The Morning Grumpy – August 12th

12 Aug

1. After watching last night’s Republican Presidential debate on Fox, I’m more certain than ever that we are but a few years away from total Idiocracy. Aside from Jon Huntsman, there wasn’t a single sensible person on that stage. The illogical political conclusions based on misinformation and anti-intellectualism that make up the basis of right wing politics were on full display throughout the night.

As progressive writer Cliff Schecter noted in a column yesterday,’

The Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or even Reagan – the GOP in its current form is nothing more than the party of Ted Nugent – hopefully with somewhat better hair.

2. Why do young people generally not give a shit about politics in America? The youthful energy of the 1960’s has now become the ambivalence of the new millennium.  A clinical psychologist lists a few reasons why

Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it.

How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

EXAMPLE: In a more democratic and less authoritarian society, one would evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher not by corporatocracy-sanctioned standardized tests but by asking students, parents, and a community if a teacher is inspiring students to be more curious, to read more, to learn independently, to enjoy thinking critically, to question authorities, and to challenge illegitimate authorities.

A very interesting article, please give it a read.

3. Song for Friday, Part 1: “Come On Over” by Veronica Falls

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4. Here’s an innovative idea, how about an aptitude test for Congressional candidates and incumbents? No pass? No seat!

Universities, private organizations, and various other professions require rigorous testing of their candidates before positions are allotted to them. Sure, most (if not all) people in Congress have been to college, some have a laundry list of professional experience, and others, like our president, are actually lawyers from some of the most highly esteemed institutions of higher education in the world.

This is not enough, especially when public politics in a capitalist republic are concerned.

The ugly truth is, some of our leadership gets elected simply because they’re master orators catering to the lowest common denominator of public intelligence, and that is extremely dangerous.

An unlikely idea and one which would be dismissed out of hand in the halls of power, but it makes a lot of sense and I like to write about things that make sense. If nothing else, it would rid us of mouthbreathers like this guy.

5. Here’s a good example of the headline not matching the story.

Headline: “HSBC sale of credit card unit won’t lead to local job cuts”

Pretty definitive, right? “Won’t” as defined by Merriam Webster means “Will Not”; As in “won’t happen”. Well, the actual story tells a different tale.

Just 10 days after agreeing to sell its upstate New York branches, HSBC Holdings Plc agreed Wednesday to unload the bulk of its U.S. credit card business, selling $29.6 billion in loans to Capital One Financial Corp.

HSBC’s national card business employs about 140 in the Buffalo area, mostly in card fraud prevention and investigations, said bank spokesman Robert Sherman. But under the agreement with Capital One, all employees of the card business, known as HSBC Card and Retail Services, will be given an opportunity to join Capital One. It’s unclear where those jobs will be located.

Just so we’re clear for the people in Akron, “won’t” or “will not” ≠ “unclear”.

It seems that The Buffalo News is working overtime to disabuse people of the notion that this massive HSBC disinvestment in the American retail banking market and, in turn, the WNY business community is a problem. Here’s what’s happening folks, the writing is on the wall.

HSBC has divested its retail banking and consumer credit card holdings which were primarily run out of Buffalo and WNY. The entire HSBC information technology infrastructure has been moved to Chicago. The bank has floated the trial balloon that One HSBC Center will soon be vacated and that operations will move to the Atrium building down the street. The mortgage operations (since the purchase of Household Financial Corporation in 2004) has been a sucking chestwound of red ink for the bank also has operation centers in Tampa, Vancouver and Chicago.  HSBC has been coy about their intention for their mortgage service center in Cheektowaga, but the business has been demising for five years and the future is not bright.

HSBC will have but a minor presence in Buffalo within 24 months. The tower will be empty, the Walden/Dick center in Cheektowaga will be empty and thousands of people will be out of work. Get used to it. Wrap your head around it. Plan for it. Expect it. Know it. Oh and by the way? It would be nice if The Buffalo News would stop throating the hog of the First Niagara CEO.

He is simply plumping up his bank to be an acquisition target for a larger player. No more, no less. The fact that he absorbed so much debt as part of the HSBC retail bank acquisition will actually slow down that process for a few years. But, when one of the big boys comes calling to acquire First Niagara, it’ll be an unemployment bloodbath.

Happy Friday!

