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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Rick Perry Bends Texas Over One More Time

Hopefully his run at the Republican nomination will finally be the last flipping straw and the folks in Texas will finally get themselves a new guv after having been publicly screwed by this guy umpteen times over.  It won’t be long before the rest of us can look back fondly and say, “Rick who?”, but I have a feeling that Texans are going to be paying the costs of ever electing this ignorant clod in the first place for a long time to come.

We’re talking about the only guy we’ve ever heard of who managed to start drawing his retirement without having to… you know… retire first, who lives in a goddamned $10k a month palace at taxpayer expense because the governor’s mansion got a booboo, the man who continued to draw his state salary for months while he spent 24/7 out actively seeking a new job.  I’m guessing that a serious audit of this man’s rein over the Texas treasury would turn up a multitude of lesser known ways in which he’s nickeled and dimed state taxpayers out of millions but there he is, still ensconced in the ten thousand dollar palace, dispensing his particular form of “governance” to the highest bidders for so much a pop.

Behind that carefully polished J.R. Ewing facade, that painstakingly honed and sharpened to the point of caricature version of the picture most non-Texans have of the “typical” Texas cowboy type, there dwells the mind of a grifter, so finely tuned to making a buck that short of stealing from the church collection (at least during an election campaign) there’s little to nothing he wouldn’t do to secure and advance his position as one of the 1%.  Whenever I see or hear Rick Perry’s name mentioned, the picture that pops into my head is not one of Perry himself but one of Burt Lancaster in “Elmer Gantry”, a movie much older than the average reader here and an allusion many won’t get.

One of the taglines from the movie was “If there was a dollar to be made – Gantry would make it… If there was a soul to be saved – Gantry would save it” which to me… given his shameless pandering and appeals to the holy roller right… pretty much describes Perry’s performance in his (thankfully) recently ended campaign for the Republican nomination which… as we are about to see… continues to cost Texas taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Chuck Lindell @ the Austin American/Statesman: Perry presidential security cost taxpayers $800,000

Texas taxpayers were billed almost $800,000 in travel costs for a security detail to travel with Gov. Rick Perry largely on out-of-state events tied to his presidential campaign from September through November, state figures show.Most of Perry’s 48 out-of-state destinations were to the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to a report released late Thursday by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which provides security when Perry and his wife, Anita, travel.

For security reasons, DPS does not reveal how many troopers accompany the governor or how far in advance they arrive at Perry’s destination.

The DPS report listed only broad categories of expenses for airfare, food, lodging, fuel and other expenses.

A September trip to South Carolina, Iowa and back to South Carolina, for example, led to $45,122 in payments, including $10,834 for hotels and $7,526 for food, for the executive protection detail, the report showed.

Including security for six in-state trips, travel costs for Perry’s security detail totaled $798,031 in the state’s first fiscal quarter, which began in September.

And that’s just for what?  Three months of job hunting?

More at the link but honest Texans, #1) there is nothing about this man that makes him worth spending almost a million bucks of your money to keep someone from popping him while he interviewed for a new job, especially since #2) there was never any chance that he was going to get the job he was interviewing for, which might conceivably have made assassination a legitimate concern.

Hopefully, Texans will be able to do the rest of the country a favor and kiss this motherhumper goodbye once and for all.  He needs to be encouraged not to run again and if his ego pushes him to run anyway he needs to be primaried and roundly and soundly defeated, consigned to the same compost heap as his predecessor who SHOULD have been an object lesson for everyone involved.

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

All About Alice

For those of you who aren’t old enough to have heard the original, this is an updated ( think in the 90s) version of Alice’s Restaurant that while still outdated as far as our present situation, provides insight on how the hell we wound up IN that situation.  Twenty three minutes long these days but totally true to the original.  Arlo Guthrie is another unsung genius.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Not Picking On Oakland

It’s just the city that was in the news yesterday when I sat down to make the post.  The overreaction to the occupy movement by law enforcement agencies has been universal and simply underscores the trepidation… even outright fear… with which Wall Street views these demonstrations and movements.

Listen to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” for a letter perfect definition of what constitutes a movement.  What we’re seeing today is the modern day equivalent of singing a few bars of Alice’s Restaurant and the Wall Street leeches are terrified.

