Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Does Virgina really support Cantor?

Do the residents of Virgina really want such a person representing them?

The following is reprint from ( The original, at least in my browser, is dark print on a dark background and I could not read it.

With apologizes to Salon:

War Room
Monday, Jun 27, 2011 20:25 ET
Eric Cantor's glaring conflict of interest
He's the GOP's chief debt ceiling negotiator. He's also invested in a fund that will skyrocket if there's a default
By Jonathan Easley

Eric Cantor's glaring conflict of interest
AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Eric Cantor

When Eric Cantor shut down debt ceiling negotiations last week, it did more than just rekindle fears that the U.S. government might soon default on its debt obligations -- it also brought him closer to reaping a small financial windfall from his investment in a mutual fund whose performance is directly affected by debt ceiling brinkmanship.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, had between $1,000 and $15,000 invested in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury EFT. The fund aggressively "shorts" long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, meaning that it performs well when U.S. debt is undesirable. (A short is when the trader hopes to profit from the decline in the value of an asset.)

According to his latest financial disclosure statement, which covers the year 2010 and has been publicly available since this spring, Cantor still has up to $15,000 in the same fund. Contacted by Salon this week, Cantor's office gave no indication that the Virginia Republican, who has played a leading role in the debt ceiling negotiations, has divested himself of these holdings since his last filing. Unless an agreement can be reached, the U.S. could begin defaulting on its debt payments on Aug. 2. If that happens and Cantor is still invested in the fund, the value of his holdings would skyrocket.

"If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, investors would start fleeing U.S. Treasuries," said Matt Koppenheffer, who writes for the investment website the Motley Fool. "Yields would rise, prices would fall, and the Proshares ETF should do very well. It would spike."

The fund hasn't significantly spiked yet because many investors believe Congress will eventually raise the debt ceiling. However, since Cantor abruptly called off debt ceiling negotiations last Thursday, the fund is up 3.3 percent. Even if an agreement is ultimately reached before Aug. 2, the fund could continue to benefit between now and then from the uncertainty. (One tactic some speculators are using is to "trade the debt ceiling debate" -- that is, to place short-term bets on prices as they fluctuate with the news out of Washington.)

Salon's Andrew Leonard calls the debt ceiling negotiations "Washington’s titanic game of chicken," and the longer the game goes on, the more skittish the bond markets will become.

"Cantor's involvement in the fund and negotiations is not ideal," Koppenheffer said. "I don’t think someone negotiating the debt ceiling should be invested in this kind of an ultra-short. We can only guess how much he understands what’s in his portfolio, but you’d think a politician would know better. It looks pretty bad."

Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring noted that U.S. Treasury bonds make up a large portion of the congressman’s pension, and said investment in ProShares ETF serves to balance that investment and to diversify his portfolio. Disclosure forms indicate that Cantor has considerable personal assets, including real estate in Virginia worth up to $1 million, and a number of six- and seven-figure loans to private entities and limited liability companies. So his investment in ProShares ETF represents only a small portion of his overall portfolio -- but that share could grow a little larger just over a month from now.

Jonathan Easley is an editorial fellow at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @joneasley. More: Jonathan Easley

About War Room

War Room is our political news and commentary blog, with coverage and commentary throughout the day from Alex Pareene and original reporting and analysis from Justin Elliott, Steve Kornacki and the rest of Salon's news team.

For additional comments see:

Cantor, debt ceiling, Republican, conflict of interest,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Authorized Brand, an original poem

Cookie cutter people
living cookie cutter lives
raising cookie cutter children
with their cookie cutter wives
driving cookie cutter SUVs
to cookie cutter schools
on to cookie cutter jobs
with their cookie cutter rules

on a cookie cutter schedule
for their cookie cutter day
while their cookie cutter kids
engage in cookie cutter play
in their cookie cutter suburbs
with their cookie cutter lawns
'til their cookie cutter nights
end in cookie cutter yawns

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Budgets, yours and the government's

(Prime Directive) The government can't go broke.

The country went off the gold standard in 1971!!!! And what is strange is everyone acts as if we are still on that standard. The mind set, certainly in the general population, remains fixed on the idea that a federal budget and home budget work the same way.

