Saturday, May 1, 2010

Via JMG: GM Lies About Bailout Repayment

Have you seen the below ad from General Motors claiming that they've repaid their loan from the federal government "five years early and with interest"? Yeah, not so much.
Lawmakers, and even the inspector general for the bailout fund GM borrowed from, point out that General Motors only repaid the bailout money by dipping into a separate pot of bailout money. They say the company did not actually use its own earnings to make the early payment and are questioning why executives are making such a big deal out of it.
They borrowed more to payback the first loan and have the nerve to crow about it. And their second lie: "The $6.7 billion is also just a fraction of the $52 billion General Motors received in government aid. Grassley said lawmakers are being told government losses on GM are expected to exceed $30 billion." Unreal.

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reposted via JMG

Via JMG: Oh Snap Flowchart

Larry's Proverbs

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture most people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

17.. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Apocalyptic Windows

A typical conversation at our home or as we say in Portuguese: “uma conversa patropi”

For those of you in bi-national / bi-cultural relationships, you know there are moments of hilarity, based on a common understanding of the differences between two cultures. For example this morning, when I returned from the gym, the light thru all the windows revealed the great ugly secret of spring.

Me: We need to wash these windows before everybody comes to visit.

Milton: “Who is coming?”

Me: “Well… your sister, Barbara, Spencer, my parents... and Jesus”

Milton: “that’s right! The end is coming!”

via Turthout: Bill Moyers: Interview With Jim Hightower

A transcript of a segment of the final program for The Bill Moyers Journal, aired on Friday, April 30, 2010. Bill Moyers interviews journalist Jim Hightower about populist politics.

Read the Article

Via Truthout: Pressure Mounts on Energy Giant Chevron to Disclose Revenue

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Inter Press Service: "When shareholders of the multinational company Chevron gather for their annual meeting in the U.S. city of Houston in late May, they will come face to face with Naing Htoo, whose community has suffered due to the exploits of the energy giant in military-ruled Burma."

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Via Turthout: Climate Equity: A Lost Cause?

Craig Collin, Truthout: "The message delivered by the poor nations and climate activists who gathered last week in Bolivia is undeniably just: The world desperately needs an effective climate agreement. However, rich countries are primarily responsible for causing this problem and have reaped most of benefits of two centuries of fossil-fueled industrialization. Therefore, they must bear most of the costs of responding to climate change and overcoming the world's addiction to fossil fuels. Only the callous or ethically challenged would dispute this position on moral grounds."

Read the Article

Via Truthout: Goldman Didn't Tell SEC About Mortgage Moves for Months

Greg Gordon and Chris Adams, McClatchy Newspapers: "In December 2006, Goldman Sachs embarked on a frantic effort to shed billions of dollars in risky mortgage securities and purchase exotic insurance to protect itself against what it had concluded could be the collapse of America's housing market."

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Via Truthout: Michael Winship | The Lowdown from Hightower

Michael Winship, Truthout: "I first became aware of Jim Hightower more than 20 years ago, during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. The Democrats were nominating Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis to run for president against Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, and at the time Dukakis looked like he had a pretty good chance at the White House."

Read the Article

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote of the Day - Bill Moyers

You've no doubt figured out my bias by now. I've hardly kept it a secret. In this regard, I take my cue from the late Edward R. Murrow, the Moses of broadcast news.

Ed Murrow told his generation of journalists bias is okay as long as you don't try to hide it. So here, one more time, is mine: plutocracy and democracy don't mix. Plutocracy, the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy.

Plutocracy is not an American word but it's become an American phenomenon. Back in the fall of 2005, the Wall Street giant Citigroup even coined a variation on it, plutonomy, an economic system where the privileged few make sure the rich get richer with government on their side. By the next spring, Citigroup decided the time had come to publicly "bang the drum on plutonomy."

And bang they did, with an "equity strategy" for their investors, entitled, "Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer." Here are some excerpts:

"Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper...[and] take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years..."

"...the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the US-- the plutonomists in our parlance-- have benefited disproportionately from the recent productivity surge in the US...[and] from globalization and the productivity boom, at the relative expense of labor."

"...[and they] are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years. [Because] the dynamics of plutonomy are still intact."

And so they were, before the great collapse of 2008. And so they are, today, after the fall. While millions of people have lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings, the plutonomists are doing just fine. In some cases, even better, thanks to our bailout of the big banks which meant record profits and record bonuses for Wall Street.

Now why is this? Because over the past 30 years the plutocrats, or plutonomists — choose your poison — have used their vastly increased wealth to capture the flag and assure the government does their bidding. Remember that Citigroup reference to "market-friendly governments" on their side? It hasn't mattered which party has been in power — government has done Wall Street's bidding.

Don't blame the lobbyists, by the way; they are simply the mules of politics, delivering the drug of choice to a political class addicted to cash — what polite circles call "campaign contributions" and Tony Soprano would call "protection."

This marriage of money and politics has produced an America of gross inequality at the top and low social mobility at the bottom, with little but anxiety and dread in between, as middle class Americans feel the ground falling out from under their feet. According to a study from the Pew Research Center last month, nine out of ten Americans give our national economy a negative rating. Eight out of ten report difficulty finding jobs in their communities, and seven out of ten say they experienced job-related or financial problems over the past year.

So it is that like those populists of that earlier era, millions of Americans have awakened to a sobering reality: they live in a plutocracy, where they are disposable. Then, the remedy was a popular insurgency that ignited the spark of democracy.

Now we have come to another parting of the ways, and once again the fate and character of our country are up for grabs.

A Grand Day Out - San José State University

Via JMG: Glenn Beck: Feds Are Going To Kill Me

If something happens to Glenn Beck, "You know who did it."

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posted by Joe

Via JMG: Ricky Martin Comes Out Against Arizona

At the Billboard Latin Music Awards, yesterday Ricky Martin called out Arizona's new immigration law as racist.
Ricky Martin thinks the new Arizona law is totally loca. The singer told the crowd at last night's Billboard Latin Music Awards that the legislation allowing police to stop anyone they think may be an illegal immigrant simply "makes no sense." This being his first major public appearance since coming out, the "She Bangs" star opted to keep his focus on the issues of inequality as a whole. "This is not in the script," he said at the ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "You are not alone. We are with you. Put a stop to discrimination. Put a stop to hate. Put a stop to racism…Long live love, long live peace."

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posted by Joe
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