Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Returning from the turkey to get the bird

Crony capitalism and cracking down on peaceful protest--Quo vadis, America?

A double helping of caffeine today...quo vadis, America?

So, after finally having digested ALL of the Thanksgiving turkey, we turn once again to a much less edible bird. Earlier this week, we found out that Henry Paulson–you know, former CEO of Vampire-Squid–while he was Secretary of the Treasury–wandered into a meeting with hedge fund managers and told them what Treasury was going to do about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. SAY WHAT? Umm, Hank, that was supposed to be a secret until it happened! Did it not occur to you that someone might possibly engage in some insider trading on the basis of WHAT YOU #$%^&* JUST TOLD THEM? Oh, but these are my buddies–they’d never do anything so illegal, unethical and immoral. Well, most of them anyway.

There we have it, the essence of what ^&*(#$%^& went wrong with our system. We used to think that the Grant and Harding administrations were the poster children for corruption. Well, Bush II certainly gave them a run for their money (so to speak) and the Obama administration is coming up fast along the far turn. Here, pack of foxes, please take care of the hen house–we know that ace chicken stealers are going to be the best as keeping predators away! Other predators, that is!

With that shocking bit of news, did it really come as any surprise when we found out the REAL scale of the bailout? That the Fed SECRETLY loaned banks 7.7 TRILLION DOLLARS at interest rates even lower than they pay their mom and pop customers on bank deposits? And that these banks loaned it back to the government to make a profit on it? Not to worry, they only realized 0.17% profit on it. Right–only 13 BILLION dollars.

And while we found all this out, the cops of various cities have been coordinating attacks on those dirty hippies, rapists, thieves and murderers, as Fox and Friends would have it, at the same time as the Egyptian military has been attacking “pro-democracy demonstrators” in Cairo. You’ve seen the pictures…can you tell the difference? YES–tanks! You’re welcome!

This has gotten the reactionary forces in Congress to get the knickers in a knot. Hey–if the Egyptians can use tanks against their own citizens, WHY CAN’T WE? Why not indeed! So they included in the Defense Authorization bill language authorizing the military to detain terrorist suspects on native soil. Now a lot of people have gotten upset that American citizens might be incarcerated by the military, thrown in some brig and held indefinitely, but let’s ask another question. If the military can go after terrorists–how’s it going to get them? Are Navy SEALS going to be attacking terrorist cells run by my next-door neighbor? What happens if it’s decided that the attack might be too dangerous? Is that a drone I see flying THROUGH MY LIVING ROOM?

Now you might think that this is just paranoia, but consider this: 60 senators thought that this was a $%^&*#$ GOOD IDEA. It was originally 61, but one of them decided it really looked bad. President Obama has threatened a veto. That would make this his 3rd–an average of one a year–tied with Herbert Hoover. You know, the guy who let the banks tell him what to do during the Great Depression.

Why does that give me a headache?

ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS! CONFOUND YOUR ENEMIES! PRESS ONE OF THESE BUTTONS--OR ELSE!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Buzz] [Email]

The Other Day At #OccupyDC

I WILL BE POSTING A NEW CARTOON ON TUESDAY OCT 18, TO RECOVER FROM THE NEW YORK COMIC CON.

No cartoon this week because it is the October 12th holiday (celebrated on October 10 this year). It’s not very PC to like Columbus Day anymore and for some very good reasons, like celebrating the introduction of slavery and genocide to the New World. On the other hand, it is the official start of Western civilization in the Western Hemisphere and that, for good or for ill, is something worth remembering. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I have an emotional attachment to the holiday since it is my birthday and I LOVE to get a day off for my birthday, even if the actual date falls on a Monday only once out of every seven years–3 out of 7 if you include the weekend. Nevertheless, I do not have any emotional attachment to Columbus himself, since he seems to have been something of a jerk, so I would not be adverse to anyone changing the celebratory intent of the holiday. Unfortunately, no one is going to call it Greg Day, so let’s call it American Culture Day. Just leave it in the second week of October, thank you. I don’t want to have to go changing my birth records to make my birthday July the 4th–you not only get a day off ON the day, but you get fireworks too! And Happy Birthday to all the other October 12ers out there–you’re special people since you partake in MY DAY!

