Saturday, July 30, 2011

Government Needs Talent

Many highly talented people are never attracted to government service.

Government downsizing demoralizes & leads to personnel cutbacks. Private sector interests portray government workers as parasites. A fractured public service cannot consistently supply top-quality human resources, and good clever people often are desperately needed.

US President Obama supports huge pay for financial industry executives (link). But in contrast to self-serving astronomically-paid financial manipulators, our very lives, safety & well being rely on minimally-paid air traffic controllers, government bureaucrats, firemen, health inspectors, teachers, etc. Jobs threatened, they're stressed and unappreciated...

Most top people don't enter government. And too many who aim at politics, like Obama (who has become addicted to making war), quickly abandon their promises as candidates to grab supports from powerful private interests.

Public service is gutted.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grief in Fukushima

I'm willing to believe Fukushima's engineers & scientists are doing everything possible to fix or limit problems at the stricken nuclear plants.

Technical efforts are essential, but so are good communications with the public.

How dangerous is the Fukushima nuclear threat? I don't know. But local residents are worried, and officials sent to reassure them appear incompetent & inconsiderate.

The Japanese government has downsized to a dangerous level.

A fractured public service fails to consistently supply needed human resources. Watch the official clowns in this video - see the Japanese government's terrible response to crisis:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grief in Norway

A smarmy weasel in Norway murdered some 77 people, mostly teenagers a generation younger than the killer. The dead were not directly known to him; they were defenseless against his weapons.

What should be done with this man? Perhaps he should be put in a room with the mothers for private discussions.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Forbidden Homemaking 101 ?

Today is New York's first day allowing same gender couples to marry.     Congratulations !

From today's New York Times: "New York is the sixth, and largest, state to legalize same-sex marriage. Several other states are considering following suit... But most states have either laws or constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage, and federal law bars the United States government from recognizing same-sex marriages." The US Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) remains a grim prohibition, a forced denial of basic rights to minority people.

Massachusetts had the first legal same-sex marriages in the USA on 17 May 2004. US states often continue to bicker about whether such gay pairing is termed "marriage" or "civil union" or "domestic partnership" or something else.

Here in Sweden, gay couples were allowed "registered partnership" from 1995; marriage became gender neutral from 1 May 2009 after a long struggle (one champion for change was US-born Rita 'Rainy' Creighton, who tragically died in a motorbike crash before the legal normalization).

I believe "Homemaking 101" is a human right to which the State & Church might be invited to validate, but with which they should not interfere.

On a personal note, when my parents married in Massachusetts in 1956, they were legally prohibited to marry or cohabit in 14 U.S. states (my mom is mixed race, Hawaiian / Caucasian / Chinese, my dad is Caucasian). If my mother were Negro, they were barred marriage in a further 11 states (25 total of the then 48 states). Bad.

Anyhow, to those marrying today - Belated Congratulations !

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Murdoch She Wrote

Rupert Murdoch has positioned himself and his companies in a key nexus of power. Information is essential for democracy to function, and Murdoch firms have come to act as gatekeepers for news & commentary. Extreme concentration of money & power can seem efficient, but it's dangerous, intimidating and deadening.

Some reporting lacks civility, but a titillated public buys the output.

They are faulted for developing too-cozy relationships with those in power.

They're also criticized for bending the rules and for breaking the law.

As with the implosion of Robert Maxwell's media empire, we might hope any changes result in more and diverse voices among a wider concerned community.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Going to Hell - Community Despair

Community is undermined by the incidents described below. It's painful to examine the assorted legal & ethical problems of Mrs. Gina Marie Clark (age 40, Marstons Mills, MA, USA).

(In brief:) Gina Clark ran the charity Touched by Angels, raising money for local accident victims & the critically ill. The organization was effective with fundraising: working with regional groups and businesses, soliciting funds from private donors in the community with true stories of local need and hardship.

A problem emerged: numerous people claimed to not have received their expected funds (link). Perhaps simple ingratitude, but many loud voices shouted scam. Ultimately, Gina Clark was arrested and charged dozens of crimes, including larceny by embezzlement, fraud, and more. Outside her arraignment, her lawyer Seth Roman (of Wilkins and Deyoung, Hyannis) stated "This is a witch hunt!" The charity is no longer operating.

Last week, Gina Clark was arrested (link) for shoplifting. She is accused of hiding assorted items worth $1093.89 down at the base of her shopping cart, paying $190.09 for merchandise on the top layer, and leaving a Kohl's department store with stolen goods. She reportedly claimed to the arresting policeman "That was not my cart, and I didn’t know how the items got in there." Such a defense might have been believable, although fingerprints or CCTV video might show if she'd handled the items. At a subsequent court appearance, her lawyer reportedly claimed something different, the shoplifting was a mere "misunderstanding" - Gina simply forgot about some items in her cart.

The public is left to wonder. Is it at all believable that someone selects nearly $1300 of goods, pays less than $200, and notices nothing? Is this lawyer's job simply to say whatever might potentially defend his client? One is left feeling the community system is hopelessly dirty & corrupt.

2011-05-05 fraud arraignment (link to YouTube video)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BackupBankroll®   Joe DebtDupe

Private bankers lend money & collect interest. They get more interest from weaker borrowers. When a borrower can't pay on time, the public instead must pay those debts.

Sound crazy?
Not for a lender bank. Look carefully at this "can't lose" excellent business plan - - politicians dispense taxpayer funds to private banks (or to weak borrower nations) and make you pay-in involuntarily.

The stronger of the world are already well-served with good banking relationships. So what can a hungry bank do? Push the marginal borrowers into high-priced debt. Any problem and Joe Public will bailout the bank for the note.

