October 7, 2008 archive

Worldwide Financial Panic & Global Crisis Of Democracy

It’s a panic situation, everyone is looking at the international financial situation and coming to the conclusion that the only safe position is cash.” — Brazilian Economist Flavio Serrano

The “rescue” appears to be rescuing the intended few at your expense.

October 07, 2008 – 3 min 10 sec

Worldwide financial fiasco

Markets around the world hammered by credit crunch as governments move to secure bank deposits

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports Studies lift hopes for Great Lakes wind turbine farms. The Michigan State University Land Policy Institute “analyzed wind potential in the Great Lakes and found that 30,000 turbines off Michigan’s coasts could produce 321,000 megawatts of energy.”

    But it is unlikely that the 100,000 wind turbines needed will ever rise from the Great Lakes off Michigan’s shores, “because of the cost and environmental and other considerations.”

    The production estimate of 321,000 megawatts cited in the Michigan State study includes turbines at all depths. Existing offshore wind turbines are in water 197 feet deep or less. At that depth, the study says, 103,000 megawatts could be generated with 33,861 turbines. Concerns about environmental impacts and opposition from residents would significantly reduce that potential. But, said study co-author Soji Adelaja, that still means a lot of potential wind power.

    The drawbacks are not stopping some communities from acting. In Ohio, Cuyahoga County has proposed a “wind farm in Lake Erie several miles from Cleveland”. The county is preceeding with an ongoing $1+ million study on the project’s feasibility. “If the study continues to yield positive findings, construction of two to 10 wind turbines and a research station could start in about two years.”

Four at Four continues with a Yahoo employee in India being a suspected terrorist, The resurgence of Latin in NY schools, and Seattle’s sidewalk cafes.

Treasury Plans to Outsource the Entire $700 Billion Bailout

There are a couple of stories regarding the $700 billion bailout today that really should raise the eyebrows of Americans who have lived through and witnessed the Bush years. Especially taking into consideration the over-reliance on private contractors, financial mismanagement, and loose accounting practices in Iraq and elsewhere with taxpayer money that have been a hallmarks of the Bush administration.

The NY Times reports Treasury sets timetable to pick managers. “The Treasury Department put its $700 billion bailout on a fast track on Monday, asking companies to submit bids for running the system by Wednesday and announcing its plan to select winners on Friday.”

Yes, the Treasure Department will take only one day to review bids before awarding contracts. Hey, at least Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson didn’t just announce no-bid award to, say, Paulson’s old company, Goldman Sachs. See if this sounds familiar —

Administration officials plan to outsource almost the entire project, which will largely rely on “reverse auctions” in which the government accepts bids from financial institutions that want to sell their troubled assets.

The Treasury said it intended to hire one company as a “financial agent” to set up the basic system, which would include running the auctions, keeping track of the various portfolios and overseeing all the operational issues.

Salesman of the month for Wall Street

Original article, an editorial subtitled The Democratic nominee was personally responsible for delivering the votes on the bailout bill, via socialistworker.org:

THE BANKERS will soon begin collecting their $700 billion ransom from taxpayers. And they can thank Barack Obama for helping them get away with it.

Kill it. Kill it good.

The end of inequality and institutionalized hatred, at least where California is concerned, can be achieved in the righteous and hopefully overwhelming defeat of PROPOSITION 8, formally titled the “I So Much Hate Teh Gays Act*“, but more widely referred to in my household as the…

Though My Name Is Steve I Seem To Get An All Hot And Bothered In My ‘Nether Regions Whenever OTHER Steves Are Nearby And Since I Am Deeply Ashamed Of My Own Truth, I Need To Punish These Other Steves By Making It Look Like I So Much Hate Teh Gays Act“*.

Adult? Male Palin Supporter

Seems a few taking pics at a Palin rally hit on the same rational of who are these Sarah Palin supporters and the mentality of the group think.

I visited After Downing Street and Dave has a post up there from a curious woman wanting to find out for herself what was attracting people to Palin, certainly isn’t her intelligence, experience nor non-writin rhetoric while at these rallies.

Though apparently those who are flocking to her seem to be on the same intelligence level.

How to Stay Warm This Winter ? ? ?

Given you are stuck in your current dwelling for the winter and wish to be warm when it is cold outside…what are the least expensive ways to stay warmer while conserving money? (instead of shelling it out to the heating oil, propane, and natural gas cartels).

Any suggestions please offer with estimated costs so folks can assess what they can do.

Docudharma Times Tuesday October 7

McCain Supporter Calls Obama A Terrorist

Sarah Palin Said Obama Pal’s Around With A Terrorist

$10 Million Spent On This Subject Achieves Nothing

59% Of American Voters Say “IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID”

Tuesday’s Headlines:

A Nightmare for Sales of Dream Cars

How Benelux is tackling the economic crisis

Poker-game execution as Italy declares war on Mafia

In gender-sensitive Iran, a car designed specially for women

Secrets of Iraq’s death chamber

Asia stocks rebound as Reserve Bank of Australia cuts interest rates

New tests: Chinese milk melamine-free

US author of anti-Obama book detained in Kenya

Africa is the dark continent on solar power

Global Fears of a Recession Grow Stronger



Published: October 6, 2008  

WASHINGTON – When the White House brought out its $700 billion rescue plan two weeks ago, its sheer size was meant to soothe the global financial system, restoring trust and confidence. Three days after the plan was approved, it looks like a pebble tossed into a churning sea.

