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

1571 POSTS

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Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 18h 48m 13s

The discarding of old ideas

Click here for the depth and perspicacious capacity of Barry Ritholtz. He criticizes a market ideologue's journalistic intent to blur the responsibility for the 2008 economic collapse with human nature, who tries to assert that extreme ideology is only innate human pragmatism. As usual Barry quickly tears the ediface down and follows up with the white glove to the chin in his last paragraph:

Only ideologues are capable of such sheer intellectual dishonesty.

The author may be right about one thing: Ideas that fail are discarded. That process is going on right now. I suspect we are watching the death rattle of a certain type of ideology. Its a tainted brand called unregulated, market absolutism.

You get out there with your bad self, Mr. Barry Ritholtz. I completely agree. And I will add to the criticism.

... Because ... How can an extremist absolutist even begin to understand pragmatism? Believing the most rigid interpretations while applying the purist conceptions of mental theory towards human society, an extremist absolutist does not adjust the theory to suit the situation. What happens instead? They change or try to dominate the situation in order to implant their theoretic principles. Unwillingness to do so is considered a weakness in this paradigm. Changing one's belief to conform to reality is heinous to someone who thinks all humanity must be judged by a few well chosen precepts.

A pragmatist is a person who is after a goal, not in pursuit of conformity to principle. Saying that someone develops an extreme absolutism out of practical approaches across a long span of time is ridiculous; unless you speak of that higher plane sociopaths who seek power as their only goal, who are willing to negotiate their belief system for the next step up towards the hierarchy of achievement. In this sense, perhaps the author describes himself, a writer who blends contradictory archetypes merely to salvage his own rigid belief system. People do that you know.

When the walls and the foundation come crashing down, the constructors of the poorly constructed edifice can't blame the inhabitants of the building who made practical choices. The self-proclaimed adults were all being practical about their extreme absolutism. They had the right to do what wanted, whenever they wanted, and no mean government regulator or IRS agent had any right poking their audit books where they didn't belong. History-Smistory. This was the end of history, remember? We had supposedly evolved beyond history, when government was unnecessary and profits were endless.

Yes people made practical choices alright. They capered along assuming the wisdom of the people who made bad decisions in high places, thinking themselves as infallible to the human contradiction as their ancestors did during all those ancient economic collapses of yore.

Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 18h 2m 27s

An Eulogy for the stumbling McCain Campaign

Gail Collins in the New York Times. You should read the entire piece.

I miss the good old days. Remember when the presidential campaign was all about oil drilling? That sure was fun....

Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.

During that last debate, while he was wandering around the stage, you almost expected to hear him start muttering: “We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.”

....The Republican campaign strategy now involves sending their candidates to areas where everybody is a die-hard McCain supporter already. Then they yell about Obama until the crowd is so frenzied people start making threats. The rest of the country is supposed to watch and conclude that this would be an enjoyable way to spend the next four years.

Maybe the Republicans should have picked somebody else. I miss Mitt Romney. Sure, he was sort of smarmy. But when Mitt was around, the banks had money and Iceland was solvent. And, of course, when we got bored, we could always talk about how he drove to Canada with his Irish setter strapped to the car roof...

I miss the old Cindy McCain. The one who used to go to rallies and sit huddled in the corner looking as if she thought the audience had a communicable disease. Now, she’s right up there on stage, standing behind her husband and making disgusted faces when he rails on about the opposition. And she’s started railing herself. (The family that rants together ...) Obama is waging “the dirtiest campaign in American history.” His votes on Iraq were votes “not to fund my son when he was serving.”

Remember when the McCains wouldn’t talk about the fact that their son was in Iraq? Oh well.

Maybe Cindy is trying to hold her own against Sarah, who is with John almost as much as she is. I miss the old guy-guy McCain who had so many male pals around he looked like a walking fraternity reunion. Now, he’s starting to resemble an ambulatory patient accompanied by female attendants on an outing.

Palin has been pressing the line that people don’t really know “the real Barack Obama,” and who could make the argument better than a woman who we’ve already known for almost six weeks? Really, she’s like one of the family.

We’ve gotten so close we’ve already learned that she didn’t actually sell the plane on eBay, didn’t actually visit the troops in Iraq and didn’t really have a talk with the British ambassador. As soon as we get the Trooper thing and Alaska Independence Party thing and the tax thing figured out, she’ll be an open book....

