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

1610 POSTS

November 2023
October 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
May 2022
April 2022
February 2022
January 2022
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
September 2016
August 2016
May 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
September 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
July 2012
April 2012
March 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
August 2010
July 2010
March 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
August 2009
July 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
June 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
June 2005
May 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004

Friday, 16 November 2012 at 5h 32m 13s

The Big Picture

You guys should go to the Big Picture Blog by Barry Ritholtz every single day.

I can't say enough about Barry. He's a center of the road, a little bit of common sense, with an acute insight into human behavior, and a deep reverence for the principles of this country, as well as a desire to further his knowledge historically, scientifically, and in general. All of which constitute aspects of what I respect in other people.

He is also an investment fund manager and is a dye-in-the-wool N'ywker who lives on Long Island. I've been reading Barry for probably 10 years now, and he is true blue. An honest guy, with a sense of humility and humor to boot. From what I understand, he's been on TeeVee for a while now, so you might actually recognize his face. Maybe not. I don't know because I don't watch TV.

But he also lets a lot of good stuff go through his blog. You will expand your knowledge if you check in everyday. Barry would probably feel gratified knowing that is the case. He really does strive for it to be a good source of information.

For instance, today, here is "The afternoon train reads"

  • Why Things Fail: From Tires to Helicopter Blades, Everything Breaks Eventually (Wired)
  • How China Became Capitalist (The American)
  • Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street (Economix)
  • Europe’s Recession (Dr.Ed’s Blog)
  • Katrina’s Effect on Jobless Claims vs. Sandy (Avondale Asset Management) see also Hurricane Sandy’s huge size: freak of nature or climate change? (Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog)
  • The Long Story of U.S. Debt, From 1790 to 2011, in 1 Little Chart (The Atlantic)
  • 10 things 401(k) plans won’t tell you (MarketWatch)
  • Is it game over for Grover Norquist? (Salon) see also Tax Reform Won’t Save the World (Bloomberg)
  • Human intelligence ‘peaked thousands of years ago and we’ve been on an intellectual and emotional decline ever since’ (Independent)
  • John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John Christmas Album Plunges Nation Into Double-Dip Recession (The Onion)

Friday, 16 November 2012 at 5h 53m 39s

They scream about fraud where none exists.

These frauds that call themselves Republicans only destroy the good name of the party and the country they protest to love. They scream about Philadelphia and Cleveland and Florida districts where African Americans are the majority of registered voters every time they lose. They refuse to concede, cause investigations, and then sometimes pursue their "justice" through the court system when the investigations produce no evidence of fraud.

Sean Hannity screams that it was "impossible" that 59 Philadelphia precincts had registered no votes for Mitt Romney. Therefore: “There is cheating going on in our elections!” But of course, there is no evidence, only insinuation. The fact that black people will really really want to vote for the first black President in US history doesn't register in the mind of a lying racist hypocrite such as Mr. Sean Hannity. Why would poor people of any color or creed want to vote for a spoiled, out-of-touch, silver spoon white Mormon whose Daddy gave him his connections to set up a Wall Street chop shop, and his millions of inheritance? Is it that hard to understand?

In Florida, that hired black face of the Republicans named David West screamed fraud when a county mistakenly counted each page of a ballot as a vote, and reported that voters were 150% of registered voters. So he refused to concede. Then emails and letters hit the wires and post office boxes immediately, asking for cash donations to help fight the Democratic thievery. But when the mistake was revealed, David West doesn't go in front the cameras and concede or apologize. Of course not, he has his "people" do that for him.

You see people like David West (and Sean Hannity) have to earn the pay the paymasters give them. All those $50,000 plus speaking fees at conferences where David West goes are important, and David West won't get those invitations and requests if he doesn't become the hired black face and say crazy stupid things that make him look like a damn fool. Because it's all about money. That's why these people are lying hypocrites who dishonor themselves. It's the money, and just watch the sad spectacle of how they slobber for it, thinking who will care when they retire and enjoy the millions they got for their chicanery?

I used to work as a bartender at a Country Club in the heart of the Oil and Gas industry in Louisiana. One of the state politicos used to show up and talk shop with various wealthy executives and I would fix their drinks. They spoke in code at first, but they began to trust me after a while and I got a first-hand lesson about the realities of how government and special interests do government. The discussions and the decisions that get made are not at the press conferences, or in the halls of Congress. They are in the parlors of the wealthy or the bars of the Country clubs where these folks spend their leisure time.

