Apr 252016

I’ve been seeing a political; add lately opposing a so-called plot by Obama to rob senior’s pensions by allowing Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.  So i decided to read up on the issue while watching a John Oliver video, so as to learn and have a couple chuckles at that same time.  Now I’ll share it with you.

0425PR“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver last night devoted his main segment to Puerto Rico.

The territory now has approximately $7 billion in debt and a 45% poverty rate. In an attempt to chip away at that deficit, the Puerto Rican government has increased sales taxes and closed schools, convincing thousands to leave for the contiguous U.S.

“Right now, Puerto Rico is like the last Tower Records,” Oliver said. “Everything’s overpriced, everyone’s being laid off, and there’s still a weirdly large number of Ricky Martin CDs.”

The seemingly obvious solution for the Puerto Rican government would be to declare Chapter 9, but a 1984 provision slipped without debate into a larger bill specifically exempts the territory from declaring bankruptcy…[emphasis added]

Inserted from <Salon.com>


Actually, figuring out this issue didn’t tale rocket science.  When every state and every territory in the US has right to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, why would a Republican Senator slip a provision into a must pass spending bill that made an exception of Puerto Rico, and ONLY Puerto Rico?  The only possible purpose would be to enable Banksters and Vulture Capitalist hedge funds create a bubble in speculative Puerto Rican bonds and safeguard the speculators by forcing the territory they have victimized into liquidating their assets to pay off the speculators.  This is very similar to what they have done to Greece.

The solution is simple enough.  First, overturn the Republican provision that prevents Puerto Rico from declaring bankruptcy.  Second, charge Banksters and hedge funds a penalty co cover any losses pensioners may incur.  Third, reinstitute Glass-Steagall.  Fourth, tax speculation.

Otherwise, we’ll need to rename the island Puerto Pobre.

Apr 012016

There were several things which happened or transpired last week which really should call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. I'll share one in some detail, and a couple of others in passing. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

When I saw the headline "Terrorism concerns: Chase Bank stops dog owner's check over pet's suspicious name," I knew it deserved some looking into.  Firstly, in the story but left out of the headline was the fact that this was a service dog.  "Bruce Francis depends on his dog, a nine-year-old pitbull mix named Dash, for more than just companionship.  Francis has a rare form of M.S. and Dash is a certified service dog."  To their credit, both Raw Story and AlterNet put this information into their headlines.  But to continue –

"Earlier this month, as was his routine, Francis paid Dash’s dog walker using his online banking account with Chase. On the memo line for the check Francis had typed Dash’s name."  The next thing Francis heard was that the dog walker had not received the check.  He went on line to look at his account, and found a message, "Please explain what Dash means.  To OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control, an office of the US Treasury)."

Francis called OFAC and was informed that the transaction had been flagged because "Dash" is similar to Daesh.  The bank stopped payment on the check.  Francis says he thought, "Great, they're stopping the world's stupidest terrorist."

dashKTVU, which originated the story, is a Fox affiliate, so I must give them credit for seeking comment from Edward Hasbrouck of Identity Project, a civil liberties group, who pointed out that many (perhaps most) people don't realize that "banks are required to scan all the financial transactions of their customers and turn over anything suspicious to the Treasury Department."  So Chase was simply following the law here. (A pity, because I had hoped to be able to bring Jamie Dimon into this, but it looks like he is off the hook.)  But the law itself is questionable to Hasbrouck, because it's all done in secret.  He says, "What happens is that the government requires the banks to become in effect, outsourced spies for the government.”

A spokesman for Chase told KTVU, “If a name on the OFAC list appears on a payment, we are required to review it.  This is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the us banking system. In this instance, the payment was flagged, reviewed and eventually released.”  Oh, yes, the dog walker did eventually get paid.

Francis himself says, “I think anything we can do to stop the terrorists and the funding of terrorists, let’s do it. And if it means an inconvenience to me and my dog walker then that’s a price I’m totally willing to pay.”  I think that's very understanding and kind of him.  I'm not (willing to pay that price).