[SOURCE: Gail Collins | New York Times | 10 October 2008]

Friday, 10 October 2008 at 1h 6m 55s

Tax cuts don't help society or the economy

Thom Hartmann does an excellent analysis of how the Reagan tax cuts ruined the long term health of the American economy.

The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities reports, 42% of the “fiscal deterioration” and explosion of the deficit that occurred under Bush was due to tax cuts.

After the Republican Great Depression, FDR put this nation back to work, in part by raising taxes on income above $2.3 million a year (in today’s dollars) to 91 percent, and corporate taxes to over 50% of profits. The revenue from those income taxes built dams, roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, schools, hospitals, train stations, railways, an interstate highway system, and airports. It educated a generation returning from World War II. It acted as a cap on the rare but occasional obsessively greedy person taking so much out of the economy that it impoverished the rest of us.

Through the 1950s, though, more and more loopholes for the rich were built into the tax code, so much so that JFK observed in his second debate with Richard Nixon that dropping the top tax rate to 70% but tightening up the loopholes would actually be a tax increase.JFK pushed through that tax increase to take us back toward FDR/Truman/Eisenhower revenue levels, and we continued to build infrastructure in the US, and even put men on the moon. Health care and college were cheap and widely available. Working people could raise a family and have security in their old age. Every billion dollars (a half-week in Iraq) invested in infrastructure in America created 47,000 good-paying jobs as Americans built America.

But the rich fought back, and won big-time in 1980 when Reagan, until then the fringe “Voodoo economics” candidate who was heading into the election trailing far behind Jimmy Carter, was swept into the White House on a wave of public concern of the Iranians taking US hostages. Reagan promptly cut income taxes on the very rich from 70% down to 27%. Corporate tax rates were also cut so severely that they went from representing over 33% of total federal tax receipts in 1951 to less than 9% in 1983 (they’re still in that neighborhood, the lowest in the industrialized world).

The result was devastating. Our government was suddenly so badly awash in red ink that Reagan doubled the tax paid only by people earning less than $40,000/year (FICA), and then began borrowing from the huge surplus this new tax was accumulating in the Social Security Trust Fund. Even with that, Reagan had to borrow more money in his 8 years than the sum total of all presidents from George Washington to Jimmy Carter combined.

In addition to badly throwing the nation into debt, Reagan’s tax cut blew out the ceiling on the accumulation of wealth, leading to a new Gilded Age and the rise of a generation of super-wealthy that hadn’t been seen since the Robber Baron era of the 1890s or the Roaring 20s.

And, most tragically, Reagan’s tax cuts caused America to stop investing in infrastructure. As a nation, we’ve been coasting since the early 1980s, living on borrowed money while we burn through (in some cases literally) the hospitals, roads, bridges, steam tunnels, and other infrastructure we built in the Golden Age of the Middle Class between the 1940s and the 1980s.

We even stopped investing in the intellectual infrastructure of this nation: college education. A degree that a student in the 1970s could have paid for by working as a waitress at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant (what my wife did in the late 60s - I did so working as a near-minimum-wage DJ) now means incurring massive and life-altering debt for all but the very wealthy. Reagan, who as governor ended free tuition at the University of California, put into place the foundations for the explosion in college tuition we see today.

The Associated Press reported on August 4, 2007, that the president of Nike, Mark Parker, “raked in $3.6 million [in compensation] in ‘07.” That’s $13,846 per weekday, $69,230 a week. And yet it would still keep him just below the top 70% tax rate if this were the pre-Reagan era. We had a social consensus that somebody earning around $3 million a year was fine, but above that was really more than anybody needs to live in America.

[SOURCE: Thom Hartmann |  | 9 October 2008]

The idea that tax cuts enable investment is a fallacy. Investment is only effective when it is targeted to produce a desired end that lifts up society as a whole. Enabling individuals and businesses already well-off and competitive to increase their profits does not automatically transition into societal investment. Increased profits only further ownership and accumulation. Giving people more money only helps them buy more stuff. Necessary social investments like hospitals, roads, education, and effective government regulation don't get paid for by charitable contributions, and when for-profit institutions do invest, the incentive is based on making money rather than providing a quality product for everyone. And even when a quality product like a private school or hospital or road exists, the surcharge for access becomes prohibitive to all but those who can afford the price of quality, which creates an under-served underclass of people who have to go without or settle for inadequacy.

The simplistic notion that tax cuts put more money in your pocket-book ignores the increases in social expenses that result. Bad schools, expensive health-care, poor transportation networks, and pitiful government regulation is a cost added to everyone's expenses that far out-strips the extra dollars in the bank for the 98% of Americans who make less than $200,000 a year. The super-rich could care less, because when you make more than 5 million dollars a year, paying $25,000 tuition and a $60,000 hospital bill is still less than 2% of total yearly income.

And look what happens to the economy when the SEC and the IRS don't have enough government regulators to do their jobs? How many food borne diseases cause Americans to lose work or die when they get sick because the FDA and Department of Agriculture has to have a voluntary regulatory system because the government can't afford to hire 20,000 more people at $100,000 a year to do the job right? How many traffic jams could be avoided if investment in public transportation ever became a reality, not to mention lessening the stress on fuel supplies and stimulating local economies?

The elite control the media and use it as a mouth-piece for their self-serving opinions. But factual history is a funny thing, and the truth will painfully show them all to be damn fools soon enough.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 2h 44m 22s

60 minutes explains the financial meltdown in less than 15 minutes

Click here to watch an excellent 60 minutes analysis of the recent financial events.

I just finished watching it, and the story is one of the best 60 minutes has ever done. You come away with a good understanding of what happened, why it happened, and who is really ultimately responsible.

One of my favorite lines ... when asked by the narrator (Steve Kroft), an ex-Wall Street analysis says of the mathematics that was used to justify the diversification of risky investments,

You can't model human behavior with Math.

As a a math teacher and recreational mathematician myself, I agree.

Math can only model based upon repeatable and quantifiable events. Randomness cannot be completely isolated and put into a formula. Assuming that any one human is perfectly understood at any given time during the entire life span of a certain individual : what model could possibly evince the true spirit or the essence that is individuality. Math seeks to control rather than understand. Math puts fences around events that cannot be controlled, but the distance between the fences cannot ever achieve an exactitude of precision. This would be equivalent to following one molecule of oxygen as it traversed the hemisphere over the course of a week. You might be able to follow that one molecule, but how could you also keep track of zillions of other molecules and aggregate events at the same time, with such effective control that you transcend God in your perspicacity of all knowing?

Remember: Avogadro's number of molecules per mole is 6.02 times 10 raised to the 22nd power. A Billion is 10 to the 9th power. A trillion trillion is ten to the 24th power. 6.02 times 10^22 is a little more than a billion trillion. This is the number of molecules or atoms with a certain volume unit called a "mole". A mole is the amount of volume containing that many molecules or atoms for any given molecule or atom. It's different for every molecule and atom. It depends on the temperature and pressure, and what form of matter the molecule or atom is at any given temperature and pressure. One mole of oxygen at standard temperature and pressure is 22.4 Liters, or nearly 6 gallons (5.92).

Math cannot effectively model the path from an interactive nature of entities whose randomness and imperfect understanding is not quantifiable, or dependent upon events which can not be foreseen. The bias or the imperfect knowledge of the human who uses math to model such events cannot help but create anything but an imperfect replica in such a situation. Things work merely because we ignore the exceptions, or disregard other effects. The noise or the minor errors might be due to the imperfections of estimation, or they might be significant factors waiting to explode. We can never be certain, and if we develop an attachment to the imperfect model we will of course ignore the factors and presume estimation errors.

Math might be useful. It might interesting to create a logical universe, or to push an idea to a conclusion. However, Math has to be reality driven and responsive to events or it will always be just another island inhabited by an anti-social hermit whom everyone hears about but few persons ever understand; and most of those only claim to understand because the hermit is nonetheless a celebrity, like a wizard who performs tricks, and the claimants want to associate themselves with the mystique without pretense to authenticity.

Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 0h 14m 0s

The same one who got us into this mess

From New York Times

"Many events in Washington, on Wall Street and elsewhere around the country have led to what has been called the most serious financial crisis since the 1930s. But decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004, explain why the problems could spin out of control. The agency’s failure to follow through on those decisions also explains why Washington regulators did not see what was coming.

On that bright spring afternoon, the five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission met in a basement hearing room to consider an urgent plea by the big investment banks.

