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  1. Well, I prefer this version (cover the little one's ears)..... Tina needs it. Me Too! Happy Valentine's Day.
  2. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon described cryptocurrency as a "fraud," "stupid" and "far too dangerous" to people who traded it..... Sept 2017 : Dimon said cryptocurrency mania is reminiscent of the tulip bulb craze in the 17th century..... "It's worse than tulip bulbs. It won't end well. Someone is going to get killed.” "(Real) Currencies have legal support. It will blow up." Dimon also said he'd "fire in a second" any JPMorgan trader who was trading cryptocurrency, noting two reasons: "It's against our rules and they are stupid." BlackRock CEO Larry Fink agreed with Dimon, saying that governments around the world need to "crush" bitcoin. Dimon and Fink say that the only real utility for the currency is to skirt the law for illicit activities. Dimon's comments were well known, but Fink adds that the price of bitcoin is an "index of money laundering". Jan 2019: JPMorgan Chase said that cryptocurrencies would only have value in a dystopian economy. In a recent note to his clients, Dimon said that he was skeptical of the value of cryptocurrencies apart from in a “dystopia” where investors have lost confidence in “all major reserve assets (dollar, euro, yen, gold). So you might think that JP Morgan, and Dimon were against the idea of speculation, supporting illicit activity, financial bubbles, Ponzi schemes, and unregulated money laundering. Wrong! This is classic ‘dump, then pump (and then dump again). .. Jamie knows a good speculative, fraud opportunity when he sees it. Today (2/14/2019): JPMorgan is creating its own cryptocurrency JP Morgan is rushing into the ‘crypto fraud’ JPMorgan to Use Cryptocurrency Dubbed JPM Coin, it’s based on a decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions as a way to track transactions without central record-keeping. “We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies. As a globally regulated bank, we believe we have a unique opportunity to develop the capability with the oversight of our regulators. “As we move towards production we will actively engage our regulators to explain its design.” “We believe that JPM Coin can yield significant benefits by reducing clients’ counterparty and settlement risk, decreasing capital requirements and enabling instant value transfer.” It would be funny, if it wasn't so serious.. For those not familiar with crypto…. Cryptocurrency has only two proven use cases after eight years: criminal activity and speculation. I honestly don’t understand why this continues to be dismissed in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. In the eight years since bitcoin has been a currency, has lost more than 80% of its value, and it's transaction volume in the support of legitimate commerce is virtually nil. It is also used to move money out of countries where strict currency controls exist. And, of course, criminals use it to grow their businesses. Crypto’s innovation — anonymity and irrevocability — have taken the friction out of crime. Hackers take over computers and demand ransom in bitcoin. The dark web’s thriving ecosystem — all fueled by crypto — is where criminals shop for anything they want to buy in the pursuit of illegal activities: stolen financials, personal information, military grade ammunitions, illegal drugs, sex slaves and more. Bitcoin not only makes it easier for criminals and terrorists to buy those things; it fuels a growing demand for their supply. Regulators require that financial institutions (FIs) know their customer — and for good reason: so that they don’t become unwilling accomplices to money launders and terrorists. Then, of course, there are the ICOs fueled by the emergence of cryptocurrencies and the ability to create one out of thin air, outside existing securities regulations. With an ICO, an “innovator” who wants to raise money issues a cryptocurrency — a token — in exchange for a promise that the token will be worth more than its face value someday. If not, then get ready for another massive bubble bursting, with the expected massive bailouts immediately thereafter.
