March 31, 2010

Are state-owned banks an answer to economic woes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 8:15 pm

The state of North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.1% and is one of only two states expected to meet their budgets in 2010. It also has the nation’s only state-owned bank. Several economists and officials from state governments across the nation are beginning to think that there is a correlation.

North Dakota is a sparsely populated state of less than 700,000 people, largely located in cold and isolated farming communities. Yet, since 2000, the state’s GNP has grown 56 percent, personal income has grown 43 percent and wages have grown 34 percent. The state not only has no funding problems, but in 2009 it had a budget surplus of $1.3 billion, the largest it has ever had.

According to the AP, the bank had almost $4 billion in assets and a $2.67 billion loan portfolio at the end of last year, according to its most recent quarterly financial report. It made $58.1 million in profits in 2009, setting a record for the sixth straight year. During the last decade, the bank funneled almost $300 million in profits to North Dakota’s treasury.

According to attorney, economist and author Ellen Hodgson Brown writing for, North Dakota’s recipe for success may be that “it has its own credit machine. North Dakota is the only state in the Union to own its own bank.” Brown’s latest of 11 books, “Web of Debt,” is an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back.

All chartered banks have the ability to create credit on their books simply with accounting entries, using the magic of “fractional reserve” lending. According to Brown, however, state-owned banks have distinct advantages over their privately-owned competitors, both for the state and consumers, and for the bank:

…Private banks are limited by bank capital requirements and by their for-profit business models. And that is where a state-owned bank has enormous advantages: States own huge amounts of capital, and they can think farther ahead that their quarterly profit statements, allowing them to take long-term risks. Their asset bases are not marred by oversized salaries and bonuses; they have no shareholders expecting a sizable cut, and they have not marred their books with bad derivatives bets, unmarketable collateralized debt obligations and mark-to-market accounting problems.

Furthermore, because the BND is set up as a dba, that is the state of North Dakota doing business as the BND, that makes the capital of the state the capital of the bank. By law, the state and all its agencies must deposit their funds in the bank, which pays a competitive interest rate to the state treasurer. The bank also accepts deposits from other entities. These copious deposits can then be plowed back into the state in the form of low-interest loans to farmers, students and small businesses. The bank pays no federal or state taxes, but instead pays a dividend to the state in that all profits are returned to the treasury, thereby offsetting taxes.

Read more here:

Why again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peregrin @ 4:18 am

Jesus and Mo

Onward Christian Nutbags

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 3:28 am


March 30, 2010

The Party of Hell, No?


March 29, 2010

The Dying of the Right: Frum Fired For Telling the Truth


“Republicans originally thought that Fox [News] worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”
David Frum on Nightline, March 22, 2010, blowing Fox’s whole ‘fair and balanced’ mumbo-jumbo, as quoted by Media Matters.

– David Frum, Frum Forum, March 21, 2010

“David Frum: “What the Hell is Going On at Fox News?”
– Jamison Foser, Media Matters, March 18, 2010

March 28, 2010

What the Discovery Channel’s New Reality TV Show About Palin’s Alaska Won’t Discover


“More Sarah Palin Lies, Scandal and Corruption from Alaska”
– Video from YouTube, Sept. 14, 2008

“Ethics Investigation Finds Palin Abused Power”
– News Services, Oct. 11, 2008

“Sarah Palin’s Embezzlement Scandal”
– All the Latest News, July 3, 2009

“Did An Embezzlement Scandal Force Sarah Palin to Resign?”
– Think Progress, July 3, 2009

“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Tax Problems Not Solved By Reimbursements For Children’s Travel”
– AP, Feb. 27, 2009

“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Staff Scandal”
– Oliver Willis, Aug. 14, 2008

PATRIOT Act may be used against tea party

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 1:17 am

According to Douglas J. Hagmann, writing for Northeast Intelligence Network, a “federal intelligence source” revealed that “high-level discussions between top lawmakers and agency heads are ‘exploring the application of the Patriot Act against any right-wing individual or group that poses a danger to government operations.’”

Whether or not Congress people were subjected to taunting and racial slurs, bricks or bullets penetrating their office windows, or having a sibling’s gas line cut is not the issue I wish to examine here. The issue is poetic justice.

While any anonymous “source” quoted in media should be taken with a grain of salt, I hope this one is credible because the tea partiers deserve the same treatment that true libertarians and progressives were subjected to during the eight years of the Bush administration. Remember when people were arrested for wearing objectionable tee shirts, or removed for having anti-war bumper stickers in the parking lot at Bush rallies? Remember when crowds were herded into free speech zones behind chain link fences and barbed wire? Now it is your turn to experience oppression, right-wingers, conservatives, Republicans, tea baggers, or whatever you want to call yourselves.