As Hasbrouck points out, because this is all done in secret, no one but OFAC and the banks know what is on the list.  Are these terms, all IMO conceivable names of pet or service animals, on the list?  Brand, Alice, Baker, Ace, Deuce, Barnes, Brother, Knight, Duke, Pioneer, Storm, Hammer, White.  All these words come from the SPLC list of Hate Groups and have, or could have, some connection to one or more white supremacist hate group(s).  Because, if they are not, point one, that is discriminatory; and point two, more importantly, we are not really being protected from real dangers.

Dear ladies, Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone, I apologize for not having done all the detective work here.  But I am only a citizen.  There are secrets that I can't access.  So, first, could you check out the list I compiled against the OFAC list?  And, second, could you find out what law or laws (I have suspicions of the Patriot Act, but there could well be others) dictated the existence of the OFAC list.  And then – well, you know what to do, probably better than I do.  After all, I am only a citizen.

In other news, there's a fellow in Florida who likes to play with guns.  A bit under two years ago, he was trying to show his guests how he could quick draw "like a cowboy" and ended up sending a bullet into the temple of a pregnant woman, killing her and incidentally the potential baby.  He was not charged.  He claimed to have sworn off firearms for life, but this month, he was caught trying to "teach his girl friend's daughter (16) how to shoot" and was therefore discharging a shotgun into the air.  At least this time he was arrested.  Convicting him of a felony would at least prohibit him from owning or purchasing firearms.  There's a petition to that effect.  If we can get enough signatures, the Furies may not have to go deal with him.



And one last thing – Lamar Seeligson Smith (R-TX) is the chairman of the House Science Committee.  Last year, he started a campaign, intending to discredit all legitimate scientsts, which is a tall order, but he could make them so tied up in red tape that he could slow down their work.  He subpoenaed thousands of emails – any email which contained the word "climate," "change," and "temperature."  Supported by people and organizations, the NOAA refused to release them.  But now Smith is asking (did I say "asking"? I should have said "demanding") again.  And, yes, he is still wrong.  I'm sure the Furies can instruct him.

The Furies and I will be back. 

Mar 252016

Yesterday I grew the green cloud for the fourth day in a row.  I think Republicans are now afraid to get within a block of me.  Today I’m leaving shortly for PT/OT with Courtney.  I won’t be back until lunch time, so this is today’s only article.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:33 (average 5:02).  Drooling!!  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Watch An International Correspondent Push Back On O'Reilly's Anti-Muslim Fearmongering

Barf Bag Alert!!

O'Lielly, the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and Republican politicians and pundit use fear to promote hate, but the European journalist would not buy into it. How about it, Lona? Are Europeans "under siege" or are you putting it in its proper perspective.

From NY Times: A day after Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a sweeping law eliminating anti-discrimination protections for all lesbians, gays and bisexuals and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the gender they were born with, the battle lines were clear in a bitterly divided state.

On social media and in public rallies, civil rights groups, businesses and politicians expressed dismay at the law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by the governor within just 12 hours during a hasty special session on Wednesday.

American Airlines, which employs 14,000 people in the state and has its second largest hub in Charlotte, along with other companies with operations in the state, including Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, Red Hat and Biogen, all issued statements critical of the new law.

“Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division,” Apple said in a statement. “We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”


Welcome to The Republican Fascist Theocracy of McCrorystan!

From Alternet:

The following is an excerpt from the new book Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016):…

End “Too Big to Fail”

We have yet to undertake the reforms needed to end too big to fail and thus reduce the potential for failure of large financial institutions to damage the broader economy. Banks that are backed by the government and are so big that their failure will cause the entire economy to contract don’t need to internalize the costs of their failures and can reap huge benefits from risky bets. They have a perverse incentive to take on excess risk, knowing that should a problem arise they will be bailed out, with losses being borne by others. This, of course, is exactly what occurred in the 2008 financial crisis, the impacts of which still reverberate throughout the economy.

