Do they know it's Christmas time?

We grabbed a card off of one of those Christmas "Wish Trees" for a local homeless shelter when I took the boys out to get their hair cuts the other day. It was from a 10 year old girl living in the shelter. What was she asking for?

"Home Essentials"

Ya know: Tooth brush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo & etc.. A kid wishing for nothing more than basics many take for granted every single day. You don't have to look to third world countries to see large scale and extreme poverty this year. It ain't pretty out there this year right here in our own backyards:

As a longtime Santa Claus at a suburban Chicago mall, Rod Riemersma used to jokingly tell children they would get socks for Christmas if they were naughty.

This year, he stopped telling the joke. Too many children were asking for socks. "They've probably heard their parents say, 'Geez, I wish I had some money to get them clothes,' " says Mr. Riemersma, 56 years old.


Sometimes even the best training can't keep Santa from being caught off guard. Mike Smith, who works as Santa at the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio, says a 5-year-old girl wearing a Dora the Explorer sweat shirt last month hopped in his lap and asked, "Can you turn my daddy into an elf?" "Why?" he asked.

"Because my daddy's out of work, and we're about to lose our house," she said.


Who the heck is Barry Cafero?

Via ctblogger:
I know it's early to be making this call but I'm almost certain no one topping this comment today:
It's ok that Larry Cafero doesn't know my name. Over the course of the next year, he'll quickly realize that Connecticut voters don't know his, either.
-Connecticut Democratic Party Communications Director Colleen Flanagan

This comment from Flanagan was made in light of a cheap shot from House Minority Leader Larry Cafero's in which he purposely mispronounced her name "Kathleen" (even after being corrected by a reporter.
After being told that the Democratic Party's spokeswoman's first name was Colleen, Cafero said, "I wouldn't know Kathleen Flanagan if she bumped into me on the street."

State Rep. Cafero's latest hissy-hit has to do with the disclosure Thursday that he used his staff to set-up a meeting with The Norwalk Hour to announce that he's running for governor and that the newspaper would embargo the announcement.

Here's the email sent by Cafero's press secretary Patrick O'Neil.
"Larry, we're all set with The Hour," O'Neil's message said. "They'll have the editorial board and a writer waiting for you at 10 a.m. They've agreed to the embargo and were much appreciative of the advance notice and exclusive interview. Jared Ferrari, the managing editor, will be coordinating the deal."
All I know for sure is that if his name is Barry we should be demanding to see his birth certificate - teabaging rules dictate that he can't be 'Murikan - and the rest of the emails in his government account to see if he has been using it for other nefarious reasons because that would be the only sane reaction to this news.

We might want to see his psychological evaluation scores, as well, regardless of whom he thinks he is.


Monday Morning Peak

Forget about Wednesday being hump day this week. The peak was already hit this morning, if you are among today's sleepy heads that stayed up to watch the Gemenids meteor showers:
Coming fast on the heels of its more famous cousin the Leonid meteor shower—which peaked less than a month ago—the Geminid show should feature as many as 140 shooting stars per hour between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

The Geminids are slow meteors that create beautiful long arcs across the sky—many lasting a second or two.

Favoring observers in the Northern Hemisphere, the Geminids are expected to be most frequent within two hours of 1:10 a.m. ET in the wee hours of Monday.
 The Geminids should still be viewable early tomorrow morning, though nowhere near as intense as this morning's meteor showers, if you are a willing insomniac:
The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by an object named 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be an extinct comet. The meteors from this shower can be seen in mid-December and usually peak around 12–14 of the month. The Geminid shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. The Geminids were first observed only 150 years ago, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids and Leonids.

The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower's name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. The meteors travel at medium speed in relation to other showers, at about 22 miles per second, making them fairly easy to spot. The Geminids are now considered by many to be the most consistent and active annual shower. In 2005, viewing of the shower was restricted due to a full moon washing out the fainter meteors. The 2006 shower had a less full moon, however the 2007 shower was a new moon, with the best viewing position being in the southern hemisphere, with Australia and New Zealand being noted spectacle locales. In 2008, the Geminids coincided with a full moon. In 2009 the peak date occurs two days before a new moon, making for ideal conditions.


People Need To See Doctors Now

We can sit here and discuss healthcare reform as we wait for reform, but there are so many reasons why so many people need access to Doctors and hospitals to kick in NOW. From Mobilization For Healthcare For All, here is one of those reasons:

While heath care reform dominates the national debate, not everyone in this wealthy country will be helped. In Kansas City, KS, there is a 14 year-old boy named Eduardo Loredo who could die any day.

Eduardo is being denied a heart transplant because he does not have health insurance (or enough money) to pay for a heart transplant and follow up care. Eduardo was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, and was hospitalized at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO beginning in July 2009. Eduardo was sent home from Children's Mercy Hospital on October 14, 2009 and told that he had the potential to live a few years or a few days.

Missouri's Medicaid program is generally available only to citizens and certain legal immigrants who meet a five year waiting period. These restrictive rules prevent Eduardo from qualifying for health insurance that would cover both the transplant procedure and the long-term follow up care required to ensure a successful transplant. Without this coverage, the total cost of the transplant would cost his family $500,000. Children's Mercy Hospital told Eduardo that without an up-front payment of $100,000, he would not even be able to get on the waiting list for a heart transplant. While Children's Hospital in St. Louis, MO originally offered to perform the transplant surgery for no cost, this offer was later retracted. His family is simply being told that his life is not a priority.

Sign the petition to save Eduardo Loredo's life -

Help the Mobilization keep fighting for the right to health care. Since this campaign started, we've been able to support brave activists across the country stand up to the biggest corporations in the world, and say, "We demand the right to health care." Now we are taking the message to Congress that Medicare for All is the only way to end the needless suffering and death in the wealthiest country in the world. We are planning actions on Human Rights Day, December 10th, across the country at Senators offices. Please join those efforts.

But we need your support to keep this campaign going, click here to donate now. Give what you can and we will make sure that every Member of Congress hears about Eduardo's needless suffering and demand the right to health care for all people in this country.

Martin Luther King, Jr declared: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

Thank you for your support.