Where were the tea partiers when the Bush administration was shredding our constitution? Where were they when Bush was spending billions on unnecessary wars? Where were they when Bush was running up a deficit by giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas? Where were they when Bush was mortgaging our future to China? Where were they when Bush was creating a torture state to deal with a fake war on terror?

A lot of the tea baggers were probably cheer-leading the entire mess on. They were the ones calling anti-war activists “terrorist sympathizers.” They were calling 911 truthers “conspiracy freaks.” They were calling anyone who questioned Bush’s tax breaks to corporations and the ultra-rich “communists.” And they would not get their butts off the couch, turn off Fox News and do anything to stop the Bush administration from moving the U.S. a few steps closer to a corporate fascist state.

While Obama continues many of the same policies of his predecessors and is by no means a true progressive or even a liberal, one difference between Obama and Bush is that Obama is throwing a few bones to middle class consumers in America by trying reign in some of the worst corporate abuses. The other difference is far more obvious – there’s a black man in the white house!

Have fun in the America you helped create. Enjoy the McCain-Lieberman Police State Act (S. 3081: Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010). Hopefully the government will lock up all of the racists, hypocrites and arm chair warriors that are part of the tea party movement the minute they step out of line.

You’ve earned it. Happy tea-partying!

Read more here:

There are few fresh photos from in the above article!

March 27, 2010

Botched raid in Afghanistan covered up by NATO

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 9:46 am

In the predawn hours of Friday, February 12, two pregnant women, a teenage girl and two local officials were shot to death in their home in Afghanistan.

The first person to die in the assault was Commander Dawood, 43, a long-serving, popular and highly-trained policeman who had recently been promoted to head of intelligence in one of Paktia’s most volatile districts. His brother, Saranwal Zahir, was a prosecutor in Ahmadabad district. He was killed while he stood in a doorway trying to protest their innocence.

Three women crouching in a hallway behind him were hit by the same volley of fire. Bibi Shirin, 22, had four children under the age of 5. Bibi Saleha, 37, had 11 children. Both of them, according to their relatives, were pregnant. They were killed instantly.

According to journalist Jerome Starkey, writing for The Times UK, at first no one claimed responsibility for the killings. A US official in Kabul refused to identify the force involved, citing “utmost national and strategic security interests”.

Starkey’s reporting forcefully rebutted this claim. Instead of simply retracting their story, however, NATO went so far as to attempt to damage Starkey’s credibility by telling other Kabul-based journalists that they had proof he’d misquoted ISAF spokesman Rear Adm. Greg Smith in an interview. When Starkey demanded a copy of the recording, NATO initially ignored him and eventually admitted that no recording existed.

Local elders delivered $2,000 in compensation from the occupying authorities for each of the five victims to the head of the family, Haji Sharabuddin, after protests brought Gardez, the capital of Paktia, to a halt. He refused the money, responding “I don’t want money. I want justice. All our family, we now don’t care about our lives. We will all do suicide attacks and [the whole province] will support us.”

Regardless of the details, it is probably not a good idea to fight a “war on terror” by terrorizing the population and giving locals an incentive to do suicide attacks. Nice job, NATO – if the goal in Afghanistan is perpetual war.

For more details on this incident, please check out this video produced by Rethink Afghanistan:

Read more here:

The Tattlesnake – What Would They Have to Say? Edition

What would the right-wing bloviators have to babble before their core audiences said, “that’s over the line”?

Would Rush Limbaugh have to say: “Why should some poor working stiff nobody cares about have the same vote as me? I’m an important, influential multi-millionaire who owns a $44 million estate in Florida with 5 swimming pools and a $14 million apartment in New York City and yet I only get a single vote. That’s wrong. I’m rich, so naturally I’m better than you, so I should get something like 100,000 votes to the single vote of some dumb middle-class slob, like the idiots who listen to my show! That’s only fair! For that matter, why should some dope who makes below a million per even get a vote?”

Would Glenn Beck have to say: “We have to get rid of these evil progressive programs like Social Security and Medicare. If grandma and grandpa are poor or sick and dying, well, they’ve had a good life – let them die or kill themselves and get out of the way to make room for the future! Why should my tax money go to keep your grandparents alive? That’s communist socialism, folks, and we can’t have it here in the free-market capitalist Christian America I love! Hey, it’s a fact: Jesus hated the poor and loved the rich – just like me! If you aren’t rich then your proper place is to be a slave and do what you’re told by those who are – it says so in the Bible and the Constitution if you read them right!”