They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

The five investment banks led the charge, including Goldman Sachs, which was headed by Henry M. Paulson Jr. Two years later, he left to become Treasury secretary.

[SOURCE: Stephen Labaton | New York Times | 3 October 2008]

In other words, Paulson moves into the government from the private sector to use government to serve the interests of the private sector.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 4h 45m 15s

Nawlins Napsters wins

Its official. The Nawlins Napsters win for the second year in a row.

This year was much more competitive than last year. I also had a lot more injuries to contend with, but pulled out the distance in the last 3 weeks.

Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 21h 4m 28s

Jack Cafferty rips Sarah Palin

Jack Cafferty is the last of two dying breeds : a real conservative, and a real journalist who does his homework.

Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 21h 0m 26s

John McCain and Charles Keating

"Never before have 5 US Senators get involved with Federal Regulators to help a campaign contributor... The Senators ... pressured Federal Regulator Edwin Gray to go easy on Keating", from NBC broadcast in the above video.

"Senator McCain was unique among the 5 Senators in having a direct financial conflict of interest involving direct financial investments. On judgement, ethics, and truthfulness, he failed this test as badly as you could fail" --former Fed Regulator William Black

William Black was one of the Federal regulators at the meeting the Senators had to try to convince the regulators to "go easy" on Keating. John McCain was a Freshman Senator from Arizona when the event took place.

Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 20h 40m 7s

Depleted Uranium is the Modern Agent Orange

A US Marine speaks out ...

The segment on Depleted Uranium begins at 4:10.

Quotes from this video:

…this is the Agent Orange of this occupation. This weapon has no purpose in Iraq granted this was during the initial invasion. So I, maybe, can understand its deployment. But, let’s be clear here depleted uranium is an anti-armor weapon… the Iraqis do not have armor. They don’t have tanks. They don’t have bombers. Why are we using this? And again I urge you to do the research yourselves. I can quickly say that we’re using this because it’s a way to get rid of atomic waste. We do not know what to do with that.

We’re poisoning our soldiers, we are poisoning the people of Iraq, but make no mistake we are poisoning the people of the world. I can test every single person in this room and I can find depleted uranium in your hair.

The VA has continually denied my request to be tested for depleted uranium. This letter clearly shows that they’re saying a test doesn’t even exist. And I will say for the record, a test does exist, it’s the wrong test. It’s the urinalysis that’s used to detect exposure, immediate exposure. The problem with depleted uranium is that these particles dig deep within your body, and you will not find them in your urine after a couple days. You need a very expensive test… one the VA us certainly not willing to pay for. But I would also like to point out that the VA does recognize the danger of depleted uranium, while they might not want to test for it, or talk about it, or give us any briefings on it.

That round on impact aerosols and vaporizes and these particles go up in the air, and that’s why I was saying I can test every single one of you and find it in your hair. These particles blow up into the atmosphere and are disseminated all around the entire globe. They have found depleted uranium on the skin of NASA vehicles in space. We are changing the entire genome of our planet: human beings, cats and dogs, plants. We are changing the genetic makeup of our planet by using these munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 0h 15m 34s

Tampering with an investigation

Because that's what mavericks of integrity do ....

Click here for the PDF press release.

ANCHORAGE — Today a State Representative called on the Alaska State Troopers to look into possible criminal witness tampering in the state’s bi-partisan legislative Troopergate investigation. Since Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the McCain ticket on Aug. 29, the McCain campaign has sent campaign workers to Alaska to obstruct this investigation.

“Until McCain campaign staffers flew to Alaska to stop this investigation, the Governor and her staff agreed to comply with what we all know is a bi-partisan investigation. After Aug. 29 the campaign started working to block this investigation, and witnesses began joining that effort by ignoring their subpoenas and risking jail time. Something obviously changed the minds of these witnesses after Aug. 29th,” said Rep., Les Gara (D-Anchorage), a State Representative and Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General.

Alaska’s witness tampering statutes prohibit any person from “inducing” a witness to fail to comply with a subpoena. Almost daily, McCain staffers have called press conferences and made efforts to stonewall the legislative investigation. Prior to Aug. 29 no witness had stated they’d refuse to comply with the investigation, and the Governor in fact promised she and her staff would comply.

[SOURCE: Mudflats blog | 24 September 2008]