Anyway, since I knew I was going to take some time off today, I decided belatedly to try to find out what was happening at #OccupyDC sometime BEFORE whatever it was they were going to do got done so I could actually get down there and do it with them. #OccupyDC is our local version of the #OccupyFillInTheBlank movement that is slowly gathering momentum throughout the country. The most well-known of these is, of course, #OccupyWallStreet which was finally discovered by the mainstream news the other week when some cop decided to randomly pepperspray some of the protestors on camera and then several days later when 700 people were induced to take paddywagon rides at the City’s expense. I have mentioned OWS a few times in here, but well, quite frankly I was kind of unaware of the DC branch until it had been in existence for a few weeks. This is what I get for getting so much of my news from the Huffington Post–there weren’t any Kardashians taking part in it so it never made the Front Page (THX Arianna for selling out to AOL).

Anyway, I made my way over to McPherson Square on Friday where the Washington Post had said a march to the IMF building was to start. There was a small crowd there, since, I was told, the MAIN group which was actually starting the demonstration was at “Liberty Plaza”, a place I had no idea existed, unless he meant Liberty Square in Manhattan. Which I later found out was actually “Freedom Plaza”, a place I had actually heard about in my 40-odd years in the DC area. We really need some originality in naming our landmarks and parks. What the heck, since it was starting down there, I had time to get new batteries for my camera and a chili dog–it’s my only weakness. Anyway, a few minutes after the introduction of food to my digestive system, the main group arrived and the forces swelled to about 300-400 people and off we went, alternately chanting “Occupy Wall Street, Occupy K Street,” and singing “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.” It almost felt like the 70s–well, a hallucinogenically-deprived version thereof.

We had a big police escort–something like a dozen police cruisers and a few dozen officers on foot or bicycle. But it was not an NYPD situation–there was a respect between the protestors and the police. Partially because the group has not hit the size necessary for over-reacting and partially because, I suspect, many of the police unofficially sympathized with what the protest was about. Besides, most of the bigwigs at IMF had already absconded for the weekend, rather than face all those “people.”

Despite the snide remarks of some of the pundits and professional pooh-poohers, it is not unknown what the demands of the #Occupiers are. Pace President Obama, we are not frustrated with a system that doesn’t seem to work, we are DISGUSTED with one that only DOES work for the top 1%. We are disgusted that the banks which caused the economic mess the entire world is in because of their greed were deemed too important to allow them to bear the brunt of their sins. That they were bailed out to the tune of 3/4 of a trillion dollars while the victims of their greed were allowed to go bust and get thrown out of their homes. We are disgusted that we, the taxpayers, had to bear the brunt of this cost while the banksters themselves were not only not punished, but rewarded themselves with billions of dollars in “bonuses” and didn’t even get their taxes raised or even get regulations prohibiting their worst activities. We are disgusted with “corporate personhood” which has enshrined political dependency on corporate largess. We are disgusted that corporations are so much more important than people that so-called health care reform was formulated around the institutionalization of parasitical health insurance companies. We are disgusted that so much importance is laid on the deficit at a time when government spending is needed for the American people that important job supporting programs like rebuilding the infrastructure and education are being cut left and right to satisfy a small bunch of yahoos who want to “drown government in the bathtub.” And we are disgusted that so much of our resources are being wasted by wars that we seem to be fighting solely so that we “don’t lose.” And finally, but most of all, we are disgusted that no one is listening to us.

Anyway, here’s a few of the pictures I took while on the march. You can see the entire album at my Flickr pages. Have a great holiday and happy birthday to all my astrotwins out there!
IMAG0254
IMAG0263
IMAG0284
IMAG0299
IMAG0286
IMAG0281
IMAG0330

ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS! CONFOUND YOUR ENEMIES! PRESS ONE OF THESE BUTTONS--OR ELSE!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Buzz] [Email]

Gordon Gekko announces Goldman Sach’s latest profit statement

Gordon Gekko announces Goldman Sach's profits and tries to pick up an underage girl

Goldman Sachs is an equal opportunity employer for reptiles...


