mountain dawn wallpaper, government shut down produces hardship and paranoid rants

mountain dawn wallpaper

mountain dawn wallpaper

James Woods claims Hollywood is against him after anti-Obama tweets. Actor and vocal Republican says he won’t ‘work again’ after repeatedly criticizing the president over government shutdown. Woods is not particularly important in the total scheme of things. Another multi-millionaire conservative complaining about how hard life is as he lounges by the pool at his literal mansion. He tweets his opinions, free of facts or logic and tells the maid to bring him another martini. Besides blaming president Obama for the shut-down, he also blames the president for the consequences of the shut-down like the WW II vets  having some of their benefits delayed. I have no inside information as to why Hollywood has some of the most misinformed conservatives in the conservative movement. Woods was just in the Showtime series Ray with comrade in ignorance Jon Voight. Both of them insipid aging actors that, despite their paranoid rants, keep getting work from those mean Hollywood liberals. Though Woods gives us a chance to unpack some basic truths. Who is responsible for the government shut-down. Woods blames Democrats. The lame stream media says there is blame on both sides. The truth is that conservative Republicans are not only to blame, they are seeing the results of their plans, A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

….a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

And of course lots of money from radical conservative groups was involved, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis. Some conservatives, backed into a corner on these facts, of which Woods and other true believers are blissfully ignorant or lack the integrity to admit, will say they had no choice. They say the deficit is out of control and a shut-down will force the president to stop his alleged free spending. The problem with that is the deficit has declined steadily under the Obama presidency. Here’s a fact: The deficit is falling. Mr. Woods further claimed, “I don’t expect to work again. I l think Barack Obama is a threat to the integrity and future of the Republic. My country first.” Here is someone using highly inflammatory hyperbole to make brazenly ignorant claims about who is responsible for the shut-down and yet also claims to care about his country.  How can one be a good citizen, try to shift the direction of the nation, yet not know the course or the reasons behind it. Is that patriotism, the blind alliance to a set of weird lies and baseless paranoia. Ultra nationalist throughout history have relied on the ignorance, greed and lack of reflection of people like Woods and Voight. Together they have caused untold misery and death. That is the perverse kind of patriotism Mark Twain was taking about when he defined a patriot as ” the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

South Pasadena Recreation Center. Photographer, Doug White   (No date, probably late 1950s or early 1960s)

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ye old scientific theories, oklahoma conservative is a con-man

flowering pear tree wallpaper

flowering pear tree wallpaper

 

The Most Bonkers Scientific Theories (Almost) Nobody Believes Anymore

The ancient Greeks were the first to have the crazy idea that a lamb could grow right out of the ground, with a stem attached to its navel. Pliny the Elder later mentioned it, and Europeans picked up the idea again in the 14th century.

This is the exceedingly strange legend of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

Now, these folks were well aware of where lambs came from. They were baby sheep that came out of mommy sheep. Or a stork drops it off. Or whatever. But their story may have arisen out of the first Western accounts of cotton plants, which an ancient Greek by the name of Megasthenes found in India, referring to them as “trees on which wool grows.”

I had not heard the lamb and cotton plant legend before. There is more at the link. It is fascinating how word of mouth becomes highly distorted gossip, which became a conventional wisdom. Matt also includes Phrenology: Like Reading a Crystal Ball, But With People’s Heads. I’ve seen and heard people in real life and the movies play around with phrenology, but I’m not sure they’re serious. It has some ethnocentric origins. It was not enough for old European powers like Spain, France and England to invade, seize countries for profit and subjugate the local population, they had to have some “scientific” rationale like phrenology that showed for a fact these people were inferior.

Pratiqve de la Guerre. Contenant l'usage de

A roughish translation of the title of this book, Pratiqve of War. Containing the use of Artillery, Bombs & Mortars, Artificial Lights & Petards, Sappes & Mines, Bridges & Pontoons, Trenches & Works, With Assault order to Breches. All vn trafficking lights Ioye / by  Francis Malthus. 1650. Malthus was a French engineer and expert in assaulting fortresses.  While very scientific for it’s time, I am fairly certain they did not have guys that rode geese and threw lightning bolts.

Congressman Claims Widespread Fraud Because He Saw ‘Physically Fit’ Couple Use Food Stamps

At a town hall in Welch, OK on Thursday, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) called for the outright elimination of aid programs for low-income Americans, claiming that he has witnessed food stamp fraud firsthand. Mullin said he would like to “do away with a lot of these programs” because they allow people to slack off.

“The food programs are designed to take care of people who can’t work, not won’t work. And we all know those people that won’t work, right?” he asked the audience. “They’re abusing the program, and we’ve got to get them off of it.”

[  ]…Despite Mullin’s conviction that these people cannot be legitimately needy, solely on the basis that they look “physically fit,” food stamp fraud is down to just 1 percent. If the Congressman has noticed an increase in food stamp users in his local grocery store, evidence points to the nation’s dismal employment rate as the true culprit.

