frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.

Check out my old  Voice of the People page.

Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington

1666 POSTS

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 23h 41m 15s

Dennis Kucinich is the man

Click here for the archived webcase of the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Hearing : "Examining the Single Payer Health Care option."

Dennis tears David Gratzer, M.D. a big hole in his you-know-what.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Dr. Gratzer, you’ve tried to make the case for rationing in Canada - worse than it is in the U.S. Do you know what Statistics Canada - the analogue to the U.S. Census - says the median wait time is across Canada for elective surgery?

Dr. David Gratzer: Why don’t you inform us,sir?

Kucinich: It’s four weeks. And what does Statistics Canada say the median wait time for diagnostic imaging like MRIs is?

Gratzer: I could tell you the Ontario government recently looked at that for…

Kucinich: It’s three weeks.

Gratzer: … for cancers, was six months.

Kucinich: It’s three weeks. How many uninsured are there in Canada?

Gratzer: Probably relatively few.

Kucinich: That’s right, none or very few. How many medical bankruptcies are there in Canada?

Gratzer: Depends on how you define medical bank..

Kucinich: None or very few. How many insured Americans go without needed care due to high cost of health care which is due to health insurance companies?

Gratzer: (Pause) Am I allowed to answer, or are we just going to continue to…

Kucinich: If you have an answer, you can answer. But if you don’t, I’ll answer. What’s your answer?

Gratzer: Go for it, sir.

Kucinich: What’s your answer?

Gratzer: Why don’t you answer your question, sir?

Kucinich: What’s your answer?

Gratzer: My answer…

Kucinich: How many insured Americans go without needed care due to the high cost of health care which is due to health insurance companies?

Gratzer: (Silence)

Kucinich: The witness isn’t responding.

Gratzer: The witness is delighted to speak further on those statistics and other statistics, but you keep cutting me off, sir.

Kucinich: You respond, if you have an answer. You didn’t give an answer to the other one.

Gratzer: I don’t want to be led down a garden path. If you’d like to ask me a question, I’d be…

Kucinich: You’ve shown a garden here to members of this committee and to the audience. There’s another side to this picture you don’t seem to be aware of even though you want to be an expert on Canada. Can you provide us with an answer on this one about America?

Gratzer: My position is respectable, and I dislike your comment, sir.

Kucinich: Do you have an answer? How many insured Americans, insured, go without needed care due to high costs of health care due to health insurance companies?

Gratzer: (Silence)

Kucinich: He has no answer. Well what the answer is is that it’s one out of every four. So we’re trying to make a case here that somehow Canada is in a mess, but we’re not focusing on the fact that in the United States there are people who aren’t getting needed care, and this gentleman has expected us to believe that rationing is worse in Canada. I don’t know how we can buy that. Now if single payer is so bad, maybe the gentleman - the doctor - can explain to us why sixty percent of U.S. doctors want it according to the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine, April, 2008.

Don't you just love how this rat-sucker doesn't answer the question and tries to blame Dennis when he can't provide an answer that proves his ignorance.

More than 50% of all personal bankruptcies is due to high Medical bills. AND, of all those who declare bankrupcy due to high Medical bills, 75% HAD HEALTH INSURANCE.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 4h 39m 59s

Small business lovers they are not

Here are two quotes I got from representing the most recent Republican red herring : taxing people over $350,000 will hurt small businesses and stunt the engine of growth we need to get out of this bad economy. But let them speak for themselves:

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): At least 55 percent of the income that would be generated by this surtax directly hits the entrepreneurs that run these small businesses. It would be a job killer.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): Half of those people [who would have to pay the tax] derive their income from small businesses, half of those people are making the decision about whether to hire Americans or not.

What a bunch of stupid morons? So slavish are they to the multinationalist corporate agenda that they disguise pathetic attempts to pursue that agenda as taking up the cause of the poor little guy. It's shameful really.

The following facts come from a number of sources. You can find the links to these sources by reading the thinkprogress article from which I am summarizing:

  • beginning in 2011, the plan would target all income over $350,000 a year for families and $280,000 a year for individuals. The surtax would start at 1 percent, rise to around 1.5 percent for families earning more than $500,000, then step up again, to around 3 percent, for families earning more than $1 million.

