January 12th, 2012


Taking on the Bull

Wall Street

There are always protests, whether you do something good or bad. Even if you do something beneficial, people say you do it because it's advertising. - Giorgio Armani

The Occupy Wall Street encampments have been disbanded. Although the movement still has an occasional flicker, it seems the fire has gone out of the movement and it appears that it is yesterday’s news.

I have said before that I didn’t necessarily approve of their methods. I do, on the other hand, support their message. I still have Scott Olsen, the injured Occupy Oakland protester, in my Google+ circles.

Many had criticized the Occupy movement saying that it lacked goals and demands. However, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the Occupy Wall Street movement was never about goals or demands at all, but about raising awareness regarding the very real economic problems this country faces.

It seems one of the major ones would be the private sector’s lack of accountability to its consumers the same way that the government is expected to be accountable to its citizens. . There is no C-SPAN for the boardroom, and the filter of the information we get from business is basically the crock of shit they choose to feed us through advertising and company authored press releases. Unfortunately, a select enterprise-über-alles segment of our society is dining from the crock with outright passion.

This is why business needs to be balanced by government regulation. Much of the argument appears to be the line where that equilibrium needs to be applied. Business claims that there needs to be less control, but recent history of business practices illustrates otherwise.

Although the clamor of OWS has died down, the message is not completely lost. There is an ongoing effort online to continue resistance to the business-as-usual stance of our private sector economy. This is being done by an online organization called change.org. From what I have seen from their web page, they are committed to grass roots change through social and cultural means within the population as opposed to political change through Washington.

One of the successes listed are the elimination of the $5 monthly fee on debit cards from Bank of America. The internet is giving a voice like never before to those who wish their voices heard. This is widespread engagement with the private sector without intervention from government and a breath of fresh air from the superfluity of government and corporate astroturf organizations. Free market advocates should be thrilled. This is what grass roots progress should look like.

So just who are you people and why do you think the way you do?

Whew! This is my first winter with you guys and the heat from Global Animosity is keeping the US snow free far too long!

So lets see if we can find some Common Ground and discuss our most basic common denominator (besides sexuality). The pursuit of money and wealth. Politics to me is about survival in modern civilization. None of us wants to pursue our particular happinesses in a governed land where they are banned or tutted. Our politics are defined by our goals within society as much as our sense of justice. And our pursuit of these goals should be tempered by the rule of minimizing negative impact, which maximizes the positive ones. 

So who are you and how are you doing?

Poll #1810231 How ya doin'???

Are you better off financially now than you were 3 years ago?

meh - treading water - basically the same
I will split hairs in comments
student (gets hall pass)

If you did NOT answer yes, have you found your consumption of goods/services has decreased?

it's the same because I've taken on extra work
I found I can get by on less and I do.
I wish to split hairs in comments

Job satisfaction? Which comment most fits your situation?

You are satisfied with your chosen career path.
You fucked up and want to go another direction in careers
What career path? I'm just surviving here!
Doing what I have to and working toward something better.
No job. I am the bane of compassionate conservatives.

OTHER people identify your politics as generally

to the left
to the right
other (what? no hair splitting??)
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Godzilla, default

"We vow to thee Comrade Jong-Il"


I swear North Korea's going out of its way to be a timewarped relic right out of the old-school Communist states. The personality cult, the leaving the embalmed bodies of its dead leaders as focuses of state ceremonies......this shit was creepy enough in the USSR and China, North Korea preserving it intact is even creepier. I mean seriously, my icon here is the most succint version of my opinion on this ghastly nonsense but I'm curious what you-all think.
team beaver

The Harper Gov't. Ruining Canada's reputation one issue at a time.

In 2005 a lesbian couple came to Toronto to be wed. Recently they returned to be divorced and found they were not really married.

Toronto has performed same sex marriages since the late 1990s and it became part of federal legislation in 2005 under then Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal Party.) Since then 15,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in Canada, 5000 of them citizens of the US or other countries.

Documents from the court case of the couple seeking the divorce reveals that the position of the Department of Justice, under Harper, is that couples can only legally divorce here if they live in the country for one year prior to the divorce and that their marriage is legal here only if it is also legal in their home state or country. This effectively ends the legality of almost all of the 5000 marriages performed, marriages Canada provided licenses for, licenses the government is now refusing to honour.

This goes far beyond an embarrassment to Canada's reputation in regards to same sex rights. Many of these couples used those licenses given to prove married status, to their employers, doctors or just among their community. It is unclear at this point what effect this reversal in federal policy will have on those procedures but it is likely many rights granted due to the official marriage status will now be dissolved. Also at risk are child custody, spousal support and asset division.

This is a shameful act for Canada to do. We granted these marriage licenses with no mention of any need of these new regulations in order to be officially recognized. We should continue to operate under the good faith in which they were granted.

As for Harper, he is claiming little knowledge of the case or the Justice Department's position, a claim many find ridiculous and unlikely. After the immediate uproar both here and all over the world, the Minister of Justice has promised to look into the case and clarify the federal position regarding the the dissolution of these marriages. But he did not address, nor has anyone from the Harper government, the issue of whether these marriages are legal at all. Given how hotly contested the legislation was in 2005, with many Liberals leaving party ranks to vote with the Conservatives against the issue, and with the Conservatives now having a majority, this has become a precarious moment for gay rights in Canada and a major black eye to our reputation as a land of equality.

Oh, and next up on the Harper government agenda? Abortion

Public service announcement

In lieu of a Fri lulz from me (like I post them all the time) I would like to skirt the rules just a bit. (even knowing that I may be subjected to being covered with chocolate and....well you know)
There is a comic book and SF convention held regularly in Los Angeles. I have no idea if there are any collectors on this forum in the area, but it occurred to me that I can get one, maybe 2 people in free, so if anyone is interested they can PM me and I can send the details. (the next one is Sunday the 15th)
Big Beat

Hungary vs. the IMF (a battle of finances and politics)

Since Stratfor got hacked last week by Brazillian hackers who demanded that the site be totally open to non-subscribers, they've opened up the whole site to non-subscribers. I'm reading in today's article that Hungary is making quite the stand against the IMF austerity measures meant to reduce risk in over-leveraged countries. This is particularly painful to Hungary because even though they run a large debt-to-GDP ratio, their finance sector is 80% owned by foreign banks. The recently elected Fidesz party (who won over the socialists and their disastrous spending) has placed a new constitution which among other things extends the public functions for judicial and police personnel up to 12 years, while many other public functions and discretionary spending has been cut. Also they've altered the EU-imposed rules that guarantee the central bank autonomy from the state. Orban's party effectively will nationalize the Magyar National Bank to protect it from currency and leveraging risks which are seen as the reason for the current debt crisis. In response the Central EU powers have been screaming bloody murder and the IMF is promising to block further loans to Hungary until they reverse course.

What do you think about this method of state control over the central bank in order to prevent financial crises? Should the state become involved in limiting the power of foreign capital (which has become destructive in places like Greece, Portugal, etc.) or should they at least be able to place limits on how much ownership of a sector can be in foreign hands? Do you think a relatively small country like Hungary (or Greece for that matter) can stand up to the demands of the IMF?