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

1655 POSTS

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Friday, 28 December 2007 at 9h 8m 50s

The press beats up a political thug

This story is a trip

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A government minister and his bodyguards rampaged through the offices of a state television station Thursday, assaulting its news director before employees fought back and took them hostage, officials and witnesses said.

View A Map of Sri Lanka From Google maps. Sri Lanki, aka Ceylon, is the Island Southeast of India.

I wonder why the American Press has not done the same. Oh, I forgot, Freedom isn't Free.

Sunday, 23 December 2007 at 7h 52m 55s

The bottom is nowhere near

Photo and link courtesy of the New York Times

Click on the image above for a cool interactive graphic that lists the percentage of home mortgages per county that are sub-prime.

What is intriguing to me, is that almost every single county has at least 20% of the home mortgages from sub-prime criteria (Click the pic above, and see for yourself). These loans are very risky, because there is no down payment money to cushion the two years of payments, teaser interest rates that will spike in a year, and the mortgage holders have a high ratio of income to house payment. 40% of sub-prime loan default within 10 years (I heard that from Paul Krugman). There are 51 million morgages. 20% of 51 million is about 10.2 million homes.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean 10.2 million securitized mortgages will all become worthless. Homes which default can be resold, but sometimes not, and not without a loss when the market prices drop

But what does this mean in terms of monetary loss? Well, 10.2 million times $200,000 (the average home value) is 102 times 2 with 10 zeroes, 2,040,000,000,000 , 2.04 trillion dollars !!! Keep in mind that various securities firms (Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs) were reporting losses in the billions of dollars.

The effects of price deflation and market glut have yet to transpire, and that will come in the next 5 or 6 years in various markets where the availability of land is not a factor in the housing price. Thus of the 2,040 billion dollars in the sub-prime real estate, the other 80% of real estate will still be affected by the price decline on the securitized assets( Securitized assets, are bundled mortages or financial obligations that yield interest payments on a periodical basis).

Now stay with me on this. If there is a 30% decline in the housing sector for 80% of the above 2,040 billion that is not in a tight housing market like San Francisco and New York City, that is 24% of 2,040 billion dollars in lost value, which is 489.6 billion dollars.

Now if we furthermore assume half of the remaining 20% (10% of all sub-prime mortgages) will default (which is very conservative) then we also have to include $200,000 (the average) times 10% of 10.2 million mortgages in lost value, which comes to 240 billion more. That makes the lump sum a conservative low ball estimate of $730 billion dollars.

If we take the high end of 40%, then we have to add 4 times 240 to the 489.6, to get 1.5 trillion dollars.

Click on the picture for the 20 year history of various real estate markets as bar graphs. COOL!!!

Photo and link courtesy of the New York Times

Now if there are more defaults, or the economy slows down and further squeezes the market, then the losses get closer to and begin to surmount two trillion dollars, which is about the same amount of money wasted on the Iraq adventure. Can the out-sourced and down-sized US Economy take a 4 trillion dollar hit without anything to show for it (as in, no infrastructure was built and no actual capital investment occurred) ?

I guess we will all find out.

[SOURCE: New York Times   ]

Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 14h 47m 20s

Sensationalism and schadenfreude

Schadenfreude SHOD-n-froy-duh, noun:
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.

Don't you just love the headline of today's San Fran Comical. Here is the top of the fold front page story, and the picture that blasts at you from the the front page.

Diana Reggi breaks down at her Albany home as she talks about her son, Remo. The 20-year-old was gunned down while sitting in a car two years ago.

[SOURCE:  San Francisco Chronicle]

Some other award winning stories that actually add to the breadth of the public's knowledge:

  1. 3 Harrowing, Cold Nights: Father says he tried to keep his kids warm and calm during ordeal mountain near Chico.
  2. Google Can Buy DoubleClick: Federal antitrust regulators clear search giant's $3.1 billion purchase of online ad firm
  3. Huckabee On Giuliani's Heels. Poll: Largely unknown candidate soars to second place in state GOP presidential race.
  4. Vallejo House Fire Kills 3. Officials investigating blaze that broke out just after midnight
  5. Woman's Body Found In Landfill. Slain victim discovered in Milpitas site. Convicted felon, who may have been personal trainer, arrested.
  6. Girl With Object In Throat Dies. Tot rushed to the hospital last week dies of her injuries. Teen boy will now face murder charge.