  • From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “only 1.9 percent of filers with any small-business income are projected to face either of the top two income tax rates in 2009.”

  • From people who file most of their income from their own business, “more than half have income below $30,000 and 80 percent make less than $100,000.”

  • Fifty eight percent of all small-business owners say they’re having a hard time keeping up with the cost of health care and the percentage of businesses with fewer than 200 employees that offer insurance fell to 59 percent last year, “down from 66 percent as recently as 2002, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.”

In other words, 98% of all small businesses will not be affected by the surtax used to pay for the health care plan that includes a public option. All small businesses will however be assisted by relieving them and their employees the exorbitant cost of the current byzantine system of health-care insurance premiums.

These mouth pieces are bought. They expect to enjoy a lavish retirement after they leave their time spent as corporate public servants. Go look up Senator Kyl's past transactions with shady land deals in Arizona.

We are talking about a maximum of only 3% on the income you earn after your first $1,000,000. This means that if you earn 1.2 million, you only pay 3% on the 0.2 million (200,000) -- 1.5% on the 500,000 and 1% on the 150,000 , which is a total of 6000 + 7500 + 1500 = $15,000.

That's only an extra 1.25% for families that earn 1.2 million a year.

One point twenty-five percent.

And yet the Republican's are screaming. Do these people have any sense of how to govern, invest in national infrastructure, manage a socio-economic system, or even (cough) how to pay the bills? If we don't reduce the Health care expenses by 50% in the next decade, we will have a very unhealthy population wasting money on poor health care outcomes that would have been better spent investing in infrastructure and paying down the national debt.

All businesses have to periodically restructure their business model if they hope to survive. In some cases the government has to create laws and institutions to achieve what is in everyone's best interest. The insurance companies have become predatory on the social system, a cancer that is soaking up resources while the patient is only getting worse. They are like the doctors of the middle ages who must bleed their patients to rid them of the evil spirits that are no doubt causing the sickness. They get to cherry-pick the healthiest clients and find reasons to deny coverage to the less than healthy citizens. They get to decide what they will pay for and how much they will pay. They get to devise extraordinary methods of bureaucratic paper shuffling in order to decrease their financial obligations as much as possible. They even get laws enacted or rewritten, and have judges in their pocket who liberally interpret appeals in their favor.

All of this involves costs. Costs to the lives of the sick who are not taken care of until the time they show up on a stretcher in the ambulance to the emergency room. Costs to the court system which clog up the machinery of justice with cases that would not be necessary if citizens did not have to take huge insurance companies to court in order to make them obey the law. Costs to businesses, and individuals above and beyond the health insurance premiums and co-payments and drug expenses, because nothing regulates the entire network at all. Each of the pieces (the hospital, the doctors, the insurance companies) has to separately obtain a positive difference between revenue and expenses, while at the same time treating patients who have any variation of insurance and/or ability to pay.

The goal of the current state of the health care system is not to achieve a minimum cost to have the healthiest population. That goal can only be attempted by cutting the insurance companies out of the system, or at least providing a public option and forcing them to accept any client so that they will have some of that real free market competition. Otherwise -- in my not so humble opinion -- nothing will change.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 3h 43m 21s

Insurance company ex-executive says government insurance is okay

Wendell Potter, the former head of Corporate Communications at CIGNA, is interviewed by Bill Moyers. He says this ...

We shouldn’t fear government involvement in our health care system. That there is an appropriate role for government, and it’s been proven in the countries that were in that movie.

Click here to see part one of the interview.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 3h 31m 42s

Shelton Whitehouse speaks

Sheldon Whitehouse is a Senator from Rhode Island. Throughout his career he has consistently been a voice against the insane corporate takeover of government. Do a google on his name and a few youtube videos will pop up that you can watch.

He is on the committee which decides who goes to the Supreme Court. Today was the first day of the confirmation meeting for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Senator Whitehouse gave an incredible speech. Click here for the full text of the the opening statement by Senator Whitehouse.

