUPER "structured investment vehicle" [SIV - I can't think of a better acronym that they could have come up with. Rather than a bucket to hold the assets, they use something with HOLES!! read on]. [Note - there are also "conduits" that are smaller versions of these holders of failed investments.] They have quickly changed the 'name' to MLEC [Master Liquidity Enhancement Conduit - this is defined in another article, but I can't find it otherwise on the internet].

Just what is a SIV/MLEC? The Financial Times ( for U.S. & Canada states it thus: "The idea of the MLEC is to transfer the securities to a new vehicle that could hold the securities to maturity thus capturing the full value of the assets. Although the backers stress the MLEC would be a temporary solution, they say it is likely to last for three or four years." [from a 10/19/07 article - before the shit really hit the fan in the U.S.]

The article, however, not being the place to speculate, does not state this - that I am certain that rather than waiting years for maturity of these loans, and perhaps more importantly because many of these loans could never be re-paid, most will be written off their taxes, ultimately becoming OUR BURDEN as they get to claim it as a loss against the billions otherwise made, and therefore not pay any taxes! And where they can't do that, they will again come after US as they did with the "Long Term Capital Management" fiasco in the late 1980's [and later, the BCCI banking scandal], when the super rich lost billions in hedge funds [which ONLY they are allowed to invest in] then got bailed out by George Bush (#1), as it was determined that allowing these funds to fail could also take down banks. [See, the rich don't have to pay for everything up front (to be fair, neither do the moderately wealthy, when investing in "puts and calls") but instead "leverage" their investing by simply promising to pay if they lose the "bet" on the investment. Think of it this way - you go to a bookie and tell him you are betting on "Flower Power to WIN at 8:1" and place a bet of $100, but only give him $10. If the horse wins, you collect the $800, but if it loses then you have to cough up the other $90. If you don't YOU get your legs broken - but for the rich, they cry to the government an WE get OUR legs broken in the form of taxes to fund a bailout!]

 Here's another good one - most investment bankers and financial reporters, and some government officials claim that they don't really understand the SIV/MLEC. But that won't stop Washington from letting these banks set it up.

What the banks are doing with the SIV would be impossible, and perhaps illegal for you and me to do. Do you think you could really take, say, a couch that turns out to be really bad, throw it in the garbage, then tell the company that you are stopping payment on the check? What they are doing amounts to the same thing! They 'bought' these bad mortgages, that may be defaulted upon shortly, but now claim that they are worthless and so want to trash them without any consequences.

As some are now stating - "where were the regulators in all this?" Well, let's see - reports are that the BUSH #2 administration has cut many federal departments from 10% to 80%! Was the SEC one of these? Whether it was or not, it clearly has not been doing the job it was set up to do, and hasn't been doing it for many years!

Of course, there are those that think there shouldn't be any regulation of any business. Larry Kudlow [of CNBC - sorry Larry but since I watch a lot of CNBC & not the rabid "FOX'es", you are the one I am exposed to the most - which is why, with your 'let business do anything completely un-regulated' stance, and 'only Republicans can save the world' stance, I can't stand to watch your show anymore] is one of those staunch Republicans that believe the "market" will regulate companies, forcing bad companies into failure by not purchasing their products. But let's face it, America - if we didn't have regulations, drug companies would sell snake oil, crops would be sprayed with DDT, and auto companies would make bumpers out of plastic!! Now do you really want to have a country where that could happen without consequences? [oops - they do! Remember the "5 mph no damage to the vehicle" rule? Now a 2 mph bump, or a simple scrape, can cost hundreds to repair. But the bumpers looked hideous and weighed about 100 lbs., so they could hardly be allowed today.]

But as pointed out before, regulations are a necessity in this world. I'm not saying that government should list things that can be sold, or how they must be sold - I am saying that companies are out to make money, and many don't care how they do it! Remember the movie "Erin Brockovich"? A utility was poisoning people by dumping toxins, and when discovered they did everything they could to cover it up, then fought tooth and nail to not pay the victims. If companies really did want to make money without hurting people, then as soon as they realized that people where being harmed they would have jumped to solve the problem.

