December 14, 2009 archive

Why Aren’t We/You???

Simulposted from The Wild Wild Left

I see this question more than any other question across the Liberal Blogosphere.

People are frustrated as hell. I am frustrated as hell.

I see this question asked a thousand ways, a thousand times, it seems an obsession. People are looking for a Savior, a Leader, how to make Coalitions, how to ignite a groundswell uprising. We analyze The Question to Death. Most of the essays and op/eds on the subject are most excellent, I spent a couple hours on and off reading our brother-blog, Docudharma yesterday and found tons of food for thought on the subject.

But even out of the best of these, sometimes it irritates me. I want to yell, “What do you mean ‘we’ Kemosabe? I don’t see you out on the street!” I want to say, “Why are you waiting for a Leader, instead of being one?” Then I calm myself, I think to myself, “We cannot will this into being, the times will create it.”

But most of the time, I just think, “Right on!” I know the act of speaking to it, moves us into the direction where action happens. How many men and women of color asked these same questions before Rosa just sat down? How many whispered in the mean fields before Woody started singing?


We are all impatient, all painfully aware that a change has to happen or we will suffer, most of us are already suffering.  

American Casino & Let The Pitchforks Do Their Job

Well known Irish journalist, author and filmmaker Andrew Cockburn talks with The Real News about his documentary film exposé of the subprime mortgage crash and scandal, how the system works, and corruption both in politics and on Wall Street: “American Casino”.

Real News Network – December 13, 2009

American Casino

Andrew Cockburn co-producer of the documentary “American Casino” talks about the sub-prime crash

IMDB Synopsis: a look at how the Wall Street meltdown has affected the working class.

We All Lost

I don’t think most people really understood that they were in a casino says award-winning financial reporter Mark Pittman. When you’re in the Streets casino, you’ve got to play by their rules. This film finally explains how and why over $8 trillion of our money vanished into the American Casino. For chips, the casino used real people, like the ones we meet in Baltimore. These are not the heedless spendthrifts of Wall Street legend, but a high school teacher, a therapist, a minister of the church. They were sold on the American Dream as a safe investment. Too late, they discovered the truth. Cruelly, as African Americans, they and other minorities were the prime targets for the subprime loans that powered the casino. According to the Federal Reserve, African-Americans were four times more likely than whites to be sold subprime loans.

We meet the players. A banker explains that the complex securities he designed were fourth dimensional and sold to idiots. A senior Wall Street ratings agency executive describes being ordered to guess the worth of billion dollar securities. A mortgage loan salesman explains how borrowers incomes were inflated to justify a loan. A billionaire describes how he made a massive bet that people would lose their homes and has won $500 million, so far.

Finally, as the global financial system crumbles and outraged but impotent lawmakers fume at Wall Street titans, we see the casinos endgame: Riverside, California a foreclosure wasteland given over to colonies of rats and methamphetamine labs, where disease-bearing mosquitoes breed in their millions on the stagnant swimming pools of yesterdays dreams.

Filmed over twelve months in 2008, American Casino takes you inside a game that our grandchildren never wanted to play.

Part 2, and transcript of Part 1, on the flip…

Docudharma Times Monday December 14

Monday’s Headlines:

Citigroup Nears Deal to Return Billions in Bailout Funds

Learning From the Soviets

U.S. unveils plan to rev up clean technology in poor nations

Lieberman criticizes Senate healthcare compromise

Taliban stalls key hydroelectric turbine project in Afghanistan

Copenhagen climate summit: Can China get by without coal?

Dubai receives a $10bn bailout from Abu Dhabi

Secret document exposes Iran’s nuclear trigger

Nostalgic Serbs board the 8.15 to Sarajevo

Berlusconi hit in the face with a model of Milan’s cathedral

Human Rights Watch urges UN to stop backing Congo army

Chile vote exposes fatigue with ruling center-left alliance

On The Futility Of War, Part Two, Or, Twelve Times The Charm?

