Big Banks Bonus Bonanza

From SEIU: http://www.seiu.org/2010/12/big-banks-bonus-bonanza.php

By Matt Browner-Hamlin
December 15, 2010

Once again, Wall Street is on track to pay astronomical bonuses to its star traders, even as the rest of America is reeling from the devastation the banks have unleashed on the global economy. These billion-dollar bonuses come at our expense, have no rational justification, and only serve to destabilize the larger economy. It is time to rein in banker compensation to get the economy working for Main Street again and to prevent another global economic catastrophe in the near future.

Today SEIU has released a new report, Big Banks Bonus Bonanza. From the report:

Despite unleashing havoc on the global economy, Wall Street is once again getting ready to pay astronomical bonuses this year. The nation’s six largest banks alone are on track to pay their bankers a staggering $143 billion in bonuses, benefits and compensation (“bonus and compensation”), more than enough to fill the $130 billion2 total budget gap for all 50 states in FY 2011. If Wall Street pumped this money directly into the economy instead of paying it to its bankers, it could create 3.6 million new jobs, and lower the unemployment rate by 2.3 percent. Bank of America tops the list, with $35 billion in bonuses and compensation set aside for its bankers.

Additional metrics for the scale of Wall Street’s bonus bonanza: If even a fraction of the big banks’ $143 billion in bonuses and compensation were used to fund important policy priorities, we could bring about a real economic recovery in this country:

Continue reading at:   http://www.seiu.org/2010/12/big-banks-bonus-bonanza.php

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Geez, I Hate Log Cabin Republi-Nazis

I know according to some we don’t have ENDA because of Mara Keisling  or Barney frank and Nancy Pelosi.

But no one wants to name the real quislings within the LGBT/TQ communities, The Log Cabin Republican masochists who love the very oppressors who spit on all of us.

From the Rachel Maddow Show”

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

 

Your Faith is a Joke, by Pat Condell

Two Years Ago Today Jennifer Gale Died

I noticed  quite a few homeless people while we were in Austin.

There was a large homeless shelter  in Downtown that we drove past one evening.

I remembered how the death of Jennifer Gale two years ago today caused me to reconsider some of the harsh things I had said in the past regarding transgender people and the transgender movement.

I still think a lot of the ideology is BS, larded with post-modern pretentiousness.

But I had lost sight of decency and social justice.  No one should ever die on the streets from exposure while the rich are allowed to have huge multi-million dollar estates.  Property taxes should be sharply progressive and taxed according to the value with rates rising when the value goes beyond certain levels.

Those who can afford to support the commons should be taxed appropriately to insure the common good.

People should not be foreclosed upon so that some Wall Street Con Artist with a nose full of cocaine and a derivatives gambling habit can afford another 30,000 sq ft house, another 450 ft yacht or another private jet.

And people like Jennifer Gale sure as hell shouldn’t die in the streets of our cities because the powers that be cannot or will not find her a safe place to sleep because she doesn’t fit non-TS/TG people’s paradigm of what is right and proper.

This sure as hell should never have happened in Austin.

But it does…

Look at the articles I’ve recently featured about homeless LGBT/TQ kids.  Look at “Not my Child” an article I wrote over a decade ago.

Read the Tribute to Jennifer Gale in the Dallas Voice: http://www.dallasvoice.com/trans-womans-death-shines-light-on-plight-of-homeless-1018519.html

As TS/TG people we have special issues but we also have all the standard issues that the poor and dispossessed have.

It isn’t enough that a highly educated and privileged TS/TG person gets to keep their same high paying privileged career.

An equality of privilege isn’t real equality and it sure as hell ain’t social justice.

The poor who are TS/TG need the same access to services as non-TS/TG people.  But over and above that the Ayn Rand ideology that has permeated this nation since it was the beloved ideology of the 1960s John Birch Society has spread like a cancer doing immeasurable damage to the despised and dispossessed, the poor, the disabled and the unemployed/under-employed who have seen the safety net created by FDR shredded and destroyed.

End Homelessness.  Tax the rich.

Instead of asking if something is good for Wall Street let’s start asking if it is good for main street.

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Austin, Texas: A Love Letter

Tuesday, Tina and I drove to Austin to go to a show at the Blanton Museum of Art, the show was titled From Turner to Monet: Masterpieces from The Walters Art Museum.  It was a terrific show at a museum we were completely unfamiliar with.

It was a quickie of a trip because of having to leave our feline family to their own devices.  They are all rescued and therefore have abandonment issues.  We miss them when we go away for a couple of days and worry about them.

This means our trips tend to be limited to a couple of days away. We drove down to Austin on Tuesday and came home yesterday.

Austin is pretty fucking cool…

It blows away almost any stereotype you might have regarding Texas.

For one thing there are hippies and all sorts of counter-culture folks all over the place along with one of the last Women’s Bookstores in the country and an Anarchist Bookstore.

The really neat thing about Austin is that it is less Mall of America Cloneville.  One of the nastier elements of World Inc. and the domination, of our culture by the major corporations, as well as the reduction of people to homogenized consumer units has been the destruction of localized civic individuality.

The city slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and it is wonderfully weird.

It is also foodie heaven with hundreds of food trucks and trailers around the city serving up an eclectic combination of food.

Austin has the best BBQ I’ve ever had….  Anywhere….

The first night we went to The Green Mesquite BBQ, the one at 1400 Barton Springs Road.  Some of the best pulled pork and smoked sausage in Texas.  We highly recommend this place to all omnivores and carnivores.