Conmen, Cowards, and Thieves

[Original started in 2005 - last updated 3/15/09]

Cher sang a song ["Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves"]  about how a group of people were looked down upon, though they were constantly sought. Congress has shown that they deserve a similar moniker.

Conmen - "I will do what is right for America". Gee, how many times have we heard that? Promises of health care, lower taxes, "no pork", projects for America, foreign policy that promotes peace; all of it costing less than ever before - and none of it is true. But Americans keep voting for these liars.

What is it going to take before we stop voting for them? Unfortunately, I don't think there is a strong enough force in the universe, because the power that keeps getting them voted into office is GREED. And not just the greed of the politicians, but the greed of every American, looking for "a chicken in every pot"  [a slogan from long ago]. Add to that a populace that can no longer think for themselves [ I cite the declining position of American schools as compared to the rest of the planet - what are we now, 98 out of 100? ] and you have an atmosphere where politicians can say anything and be believed.

Have you people ever balanced your checkbook? Income - outlay = what's left. Now while a temporary outlay overage is OK, say for a new replacement refrigerator, or car tires, or even a new couch, should not hurt in the long run, unless your plan is to get more than you will ever [even without interest tacked on] be able to afford then go 'Chapter 13', then how can you justify new cars, new TVs, or houses that cost 5-10 times your annual income [the old norm was about 3 times]? If you can not see how to pay off a credit purchase in 1-2 years [clothes in a couple months], then extras like TVs should wait.  The same goes for these CONMEN in DC - they must be planning to use some kind of 'debt forgiveness' so that the bills for their excesses will never have to be paid. [I guess they just use "debt forget-ness" - they know the people won't remember]

In the 1980's America did not just show the Soviet Union that we had a "better idea" - we out-spent them into the ground. THEY finally gave up the money race and opened their borders. American politicians and economists declared that the Soviet system could not sustain itself, could not spend what it didn't have, and collapsed. However, WE are in the same boat, but refuse to admit it. Mainly Republicans (and their supporters) are the ones claiming that we can cut taxes and offer more services without it costing anything [they claim revenue will increase causing more actual tax money to be collected - kind of like Wal-Mart; lower prices will bring more customers and though the profit margin on each item is small, the total money brought in increases], or even get more in the long run. But since this plan went into effect (I believe in 1981) the total U.S. debt has gone from about $1 Trillion to about $9 Trillion today [would have been MORE if Bill Clinton, for whom I have no love because of the disgrace he brought to our country, had not changed some policies to the point that we had years with no deficit.].

BY THE WAY - have you noticed that YOU have given the former Soviet Union about $1 Trillion since the collapse? The U.S. 'CON'gress thought we should pay them for old nukes missiles, uranium that was laying around, and other weapons, AND straight-up CASH to support their economy as it struggled to become more like ours. But don't you people remember the news reports about hundreds of millions of dollars being directed straight into the Russian mafia, along with other millions simply 'lost'? Just how the hell do you think there became so many Russian millionaires in just a few years? And don't look now - but Putin is planning to stay in power forever!

Cowards - every day they tell us that they are passing laws to help us. Then they insert self-serving "pork projects" and try to tell us that the extra spending is taking care of a true need. The President is also at fault - perhaps, since he can VETO the "pork" laden bills, he is MORE at fault than the self-serving pigs that passed them though Congress. ALL of this could be stopped by a REAL PRESIDENT (I'm not just talking about the current one) making a simple announcement in the Inauguration speech; "I will VETO any bill, for any purpose, that has ANY PORK in it! Further, every bill's contents must pertain only to the bill's subject - amendments, paragraphs, or whatever, for highways can only be inserted into highway bills. This veto would include bills for roads, borders, even flood and hurricane relief; and I will lay the blame right back at Congress for my being forced to veto any bill that does not follow this guideline, as they now have the ground rules and I will demand that they follow this guideline."