6. Song for Friday, Part 2: “Some Children (ft. Michael McDonald) by Holy Ghost!

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7. If U.S. is serious about debt, there’s a single-payer solution

If America truly is serious about dealing with its deficit problems, there’s a fairly simple solution. But you’re probably not going to like it: Enact a single-payer health care plan.

See, we told you weren’t going to like it.

But the fact is that everyone who has studied the deficit problem has agreed that it’s actually a health care problem – more specifically, the cost of providing Medicare benefits to an aging and longer-living population. The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform reported last December: “The Congressional Budget Office projects if we continue on our current course, deficits will remain high throughout the rest of this decade and beyond, and debt will spiral ever higher, reaching 90 percent of GDP in 2020.

“Over the long run, as the baby boomers retire and health-care costs continue to grow, the situation will become far worse. By 2025 revenue will be able to finance only interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Every other federal government activity – from national defense and homeland security to transportation and energy – will have to be paid for with borrowed money.”

8. Corporate cash holdings are up 59% since 2008, so where are the jobs from the “job creators”?

The Wall Street Journal noted today that “non-financial companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index were holding $1.12 trillion in cash and short-term investments in their most recent reports, up 59% from $703 billion in the third quarter of 2008.”

9. Rebuild the dream, a new contract for America. 125,000 people put together this list of ten priorities for America, I was part of that group and I support the platform. Sign on and support the effort, let’s make America great again.

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Have a day! Have a weekend!

8 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – August 12th”

  1. Jesse August 12, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Rebuild the dream is retarded.  Speaking of 24 months, it won’t take that long for this silly hodgepodge of lefty idealisms to be left in the dustbin with Obama’s “Hope and Change”.

    1. Get all your lefty college pals to sign on.  Check.
    2. Get kids to advertise for it.  Check.
    3. Nebulous hand waving (“Green jobs”, “invest” in public education because there’s not enough fucking money there already, Medicare and ‘cost-effective’ in the same sentence, etc etc).  Check.

    Sounds like a winner!

    “Make work pay” was written by illiterates, or more likely, products of our unrivaled public school system.  “They” must be outlawed?  Who, exactly?

    The best one: Strengthen Democracy – “And we must ensure our judiciary’s respect for the Constitution.”

    Be careful what you dopes ask for.

  2. Jesse August 12, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Bruce Levine makes some fantastic points. I went into it punchy expecting some stupid statist rant, but it was must more insightful than that, so thanks Chris for the “read the whole thing” note.

    That said, the problem with Levine’s points is that most of them have been pushed _by_ progressives as the solution for some social ill.  Student loans (#1 for some reason), public schools, centralization of control to state/federal level instead of local… There’s a dissonance there, if only he’d see it.

    That said, NYS simply must pass an education tax credit bill and give thousands of poor kids the chance to get out of the institutionalized public school system.  I can pay to get my kids into Waldorf.  Every kid should have that chance.

  3. Ray August 12, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    On the last July broadcast of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, right after the settlement of the NFL lockout and right before the Satan Sammich deal, they riffed on the story’s connections:

    Luke Burbank: The part about this that’s so stunning is that this group of guys, most of whom faked going to college….

    Host: Right.

    Burbank: Many of whom have suffered catastrophic concussions over the course of their career, are more able to agree than the United States Congress.

  4. Leo Wilson August 12, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    The ugly truth is, some of our leadership gets elected simply because they’re master orators catering to the lowest common denominator of public intelligence, and that is extremely dangerous.

    I couldn’t agree more.

  5. Mike August 12, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I just have to tell you that I love this daily column. It’s become a “must do” part of my morning. Great work!

  6. kbecker August 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    listen. I know they are kids and all, but that was more than 10. they added a few talking points at the end. TRICKERY! also, super mean to make the kid with the thpeach impediment to  thay thocial thecurity benefiths 🙂

  7. jimd August 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Chris made the point weeks ago that none of those people on that stage last night believe in evolution or that the world is no older than five thousand years. Forget about political ideology, who the hell can take them seriously? The Republican party has become a sick joke. Oh and then Romney stumbles over himself explaining how corporations are people. Go marry one Mitt, procreate.

  8. patriot August 13, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    Party of ted nugent? Let’s hope the rest of the right wingers don’t urinate and defecate in their jockeys like nugent boasted to doing to avoid serving his country

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