Are you kidding me? What is relevant about the suffering and pain experienced by other people? Why is that news?

There are other stories ( MySpace sex phobias, Tacoma's ban on certain types of alcohol) but not one story on the recent FCC decision to allow one media company own a radio, television, and newspaper in the same market. Despite the overwhelmingly unananimous public opinions to the contrary at the 3 hastily erected public forums, FCC boy chairmen Kevin Martin gave the corporations what they wanted, the will of the people be damned. Here is a link to that story from Marketwatch.

It's disgusting how they couch this as some egalitarian free market approach. This is creating media monopoly, and Keven Martin is padding his resume. Watch what his first job is after he resigns as FCC chairmen next year. Follow the money, and pay attention to the actions of man-servants who smell it.

UPDATE:Kevin Martin and the Republicans all like to say they are relaxing the rules because of declining profits in the newspaper market, and they assert that combining the staffs will save jobs. Note that these business are not losing money. Profits might be less, but the rate of profit is still comparable with the average corporation on the S&P 500.

And these people always say they are saving jobs to get what they want. Every single media consolidation that has occurred since 1980 has caused a round of staff firings, centralization of news services, and pundit programing because it's cheaper. And since you have a captive audience because you are the only company in town, who exists to provide alternatives? That's the historical record.

And what happens when the internet service providers decide to create traffic lanes on the internet in order to milk more money from the users? You should know the answer.

Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 0h 23m 50s

Private mercenaries at work

And play ...

Last week, Rep. Ted Poe (REPUBLICAN-TX) said on CNN that he did not believe that gang rape in Iraq of former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones was “an isolated case of assault.” Poe then encouraged “other victims” to notify his office.

[SOURCE: Think Progress   ]

Some video of the Congressional testimony by one of the women, Jaime Leigh Jones, can be located at the source below.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

“Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston,” Jones says she was told.

[SOURCE: Jesse Lee The Gavel]

--- Ever notice how news and information distribution is being taken over by journalist blogsites. News shows are even now sourcing their own information from various blog journalist sources. People who call themselves journalists that work for traditional media (television, newspapers) are really no different than you or me, except maybe experience and a better ability to write everyday than most people. But you too can use the telephone, do the research, fly to the locations, and cull various connections. Of course it does help when it's your job, and the company backs you up with funds to do the job. Assuming that is what the conglomerated media do.

Nope, it's hyperbole and trivialization with actual depth of information being replaced by quotes from various politico's who caress the truth with ambiguity, brought to you by creamed and pomaded rich people who look at the cameras and read the news like tying a knot in very cold weather.

That's why the blogoshere was able to explode. The number of persons who read and want to know aren't going to participate in mental depravity. The old media is destroying itself. Media ownership needs to be diverse in order to offer variety and obtain a functional competition. The consolidation of media companies into only 10 to 20 across the nation owning 95% necessitates collusion.

I've discussed this before in earlier posts, but I'll re-explain. When large blocks of economic control and wealth consolidate into a small number of equal sized institutions, competition is expensive and unpredictable. Legal and advertizing costs are much higher. Groups of allies form to mutual benefit because it is in the best interest of everyone to just keep prices high and divy up the market. It happens that way historically for a reason. When instead, the number of competitors is in the tens of thousands, or hundreds, the amount of people involved in prohibitive. 20 to 50 CEO's and their assistants is small compared to 600 or 6,000. It is possible to know 50 people. I myself know probably 1000 people and counting this year alone, although the chances are good that I might not remember 20 to 30% by name.

Collusion between a small number of very large firms is so normative that some persons even realize the clothes they wear have corporate logos. The European Medieval aristocracy used to have designs and emblems that represented the line of wealth (the estate) and corporate logos have become and extension of that historical root. Except nowadays the peasants who tote the emblem of their lords don't really know they are doing so, because unlike the actual human form of a Baron or King, there is no human face to a Nike symbol. It manifests its existence in legal forms, with factories in distant lands and servants who distribute and purchase supplies. Those who man the helm of the corporate office are just the current navigators, and those who own the boat they sail are filthy rich.