However, every past- and present-President has lamented that they signed the "pork laden bill" because there was some provision (usually the name by which it is referred to, like a "Samantha's Law") that was needed. However, at some point the President must STOP BEING A COWARD and STOP THE SPENDING SPREE that Congress has allowed for themselves.

The 'Coward' moniker also fits 99% of the House and Senate membership. Every year we hear that they don't like some bill, but vote for it because they "felt they had no choice". WHAT CRAP. Much of the reason they don't stand up and decry how extra spending has been inserted into an otherwise "good bill" is that THEY THEMSELVES are (or plan to be) guilty of the same "Pork Stuffing".

COWARD can also be a label for them as it regards the "War on Terror". How many of them have sent their kids to Iraq? If they support it, if it is so 'good for America', then they should be able to get their kids to volunteer. I think I have heard of about 10 office holders having direct relatives [child or sibling's child] in the military, and maybe 3-5 of them being in a war zone. But instead, they put out "BONUSES" in the tens of thousands for the poor to join.

AND- a recent [OCT 07] news report showed that they don't want to pay the bonuses as promised. The soldiers have complained that the bonus was set up to be paid if they were in a war zone for X-number-of-days [I believe it was 370 - gee, why just OVER 1 year, when the politicians knew that postings were normally just 1 year?] but that the soldiers were shipped out of the war zone just 14 days, or less, of the "PAY-UP" goal.

ADD to that insult the fact that reservists are being called up at rates not seen since WWII, but are NOT being given full medical coverage! These soldiers DESERVE to get FULL coverage for ALL physical and mental problems when they come back, the same as ANY regular enlistee.

OH YEA - the "Regular Enlistee" also can't get the coverage that was promised. There are multiple reports of soldiers being forced out of the military because they suffer mental disorders as a result of service; they are committing suicide, beating spouses, and a number of other problems are reported. But YOUR GOVERNMENT has decided to REFUSE ASSISTANCE. They don't want to admit they are responsible, neither as the cause or the one responsible to help. [Can we again say "COWARD"?]

Thieves - Mr. Cunningham, of California, for many millions of OUR dollars, what did you get for steering projects to special interests? You got what - house, boat, cars? And that is just ONE example of how these bastards are stealing from us.

Now include the other special interests - Congress people that have special charities in their home districts, where money can be funneled that, despite their claims, does directly benefit them. Come on, take a good look - you will see that while a campaign may not get money from some big corporation, those same corporations are giving money to 'charities' that are not anywhere close to the HQ of the company, but are close to the HQ of the politician. How does this benefit the politician? - they get free rides, use of planes, trains, and automobiles, and houses and private clubs that are all paid for by the 'charities'. There was a bigwig Congressman from eastern Texas a few years ago, whom was forced out because of things he did; I remember news reports that he oversaw some charity in his district which was getting money from around the county even though its area of concern was a couple counties in their local area. Why did this 'charity' get millions? - because the politician was based there.

But the stealing is not just in such 'round about' ways. Did you hear about the plane that gets funded, though over 10 years has not gone into development, many millions spent, and the military says it will NEVER WORK, but because the politician has some small company in his district that the wants to keep running, he funnels money every year to the project? This plane [profiled, I think, on 60 Minutes] has never flown, and at best got 3 feet off the ground [it is a vertical takeoff craft] for less than 10 seconds; but was not allowed to do that attempt without being tethered to the ground for safety! So this guy 'steals' millions from us so he can have a couple jobs in his district, and a few thousand in his campaign coffers!


Capitalists Ruined Capitalism

AIG, BoA, UBS, WFG, GE, the Bush (1 and 2) administrations, Congress (both Houses), FDIC -- pretty much doesn’t matter where you look, the fault is easy to find if you are not part of the Washington insiders.

Republicans seem to make some good points about how to stimulate the economy in both good times and bad. They always make these points - ‘when the economy is running well, more goods are sold, business is booming, so we should take the “Wal-Mart approach” and lower taxes because it will reward people for doing well, and revenues will increase because of more goods are sold’. And when the economy is doing poorly, ‘we need to lower taxes so people will have more in their pockets, which they will spend in order to help the economy’.