  3. Howard and the Magic Bean Howard was a reckless and rather egotistical boy who grew up in subsidized housing. His family became increasingly poor, until the day comes when all they have left is some food stamps, which Howard’s mother tells him to take to the market to get some food. Unfortunately, while on his way into town, Howard meets J. Baron (a known swindler), who says he will trade Howard a hat full of magic coffee beans for the food stamps. Howard lives up to his reckless reputation, and agrees to the deal. He returns home with no food. His mother is less than happy with this outcome, and hurls the beans out into the garden. They both retire to bed without having eaten, as they have no food left. When Howard wakes the next morning, he finds that the magic beans scattered across the garden have grown into a giant corporation outside his window. He promptly climbs it – as you do – and finds a whole new land at the top. Wandering among this wealthy land, Jack comes upon a huge mansion and sneaks into the backyard pool. He encounters a small, well-dressed bald man. Howard proclaims: “This is amazing!” “How did everyone in this land get so incredibly wealthy?” The bald man explained: "The secret is mercilessly exploiting the peasants of the town below." “If you steal from others to get yourself out of poverty, and you will triumph!” “Isn’t that against the law?” Howard asked. The bald man could not contain his laughter: “Fee-fi-fo-fum! Laws don’t apply to wealthy men!” Howard: “What about the town peasants, aren’t their lives important? The bald man starts drifts off to sleep: “Be they alive, or be they dead, I’ll grind their bones to make my bread.’ Armed with this wisdom, Howard steals sacks of gold, and some Faberge Eggs from the bald man’s mansion before swiftly making his escape back down the beanstalk. The bald man wakes up, and chases Howard back down the beanstalk. The quick-thinking Howard calls for the peasants: “Save my life, and chop down the beanstalk!! Crash!!!! The peasants of the town, (thrilled to be rid of the evil beanstalk), excitedly, but mistakenly anticipate the return of a small portion of the bald man’s ill-gotten gains. To the astonishment of the town, he exclaims: “Because I am now the wealthiest person in town, I will be announcing my candidacy for Mayor!” “ I, alone have acquired the secret of great wealth and riches, and the amazing powers of the magic bean. I was once poor and hungry. Now, I will never be poor or hungry again!” As the crowd breaks up, a man was heard whispering: ”What about the peasants, aren’t they important?” Howard gets elected, buys a mansion on the hill, and lives happily ever after. * This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
  4. Archived copy of the speech.... https://www.krqe.com/news/live-stream-beto-o-rourke/1773031931
  5. Update: over now... Good speech by Beto. In Trump's face, in 2 languages, using complete sentences. Watch out for him in 2020. He's got real political talent.
  6. Not covered (for some reason) on MSNBC (Klobuchar day), or CNN. But you can watch Beto speech live here... the hill: Watch live: Beto O'Rourke hosts rally in El Paso
  7. ExPDXer

    Next test question for you guys

    Sorry about that. The link should be: Abolish Billionaires Not important. It is a somewhat snarky editorial, that I personally do not subscribe to, but reflects the degree to which pitchforks are out. It looks like a good issue for Dem's to run on in 2020. 76 percent of registered voters believe the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes. Fox News survey showed that 70 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on those earning over $10 million — including 54 percent of Republicans Ok. I would re-state slightly: The amount of money made by people as a whole (the whole economy) represents, roughly not exactly, a measure of the robustness and productivity of the economy. Those billions represent value made by the companies company executives, and employees of the company . The billions should be there, but possibly taxed to some (higher) degree. The question is to what degree, and what method should be used. They should be doing great things. Some of them do great philanthropic things, some build new companies or factories, and hire more workers, some institute profit sharing plans. Bill Gates is a good example. It allows me to overlook his monopolistic method of accumulation vis a vis Netscape However, there are many others that are not doing great things. Some are doing harmful, despicable,(quasi-legal) things that harm the overall economy. Like 2008. I have no problem with the accumulation of vast wealth by individuals, although there must be some theoretical limit when concentration of wealth among too few individuals breaks the capitalistic model. It is how they got that wealth, and what they do with that wealth that has a out-sized impact on the rest of us. Monopolistic practices, exploitation of workers, consumers, and / or taxpayers are all too often used to accumulate, or maintain that wealth. Consider JP Morgan (my favorite whipping post). It would be hard to believe that an investment firm that pays huge bonuses to it's executives, and traders, also guilty of violating hourly wages laws for it's lowest paid employees. Every single year since 2005. I know (despite Citizens's United decision) corporations are not people, and you can't throw them in jail. But there are real people within those corporations making these decisions to exploit workers through wage commoditization, exploit consumers through antitrust practices, and evading taxes. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of Corporate America. If the board members of these corporations are held legally, and financially responsible for these criminal violations, they would stop immediately. If an individual steals from a corporation, or from another individual they go to jail. When a corporation steals from an individual, they pay an insignificant fine as the cost of doing business. It's like telling a bank robber, "If you steal a million dollars from that bank, we will fine you $100". That is no deterrence whatsoever. Interesting site / database: Violation Tracker - Which Corporations are the Biggest Regulatory Violators Subsidy Tracker -Which Corporations are Getting Taxpayer Assistance I agree. I am not in favor of taxing away individual wealth either. As you said, the question is to what degree, and what method should be used: Elizabeth Warren is advocating for a wealth tax of 2% annual tax on wealth over $50 million, 3% annual on wealth over $1 billion. I have several wonkish problems with her plan, but the rates seem reasonable. AOC proposes increasing the marginal tax rate on income above $10 million to 70%. Peter Diamond, a Nobel laureate in economics, and the inequality expert Emmanuel Saez, argue in favor of a 73% top income tax. IMHO, The best way to solve a problem is to address its root causes: set the tax rate on long-term capital gains and dividends so that it is the same as the tax rate on ordinary income. repeal stepped-up basis and tax unrealized capital gains at death. a method to claw back the benefits of tax deferral from high-net-worth taxpayers. I agree. Sounds like your plan is a variation of Warren's annual wealth tax proposal. I generally agree with the spirit, but have technical issues with her implementation. It is difficult to explain wealth inequality, it's implications, and taxes on the campaign trail. No one is going to be chanting "Repeal the stepped up tax basis! Now!" This is the challenge for any 2020 candidate.