Despite recent experience and the Dodd-Frank reform, banks are still not only too big to fail, but also too big to manage—evidenced by repeated failures like the “London Whale.” And even when they are not too big to fail, they can be too interconnected, too interlinked to fail: with excessive linkages (e.g., those associated with CDs and derivatives), the failure of one institution can lead to a cascade of other failures—stoppable only with a government bailout. That is why interlinkages need to be transparent and regulated.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council should assess large, systemically risky financial firms with an additional capital surcharge above what regulators currently assess under the Basel Accords in order to make failure less likely and more manageable. Moreover, being too big to fail (or too interconnected to fail) gives banks an advantage: they don’t have to account for the costs their failure poses to the system as a whole, and get a subsidy as a result. The surcharge corrects for a market distortion that otherwise would favor such banks, even if they are not more efficient than smaller ones.

A surcharge would force banks to internalize the true cost of their risks and improve economic efficiency, while insulating taxpayers from the costs of failed institutions. And, to avoid the unproductive debate over how to exactly quantify “systemically important financial institutions,” the requirements should be graduated rather than set to a specific level.

Further, if firms are incapable of producing “living wills” that the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation believe show how they can unwind in bankruptcy without causing massive costs to the rest of the economy, then these institutions need to be broken up along business lines and by size so that potential failures can be better managed. In addition, living wills and their analyses should be made public. The wills have to be designed to work not just in normal times but also in the abnormal times associated with a financial crisis. Some doubt whether meaningful living wills can in fact be constructed, given the kind of turmoil that can arise in the midst of a crisis. If this is the case, then the only recourse is to begin the process of breaking up the too big to fail institutions in the same way we once broke up Standard Oil and AT&T.

That's the first of six steps needed to reform our corrupt financial system, I agree with them. Click through for the other five.



Mar 202016

I slept poorly last night, because the natives were restless in the unusually warm weather and made noise below my window, until well after midnight.  So I’m making today a relatively lazy day.  I hope your weekend is excellent.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:14 (π) (average 5:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Classic: 3/2013): Elizabeth Warren on the difference between a recreational drug user and a banker


Liz was a national treasure then, and still is.

From NY Times: Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.

There is no longer room for error or delay, the anti-Trump forces say, and without a flawlessly executed plan of attack, he could well become unstoppable.

But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism. They described their plans in interviews after Mr. Trump’s victories last Tuesday in Florida and three other states.

In such cases, I’m all for third party candidates running, because it would leave two Republican candidates competing for the votes of fascists, racists and idiots in the general election, virtually assuring a Democratic President Elect. The Republican leadership has to realize this. They must also realize that this may be the only way to save their party from extinction. That would be almost sure to follow anointing Fecal Dump Trump as their sole candidate.

From Addicting Info: Conservatives love to portray Cuba as an unviting hellhole, and its citizens complete monsters, so Barack Obama decided to do something about that. Preceding his historic first visit to the island nation, the President filmed a skit with Cuban TV star Pánfilo Friday so the Cuban people could get to know him.

In the skit, Pánfilo accidentally calls the White House while attempting to call the Meteorological Institute in Casa Blanca to check the weather for a baseball game. Instead of receiving information on what Mother Nature is up to, however, he ends up on the phone with Obama.


LOL!! Obama has done it again! It would not surprise me, if Republicans switch their birther accusations from Kenya to Cuba!!



Feb 262016

More stuff has happened which seems to me to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with it. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction." 

Incidentally, I have linked to the full page of each story, including the comments; therefore, the link may land you right at the top of the comments section.  If so, Ctrl + Home should take you to the beginning of the article, and the comments will still be there,, so you won't have to load them separately.

To our list of, not thank goodness capital crimes (at least not yet), but societal offenses which will lead to serious humiliation, we apparently must now add "banking while Muslim."