Would Bill O’Reilly have to say: “I don’t care, frankly, if I’m completely wrong about some historical event, if it helps me make my point. As long as I believe it and you believe it, who cares? I’m not some wimpy historian and I’m not in the business of telling you the truth. I mold opinions, even if they are usually based on pure crap I make up or something my employers tell me to say for political reasons. Facts are vastly overrated; it’s faith and ratings that count!”

Would Sean Hannity have to say: “Sure, I lied about where those donations to my college fund for the kids of dead veterans were going; it’s true, only about ten percent actually went to the families of military personnel killed overseas. So? I have a high-overhead life, folks, and I’m sure if those dead peasants – uh – vets were alive to say it, they’d tell you that they’d want your donations to go to keeping me and my family traveling in style. C’mon, I’m a TV star – these guys were little nobody’s! What, am I supposed to fly Business Class or even – ack! – Coach for this friggin’ charity? What are you, nuts?!? I’m a Republican – I’m in it for the money, people!”

Would Michael Savage have to say: “You know why I’m doing this, my friends? Because I failed at being a hippy-dippy herbal medicine and homeopathic healing book author. That’s right, I was as liberal as they come back then and called myself ‘Dr. Michael Weiner,’ but I couldn’t rub two dimes together. Ha, ha, I swam naked with homo beat poet Allen Ginsberg – did you know that? Then I noticed all the loot Limbaugh was raking in from you ultra-conservative bozos and jumped on the gravy train. So I changed my name and thought up the most outrageous, disgusting political stuff I could and here I am – rich and almost king of the hill! I don’t believe a word I say but I get a damn good laugh that you do! Hey, and I voted for Obama! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

Would Neal Boortz have to say: “My fellow patriots, I have a lovely family, but you know what really gets me off? Sex with animals, particularly sheep. There’s nothing like a warm sheep to keep you company at night – why, I’ve even installed a small stable on the second floor of my mansion just to be near Maizie, one of my special favorites. It’s okay, my wife understands completely – I’ve even introduced her to a very handsome horse named Oater to see if she’d like to ‘go for a ride,’ if you know what I mean.”

© 2010 RS Janes.

March 26, 2010

Palin to Seal McCain’s Fate in AZ

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 5:51 pm


Filed under: Uncategorized — Peregrin @ 10:33 am

Death and Disease

GOP plans to obstruct Senate legislation (so, what’s new?)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 3:10 am

After losing the battle against health care reform, Republican Senate leaders, like impetuous, spoiled brats who take away the ball after losing the ball game, have publicly stated that they intend to use childish parliamentary tricks to bring legislative procedures in the Senate to a halt.

On Wednesday that became apparent to Col. Ann Wright (U.S. Army – Ret.) when she travelled to Washington to attend hearings, as well as other veterans and senior military officers, some of whom had traveled from as far away as Hawaii and Korea for the Armed Services committee hearing.

Col. Wright, writing for, expresses her shock and outrage:

I was attending a U.S. Senate Veterans Committee hearing on homeless vets when at 11am, Committee chair Senator Akaka abruptly said that the hearing must end immediately as one member of the “minority” party had invoked a parliamentary prerogative to suspend the day’s hearings. I was amazed and upset that the important hearing on homeless veterans could be so easily ended. I stood up in the hearing and said I was a veteran and that I was outraged that one disgruntled Senator could halt the hearings of the Senate.

Senate Republicans are also blocking the passage of two bills that would affirm the separation of TRICARE, the military’s health program, from the newly passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) stated on the Senate floor, “Let the American people understand the Republicans objected to a matter that could have fixed by law tomorrow.”

Hearings regarding veterans affairs and Afghanistan are not all that GOP senators plan to obstruct. It appears Coburn is positioning himself to be the lead obstructionist.

According to Manu Raju writing for POLITICO, Tom Coburn plans to filibuster a 30-day extension of a bill that extends a series of emergency programs, like funding for unemployment insurance benefits and COBRA health coverage for the jobless. It would keep federal dollars flowing to highway projects, extend flood insurance programs and stave off a deep cut in reimbursement rates for doctors who serve Medicare patients. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) gained notoriety, even among some members of his own party, for doing that last month and Republicans have repeatedly attacked this bill.

Independents generally have a distaste for partisan politics of this nature. If one sides with the American people, however, it is difficult to side with Republicans when they shut down Senate proceedings regarding issues that affect our troops deployed overseas, veterans and Americans struggling in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

It is easy to see why the GOP is becoming known as “the party of No.” The only consolation is that it will be hard to tell the difference with the GOP’s “new” strategy, however, since Republicans have not cooperated on any issue since the Obama administration took office.

