Month: October 2011

Why Law Enforcement Friendly Legislation Should Be Viewed With Suspicion

Eichmann tried this argument as well.

Because when things are made too easy for the cops, you tend to get influence peddling and corruption about the small things, and it will then grow until you approach a police state.

Case in point, wherein fixing parking and traffic tickets for family, friends, and politicos leads to bigger crimes and bigger coveruyps:

A three-year investigation into the police’s habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”

As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.

The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts, the bulk of them misdemeanors having to do with making tickets disappear as favors for friends, relatives and others with clout. But they also outlined more serious crimes, related both to ticket-fixing and drugs, grand larceny and unrelated corruption. Four of the officers were charged with helping a man get away with assault.

Jose R. Ramos, an officer in the 40th Precinct whose suspicious behavior spawned the protracted investigation, was accused of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and revealing the identity of a confidential informant.

The case, troubling to many New Yorkers because of its implication that the police officers believed they deserved special treatment, is expected to have long tentacles. Scores of other officers accused of fixing tickets could face departmental charges. Some officers have already retired. Moreover, the indictments may jeopardize thousands of cases in which implicated officers are important witnesses and may be seen as untrustworthy by Bronx juries.

(emphasis mine)

This is what happens when law enforcement officials feel entitled.

You will always have a few bad eggs in any endeavor, but when the entire culture is one of entitlement, corruption, and law breaking, you end up with a toxic mix that can eats at the core of society.

Well Duh!!7

Reviewing recent events, French President Nicolas Sarkosy has concluded that Greece should never have been admitted to the Euro zone:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said allowing Greece into the eurozone in 2001 was a “mistake”.

He said Greece was “not ready” at the time. But, he added, it could be rescued thanks to Wednesday’s EU deal on the euro debt crisis.

This should surprise no one.

Greece, except by virtue of its geography, is closer to a 3rd world nation than it is a 1st world nation.

Any sensible individual would have noted that Greece was iffy for entry into the EU’s free trade zone, so it was always clear that a common currency would be a stretch.

What happened was that the Eurocrats in Brussels, Paris, and Bonn/Berlin thought that the post Berlin Wall Unity Schtick European Union trumped reality.

FWIW, I stil think that the solution here, at least in the short term, is to kick Germany out of the Euro, and allow. A rising Deutsche Mark to fix imbalances.

What a Whiny Bitch

Roll Jon Stewart

It appears that BoA CEO Brian Moynihan is incensed at the criticism directed at bank of America:

Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan said he’s “incensed” by public criticism of his company and is pushing back by reminding local leaders of its contributions to their economies.

Moynihan, 52, told employees in a global town hall meeting last week from the firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters that the “place to win the battle” over the bank’s battered public image is at the state and municipal level.

Bank of America’s outreach campaign is part of Moynihan’s effort to turn around the lender since he took over as CEO in January 2010 following two taxpayer bailouts. His plan to charge some debit-card users a $5 monthly fee drew reprimands from President Barack Obama and lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who said customers should withdraw their deposits in protest.

“I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it’s volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well,” Moynihan said during the Oct. 18 gathering. To the bank’s critics, he said, “You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”

Moynihan is laboring to rebuild the bank’s reputation with customers, employees and investors. Even before the debit-card fee sparked protests in Los Angeles and Boston, state attorneys general blamed the bank for using improper documents to justify foreclosures. To help reverse a stock decline this year of more than 50 percent, the lender is cutting expenses by eliminating more than 30,000 jobs.

If you don’t want people to complain about your bank, start by not treating your customers like sh%$.

Mr. Moynihan, why don’t you  ……… Well, Jon Stewart said it best. (see vid)

Dems Try for Seppuku Once Again

So the Democrats on the “Super Committee” are trying to gut Medicare once again, while showing how serious they are by exceeding their mandate for deficit reductions:

Democrats are proposing to slash huge budget deficits by up to $3 trillion, aiming high to repair the country’s fiscal mess even as Republicans show early signs of resisting the proposals.

The broad package of measures calls for long-term spending cuts, including to the government-run Medicare health program for the elderly that threatens to explode the national debt. The other half of the package would come from tax increases, four congressional aides told Reuters on Wednesday.

Republicans rejected the Democratic initiative.

“Asking for a $1.5 trillion tax hike in the middle of a jobs crisis is not a serious proposal,” said a House of Representatives Republican leadership aide.

There is a deep ideological divide between the two parties over taxes — likely a key issue in the congressional and presidential elections in November 2012.

The Democratic plan was presented on Tuesday behind closed doors to a special congressional panel tasked with finding ways of cutting the budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the sources said.

It was a rare leak from the so-called “super committee,” whose secretive deliberations have sparked intense speculation about how much progress the 12 Republican and Democratic members have made since they first began meeting on September 8. They face a November 23 deadline to report to Congress.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The Democratic plan proposes cutting the deficit by $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion and calls for between $200 billion and $300 billion in new stimulus spending to boost an ailing U.S. economy. It would be paid for with lower interest payments from reducing deficits.

It also seeks around $400 billion in Medicare savings, with half coming in benefit cuts and the other half in cuts to healthcare providers. Details of that proposal were scant but tackling the popular Medicare program is always politically risky for politicians in Washington, especially Democrats.

The Democratic proposal also identifies $100 billion in cuts to the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor, according to a lobbyist in contact with the committee.