Here's a snippet:

In the last two and a half months, my Republican colleagues have talked a great deal about judicial modesty and restraint. Fair enough to a point, but that point comes when these words become slogans, not real critiques of your record. Indeed, these calls for restraint and modesty, and complaints about "activist" judges, are often codewords, seeking a particular kind of judge who will deliver a particular set of political outcomes.

It is fair to inquire into a nominee's judicial philosophy, and we will have serious and fair inquiry. But the pretence that Republican nominees embody modesty and restraint, or that Democratic nominees must be activists, runs counter to recent history. I particularly reject the analogy of a judge to an "umpire" who merely calls "balls and strikes." If judging were that mechanical, we wouldn't need nine Supreme Court Justices. The task of an appellate judge, particularly on a court of final appeal, is often to define the strike zone, within a matrix of Constitutional principle, legislative intent, and statutory construction.

The "umpire" analogy is belied by Chief Justice Roberts, though he cast himself as an "umpire" during his confirmation hearings. Jeffrey Toobin, a well-respected legal commentator, has recently reported that "[i]n every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff." Some umpire. And is it a coincidence that this pattern, to continue Toobin's quote, "has served the interests, and reflected the values of the contemporary Republican party"? Some coincidence.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 at 2h 19m 55s

Sorry about the lapse


I realize itz been a few weeks since I've made a comment or posted something. I'm still in somber ecstasy over the Obama election.

But at the same time I look out at the minions who are handling this crisis and wondering just how willing the status quo will be to confront the underlying nature of the real crisis that folds before us. The real crisis is the limitations that the Amercan economy has upon the real world. Americans might own some part of the assets that underlie the corporations of the world, but the productive basis and the location of the resources and factories in the global economy is not innately favorable to the United States. Indeed wealth (in the form of capital production) has been vacating the US over the last 40 years.

The manner of growth over the last 40 years has been due to the cost savings by migrating from high cost, highly regulated regions to low cost, no regulation regions. This has been justified on the grounds of some angelic "principle" called the free market, which is incorrect. It's called short-sided greed. Transplanting the capital basis of wealth from one nation to another enables a momentary savings, but shows up 30 years later as an asset depletion. There are many different types of devices and technological units of basic hi-tech construction that have to be imported because they aren't made in America anymore -- which now handicaps entrepreneurial industry who have to pay more now than they initially saved 30 years ago.

These same folks are now running the conventional wisdom circuit of the media, talking about what they are supposed to have learned or what they didn't realize, and it's all a bunch of bullshit. They were stupidly egotistical and selfish. And they still are. End of story.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009 at 1h 9m 21s

A note on my fantasy baseball strategy

Over the last 3 years, I have played 6 games of fantasy baseball, 2 games per year. One is a weekly league, the other is for the whole season. Both are 5 x 5 roto leagues (AVG, HR, Runs, RBIs, SB & W,SV, ERA, STRIKEOUTS, WHIP). I have been fortunate to win first place in 5 out of the 6 times. I lost in the weekly league last year, and placed 3rd after making it to the 2nd round of the playoffs.

This my drafting strategy. Draft your entire infield and one outfielder for your first 5 picks. Pick the best available. I usually save the outfielder for the 5th pick unless one of maybe 4 elite outfielders are around. Depending on the talent available, the 5th pick might be the position that has the most depth. I pick the best starting pitcher there is by round 6. Then I'll either pick another hitter -- if a few of the elites are still around -- or the best reliever for round 7. Round 8 is outfielder number 2. Round 9 and 10 are then pitchers. The 11th and 12th pick become 2 more outfielders. Then I alternate pitcher , hitter until round 15 or 16 when I pick the first catcher. After that I pick the best potential player available, whether pitcher or hitter, until the end of the draft.

The value of pitching, and starters in particular tends to get overrated, but only because a higher percentage of pitchers have high variability from year to year. More pitchers experience spikes in their numbers (both good and bad) from year to year than hitters. Pitchers also get injured more often than hitters, and remain disabled longer -- hitters very rarely have Tommy John surgery for instance. Hitters are more consistent and less disabled for longer time spells as a group: the standard deviation is much lower. More hitters can actually play hurt and be successful than pitchers. Likewise, more pitchers rise up and perform better than expected than hitters. So you can take a chance and wait to set your pitching staff, whereas, after the top 100 hitters leave the board, the percentage of the next 200 who remain that will pop to the top 100 is not as high as it would be for pitchers.

