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January 08, 2009


Don't ya hate ethnic gangs!

Uncle Sam sits in an alley....mostly naked, bruised, bloody, band aids here and there....who did it ? the cops ask...a gang he says...who, blacks, hispanics, homeless people ?? ask the cops...no, they all were wearing designer suits and bright pastel ties.....


November 08, 2008


Don't you just hate those welfare cheats

My favorite irony (of the moment, there are so many, such as the Bush/Cheney/GOP modus operandi of putting “Party” members over all important policy decisions which is/was the chief evil of Communism) is that there are still hordes of voters that vote for the GOP because they hate having a perceived group of poor shiftless welfare persons having access to their tax dollars.
Meanwhile every eight years or so the banking elite go on a tear and wipe out the financial industry’s capital base. Usually the banks replace their capital by upping car loan rates and mortgage rates but between the savings and loan debacle and our present derivatives catastrophe a trillion dollars of the voter’s money has vanished ….giving bonuses to the guys who screw them over and over again. A trillion freeking dollars.

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October 30, 2008


Greenspan should feel the shame of his inaction

Circa 1986 I sat high up over the New York City financial area with a prominent bank's Executive VP and Director.
He said, "Where do you think we should be looking for future profits, we'd like to have of our equity 'at play.'
I was flattered that he should court my opinion. I also remember thinking, "Half your equity at play, what are you, nuts?"
The bank is no more in existence.
The thinking that taking increasing risk in order to increase bonuses brought the system down. Paying people to book trades and make risky loans without waiting for repayment or profits to be realized created a bonus atmosphere versus a profit atmosphere.
Greenspan absolutely had to fully know of these issues.
For personal or political reasons he let the GOP/big bank's horsepucky 'no regulation' mantra rule global financial markets to the gross neglect of the world's individual depositors and pension holders, both average folks and the very wealthy.
His legacy from his time at the helm is cowardice and abject failure. I hope he can feel shame; lots of it, unregulated.

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July 08, 2008


CEO taxation is not a big election issue

The CEOs and corporate executives that regularly perform embezzlement by committee are immune to tax increases. They and their board of directors' henchmen, with no institutional opposition, can and will raise their personal payouts to ameliorate or obviate any Obama inspired increase in fat cat taxes.
Note that fat cats and Wall Streeters are giving two to one or more to the Obama campaign. They want access to the '08 winner.
Such is their faith in the greed ethic of corporate hierarchies that they are smugly confident that their net embezzlement proceeds are not in jeopardy.

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July 06, 2008


McCain's tortured views

McCain is an aging man from a war making military family. In service to a dumb war in Asia he was incarcerated and tortured. His DNA is rigid. "We should have stayed the course in Vietnam" is his dumb guns first, intelligent diplomacy second (or never) rigid mental status in foreign policy.
This fact, that his genetic military being and his 'tortured' view of what the military and diplomatic lessons of Vietnam are should disqualify McCain from America's commander in chief position.
McCain's views on Vietnam are antiquarian and dumb; tactically, politically and in relation to sound foreign policy. Even in hindsight he is rigid and wrong. He was wrong on Iraq. He remains so and is quite suspect as a leader who does not exhibit understanding that the big picture is so much more than setting off to battle because we can.

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June 28, 2008


MSNBC losing big time to FOX quoth a liberal

FOX News provides more news and analysis than the constant gossipy drivel from MSNBC's Chris Matthews (Hardball) and David Gregory (Race to the White House.)
Set aside the fact that, say, 10% of FOX's broadcasts are patently right leaning. Then analyze how much of the remainder is new items of the day presented with facts and analysis. FOX is three to ten times more educational than MSNBC's mix of insider conjecture and pure campaign gossip

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June 08, 2008


Iraq, Stay or Leave? (a reprint)