The crisis that began as a made-in-America subprime lending problem and radiated across the world is now circling back home, where it pummeled stock and credit markets on Monday.

While the Bush administration’s bailout package offers help to foreign banks, it seems to have done little to reassure investors, particularly in Europe, where banks are failing and countries are racing to stave off panicky withdrawals after first playing down the depth of the crisis.

North Korea spy awaits sentencing

Won Jeong-hwa used sexual favors to seduce South Korean military officers into giving up secrets.  

 By John M. Glionna and Youkyung Lee, Special to The Times

October 7, 2008

SUWON, SOUTH KOREA — She’s called the Mata Hari of North Korea, a temptress-spy who for years used her sensual charms to seduce South Korean military officers into giving up secrets.

The method was potentially lethal: Won Jeong-hwa reportedly plotted to assassinate South Korean agents with poisoned needles provided by handlers from Pyongyang.

The 34-year-old North Korean native was arrested during the summer along with her 63-year-old stepfather and accused of engaging in espionage and deceit for seven years after defecting to South Korea. Under questioning, she detailed for investigators a double life working for one of the world’s most repressive regimes.



Fed Considers Plan to Buy Companies’ Unsecured Debt


Published: October 6, 2008  

WASHINGTON – As pressure built in the credit markets and stocks spiraled lower around the world on Monday, the Federal Reserve was considering a radical new plan to jump-start the engine of the financial system. Under a proposal being discussed with the Treasury Department, the Fed could buy vast amounts of the unsecured short-term debt that companies rely on to finance their day-to-day activities, according to officials familiar with the discussions. If this were to happen, the central bank would come closer than ever to lending directly to businesses.

another view of voting against self interest

time for some tearing-down-walls

i’ve been reading some of the “other side”

guess what? they’re fucking angry at pretty much the same things we are.

heh. and i’ve been talking to some of them as well.

my aunt said she’s ashamed she voted for bush… TWICE! she says everyone in washington needs to go. she is livid because she thinks the bailout is bailing out the greedy bastards on Wall Street.

and i tell her, yeah! aunt kathy. we need more and better citizen politicians seeking to serve their country, not power.. yeah, she agrees. the whole thing has gone to shit we say in tandem.

and yet. and yet she is going to vote for john mccain because “he is an honorable man.” i kid you not. i spit out my coffee. really.

i tell her: there is a track record. none of it good. on either side. but what makes Obama worth voting for is that we don’t know what he will do. we do know what mccain will do: we’ve just lived through eight years of it. and yet…

and yet. she isolated Clinton for mandating mortgage money be made available for lower income americans so they can afford homes. (poor) people taking mortgages they couldn’t afford. and yet. she does seem to understand that the loans were bad on their face and should have been better regulated. that those at Fannie and Freddie oversold those assets and hid the liabilities. and yet. the victim is again really at the root cause of this. for her.

and yet. she is afraid that an Obama presidency will see the ascendency of people like those black rappers. yeah. she said someone told her some black rappers threatened to jump sarah palin if she comes to new york.

and i try to say to her: aunt kathy, do you think, really think black rappers or poor people caused the financial meltdown in this country? or forced us into an illegal war? the environment? my mind is spinning as i try to control my rising anger at this bias because i know in my heart, she doesn’t see it in herself. she doesn’t hear herself. how can she?

so i begin to realize something. just as i’m about to scream: you’re being lied to, can’t you see how the blame game works… all to get you to VOTE AGAINST YOUR OWN INTERESTS.

no. it hits me hard: she’s not voting against her interests. . . her self. how she thinks about her self and her place in the world. not money or pollution or availability of food. but she is protecting her credibility. it is that self interest that the republicans have learned to exploit.

no matter how badly republicans govern, they understand this: the self image of those they convince to elect them.

not only do we, the left, come into conflict with the political/social points-of-view of the right, but we are perceived (imo) by the them as negatively judgmental of their self view. like we question their integrity of thought… not just their conclusions. like we have made it about smart versus not smart… literary, cultured, art-loving, classical music listening, cocktails at eight versus johnny sixpack and his football and his wife beating and immigrant-hating black-hating god loving.

perhaps that’s why those on the right vote the way they do. because, no matter what common sense may infer, it’s hard to pull the lever for those whom you think are laughing at you… disrespect you.

yeah. maybe they vote a different kind of self interest. and i keep wondering. . . how do we progressives do it better then? i cringe every time i see headlines that scream: PALIN IS STUPID. because, by association, anyone and everyone voting for that ticket must also. be. stupid.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XXIV

