Archive for December, 2009


Move Your Money II

December 30, 2009

They don’t have mine, never have.



Move Your Money: A New Year’s Resolution

December 30, 2009

The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, the Big Four banks — JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — all of which took billions in taxpayer money, have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.

Meanwhile, America’s Main Street community banks — the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of — are struggling.

The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it’s meant to be. It’s neither Left nor Right — it’s populism at its best. Consider it a withdrawal tax on the big banks for the negative service they provide by consistently ignoring the public interest. It’s time for Americans to move their money out of these reckless behemoths. And you don’t have to worry, there is zero risk: deposit insurance is just as good at small banks — and unlike the big banks they don’t provide the toxic dividend of derivatives trading in a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose fashion.

Blogger’s note:  I opened my present checking account in 1982 at the Sooner Federal Savings and Loan branch at The Farm in Tulsa.  I have used the same checking account ever since.  Meanwhile, “my” bank kept changing underneath me.  Sooner Federal went belly-up in the S&L debacle.  The feds sold its remains to something called First Gibraltar, which in turn flipped the business to Bank IV of Wichita.  A few years later, Boatmen’s Bankshares of St. Louis acquired Bank IV.  Less than a year later, Boatmen’s was acquired by Nationsbank, headquartered in North Carolina.  Then Nationsbank acquired Bank of America in 1998, and changed its own name to that of its new subsidiary.  That’s how I became a Bank of America customer – by doing absolutely nothing.

Yes, I was annoyed every time I became a customer of a bigger and more distant conglomeration of banks.  But it was easier to stay put.  I had (and still have) all my monthly bill payments and deposits set up to occur automatically through this same 1982 checking account – and it will be a big hassle to change.

But Arianna has a great idea here.  Why should I be doing business with an unethical bunch like Bank of America?  They ain’t exactly George Bailey, is they?

– Graychin


Playing Politics with Terror

December 30, 2009

1) Fund raising letters
2) Using unions as an excuse to block the highly qualified TSA Director.
3) Claiming the Constitutional process of using federal courts is dangerous. (Bush did the same and it worked just fine).

Do they really think the public does not see through their hypocrisy. “All Terror All the Time” worked in 2004 – but not since.


National Tea Party Convention

December 29, 2009

The teabagger movement has been turned into a corporate money making operation.
$550 to attend :

Reminds me of the wealth preachers. A new way to separate folks from their money. Get your own piece of AstroTurf!


Majority Of Tea Party Group’s Spending Went To GOP Firm That Created It

December 29, 2009

Astrotuffers take the teabaggers for suckers…different red herrings same smell.

The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) — which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement — directed almost two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.

Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB) spent around $1.33 million from July through November, according to FEC filings examined by TPMmuckraker. Of that sum, a total of $857,122 went to Sacramento-based GOP political consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates, or people associated with it.

OCDB, which built the Tea Party Express, is essentially a Russo, Marsh creation, as we’ve detailed. The PAC’s site was registered in July 2008 by Sal Russo, the firm’s founder. That site also lists Russo as the PAC’s “chief strategist.” Tea Party Express fundraising emails, sent by OCDB and obtained by TPMmuckraker, come from another Russo, Marsh employee, Joe Wierzbicki.

Just for good measure, legendary GOP bamboozler Howard Kaloogian is also on OCDB’s board, and has close ties to Russo, Marsh.

From July through November 2009, the firm received $832,403 from OCDB, according to the FEC records. An additional $8,500 went to Russo himself. And Wierzbicki took in $16,219.

The services for which Russo, Marsh was paid appear to be legitimate campaign needs. For instance, it took in several hundred thousand for what OCDB listed in the FEC filings as “PAC Email Newsletter Costs – Generic Fun.” That would appear to refer to the numerous fund-raising and activism emails sent to volunteers to promote and build the Tea Party Express — a nationwide bus tour to build opposition to the Obama agenda — many of them by Wierzbicki.

But one expert on political action committees told TPMmuckraker it was unusual for a PAC to direct so much spending back to the entity that created it. And the spending details raised hackles among members of the Tea Party Patriots, a rival faction of conservative activists who have denounced TPE as a creature of Republican political professionals that lacks grassroots authenticity. In an email to a Patriots group that was obtained by TPMmuckaker, one TPPer who had examined the filings asked, “What would the true grassroots people think if they knew their money is being spent in this manner?”

A message left in the general mailbox for Russo, Marsh was not immediately returned.


Dumbest Quotes of the Decade

December 29, 2009

Thanks to the Huffington Post for these gems.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California:

“I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”

Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman from Minnesota:

“…The immediate consequence, if gay marriage goes through, is that K-12 little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural and perhaps they should try it.”