We are halfway through a story that is about to turn winter in one of the most beautiful places in the world profoundly ugly.

Just like in a Cecil B. DeMille movie, we have a cast of millions, we have epic scenery, and we have made acquaintance with someone who will go on to perform a heroic act.

Unlike your typical Hollywood production, however, this movie is not going to have a happy ending-in fact, you could make the argument that it’s not over yet.

So wrap yourself up in something comfortable, grab something to drink…and when you’re ready, we’re packing up and heading to the Alps.

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

“Five Minutes to Midnight” in Athens

  Events are rapidly coming to a head in Greece, and the consequences could ripple through all of Europe.

 Leading Greek economists and bankers yesterday warned George Papandreou, prime minister, that he had to announce bold initiatives to rescue the country’s collapsing bond market and avert the possibility of defaulting on a rising public debt.

 Yannis Stournaras, an Athens University economics professor and former chief adviser at the finance ministry, said: “Other countries in trouble have already taken measures. If we don’t quickly follow suit the adjustment will be imposed by markets and it will be violent.”

 How violent? Maybe not as violent as the protests in the streets of Athens. Already there are student, pensioner, and public worker protests and strikes. Remember that the current government is only two-months old, after the old government nearly collapsed under the pressure from street riots.

  This puts the current government in an extremely difficult situation. The public debt is set to rise next year to 124 per cent of GDP, with a fiscal deficit of over 12%. Meanwhile, the public pension fund is expected to go into the red as early as 2011. The fiscal squeeze requires draconian cuts, but the public workers of Greece are not a wealthy group. They will have no choice but to turn out into the streets en mass.

  Premier George Papandreou recognizes that.

 “Salaried workers will not pay for this situation: we will not proceed with wage freezes or cuts. We did not come to power to tear down the social state,” he said.

Here for your entertainment!

Yes.  I got into it on my last Daily Kos diary with people who showed up only to disrupt the diaries conversation.

I HR them.  They whine.  And then, Meteor Blades comes up with a truly “unique” … extrapolation.

I’m not buying it…

The Daily Kos FAQ is what it is.

I’ve cited it to them.

Weekend Nightcap

Banking system hooked on drug money

  The mayor of Kabul was back at his desk the day after was sentenced to four years for corruption. Afghanistan is awash in only one kind of money these days – drug money.

  One of the poorest nations on Earth exports $10 million every day in drug money, most of it right out of Kabul airport, and the world’s bankers are hooked on it like junkies. In fact, this drug money probably did more to save the world’s banking system than all the government bailouts.

 Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

  Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

Weapons of Mass Instruction

Exhibit A: Jesse Ventura kicks bazoo!

Exhibit B: RJones2818 kicks bazoo!

Exhibit C: Bazoos are kicked!

To the Brink and Part Way Back

Poor Cavor! He did have such a terrible cold.

–H. G. Wells, First Men on the Moon

I’m dropping off this piece because I have friends here and there and this is the best way to communicate with them.

And some people like my art, so I’m including some of that as well.  Clicking on the images should open larger versions in new tabs.

If you belong in neither of those categories, why are you here?

Sunday Train: Hey, Joe, I still want a Sustainable High Speed Electric Train for Christmas

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Last year, I told VP Joe Biden about the Sustainable Electric High(er) Speed Rail I wanted for Christmas (cf. links below). It involved electrifying the 30,000+ miles of STRACNET, and establishing 100mph Rapid Freight Rail paths, including support for running 110mph or 125mph long haul electric passenger services on the Rapid Freight paths.

In short, I wanted Joe Biden to take Alan Drake’s plan and just fracking DO it.

I didn’t get it for Christmas last year – but then, I guess he was only VP-elect last 25DEC08. The post today is to look at the progress toward the goal. The answer, surprisingly, is that we have made substantial progress. Certainly we are not halfway there, yet, but we are much further along than I expected to see.

Load more