June 29, 2007

Iraq, Stay or Leave?
If the Iraqi's stopped all fighting, formed an exemplary democratic national government and bid all American troops to leave Iraq this would be a great victory to 'progressives' and liberals. They would offer money and services to restore Iraq to health while all the while grinning madly that peace and prosperity had been the result of America's intervention in Iraq.
Meanwhile Bush, Cheney, the neocons and their oil company allies would have a fit. As I have previously written, I have seen Dick Cheney smile that Al Qaida is now in Iraq. It suits his interests to a tee. Instability in the Midddle East is a power goal and an economic goal for those in office today. A rush to bomb Iran before leaving office is cogent policy and tactically urgent for this group.
The Democrats should take their case directly to the American voters with a bi-partisan touring panel. The message would be that the Iraqi's are not our enemy. The message should include the Iraq Parliment's agreement and blessing that withdrawal is the mutually sanest course to reduce violence.
Retired Generals who know full well that there is nothing to win in Iraq should join the touring panel to explain to the voters that a policy of leaving is more likely to be a policy of winning than what is constituted by a policy of staying.
Both serving and retired Generals know that there is nothing to "win" in Iraq except for our departure sooner or later. The military brass know that attacking Iran will cripple the military and to some degree leave America defenseless. It's time that the armed forces stop serving as mercenaries for a Cheney led economic policy which actively promotes Mid East instability as its corner stone.
Leaving Iraq is the natural and ultimate goal.
Our staying provides political ammo for the Al Qaida misfits we led into the country. Our leaving cripples these thugs' political message and motivation.
Eighty plus per cent of the Iraqis want the U.S. to leave.
And we stay why?
Cheney and his cohorts lie when they say we stay to win. They lie when they say the Jihadis will any more follow us home than they attempt to do so at present. They lie that our nationalism should want us to stay when leaving is the only defensible long term plan. They entice and invoke a following by propaganda calls to follow the Red, White and Blue while corruptly wishing our occupation and control to continue ad infinitum.
America's best interest are served by leaving.
Get er done, Congress.
Get er done, voters!

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June 06, 2008


Pittsfield UU Meditation Sangha

Pittsfield UU Meditation Sangha is, for the moment, the name for our group that sits each Thursday at 6:00 PM at the Wendell Ave UU Church.
Linda, Ron and Craig, founding members, and James, Tim, Mike, Doris and Michael all voted after some group discussion that this name sufficed.
Personally I would like it to be called "The Nose Focusers."

Craig mentioned in this quasi business meeting what he thought were the sangha goals embodying the formation of this group.
The first goal is to provide a safe, comraderly place to meditate.
The second goal is to provide a safe, welcoming place to meditate.
Third, this Sangha is in the UU spirit, fully democratic.
It is Buddhist oriented but not exclusively. Other Eastern philosophies, other spiritual philosophies or practices or a 'good poem', all for discussion, are welcomed.
Each attendee is invited to bring a reading or otherwise a topic for discussion to lead a meeting. The weekly moderator's job is to facilitate a good group discussion.
Three first time attendees Mike, Michael and Doris were welcomed.

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June 05, 2008


Clinton and media dysfuncion fandango avoided

I am so relieved that the fan-dango-dysfunction-ings of the Clinton family re-inhabiting the White House won't be the next eight years' daily gossip seeking (what passes for political media) fodder blared night and day in between Paris and Brittany lower cleavage sightings.
Ah Bill, we knew thee well. Too damn well for a rerun, say I.

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June 04, 2008


McCain's is a one-note campaign: "more war"

Step back and summarize who McCain is. He's an old man from a military family that says "we must win, we must win", in between his gaffs and misstatements and saying "we are winning, we are winning." If we win in Iraq and leave, then we are 'surrendering' is Senator McCain's baffling call to keep fighting.

He can't lead on health care, the economy, taxes, jobs or ecology.
Saying he's for change is a contradiction to his upbringing, age, and nature.
He is true to his roots when he repeats his single constant message: more glory on the battlefield, more fighting, more war, any war.

I like the patriotism and the majesty of a good Fourth of July parade as much as anyone but votes are about so many more here-at-home issues. Votes are questionable if cast only to advance the non diplomatic goal of having the U.S. attacking more foreign countries to enforce capitalism and old time vainglory.

The issues John McCain, in his one-note campaign, and by his nature finds less attractive and uplifting are good jobs, fairness in wages, equitable health care and returning Washington to a bi-partisan, non lobbyiest controlled can-do status.

Military might and patriotic pomp have their place but the McCain Bush era mantra of "If you're not afraid, you're a coward." needs to be put out to pasture.