A Muslim woman wearing the hijab went to the Security National Bank branch in Ohama, NE, hoping to open an account.  She found the doors locked before she could make it to the teller line.  Now, normally, at this point, I would think the branch was closing for the day; but that doesn't seem to have been it, because no one mentions it.  Also, apparently, a bank employee told her to remove the hijab, and she did – but the bank would still not let her in.

The bank had been robbed at gunpoint during December by perpetrators who wore face coverings, so apparently it just then occurrred to them that maybe they ought to be able to identify people entering, so they initiated a requirement that everyone entering must remove all face, eye, and head coverings – not in itself unreasonable (although don't start me on prescription eyewear!)

It must have gone over their head that Omaha has an ordinance forbidding discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and some other factors.

Ferial Pearson, a friend of the woman in question (whose identity has not been made available to the press), says she has started receiving offensive and threatening messages on line, such as: “You are truly a disgusting person for putting such LIES on the internet!!!” one man wrote. “[T]hey had EVERY right to do what they did!! Waste your time some where else you heartless b*tch”

Megaera, I have confidence that you will be able to find the – um – grudging person who posted that, as well as posters of other threatening and offensive comments, and see if they can be taught some manners.

A second story just in passing, because I see possible but far from proven malice.  I wouldn't even mention it except that it touches on allergies, and I feel that personally, having multiple allergies myself.  (This additional article only touches on food allergies, which are only a small part of the picture, yet…)

This third story, though – this one definitely calls for the Furies, I would guess Tisiphone, but since I'm not directing anything particularly to Alecto this week, maybe she would help.

Joyce Curnell, 50, of South Carolina, died 27 hours after she was hauled out of a hospital and taken to jail over unpaid court fines.  She had been taken to the hospital by ambulance and diagnosed in the emergency room – we are not talking about someone who was well enough to drive up and walk in.

At some point, a bench warrant was discovered, and someone alerted law enforcement.  So she was taken to jail.

She was given neither water to drink nor intravenous fluids.  She died of dehydration.  Something highly preventable.

Yes, this happened in July – it's in the news now because the family is filing suit.

Her family filed a notice to sue the jail’s medical contractor, Carolina Center for Occupational Health, for malpractice — claiming medical staffers ignored requests by jail officials to help Curnell.

Court documents show Curnell was placed in a housing unit, instead of being taken to the jail’s medical facility, and she was given a trash bag to vomit into because she was too weak to visit the restroom.

State law requires medical care for inmates who need it, and the Bill of Rights demands humane treatment of incarcerated prisoners.

“It is very unfortunate to hear of another death of an African-American while in police custody,” said Shaundra Scott, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina. “If Ms. Curnell was denied medical treatment, then it is our position that her constitutional rights were violated.”

The Furies and I will be back. 

Jan 282016

This morning, when I awakened, I found that the elevator is now working, so the dreaded task is now done, and I’m pooped.  Unfortunately, now I’m too sore and tired to make half a dozen meals, which was today’s chore.  My helper friend has disappeared again as she sometimes does.  She was supposed to be here Tuesday and did not show up, and I have been unable to reach her since.  That’s frustrating!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:19 (average 7:00).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Millions of Americans are expressing their resentment and outrage at being put in the appalling position of siding with the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, a state of affairs that many are calling “intolerable.”

“Never in a million years did I envision a situation where I would be on the same side as Megyn Kelly,” Tracy Klugian, of Butte, Montana, said. “Now that I find myself in just such a situation, let me say this: it’s horrible. Truly horrible.”

“Putting people through the ordeal of siding with Megyn Kelly could be the worst thing Donald Trump has done in this campaign,” Jervis Kentwell, of Norwalk, Connecticut, said. “I know he thinks he’s invulnerable or whatever, but it’s hard to see him recovering from this.”

Andy is so right! I may sue Hateful Hairball over the pain and suffering it has caused me.