Britney Spears, Entertainer:

“I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.”

George W. Bush, President of the United States:

“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”

Jessica Simpson, reality show personality:

“Is this chicken what I have or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says chicken.”

Joe Biden, Senator from Delaware and vice-presidential candidate:

(To wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator, Charles Graham): “Uh, uh, Chuck Graham, state senator, is here.  Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see you.  Oh, God love you. What am I talking about?”

Sarah Palin, half-term Governor of Alaska and former vice-presidential candidate:

(Announcing her resignation as governor): “It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: ‘Sit down and shut up,’ but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out.”

Paris Hilton, heiress:

“I’m so smart now. Everyone is always like, ‘Take your top off.’  Sorry, no!  They always want to get that money shot. I’m not stupid.”

Rush Limbaugh, radio talk show host:

“Exercise freaks … are the ones putting stress on the health care system.”

George W. Bush, President of the United States:

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Steven Seagal, actor:

“People all over the world recognize me as a spiritual leader.”

Christina Aguilera, entertainer:

“Where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?”

Ted Stevens, Senator from Alaska:

“The Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes.”

Britney Spears, entertainer:

“I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

David Hasselhoff, actor and entertainer:

“I’ve got taste. It’s inbred in me.”

George W. Bush, President of the United States:

“They misunderestimated me.”

Craig T. Nelson, actor:

(On fiscal responsibility):  “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No. No.”

Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina 2007:

When asked, “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

She answered:

“I personally believe, that US Americans are unable to do so, because some people out there, in our nation, don’t have that, and eh I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here, in the US, should help the US, or should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future… for our children.”


A Year That Abounded With Fears Unfounded

December 28, 2009

The top five untruths of 2009

While one might have expected Washington to recover some civility after the mudslinging of the campaign season, the year instead saw the rise of the “just asking” paranoiac style on Fox News, the return of serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey, and the accusation “You lie!” hurled at the President as he addressed Congress. No untruths were more flagrant, pervasive or distracting, however, than the five listed here.

5.  The Community Reinvestment Act’s Responsibility for the Financial Crisis

The claim reverberated through the conservative echo chamber, and was picked up by elected officials like Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who said of the CRA in March, “I know the intent was noble, but the effect has been devastating.” By the time Ben Bernanke and other members of the Federal Reserve began pushing back with facts, it had already become conventional wisdom in many quarters that it was not Wall Street greed or years of lax oversight that had caused the financial crisis, but a bullying gang of anti-poverty activists and irresponsible homeowners of color.

4.  An ACORN in every bill.

The ACORN hysteria reached a fever pitch this October when Republicans held up desperately needed unemployment insurance legislation with unrelated amendments concerning ACORN funding. While the scandal-prone group has lately lost the bulk of whatever political power it once had, shouting “ACORN!” has proven an appealing conservative scare tactic, and it is unlikely that we have seen the last of this form of fearmongering.

3.  Sonia Sotomayor is a racist who favors “wise Latinas” over white men.

What the pundits and politicians left out, again and again and again, was that Sotomayor had made the comment specifically in reference to the importance of judicial diversity in cases regarding “race and sex discrimination cases.” Never mind that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito had also made statements about the impact of their personal experiences on their judicial thinking — first Newt Ginrgich and then a slew of other conservatives took the “wise Latina” remark out of context to assert that Sotomayor, the first woman of color to be nominated to the high court, was a “racist.”

2.  Birtherism

“Birtherism” has gained 9/11 truther-like staying power this year, triumphing over widespread ridicule from liberals and conservatives alike. Despite the fact that Barack Obama long ago produced his Hawaiian certification of live birth, a stubborn fringe of “birthers” has clung to the theory that Obama is not a natural born citizen, and is therefore ineligible to serve as president.  It was probably inevitable that a section of America would reject the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, but the success of this easily disprovable theory is somewhat shocking — according to one poll, fully 58% percent of Republicans either think Obama wasn’t born in the United States or aren’t sure, and only 77% of Americans as a whole are confident that Obama is in fact a citizen.

1.  Death panels

The claim was first voiced by misinformer extraordinaire Betsy McCaughey, who asserted that House health care legislation would “absolutely require” end-of-life counseling for seniors “that will tell them how to end their life sooner.” In fact, as has been widely documented, McCaughey’s claim was based on a distortion of a provision that would allow Medicare to reimburse doctors for periodic end-of-life counseling sessions. Nonetheless, the scary image of government committees condemning the old and infirm to death spread like wildfire through cable news channels and town hall meetings, stoked by the likes of Sarah Palin and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

This proves once again that humans have an immense capacity to believe the unbelievable – especially if it conforms to the imaginary universe in which someone has chosen to live. – Graychin