The point is not how good a town Oakland is or isn’t… but that the same municipal and state governments who couldn’t and still can’t protect us from honest to dog criminals can damned sure find the means and the financial wherewithal to protect Wall Street from us and I simply find that Ironic.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Short and Sweet

Hate to be the I told you so guy but here’s a tweet from KCBS radio in the Bay Area about what else went on in Oakland while the OPD… along with half the law enforcement resources of that entire region… was busy “controlling” unarmed occupiers.

Two people were killed and four others were injured in three separate shootings in Oakland late Sat. night/early Sun. morning.

I rest my case.

Tom B :: Short and Sweet

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Rock And A Hard Place

BG’s piece on drugs vs guns was excellent as usual but I thought I’d stick my two cents (adjusted for the results of Mitt Romney’s tax loopholes) into the mix here.

I live in a rural area roughly halfway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area/Sacramento corridor. Yep… pretty much right on the borderline between the “turfs” claimed by the Nortenos and the Surenos. This, plus the fact that the gangs like to do a lot of their “business” these days in these rural areas where law enforcement is a bit more sparse and maybe not quite as sophisticated as in the big cities, makes these “borderlands” hotbeds of gang activity.

As a result, our little backwater county has had more than it’s share of the kinds of shootings described in BG’s post. In fact, the latest one was just last night. It wasn’t the first time it’s happened by a long shot and it won’t be the last. We’ve had two police officers killed in recent years by gangs, one who had been deliberately targeted as part of an initiation rite.

Last night’s incident was in the town’s biggest shopping mall. Neither of the two bangers got a scratch but three bystanders were wounded.

Dozens of others have been killed or wounded in drive by incidents, gang initiations and assassinations. In one of the most noted cases, we had a case several years ago where a young father and his small daughter entered an intersection just when two bangers on opposite corners decided to throw down on each other. Bullet came through the window, barely missing her and killing her father instantly.

When the punk that did the deed was asked by media how he felt about killing an innocent bystander, all he said was, “He shouldn’t have gotten in my way.” Again, none of the bangers was even scratched. Bastards can’t shoot worth a damn which makes them doubly dangerous.

The problem however isn’t so much just the guns, especially when we’re talking about bangers. A major part of the problem these days is that these punks are on our streets doing their thing relatively unhindered because we supposedly don’t have enough personnel or money to protect our citizens from actual organized crime and gang violence and actually win the “war” on gangs”, the “war” on crime, the “war” on drugs, the “war” on grandma farting in church or whatever your favorite domestic “war” happens to be.

Yet in the past few years, many of our law enforcement agencies, especially those in the densely populated metro areas, have received federal grants with which they have purchased millions of dollars worth of extremely high tech weaponry up to and including armored assault vehicles and highly sophisticated assault weapons. Virtually everything our soldiers on the front lines carry has been made available to our law enforcement agencies.

At first glance, this would seem to be a good thing because you’d think that these police agencies were finally equipping themselves for some kind of all out assault on the criminals that have had law abiding citizens afraid to walk the streets in their own communities after dark for decades now.

Actually, that appears not to have been the case. After years of almost total neglect in which local and state level law enforcement agencies WERE definitely hamstrung by a lack of personnel and funding to go all out on the criminal element, we’re finding that the taps have been turned on not so that they can better protect you and me from the street thugs and the gang bangers but so that they can protect the interests of the one percent from you and me. Now THAT’s a sobering flipping thought, eh?

As of now, virtually all of our law enforcement resources are being used to protect the interests of the corporations against the 99.9% non-violent protests of ordinary innocent citizens. All that weaponry and ordnance, all those overtime hours? They go to support actions against people just like you and me. And the real honest to dog criminals that were the offered justification for the almost total militarization of the friendly neighborhood cop on the beat?

Hell they’re out there in ever growing numbers still preying on and endangering innocent citizens with virtual impunity. Well, unless they happen to cross the line and kill or injure an officer.

What I’m trying to say is that plain old law abiding citizens are more and more finding themselves between a rock and the proverbial hard place, trapped between rampaging gangs of criminals on one side and… especially should they decide for whatever reason to assert their constitutional right to free assembly and peaceful protest… rampaging police officers on the other. Not an ideal situation and certainly not one I ever thought I’d find myself in. Not in this country.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tim Geithner Will Have To Ooze Out When He Goes

Remember a couple of years back when we were told that there would be
a $500k cap on pay packs for execs of companies that took massive
amounts of taxpayer provided bailout dollars?  Did you really believe
that there was going to be a $500k cap for execs of companies that took
massive amounts of taxpayer provided bailout dollars?  Well, if you did,
here’s your sign.