This is why pitchers who remain consistent for 2 or more years are so valuable. Look how many of the top twenty pitchers in the major leagues are recent arrivals, and how few of them have been there more than 2 years. Using Lindy's 2009 magazine as a reference, I count only 10 or 11 out 20, and 12 or 13 out of the top 30. Now compare this ratio with the top 50 hitters and you will see the ratio is 80% ( about 40 out of 50.)

Of course, if Johan Santana and probably Sabathia are still around by round 2, you grab them. Otherwise, I don't pick a pitcher until round 6, after grabbing the infield and getting at least one elite outfielder.

Friday, 30 January 2009 at 2h 14m 5s

The two false tenets of Libertarian philosophy

There are two false economic notions that I would like to address in this essay. I think the sad permissiveness of these false notions limits the scope of our economic understanding, inhibits our ability to comprehend our nation’s economy, and restricts or distorts the available policy choices.

1) "tax cuts" used to "incentivize" investment is better than government directly funding various investment projects.

2) the idea that nurturing "self-interest" creates the best society for all.

These are tenets of the modern neo-classicists called Libertarians. Their main appeal however is essentially a distaste for "big government." As the theory goes, since Government is either despotic or corrupt (or both), letting people make "individual choices" becomes perceived as more free and pristine, or less tainted by the sodden hand of government. Thus "tax cuts" as an economic policy becomes better than government investment. The evil corrupt government will just waste the money on things from which only a few people will benefit, and people know best how to spend their own money.

But listen carefully to this dualistic philosophy. One extreme is attainable only by avoiding its opposite extremity -- the avoidance of government investment "makes possible" independent, free actions by citizens who have a little more money in their pocket. This leads inevitably towards the desire to exterminate the "bad" in order to enjoy the unmitigated "good." Rather than viewing the cosmos as a composite mixture, this philosophy divides into 2 unbalanced camps, believing in the virtue of the individual above and beyond all else without recognizing that no one is independent of society, that no individuality occurs without feedback, guidance, and influences. People are even expected to "self-regulate" naturally according to some hyperactive versions of this paradigm.

Society is composed of individuals, it is true. That some individuals, by their nature, exert an influence on culture, technology, economic and political leadership is inescapable. However, this will be and is true no matter what type of government or economic philosophy gets applied. Human beings are genetically wired and instinctively capable of producing talented, intelligent, and charismatic individuals regardless of the nature of government. To base an economic policy solely upon the desired end of nurturing individualism is actually quite useless because Individualism, or lack thereof, is a political question, not an economic question.

Giving individuals more money through "tax cuts" in order to sponsor "demand" is not effective. Individuals will spend or save their money according to their own whims, and are widely dispersed in addition to being asynchronous in time. There is no aggregated focus for the funds that are involved in the "tax cuts". Once the profits filter up through the businesses benefiting from the spending, these profits are not guaranteed to be invested in any other way then by the demands of the investors. Although possible, the influence of some "superstar" CEO's "vision" on investment strategy buts against a long history that has proven time and again mankind's tendency to view short-term gain over the expense of long-term gain. Individuals quite often do not act towards something they cannot envision, and very few person's are disciplined enough to maintain focus for a very long term vision. Thus a very small percentage of the "tax cuts" winds up in the hands of these very few. The vast amount of funds is used up merely supporting short term consumption.

Only by direct government investment does all of the money get spent on a specific investment infrastructure. Citizens might have a few extra dollars in their pocket, but they won't get high-speed rail interconnectivity throughout the nation unless government begins to directly fund the 10 to 15 projects across the country that this policy would take. This initial investment is too large for any private firm to make, because the horizon of such a project is longer than 20 years, and the profitability of such a project is too small. There are quicker, safer ways to make money. However, enabling fast, cheap long-distance transportation within the United States is an undeniable social benefit that will pay for itself much as the national highway system did.