For health and justice,

The Mobilization Team

Some of Mobilization for Healthcare for All's upcoming events:
  • December 8th
Details: Coming Soon!
Dan O’Neal, 480 650 0746, doneal48[at]cox.net
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally
  • December 10th, HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
Details: TBA
Mona Shaw, 515-282-4781, monashaw[at]aol.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally

Details: TBA
Denise Woodal, denisewoodallksu[at]yahoo.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally

Details: TBA
Don Cooney, 269-387-3190, donald.cooney[at]wmich.edu
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally

New York City
Details: Coming Soon!
Laurie Wen, 917 446 1610, lauriewen@aol.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally


Details: Sen. Specter’s office at 600 Arch St. (6th and Arch St.) at 12 noon
Contact: Joan Martini, joanmmartini[at]aol.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally

Virginia Beach
Details: Coming Soon!
Trudy Serrano, 757-671-9345, trudyserrano@live.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally

Washington, DC
When: 10:00am
Where: Sidewalk in front of Hart Senate Office Building – On Constitution Ave. (between First and Second Sts. NE)
Andy Richards, (571)-438-3393, arichards365[at]hotmail.com
What: Health Care is a Human Right National Day of Action Rally


Is Little Green Footballs a Communist Blog now?

"The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes,
and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them."

From LGF's Charles Johnson:

Why I Parted Ways With The Right

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.)

There are 7 more reasons, among the listed ones, for why you might have to call him a liberal/communist/socialist/etc. Blogger now. And, obviously, he is not the brightest bulb in the Blogosphere if it took him this long to figure it out, but among the right wing? About as close to a luminary as they had. And holy frick! He slams the door in every other right wing pundit's and Blogger's face as he leaves. I am just getting some disinfectant ready before I peek at the comment threads over there. ;)

I hope they don't mind the new communist logo I made for them. Just wondering if I should have changed it to a Russian football? (A soccer ball)

Will Teabagger anti-immigration agnst spill over to the Schiff campaign?

 Smells like Teabaggrrrr spirit...

Peter Schiff is well known for his for far right wing way out there libertarian Ron Paul-like views. You have to wonder if some of Teabagrrrrr angst will spill over to the GOP primary battles and burn Peter Schiff here in Connecticut?
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, was caught on video last week slamming “Ron Paul fanatics” in the anti-immigration movement along with tea-bagger wannabe William Gheen who organized poorly attended “copycat” anti-immigration tea party protests:
I used to support Ron Paul, until I had this falling out with these Ron Paul fanatics. They’re not all that way, just too many. The ones that I’ve met, who are very hateful people, have no business supporting Ron Paul. Jeff Schwilk and William Gheen have no business being in political activism because, in my blatant personal opinion, they are outright racists.
Gilchrist has long attempted to distinguish his “multi-ethnic” border vigilante group from more overtly racist organizations such as Gheen’s Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC). However, their public feud is more the product of personal infighting than ideological differences.
It is somewhat ironic to see the noted bigot, Jim Gilchrist, calling other people crazy racists. Tells you just how far out there in wingnuttia some of these angry people are.

And the motto of the few remaining members of the GOP that will have to sit through their brand of crazy in the GOP primaries?

Load up on guns
Bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend

Smells like teen spirit 

Load up on guns
Bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's overborne and self-assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello ,hello

With the Lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

A mullato
an albino
A mosquito
my libido

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello

With the Lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

A mullato
an albino
A mosquito
my libido

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard it's hard to find
Oh well whatever nevermind

Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello

With the Lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

A mullato
an albino
A mosquito
my libido
A denial


Valuable Lesson From Sarah Palin's Book

TRex has extracted and documented the bulk of the knowledge that can be had from Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue.

Trust me on this, there is a valuable lesson to be had from her book that every Blogger, journalist and pundit should be sharing with anyone that is truly interested in the politics of this nation. (H/T to Mike Finnigan at C&L's "Mike's Blog Roundup")


T-9 and Holding:

About 8 minutes before the shuttle blasts off:
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis and crew are nearing liftoff at Launch Pad 39A, prepared to begin the STS-129 cargo-delivery mission to the International Space Station.

The countdown clock is holding at T-9 minutes. This is the last built-in hold today and is scheduled to last about 45 minutes.

The weather forecast remains "go" at the launch site and the Transoceanic Abort Landing, or TAL, sites as the countdown clock ticks backward toward an on-time launch at 2:28 p.m. EST.
And there are only 5 more missions to go before the Space Shuttle will officially be retired:
Lift-off is planned for 1928 GMT (1428 EST) on Monday from the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral.

There are just five more shuttle launches scheduled before the planned retirement of the fleet in 2010.

The mission is set to include three spacewalks to store hardware on the outside of the orbiting outpost.
You can follow along:
Current Missions
Space Shuttle

[update] The shuttle is safely off in space and some interesting interesting stuff is out there, as well:
Amelia Earhart's Scarf to Fly Again

 A scarf belonging to famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart will circle the Earth repeatedly as part of the personal cargo being carried into space by the astronauts of space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission.

Albert Bresnick was a personal photographer to Earhart, and now, astronaut Randy Bresnick is rekindling the family connection. The Marine aviator and first-time space flier received the white, green and red scarf from the 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City, an organization of female pilots that formed with the help of Earhart. Randy Bresnick is also bringing along a photo from the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kan.

In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming in the process a prominent and celebrated adventurer. She, along with her navigator, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean five years later while trying to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane.

The remaining crew members of STS-129 have chosen a wide assortment of medals, shirts, patches and even a thumb drive to commemorate their 11-day venture to the International Space Station.

A cycling jersey from Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation will travel on the flight, completing the distance in seven minutes that Armstrong and the cyclists in the peloton rode in three weeks during the Tour de France.

Veteran astronaut Charles O. Hobaugh, also a Marine pilot, commands the mission that will deliver a pair of racks loaded with equipment to the station.

First-time shuttle Pilot Barry E. Wilmore has seen to it that Tennessee Technical University is well-represented in the commemorative assortment known as the Official Flight Kit. The school, which Wilmore graduated from with a master's in electrical engineering, will see a thumb drive, purple and gold placard, gold medallion, and a stuffed-toy eagle make the trip into space aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

The toy eagle will be joined by a stuffed-toy blue spider from the University of Richmond, the alma mater of veteran Mission Specialist Leland Melvin. A football jersey from Melvin's Heritage High School days also will make the trip. Melvin was drafted in 1986 by the NFL's Detroit Lions and took part in training camps with the Dallas Cowboys and Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.

MikeForeman, an experienced spacewalker from the STS-123 mission, is marking his hometown of Wadsworth, Ohio, with patches from the city's police and fire departments.

Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are symbolically carried into space in the form of a flag from Harvard and a copy of MIT's charter. First-time flier and physician Robert L. Satcher Jr. graduated from both schools during his educational career.

When the shuttle returns to Earth to end the STS-129 mission, the personal commemoratives will be removed and returned to the astronauts. Typically, the items are then returned to their sponsoring institutions or presented as gifts by the astronauts as a way to inspire future explorers.

Steven Siceloff
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center


    The more things change, the more they stay the same

    I woke up today to the news that it has been a whole year that gay and lesbian couples have been allowed to share the same rights as everyone else in our State. The right to settle down, get married and live as a family has changed a lot of people's lives in Connecticut.