Sounds great, right? Lower taxes, no matter what the economic situation.

Democrats seem to make some good points too. ‘We, as an advanced and prosperous society, should help people - they should have healthcare, good roads, every drug paid for or assistance to pay, etc.’

Sounds good, right? We are the “best nation on the planet” and so our citizens should have more benefits than any other nation on earth.

But there is another side to all this. To get the companies to have the freedom to expand and develop new things, Republicans act like Democrats -- ‘give them anything they want, lower barriers, remove oversight, de-regulate, ignore laws and common sense’. YES - they ignored LAWS. [Is that a treasonable offense?]

There is regulation to keep companies from running Ponzie schemes. The SEC, FDIC, and other sections of “our government” have long been assigned the task of watching over companies, examining books to look for “irregularities” and outright fraud. However, as shown recently with the Madoff rip-off, and several others, even when presented with evidence compiled by a non-government worker, the SEC refused to properly go over the books. As has been testified before Congress, some under-paid under-qualified junior auditor went in and checked some recent books and concluded nothing was wrong. When brought up again, no one was sent.

And as for “common sense” - anyone with a 50’s or 60’s high school education [our poor schools, and how / why they are so bad, are another article] knows that you can’t spend more than you make for more than a few months [and even then it is because of an emergency, not ‘we need a new couch’] and survive. Anyone [at least an honest person] with a lick of sense KNOWS that if you remove regulation, people will use GREED as their ‘moral compass’, and will do anything to make a buck.

How should Congress people / Government employees have known this? Because it is how they are living their lives right now. Just look at the recent Obama selections for high government posts. Over 50% have not paid the taxes they knew were due. You and I do that and the IRS will freeze our accounts until they make it impossible for us to pay, then they seize everything and force us into bankruptcy. But “Government Officials” are awarded high positions, and simply pay for the past with what they were supposed to pay anyway. What other evidence is there? How about Randy Cunningham of CA taking bribes, Or that Alaska member who had “friends” totally re-build his house, then claim “I thought my wife wrote them a check” [what a crock of shit].

Further - Man is not a “grazer”, taking only what he finds, moving on so as to not damage the landscape (as cattle unwittingly do) so severely that it can’t recover. Man is a “predator”, hunting, chasing, destroying, to “fill his belly”. When presented with some lax rules, he will hunt through them to find loopholes, bending and breaking rules, to claw his way on top of everyone else!

SO, what have we got? Two parties that don’t think you will ever have the gumption to stand up to them and remove them from office, because they keep “giving” us what we really want, something for nothing!

Republicans claim things will be paid for with “inflated dollars” - a $100 bill today is worth $75 dollars in a few years, so if we pay that bill, on paper 100=100, but it really hurt us less. But it never does happen, because they bump up spending, the economy doesn’t produce as much as their rosy picture, and debt increases. Then they lower tax rates again to “spur the economy”.

Democrats put in policies to raise taxes, lower taxes, and give you plenty of unpaid for services. They aren’t as quick to say that inflated dollars will fix everything, but do say that a healthier America will reduce costs.

What we need are a set of laws and rules, “set in stone”, that tell companies that they MUST follow standard accounting rules; “good will accounting” for purchases can not add more than ‘some reasonable percent’ [should be enforceable by Board of Directors’] or it will trigger a lower rating; criminal law should rule when company officials ruin a business, because they will have committed a fraud against shareholders and employees; the “rating agencies” should set realistic ratings [anything not above ‘A’ is considered bad? You start adding “A’s” and it just confuses the issue] and be accountable under law that they have actually checked the company, CDS, or whatever; the SPE [like in Enron} can not be used to foster off debt, because assigning debt to a company that can simply file for bankruptcy hides the real cost, and cost taxpayers plenty; and on and on.