  8. ExPDXer

    Next test question for you guys

    Good question. Although I probably don't have an adequate answer, I'll give it my best shot. Perhaps that is the wrong stick... This stick I would use a short stay at one of those 'for-profit', private prisons that Republicans are so fond of. Criminal acts performed while hiding behind the corporate mask should prosecuted, and individuals should be sent away. Let’s see, what type of carrots do billionaires like to eat? It seems self evident that their favorite root vegetable is accumulation of wealth. They would not be billionaires if they did not have an insatiable craving for it. Convincing them that this diet is bad for their health is indeed a hard sell. Convincing them to take their medicine (like wealth tax, etc) is also a hard sell. Their wealth , somehow, is an embodiment of their personhood—that to separate a person from property is to attack their human existence. Some billionaires (Gates, Buffett, & Carnegie in his later years) understand the ugliness of poverty, without being shown. These relatively altruistic animals developed a healthy appetite for philanthropy, but seem to also shy away from accumulation of power. They have recently challenged their peers to give more back to society, which does help. Other billionaires (Trump, Murdoch, Koch’s, Mercer, Sinclair, DeVos, Randolph Hearst, etc) have developed an unfortunate appetite for accumulation of power. They feed their egoistic cravings with media acquisitions, and political influence. Not interested in philanthropy, and altruism, they have the egotistical belief that they, (and only they) are the true patriots, so appealing to their sense of pride, and the common good might not work. The Forbes list is packed with monopolists, retailers, retail monopolists, the heirs of retail monopolies, real estate magnates, etc. Now, a whole batch of them moved directly into government—and we have the most corrupt and incompetent executive branch in memory to show for it. Here's a radical idea.... NYT: Abolish Billionaires https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/opinion/abolish-billionaires-tax.html <snip> At some level of extreme wealth, money inevitably corrupts. On the left and the right, it buys political power, it silences dissent, it serves primarily to perpetuate ever-greater wealth, often unrelated to any reciprocal social good. Billionaires should not exist — at least not in their present numbers, with their current globe-swallowing power, garnering this level of adulation, while the rest of the economy scrapes by. ..........why should anyone be proud to brandish their billions, when there is so much suffering in the world? When a billionaire commits to putting money into politics — whether it’s Howard Schultz or Michael Bloomberg or Sheldon Adelson, whether it’s for your team or the other — you should see the plan for what it is: an effort to gain some leverage over the political system, a scheme to short-circuit the revolution and blunt the advancing pitchforks. if we tolerate the supposedly “good” billionaires in politics, we inevitably leave open the door for the bad ones. And the bad ones will overrun us. When American capitalism sends us its billionaires, it’s not sending its best. It’s sending us people who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing inequality. They’re bringing injustice. They’re buying politicians. And some, I assume, are good people. <end snip>
  9. Yea, a lot of weasel words in that speech of hers. Her phrase "Everybody should have the freedom to fail in a market economy. Without that freedom, capitalism doesn’t work. " freedom to fail seems to mean a) take extraordinary risk, b) make other entities absorb the losses, c) clear the books, then repeat under new management. Agreed. you seem to have a good grasp of the current (dire) situation. I would only add: Mandatory minimum prison sentences for antitrust violations, and other corporate crimes. and vigorous enforcement, prosecution of the following: The Sherman Antitrust Act1(1890) which outlawed trusts, monopolies, and cartels to increase economic competitiveness. Violations of the Sherman Act individuals can be fined up to $350,000 and sentenced to up to 3 years in prison. Companies can be fined up to $10 million * these fines are a joke, every 4 minutes Bezos earns enough to pay the maximum fine. The Clayton Antitrust Act (1914) provided further clarification and substance to the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. The Act focuses on topics such as price discrimination, price fixing, and unfair business practices. Enforcement is by the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Celler-Kefauver Act (1950), strengthened powers granted by the Clayton Act to prevent mergers that could possibly result in reduced competition intended to prevent mergers and acquisitions that could reduce competition. FDR called them 'self-seekers'. Apparently many many times........ JP Morgan's Criminal History: Penalty total since 2000: $29,715,750,704 toxic securities abuses 3 counts $13,450,500,000 fines mortgage abuses 3 counts $5,411,600,000 fines banking violation 13 counts $4,012,350,341 fines anti-money-laundering deficiencies 2 counts $2,161,000,000 fines False Claims Act 1 count $614,000,000 fines foreign exchange market manipulation 1 count $550,000,000 fines consumer protection violation 4 counts $520,500,000 fines investor protection violation 8 counts $436,052,143 fines securities issuance or trading violation 8 counts $427,324,210 fines energy market manipulation 1 count $410,000,000 fines DOJ Corporate prosecutions / fines since 1999: (saving consumers from the scourge of Fine Arts dealers, and Mrs. Baird's Bakeries) JPMorgan Chase & Co. (2017) Foreign currency exchange: $550 million Citicorp (2017) Foreign currency exchange:$925 million Espar Inc. (2015) Parking Heaters: $14.9 million Sea Star Line LLC (2012) Coastal Water Freight: $14.2 million Crowley Liner Services Inc ( 2012) Coastal Water Freight: $17 million Maxzone Vehicle Lighting (2012) Aftermarket replacement:$43 million Horizon Lines, LLC (2011) Coastal Water Freight: $15 million Polar Air Cargo LLC (2011) Air Transportation (Cargo): $17.4 million Embraco North America (2011) Compressors : $91.8 million Northwest Airlines, LLC (2010) Air Transportation (Cargo):$38 million Irving Materials, Inc (2005) Ready Mix Concrete: $29.2 million Dupont Dow (2005) Chloroprene Rubber: $84 million Crompton (2004) Rubber Chemicals: $50 million Sotheby's Holdings Inc (2001) Fine Arts Auctions: $45 million Eastman Chemical Co.(1999) Sorbates : $11 million Pfizer Inc.(1999) Maltol/Sodium Erythorbate: $20 million UCAR International, Inc.(1998) Graphite Electrodes: $110 million Archer Daniels Midland(1997) Lysine & Citric Acid: $100 million Mrs. Baird's Bakeries (1996) Bread: $10 million I give it 10 years.
  10. ExPDXer

    Next test question for you guys

    I question the accuracy of this chart beyond subjective generalizations. ..... The methodology is extremely subjective. In fact, it appears to be simply one person's(Ms. Otero's) subjective opinion of articles she "read(s) most often and those I am exposed to most often". She is not a journalist, or a statistician, but appears to be a lawyer who blogs as a hobby. Note: The Enquirer ranks about as biased to the right as CNN is to the left.LOL While I appreciate her good intentions, I find it amusing that she is attempting to judge the 'journalistic quality' of real journalists, but defends her own work by saying "a lot of people don’t care about accuracy and quality". See 'Methodology' for a good statistical laugh. Perhaps she should rank her own work and place it on the chart. It should rise no higher than 6, or 7 on her vertical scale of overall journalistic quality. But that is just my subjective opinion. As I said above.: Ms Otero takes this to a whole 'nother level, by giving her opinion about (more qualified) people giving their opinions, on subjects they have no background, or expertise. She admits it ironically: " I’m not a journalist by training, and I don’t claim to be one. So why should you listen to me about the quality of news sources? You shouldn’t. " Anyway, this is all different than information, and knowledge. You could consume vast quantities of C-SPAN, Reuters, and AP........ But it still will not make up for sleeping through that Economics (or History, or Statistics, or Philosophy) lecture in college.
  11. "Ending Welfare as we know it" , supporting bailouts, and trickle down economic policies are not very progressive. Still, it is good to see your progression from Hillary, to Howard Schultz, to Bloomberg, to Elizabeth Warren. All in one day. At this rate, you will screaming "AOC: I'm with Her!"