    I did a quick inventory of how much my marriage had changed in the last year.

    The little things that have always been there, the fact that I still occasionally leave the toilet seat up to the dismay of my wife, or the fact that she still squeezes the toothpaste from the top of the tube and sometimes leaves the cap off, are still there. She still gives me a back rub when I'm sore, I still try to cook the occasional nice meal for her. I still snore like crazy and she still hogs the blankets. We both still get up every day doing what we do for our kids, for ourselves and for each other.

    As shocking as this may seem to the far right wing and Christianists that dominated the arguments against these simple and basic civil rights...

    Nothing has changed.

    All the little things that were always there, both the good and the bad that I am sure is there in every marriage, before this happened are still there. Except for the fact that more people that wanted to get married did get married, nothing has changed. All of those little bad things in every marriage that come with the good? They may pose a threat to some marriages that were already teetering on the edge of disaster. But marriage equality never had anything to do with that.


    That's Alright Obama

    A little northern humour on the bailouts in the key of "eh?"

    The banks may not all be solvent but the comment threads are. Deposit your thoughts below.

    When it comes to Joe Lieberman...

    If Joe Lieberman...
    Originally uploaded by msgeek93

    Nothing to add.


    KWIN-uh-pe-ack Poll is up - And so am I...

    It is way too early in the morning but I figured I'd check for the latest Quinnipiac poll results for the Connecticut Governor's race:
    In an early look at the 2010 election for Connecticut Governor, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz runs best among possible Democratic challengers, trailing Republican incumbent Jodi Rell 46 - 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

    Gov. Rell leads 91 - 5 percent among Republicans and 56 - 26 percent among independent voters, while Bysiewicz leads 74 - 12 percent among Democrats.

    Businessman Ned Lamont trails Rell 53 - 33 percent and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy loses 52 - 33 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

    In a Democratic primary matchup, Bysiewicz gets 26 percent to 23 percent for Lamont, with 9 percent for Malloy. No other contender tops 3 percent.
    With no candidate on the right to compare, all I can say is that it looks like Susan Bysiewicz is the early front runner in the race for the Democratic party nomination.

    And it looks like Rell may still be able to squeak out on a bit of a high note barring anymore news of the scandal involving Dautrich - AKA: Rell's Brain - and Quinnipiac leaking out. Of course, this poll was, I believe, taken before the news of subpoenas going out in that scandal.

    Voters are starting to trend towards a lower opinion of Connecticut political ethics during the Rell years... Quite punch to the gut when you consider Rowland was the previous Governor.

    Why this trend? Might just be because of information:

    The more information they have, the lower their opinion goes.


    Note to Simmons and McMahon: Crystal Balls and Teabaging don't mix

    Smash mouth political commentary from Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons:
    "Isn't it sad that after 30 years in Washington, Chris Dodd is still writing letters and putting out press releases after the fact,'' Ed Patru, spokesman for Linda McMahon, said in a press release. "The H1N1 shortage didn't just occur over night - it has been months in the making. Connecticut families deserve to have H1N1 vaccine availability, but they also deserve a Senator who puts timely leadership ahead of late-to-the-game outrage."

    And Rob Simmons, another one of Dodd's GOP opponents, compared the government's handling of the flu vaccines to its bungled response to Hurricane Katrina.

    "It is intolerable that H1N1 vaccines have arrived on Wall Street before they found their way to the most vulnerable on the Main Streets of Connecticut where infections grow by the day,'' Simmons said in a statement. "This situation is quickly becoming Katrina-like in its mismanagement, and it is providing an early glimpse at how government-run health care would operate under Senator Dodd's plan."
    We could solve the real problems, the shortage of swine flu vaccine, by removing the source of the problem...

    The failed free market unable to react to the needed production of vaccine.
    U.S. health officials expressed frustration Wednesday with the nation's struggles to produce vaccines against the H1N1 flu strain and told lawmakers they cannot guarantee that supply problems won't resurface.

    The new flu strain is spreading faster than the U.S. can make vaccines against it. Equipment problems and the slow pace in growing the new flu strain in laboratories for vaccines scuttled plans to have 161 million vaccines available by October. Today, just 32.3 million doses are available, far less than the 159 million needed to cover all those at highest risk from the H1N1 flu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said at a House Appropriations subcommittee briefing Wednesday.
    Or we could be stupid republicans and ignore the real issues in healthcare. The government does not produce the vaccine. Free marketeers do. If they can't keep up with the demand, perhaps they are in the wrong business?

    This is the free markets' bathtub. Let them drown in it.

    As for the "letter after the fact"? What the ???

    Was Dodd supposed to go all Reagan and ask astrologer Joan Quigley to divine the future on what he should do to solve all of the h1n1 problems before they even existed?

    For all of you that advocate crystal balls and teabaging?
    "By the time it was over, medics had administered government-run health care to at least five people in the crowd who were stricken as they denounced government-run health care. But Bachmann overlooked this irony as she said farewell to her recruits."
    Pick up your teeth on the way home, Okay Teabagrrrs?


    Single Payer Activists Arrested at Lieberman's DC office

    They came, they sat, they chanted:
    8 Protesters backing a universal health care system briefly occupied Sen. Joe Lieberman's office this morning.

    Protesters were arrested, one by one, and dragged out of his office amid chants of "Everyone in and noone out, universal healthcare now!" and "Represent Connecticut, not AETNA!"
    Activists hopefully moving the Overton Window - in our case leftward - because too many Democratic party politicians were too stupid to do that on their own at the start of the healthcare debate.

    Many in the Blogosphere had already set the long term strategy table for using Single Payer as a focus to keep dragging a compromise leftward. Part of why it made no sense to push single payer aside and settle on the compromise out of the gates.

    Many in the Blogosphere had already set the long term strategy table for using Single Payer as a focus to keep dragging a compromise leftward. Part of why it made no sense to push single payer aside and settle on the compromise out of the gates.

    The strategy was left there unused to the detriment of the entire cause.

    8 people are sitting-in the office of Sen. Lieberman!

    8 people are sitting-in the office of Sen. Joseph Lieberman demanding that he stop taking money from the insurance industry. The massive campaign donations and lobbying spending of the insurance industry is blocking real reform that would provide everyone in America with access to health care. When 45,000 people are dying annually due to lack of health care it is a moral imperative that America act now to provide health care to all. We are able to do this for senior citizens, why not for all Americans?

    Please take the following steps:

    1. Call Lieberman and tell him to stop taking insurance money. His numbers are: (202) 224-4041and (860) 549-8463.

    2. Sign the petition urging Lieberman to stop taking insurance money. Click here to sign the petition now. Urge everyone you know to sign the petition.

