Monday, December 22, 2014

The Blind Bleeding The Blind

In this case, it's the morally blind depriving the physically blind, a child no less, of his one compensation that allows him to function in the world. Via Kos again, we have WDAF TV Kansas City (yes, damn it, it's Fox):
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two North Kansas City parents are outraged after they say their blind son’s cane was taken away from him at school by a bus driver.

Eight-year-old Dakota Nafzinger attends Gracemor Elementary School. Rachel Nafzinger said school staff took away her son’s cane as punishment for bad behavior on the bus and then gave him a swimming pool noodle to use as a substitute.

The school wouldn’t go on camera, but North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk confirmed taking away Dakota’s cane, calling it school property that was given to him when he enrolled. They said they took it away after he reportedly hit someone with it and wanted to prevent him from hurting himself or others.

His family said it was a way to humiliate him for misbehaving.

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore..."

I am not blind, and the good Dog willing, with today's meds, I needn't go blind the way my maternal grandmother did at an age slightly younger than I am right now. But I do walk with a cane most of the time, even around the house and especially out in public where the obstacles to safe passage are formidable even without hostile people exhibiting needless cruelty. And I am declaring emphatically right now: if you believe it is appropriate punishment, ever, to take someone's cane away, and you attempt to enforce your belief against me, I shall beat you senseless with it.

What part of the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishments" do these butterfingers not understand?

For people too ignorant to distinguish I provide an illustration:
Walking Canes
NOT Walking Canes

Merry Xmas, Kids, Here's Your Assault Rifle...

Once again, Florida outdoes Texas... c'mon, Rick and Greg, you're falling behind!

Via Kos, from Daily Mail:

Machine Gun America's management claim it is an attraction, not a firing range, and customers cannot bring their own weapons to shoot. Guests must be 13 years old and no alcohol will be sold.

How looow can they goooo?
(Not from Machine Gun America...
from somebody's FB page.)
Wes Doss, Machine Gun America's safety and training officer, said it was unlike any other experience in the country.

'The live shooting experiences will include themed packages featuring some of the most famous firearms from around the world.'

General Manager Bruce Nierenberg also defended accusations the attraction was unsuitable for children.

'No one ever shoots by themselves, and no guest is ever in control of the weapon without a range safety officer next to them and participating with them,' he told WTSP.

Oh. Well. That makes me feel better. Um, actually, not...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Warren, Markey, Baldwin Challenge Back-Door Financial Dereg Smuggled Into TPP

Rich Uncle Pennybags,
a.k.a. Monopoly Man
There is nothing big corporations' lackeys in Congress won't do to benefit their masters at taxpayers' expense. In this case, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), challenging the lackeys, "sent a letter to US Trade Representative Michael Froman demanding answers about backdoor financial deregulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

What, exactly, are the Senators challenging? These provisions inserted in the TPP bill, provisions having little if anything to do with the TPP, though they benefit the same corporate entities and wealthy individuals:
  1. Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which allows foreign companies or investors to sue governments for losses in expected profits
  2. "Market access" provisions that could prohibit restrictions on predatory financial products, like risky forms of derivatives
  3. Limitations on governments' ability to impose capital controls, which could stymie efforts to prevent future financial crises as well as efforts to pass a financial transaction tax
Hey, you small business owners and sole practitioners out there: who among you has the privilege of suing a government for "losses in expected profits"? Right... this is a sop to the corp's and the very wealthy, and if the provisions pass into law and Rich Uncle Pennybags sues our gummint and wins, his "losses in expected profit" come out of your taxpaying pocket. What's right about that? And the other two provisions are no better. Combined, these provisions could utterly soak you, the taxpayer, to make the wealthy wealthier.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Obama's Missed Opportunity: America's Resumption Of The Nuclear Arms Race

James Carroll, columnist at the Boston Globe and occasional writer at TomDispatch, appears mirrored at Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog, writing about the great opportunity Obama had in 2009 to turn America, and hence the rest of the nuclear-armed nations of the world, toward a path to nuclear disarmament, or at least a drastic reduction in the number of nuclear-tipped missiles armed and ready to go at any moment. The short version: ultimately, despite his grand announcement, Obama listened to the hardcore hawks, and America is on course to modernize, not decommission, its nuclear arsenal.

'Fat Man' - Nagasaki,
Aug. 9, 1945
When I was a young child, a boy in grade school, W.W. II, with its first... America's and the world's first... use of an atomic bomb in war, was recent history, and the Cold War was ratcheting up. Classrooms full of school kids learned to do duck-and-cover drills, on command from the teacher. There were lists of steps we were supposed to take when told to "drop," lists to which some wag always appended one additional step after "Place head between legs": "Kiss your a$$ goodbye." Most of us understood there was no going back from a direct nuclear attack on the City of Houston: virtually everyone would die, and we knew it.

In the 1970s, some steps were taken toward reducing the magnitude (not the direness) of the US-Soviet nuclear conflict. As a consequence, by the 1980s, the era of Saint Reagan, the hawks began to talk of "winnable nuclear war"; once again, humanity faced extinction by the crazy men in Washington and Moscow. The same nutjobs began to talk of nuclear weapons in space as well as defensive weapons in space.

Reagan himself claimed to have "won" the Cold War by arming the US to the point at which the Soviet Union could not keep up. (Gorbachev, as quoted by Peter Jennings on ABC evening news, called this claim "utter crap.") According to a chart at Wikipedia, the US peaked at more than 30,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union, 40,000.

The number didn't begin to decrease until Ronald Reagan left office, replaced by his veep, George H.W. Bush. Subsequently, nuclear arms in both nations were decreased in number, leveling off at about 5000. (The number depends on what you count as a "weapon": I suspect the 5000 is a count of warheads, because I've seen counts of the number of missiles that were considerably lower.)

I do not know how much credence to give to Carroll's extremely pessimistic assumption that there's no going back once Obama decided to follow the hawks' advice and modernize the nuclear forces. There is the fact that at least four more nations have joined the nuclear "club," with more sure to follow. In addition, every terrorist group in the world will continue to do its damnedest to get its hands on one or more nukes, though all of them face delivery difficulties that may prove insurmountable (we can hope!).

But if Carroll is right, and Obama has truly abandoned his hopeful determination in 2009, then the children and grandchildren of my first cousins (cousins only a few years older than me) will learn to duck-and-cover... and kiss their a$$es goodbye. Heaven help us all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama Takes First Steps Toward Normalizing US‑Cuban Relations

And it's about damned time. (More here.)

Cuba survived its unhealthy dependency on the old Soviet Union. I suppose Americans assumed when the Soviets dropped their support of Cuba that Cuba would collapse in a heap; to the apparent consternation of our Red-baiters, that did not happen. You have only to watch Michael Moore's film SiCKO to see evidence of at least one aspect in which Cuba's citizens enjoy life circumstances superior to those of lower-income Americans, namely, medical care.

But I'm not here to talk about medical care. I want to talk about the performing arts. For better or worse, I'm going to quote myself, from a post on the ancient hand-coded YDD in 2003:

Chucho Valdés, 2014
Tonight the youth were supposed to share the stage with Chucho Valdés, a famous jazz pianist (about whom there's more below). ...


So... why am I writing about this, on a mostly political blog? Simple: the concert I expected to hear was not the one presented. I went because the eminent Latin jazz pianist Chucho Valdés was scheduled to perform. Why did he not perform? Again, simple: he was stuck in the Havana airport, unable to obtain a U.S. security clearance to fly here to perform. Yes, Valdés is Cuban. He has performed so many times in the U.S. that I can't begin to count them. But apparently George W. Bush & Co. are sure that anyone from Cuba must be a terrorist. Of all Dub's flaws, raw, unmitigated ignorance... proud ignorance, often enough... must be one of his worst.

Fast-forward to 2014. Valdés is still alive and apparently still performing at age 73, with a backup band called The Afro-Cuban Messengers. Bush-baby is no longer president. So if Obama can manage to complete negotiations of basic diplomatic ties with Cuba while he is still in office, maybe Valdés can come to the US one last time.

On the other hand, a Rethuglican still hellbent on Commie-bashing (e.g., soft-brained Sarah Palin or madwoman Michele Bachmann) could become POTUS in 2016, and Chucho could once again be stuck in the Havana airport...

Robert Reich: Wall Street Is One Of Democratic Party's Biggest Contributors

That's right: as improbable as it may seem to rank-and-file Democrats, their party is nearly as wholly owned by Wall Street as the GOP is... and Wall Street is paid back manifold, through the carried-interest tax loophole. Read this sad truth presented by Robert Reich, if you can stand to do so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barenboim Plays Beethoven: Sonata Pathetique

Daniel Barenboim, pianist, one of the outstanding interpreters of our time, plays one of Beethoven's signature sonatas, Op. 13, Pathetique. Listen first, then you can decide whether to read my ramblings:

I was probably about 13 years old when I finally confronted this sonata at the other kind of keyboard. Believe me when I say that a 13-year-old is not ready for this work, physiologically or musically, but sometimes I think that a 130-year-old would not be, either. My dear parents suffered politely as I hammered my way through the work ("Hammerklavier" takes on a different meaning when a kid does it). Dad took a second job at night and bought the piano for Mom and for me; Dad himself didn't play or... if we could prevent it... sing.

Barenboim may not be today's version of a Beethoven scholar; he is 72 years old now, and people of his generation had a different idea of how Beethoven should be played than many of today's original-instruments performers. But in the case of Beethoven and Barenboim, I am not one to quibble. When one of the great interpreters of our era applies his skill and inspiration to one of the great creators of art music of all time, we all have to listen with respect and enjoyment.

Beethoven was not afraid of the future; many have remarked that when it comes to piano in particular, the instruments of his day sometimes did not survive his relentlessly aggressive attack. I am willing to concede (as I do not with most composers) that Beethoven required of his instruments things they could not provide. A concert in a sports arena with a speaker stack blaring bright and loud in every remote corner would probably have suited his personal taste. Surely Beethoven would conceive the Pathetique more the way Barenboim renders it than the performances Beethoven heard (when he could hear).

(Some say today is Beethoven's birthday. Maybe so: it is better established that he was baptized on the 17th.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Scalia: Constitution Does Not Prohibit Torture

AP, in an unsigned short article:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is joining the debate over the Senate's torture report by saying it is difficult to rule out the use of extreme measures to extract information if millions of lives were threatened.


Scalia says nothing in the Constitution appears to prohibit harsh treatment of suspected terrorists.

Well, fuck, Antonin; good job of answering... what? certainly no question anyone actually asked.

Scalia exemplifies original dyspepsia
Suppose Scalia is correct, and not one word in the Constitution prohibits torture. Does that mean that torture is peachy-keen, and every agent of every three-letter American government agency should run right out and torture the first criminal suspect or terrorist suspect s/he encounters?

In short, it does not matter whether the Constitution of the United States explicitly prohibits torture: torture is wrong anyway, from a moral AND a strategic standpoint.

Is one Texas GOP asshole who occupied the White House for eight years sufficient to overturn two centuries of moral tradition that the US does not engage in torture? And why does an ancient and far from venerable Supreme Court Justice feel compelled to advocate torture publicly?

Scalia is 78 years old and reportedly very religious. Please forgive me if I hope his God calls him home before he incites too many more zealots in the CIA, NSA, FBI and DHS (to name just a few) to grotesque acts in the name of the people of the United States of America.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

You Think Religious Fundamentalists Are Harmless, As Long As They Call Themselves Christian? Fat Chance!

librarisingnsf at Kos, for LGBT Kos Community:
Anti-Gay NC Church Members Indicted For Felony Kidnapping And Assault Of Gay Man


From LGBTQ Nation:
... but religious bigotry
is no laughing matter
Five members of an anti-LGBT church in Spindale, N.C., were indicted on several felony charges this week, following a complaint lodged by a young gay man who says church members kidnapped him and assaulted him because of his sexual orientation.

A grand jury indicted Justin Brock Covington, Brooke McFadden Covington, Robert Louis Walker Jr. and Adam Christopher Bartley on second degree kidnapping and simple assault charges. A fifth member, Sarah Covington Anderson, was indicted on second degree kidnapping as well as simple assault and assault by strangulation.

The grand jury met on Monday, with indictment announcements released on Tuesday.

All are members of The Word of Faith Fellowship, a church which has continually come under fire for its alleged cult-like behaviors and severe treatment of members, particularly young people.

In this most recent case, 21-year-old student Matthew Fenner, a member of the church since age 16, alleges that several members targeted him because of his sexual orientation.

May the good Dog spare me from bigots. If this church didn't hate gays, they'd hate Blacks. If they didn't hate Blacks, they'd hate Unitarians. (No, I'm not making that up; one such person raged and raved at me for being a UU... the R&R took place over a lunch table at a music workshop. FWIW, my UU church in my young adult years had an openly gay minister, and all of us, straight, gay and otherwise, admired him greatly.)

Apparently the fundies have to hate somebody to keep the fire in their bellies going. I am not Christian, but I have serious doubts that Jesus would recognize these people as members of his flock.

Good News For A Change: Florida's Pee‑In‑A‑Bottle-To‑Receive‑Welfare Law Struck Down

Walter Einenkel at Kos once again points to a NYT article:
MIAMI — A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by Gov. Rick Scott in his first term in office.

The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled that the law, one of the strictest in the country, was an unreasonable search because Florida officials had failed to show a “substantial need” to test all people who applied for welfare benefits. ...

Are all office-holding Republicans hate-filled bastards intent on degrading those they ostensibly serve?

Activists: Chicago Police Likely Using Stingray Tapping Protesters' Cell Phones

Walter Einenkel at Kos has the story. Protesting in Chicago? Take note; adapt your phone use (or your phone) accordingly. (If you use a smartphone, google
   "cell phone wiretap detector app"
and you'll get plenty of responses; I don't know if they work or not.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Greider: How The Democratic Party Lost Its Soul

Avedon Carol at Sideshow points us to an article at The Nation by William Greider (bio, blog... I normally link to Wikipedia bio's, but the one for Greider is an irredeemable right-wing hit job) on How the Democratic Party Lost Its Soul. Here's an excerpt to give you the flavor:

William Greider
The blowout election of 2014 demonstrates that the Democratic Party is utterly out of touch with ordinary people and their adverse circumstances. Working people have known this for some time now, but this year, the president made the disconnection more obvious. Barack Obama kept telling folks to brighten up: the economy is coming back, he said, and prosperity is just around the corner.

A party truly connected to the people would never have dared to make such a claim. In the real world of voters, human experience trumps macroeconomics and the slowly declining official unemployment rate. An official at the AFL-CIO culled the following insights from what voters said about themselves on Election Day: 54 percent suffered a decline in household income during the past year. Sixty-three percent feel the economy is fundamentally unfair. Fifty-five percent agree strongly (and another 25 percent agree somewhat) that both political parties are too focused on helping Wall Street and not enough on helping ordinary people.

Instead of addressing this reality and proposing remedies, the Democrats ran on a cowardly, uninspiring platform: the Republicans are worse than we are. Undoubtedly, that’s true—but so what? The president and his party have no credible solutions to offer. To get serious about inequality and the deteriorating middle class, Democrats would have to undo a lot of the damage their own party has done to the economy over the past thirty years.

I couldn't have said it better myself. If Democrats want to keep the White House in 2016, they must do a great deal better than they did in 2014, and I don't mean just in the poll numbers. Democrats must give working Americans something real to vote for. Nobody gives a (bleep!) about Obama's "let us reason together" blather; they want jobs with middle-class incomes and benefits, and retirement plans adequate to live on. They want honest housing loans that do not get yanked out from under them like a cheap rug. No amount of flim-flam will turn working voters into Democrats if they don't get those things.

Another word to TPTB in the Democratic Party: Hillary ain't gonna cut it. Republicans have successfully undercut whatever virtues she may have. "Her turn"? FTS! No one owns a major party's support for a presidential run at this early stage. If Dems nominate Hillary, GOPers will run against Bill's sex life... you're right, that's grossly unfair, but don't count on that stopping today's Rethuglicans. They'll do it. And they'll win.

I am not yet committed to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but if she chooses to run (no certainty at the moment) I am more than willing to hear what she has to say. Short of a miracle — and she may be able to work one — I am afraid the Dems have already lost it, two years out.

[SB wanders off muttering @#$%^&*!@#$%...]

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Still Shopping At Walmart? Once Again Shopping At Walmart...

... because you think they've cleaned up their act? (Ptui!)

Please watch How Walmart Destroys Communities, Part 1, from Brave New Films, by Robert Greenwald. It's about 1½ hours; be sure you have popcorn... popcorn NOT purchased from Walmart...

The last item I bought at Walmart was a beard trimmer; that was about 20 years ago or so. The beard trimmer is almost defunct now, and the only thing I can say about its replacement is that...


The CIA Torture Report: Not Much New; A Lot Still Horrifying

Abu Ghraib may
come to seem tame.
The venerable Meteor Blades at Kos summarizes the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program, and it isn't pretty. But if you've read Jane Mayer's The Dark Side, or Jeremy Scahill's Dirty Wars, especially if you've read both of those books (yes, I have), you won't be taken by surprise at the contents of the report: the CIA and most of President Cheney's Bush's inner circle performed, or ordered performed, atrocities that make any sane American gag at what was done in his or her name. Go read Meteor Blades's list for the particulars. Keep your barf bag handy.
(The one thing I found surprising is how much the CIA baldfacedly lied to Congress in its testimony about, e.g., the effectiveness of the torture they applied, measured by the results they obtained. As we already knew, torture doesn't work. What we didn't know, at least in such detail, was how often the CIA resorted to torture despite swearing to Congress that they hadn't.)

You know, to the extent possible, Obama needs to clean house at the CIA. If he won't prosecute the worst of the wrongdoers — I mean the out-and-out criminals like Cheney that he's allowing to skate free — he at least needs to fire any remaining Bush appointees at the top of the CIA hierarchy. Enough is enough!

Wall Street Lobbyists: Pass Bill Deregulating Derivatives — Or We Will Shut Down Government

Via Isaiah Poole at Campaign for America's Future, we have the following from Zach Carter at Huffington Post:
According to multiple Democratic sources, banks are pushing hard to include the controversial provision in funding legislation that would keep the government operating after Dec. 11. Top negotiators in the House are taking the derivatives provision seriously, and may include it in the final bill, the sources said.

The bank perks are not a traditional budget item. They would allow financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. -- potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by the risky contracts. Big Wall Street banks had typically traded derivatives from these FDIC-backed units, but the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law required them to move many of the transactions to other subsidiaries that are not insured by taxpayers.

The more things change, the more the changes are reversed by Republicans. Derivatives are arguably a major cause of the Wall Street collapse of 2008. They are inherently risky and under Dodd-Frank are currently not government-backed; see Wikipedia for a summary and list of the risks. Wikipedia concludes
[The loss] comes to a staggering $39.5 billion, the majority in the last decade after the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 was passed.
GOP Santa
Wikipedia is not known for allowing disputed content to remain unchallenged for long: almost everyone except the Wall Street fraudsters agrees the risks of unregulated derivatives are unacceptable. But Wall Street wants them back, with bells on... i.e., with FDIC backing. Your tax dollars at work, for Wall Street!

And the Party of No says Yes! Yes! Yes! to reviving them, or else they'll take their marbles and go home.

Campaign for America's Future has a petition. I signed it; what about you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Violent Gang Roving Streets Of Berkeley...

... and they look like this:

   (Watch on YouTube.)

That was posted by Todd Zimmer three days ago.

I understand why cops are at protest events. I do NOT understand the justification for their wearing full riot gear, kettling peaceful protesters, taking pokes at people whom they may find annoying but who aren't threatening anybody, occasionally beating the crap out of one or another protester (or, worse, bystander or neighborhood resident), etc. Are antisocial tendencies the new unwritten requirement for anyone wanting to become a police officer?

I mean, these guys are not Chicago PD circa 1968, but why do they have to do this at all? Violence begets violence; irrational confrontation provokes irrational confrontation. You can't tell me this police behavior does one single thing to help keep the peace... and after all, when (as one officer said) they are "just doin' [their] job," that behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with their job. Wielding nightsticks at a mostly orderly crowd represents a failure to do the only legitimate job of a police officer faced with a crowd: keeping the peace.

(H/T jpmassar at Kos.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

The New Anti-Choice Claim In State Legislatures: ‘Abortion Isn't Healthcare’

"Keep abortion legal.
No exceptions.
No apologies."
Since the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), a woman's right to choose abortion in the first trimester of her pregnancy has been recognized as a constitutionally protected right. This explicit recognition by the nation's highest court has left abortion opponents to chip away at the edges of abortion: limiting its availability; imposing ridiculous building codes on abortion clinics and qualification restrictions on abortion doctors that do not apply to other kinds of clinics and doctors; and now, the most absurd of all: claiming that "abortion isn't healthcare" and therefore is not legally protected in the way most medical options are.

"Abortion isn't healthcare?" Try to tell that to the woman whose life has been saved by an abortion. The claim is, on its face, false.

That doesn't stop the nut-jobs from passing their nut-job laws in crazy state legislatures such as the one in Texas. Quoting Robin Marty at TPM in an article about the claim the crazies make repeatedly in North Carolina,

The logic behind North Carolina abortion clinics’ new regulations echo [National Right to Life's David] Andrusko, too. In 2013, anti-abortion legislators repeatedly inserted language that would allow the state board of health to write new medical standards for abortion clinics—and only abortion clinics—into multiple bills, finally getting it passed after inserting it into a proposal on motorcycle safety. Bill supporters said the new regulations would be written just to increase patient safety and not with an intention to shutter most of the abortion clinics in the state, as other similar regulation bills had done in other states that year.


"While the governor is trying to treat abortion like any other medical procedure, on one level that's a good thing, but he's really dismissing the important part," one abortion opponent told ABC 13 News.

That “important part” the governor apparently dismissed? That abortion is not supposed to be viewed as health care.

Even the allowable “exceptions” for obtaining termination when a ban is in place shows that every line of an abortion law is written with this express idea in mind. There are no mental health exceptions because an abortion can never be needed for mental health reasons. There is no medical exception because an abortion is never medically necessary. You can have one only if you will have “irreversible harm” or permanent damage to a “bodily function” because an abortion is never required to protect a pregnant person’s health.

Abortion is never healthcare. Once you recognize this assertion as the root of every piece of legislation, every bill suddenly makes complete sense.
Many anti-choice zealots see their opposition to all abortion as a matter of religion. It's impossible to argue with radical religious conservatives (and in this case I have to include most Catholics in that broad category): religion is itself not a matter for logic; any ordinary sane process of reasoning applied to problem-solving is readily tossed out the window in service of establishing the believer's "fact" for the greater good of his or her faith. Hence "abortion is not healthcare" ... a manifestly absurd claim... is accepted unquestioningly by the religious fanatics in conservative state legislatures for the explicit purpose of prohibiting abortion even in cases where abortion is indisputably healthcare, such as saving the pregnant woman's life.

O tempora, o mores!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ain't We Got Funds?

There's nothing surer:
The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer.
- "Ain't we got fun," 1920, Whiting - Egan and Kahn
(wiki) (lyrics)
Yep, that's right, though some conservative singers rendered it "and the poor get children," which is IMO inhumanely inexcusable. But the canonical version, the one that rhymes properly, is the one that is to the point of this post.

Your bank account goes south
This post is about banks, and banksters, and how they're about to rob us all this time around. You know how they did it last time; they had to be bailed out by the government with our tax money, and then... and then, what? To all appearances, they didn't do a damned thing to correct the problems that got them in trouble in the first place, and they didn't do a damned thing to help people with their home loans; indeed, they... oh, you know, and this graf is getting out of hand.

So they're planning to get into trouble again. Yes, planning: it worked so well last time... for the banks and the banksters. But this time, things will be different. How? psychomax at Kos gives a good summary, citing Ellen Brown at The Web of Debt (the blog, not the book):

Since the financial crisis of 2008 central bankers and regulators have been busy drawing up plans for avoiding the next bank melt-down. Here in the US, banks considered by the government Too Big To Fail (TBTF) were bailed out six years ago with our tax money on the arguable rationale that if they were permitted to fail, they would take the entire economy down with them. The crisis led to a loud outcry from taxpayers and many savvy experts. ...

... the big banks, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, were not broken up, contrary to the public interest. In fact, they are far larger today than they were in 2008, making the TBTF threat worse than ever.

So what plan have the geniuses come up with that both pacifies taxpayers and still saves the TBTF banks? You will be appalled.  ... Theoretically. deposit accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000. The wrinkle is that the amount of money in the FDIC insurance fund is approximately $25 billion, while the total of deposits at US commercial banks is approximately $9,300 billion, yes that's $9.3 trillion The failure of just one mega-bank would easily wipe out that fund. Since the FDIC would be unable to keep failing huge banks solvent an alternative is required.

(Bolded sentence original. - SB)

So what is this mysterious alternative? It's no wonder they're not loudly broadcasting their plans, as you'll soon see.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB), an unofficial international organization whose recommendations for maintaining banking system stability almost always become law in the G20 nations, has made a recommendation regarding bailouts. Here's psychomax again:

At the G20 meeting last month in Australia, the FSB presented and received approval for their latest plan for conducting the "resolution proceeding", i.e. bankruptcy, for a troubled TBTF bank. Cutting to the chase, the pertinent part for my dear readers is that instead of their tax money going to bail out the banks, it will potentially be their bank deposit money! The FSB recommended that governments make statutory the confiscation of depositors' money (also known as unsecured debt) if the assets of the bank plus all secured debt is insufficient to keep them afloat. This has come to be known as a bail-in.
Jeebus! IOW, if the bank's assets and the secured debt it holds, taken together, are not enough to keep them solvent, they can confiscate the money in your bank accounts to solve their bankruptcy. (NOTE: it is not clear to me that this is the only meaning of bail-in; see FT's lexicon entry on it.)

And indeed, Ellen Brown's current newest post, December 1, is this: New G20 Rules: Cyprus-style Bail-ins to Hit Depositors AND Pensioners. So your pensions could go bye-bye, too.

What gives? Have I misunderstood? If not, why is this not front-page news around the country? or have I simply missed such news?

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