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May 29, 2008


Obama to McCain: "John, my America is not losing."

Obama to McCain: "John, my America is not losing."
Surrender is a figment of your imagination. - - .
I will not surrender, John McCain proclaims, as dramatically as he can.
Obama should declaim, "John, John, John. What are you thinking about when you say I, or our military or anybody else, might surrender.
Militarily, our warriors have won all the required battles to give the Iraqis a new start..
If John, your goal is to occupy Iraq, then leaving would be simply letting go of these occupation goals. This 'letting go' is the goal of both Iraq and America. There is no 'surrender' in bringing home our troops from Iraq. It's just admitting that our troops are not fairly deployed for either their sake or America's national security if they are used as referees and civilian police.
John, stop implying that America or our troops are losing or losers. There is no surrender in coming home. To whom would we losing Senator? We've reached the time for us to leave the bulk of the fight to the Iraqis.
The Shiites will fight amongst themselves for power. They will fight Sunnis too and both will fight criminal elements and religious fanatics who align themselves with terrorists. This is the internal struggle facing Iraq for a long while to come.
It's time for America to declare itself a staunch ally of Iraq and Iraqi democracy and cease operations akin to an all out occupying force. No one entity specifically wins when we leave. We lose to no specific entity.
John, unless you pursue battle as an end in itself, which frankly scares me, step back and exercise common sense.
"There is no 'surrender.'
"My America is not losing."

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May 23, 2008


Baker and Appeasement; My scoop on the 2006 Video!

cognitorex wrote:

The original reporting of the Baker Hannity discussion on negotiating and appeasement report is attributable to Craig Johnson aka cognitorex, that's me, right here, how fun to get a scoop, on Op-Ed News October 2006 and his blog cognitorex dot blogspot dot com (Baker flummoxes Hannity). It was also first ressurected/reported in this cycle in Talking Points Memo (TPM Cafe) on Monday May 18 at 7:00 am)See below original report:
TPM Cafe link, which went around net on various sites is:
October 6, 2006 at 09:03:14


by (link=): http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_craig_j...)

craig johnson Page 1 of 1 page(s)


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James Baker, the globally accomplished diplomat and former GOP Secretary of State under Reagan totally flummoxed the cartoonish GOP bagman, Sean Hannity.

Point blank, Baker said that given the choice between waging a war or a foreign policy solely restricted to establishing a new democracy in the Mid-east or alternatively pursuing policies of stabilizing the region, policies of stabilization were preferable.

Hannity tried to parry this heretical bashing of Bush's core foreign policy talking point with the usual GOP gobbledygook propaganda such as "this is "World War III" and "this is a fight against Islamo Fascists." Baker seemed uninterested in Sean's offer of GOP red meat talking points and he continued.

Paraphrased as best I can, Baker said, "Given the choice between engaging America's forces based on a principle (i.e. 'democracy') or based on establishing stability, stability is, all things considered, the superior objective.

Not yet finished shredding the inept Bush, Rice, Cheney foreign policy, Baker continued by basically saying that not engaging in talks with America's enemies was nuts and sophomoric (my words). He recounted that he personally visited Syria almost twenty times and on his next visit Syria abandoned their twenty-year-old policy towards Israel and agreed to sit with Israel in negotiations, de facto recognizing their existence.

(The original reporting by me came from simply switching to Fox during "Brittany/Paris" gossip type reporting on MSNBC then me having my mouth drop open as Hannity was dosed and flummoxed with non GOP red meat talking points by Baker.)

Op-Ed news took it as an 'Article" and it received 40,000 hits world wide.)

PS This a sloppy post because my Mother is/was in critical condition and home is now a nursing home. I am biz-ee.

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May 04, 2008


MSNBC Hardball: meanness below the narcissism

Sightings of Brittany's and Paris' un pantied lower cleavage are down in news coverage due to Wright mania.
Only in America.
Remember Dean's scream. If the true sound level masking his scream from that podium had been played, it's affect would have been significantly less.
I wonder if the press and particularly MSNBC's Hardball don't go bat doodle when they smell that by amplifying and fixating on a certain damaging item they can turn an election. It's an exercise of power for power's sake showing that for some pundits meanness lurks below their standard fare of narcissism.