    3. Make a donation to support the Mobilization. Donate for bail money for those sitting in Lieberman’s office.

    Since beginning just over one month ago thousands have signed up to participate in “Patients before Profits” sit-ins and over 920 have signed up willing to risk arrest. By the end of this week the Mobilization will have held 32 sit-ins in 28 different cities with more than 150 arrests and over 220 risking arrest. We started out wanting 100 people to risk arrest at “patients before profits” sit-ins and now more than 920 have done so. The Mobilization needs to continue to grow in order to achieve health care for all.

    There is anger growing in the country at the failure of Congress to put forward a national health care plan that provides health care to everyone in the United States. It is important that people speak out now to push Congress and the president to achieve this urgent moral imperative. When President Obama ran for office he raised hopes in Americans that health policy would be reformed so that no one would go without health care. When the reform process began he talked about universal coverage now millions will go without health care access ten years from after the reform bill is passed. That is unacceptable. We need to demand that health care reform achieve the basic goal – that no one go without health care in a country as wealthy as America. We can achieve that goal if we speak up now and demand action. The United States has been effectively providing health care to senior citizens for 40 years through Medicare, we can do the same for everyone.

    Thank you for your support. Please take action now.


    Lamont In - Rell Out There Somewhere?

    Still waiting on word from Rell on whether or not she will be running - presumably she is having trouble forming an opinion on whether or not to run without Dautrich first poll testing the ideas - but, via Paul Bass, it looks like Lamont is getting ready to run for Governor:
    Ned Lamont, who took on U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman three years ago, has formed an “exploratory committee” for a challenge to Gov. M. Jodi Rell in 2010. He plans to talk about Moody’s, not Moody.

    Lamont planned to start informing past supporters of his move Wednesday morning, a day after the polls closed on the 2009 municipal elections and attention officially turns to the already crowded 2010 campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate.

    h/t to TPMDC for the full press release from Ned Lamont:

    Norwalk, CT - Ned Lamont, successful businessman, co-founder of the state policy center at Central Connecticut State University, and Democratic nominee for US Senate in 2006, announced that he will be filing papers today with the State Elections Enforcement Commission establishing an Exploratory Committee for statewide office:

    "As I have continued to meet with citizens across our state over the last three years, as co-chairman of President Obama's Connecticut campaign and on behalf of health care reform, I have been constantly reminded that Connecticut is not living up to its potential and that too many of our families are being left behind," said Lamont.

    "Like businesses, states thrive with strong executive leadership, and they fall behind with weak leadership. As measured by the loss of jobs, young people leaving our state, and the never-ending budget crisis, Connecticut's Chief Executive is simply not getting the job done."

    Since the 2006 campaign, Lamont has continued to serve as Chairman of the Board of Campus Televideo, a Connecticut company he founded twenty-five years ago. He is also a distinguished professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University, where he co-founded a policy center which has brought together leading business, labor, and non-profit leaders to formulate a strategic plan for the state of Connecticut. In addition, he serves on the boards of Conservation Services Group, a leading provider of energy efficiency programs, Teach for America/CT, and Mercy Corps, an international non-profit organization that focuses on job training and small business start-ups around the world.

    Banks - Breaking up is hard to do:

    Via the LA Times:

    Britain is forcing breakups of bailed-out major banks

    The British government -- spurred on by European regulators -- is forcing Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock to sell off parts of their operations. The Europeans are calling for more and smaller banks to increase competition and eliminate the threat posed by banks so large that they must be rescued by taxpayers, no matter how they conducted their business, in order to avoid damaging the global financial system.

    The move to downsize some of Britain's largest banks comes as U.S. politicians are debating whether American banks should also be required to shrink. The Obama administration has maintained that large banks should be preserved because they play an important role in the economy and that taxpayers instead should be protected by creating a new system for liquidating large banks that run into problems. But Britain's decision already is being cited by a growing chorus of experts, including prominent bankers and economists, who want the United States to pursue a similar approach.

    "We still need to see exactly which parts the [British] banks will need to sell off to judge whether the goal of having smaller banks is really achieved," said Richard Portes, an economics professor at the London Business School. "But there are lessons here for the United States. The supposed economies of scale of massive financial institutions are outweighed by the difficulties in controlling risk inside them."

    Hopefully the US will follow suit but I don't expect that since the big banks that failed here still managed to hold on to their biggest asset: The US government.

    Free Marketeers Against Healthcare? Go Galt and take your communist influence with you...

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, …”

    I assume they were not discussing welfare payments for high ranking military officers when they mention "promote the general welfare". And the 16th amendment allows for the government to tax for the purposes of promoting the general welfare.

    16th Amendment

    “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

    There are numerous other mentions in The Constitution supporting their right to tax you for whatever they deem is for the good of the nation. 

    And not just to "promote the general welfare" but to "provide" it, as well:

    Article 1 Section 8

    "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;"

    It is safe to say that keeping Americans healthy would be providing for the general welfare of the United States. You may not like it. But that is The Constitution.

    As for healthcare being a right? Article 25, section 1 of the Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 25  Section 1

    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care [...]”

    Signed by the President of the United States of America and ratified by Congress, healthcare is a right in the USA.

    The basis of the Declaration of Human rights was not meant to be an enforceable treaty, but it was to be a recognized document to give legal definitions to generalized ideas like freedom and rights around the world. Things that had, up until then, not really been legally defined have been since that time.

    You can and should thank Eleanor Roosevelt for her small part in all of that.

    For those of you that screech "free markets" extremism and falsely tout The Constitution, threatening to "Go Galt"? None of this infringes on your rights to pursue “Life, Liberty and Happiness” unless your definition of those things are having a few more bucks so the poor can die of illness. If you think those things than you are an extremist because nothing in The Constitution guarantees you those things as a "right". And, in fact, the legal definitions could not support your extremist misconceptions.

    Even Adam Smith, the “father of modern economics”, recognized that a capitalist society based on free markets would cease to function if there were no taxes, wage controls and strong social safety nets to balance the free markets. From his wiki:

    “One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Adam Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics.


    Smith has been celebrated by advocates of free market policies as the founder of free market economics, a view reflected in the naming of bodies such as the Adam Smith Institute, Adam Smith Society and the Australian Adam Smith Club, and in terms such as the Adam Smith necktie.
    Alan Greenspan argues that, while Smith did not coin the term laissez-faire, "it was left to Adam Smith to identify the more-general set of principles that brought conceptual clarity to the seeming chaos of market transactions". Greenspan continues that The Wealth of Nations was "one of the great achievements in human intellectual history". P. J. O'Rourke describes Adam Smith as the "founder of free market economics".