Art Link


Friends Along the Way

I started out on this

 road all alone

   Fear and Pain

      my only companions

         I wondered if

           I would lose myself

             The road seemed dark

               and fraught with peril

                 ’til I found I had

                   Friends along the way

                       As the road wound

                         through hard terrain

                           I sometimes doubted

                             my ability to go on

                               But I fought back

                                 the Fear

                                   and worked through

                                     the Pain

                                       with the help of my

                                         Friends along the way

                                       As time passed by

                                     the road ascended

                                   Obstacles less frequent

                                 but harder to pass

                               And at times

                             I needed the

                           places of refuge

                         respite and care

                       offered to me by

                     Friends along the way

                 I’ve come to the crest

               of the mountain

             I’ve climbed

           As I look down below

         I see all of the

       barriers crossed

     the challenges I met

   and the lessons I learned

 I will never forget those

Friends along the way

 What lies over

   the top of the road

     There is no

       way of knowing

         But deep in my heart

           From the depths

             of my soul

               I know that I’ll have

                 The company of my

                   Friends from along the way

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–July, 1994

John McCain & the USNA Honor Code

Had he lived, today would have been my wonderful Dad’s 80th birthday.  And I am fairly sure he would be facing a dilemma he had never faced before.

My Dad was a very proud graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  As I’ve written before, the physical rigors of the Academy were a huge challenge to him — like me, he was no athlete, and like me, he was a restless, relentless night owl.  He did Walk the Yard on many occasions for being late to formation (often because he had been up late the night before helping his fellow midshipmen with their homework); as my Mom says, it was a good thing he was so smart because he often had little time to study.  (He graduated in the top 10 in his class.)  But he never, ever, either while he was a Midshipman or any time during his service or his life, violated the Academy’s Honor Code.

This is today’s iteration of that Code (which I daresay has not changed a great deal):

Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right.

They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

They embrace fairness in all actions. They ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. They do not cheat.

They respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. They do not steal.

Source ~ United States Naval Academy(My emphasis added.)

As the Academy’s website notes:

It is our responsibility to develop a selfless sense of duty that demands excellence both of ourselves and of those with whom we serve. We must honor our loyalties without compromising our ultimate obligation to the truth. Our leadership must set a standard that reflects loyalty to our goals and the courage to stand accountable for all our actions, both those that lead to success and to those that end in failure. We will never settle for achieving merely what is expected of us but will strive for a standard of excellence that reflects the dedication and courage of those who have gone before us. When we attain our goal, we will raise our expectations; when we fall short, we will rise up and try again. In essence, we espouse leadership by example, a leadership that will inspire others to follow wherever we may lead.

Source ~ United States Naval Academy(My emphasis added.)

Throughout his life, my Dad had little patience — and even less respect — for those who behaved dishonorably.  The only offense (besides failing to live up to high academic expectations) for which my brother and I were punished severely was lying.  We learned early on never to do so.

Occasionally, I believe, my Dad was really na├»ve  (this is another trait, alas, that I sometimes share).  But his (like mine) was a naivete born of faith in his fellow human beings; because he did not behave dishonorably, he found it hard to believe that others could.  

I suppose this explains, somewhat, why he was a loyal Republican — even during the Nixon Administration and later that of Ronald Reagan.  I don’t think he liked (or respected) either of these men very much, but I know he voted for them.  He did like and respect George H.W. Bush; he did not live to vote for his son.

This year, though, I am pretty sure his vote would be for Barack Obama.  

I think my Dad would recognize the great disrespect — disdain even — that John McCain has shown for the honorable tradition of the USNA, and for its principles.  I cannot believe that he would not have been horrified by the sleaze emanating from Sen. McCain’s campaign, by the outright, provable lies Sen. McCain has told not only about his own past and positions, but also about those he has repeated, ad nauseum, about Barack Obama.  McCain Lie Counter

And I am one hundred percent certain that he would have been apopletic by Sen. McCain’s shameless and dangerous choice of the utterly unqualified (as well as uneducated) Sarah Palin as his running mate.  

Our Democratic Party has run and elected honorable graduates of the United States Naval Academy during the past several decades, including:

President James Earl Carter, Jr. (Class of ’46; 59th in his class of 820)

Senator James Webb (Class of ’68; awarded the Navy Cross for heroism)

Rep. Joe Sestak  (PA-07)(Class of ’74; second in his class)

Eric Massa (candidate for NY-29)(Class of ’81) Donate.

John McCain is not honorable.  And this year, I think, for that and other reasons, my Dad, had he lived, would be casting his first vote for the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I miss you, Dad, so very much.  I am grateful for the chance to remember you tonight.  

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A Thing of Beauty in a Barbarous Time

Barbarus hic ego sum, quia non intelligor illis. – Ovid

With the economy imploding, and the wars, and crimes, and torture, and impotent political posturing — even as the pockets of the people are picked on a daily basis — there is a time, there must be a time for beauty, for a time apart the madness. We must remember what our humanity is, and why we even bother with the onus of civilization, with its exploitation and its barbarism.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his famous essay, “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences,” provocatively asked whether it wasn’t such condolences that bound us ever tighter to the chains of oppression:

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