Check out this site, especially the pie charts. The "investment assets" and "Housing, Liquid Assets, Pension Assets, and Debt" is about 1/5 th of the way down. the top one percent of households have 44.1% of all privately held stock, 58.0% of financial securities, and 57.3% of business equity. The top 10% have 85% to 90% of stock, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 23h 31m 39s

A Fire is a Friend Indeed

Dick Cheney's office just got burned. A fire started in the closet of Dick Cheney's office. The DC Fire Chief has just publically stated that he cannot say where the fire started for "security" reasons.

The Agence-France Presse pap story is here

Don't you just love the way the story quickly reassures us in paragraph two that terrorists did not set a fire in Dick Cheney's closet. Now why would a fire start in Dick Cheney's office? Aren't the document shredders working hard enough?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 0h 45m 49s

The moon explains the tectonic plates

The Moon affects the liquid envelope of the Earth, and the oceanic tides in particular. The Moon affects the ocean tides more in some areas than others. For instance, in the channel between the British Isles and the European continent, the tidal range can be 10 meters, compared to what you see in the Pacific, where it is below a meter.

The crust of the Earth is also affected. The Moon’s tidal forcing causes significant heating and dissipation of energy to take place. Part of this energy is heating the Earth, and part of it is dissipated by forcing the Moon to recede from the Earth over time. There are people who propose that the tidal effect of the Moon may have helped trigger the convection on the Earth that led to the multi-plate tectonics. The other planets don’t have the same tectonic cycle. For most of them, the crust is like a lid that doesn’t move much horizontally, and the magma and heat are blocked by this lid on the surface. The Earth instead has rolling convective motion that drags the crust, and then the crust plunges back down into the mantle and gets recycled.

[SOURCE: Bernard Foing Astrobiology Magazine ]

Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 0h 4m 19s

Yep, that's what I think too

As we have seen in oh so many different contexts, the blind adherence to dogma and ideology, from religious zealots to acolytes of Ayn Rand, seems to only lead to a broad range of problems, ranging from errors in judgment to unnecessary pain. Ultimately, most political and economic extremists collapse under the weight of their own slavish devotion to a universal idea that is inapplicable to a specific situation. Some people call this consistency, but the word "stupidity" means the same thing, and can be typed with less letters

[SOURCE: Barry Ritholtz  The Big Picture blog]

Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 23h 48m 0s

Humpty Dumpty

Oh my God. Bush is actually really destroying the government, while the media pundits and press corps all act like the emperor actually wears any clothes.

The head of the GAO just released a earth-shattering report yesterday, and in the national media, a pin drops in some distant forest. What is this thing which shatters the Earth?

Yesterday, the Treasury Department released a troubling financial report that revealed the federal government’s “total liabilities and unfunded commitments for future payments” related to Social Security and Medicare are now estimated at $53 trillion, up from $20 trillion in 2000.

In a speech yesterday at the National Press Club, GAO Comptroller General David Walker said:

If the federal government was a private corporation and the same report came out this morning, our stock would be dropping and some people would be talking about whether the company’s management directors needed a major shake-up.

“The federal government’s total liabilities,” Walker explained, “translates into a de facto mortgage of about $455,000 for every American household and there’s no house to back that mortgage. In other words, our government has made a whole lot of promises that, in the long run, it cannot possibly keep without huge tax increases.”

  • [SOURCE: ]
  • [ORIGINAL SOURCE: Mary Mosquera  Federal Computer Week ]
  • [SOURCE: Dan Friedman  Congress Daily]
  • [SOURCE: GAO 2007 Financial Report  US Department of Treasury ]

    David Walker is basically the Government's financial advisor/auditor guy. He is the top officer of the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. A wikipedia history link is here.

    Did you catch that dollar amount? $455,000 for every American household. What Mr. Walker means is that every American is financing that kind of debt per year, which can be determined by taking the entire interest payments of the government (406 billion in 2006) dividing by the number of households, and making the result equal to the interest rate multiplied to the Principle ( interest per person = i*P. When you divide by the interest rate, you get $455,000.