    However, other writers have argued that Smith's support for laissez-faire has been overstated. Herbert Stein wrote that the people who "wear an Adam Smith necktie" do it to "make a statement of their devotion to the idea of free markets and limited government", and that this misrepresents Smith's ideas. Stein writes that Smith "was not pure or doctrinaire about this idea. He viewed government intervention in the market with great skepticism ... yet he was prepared to accept or propose qualifications to that policy in the specific cases where he judged that their net effect would be beneficial and would not undermine the basically free character of the system. He did not wear the Adam Smith necktie." In Stein's reading, The Wealth of Nations could justify the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, mandatory employer health benefits, environmentalism, and "discriminatory taxation to deter improper or luxurious behavior"."

    I have not bolded any particular part since his entire wiki page is worth the read. Go read it all since…

    You’ll also find that Adam Smith, the original free marketeer that founded the line of thought free market extremists screech about in the USA today was also one of the strong influences on communist theories.

    Classical economists presented variations on Smith, termed the 'labour theory of value', later Marxian economics descends from classical economics also using Smith's labour theories in part. The first volume of Karl Marx's major work, Capital, was published in German in 1867. In it, Marx focused on the labour theory of value and what he considered to be the exploitation of labour by capital. The labour theory of value held that the value of a thing was determined by the labor that went into its production. This contrasts with the modern understanding of mainstream economics, that the value of a thing is determined by what one is willing to give up to obtain the thing. Smith is often cited not only as the conceptual builder of free markets in capitalism but also as a main contributor to communist theory, via his influence on Marx.

    Yeah, Karl Marx loved him some free marketeer.

    So, if you're against healthcare reform for all of the really stupid reasons? The reasons that are not there in The Constitution and the reasons that don't work in a balanced free market and the reasons that are so extremist they are actually going against The Constitution and the laws of the United States of America:

    Please, feel free to "Go Galt" and take all of your communist influence with you.


    Windsock Joe

    We really want to know which way the wind blows, Joe? The other day you were dead set against the Public Option, much to the chagrin of Connecticut voters. And now?
    Sen. Joe Lieberman has reached a private understanding with Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will not block a final vote on healthcare reform, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

    The unpredictable Democrat-turned-Independent last week publicly stated he would join Republicans in filibustering the Democratic legislation after Reid (D-Nev.) announced he had included a government-run health insurance plan in the bill.

    But sources said Reid’s staff is telling liberal interest groups that Lieberman (Conn.) has assured Reid he will vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.
    Careful or you'll end up with whiplash if you keep this up, Joe.


    National Nurses Movement Action Diary

    Your calls are needed to keep single payer amendments alive in the U.S. House of Representatives. The message is simple: "Keep the Kucinich Amendment!"

    • Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
      DC 202.225.4965 - SF 415.556.4862

    • Representative George Miller:
      202.225.2095 - Concord 925.602.1880
    • Representative Henry Waxman:
      202.225.3976 - LA 323.651.1040

    • Read the National Nurses Blog Post

    And don't forget to rec up that dKos diary and leave a comment thanking them for all the National Nurses Movement does if you are a member there.

    Do the Math

    Susie Madrak at C&L suggests you do the math, and I do not think you'll like it:
    The bill provides financial assistance on a sliding scale. Premiums range from 1.5 percent of income to 12% for those at 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. The plan provides additional assistance for households up to 400% of the FPL by limiting cost-sharing to 3% of plan costs at the lowest tier, to 30% of plan costs at 350-400% of the FPL.

    For instance: If your income is under 133-150% of the poverty level, your premiums will be limited to a range of 1.5 to 3%. That means you'll pay 3% of plan costs, with an annual out-of-pocket cap of $500 for individuals and $1000 for families.

    And so on:

    150-200% - 3-5.5% - 7% - $1000/$2000

    200-250% - 5.5-8% - 15% - $2000/$4000

    250-300% - 8-10% - 22% - $4000/$8000

    300-350% - 10-11% - 28% - $4500/$9000

    350-400% - 11-12% - 30% - $5000/$10,000

    The Federal Poverty Level is:

    Persons in family

    1 $10,830

    2 14,570

    3 18,310

    4 22,050

    5 25,790

    6 29,530

    7 33,270

    8 37,010

    For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

    So although I've been on unemployment for the past year, I would be expected to pay approximately $4000 a year. Huh? Your individual mileage may vary, but those figures aren't very reassuring to me.

    Do the math, and let me know if you think this is affordable.
    Go ahead and figure it out for yourselves. Is this making healthcare more affordable for you?


    Gov. Rell: "The Computer Ate My Homework!"

    When you read stuff like this you really don't have to wonder if Dautrich focus group tested this message before she sent it out:
    A review of documents provided by the university to The Day also shows that the governor's office did not fully comply with previous requests for public records, leaving out a handful of e-mail responses from Moody to Dautrich, including a message that thanks the professor for his help in crafting Rell's budget speech.

    Harris declined to comment on any of the new findings in the UConn documents, but said in an interview this week that the Moody e-mails had been withheld from a reporter inadvertently because the governor's staff had not correctly used the "Find" function in the Outlook e-mail program when complying with The Day's records request.
     1st thing: Harris, she wasn't complying with The Day's record request. You know... Kind of like what happens in a "cover-up". A really big part of this story.  

    2nd thing: Was Dautrich Rell's equivalent of Bush's Brain? Because her excuse is what I might expect to hear from a child. Her messaging is all over the place without his focus group tested waste of taxpayers' money asshattery.

    Rell's politics and policies were always marginal. Now her excuses for them are too.


    If you are like most Single Payer supporters...

    I think you'll find the following links are the bomb!

    Weiner Amendment || Kucinich Amendment || Public Option || Healthcare Reform || Republican Healthcare Plan || Democratic Healthcare Plan || Doctors on Healthcare Reform || Nurses on Healthcare Reform

    Don't be shy to click on them and feel free to copy and paste them everywhere. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink...

    And, ain't it funny what news of the CBO scoring Single Payer can do?


    Flushing Out the Ongoing Bank Fraud and Financial Terrorism

    The number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the 3rd quarter: "Despite signs of broader economic recovery, number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter - a sign the plague is still spreading."

    And banks are keeping losses off the books as they ignore the people that are not paying their mortgages:
    JUAN GONZALEZ: And William Black, where is the outrage? It seems to me, at this stage, with the—as the foreclosures continue to escalate in numbers, and yet we’re seeing these enormous profits less than a year after the financial crisis. There doesn’t seem to be the kind of outrage, even in Congress, that there was six months or eight months ago.