They do not. In fact many of the concepts that we have for home, corporate, or state budgets either don't apply or are reversed for a government running on a fiat currency.

For example: Your budget requires obtaining something of value to trade for products or services you want. You need to get cash to spend. The government, on the other hand, needs to create something of value to provide for an economy and to control the economy. That control is supposed to be for the overall benefit of the citizens for whom the government (presumably) works. The government must create a currency and, somehow, give that currency value. If the government has the power to tax and define the currency that tax must be paid in, it must use that power to give its currency value. In fact that is the only way the government has to give value to its currency.

This, of course, leads to the first difference in your budget and the government's; you must earn, borrow, or somehow acquire money to pay your taxes. But the government must spend money (and run a deficit) in order for there to be money to tax. But note well!!! The government does not have to borrow any money; not a farthing, nothing. The government neither has nor doesn't have money.

What about the tax money it gets? An entry is made that you paid your taxes - and that's it. It doesn't go into a tin box somewhere, it simply disappears. The government doesn't require any taxes to pay for a government purchase of goods or services. It doesn't even have to bother printing currency most of the time, it simply makes entries in its score card, its spread sheet.

If there is too much money and too little goods and services, i.e. more demand that supply, then raising the taxes will drain the excess and lower the demand. The government can control where growth is simply by where it spends (where we tell it to?) and what it taxes. Tax automobiles by weight, say 10 cents a pound per year. No complicated fuel consumption rules. Just that alone will drop fuel consumption in this country dramatically. Tax income above, say $300,000, at 90% and down $200,000 at 10%. How much of the population (and industry) would benefit?

There is a lot of fine structure that is built from this concept, but the sad thing is that a grasp of just this simple model is all the is really necessary to conclude that the public is being badly served. Whether it is through ignorance or chicanery is hard to tell, but if the general public should ever figure this out and realize that the economy can easily be configured to provide a descent life for everyone but has been structured to enrich a few on the backs of the general population, there should be hell to pay.

Notice, I did suggest the government didn't need to borrow anything. A little secret (shhhhh: It never has to). Why it does will be discussed during news at eleven. (I mean in another blog.) It makes sense but not to acquire money.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Warn your Facebook friends they are under surveillance. I swear, anything a Rethug touches, goes to crap...

how to stop facebook from automatically tagging you in photos
While it's pretty annoying that Facebook turned this on without telling us, it's pretty easy to turn off:

Head your Privacy Settings and click on Customize Settings.
Scroll down to the "Suggest Photos of Me to Friends" setting and hit "Edit Settings".
In the drop-down on the right, hit "Disable".

Facebook Hires Two Ex-Bush Staffers
The two ex-Bush staffers that have signed on with Facebook are Joel Kaplan, formerly Bush’s deputy chief of staff, and Myriah Jordan, who had worked in Bush’s Office of the Chief of Staff and recently served as Republic Senator Richard Burr’s general counsel.

Kaplan, who is to head Facebook’s D.C. office, will oversee Facebook’s public policy efforts, as well as the company’s “interactions with federal and state policymakers,” according to Facebook. Jordan will work on congressional relations.

Facebook hires GOP Insider

Former digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Katie Harbath will join the firm's small Washington, D.C.-based team as associate manager, policy, just in time for kick-off of the 2012 GOP primary campaign season.
...... Harbath, who starts her work with Facebook February 28, served as e-campaign director for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, and also handled the site for the Republican National Committee during the 2004 election season. In addition, she worked in the online services division at DCI Group, a Republican public affairs firm.
... Recently, some Republican digital consultants have complained that a change to Facebook's ad serving system is damaging their ad campaigns on the site.


Monday, June 6, 2011

The Government can't go broke #1

Much of the public debate on today’s economic issues is invalid, often going so far as to confuse costs with benefits

We (The US) operate in a "Fiat" money system. The "Gold Standard" was abandoned in 1971, forty years ago but public and government opinion operates as if the Gold Standard was still in place..

There are two categories of government money: Commodity and Fiat.