Meanwhile, many of those who receive SNAP benefits (from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps) work: More than 40 percent of recipients live in a household with earnings. Those who don’t work are likely to be under 18 or over 60. In fact, strict eligibility requirements for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program have disqualified one in four food insecure households for being too high-income, and are allowing at least 50 million people to go hungry. Regardless, House Republicans are gunning for more cuts that would kick millions more families off the vital program.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)  is another amateur magician – look over here at this hand where he claims people are stealing pennies ( if you pay federal income taxes, less than 1penny of every dollar you pay goes to food assistance). Do not look at this hand where corporations, places where people reportedly work, are ripping the American public off for billions, and keeping trillions in offshore  banks. Listen to yet another freaky anecdotal story about people who are discouraged from working so they can cash in on that $4 a day in food. Pay no attention to the Walton family who has the net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, yet tax payers subsidize every employee because they do not pay a living wage – neither do most restaurants, fast food joints or large retailers like Target, Sears, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby or Best Buy. Do not look at the pay of the top executives at those companies or how easy their average work day is compared to a minimum wage employee. Conservatives economic policies since the 1980s have made it a priority to shift to an economy that rewards wealth and punishes work.

Conservative economic punishes working class Americans

water drops wallpaper, pervasive culture of conservative corruption

water drops wallpaper

water drops wallpaper

 

Culture of Conservatism Exposed at Morally Corrupt Bank of America

Six former employees of Bank of America have come forward, alleging that the big bank intentionally denied eligible homeowners mortgage loan modifications, and lied to those homeowners about the status of their mortgage payments and documents.

Bank of America allegedly used these dirty tactics to lead homeowners into foreclosures and in-house loan modifications, both of which helped reap massive profits for BOA’s bottom-line.

 

Employees who did the best and most dirty tricks got gift cards and bonuses. It sounds like a bad satire that went straight to DVD because no one would believe it.

Philosophers are still good for something, Privacy and the Threat to the Self

To get a sense of what I mean, imagine that I could telepathically read all your conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings — I could know about them in as much detail as you know about them yourself — and further, that you could not, in any way, control my access. You don’t, in other words, share your thoughts with me; I take them. The power I would have over you would of course be immense. Not only could you not hide from me, I would know instantly a great amount about how the outside world affects you, what scares you, what makes you act in the ways you do.  And that means I could not only know what you think, I could to a large extent control what you do.

Chipping away at privacy is the loss of freedom by way of dehumanizing people. The people who think they have nothing to hide  have not contemplated the the workings of their essential selves. Those who think they’re saving us in the name of national security are using a similar rationale as the old East German Stasi. That didn’t work out too well.

an obsession with color, banks still stealing homes

Notes on painting from Oscar Bluemner's Theory Diary, 1920 Jan. 12

Notes on painting from Oscar Bluemner’s Theory Diary, 1920 Jan. 12. Bluemner’s notes in German regarding color theory, supplemented with watercolor samples. Oscar Bluemner papers, Archives of American Art.

 Bluemner’s notes in German regarding color theory, supplemented with watercolor samples. These papers are interesting in the context of obsessions. We’re told not to have them. The daily news is filled with the tragic results of unhealthy obsessions. Which may leave the impressions that there are no healthy ones. Bluemner’s obsession was  being the Proust of color. Nothing wrong with that. Though since I wasn’t there it wouldn’t surprise me if he drove his friends crazy on occasion.

 Turns out much-hyped settlement still allows banks to steal homes

The absolute least Americans can hope for from a major government settlement with a large industry over well-documented crimes is that the industry wouldn’t, after signing the settlement, just continue to commit the same crimes day after day. After all, following the tobacco industry settlement, cigarette makers did manage to stop advertising to teenagers that their product had no medical side effects.

But new evidence reveals the nation’s largest banks have apparently continued to fabricate documents, rip off customers and illegally kick people out of their homes, even after inking a series of settlements over the same abuses. And the worst part of it all is that the main settlement over foreclosure fraud was so weakly written that it actually allows such criminal conduct to occur, at least up to a certain threshold. Potentially hundreds of thousands of homes could be effectively stolen by the big banks without any sanctions.

One of the things state and federal officials agreed to was an error level below five percent. And they would not go storming in for another round of legal sanctions, with more fines. Now, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight officials and public interest groups who are keeping an eye on the banks have noted that even under five percent that could add up, and probably is, to hundreds of thousands of people being forced out of their homes with fraudulent paperwork. Homeowners themselves could sue, but despite all we hear about how easy it is to sue someone, it can take years and a lot of expense before a homeowners gets a settlement.

golden forest wallpaper, banks are at it again, the difficult life of lucia joyce

golden forest wallpaper, autumn park

golden forest wallpaper

Are the Banks Already Orchestrating Another Meltdown?

But Wall Street is making more investments, known as structured financial products, and escaping new financial regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank bill that did not change the structure of how loans are bundled — which, when done riskily, causes crisis.