    Look at that military spending

    Now keep that chart in mind, when you consider what the GAO report said in it's official statement:

    three major impediments continue to prevent us from rendering an opinion on the accrual basis consolidated financial statements: (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense, (2) the federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.

    The entire statement is only 4 pages long. If you want a brief read, here is the PDF file link to the statement of the GAO from the Department of the Treasury website.

  • Monday, 17 December 2007 at 15h 14m 43s

    Oh the webs they weave

    I write letters to the editor periodically. I've been doing so since I was in high school. Here is one I wrote in response to a Mr. Harold, whose letter to editor was published in last week's Pacifica Tribune.

    Mr. Harold writes a letter accusing “liberals” of everything that is wrong with the Bush administration, and says that invading Iraq to defeat terrorism was a good idea because Clinton agreed. Oh, and ran a defeatist ad in the New York Times.

    Whatever you think of, they did not lie. The Swift-boat veterans group however (aided by a Bush-Cheney team lawyer) did lie. The Republican organization Choice-point was given the contract by Jeb Bush to purge the Florida voters of felons in 1999-2000, and was 90% inaccurate because they loosely associated a list of names without bothering to verify they were correct – costing 80,000 votes! Republican astro-turf groups (like Sproul and associates) organized fake registration drives that threw away Democratic registrations in Nevada, Arizona, and California during the 2004 campaign. Republican Ohio secretary of State Blackwell manipulated the voting machine distributions so that voters in Democratic districts had to wait in lines for 8 hours to vote. But gets your ire because that’s what the right-wing spin machine tells you, and like a fool you listen.

    And you want “facts, not negative spin” ?

    FACT: The Cheney-Bush team did not convene the terrorism task force once during the entire 9 months of 2001, even though they knew Al Quaida was intending to attack because the Clinton team thoroughly briefed them in February 2001.

    FACT: Cheney meet with oil & energy firms to look at oil maps of Iraq at the secretive Energy Task Force that meet in April of 2001. FACT: The Bush-Cheney team ignored and stymied all of the warning by lower level FBI agents. FACT: Bush signed an executive order halting the investigation into the bin laden charity funding networks, because the Bush family has been friends with the Saudi Arabian monarch family for nearly 40 years. FACT: When planes were grounded on September 12th, the bin ladens in the United States were all picked up by a private chartered plane and allowed to leave the country without being questioned at all.

    FACT: the Bush-Cheney team used forged Niger documents to falsely say that Iraq purchased “yellowcake” uranium. FACT: the Bush-Cheney team created the “Office of Special Plans” within the Defense department to alter and skew intelligence to suit their agenda. FACT: the Bush- Cheney team used fake “dissidents” coached by public relations firms to make untrue statements that were publicized by Judith Miller and other willing journalists.

    The Bush-Cheney team is defunding the veterans administration and treating our troops horrifically. There has been no beefing up of security in the United States at all. The funds for first-responders has been cut by the Bush administration so they can ensure funds for their political appointments and private contractors. The corruption is beyond anything this nation has seen since Ullysses Grant. But somehow our troops are keeping “us out of harms way” by invading nations that did not attack us and were no threat to our nation whatsoever, because of the Bush- Cheney teams’ psychopathic dream of a New American Empire.

    Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 20h 49m 17s

    Negative home equity and dropping home prices

    Click here if you are interested in reading about home equity, negative home equity, and how the drop in home prices in various American markets will push a lot of home owners into negative equity.

    Here's a cool chart

    This is a percentage distribution. The vertical axis represents percentage of mortgaged homeowners. The horizontal axis represents the percent of equity, with positive meaning the value of the house is more than the mortgage debt. Negative equity occurs when the value of the house is less than the mortgage. According to the Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey (see table here) there were 51,234,170 household with mortgage in the U.S. in 2006.

    The dashed line is the boundary between positive and negative equity, the "break-even" point. A very high proportion of foreclosures occur because the occupants can't afford the mortgage and can't sell the house to pay off the mortgage. This is why negative equity is a very big deal, and why declining prices is a very serious economic factor in the next 2 years. If the prices drop by 10% (the first 2 bars to the right of the dashed line) 9% of 51.2 million home mortgages will enter into negative equity. That's close to 5 million homes.