    WILLIAM BLACK: There’s no palpable outrage, certainly not in Congress. The reform efforts on derivatives, for example, are a scandal. They exempt virtually all of the problem derivatives, and they’re designed to exempt it. And that’s the bill that’s introduced, and of course it’s likely to get worse with additional lobbying from the special interests.

    Link the things that you’ve just been talking about. You talked about foreclosures reaching record highs. But in fact, foreclosures, relative to delinquencies, are quite low compared to historical ratios. In other words, banks have tons of folks who are not paying their mortgages on time, and they’re not foreclosing. And the reason they’re not foreclosing is, once you foreclose, you have to recognize losses under the accounting rules. And the banks gimmicked the accounting rules. They put pressure on Congress, and Congress put pressure on the accounting profession to gimmick the accounting rules now about a year ago. Now, these bonuses, of course, are paid compared to alleged profits. What happens if you understate your losses dramatically? You report much higher profits and much higher bonuses. So this is a web of fraud, in which they are getting as much as they can before the place goes to hell in a handbasket again.
    Here we are neck deep in debt to pay off the gambling debts of the bankers and now they are completely ignoring their very real losses that are piling up at a record rate simply so they can keep the bonus money flowing into their own pockets:
    The Dow is Up but Your House is Gone
    So here we have another bankster scam being waged on the consuming public. The scam is to create another "too big to fail" scenario as they make record profits and pay out record bonuses by rigging their books.

    But the good news is the Dow is up.

    So you or someone you care about is likely without a job or looking for more work. But the elite are rigging the system again, and you are going to fix things next time by voting for a Republican.
    And what are these bankers with their Enron style accounting doing to help the homeowners that are on the verge of losing their homes? You can be certain that they are still out there offering ARMs to unsuspecting victims of their financial rape of the world.

    And as for you? You get nothing but shafted:
    It's time to recognize what it means to be part of the billionaire-bailout nation. Citizenship comes in three distinct flavors.

    If you are wealthy, it's fantastic to take part in the resurgent Wall Street boom. You are thrilled to see the trillions in taxpayer dollars successfully prop up the financial sector. After all it's not really your money -- your tax shelters take care of that. You love the rise in the markets. You are now reaping the rewards of investing in a sector that rests firmly upon government welfare, and in which the largest institutions are guaranteed from failure. It feels good to see double-digit returns again, which you feel you truly deserve.

    The gap between your wealth and the average American's is utterly fantastic. Life is good.

    If you have a job, you are feeling better than a year ago. Your 401k is coming back from the dead. The stimulus program seems to be helping with your employment. You may even get some relief from health care reform. But you are not seeing your wages increase. (Overall the average production workers real wages are down more than 18 percent since the mid-1970s.) It's not easy to maintain a middle-class existence or get anywhere near one if you're not already there. Layoffs might be slowing down but you are still petrified that your job will soon disappear. You are unsure you can provide for your children's education and your own retirement. The future seems much less secure than it did for your parents' and grandparents' generations.

    If you don't have a job you're in deep trouble. You are a "lagging indicator."
    If you are among the Nouveaux Welfare Riche of the world?

    Then your life is still good. The rest of us will never have a chance unless they fix the real problems.

    These rich bastards know the government will hand out more of our future tax money over to them so they can continue to profit no matter how outrageously insane and fraudulant their business practices. Heck... Congress doesn't even want to take a real honest look at one of the major problems in of all of this:
    As chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Representative Edolphus Towns has not been shy about criticizing the excesses of the financial services industry, from executive bonuses to Wall Street profits, as well as the spotty track record of some bond-rating agencies.

    But his refusal to subpoena records involving Countrywide Financial, a company blamed for lending practices that contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis, has made Mr. Towns himself the target of criticism.
    Now, I don't really care about the faux smears of some Democrats that underlie the overall schemes of the opposition party. The real problem here is that if they start looking at the symptoms of this Great Recession? The Bank of America owned Coutrywide mortgage mills?

    It might lead them to the real fiancial disease.

    The banks and shadow banks that got us all stuck where we are and are continuing with more fraud and will continue to take us around this depressing loop and they will find new ways to flush the nations' economy down the toilet as the old ways are still being brought to light:

    Apparently, when you say something long enough and loud enough, people start to believe it, even when it defies reality. Here, for instance, is the normally skeptical Barney Frank on the subject: “What happened was an explosion of loans being made outside of the regular banking system. It was largely the unregulated sector of the lending industry and the underregulated and the lightly regulated that did that.”

    To which I can now triumphantly reply: Oh, really???

    Last weekend, after the column was published, an angry mortgage broker — someone who felt she and her ilk were being unfairly scapegoated by the banking industry — sent me a series of rather eye-opening documents. They were a series of fliers and advertisements that had been sent to her office (and mortgage brokers all over the country) from JPMorgan Chase, advertising their latest wares. They were dated 2005, which was before the subprime mortgage boom got completely out of control. They’re still pretty sobering.

    “The Top 10 Reasons to Choose Chase for All Your Subprime Needs,” screams the headline on the first one. Another was titled, “Chase No Doc,” and described the criteria for a borrower to receive a so-called no-document loan. “Got Bank Statements?” asked a third flier. “Get Approved!” In a number of the fliers, Chase makes it clear to the mortgage brokers that the bank doesn’t need income or job verification — it just needs to look at a handful of old bank statements.

    Right now people are being tried because they knew that this bust economy was coming but were still pushing their junk products on investors:
    On Wednesday prosecutors painted a different story, claiming that the men knew their success as managers of mortgage-related funds was coming to an end in the spring of 2007, so they began a campaign of lies to keep investors from withdrawing their funds in the hopes of turning things around. The funds collapsed in July of that year, costing investors about $1.6 billion.

    Messrs. Cioffi, 53 years old, and Tannin, 48, potentially face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of the several fraud counts of which they were charged in 2008, after a year-long investigation.

    Defense lawyers have stressed that most of the investors were banks, insurance companies and investment funds, who knew the risks of investing in the Bear Stearns funds.

    It's "human nature" to "use hindsight bias" against people after "things don't turn out well," but "that's not fair to Matt," Ms. Brune said about her client. "This is a case about trying to do your best," she said.
    Since we know that they haven't stopped selling junk mortgages even as they are purposely ignoring the billions and billions in mortgages that should be putting them into the major losses category so they can continue to get their great bonuses, and they are still gambling with credit derivatives and credit default swaps at the same unregulated pace that brought the economy of the world down...

    It will be impossible for them to claim the "hindsight bias" defense the next time this comes down the pike.