I once asked a particular politico who befriended me -- it's a lonely world when you mingle with sharks and back-stabbers. I asked him why our government was so corrupt, and he says, "Son. It's because there will always be people who will do anything to make a lot of money."

I was 19 years old at the time.

[SOURCE: David Weigel | Slate | 14 November 2012]

Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 1h 44m 17s

Pundit Shaming

This (Click here) is a cool site.

You know all the people who get to be on TeeVee that are so sure of their opinions, and then expect the rest of us to just forget how wrong, inaccurate, and fallacious they were a few months later. In fact, despite years of constant inaccuracy and failure, these people are suppose to still be respected and considered to be valuable sources of information even though they are wrong more than half the time.

And they get paid lots of money for this by management, because the hierarchy wants to promote these water-carriers. The owners of the pipeline to the eyes and ears of the nationwide cable audience have their own agendas, and the management they choose are going to perform these agendas. The cable news shows are more about the creation of how to think about information, and not about trying to inform. The "experts" who appear are there to legitimize the appropriate topics and the official avenues of discussion. And all of them are completely out of touch with contemporary America.

Which is why you get Mitt Romney thinking his campaign lost because he tossed out loaves and fishes to his constituents.

A week after losing the election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.

[SOURCE: Ashley Parker | NewYorkTimes | 14 November 2012]

The idea that the Republicans have completely disgusted a majority of the voting public by their insane stupidity and their obstreperous anti-democratic actions is beyond their capacity to realize, so they can only see a mirror image of themselves in those whom they consider adversarial. When Republicans accuse, they are just talking about themselves, because that's all they understand.

Monday, 12 November 2012 at 19h 20m 46s

The false Fiscal Cliff Rhetoric

They start the rhetoric early and get all their ducks quacking because once they control the frame of the argument, then they can control the possible outcomes. The so-called Fiscal Cliff is a mirage. It's a bunch of bullshit. What they really want is an excuse to continue the Bush Tax cuts and cut Social Security and Medicare, so they have to dredge up the scary scenario of defaults and "fiscal Cliffs".

There is a problem but the solution is very simple. Extend the middle class tax cuts, end the upper income tax cuts, and end some of the payroll tax cut but increase the top income level affected from $92,000 to $200,000. Doing this will actually increase revenue, stabilize government finances, and boost economic well-being.

According to the treasury(Click here) the current interest on the national debt is 12.9 billion on a total outstanding national debt of 16.015 trillion, 71% or which (or 11.42 trillion) is held by the public.

Now that sounds like a lot, but in 2012 the total US Government Revenue is 200 times more the interest payments, at 2468.60 billion (or 2.5 trillion). Expressed as a percentage of Revenue (12.9 divided by 2468) the percentage of Government revenue that has to go towards interest on the debt is only 0.5 percent. In other words, we pay 50 cents interest for every $100 of revenue. That's not a crisis.

Even if interest rates increase, since 71% of the debt is in the hands of the public, the interest payments will not be as affected by world financial markets. The United States is not Greece. We are not going to have to pay 10% or more interest on the national debt.

The national debt however should be compared to the Gross National Product, because a governments source of revenue base is actually the gross national product. The GNP in 2011 was 15.23 trillion

This isn't a fiscal crisis. The United States is not in danger of defaulting. The automatic tax increases and budget cutting that will begin in January 2013 isn't going to cause massive economic trauma. Most experts say a 1% reduction in GDP is likely, but this is over the short-term, and does not include potential economic gains from extending the middle class tax cuts -- which are not insignificant. This is why some respected economists (Krugman being one) say the effect will be negligible.

Compared to a lot of household name private firms, the governments interest payment to revenue ratio is miniscule. Go look at some companies using Google Finance. Here's a short list I compiled

  1. The Coca-Cola Company
    Revenue: 12.34 billion Total Debt: 32.73 billion

  2. McDonalds
    Revenue: 7.15 billion Total Debt: 13.26 billion

  3. Pepsi
    Revenue: 16.65 billion Total Debt: 27.9 billion

Hmm, no one seems to be worried about the financial well-being of Coke, Pepsi, or McDonalds despite their outstanding debt being NEARLY DOUBLE OR MORE their revenues. That's because the most important issue is whether the revenue can make the requisite interest payments.

But don't listen to me. Keven Drum does a better job explaining. Click the link and read.