This happened in the USA with the housing bubble, and earlier with savings & loan companies; now the public shoulders sovereign debt of Greece. Banks have played the politicians and ultimately the taxpayers to backup bankroll their lending.

Banks have not "accidentally" found themselves in this situation. As financial brokers it is fundamental to their business plan. Buying-selling selling-buying, they collect whatever happens.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lord Murdoch of Mordor

When media baron Rupert Murdoch and son James Murdoch were invited to appear before the British House of Commons (Culture, Media and Sport Committee) they initially declined as being "unavailable." When then more formally summoned to appear, they claimed to be too busy (James Murdoch offered an alternate schedule 22 days after the assigned day). As public outrage grew, they finally agreed to appear as demanded.

Press & public interest are high. But who should be responsible for illegal spying by media that happened years ago? These cases involve national politics, huge funds and great power. They highlight incestuous relationships between media, politicians, and law enforcement. We're likely to hear of similar crimes in other countries -- by Murdoch-related reporters and also by others. Can we ever know what truly happened? What lessons can be learned?

We might feel sympathy for the Murdochs as they're being grilled; they claim to know little or nothing of procedures at their businesses. But wait - - these are the bosses of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, & other Foxholes, so better we recognize the Murdochs as cynically manipulative, super wealthy weasels.

The New Obama?

Obama criticizing Alito: "...he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless; on behalf of a strong government or corporation against upholding American's individual rights."
-- Barack Obama's U.S. Senate statement opposing appointment of Samuel Alito Jr. to U.S. Supreme Court (26 Jan. 2006)

Has President Obama morphed to serving the same Monster?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wall Street Under Siege

Corporate control of US politics is now threatened by a planned Wall Street invasion. Adbusters (link) invites activists to build a tent city on Wall Street, New York, from 17 September 2011. By awakening participatory democracy, they hope to separate money from politics.

Corporate-directed militarism is a gloomy nightmare that's led to national & worldwide misery -- though Wall Street wizards have thus far been immune. Brokers profiting from chicanery may yet see Nightmare on Elm Street become nightmare on Wall Street, The pigs will be out in force, busting heads & worse...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Do   (while you can)

Don't be a passive consumer, inhaling the smoke of corporate media & government spin while not yourself communicating. Passivity is for schmucks. In today's world, seek solutions or you're screwed. Too many business plans, big & small, distill to one word: Exploitation. Your home, bank accounts, health, job, etc. are under threat - escapism is not an option. Clam up and you're served on the half shell to the greedy.

But what to do?

Speak out. Talk to others about your worries & fears. Extract understanding & share with others. Starting a blog is easy and free. Build a web presence. Develop your brand. Your voice is important --- use it or lose it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

US Debt Default Strategy

The US national debt is in the daily news. Elite government officials reportedly spend many hours, day after day, discussing options for cutting spending, raising taxes & revenues, or increasing the debt ceiling. The rating agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's are prepared to downgrade US sovereign debt, which will make assorted borrowing more expensive.

The people of the USA may be better served by default. US rogue regimes led by Bush & Obama squandered our money on overseas military adventures, against majority opinion (repeat polls show strong majorities for removing US troops from Iraq & Afghanistan). Future generations shouldn't be saddled with costly errors made by elitist fools & their wealthy promoters wasting public funds.

This 'rogue government' argument has been used by other nations when a prior regime has looted their national treasury for indefensible activities (sometimes assisted by the USA). Now it's our turn to be lectured that we should've thrown the bums out.

Sovereign credit ratings, United States of America:

Moody's Investors Service
USA long-term = Aaa
on review for possible downgrade 13 July 2011 (link)

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
USA long-term = AAA
USA short-term = A-1+
put on CreditWatch w/ negative implications 14 July 2011 (link)

Fitch Ratings
USA long-term = AAA
USA short-term = F1+
stable since 21 Sept 2000 (link)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Insane Spending: US Bombs

Friday, 8 July, the US House of Representatives passed a new Defense Spending Bill. Support was strong & bipartisan, the bill passed 336-87. US wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are budgeted $119 billion, a figure only part of expected spending for brutal & wasteful US operations so far away.

Every three days the USA sinks $1+ billion making war on those two distant regions. Overall defense spending is five times as much. Insane.

Time to cut off USA adventurism overseas. Most operations have little to do with defense of the USA; they're counterproductive & antagonize local people. Neither should American taxpayers be paying Israeli bills; those billions of dollars are needed at home.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Rant !

A key lie:
      America = independence     but elsewhere, no

I love independence. And I'm independent -- more than most people. I've lived decades in America, and decades outside. Around the world are plenty of independent thinkers & independent people, often happy, settled in nice places; Americans believing otherwise are wrong.

That's not to say independence is everywhere -- it ain't. And independence is not everywhere in America. Far too many folk are unemployed, homeless or bedraggled. Lots of Americans must kiss ass for job & health insurance.

Of course where taxpaying citizens view public servants as parasites, chronic bad attitude is a real problem (especially in cops). Most workers have insufficient vacation time. Stress is everywhere. Too many Americans are deeply in debt, living under threat of losing their home. Nearly 25 million US households might have their Homeowners Association dictating the color of their door or the frequency they must cut their grass - is that independence?

The US Government's run amok with surveillance, defense spending and overseas adventurism. Major growth industries are creepy "Homeland Security" and prisons. There's too little justice.

US politicians are a sorry lot. Americans electing hope & change got shafted.     (to be continued)...

Hell for Free-Market Economists

Bottom line of US government "economic downturn" policies:

  government bailout   =   government subsidy

Unfair elsewhere.
- - - OK if USA... ?

Libya's new Minister of Oil

What slowed the Libyan anti-Gaddafi advance?

--- Each rebel realized the foreign promise he'd be next Oil Minister was shared by many...