    You don't have to be a financial genius to know it is all coming again because none of the problems, the real causes like Derivatives and CDS and myriad practices of these Wall Street financial fraudsters, nor the symptoms like the mortgage mills offering up ARMs and other economic disasters waiting to happen, have been stopped:

    I have posted this warning of Bank of America's (BAC) naked swap writing to my subscribers a few weeks ago. Since BAC is reporting this week, I have decided to make my suspicions public. I have found evidence that this bank has $32 billion of naked (as in apparently unhedged) swaps on its books - just like AIG. The difference is this bank is bigger, probably has more exposure, and has already been bailed out - several times. Oh, did I mention the insured collateral is nearly half BBB rated or lower? How about extreme management issues at the top, and I mean all the way to the top (the CEO may actually bring down the ex-treasury secretary and maybe even the Fed Chairman). A trunk full of junk, surrounded by drama. It should be an interesting conference call today when they report, that is if anybody decides to ask the right questions.

    As many of my subscribers and readers know, I have caught many companies on the short side as they imploded. One company that I did not get was American International Group. The reason it escaped me? I was too close to it. I have met Frank Tizzio (then president), Maurice Greenburg (then CEO and Chairman), and a several of their upper management to collaborate on deals, and was impressed with the way they ran their shop. Because of this, I didn't apply the same critical, skeptical eye that I used with the other prospects. Alas, because of such, I overlooked the inevitable, and in retrospect, the blatantly obvious.

    Every step of the way the banks have been trying to stick us with more and more losses as they find new ways to profit off of the government troughs.

    Everything you need to know about the bailouts...

    in 2 short paragraphs. A relatively long post for Atrios. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!
    What's The Goal?
    Others have made this point in various ways, but if the goal is to bail out the banksters and keep the existing too big to fail financial order in place with the same cast of characters in charge, then all of this sounds like a cunning plan.
    If the goal was really to get banks lending again they'd be funneling large sums of money to healthy (mostly smaller) financial institutions who actually made sensible choices over the last few years.
    Meanwhile a fire sale is going on:
    Lenders have become so overwhelmed by the foreclosure crisis that they are starting to unload properties in bulk to investor groups at steep discounts.
    Investors then flip the properties for a profit without necessarily improving the home.
    For example, a unit of Citigroup, the troubled financial giant, sold a foreclosure in Temecula to an Arizona investment firm for $139,000 when comparable homes in the area were selling for $240,000 to $260,000.
    The firm listed the home for $249,000, received multiple offers and the property has entered escrow, said Amber Schlieder, the real estate agent who handled the listing.
    Citigroup left a 100 grand on the table. This looks like a great way to abuse the taxpayer even more.
    I want to know who they are all selling in bulk to.
    Remember who else was buying up the mortgages in bulk?
    So it may come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.
    Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide's former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.
    "It has been very successful - very strong," John Lawrence, the company's head of loan servicing, told Mr. Kurland one recent morning in a glass-walled boardroom here at PennyMac's spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.
    The Treasury has shown a willingness to recklessly toss all of our futures away to keep these "Too Big Failures" operating in their self-entitled comfort zone.
    What incentive do the banks have to sell these properties for as much as they can when they can sell them in bulk at a loss to their buddies' companies (or even their own companies) so they can turn a profit on them and doing this knowing the failure bankers can ship off all of the bills for the losses to us? Think about it.
    If Geithner were handing these trillions to the smaller more responsible bankers some of us little people would be able to buy these cheap houses...

    But this way the elite get to keep all of the assets in their greedy hands and have us pay for their gambling addiction failures too. And then they will turn a profit on selling us these properties AGAIN.
    “While some critics are distressed that Mr. Kurland and his team are back in business, the executives say that PennyMac’s operations serve as a model for how the government, working with banks, can help stabilize the housing market and lead the nation out of the recession. “It is very important to the entire team here to be part of a solution,” Mr. Kurland said
    Important for Whom? You, maybe, but not me.
    I am thinking predatory lenders should already be in jail and that this is a model for more financial disaster for taxpayers. I smell smoke and all I see is a fire and a bunch of greedy arsonists standing around with their gasoline soaked hands in our pockets..

    And, so far, the elite are achieving their goal of bailing out themselves with our money.
    From buhdydharma at dKos, some extra food for thought:
    Hard Not To Call It Evil
    According to people who should know, The Ruling Class is using our money....draining our money, the money we use to survive and feed our children and to actual produce things, to rescue the very structure...that allows them to BE The Ruling Class. The structures that enable them to Rule us by controlling credit, capital, and our pensions and IRA's and 401k's.

    And our regulatory agencies and politicians. And so by extension our military. Which is then used in the service and interests of The Ruling Class and their Party of Business, the GOP.

    These people, the Ruling Class, are the ones who got us into this financial armageddon. These are the same Ruling Class that took us to war in Iraq, after ignoring the warnings that an attack was coming.

    They are the same people who made America into a nation that tortures people they KNOW to be innocent. They are the same people...if they even deserve the name...who are stopping any serious efforts to mitigate a Climate Crisis of incomprehensible scope.

    They are the same people that so unprecedentedly had the Supreme Court decide Bush vs. Gore, so they could have Bush cut their taxes and deregulate the very same structures that we are now being called to give OUR money to prop up. Yes, the very same people who are directly responsible for everything that has gone wrong in our world, are the people who are now telling us....not asking us....telling us, that we have to bail them out. While as always, not telling us the whole story, not telling us what they are doing behind the scenes and behind our backs.
    Read on...
    At this very moment Banks are making up books telling Wall Street how profitable they are but it is all a massive illusion as what they are really doing is hiding losses and managing to turn it into their own personal profits for their insider friends and even themselves. They are doing all of this using our tax dollars to create some kind of warped Capitalist Welfare Elitist society. And it is not like the some people in the financial world haven't noticed:

    Is it time to say that this is truly economic warfare on the people of the world and start calling it the financial terrorism that it all really is?

    Because until some of the real problems that lead to all of the other problems that everyone knows still exist are fixed... This is exactly what it is.

    And fegining ignorance of it? Not gonna cut it when people called it what it was long before this current meltdown:
    The rapidly growing trade in derivatives poses a "mega-catastrophic risk" for the economy and most shares are still "too expensive", legendary investor Warren Buffett has warned.

    The world's second-richest man made the comments in his famous and plain-spoken "annual letter to shareholders", excerpts of which have been published by Fortune magazine.

    The derivatives market has exploded in recent years, with investment banks selling billions of dollars worth of these investments to clients as a way to off-load or manage market risk.

    But Mr Buffett argues that such highly complex financial instruments are time bombs and "financial weapons of mass destruction" that could harm not only their buyers and sellers, but the whole economic system.

    There are so many ways that financial tools have been developed to terrorize the people...