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May 02, 2008


Barack Elitism Gas Tax Truthiness

As for looking at elitism and the truth, this week has seen a great example.
Hillary and McCain offer voters a half of a torn band aid in a gasoline tax rollback that depends on and presumes that the average American voter is plug stupid.
Barack, in stark contrast says, "You guys who want change; let's start right here." "This gas tax rebate gimmick is simple pandering and serves no positive economic purpose for the country you love and wish to see set on the right road again."
Obama trusts the intelligence of the voters, blue collar Catholics included, that they have plenty of good old American common sense to sniff out pandering political pooh; that they are ready to vote shoulder to shoulder for honesty and change.
Only Obama trusts the melting pot cast of Americans. That is 180 degrees from the twittling twattling yammerings that he is elitist.

7:22 AM

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April 15, 2008


Obama shows trust and respect for voting public: Hillary not so much

Obama has embarked on a profound sociological and political gamble. He gambles by offering the electorate a deep respect by quietly and firmly telling truths. His campaign, to a degree unparalleled in normal campaigning, constantly and repetitively gambles that voters of all stripes, indeed, can handle the truth. It must be at times agony to watch the 'gotcha' spin from opponents and the press while waiting to see if the American citizenry can make intelligent decisions faced with a cacophony of spin.

So far the voters have proved Obama's respect for them to be well placed. They have showed their common sense by ignoring mindless spin battles and continuing to vote increases in Obama's winning lead primary numbers.

Hillary has made herself into the politician's worst nightmare, a caricature of the pandering politician. This week I am against trade deals says she as she enters a post-industrial state. This week I am a bird hunter she advertises. Last week I was a policy wonk and before that Mrs. Experience and whoops I find myself in rural hinterlands so fetch me a shot and a beer.

Obama was thoughtful, honest and a bit perhaps too cerebral last week. He was thoughtful, honest and trusting of the electorate and a bit perhaps too cerebral the week before. He said his white Gramma distrusted black people and that she said bigoted things, which was honest, thoughtful, respectful of his listener's intelligence and a bit too cerebral the week before that. Pennsylvania's rural voters in the majority accept that there is bitterness and a penchant to be angry over race, guns and religion but Barack's delivery would have been better couched in more palatable down to earth terms.

It must be agony for Barack and Michelle to watch and listen to twaddle gossip cast as news, waiting and waiting to see if common folks respond with common sense to not particularly revelatory truisms, that widespread unemployment encourages bitterness and that racism at varying levels is part of America's culture.

I'd like to think that the Obama family is actually in a "win-win" situation. They will continue to rise above pandering political showmanship and tell truths, although perhaps in a voice a bit too cerebral. They will ask and tell the electorate that their understanding is required to define and tackle America's open sore problems in health care, job creation, a dollar driven Washington culture and the USA's international posture. If Americans in a majority can actually "handle the truth" we/they will stand with the Obamas when they inherit the White House and begin a brutal slog to "change." If, on the other hand, voters revert to distraction over race, religion, sexuality and Annie Oakley panderings then Barack's quest for truthful definitions to guide America will be seen as a bridge too far of an endeavor; a bit perhaps too cerebral.

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April 14, 2008


Hillary talks 'cracker': her days of guns and food stamps

Hillary says. "When in Pennsylvania cracker land, talk cracker."
"That is in no way condescending" she said, "It's simple political play book, page one tactics. Talk guns and beer."
"Barack, however, is different" she said. "Even tho' he was telling a known version of cracker truth, he used a five syllable word plus complicated syntax. That, my friends, is elitist. Knee slappin' elitist."
"Back when Momma, Poppa and I were on welfare.......and the revenuers were looking for our stills........"