From Daily Kos: The latest massive offense the Obama administration has done to Wall Street is to come up with a rule telling financial services companies that their first duty is to their clients. That’s such an offensive requirement, Republicans in Congress have even been trying to derail it. Because nothing should stand in the way of profits for Wall Street, including the nest eggs of senior citizens. To prove how awful the whole idea is, American International Group Inc. (AIG)  decided they had to sell off, admitting that if they can’t screw old people out of money, then why bother?

"It’s a business we are not the best owner of, particularly in the light of potential Department of Labor rules," [CEO Peter] Hancock said Tuesday in a conference call updating investors on AIG’s strategy. "With the new DOL rules, that was a big factor in thinking whether this was better owned by somebody independent of us." […]

Hancock said the broker-dealer network earned about $40 million in 2014, yet consumed a "disproportionate amount" of AIG’s compliance cost.

Considering that the taxpayers of America loaned AIG over $67 billion in TARP funds to keep them out of bankruptcy, their attitude that they don’t want to play, unless they are allowed to rip-off seniors can best be described as Republican.

From Alternet: A series of exposés released this week shed further light on an often-overlooked form of war profiteering: charity organizations that raise millions of dollars under the auspices of serving wounded military veterans, only to inappropriately spend those funds.

Specifically, the Wounded Warrior Project is under the microscope, with a New York Times investigation finding that the well-heeled organization has spent “millions a year on travel, dinners, hotels and conferences that often seemed more lavish than appropriate.”

Such spending is no small matter, notes journalist David Philipps, as the charity “has evolved into a fund-raising giant, taking in more than $372 million in 2015 alone—largely through small donations from people over 65.” In fact, according to Philipps, the group is the largest and most rapidly-expanding organization in the country.

I’ve been emotionally tempted to give to them on a couple of occasions. I’m glad that I didn’t. Isn’t it a shame that Republicans have infested secular charities and are just as corrupt as they have been for ages in pseudo-Christian charities?



Jan 122016

Yesterday I went top see my new Primary Care Physician.  I was impressed that the scale had bars with which to pull myself up. .I weigh,262.  Her staff was very helpful.  Megan is young, personable and humorous.  She took the time to listen to issues and explain her reasons for her recommendations.  Today PT is coming and my bath aide should be too.  I’ll be ordering groceries and collecting medical information.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2 57 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Screw paid parental leave. Republican presidential candidate (yes, still) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich thinks new mothers and fathers should rely on their employers to “try to be creative” instead of being required to offer paid leave. And if the extent of their employers’ creativity is “come to work or you’re fired,” as it is for so many Americans, oh well.

“The one thing we need to do for working women is to give them the flexibility to be able to work at home online,” Kasich told the man who asked the question. “The reason why that’s important is, when women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential.

When folks say KKK Kasich is a moderate, call them on it!

From Alternet: Bernie Sanders’s plan to break up the biggest banks and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act (separating investment from commercial banking) is necessary – and why Hillary Clinton’s more modest plan is inadequate.

The Reich on the left, Robert Reich, is right. Bernie’s plan is better than Hillary’s. Click through.

From Crooks and Liars: MoveOn.org’s members voted to endorse Bernie Sanders after members voted overwhelmingly for him in an online poll last week.

According to MoveOn’s executive director Ilya Sheyman, 79 percent of MoveOn’s members said they wanted to endorse Bernie. The vote shatters all previous records for member votes.

Sheyman listed the top reasons members gave for their choice, including Sanders’ commitment to tackling economic inequality, standing for communities facing injustice, saying no to permanent war, and the belief that Sanders is the more electable candidate.

This is a huge endorsement for Bernie, and will give him access to organizing resources and mobilize grassroots support for him.

Kudos to Bernie and to all the MoveOn members who voted for him, including me.



Republicans would do it again!.

Jan 072016

I have another busy day today.  PT and OT are both coming this morning.  Then I’m going to cook dinners for several days and put them in compartmentalized trays for freezing.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my Prosthetist, because George probably needs some adjustments.  So expect no more than a Personal Update or Open Thread tomorrow.