Commodity money is backed by - a commodity: Rice, Gold, Sea Shells, Oil, whatever. Gold is nice because it doesn't rust, rot, or evaporate and it's pretty.

In a commodity based system there are three interesting facts:
1. The government can go broke.
2. The government must tax or borrow to spend. And
3. The government has limited control over the value of its own currency.

Fiat money Is backed by - pretty much nothing. ( I know - Full Faith etc. Not really worth anything.) But the facts about Fiat money are quite interesting.
1. The government CANNOT GO BROKE. (that should be etched across every politicians head.)
2. The government must spend in order to tax. And
3. The government has almost complete control over the value of its money.

The government must spend before it can tax???? There must be deficit spending???? Gasp!!!

Think about it. The government levies a tax on - something - and says it can only be paid in the currency it approves. But where does that currency come from and how do you get any? It is obvious that the government must hand out the money to people BEFORE it can collect taxes. It can build roads, hire an army, pay doctors to help the sick, hire people to keep score (keep the spread sheet). You might farm food for the road builders (or the army) and sell it for - that currency you need to pay taxes (and, perhaps buy a TV).

Thus what really gives the currency value (forget about Full Faith etc.) was the fact that it is the only thing you could pay your taxes in.

So, taxes are useful to give the currency value. But it has another function that is equally important: Taxes (and borrowing) serve to drain excess currency out of the market.

What's with that?

Suppose the government buys a lot of stuff. Suppose everyone is fully employed and buys a lot of stuff. What? There isn't enough stuff to go around? Prices are going up? There is INFLATION???

What to do? Oh! Tax and borrow and drain excess money (and buying power) out of the market. Ease up on the gas pedal (deficit spending) and touch the brake (taxes and borrowing).

Oh dear, employment is falling and facilities are standing idle!!

What to do? How about spending more on, say, the infrastructure, giving grants to states and towns to upgrade their facilities. Make sure everyone has health care. Provide support for local schools. Subsidize fuel efficient cars and research into renewable energy. Oh! And cut taxes on middle and lower income workers; you know, the ones that will actually spend money in the market place.

Remember this if nothing else: In a fiat monetary system and there are no debts in any other currency or commodity, THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT GO BROKE!!! Never! Never!

6 June, 1944, General Eisenhower’s Message

General Eisenhower’s Message Sent Just Prior to the Invasion:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

-- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Massachusetts Health Care Support Grows

Boston Globe-Kay Lazar
The Boston Globe
Support for state health law rises

By Kay Lazar
Globe Staff / June 5, 2011

The poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and The Boston Globe found that 63 percent of Massachusetts residents support the 2006 health law, up 10 percentage points in the past two years. Just 21 percent said they were against the law.

Yet opposition has grown to one of its central elements — the requirement that people who can afford insurance buy it or face a fine. A similar provision in the national health care overhaul passed last year has been the subject of a contentious legal fight.

Forty-four percent said they oppose the mandate in the Massachusetts law, compared with 35 percent who opposed it in a 2008 poll. Still, the mandate retains the support of a narrow 51 percent majority of residents.

Percolating throughout the findings is a growing anxiety about health care costs, which are higher in Massachusetts than in the nation as a whole.

Residents are split on whether Massachusetts can afford to continue with the law as it stands, and 30 percent said the law is hurting the cost of their care, up from 22 percent in 2009. Yet when asked about the law’s role in boosting health costs in Massachusetts, 72 percent said rising costs were mainly because of factors other than the law.

The majority’s perception — which aligns with health policy specialists’ view that overall medical inflation is driving up costs in Massachusetts — may help explain the continued strong support for the law.


Support for the law may have increased along with the economy — it’s now about the same as it was before the recession — and because “it’s established. It’s running. It hasn’t caused problems for people.’’


The poll results show that residents with incomes below $30,000 — the bracket that would probably make them eligible for state-subsidized care — were the most likely to say the law is helping to control the cost of their care.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Obama didn't cause this mess : National Debt By President

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This graph makes it quite apparent who spent the money, but the GOP's job is to distract and obfuscate. When facing facts is too much like reality, it's all they got.