Read more here:

March 25, 2010

GOP’s Split-Personality is Going to Tear Them Apart


“Federal Govt. Involved in Raids on [RNC] Protestors”
– Glenn Greenwald, Aug. 31, 2008,

“Framing the RNC 8″
– Sam Stoker, In These Times, Oct. 8, 2008

“Meet the RNC Eight: Are They Terrorists?”
– Sharon Schmickle,, April 6, 2009

March 24, 2010

“Fair and Balanced”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peregrin @ 4:58 am


March 23, 2010

The real vulture that is Eric Massa

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 7:29 pm

Rep. Eric Massa’s resignation created a week-long media buzz earlier this month amid allegations of a homosexual harassment scandal. ABC news asked on their web site, “should we be digging deeper?” Yes, you should, U.S. corporate media.

Instead of covering tabloid-like sex scandals 24/7, or trying to frame Massa’s resignation in the context of the health care reform debate, perhaps a real look at Massa’s ulterior motives for resigning are in order.

Today, investigative reporter Greg Palast published an article that does just that. Palast, however, like a real journalist, digs beyond the bovine excrement and superficial sound bytes that make up today’s television news, or the newspapers that are most useful for catching your pet’s droppings:

At first, [Massa] said he was quitting Congress because he has cancer. Then he said he resigned because a buck-naked Rahm Emanuel bullied him in the Congressional shower-room and then threatened him over his health care vote. (Foxhole wing-nut Glenn Beck fell for that canard.) Then Massa said he resigned because of an aide’s accusation that the Congressman tickled the aide in an “inappropriate” manner. (The mainstream press swallowed that one whole.)

The public persona of Eric Massa portrayed by the corporate media drew of a picture of a liberal progressive, but his private persona (aside from the tickling and snorkeling) paints a picture of yet another politician bought and sold by corporate interests, whose past finally caught him by the tail.

A “vulture fund” is a fund or investment company that purchases debt claims as a secondary lender. This means that vulture funds are not primary lenders, but rather are entities that have purchased the debt from some other source, such as a bank. Generally, these funds purchase debt involving highly distressed countries, such as Liberia or Argentina.

In the mid-1990s, Paul Singer invented vulture funds. Companies that practice this sort of predatory capitalism buy debts racked up years ago by the poorest countries on earth, almost always when they were run by kleptocratic dictators backed by the CIA, before most of the current population was born. They buy it for small sums, as little as 10 percent of its paper value, from the original holder.

The sellers of these debts usually are more than willing to rid themselves of these debts because many of these debts may soon come into default or face restructuring negotiations. Since the vulture funds purchase this debt as it is about to be written off, banks will write off loans as a loss if they believe that the borrower will no longer be able to repay the loans.

But back to former Rep. Eric Massa – how does he fit into all of this? Progressives and liberals like to claim that Republicans in congress are for sale. That may be true, but it may also be true that Democrats like Eric Massa are for rent, and when their leases expire they move on to another venue.

According to Palast:

The vultures had been looking for some morally challenged congressperson to front a bill to help them crank billions from the budgets of Third World nations. The law that could make demi-billionaire Singer a billionaire is called, “The Judgment Evading Foreign States Accountability Act” (H.R. 2493). In effect, the bill says that if Argentina (and other Third World nations) don’t pay Mr. Singer and his vulture buddies the billions they demand, then the US government will act as Singer’s enforcement arm, hanging out Argentina to dry, cutting off trade between our countries.

Palast also claims that two sources said, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not amused at Massa’s weirdo attack on the financial lifeblood of US allies, nor does the White House favor a law which would provoke seizures of US assets abroad.”

It is unclear why Rep. Massa resigned, but if it was because he is a homosexual and tickled a staffer, or because he did not like the health care bill – then no problem.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA), known as “Vitter The __itter,” was caught getting diapered by the Washington Madame, and still remains in the Senate voting against what he calls Obama’s “immoral” program. And in case conservatives and Republicans think this is soley a democratic scandal, you may want to know that Rudy Giuliani’s campaign was primarily funded by money from organizations involved in these same vulture funds.

If Massa resigned, however, because of his connections with the players that work vulture funds and because that contradicts his TV image as a progressive. Or because the executive branch put some heat behind his tail due to his hypocrisy, then it makes more sense.

Read more here:
P.S. – Even though I’m in Orlando, I’m still a cheesehead!

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