Later: B9ith have come and gone.  Arvilla (PT) worked me hard.  Then Tracy (OT) agreed that supervising my cooking would be a good project for today, so I have four meals od Salisbury steak with gravy, cheese whipped potatoes. and mixed veggies.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:35),  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: \Republican Presidential candidates ripped President Obama on Tuesday for what they called his stubborn insistence on linking gun violence with guns.

In campaign stops across Iowa and New Hampshire, the G.O.P. hopefuls pounded the President for irrationally concluding that guns have played a role in the nation’s epidemic of mass shootings.

“How any reasonable person could look at gun violence and say that guns are involved is beyond me,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “And yet, somehow, President Obama always finds a way.”

“I would very much like to have a conversation about gun violence, as President Obama has said he wants to have,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “But as long as he keeps falling back on this tired, unproven connection between gun violence and guns, there’s just no point.”

The former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina said that Obama’s persistent linking of gun violence with guns was “sad but not surprising, from a man who believes that people’s health can be improved by access to health care.”

“He isn’t thinking straight,” she said.

But Andy, there is no link between gun violence and guns… in a pig’s eye!!!

From Daily Kos: It appears that Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien, the NH GOP lawmaker [Republican delinked] screaming and flailing her arms in the video, has been stalking Hillary for several years now.

She tried the same stunt in 2007, during a Clinton campaign appearance.

She tried it again today and Hillary shut her down to the roar of the crowd.

Reading through many of the comments on her Facebook [Republican delinked] , her appearance failed spectacularly.


Sorry about the self promotion by the person that prepared the video. The one in the article had no embed code. The lying Republican legislator was accusing Bill of having multiple rape victims, and Hillary, of covering it up.

From NY Times: In the days after the Paris terrorist attacks last November, world leaders denounced the shooting massacres. On Wall Street, the money manager Louis Navellier saw a buying opportunity.

Shares of the two leading gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Company, popped onto Mr. Navellier’s computer screen. Their stock prices were rising as a result of strong sales. He began accumulating positions in both companies.

Two months later, those bets have paid off. The stocks of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger spiked again after the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings last month. They also moved sharply in advance of President Obama’s announcement on Tuesday of measures to curb gun violence.

How about that. Banksters are not content to let gum manufacturers profit from the panic they help cause by arming criminals. The Bankster want to cash in on it too!



Jan 062016

Since the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Banksters have been an ongoing drain on the US economy, siphoning off what little equity Americans have left, and redistributing it to the 0.1%.  Republicans have been their active allies and supporters.  A few Democrats have also been purchased.  The remaining Democrats have tried, but have not been effective.  There is, however, a champion against the Bankster blight.

0106BernieBernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector, saying they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizing his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.”

“To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech on Tuesday. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If you do not end your greed, we will end it for you.”

Sanders laid out a 10-point program to deeply change the nature of the financial sector, while occasionally digressing to emphasize how much more sweeping his proposals are compared to Clinton’s. As always, he started by recounting how the “20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans”—and said the finance industry has spent “billions” to get Congress and federal agencies to deregulate almost all areas of the financial industry while weakening consumer protection laws.

“They spent this money in order to get the government off their backs and to show the American people what they could do with that new-won freedom,” he said. “They sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings.” Sanders continued, “While Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world with no strings attached, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider.”

Here are the 10 major components to Sanders’ Wall Street reforms.

1. End too-big-to-fail.

The underlying logic of this federal policy is that the biggest banks cannot fail and shut down, even if they make terrible investments or wreak great harm to the economy, because the U.S. economy and millions of ordinary people would become financially destitute. Sanders said this “scheme…is nothing more than a free insurance policy for Wall Street.” Compared to before the crash of 2008, the biggest banks in the country are larger than ever, he said, adding, “if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

“In 2008, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because we were told they were ‘too big to fail,’” Sanders said. “Yet, today, three out of the four largest financial institutions [JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo] are nearly 80 percent bigger than before we bailed them out. Incredibly, the six largest banks in this country issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and more than 35 percent of all mortgages. They control more than 95 percent of all financial derivatives and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits. Their assets are equivalent to nearly 60 percent of our GDP. Enough is enough!”