And finally, there should be no more “forget about going after the ones that did this, and focus on fixing it”. First, you usually leave in place the ones that committed the ‘crime’, and you keep paying high salaries, rewarding them for ruining the business [staying in their federal job, etc]. Second, by not going after them even if removed, you are still telling them that there are no consequences to bad actions [reminder - a dog will eat the steak from the table unless taught not to; we are animals & will take what we can]. Tell me, if someone slaps you, do you say “forget it, I will try to duck next time”; a purse is stolen, you say “I’ll stop the credit cards & hold tighter next time”; will you “turn the other cheek” when someone kills your family? NO - you have them prosecuted. Same should be done to these thieves. {Gee - I just finished typing this, and Rep. Barney Frank just said on TV that we should go after them!}

Washington Post 3/5/09 as Op-Ed, but not accepted, so it is MINE to do as I please

A "READ the BILL" BILL - without it, maybe unconstitutional !???

In the Investor’s Business Daily paper last Friday, (July 2009) - there was an article ---
Congress Needs A Read-The-Bill Bill

    WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THE PROBLEM OF MASSIVE BILLS BEING PASSED, SOME WITH AMENDMENTS ADDED AND NOT VOTED ON, AND SENT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR SIGNING? Wouldn’t any amendment not voted on make the BILL invalid since it was not voted on properly?? Wouldn’t that also make that BILL, if SIGNED by the President, either NULL and VOID since there is no “line item veto”, or UN-CONSTITUTIONAL in its entirety?


Do you support another “STIMULUS PACKAGE”?
If yes -- WHY? They have spent very little of the Obama package.
AND - much of the BUSH package went out the door before you were sworn in. But it clearly has not solved much, and MANY of the SAME PEOPLE that caused the crash are still walking the streets. LAWS WERE BROKEN for so much money to be taken or lost, including people in the SEC. Are you doing anything to push for their being found and jailed??

[[[ 10/27/09 -- I don't remember how much of the above are MY comments, and how much was in the original article, so I won't lay any claims beyond saying that I think everything below the BOLD IS mine because I support it and it seems to be in my writing style. I think this was to be a letter to my "representatives", but not finished.

So HEY to 'them' - take note. ]]]

Flight 93 Memorial -- Fine, but be Reasonable

From a USA Today report on 5/7/09 -
"The seven property owners own about 500 acres still needed for what will ultimately be a $58 million, 2,200-acre permanent memorial and national park at the crash site near Shanksville, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh."

It goes on to say the government will now condemn many parcels; some of these are very small, presumably because the "small owner" (non-rich) won't have the money to stop the proceedings. However, they are also taking single parcels of hundreds of acres.

The plane crashed on an area covering LESS THAN 50 ACRES. Why are we spending $58 MILLION, and taking over 2,000 acres? While I am not opposed to a memorial, certainly this is way-out-of-line.

Perhaps a simple aluminum (still have some of the plane somewhere??) plaque, lit using low-power LED's powered by solar cells. Security would be handled by both paid-locals and 24-hour cameras tied to the internet so if any vandalism is done pictures will be in the hands of the FBI before they can leave the scene.

Government has NO RIGHT to take from private citizens for non-essential activities. This "National Park" is not required; get this "right-sized".

[[ For those who think I don't care - well, you don't know me, so shut up. I was deeply shaken by the attacks, and if in better physical shape would have gone to fight them myself. ]]

Bail Out for the Billionaires -- YOUR MONEY, NO CHOICE

From my Sept 23, 2008 Letter to The Washington Post

The current fiasco that has expanded from your street to Wall Street will now kick you in the pants, if President Bush and Congress have their way.

This is going to cost us severely, and blame runs everywhere. However, many in D.C. don't want to place blame because they know that it will lead back to THEM. And unfortunately there are some in the press, such as the Post's own Business Editor, who support this idea. He clearly stated on "Meet The Press" that we should try to pass a solution, and not 'waste time' finding someone to blame. [You should fire him.]

Both political parties have also supported the "we can't go around blaming" - our kids for failing school; 'our' politician' [it's always the other party] for the debt, war, job loss, pork project, etc; ourselves for not getting that raise; and now company executives, and the SEC, Treasury, and the rest of OUR GOVERNMENT, for the loaning of at least One Trillion Dollars to people who had no way to pay it back.