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April 04, 2008


The Crooked Citizen takes a Mortgage

John and Jane, brokers, sit in their mortgage originator store front office. They spy a couple reading their window adverts.
"Come in, come in. And how are you lovely folks today?"
"Good." "Good."
"May we ask you if you rent or own?"
"Ah, you rent. $900 a month and it's tight. We see." (They huddle a moment.)
"Folks, we've assessed your case and our thinking is if you sign right here for a thousand a month mortgage, we'll see that you get a quarter of a million dollars to get that home you have your eye on. How's that?"
"Don't you have to write down all your credit card debt?" "No. Your application looks great, just as it is."
"And what will your mortgage and mortgage rate be at the end of the initial term? No one can say for sure but the standard operating procedure is that you come back and refinance with the new higher value of your home". "Everybody does, just SOP, right Jane?"
"SOP, everybody does."
"You're curious how we get paid. Well, it comes from the lender's part of the deal. It isn't a lot but we get to put good folks in great homes. That's a big reward right there."
"All set? See ya later. You're welcome, thank you."
John and Jane high five, laughing!
"What a couple of con artists those two are, borrowing a quarter mil on their credit record."

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"Leverage" An off off Wall Steet Drama


"Who's knocking on our door ?" the CFO of a huge investment bank asked.
"Why it's the government Banking Auditor. It's his day of the week to ask us to mark our assets to market."
"Are we in shape for his visit?"
"Uhm, Yes and no. Sorta good news, bad news."
"What's the good news?"
"We've done the math and we figure our remaining mortgages on the books, good and bad, are worth $43 billion, so we're okay."
"What's the bad news?"
"Uhm, well, nobody will buy any mortgage paper at the moment and some righteous auditors have been saying, no valid quotes, no value."
"That's absurd. That would mean we have negative equity."
"Shhh! He's leaving. Bernanke's got him on the phone."

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March 31, 2008


McCain perfects shadow corruption

Nobody seems to have noticed that McCain has a methodology he uses to push lobbyist causes without doing so in the daylight.
In two recent reported incidents, one where his , ahem, donor friend wanted a favorable communication industry ruling and one where he took money from the non US military air tanker competitor, McCain wrote letters to the committee Chairmen.
He doesn't say make the outcome in favor of his client. He uses a pretext such as this should be concluded soon or this needs a timely yes or no.
Has he then pedaled influence and promoted one side over the other which is ethically incorrect even by Republican committee standards? No. Not in writing, per se. Have the committee' Congressmen and staffers been put on notice that a Senator has a dog in the hunt.

Oh, if you didn't catch this the other night. Pat Buchanan referenced McCain's flip flopping on tax cuts, ethics , religious leaders and using public funds in his Presidential race.
His comment was. "When you talk about the 'Straight Talk Express' you should have a sign on the side of the bus that says" "This bus makes U-turns."

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March 28, 2008


Buying and Selling Housing Accounts as a Commodity

What Greenspan (and Paulson) euphemistically call 'mis pricing risk' by the nation's financiers is more aptly described as their collective purchasing of 90% to 100% leveraged commodity accounts.
At the end of the day, homes are a commodity. There are laws regulating the purchase and financing of commodities; there are strict margin requirements and lots of bold print that purchasing a commodity carries a high degree of risk, to wit, you may lose your shirt.
Having thought about this for a moment, the question becomes who in their right mind would set out to purchase someone else's commodity position which had little or no equity, just the position holders' promise to pay interest on the borrowed funds?
If you have access to buyers that accept the premise that housing always increases in value, then by all means, create or buy this type of account, warehouse them and resell them. It's a business plan. I package and sell, you package and sell, just be mighty careful when the music stops because at that point you own these crap assets that you intend to sell off to others. Merrill Lynch got caught and burned warehousing several billions.
Gold is a commodity which has the flavor of always going up but yet there are margin requirements. Housing, given that the number of buyers always increases and they ain't making any more land you know, seems a sure bet "over time." Near term however it's a commodity, subject to rises and falls in interest rates, recessions, speculative fevers and inflation.
The banks, etc are idiots for placing their firms' equity in jeopardy by creating and holding no equity housing accounts.
But. And this is a huge but as we head into an election year. Imagine if Mr. Bush had wooed America into placing social security assets into private accounts (because the stock market always goes up ye brethren.)
What would have occurred is that the housing speculation bubble would have lasted six to eighteen months longer as Wall St. packaged and sold retail strips of near worthless housing accounts to the nation's social security network.
Just, dad gum, think about that. These financial critters move capital back and forth on any pretense as long as they can wet their beaks as they package and sell these often unnecessary products ad infinitum. They're sorta kinda like having a somebody who up and mows your lawn four times a week. If ya don't put some controls on them you're surely headed for the poor house.

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