This was true about the creation of the national railroad system, the national telephone system, the electric grid, the internet, and every other massive long-term investment that has occurred. Railroad companies were given free land and subsidized bond financing. The eventual national railroad system that evolved through a series of state railroad commissions would never have gotten built otherwise, because there were too many competing fiefdoms, each corrupting the state officials and fleecing the public with high costs. Once the frontier of massive federal lands (confiscated from the Indians and Spanish) shrank by the early 1900's, government needed to rely on income and wealth taxes to be able to afford it's function in society. Larger and more concentrated populations demanded collective decisions and approaches to problem solving.

The needs of a populations is paid for by taxes. Instead of pretending we can cut the budget and continue to borrow profusely from foreign nations, we should simply pay for the previous years tax bill. If taxes need to be raised, then create a simple progressive formula that increases everyones burden according to their ability to pay. The necessity of a government proactively making the collective investments is fundamental. Society as we now know it would not have come to fruition without the concerted aggregate strength of the larger society represented by government. It is true that the halls of government can be corrupted, but only until such corruption is rooted out, and not without the aid of other members of government or citizen involvement. By contrast, a corrupt aristocracy is practically inescapable, as our forefathers once knew. We have forgotten their wisdom I'm afraid.

"Tax cuts" are a very inefficient investment strategy. The economic policy of "tax cuts" only creates an elite wealthy class at the expense of the socio-economic infrastructure. The very wealthy will gradually use their large tax cuts to pay for their own societal comforts at the expense of investments needed by society. Paying for private police, yachts, private schools, and private jets does nurture a sector of the economy, but these "investments" do not spread to the society as a whole. Over time, about 2 or 3 generations or 60 years, the system grows more economically stratified, until 90% of the people are poor, 9.9% are middle class, and 0.1% are very rich. Even while all those individuals made their own choices and exercised free independent decisions.

Human societies will drift towards aristocracy and plutocracy. This is what the writers of the Constitution all debated and understood. The document they created was their attempt to avoid this historical trend.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009 at 2h 51m 14s

Woodward assesses the Bush Presidency

This comes from Bob Woodward, one of the 2 Washington Post reporters infamous from the Nixon Watergate years. One week ago, Mr. Woodward assessed the lessons learned from the Bush Presidency.

  1. Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.

  2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even — or especially — when there are vehement disagreements.

  3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

  4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure that bad news makes it to the Oval Office.

  5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.

  6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.

  7. Presidents must tell the public the hard truth, even if that means delivering very bad news.

  8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.

  9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.

  10. The president should embrace transparency.

[SOURCE: Bob Woodward | Washington Post | 18 January 2009]

Hat-tip to Barry Ritholtz.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009 at 1h 16m 45s

The coming decade long downtrend

If History is any indicator, we are looking at 15 to 18 years of a downturn from now, the worst of which will be the first 8 or 9 years. So if we presume the beginning to be 2007, that means another 6 or 7 years hence before the unwinding completely unravels.

And notice that the recent dramatic rise over the last 17 years completely dwarfs the previous historical rises since 1871, by a factor of 2. This means the unwinding and longevity will be longer, hopefully not by a factor of 2. Or else, we are looking at potentially a full 12 to 15 years before the economy stabilizes.

Yes. It is really that bad. California is soon going to be out of money, unless money starts growing on trees or federal subsidization begins in another 2 months. The State Comptroller John Chiang has said California will run out of money by March or April if nothing is done. This is the guy who signs my paychecks.

Friday, 16 January 2009 at 2h 19m 36s

3 false notions

1) supply-side economics only allows financiers more money with which to make foolish investments

2) tax rates alone are not an effective tool to “spur economic growth”, and do not diminish or limit the available investment opportunities

3) throughout all of history there has never been such a thing as a market that existed without government setting the boundaries and regulating the transactions … because no one wants the alternative

I think the sad permissiveness of these false notions limits the scope of our economic understanding, inhibits our ability to comprehend our nation’s economy, and restricts or distorts the available policy choices.