According to Juan Gonzales @ the New York Daily News, what
actually happened was exactly what anyone with half a brain should have
known would happen and the Headline says it all… or a lot of it
anyway.

Treasury Department approves huge paydays for execs at firms who received TARP bailout money.

Come on, really… is there anyone who didn’t see that coming?
 If you didn’t, then you’re a major part of the flipping problem in this
country and those of us with enough sense to know when our ass is on
fire would be better off if you just went ahead and moved to the
Confederate States of Retardia and let the Newt run your lives while we
get on with trying to put out the damned fire.

Time Geithner is simply a worm, a Wall Street tool and a card
carrying member of the one percent and I would bet anything the sucker
has never voted Democrat in his life.  Can I get an “amen” on that?
 Good, thank you.  Moving on to the actual numbers:

The Treasury Department approved pay packages
worth $5 million or more for 49 executives at a handful of firms that
received the biggest taxpayer bailouts between 2009 and 2011.
A scathing new audit this week by the inspector general for the
Troubled Asset Relief Program blasted those payments, all of which
occurred despite a $500,000 salary cap that President Obama and Congress
established in 2009 at firms receiving “exceptional assistance” under
TARP.

Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank of New York
officials joined behind the scenes with the bailed-out firms to
repeatedly pressure Kenneth Feinberg, the special federal master
overseeing the compensation packages, to approve higher salaries, the
audit found.

You can read Timmy’s bio if you don’t see the significance there.
 He came to Treasury from… three guesses and the first two don’t
count… the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  And I have no doubt that
when he leaves… and I’m hearing now that he’s leaving next year, no
matter who wins… that it will only because he’s sucked up every easy
dollar he can reasonably expect to get for the people who actually
retain his allegiance and that ain’t you and me.

Feinberg had the power to allow waivers to the cash
cap, but the report found the program’s contradictory goals meant “he
could not effectively rein in excessive compensation.”
The CEO of one bailed-out firm, Ally Financial, actually complained
that one of his underlings, who was paying for private school for his
kids, would be “cash poor” if relegated to a salary of just $500,000.

The audit looked at seven of the biggest TARP recipients –
Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, General Motors, Ally, Chrysler, and
Chrysler Financial.

Two of those, Citigroup and Bank of America, paid back their
government loans before the end of 2009, so they would be free to pay
their execs whatever they wanted.

Of the remaining companies, AIG repeatedly insisted on the
biggest pay packages and represented 80% of Feinberg’s “headaches,” the
audit said. The company received more than $180 billion in federal bailout money
in 2008, and even today, after paying back billions, it is still 70%
owned by the federal government.

But at the recession’s height in spring 2009, AIG had the
audacity to press Feinberg for raises ranging from 20% to 550% for its
top employees, the report said.  Backed by top Treasury aides, AIG argued that unless it got those raises, key people would leave and the government would not get its money back.

What’s more, AIG wanted those salaries in cash, not stock.

Company execs confided to Feinberg that the firm’s common stock was “essentially worthless,” the report said.

To his credit, Feinberg resisted the most outrageous salary
demands, but he still approved dozens above the government’s $500,000
cash cap.

In 2009, for instance, he approved a $10.5 million package for AIG
chief executive Robert Benmosch, which included $3 million in cash.

The following year, Feinberg approved another $10.5 million for
Benmosch, while signing off on packages of from $3 million to $7.6
million for 17 of AIG’s 22 top employees.

Ally CEO Michael Carpenter got approval for an $8.1 million
package. General Motors chief Fritz Henderson got $5.1 million.  AIG’s
Executive Vice President Michael Herr declined to comment Thursday.

As for those dire warnings that many execs would flee, it simply
didn’t happen.  The audit found that 85% of top employees covered by the
federal salary caps in 2009 were still working at the same company two
years later.

All that talk about limiting pay at companies the taxpayers bailed? It was just that – talk.

Well actually, a lot stronger words than “just talk” come to mind
but whatever.  Not only are these people never going to be prosecuted
for the crimes they’ve committed against this country and it’s people,
the bastards are being allowed to continue committing those crimes while
our government “watchdogs” stand in a corner shakin’ like a dog
shittin’ peach pits and allowing themselves to be… at best…
blackmailed or extorted into helping them and Tim Geithner is the bag
man for the Wall Street mob.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized