Thursday, July 02, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Anonymous said...

Now, here's a story you'll never hear on NPR's "Planet Money"

The Great American Bubble Machine
Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression

It tells you everything you always wanted to know about Goldman Sachs but were afraid to ask (for fear of being fit with cement boots and dropped in NY Harbor)

gopol said...

I read that. This is what I had to say to my colleagues about it.

Let's do some bailout math. Goldman Sachs paid $14M in US taxes last year after borrowing $10B under TARP then they got free and clear $13B from AIG in the AIG bailout. They got something similar backdoor from the Lehmann debacle and Bear/Stearns Bailout. They got plenty (but won't tell us how much) in the $8.7T borrowing from the Fed. Plus, they can now use FDIC insurance to finance their operations! If CA could do that over the last decade, we'd have a huge surplus. Goldman Sachs can now issue FDIC guaranteed investments. They can finance derivatives with FDIC guarantees! The CA deficit is about $24B. So Goldman Sachs - a private bank - can get more than the state of CA and get $4.7B in bonuses on top of all that. Their average revenue per employee is close to $1M and their expenses are fairly low.

California is now predicted to default on municipal bonds.

What does this mean for CA? Heavy cuts in education, health, welfare, water and transportation infrastructures. The shock doctrine is upon us. Our beautiful state is now prone and the banks are coming in for the kill. If we default on our loans it's going to be banana republic time. This is upsetting, no doubt, but it all seems to happening with an eerie quiet - as if, like the UAW, we've all been put on some happy drug, some Brave New World version of soma.

Maurerguy said...

This comment of mine chastising NPR's "enhanced interrogation" phrase got on at least a local affiliate.

Anonymous said...

"it all seems to happening with an eerie quiet"

I could be wrong, but my guess is it's the "quiet before the storm".

People have been too worried about their own situation and eager to believe the (empty) promises of their "populist leader" to save them.

But there is a veritable "perfect Storm" brewing -- millions of people out of work (unemployment near 10%, which is really about 16%), millions of people losing their homes, millions of people without health insurance.

Millions of people are ready and willing to blame someone (anyone) for their current situation.

When these people learn that banks like Goldman Sachs are largely responsible for their current predicament (I think most people already suspect as much) AND that their government (and particularly, their current leader) have been aiding and abetting their misery, Obama will become burnt toast, politically speaking.

Obama might be a smooth talker and a likable guy and all, but he ain't gonna weather the "Perfect Storm".

My prediction is that it will engulf him before the 2012 election. There are signs that it has already begun to do so.

Anonymous said...

This may be redundant because I virtually never visit this site, but we've all heard about water torture for many decades, particularly with respect to South American dictatorships in our lifetime. Does not NPR have archives where it was referred to in the past as an example of torture?

gopol said...

I was browsing Sibel Edmond's blog and came across Turkey, Iraq Get US Help to Fight Kurdish Rebels - a real gem of know-nothing non analysis. It's Alex Chadwick on Day to Day (thankfully axed in the recent budget cutting) broadcast from two years ago.

AC: The Bush Admin has named a high level envoy to try to curb Kurdish extremism in Turkey and Iraq. The envoy is a retired Air Force general, Joseph Ralston. This follows a series of bombings in Turkey by a Kurdish militant group. After the 1991 Persian Gulf war this country provided a safe haven for the Kurdish minority in Northern Iraq. Washington hoped to build the kind of friendly and democratic government there that it hopes to see around the mid-east. There are many complications. Michael Rubin is an expert on the region, he's worked with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, and is now a scholar at AEI, and he lectures frequently at Yeti Teppa University in Istanbul, he joins us from Washington. Michael, what do you think general Ralston can do here?

How's that whole democracy thing working out? I'm still wiping away the tears from Bush's 2004 inaugural address.

I will spare you all the transcript. It is not at all enlightening. Consider the players though: Rubin is another Yale loser who couldn't get a job in real academia so he gets various temporary gigs, for instance, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and, of course, he's an AEI "scholar." Rubin pretends that Ralston doesn't really have the creds to get the job done.

Meanwhile, they both ignore the humongously conspicuous fact that Ralston is bitter about having been denied advancement to the top of the military because of an "adulterous affair with a CIA employee" and that he's been busy getting revenge in the form of "using his influence as special envoy to secure large governmental weapons contracts for the corporations he has directorship over."

Milo Minderbinder, anyone?

larry, dfh said...

Don't worry about the CA deficit, my friend Gopol. CA still has plenty of parks to sell, albeit at 'distressed' prices. They can probably get a few months' operating budget out of Yosemite and Muir Woods! I remember how the developers were all a-tizzy about being denied the Presidio, now's their chance.

Porter Melmoth said...

I've been out of NPR-range for the past couple days and just found out about Sarah Palin's George Washington-caliber Farewell Address.

I'm just wondering how Narcissistic Personality Radio covered the story...

Happy Fourth gang. Sarah has done a very patriotic thing here.

gopol said...

A piece today on ATC comparing the environmental impacts of back yard charcoal grills vs. the gas burning types.

I wonder how backyard charcoal burning compares with mountain top removal? The stories you get when searching NPR on this topic depend on whether or not there's a space in "mountain top" or not. With the space, you get a 12/3/08 story, Rule Change Makes It Easier To Dump Mining Waste about how the departing Bushies made it easier for coal companies to dump mountain tops in surrounding streams. The article is "even handed" in the NPR way: the horror perpetrated by these coal companies is balanced by the benefit we all receive as a consequence. We get a calm run down from environmental reporter, Elizabeth Shogren, about cutting down the forest, chasing away song birds and increasing flooding. The "buffer zone rule" is described:

You can't do any mining within 100 feet of a stream, which seems pretty clear, but it gives some caveats, and those caveats are part of what this argument is all about. One judge decided [] that this rule makes the whole process of mountain top mining illegal. That ruling got overturned on a procedural matter and ever since there's been a question of what would happen. Even though this rule has been on the books, both the Clinton and Bush admins have given permits to let these mines do exactly what they do. [] They say nothing about this violates the clean water act. [] Judge Hayden decided [] you can't cover up miles and miles of streams and say it doesn't affect water quality. [] But it's a very difficult situation here because what you've got are two priorities that are fighting against each other. You've got the desire to produce cheap electricity, and every one wants to pay a low price bill, and going against that you have the desire to preserve landscapes, and that's a big deal too.

There you have it folks: equanimity. You want low bills? Suck up the forest/song bird/creek bed loss like a brave soldier.

A search without the space in "mountaintop" produces the 3/31/09 ATC piece whose overall arc is similar: start with the touchy/feely stuff about clean water and salamanders and finish with the brass tacks of the importance of coal and the livelihoods of Virginians. Did you know the interstates were built using the same methods? You like the interstates, don't you?

It's interesting to compare these stories with the results of searching DN where you find more than 10 stories filed since the most recent at NPR, all relating the fact that the Obama EPA is still doing nothing to stop this insanity.

But at least we know about the evils of charcoal grills. Happy Independence Day!

gopol said...

Maurerguy aka Larry,

Well said - you open what looks like a definitive crack in the bubble of MSM and NPR. It could be that local broadcasting is key. The local money needs to make itself felt. The path local->national rather than the reverse? I dunno. Any road, that is an excellent statement.

bog!ponk!fiezzy!bienny! said...

Yeah yeah, Port. Like, say it ain't so, Sarah.

Fact of the matter is, she NEEDS all these perky little press blurbs to keep her name in the public consciousness' frontal lobes lest we'd have already deleted, defragged, updated and advanced to the next task. Even that whole Letterman dust-up (thanks a whole heckuva lot, Dave) was but another shot in the arm to sustain her publicity; I'd not be surprised one bit if the "going dark" business is a ploy to amass the resources for that bonnet throw into the next prez election ring.

Nuthin' y'all didn't already suspect, I'm sure.

The Boss of You said...

Anyone have the intestinal fortitude to listen to the tea bagging party story this morning on WESun?

JayV said...

My blog post on Antemedius, "Public Radio Programming Pushes Commercial Banking in Poor Communities," was picked up by The Chicago Sun Times News Group and published in the Post Tribune. That just spreads the word to a mainstream newspaper. A first for me, to be picked out like that.

larry, dfh said...

Sun morning's easy listening, produced by the ironically challenged. So it is that Russia is pulling out of the wto because Russia doesn't want to function within a 'rules-based' organization. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that with a president in bed with goldman-sachs, and a vice president wholly owned by mbna/bank of america, rules-based doesn't really seem to fit.
But 'on the media' was quite cheeky, where some douchebag from dartmouth, or duke (they mentioned both places in the intro and closing) matter-of-factly compared anncoulter to Michael Moore. And he got away with it, without challenge.
And let's just say that 'this I believe' was really 'this gives me hives'.

Porter Melmoth said...

Just a little holiday weekend spit-up here.

One thing about Sunday mornings, no one of consequence at NPR is probably up that early, so it allows for Earth Mom Extraordinaire 'Auntie' Liane to rule the roost like Inskreep 'n Mundane only dream of. Free to strut her ego, Liane positively glows (haven't heard her spoiled-sound voice in what, months!).

Anyway, she had some pinwheel from the RAND Corp size up the latest in Afghanistan (or as she pronounces it, trying to sound hip, 'Awf-gawn-ist-awwwwn' -- as my Afghan friend tells me, the 'gh' is a guttural sound, and Westerners just can't do it, and shouldn't try). Well, this earnest up-and-comer, typically, insists that it's a simple deal: Taliban = poppy dealers. Oh, and she uses the term 'bad guys'. Listening, I lay there, tryin' not to blaspheme, and marveled once again how very blithe the whole NPR propaganda mechanism is.

Then there was some jaw-dropping on my part over a huge amount of time spent on showcasing an NPR 'contest' over some grease-based fry-up recipe that brought some listeners to orgasm, and Auntie got to interview the participants. Well, I turned the volume up so that my wife, a talented cook, could listen. After the whole 2000 minutes of the segment was over (with everyone smug-laughing their way through it), I asked my wife what she thought. She said, in a bald and economical sentence, 'It wasn't worth listening to.' Oh, how I wish I had her serenity, her detachment!

(In the past, when I howled about these dismal morning shows, she would say, 'You're as bad as Liane!!')

Yes, tuning in was a stupid idea, of course, but our impatience-based society often leads us astray.

Truth to tell, I was just seeking some NPR spin on the Quitter of the Decade, Sarah Palin, and her soap opera, but in the endless hour that I dared to listen, none was forthcoming.

If NPR had an 'S' in its acronym, it would stand for 'sadistic'.

Porter Melmoth said...

Hey JayV, congrats on spreading the word. And, never thought I'd say it, but bully for those in the MSM who actually pay attention to valid commentary from those of us in the non-commercial world of noticing/caring!

gopol said...

Amazing expose of the new $1B or $2B US embassies under construction in Islamabad and Peshwar on ATC today. There was coverage of the bitter debate in congress between senators torn by their devotion to the citizens of their states and the demands of the Pentagon. Senator Feinstein of California describe the dire needs of her state and questioned the wisdom of a huge surge in middle east adventurism, while Lamaar Alexander of TN decried the lack of health care services, poor education and the expense of environmental clean up in his state. Maria Cantwell of WA related the awful school closures and layoffs of teachers there and Saxby Chambliss spoke movingly of the terrible poverty that grips parts of Georgia. One senator after another took the floor - there wasn't enough time to do the debate justice, so Debbie Elliot promised to continue NPR's coverage throughout the following days and weeks. Then I woke up.

larry, dfh said...

Monday in Philly. Yeah, we get to learn all about 'heroin from the taliban' on terri gross b-stringer gab show, from some guest who was obviously (to this paranoic at least) spook funded. We learned about how the taliban gets their arms from the heroin trade which eminates in Afghanistan, and how obl and his operatives run the show, and how these guys are like tony soprano (I kid not). Except:
-Heroin doesn't come from poppies. Heroin comes from morphine, which is refined from opium, which comes from poppies. This is not necessarily a trivial process. I don't think it's being done in Afghanistan, and certainly not in the hinterlands. The 'expert' guest spent no time at all on this very essential fact, which smells to me like intentional misleading.
-obl is dead.
-tony soprano is a fictional character.
But then again, it was a fictional show.

Anonymous said...

Good work all!!!

I know that NPR is not the sole media outlet participatinging in the US/NATO Operation Dog N Pony Show but I wonder why a "public news and information" network would be so willing to do this.

This "offensive" in Afghaniraqpakiranastan is meant to co-incide with the US homeland's 4th celebrations. 4,00 Marines in a province meet no resistence (though "further south" US took deaths) while the Taliban simply sit back in their villages and compounds and wait for the US to leave. They will, they all do eventually.

Costing billions and getting nothing done but putting on a good show for the folks back home. and NPR is there to help.


Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Needlessly Public Redundancy.

Anonymous said...

It did not take very long for NPR to contradict their "own" policy on using the "descriptor" torture (or at least Alicia Shepard's claims about it)

"Musa Saidykhan had been a reporter in his home country of Gambia for more than a decade when he was arrested and later tortured by government officials."

gopol said...

Cokie's back to Roberts as usual, calling things "interesting."

After lowering her bifocals enough to remind us that we still haven't bought her book (didn't you know Dolly Madison was accused of being overly sexed and unsexing her husband?) She says Palin "did send out twitters which itself is just interesting."

Then she says that "The cost to Alaska of dealing with records request is a bit much." as if Palin is not to be faulted for the volume of requests and as if Palin's resignation is going to fix that.

Oh, and did you know "The democrats are from different parts of the country"?! She's a deep thinker, indeed.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Roberts is too big a twit to know that the messages are called "tweets" NOT "twitters." But what type of twaddle do you expect from this twinkie? Perhaps she sould consult The Google on The Internets next time?