Who really has benefited from all of this run-away lending? The Wealthy. Who can put money in hedge funds? Only MILLIONAIRES. Oh yea - and huge companies with billions of dollars in private funds. Now the 'average Joe' is forced to read the fine print - "you can lose part or all of the money you invest" and have to live by that rule; not the rich, though.

And the filthy rich? They come get the money they lose from YOU! Remember LTCM [Long Term Capital Management], the huge HEDGE FUND, for THE SUPER RICH only that was "too big to fail because it would cause Global Financial Disaster". Sound familiar? Now AIG [et al] is the latest LTCM, and they have come again for your wallet!

I say - the rich caused this problem, so go take THEIR money to fix it. Tax them 50% on their gross income [before any deductions] including capital gains, dividends, and any other income, starting with any person making $2 million or more. Face it, they will cry, but when taxes were 70% back in the 50's and 60's we still had people out trying to become rich, so don't fall for the garbage "if you tax them more than 20% then no will will try to earn a living". Republicans [mainly] throw that lie out as their reason for lowering taxes.

Lowering taxes; let's examine their reasoning. If things are going well, we should lower taxes because people will buy more, thereby raising government income by the "Wal-Mart" effect [profit by volume]. Then when things are bad, we should lower taxes to stimulate buying. In other words -- we should never pay for anything government "gives us".

How do they get away with this? They have ruined our schools so the public is too stupid to know they are being tricked. If you keep putting in the same crooked people in office, they will keep sticking their hands in your pocket!

UPDATE 10/27/09 --

RE-ELECT NO ONE until this country is BACK ON TRACK !!
DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY -- demand that CEO's and others go to jail for what they have done to us!!

We now see that putting a "Democrat" in the White House is no help - Pres. Obama has followed the same plan.

Perhaps what we need is also a cleaning out of the colleges that these people went to. After all, they all learned the same thing: keep businesses running any way you can, even if it means taking everything from the workers, because they don't have the guts of 200 years ago - they will never revolt.

Trillions Stolen, or "paper loses hurt the rich"

We have been hearing that some many who invest on Wall Street have also lost money, but however you want to group it, "paper loss" like giving a friend $10 to place a bet, your horse wins, but you find the bet was not placed. You are NOT out the $100 winnings, but the only original $10.

AMERICA --- WHERE ELSE can you have :
TRILLIONS STOLEN and you give the crooks a RAISE to keep controlling your money?
TAX CHEATS put in charge of writing tax laws?
COMPANIES run into the ground, but executives given BONUSES and retain control?

We have been saying for years about so many criminals (politicians mainly) "we need to look to the future" -- well how about PUNISHMENT for PAST ACTS? There is WAY TOO MUCH of this "let's look at how to fix the problem", but then we have the same people put in charge to fix it instead of jailing them.

This country has been taken over, and not a shot was fired.

Ben Bernanke and the Housing Crisis

Ben Bernanke likes to use the “burning house” analogy --

If the neighbors' house is burning because he was stupidly smoking in bed, do you let it burn & take the chance it will catch yours on fire, or do you put it out?? Of course, he says ‘you put it out” (so would I).

We get something similar in the banking situation -- Bernanke says we need these experts to fix the mess, even though they caused it !!!! It’s like saying that “the neighbor started a fire in his house and it spread to yours -- but we aren’t going to put him in jail for destruction of property, even though he willfully SET the fire, because he is a fireman and is needed to put out fires across town”. BULLSHIT!

Would you put a “former” child molester in charge of your kids because he knows the ways that molesters try to harm your kids? We get a similar arguments when placing people in high positions, like SEC Chair. They tell us we “want this guy because he knows where the skeletons are buried”. I SAY these guys know where the skeletons are because they PUT THEM THERE, and are now being given a position to HIDE the bodies!

Also -
TO CNBC -- HEY - why not, since "we" own AIG, force it into Chapter 11, wipe out all contracts, fire those responsible, etc.

Any such announcement would have to present ALL such points at the same time -- in fact, the contracts and any other "positive" things should precede the Chapter 11 comment.