Sanders concluded, “A handful of huge financial institutions simply have too much economic and political power over this country. If Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican trust-buster, were alive today, he would say, break ‘em up. And he would be right.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared only the introduction and the first of ten steps in Bernie’s plan.  Click through for the other mine’  His plan is worthy of your support.

Dec 302015

I was sitting here at my desk when my desk began to shake very noticeably.  Thank goodness for the internet as I googled 'seismic activity bc' and learned that there was a 4.8 earthquake just north of Victoria at about 23:40, the time my desk began shaking.  My little girl was asleep under my desk and momentarily opened her eyes.  She is asleep again, but I can still feel my heart going thumpty-thumpt!  OK, I'll be awake for yet a while tonight.

Mother Jones — "Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is so far outside the historic American model of constitutionally limited government and the rule of law that it is the perfect case study of the pathologies that infect our bureaucracies at the federal level," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich solemnly intoned in his opening statement as an expert witness at a congressional hearing on December 16. "It is dictatorial. It is unaccountable. It is practically unrestrained in expanding on its already expansive mandate from Congress. And it is contemptuous of the rights, values, and preferences of ordinary Americans."

Newty is at it again . . . lie after lie!  I am not saying the CFPB is perfect, but it is needed to keep the financial vultures off the backs of ordinary people.  Having been in the financial services industry for over 40 years, and being one that supports the rights of consumers, Newty is all wet! What is truly disturbing is the apparent lack of awareness of this agency and its role by the public.

Truthdig — 

The difference with the “bail-in” is that the order of creditor seniority is changed. In the end, it amounts to the cronies (other banks and government) and non-cronies. The cronies get 100% or more; the non-cronies, including non-interest-bearing depositors who should be super-senior, get a kick in the guts instead. . . .

In principle, depositors are the most senior creditors in a bank. However, that was changed in the 2005 bankruptcy law, which made derivatives liabilities most senior. Considering the extreme levels of derivatives liabilities that many large banks have, and the opportunity to stuff any bank with derivatives liabilities in the last moment, other creditors could easily find there is nothing left for them at all.


Credit to Politics Plus Were They Really TBTF?

As of September 2014, US derivatives had a notional value of nearly $280 trillion. A study involving the cost to taxpayers of the Dodd-Frank rollback slipped by Citibank into the “cromnibus” spending bill last December found that the rule reversal allowed banks to keep $10 trillion in swaps trades on their books. This is money that taxpayers could be on the hook for in another bailout; and since Dodd-Frank replaces bailouts with bail-ins, it is money that creditors and depositors could now be on the hook for.

There is a great need for the return of Glass-Steagall to separate the risky investment business, currently pegged at some $280 trillion in 2014, from daily deposit banking.  Without it, everyday depoitors like you and I could lose all our savings.  To effect that change will require an absence of Republicans in Congress, but also an absence of banksters writing the rules, no matter what party governs.

Policy.mic — In 2001, the Portuguese government did something that the United States would find entirely alien. After many years of waging a fierce war on drugs, it decided to flip its strategy entirely: It decriminalized them all.

If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroin, he or she is sent to a three-person Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, typically made up of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. The commission recommends treatment or a minor fine; otherwise, the person is sent off without any penalty. A vast majority of the time, there is no penalty.

Fourteen years after decriminalization, Portugal has not been run into the ground by a nation of drug addicts. In fact, by many measures, it's doing far better than it was before.

What Portugal has done is change its paradigms around addiction from a punative to a health care focus.  We treat smoking and drinking, both addictions for some people, as health care issues.  Why would we not treat drug addiction in a similar way?

My Universe — I could not decide which to use so you get all three!