[SOURCE: Kevin Drum | Mother Jones | 12 November]

UPDATE: keep in mind that when companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and McDonalds go into debt, most of it is in Corporate Bonds owned by investors -- because it's a cheaper way to raise funds. Those interest payments are going into some investor's or investment firm's portfolio because they will get a higher percentage and are considered safe. No different then Treasury bills or any other bond on the market, except that treasury bills probably have a lower interest rate. But whatever that interest rate might be, it's going into some investor's or investment firm's portfolio.

Monday, 12 November 2012 at 15h 56m 5s

The worst State Election Officials

In case you haven't been paying attention, the Secretary of State position is the most important position other than the State Attorney General, because these people can and do influence elections by various actions or lack of actions they make during the election cycle.

They get lists of names from software or provided by outsourced private firms and then send lists of voters to purge from the voting rolls to every district within the state. When Kathryn Harris did this during the 2000 election in Florida, 80,000 plus names got removed from the voting rolls because their names were similar to a list of felon names created by a Republican firm DBI.

The lists were (intentionally) very flawed, and some districts had an inaccuracy rate of more than 90%. In the original reporting for the BBC, Greg Palast pointed out that DBI charged 1.2 million dollars for telephone calls that never happened. There was no attempt to verify that the names on the lists were actual felons or just persons with similar names because this was on purpose.

Most of the names were African American, a group which votes Democratic 90% or more. The Presidential election in Florida was won by less than 1,000 votes, and eventually got decided by the Supreme Court -- but all that would never have occurred if the initially voter purge of 80,000 plus names had never taken place.

Click the Greg Palast Source link below, or Click here for a list provided by a Google search searching the phrase "florida 2000 election felon lists." The Greg Palast story in Salon is the second link. The fifth link is another Greg Palast story on 1 March 2002, Click here for the Greg Palast 2002 update story.

[SOURCE: Greg Palast | | ]

This is the Republican methodology. This is what they do to try to win elections. And it hasn't stopped. This year Think Progress labeled the five worst. I provide a summary, but you can click on the Think progress Source link to read what these anti-democratic fiends tried to do during the 2012 election cycle.

  1. John Husted, Ohio Secretary of State
    Husted advocated firmly and repeatedly to cut early voting in Ohio, potentially disenfranchising thousands of voters who lack the job flexibility to vote on election day. He openly defied a court order requiring early voting hours to be restored, although he eventually backed down after a federal [judge] ordered him to attend a court hearing regarding this refusal to comply with the law. And he retaliated against his opponents by firing them. To top it off, Husted issued a last-minute directive that directly conflicts with Ohio law which could lead to thousands of provisional ballots being trashed.

  2. Ken Detzner, Florida Secretary of State
    he played a leadership role in [Governor] Scott’s discredited plan to purge thousands of Florida voters from the state’s voter rolls. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters [were] the most likely to be targeted” by this purge. About 58 percent of the voters targeted by the purge are Hispanic, a demographic that overwhelmingly favored President Obama. The list of supposed non-citizens proved unreliable, however, and the purge was eventually shut down after the state’s local elections supervisors refused to move forward with it. Nevertheless, Detzner vowed to restart the purge at one point saying it was his “moral duty” to purge people from the voter rolls. To date, Florida’s purge caught JUST ONE non-citizen voter.

  3. Scott Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State
    As Colorado’s chief elections official, Gessler spearheaded a voter purge targeting thousands of alleged non-citizens on his state’s voter rolls. He was eventually forced to largely abandon this purge, however, after his efforts revealed that non-citizen voting is a virtually non-existent problem.

  4. Carol Aichele, Pennsylvania Secretary of State
    played a key role in defending that state’s voter ID law — despite her admission during court testimony that she does not “know what the law says.” After state officials released data indicating that 9 percent of the state’s voters lacked the ID required by the law, Aichele claimed that the real number was actually closer to 1 percent. When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expressed skepticism that the voter suppression law would not disenfranchise voters, Aichele announced minor tweeks to the requirements to obtain an ID in Pennsylvania. The judiciary deemed this dodge insufficient, and largely suspended the law.

  5. Matt Schultz, Iowa Secretatry of State
    Iowa attempted its own voter purge targeting the illusionary problem of non-citizen voting, with Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz spearheading this purge. An Iowa court temporarily blocked this purge, however, warning that it “created confusion and mistrust in the voter registration process [and] have created fear that new citizens will lose their right to vote and/or be charged with a felony and [have] caused some qualified voters to feel deterred from even registering to vote.”