Financial Times: Wall Street profits from trades with Fed “You can make big money trading with the government,” said an executive at one leading investment management firm. “The government is a huge buyer and seller and Wall Street has all the pricing power.” A former official of the US Treasury and the Fed said the situation had reached the point that “everyone games them. Their transparency hurts them. Everyone picks their pocket.”
TIME: Too Much Profit at Goldman and Morgan? Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi … calls the firm a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
Bloomberg: Goldman Sachs Lawyer Charged With Soliciting Girl (Update2)
Goldman Sachs Attorney Caught Trying to Do to a Teen What Goldman Is Doing to All of Us [Crime]
Todd Genger, a 33-year-old attorney for Goldman Sachs, was arrested yesterday for soliciting an undercover cop that he thought was a 15-year-old girl. That’s criminal. Reaping billions in profit from surreptitious taxpayer bailouts, however, remains perfectly legal.
I saw the Gawker article with its reference to Gordon Gekko from WALL STREET and all I could think of was a lizard soliciting a 15 year old :) As the article continues: So much for the vaunted reputation of Goldman’s army of Ivy League geniuses: “If Genger did indeed get into sexy IM chats with someone he believed to be 15 years old, he’s a colossal idiot on top of being pervert. Because when you think you’re chatting with a sexy underage girl on the internet—it is always a cop. Jeez.”
Ya gotta wonder. Then again–what else could be more in keeping with the reptilian company that gamed the US into GIVING it profits?
We’ve reached the slow season folks and this cartoonist needs some time off desperately to take care of other business so for the month of August, we will be publishing Mondays only.

ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS! CONFOUND YOUR ENEMIES! PRESS ONE OF THESE BUTTONS--OR ELSE!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Buzz] [Email]

AIG: Robbing Us Blind to Preserve the American Way of Life

As a crook wearing a Dept of the Treasure shirt, robs a line of taxpayers, he hands the money to the AIG Bonus Fairy, who then gives it out to the top executives..

And guess whose pockets the money is coming out of...

Friends, by now you know the story. Uncle Moneybags has given $170 Bn to AIG to prevent them from going under because of mismanagement. They in turn are paying bonuses to the very executives who mismanaged them in the first place. They say they’re contractually obligated. Well, if they’d gone bankrupt, these same executives wouldn’t have gotten a dime.
They don’t get it. They just–don’t–get it. They really don’t understand that we’re no longer in “business as usual mode.” That they can’t buy expensive drapes or parchment wastebaskets on the taxpayer’s nickel. But–I’m owed this money–it’s in my contract. Jumpin’ Jehosophat, didn’t it ever occur to the lawyers who drew up these contracts to write in–”If the company tanks, no bonuses will be paid”? Even if AIG didn’t go bankrupt, why should anyone want to pay these guys for screwing up so bad? In the words of one dope earlier this year, “Well, if we don’t pay our best people, we won’t be able to keep them.” Best people??? You want to keep these jerks? No, let them join the ranks of the unemployed. Let them suffer the utter humiliation of driving to the unemployment office in last year’s BMW. “Well,” said the lawyers, “if we don’t pay them, we might be subject to litigation.” Let ‘em sue. You say, “the government of the United States gave us orders not to pay these bonuses.” Then let them sue the US Government.
But you say–it’s only a couple of hundred million–compared to the $170 BILLION we bailed them out with, that’s a drop in the bucket. True, but that’s not the point. It’s the principle of the thing–people shouldn’t be paid for screwing up. If you pay a plumber to unstop your drain, and he fixes it by removing the clogged pipe and letting the water out all over the floor, are you going to pay him? Hell, no–he screwed up. So why then should these dopes be rewarded for crashing our economy? And why should it be US that pays them. The kind of reward these guys really deserve cannot be expressed on a general audience website, but I have it on good authority that Pongo and his gorilla buddies are all hot to give it to them.
(NY TIMES) Bracing for a Bailout Backlash
(NY TIMES) A.I.G. Lists the Banks to Which It Paid Rescue Funds
(WashPost) Millions in AIG bonuses draw chorus of outrage
(Reuters via WashPost) Millions in AIG bonuses ignite bipartisan fire
(AP via WashPost) Frank assails bonuses paid to executives at AIG

ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS! CONFOUND YOUR ENEMIES! PRESS ONE OF THESE BUTTONS--OR ELSE!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Buzz] [Email]

How the Other 1/100th of 1% Lives…

CEOs will be forced to hold garage sales to send the kids to Andover.

CEOs will be forced to hold garage sales to send the kids to Andover.


There was an article in the Sunday NY Times Style section by Allen Salkin titled You Try to Live on 500K in This Town about the problems of the poor Senior Executives that may have to try to live on a mere half million in NYC. While the article I presume was jocular in intent, inviting us to view their plight “not in sympathy but in sport,” I did notice just a wee bit of that perverse pride of New Yorkers that their city is too expensive to live in even for God. With a certain amount of satisfaction, Salkin lays out the basic upper crust expenses, noting that these are necessities to persons of power, “If you run a bank, you can’t look like a slob,” and concludes that senior executive life in NYC couldn’t be accomplished for less than $1.6 million, before taxes. A few of the figures are a little off. Salkin includes an estimate of $32,000 for tuition for the kid’s private school–which is in line with Andover’s tuition of roughly $30K for commuters, $38K for boarders. But this doesn’t include clothes, fees, books, etc., which brings the total according to Andover’s estimate, to approximately $68K per year. $68K? That’s several years salary for many families of four in these United States. The kids are right: Bendover, indeed!. Then I noticed something curious. Salkin had included an entry for a nanny at 45K a year. And I started wondering what Mrs. CEO does (or Mr., but probably Mrs.) Does she work? I presume Mr. CEO wouldn’t marry down to a woman of less than commensurate status–unless he’s already on the final stage of the standard upper class 3 marriage career (starter wife to support you through business school, breeder to provide progeny, and trophy wife/wives to cheat on in your old age) in which case, we eliminate the nanny expense but add in child support and divorce settlement expenses. Perhaps Mrs. CEO is an upper level executive herself with salary NOT affected by the 500K cap. After all, that cap only applies to senior executives of companies taking government billions and NOT in particularly good shape even then. In that case, no problem. But if she isn’t working, what do you need a nanny for? The big baby in the executive office? Hmmmmmmm. But then I noticed another expense for a personal trainer. Ahhhhhhh that’s why Mrs. CEO is too busy to take care of the kids. Keeping her body in tone. And maybe a little more. After all, if Mr. CEO is busy with the nanny, someone’s got to take care of Mrs. CEO! Perhaps Mr. CEO has a mistress–then you don’t need the nanny expense, but then you have to add a few 100K to keep the mistress in room and board and clothing. AHHHHH. CLOTHING. Salkin talks about the 1K Brooks Brothers suit. Is he expecting Mr. CEO to buy off the rack? Tailor made, starting at 2K in the city, three per season, an easy 24K. And what about Mrs. CEO’s wardrobe–think Sarah Palin. 150K minimum…and 150K again for the mistress. Not the paltry 3 party dresses that Salkin budgets for. We’re getting back up into the multi-million dollar range.
Mr. Salkin doesn’t say a word apart the parties that Mr. CEO must throw to keep up appearances. That can easily total another 100K per year.
Perhaps the point of Mr. Obama’s salary cap is NOT to allow Mr. CEO to conduct “business as usual.” After all, business as usual was what bankrupted his company. Perhaps he needs to be reintroduced to how the other 99.99% live. Even in New York.

ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS! CONFOUND YOUR ENEMIES! PRESS ONE OF THESE BUTTONS--OR ELSE!
[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Mixx] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Buzz] [Email]

© 2009-2019 Gregory Uchrin, Intravenous Caffeine All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright