Friday, October 12, 2007

Ann Coulter Is A True Asshole

When will the media stop inviting this junk toting stick figure (thank you Stephanie Miller) on their programs? Watch this witch spout her nonsense while her adams apple jumps up and down. I thought only men had an adams apple? Since she is such a true Christian does that mean she is still a virgin?

Rich Getting Richer

Is this supposed to be a surprise?
The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

It said that while the IRS data goes back only to 1986, academic research suggests that the last time wealthy Americans had such a high percentage of the national income pie was in the 1920s.
Is history about to repeat itself? The 1920's was referred to as the roaring 20's and it was the era of the Robber Barons. This era ushered in the great depression. Whether we are seeing history repeat itself isn't clear but what is clear is that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer with the middle class being killed in the process.

Is this the type of society you want to live in? If you are not sure you should arrange a trip to Brazil and see what income inequality looks like in real time. It is time for the middle and lower classes to stand up and say enough is enough. The only way to fight back is to elect those that understand that a large and stable middle class is essential to protecting democracy. What we have right now is a government that is bordering on fascism. If you don't believe me then look at this list of the warning signs of fascism:

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute.

5. Domestic spying. Secret surveillance of and gathering dossiers on its own citizens.

6. A controlled mass media. Whether directly or indirectly, these regimes exercised power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite.

7. Obsession with national security. National security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless."

9. Power of corporations protected. The corporate structure was a way to not only ensure military production, but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal.

12. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism.

14. Fraudulent elections. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
If you can't see parallels to today's America then you simply are not paying attention.

Al Gore Wins The Nobel Peace Prize

Run Al Run.
Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to raise awareness about global warming.

In a statement, Gore said he was "deeply honored," adding that "the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

The former vice president said he would donate his half of the $1.5 million prize to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a U.S. organization he founded that aims to persuade people to cut emissions and reduce global warming.
Vice President Gore is our nations best hope of regaining our standing in the world and the Presidency offers him an outstanding ability to educate the world on the climate crisis but it appears he will not run.
A source involved in Gore's past political runs told CNN that he definitely has the ambition to use the peace prize as a springboard to run for president.

But he will not run, because he won't take on the political machine assembled by Sen. Hillary Clinton, said the source. If the senator from New York had faltered at all, Gore would take a serious look at entering the race, the source said. But Gore has calculated that Clinton is unstoppable, according to the source.

Gore repeatedly denied he has any plans to run again, but this week a group of grass-roots Democrats calling themselves "Draft Gore" took out a full-page ad in The New York Times in a bid to change his mind.
It is time for the American public to convince Vice President Gore to enter the race. I think the Democratic filed is very impressive but I would immediately do all that I could should Vice President Gore enter the race. Once again I must say "Run Al Run for the good of the entire world."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Retailers See Lower Sales

Consumers have started to batten down the hatches.
A slew of earnings warnings from retailers Thursday, on top of poor September sales numbers, added credence to concerns that consumers are feeling tapped out and that retailers are headed for a very difficult holiday period.

"We've had a whole bunch of retail warnings today. Retailers really struggled last month because of slow sales and also because of the warm weather drag, " said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics.

Other retailers also warned on their third quarter. Limited Brands, parent of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains, posted a 4 percent drop in its same store sales last month and warned that it now expects third quarter earnings of between flat to 4 cents a share, from its guidance of 4 cents a share.

Women's apparel chain Chico's said its September sales tumbled 8.3 percent, while teen seller American Eagle Outfitters reported a 2 percent decline in its same store sales.

American Eagle also warned that it expects third-quarter earnings to come in between 44 to 45 cents a share, compared to its previous forecast of 47 to 48 cents a share for the period.

Perkins said the weakness in last month's sales doesn't bode well for this year's holiday shopping season.

The November-December gift-buying months are crucial for retailers because the two-month period accounts for as much as 50 percent for merchants' annual profits and sales.
Two thirds of the economy is consumer spending. If that slows too much then a recession will occur. I have predicted a recession since I started this site and I stand by that prediction.

12,000 fewer jobless claims last week

The number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, a better showing than had been expected.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for jobless benefits dropped by 12,000 to 308,000 last week. Analysts had been expecting no change.

The four-week average for claims also dropped, falling by 3,000 to 310,250, indicating that the labor market is so far withstanding the adverse impacts of a severe slump in housing and a credit crunch which roiled financial markets in August.
How long can the economy withstand the turmoil in the housing market? My guess is soon you will see a real uptick in unemployment as the housing crisis spreads to other areas. What I really want to see is the type of jobs that are being created. Are they middle class jobs with middle class wages or are they service jobs at low wages and poor if any benefits?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UAW Strikes Chrysler

Thousands of Chrysler LLC autoworkers walked off the job Wednesday after the automaker and the United Auto Workers union failed to reach a tentative contract agreement before a union-imposed deadline.
It is the first UAW strike against Chrysler since 1997, when one plant was shut down for a month, and the first strike against Chrysler during contract talks since 1985. Negotiators stopped talking after the strike began, according to a person briefed on the talks who requested anonymity because the talks are private.