    And this is all the rest of the people, the one's that are not the Noveaux Welfare Riche, have to show for it:

    Step 2: Documenting Bushvilles

    Welcome to America in decline:
    "They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."
    We need to set out to document these atrocities in as much detail as we can. Are there any places like this near you:

    Bushville, Ontario, California:
    "Is a campground the solution to the problem of homelessness? The California City of Ontario thinks so."

    Bushville, Los Angeles, California:

    "Tent cities have sprung up outside Los Angeles as people lose their homes in the mortgage crisis."


    "Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.

    Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

    "They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp.""

    Welcome to free market America:
    "It feels like a concentration camp."

    Bushville, Sacremento, California:
    "Some 300 people call a tent city in Sacramento home, including Tracy Vaughan, who moved to the city with her husband six months ago.

    Via the AP, No Job - No Home:

    As many as 1200 homeless?
    "Some nearby homeowners have reportedly complained about the tent cities, but Sacramento's new mayor, former NBA star Kevin Johnson, has suggested that the tent cities might provide a temporary solution to the lack of shelter. As many as 1,200 people may be living in these tent cities, according to the local ABC 7 News."

    Bushville, Reno, Nevada:
    "A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

    Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

    Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

    From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation."

    Bushville, Santa Barbara, California:
    "The relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans."

    Bushville, Fresno, California:
    "authorities in Fresno are trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood."

    America the Beautiful:
    3rd world shantytowns.

    Bushville, Athens, Georgia:
    "Wayne Hill packed up his meager belongings last week and moved his home deeper into the woods.

    Hill's red tent and neighboring homes had inched too close to the nearby highway, and police told him to move.

    "We've asked them to move back off the road a little bit," Athens-Clarke police Maj. Carter Greene said. "It seemed they were encroaching on Lexington Road."


    But Tent City limits slowly crept downhill, so now people look up from Lexington Road and a perimeter off-ramp to see campsites and junk piles."

    Can you just imagine the horror of having to actually see the homeless?

    Bushville, Seattle, Washington:
    (Note: there are several - 5 or 6 - of them in Seattle)
    "Activists point to the annual One Night Count as evidence that not enough shelter beds exist. During the count of the homeless in Seattle and other parts of King County on Jan. 25, volunteers counted 2,631 people sleeping in cars and trucks, doorways and parks and under highways, or walking around or riding buses to stay warm in freezing temperatures. When comparing similar areas counted a year ago, the number of homeless increased 15 percent.

    An additional 2,515 people spent the night in emergency shelters, with 3,293 more in transitional housing, for a total of 8,439 homeless people."

    Bushville, Nashville, Tennessee:
    "To its credit, Nashville recognizes that there is a problem with the "system" and, as the community slowly works towards correcting these problems, understands that there is at least a temporary need for the existence of homeless encampments.

    To its discredit, Nashville is currently engaged in dismantling Tent City, the largest (the population fluctuates wildly at times, but is consistently around 50) and oldest (in existence since the mid 1980s) homeless camp in the area, which is slated to close June 1, 2009; sooner if outreach workers are able to find housing for the remaining residents."

    Bushville, Chatanooga, Tennessee:
    "The demolition of Tent City left many of Chattanooga's homeless without a place to live.

    But not so for one lucky man.

    For the first time in six years Richard Waldrep has a home to call his own.

    Waldrep has spent the last several years on the streets, for the last few months he called "Tent City" home.

    But, now that home has been destroyed.

    Due to safety concerns and liability issues Norfolk Southern Railroad bulldozed the property leaving Waldrep and almost 30 others to find another place to live. "

    Bushville, St. Petersburg, Florida:
    "Police officers with box cutters showed up where St. Pete's tent city residents had moved and set up. The cops slashed their tents to the ground as residents watched in shock. Now one homeless group is moving to label St. Petersburg as the 'meanest city in the nation.' Video by Tina May."

    The police destroying the few meager belongings left to these homeless people. Is that what the mandate of police officers is supposed to include today? What happened to serve and protect?

    Do you know of any of these tent cities or Bushvilles near you that the media has yet to disclose of? If you do... Links, photos, and videos need to be added to our own archives in order to document the widespread disaster that is a very result of this failed Bush economy and the free-market run amok.

    Arthur Delaney at the HuffPo is attempting to document these stories. We should all be doing our part to identify these places:
    There are reports of tent cities popping up across the country as unemployment rises in a worsening economy. The biggest and highest-profile shantytown is in Sacramento, where hundreds of newly-homeless tent residents are cooking soup in old coffee cans.

    We want to know where else this is happening.

    HuffPost readers: Is there a tent city near you? Have you noticed a newly-formed community of people living together in improvised housing in a public space? Email us! Send any information you've got (or pictures) to submissions+homeless@huffingtonpost.com.

    Sacramento's KCRA reported this week that city officials plan to shut the tent city down:

    While this is a good idea - documenting where they exist is really only Step 2 because it is an idea without a real humane purpose.

    Rather than just documenting these stories, perhaps we should try to solve the problems? In some of these Bushvilles there are already people working to help fix the problems as both short term and long term solutions are needed.

    In Portland, Oregon, many in the community are providing the elbow grease to make their tent city, Dignity Village, more livable for the short term and more effective at helping the people get back to work:
    Many more community's across the country, have looked to us for answers to help the homeless population that is growing bigger each year. When People come out to visit us , they are amazed at what we have set up and how we help the 50 to 60 homeless people that live here at any given time, a stepping stone effect that gives each person living here a chance to help themselves regain a new start to gain main stream living again.

    All of this comes from donations from viewers and visitors that help to support our goals.

    Dignity Village has been working this way since 2001 and long before Bushvilles started popping up. I imagine that they are probably experiencing a huge surge in people needing their help as the economy has collapsed over the last few months.

    The right did not solve the problem of Hoovervilles, but the left did with the bold and visionary leadership of FDR. Many on the right would like nothing more than to ignore Bushvilles because it exposes the reality of their political ideology taken to extremes.

    We can and will solve the problem of Bushvilles.

    I am no community organizer, but I imagine that we need to take these steps first:

    1. Identify the major problem - done

    2. Identify where it exists - ?

    3. Identify problems that are more local to each area - ?

    4. Get to work solving the short term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

    5. Get to work solving the long term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

    Are any of you up to a real challenge?

    Are any of you interested in beginning Step 2 and starting to document as many of these tent cities and Bushvilles as we can? Searching for links, getting out in the streets and photographing and videoing these places AND, more importantly, documenting the problems they face so we can try to find real solutions would be no small undertaking.
    Something tells me we ain't seen nothing yet from these financial terrorists... Because we have all seen these Bushvilles growing more and more as things have gotten worse and worse and nobody has done a God-damned thing about them, either.

    Not fixing the problems, and not fixing what caused them all.