I was blown away by the Dallas music scene.  Next to Austin’s it is minuscule. They have a lot more live music than New York or LA/SF.

I mentioned the book stores.

Austin still has independent bookstores.  On a previous trip we visited Book People.  This time we made a point of buying several books at even smaller independent book sellers.

After visiting the museum we went to Monkey Wrench Books , an Anarchist book store at 110 E. North Loop. I practically came in my jeans with the rush of nostalgia.  The store reminded of the stores in the alley off Telegraph Ave., between Dwight and Haste in Berkeley 40 years ago.  It was like stepping into the way-back machine.

We had dinner at Quality Seafood Market/Restaurant at  5621 Airport Blvd, again up in an area we probably wouldn’t have explored because it was neither in downtown nor in a part of town we associated with the hip area.

And yes they had live music, on a Wednesday evening.

Because of our excursion away from downtown we found Book Woman, at  5501 North Lamar #A-105.  We had seen the store at a former location near Book People, which is near 6th and Lamar.

We were sort of lucky to run across it as I remembered it in its old location and a map showed it at its old location.  When in doubt make certain the web site you are searching is the current one.

Price Line came through with a great deal on a hotel room at the Radisson Hotel on Cesar Chavez at Congress.

Thanks to our GPS any getting lost in Austin was sort of deliberate.

We finished our trip with lunch at Chez Zee, at 5406 Balcones Dr.

We had a blast in Austin and felt right at home.

Over the years I heard the snark about hippies and hipness and maybe it is warranted regarding some of the folks who get pretentious about their shopping at Whole Food, and wearing the proper hip clothes while driving the proper hip car.  I guess if one wants to be pretentious, one can be pretentious.

I’ve heard Austin described as “laid back” and to me that is a good thing.  People seemed to walk more and bicycle more in Austin.  They also seemed more earnest and sincerely happy than I’m used to seeing here in Dallas.

One of the other things about our trip that upsets the stereotype of Texas is the number of dome houses and buildings along I35.  It’s like the spirit of Bucky Fuller is alive and well, scattering the seeds of his imagination.

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Is Obama About to Sell Us Out on Social Security? The Political Fallout Would Be Devastating

Since the day after he was elected Obama has shown his true neo-con/neo-lib colors.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

First he abandoned his LGBT/TQ supporters. Started throwing us under the bus even before the election.

Then he abandoned women’s reproductive rights as it was more important for him to compromise with misogynistic Taliban Christians.

Then he abandoned labor.  Never lifted a finger to support The Employee Free Choice Act.

He said he was a community organizer then threw ACORN, the organization of community organizers that helped him get elected under the bus.

We wanted “Single Payer” National Health Insurance, He told us that wasn’t going to happen and passed a law that said we had to give thousands to private health insurers because they needed to pay millions to those at the top. The law said we had to buy this private insurance even when the “insurance” cost so much we would be homeless if we bought it.

I still want my government run National Health Insurance and I’m only a little over a year and a half from getting it.

The one thing I have learned about Obama is that he would rather compromise with Nazis than fight for his own people, those of us who elected him.

Met the new boss, same as the old boss, George W.

Same wars, same disregard for Constitutional rights, same Patriot Act, same rendition, same torture, same old same old story.

Welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy, austerity measures for working people.

And the class war against working people in a nation where so many are armed to the teeth continues.

Now they are talking about cutting Social Security when Wall Street already stole the rest of the money many saved.  And cutting minimum wage when many of us are already part-time.

Don’t these morons Masters of the Universe see they are lighting their cigarettes in a room full of gasoline?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/149166/is_obama_about_to_sell_us_out_on_social_security_the_political_fallout_would_be_devastating/

Obama has signaled that he might include Social Security cuts as part of a grand deficit-reduction deal. If that occurs, expect civil war among the Democrats.

By Robert Kuttner

December 16, 2010 |

If you think the Democratic base is mad at Obama now for making a craven deal with Republicans that continues tax breaks for the richest Americans and adds new ones for their heirs through a big cut in the estate tax, just wait a few weeks until Obama caves on Social Security.

How will this occur? The deficit commission appointed by the President has called for an increase in the retirement age, as well as other cuts in benefits over time. And the deal that Obama made with the Republicans just gave deficit hawks new ammunition by increasing the projected deficit by nearly $900 billion over a decade. Social Security will be in the cross-hairs.

The deficit commission has tried to camouflage these cuts by emphasizing that Social Security benefits for the very poor would not be reduced, and might even be increased. But in the commission’s proposal, the cuts would affect middle-class retirees. Larry Summers, who is stepping down as Obama’s economic chief, has refused to rule out cuts.

Social Security has also been softened up by the element of the tax deal that temporarily cuts payroll taxes. Supposedly, the trust funds will be made whole by a transfer from general government funds. But this increases the deficit.

So Obama has created a kind of pincer attack on Social Security. One arm is the deficit commission, which has created the blueprint. The other is the tax-cut deal, which increases the deficit, adding to the artificial hysteria that Social Security is going broke. Meanwhile, the right is playing a very cute game, congratulating Obama for the deal. According to columnist Charles Krauthammer, writing in Friday’s Washington Post, “Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010.” Really? How did he do that? It sure looked like he got rolled. “The President negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than the 814 $billion 2009 stimulus package.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/149166/is_obama_about_to_sell_us_out_on_social_security_the_political_fallout_would_be_devastating/

 

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