Tad Phillips, a commercial real estate analyst at Moody’s rating agency, told the Times: “The players in the business are generally the same as they were before. … Because it’s the old players, they know how to push the boundaries.”

The Times reported that banks have issued $26 billion in new collateralized loan obligations, or loans pooled and given to poorly rated companies, in just 2013 alone — more than what they issued in all of 2007. The Times stated, “Demand for the loan pools has been so brisk that banks have been able to loosen underwriting standards on the underlying loans and bonds. This provoked the Federal Reserve to release guidance last month [5] warning that “prudent underwriting practices have deteriorated.”

The Times also reported that “57 percent of the outstanding money in commercial mortgage-backed securities” was in risky, interest-only loans before the crisis. It has now reached 34 percent — 11 percent more than two years ago.

The banks are doing what thy did before the meltdown of 2006-07. They take mortgage loans and place them in bundles. They then say those mortgages represent potential profits as the retail value of the property increases. Those bundles are now secures or just a few degrees removed from being  a bet at the horse track. All the way back in the early aughts these same people genuinely thought the value of real estate would never go down. Though they did hedge those bets by buying derivatives – a kind of insurance. If their bundled securities – home mortgages, credit car debt and even car loans – should go down in value the derivatives will pay off the loss. Derivatives, not necessarily a bad concept if done correctly, themselves became more important than ever in the economy. The housing market crashed. Those bundled securities – CDOs ( collateralized debt obligations) lost a lot of value – well into the trillions. The derivatives did not cover losses because the financial houses that sold them did not have enough capital in reserve to pay off such historic losses. So here we go again. And we will not see a bill passed to reign in this corrupt behavior because such regulations are anti-business, communistic and anti-American according to conservatives.

 Lucia Joyce

 Lucia Joyce, daughter of James and Nora Joyce. 1932, by Eugene Jolas. Lucia was born with an eye defect,  strabismus, which her mother had also. Not a horrible burden but it may have been one of the things that affected her behavior, making her seem quirky at times. Especially in hindsight as people pondered how she became so mentally unstable in her twenties that she was committed to a mental hospital. Whether she truly needed to be institutionalized at the time is debatable. The institutionalization itself probably did push her the rest of the way. More here, The difficulties of being James Joyce’s daughter.

cassat’s girl in a blue armchair, deficit hawks put on quite a play, 1938 femme assise 1938

  Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by  Mary Cassatt

  Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by  Mary Cassatt. 1878. Oil on canvas. The colors are so rich they are almost too beautiful. It may be difficult to imagine that someone whose talent was so obvious was unappreciated during her lifetime. Cassat, was very determined, especially when she first started in attendance at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. After she quit, she made the than nearly scandalous move to Paris – women simply did not make a living at art. Her Paris stay went somewhat well in terms of learning experience. Though she was  discouraged when she returned home in 1870. She had a couple of paintings in galleries, but no buyers. Her father was only somewhat helpful, helping her with basic living expenses, but would not spend money on her art supplies. She wrote in a letter of July, 1871, “I have given up my studio & torn up my father’s portrait, & have not touched a brush for six weeks nor ever will again until I see some prospect of getting back to Europe. I am very anxious to go out west next fall & get some employment, but I have not yet decided where.”

The Deficit Chart That Should Embarrass Budget Hawks

Here’s a pretty important fact that virtually everyone in Washington seems oblivious to: The federal deficit has never fallen as fast as it’s falling now without a coincident recession.

To be specific, CBO expects the deficit to shrink from 8.7% of GDP in fiscal 2011 to 5.3% in fiscal 2013 if the sequester takes effect and to 5.5% if it doesn’t. Either way, the two-year deficit reduction — equal to 3.4% of the economy if automatic budget cuts are triggered and 3.2% if not — would stand far above any other fiscal tightening since World War II.

Until the aftermath of the Great Recession, there were only three such periods in which the deficit shrank by a cumulative 2% of GDP or more. The 1960-61 and 1969-70 episodes both helped bring about a recession.

That  Nobel winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph E. Stiglitz, among others have been saying for years that we have more a revenue problem than a spending problem. Yet the public mostly hears that spending is out of control. The liars are so invested in this spending charade they even work up a nice kabuki act of false outrage when their narrative is challenged, Three Charts That Show America Doesn’t Have A Spending Problem

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) claim this weekend that the government doesn’t have a spending problem has been met with typical outrage from Republican politicians (and several members of the Washington media) who have spent the greater part of the last three years arguing that reining in America’s supposed out-of-control government spending would put the country on a more stable economic footing. There is, however, no basis to those claims, as actual evidence points in the opposite direction.

Femme assise (Dora Maar) 1938 by Pablo Picasso

Femme assise (Dora Maar) 1938 by Pablo Picasso. There were several ‘seated woman’ paintings in this series of his then lover, Dora Mar. This version is the most architectural. This one is in a more sensual style.