Seriously, it’s both bad policy and bad politics, and it echos Obama’s strategy of attempting to show that they are even more crazy serious about the deficit, which the rest of the country really does not give a crap about.

Quote of the day

On the virtues of conceding points to your opponent at the start of negotiations:

It’s a case study in the perils of offering concessions to your opponents before negotiations have begun. And it will force Democrats in both chambers, but particularly in the Senate, to decide whether to pass a proposal comprised of measures Obama’s backed in the past, even though they’ve been cherry picked to essentially constitute a Republican piece of legislation. If Senate Dems block the measure, Republicans will accuse them of wanting to pick political fights instead of passing Obama jobs legislation. If Dems pass the measure, and Obama signs it, the GOP can cite it as evidence that they’re not simply standing in the way of action on the economy.

Brian Beutler.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

The Marijuana Policy Project has just declared that Barack Obama is the worst President ever on medical Marijuana.

I think that this is not a deeply felt philosophy, but yet another case where a lack of ideology, or perhaps a contempt for ideology, that leads him to placate the most extreme of the dead enders, whether it be the drug war, or the Iraq war. (Where we were thrown out, we didn’t leave voluntarily)

What this means is that he doubles down more aggressively on bad policy than he would if he actually believed in it.

It’s kind a metaphor for his whole a political career.

H/t Disinformation.

Taibbi Gets It

People are claiming that somehow or other Occupy Wall Street hates the rich because of envy of the wealthy.

Taibbi argues that it’s because they haven’t gotten rich by cheating, not winning:

And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that’s just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they’re cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

We cheer for people who hit their own home runs in this country– not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That’s why it’s so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn’t disappointment at having lost. It’s anger because those other guys didn’t really win. And people now want the score overturned.

Go read the rest.

Police Use Gas, Shotguns, and Grenades to Break Up Occupy Oakland

No, I’m not joking that’s what, “firing tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbags into the protest and lobbing flashbang grenades,” means, and that’s what the cops did in Oakland.

Interestingly enough, the day before a recall effort was initiated against Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and I’m wondering if there might have been some sort of cause and effect.

There allegations of problems at the Oakland protest, sanitation and vandalism, but I would like to hear something about from someone other than the authorities who initiated the crackdown.

There has since been a protest march to Oakland city hall over the arrests, with some scuffles.

I’m waiting for the police to ride down the protesters on camels and horses.

Why Rick Santorum is Not a Douche

Because in a just world, no part of him would never see the inside of a vagina:

The candidate later went on to explain that sex between a man and a woman is “special,” and even birth control is “not OK.”

“We’ll repeal Obamacare and get rid any idea that you have to have abortion coverage or contraceptive coverage,” he said. “One of the things that I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual liberty idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK. It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

 (Emphasis mine)

Seriously, the fact that any woman ever let this meat sack pass his genes on with her makes me despair for the future of our species.

The Question is Not Whether, but How Obama’s HARP Will F%$# Homeowners

So, Obama has announced a new assistance program for homeowners with underwater mortgages, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which is to succeed the thoroughly corrupt HAMP program, which was geared toward helping the banksters to defraud homeowners, to allow for that cash flow to paper over some of the evidence of their insolvency.

A quick perusal of the proposal gives us the the following bullet points:

  • The homeowner can be at a higher level of negative equity than previously allowed.
  • An appraisal is not necessarily.
  • Some fees are being waived, particularly for those who take shorter term loans.
  • Underwriting standards for the banks are relaxed, making it less likely for them to have to buy back bad loans. ⇐ This is the stealth bank bailout. Another f%$#ing get out of jail free card.
  • An agreement from the major banks to not block refinancing on the basis of a 2nd mortgage.
  • It only applies to loans held by Fannie and Freddie .

I’m dubious because I believe that the Obama administration has been completely captured by the banksters, and so will not live up to its expectation, but Felix Salmon calls the program pathetic based on its basic features:

  • If you’re a homeowner whose mortgage isn’t owned or guaranteed by Frannie, you’re out of luck.
  • If your mortgage was sold to Frannie after May 31, 2009, you’re out of luck.
  • If you want to get out of negative-equity hell by doing a principal reduction, you’re out of luck.
  • If your bank doesn’t feel like participating, for whatever reason, you’re out of luck.

Salmon also notes that even by the FHFA, the agency that is managing this program, does not forecast a significant uptick in refinancing, and the initial program has refinanced less than ⅕ of the the anticipated activities.

So, it probably fails on both the specifics of the plan, and the fact that Timmy “The Bankster’s Bitch” Geithner will be supervising the implementation, which is a recipe for another blow job for big banks.

Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship

In this case, it’s Michelle Bachmann’s entire campaign in New Hampshire just quit on her:

Staff members in New Hampshire for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann have resigned en masse, a Republican familiar with the situation said on Friday, in a fresh blow to her 2012 hopes.

The Republican had few details, but news reports in New Hampshire said the resignations included her New Hampshire campaign manager, Jeff Chidester.

Bachmann, campaigning in Iowa, sowed some confusion by saying she was unaware of the resignations.

Manchester’s Union Leader newspaper said Chidester, a conservative activist and radio talk show host, left due to frustration with Bachmann’s national campaign, not with the candidate herself.

Bachmann has a long history of churning through staff the way that Rush Limbaugh churns through Oxycontin.

This is a not unexpected development.