Notice how these people are willing to purge thousands of names off the voting rolls to "solve" a problem that is nowhere near 100 and almost always less then 10 persons that illegally vote. In almost every single case, the "illegal" vote is not even intentional -- a person who didn't realize their felony conviction denied them the right to vote or a person whose mother signed the affidavit on a mail-in ballot because the daughter was out of town. The scary scenario of hundreds of illegal immigrants voting is a complete fabrication, but these people are disgusting and don't care about voter integrity or trust. They do what their masters tell them to do and cloak themselves in a mockery of patriotism to justify this anti-democratic behavior.

Every American should be outraged by these actions, and all of these people should be in jail -- or at least banished from ever holding a position in government ever again.

[SOURCE: Ian Millhiser | ThinkProgress | 7 November 2012]

Sunday, 11 November 2012 at 16h 17m 29s

They never stop

Just two days after the election and the priority of the Republican Supreme Court is to gut the gut the authority of the civil rights voting act of 1965.

[from Raw Story]

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the part of the law that requires all or part of 16 states in the south to receive federal approval before enacting laws that impact voting.

The Obama administration used that provision this year to stop voter I.D. laws in Texas and South Carolina from taking effect. Overall, the Justice Department has stopped 2,400 changes since 1982.

Pre-clearance “has been one of the most powerful tools in the civil rights arsenal,” according to Yale Law School professor Heather Gerken. “It’s made more of a difference in improving the civil rights of African Americans than any other statute I can think of.”

A part of the law referred to as Section 5, is at the heart of the matter. States and districts are qualified by a formula based upon historical voting patterns and records of past discrimination, and only these states and districts are affected by the preclearance provisions of Section 5. "Under the pre-clearance requirement, a covered jurisdiction must seek approval from the Justice Department or a federal court before changing voting district lines, polling places or other aspects of the election system." [from Bloomberg]

Basically, if an affected district does anything that changes the way in which voting occurs, such as arbitrarily end voting 2 hours early, change the polling places, or redistrict the voting wards, this has to be "pre-cleared" with the Justice Department. Otherwise, the only means of stopping the behavior would be through a local or state court. In the past, the local or state court was not impartial at all, and thus citizens could not have discriminatory actions halted or fairly assessed at the local or state level of government. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act gives the Federal Government this authority.

Now of course, Republicans have learned their lesson and don't do anything at all to hurt certain groups from being able to vote, right?

Puhleease. These people never sleep. They have nightmares about citizens they don't want voting, so they make up stories about non-citizens and illegal voters and pretend that's what they are stopping. Despite there being no evidence at all.

[SOURCE: Samantha Kimmey | Raw Story | 9 November 2012]
[SOURCE: Greg Stohr | Bloomberg | 9 November 2012]

Saturday, 10 November 2012 at 4h 42m 59s

Magical Thinking.

And why was Team Mittens so certain that they would win?

Easy: magical thinking. And that’s what makes Mitt Romney a true conservative.

Or,"We believe differently", as some Republicans on Upper Fillmore once said to me during the 2004 election cycle when I asked them why they refused to reconsider their policies in light of specific facts. In other words, their mind was made up, don't confuse them with facts.

[SOURCE: Dennis G | Balloon Juice blog | 9 November 2012]

Friday, 9 November 2012 at 1h 37m 7s

FEMA, then and now

A student in my Statistics class asked me today what I thought about "FEMA" and I declined to have an opinion, and said that today I'm having no thoughts. I teach Statistics, not History, and my opinions about this matter were not relevant to the teaching of the basic probability that we are currently learning in the class.

However, my opinion is exactly what Paul Krugman says in his opinion column (and on his blog). You cannot expect people who disdain government to actually use government effectively. All these anti-big-gummament Rethuglicans do is destroy government. They put people in charge who play by the same rules and will do the bidding of those who pay into the system, and these are often arrogant, pompous assholes, or dim-witted nincompops who mouth the party line.

[SOURCE: Paul Krugman | 4 November 2012New York Times | ]

What happened in New Orleans was off the logarithmic charts in comparison to the recent FEMA and National Government response to Sandy. During Sandy, the government and National Guard hit the ground running within 3 hours after landfall. During Katrina, the national guard wasn't anywhere nor was the navy even sent during Katrina until 3 DAYS after the storm hit landfall. UNLIKE THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, The Bush Administration, FEMA director Brown, and Louisiana (Democratic) Governor Kathleen Blanco were still unresolved about whether Blanco had the authority to call out the National Guard, and so the Guard did not have instructions. Volunteer Fire fighters and first responders from across the United States were often first shipped to Atlanta to get trained for a day on what to say and how to speak to the press.

Go back to my blog and scroll through the timeline from August to October of 2005 (the black table on the left-hand column) and you can get a day by day catalog of the scale of the disaster that was Katrina. It brought me to tears. The little bit I have written here is but 3 or 4 percent of the entire insane absolute abject disaster of government that was Katrina.

The propaganda organs of the corporate elite and some rich assholes who bankroll the operations will of course try to make Sandy Obama's Katrina. Bleech. Puhleese.

We have good leaders of government right now. They believe in government as something other than a patronage distribution system to their buddies and the people who bought their ticket to the party.

Friday, 9 November 2012 at 0h 56m 49s

The machines are taking over

According to a paper by Henry Siu and Nir Jaimovich analyzing the jobless recoveries that have accompanied recent post-recession events:

Automation and the adoption of computing technology is leading to the decline of middle-wage jobs of many stripes, both blue-collar jobs in production and maintenance occupations and white-collar jobs in office and administrative support. It is affecting both male- and female-dominated professions and it is happening broadly across industries — manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial services, and even public administration.

There is a nice graph from the study, but out of respect to Kevin, I'll let you click on the source link below to see the graph.

[SOURCE: Kevin Drum | Mother Jones | 6 November 2012]

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 at 4h 49m 23s

One of the reasons I don't post as much

I tend to comment on various other sites and don't have the time to blog on my own site.

Here is a perfect example. I'm commenting on this topic about the Social Security Trust fund. The Motley Fool article is titled "5 Huge Myths About Social Security". It's actually very good and quite accurate, which is why I like the Motley Fool. They are honest and accurate observers of the economy, the market, and government.

Anyway here is my response to a plethora of insanity. It wasn't the only defender of the truth. The others are also worthy, but you have the screen out the nonsense. Fortunately they are usually obvious.

I know I'm wasting my time, but please ignore 95% of the commetariat. They are trolls and/or ignorant fools. The author of the main article knows that which he speaks. The commentariat have an agenda to confuse the public. Plain and simple.

Someone faulted the Social Security Trust Fund for not investing in the private sector. You should go back and read the historical discussions about why the current method was chosen. Which companies should the funds invest in? Who decides? What if this becomes political? Do you want your government choosing which financial instruments to invest and which not?

Thinking of the last 10 or 15 years alone, that would be a very bad idea.

The Social Security Trust fun is used as an accounting mechanism to shore up the budget, but that doesn't take away the from the fund. It's just assets - liabilities. The assets are still assets. If the government wants to play games with accounting and every pretends that's okay, the assets are still assets. The value of the fund doesn't diminish.

It just means our political leaders will eventually won't be able to use the assets in the trust fund as means to conceal how much money is actually being spent.

It's really that simple.

This is not much different than if someone includes the value of their house as part of their net worth. Your liabilities are expected to paid out on a monthly basis not different than any business, or government.

Assets minus liabilities doesn't negate either one. Assets are still assets. The money doesn't get spent because they aren't cashing in the assets.

Just like when you take a loan out on your house. You're paying off the loan doesn't result in the diminished value of your house. Your house is an asset not any different then the Social Security Trust Fund.

The government sells loans call bonds and dollars everyday and everyday people buy them because they retain value for a long period of time. Using the Social Security fund as an asset to secure these loans is no different than a customer using their house as collateral.

It doesn't mean the Social Security fund is being spent, no more than your house got sold when you used it as collateral. The government pays the interest without any problem, so there is nothing to worry about except stupid politicians and person's with hidden agendas.

And it's an insurance system people.

You think you are so smart and saavy that you can make the right choices and invest in the right companies at the right times. All while making less then 30, 40, 50 , 70, 100 thousand a year.

Go for it. Many have tried. Too many have failed. And so we base are entire retirement system on these percentages. Are you so willing to believe that you will be in the win bracket and avoid the financial shocks that happen once or twice every decade?

Social Security Insurance guarantees a minimum floor of retirement. Otherwise we'd have 30% or more of our older citizens liveing in abject poverty.

That's why the system evolved from the Townsend Committees in the 1930s. The shock of so many old people living off of scraps and out of garbage cans by the restaurants. All over the United States.

Oh how we do forget the past.