Bargaining between the UAW and the newly private automaker has been slowed by several major issues. The UAW's tentative contract with General Motors Corp. included job security pledges that it was likely to seek from Chrysler, while Chrysler wanted the same health care concessions that the union granted to GM and Ford Motor Co. in 2005. Also at issue was how much Chrysler would pay into a company-funded, UAW-run trust that would take on its roughly $18 billion in retiree health care debt. GM formed that trust as part of its tentative contract.
Our auto industry which was once the envy of the world is now in a very diminished position. One of the main reasons is the ever growing costs of health care. The auto industry supports universal health care because they realize that without it they will continue to operate at a serious disadvantage to foreign auto companies.

The middle class of America can not survive without both strong labor laws and universal health care. As the cost of health care continues to grow workers in all industries are paying an ever greater portion of the health care costs. In many industries the growth in health care costs for the employee has eclipsed the annual raise, which by any standard would mean a decrease in annual take home pay. How can the middle class survive under those circumstances?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Home Ownership Declines Under Bush

This is what you call a successful Presidency.
For the first time since the Carter administration, homeownership in the United States is set to decline over a president's tenure. When President Bush took office in 2001, homeownership stood at 67.6 percent. It rose as the mortgage bubble inflated but is projected to fall to 67 percent by early 2009, which would come to 700,000 fewer homeowners than when Mr. Bush started. The decline, calculated by Moody's, is inexorable unless the government launches a heroic effort to help hundreds of thousands of defaulting borrowers stay in their homes.

The foreclosure crisis is rooted in reckless and shamefully underregulated mortgage lending. Many homeowners, mainly subprime borrowers with low incomes and poor credit, are now stuck in adjustable-rate loans that have become unaffordable as monthly payments have spiked upward. Their predicament is not entirely of their own making, and even if it were they would need to be bailed out because mass foreclosures would wreak unacceptable damage on the economic and social life of the nation.

The relief efforts so far have been too little, too late. In August, the White House established a program to allow an additional 80,000 borrowers to refinance their loans through the Federal Housing Administration, on top of 160,000 who were already eligible. That's not enough. Foreclosure filings soared to nearly 244,000 in August alone.

Federal regulators and Treasury officials are urging mortgage lenders and mortgage servicers to do their utmost to modify loan terms for at-risk borrowers, but saying "please" hasn't worked. To be effective, modifications must reduce a loan's interest rate or balance or extend its term, or some combination of the three. Gretchen Morgenson reported recently in The Times that a survey of 16 top subprime servicers by Moody's Investors Service found that in the first half of the year, modifications were made to an average of only 1 percent of loans on which monthly payments had increased.
Does anyone still think the middle class is not an endangered species? This is the most destructive administration in our history.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Attacking A Child Because of SCHIP

When you are losing the argument badly about the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)what does a true compassionate Conservative do? Attack the child of course.

These people make me sick.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

When The Bubble Burst

This is what happens when the bubble bursts.
Out on Phoenix's suburban fringes, where cement mixers are fast colonizing hay and cotton fields, the day is winding to a close. The home hour has arrived.

But sundown gives away a troubling secret: Behind dark windows and unanswered doors, it's clear nobody is coming home.

They're empty, left behind by a rising tide of foreclosures
This is the story of one town on the outskirts of Phoenix but it could be many towns all across America as the roaring home prices have come crashing to the ground and brought with it the financial downfall of many middle class Americans. How did this happen? Stupidity, greed and the desire to live the so called American dream combined to create one of the biggest financial disasters in our nations history. The real problem is that the pain is just beginning.

Just last week banks and investment firms all across the country started reporting staggering losses as a result of these ill advised loan programs that were a disaster waiting to happen. So far firms have reported $20 billion in losses and it is just the beginning. What this all shows is that our economy is built on smoke and mirrors and when the smoke clears the devastation that will be felt by the middle class will be just another nail in its coffin.
The American Dream is overdue for revision.

"There's been a huge shift in the way people view their houses," says John Karevoll of DataQuick Information Systems. "Your house now can basically be used as an ATM."
The problem is that the ATM is out of funds and the economy will soon show the signs of this disaster in all areas. The trickle down theory of Reagan, that was called voodoo economics by the first President Bush but was embraced by the imbecile that currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, is one that guarantees ever greater wealth to those at the top while those at the bottom wait for their scraps. Now we are seeing that theory in action and its not pretty.
When there is no middle class in America we will cease to be the beacon of hope that has attracted those to our shores. That shining beacon that was once the world's envy is now just a flicker and unless we fight to reignite the flame we will see the further erosion of the everyday person's standard of living while the rich will get ever richer.

Is this what you want for our future? It is time for the middle class to fight back and demand policies that benefit us all not just those rich enough to be able to make large campaign contributions. It is time for public financing of campaigns. Without it there is no chance for a different outcome.

Is there Something in The Connecticut Water?

Congressman Chris Shays of the 4th Congressional District in Connecticut fawns all over the head of Blackwater citing their perfect record. I guess this incident is part of their perfect record? Chris Shays has become as crazy as Joe Lieberman and just as shameless. Did you know that Shays never served in Vietnam? His reason for avoiding service was that he was a conscientious objector. I guess death and killing just doesn't matter anymore. This clip is a humorous bit from the Randi Rhodes Show. This should be required listening for all Americans.