My Blog List

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Recklessly Corrupt Court! -- When is Fraud not Fraud?

United States ex rel. O’Donnell v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 15-496 (2d Cir. 2016)

This is an incredible decision. Essentially the judge was saying that Bank of America cannot be held accountable for Countrywide frauds. They claim this is because the admittedly reckless and contemptuously misrepresented sales of fraudulent loans, the appeals court claims, somehow weren't proof of fraud! Somehow they weren't reckless and contemptuous enough. In my opinion this court's decision was reckless and contemptuous of the 7th amendment and rule of law. I'm no lawyer and I'd love it if some lawyer could justify this decision. I'm sure some can. I hope this gets appealed to the SCOTUS and that we have a less corrupt SCOTUS to hear the appeal. It just sounds really, really wrong.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How I'd like to See Bernie's Campaign End

I've only written about half of my series "The Trouble with Bernie Sanders" [see: The Trouble with Bernie Sandres] but I saw an article by Robert Reich that expresses some of my own feelings but reflects someone who has not been a part of the bitter and dishonest propaganda parts. I love Robert Reich. So I'll segue off of what he says, some of which I largely concur with. But a lot of which I think reflects his cocooned role as a professor:

"With the Democratic primaries grinding to a bitter end, I have suggestions for both Clinton and Sanders supporters that neither will like.” [Reich]

So far so good

The Real Problem

Actually the problem, Mr. Reich, is that your suggestions reflect the false equivalence proposition that somehow Bernie is being treated unfairly, which is part of the problem. The Real Problem is that Hillary is being depicted as being the problem. Instead of Bernie trying to Enlist her he's trying to destroy her and damage the party in the process. I was initially for Bernie Sanders. I liked his and your message. There seems to have been a major misunderstanding.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Richard Torgerson and USSIF

One of my friends dates to my younger days and his name is Richard Torgerson. I met a lot of fine and wonderful people during my days studying Buddhism and he was one of them. Richard Torgerson, is a man who managed to combine an investment advisor career with high idealism.

Thus he is involved in financial business, but in a way that is rare nowadays. His Financial West Group seeks to follow the guidances of:

Send Money your Donation is Tax Deductible

Image from Arlington Cemetary (taken by me)
The quarrelsome men promise victory in the end.
"There will be victory and prosperity again!"
We will defeat the evil enemy bye and bye
And those who have harmed us will surely die!
The men on the stage have a certain charm.
We will make our enemies build our walls
...and fund our wars.
And we will snatch all the glory.
Send money, your donation is tax deductible.
It's always the other folks who are corrupt!
Have you noticed the one finger pointed outward?
The leaders of my side always deserve all our money.
"The one percent are too rich!"
("Never mind that I'm a member"), he didn't say.
"I'm exempt because I'm leading the fight."
Apparently rules are for the enemy to break.
Send money, your donation is tax deductible.
The enemy! They are corrupt!
"The Oil barons want to blow us up."
"These person here shills for Wall Street"
"That person there is evil and must go down to defeat."
The trumpets blast the trash talk.
As former friends face off in hate.
The generals say "pay the accusations of that other fellow no mind"
"They are liars! March in step with us"
"You must follow ME. I'm your fearless leader!"
And "Send money, your donation is tax deductible."
"It is paying for my Vacation"
Meanwhile us common folks try to pay our rents
and our other bills
Whether or not we are bedazzled by magical claims
We pray that all will soon be fine.
We pay for all the magic with our blood, sweat and tears.
And when they can't deliver on promises, we are the bottom line.
Even when we start to feel like we've turned into a turnip.
the letters keep coming:
"Send money, your donation is tax deductible."
We have no objection to paying.
We will pay the costs for what we need.
Blood, sweat and tears? We bleed.
We know that burden dates to Adam and Eve.
We toil by our sweaty tears.
to try to make it better.
We sacrifice to help our fellow Human.
If only our fearless leaders would deliver on their promises.
But the letters keep coming:
"Send money, your donation is tax deductible."
I can buy a vision of peace
And march in step with the fearless leader.
I see a vision;
Great peace, and rows and rows of returning volunteers,
marching home again.
But that transforms in my imagination to rows and rows of uniform graves,
Each decorated with little flags
And mouldering in the rain.
My vision of joy transformed;
Into one of tragedy
children and their moms...
Weeping besides graves.
They aren't sharing a vision of peace when they say:
"Send money, your donation is tax deductible."
If it were only just my people and our scoundrels doing this.
I could blame my cons, carry a gun and securely fight on.
But the scoundrels are the same all over.
They talk so pretty, in the languages of the world.
It all sounds so romantic when they tell their people how great they are.
But when the children die it's because the fearless leaders lie,
Meanwhile they send their children to the same schools in Switzerland.
Where they learn to beg:
"Send money, your donation is tax deductible."

Christopher H. Holte 5/27/2016

This is a rewrite of what I wrote in 2013:

A little smoke

Nothing like oil sands on fire to create a haze.
Might induce a bit of daze.
For the high and Mighty it might create a craze.
To wear masks or visit far away.
What a trifecta!
Oil and Grass and radiation.
What a wonderful way
to spread the misery across the nations.
Brittle bones or bad loans
different kinds of disaster
But for the stars above
they just float like the long ago Asters.
Thyroid nodules, radiation sickness.
Just a flu, pay it no mind!
Just a cost of doing business
Secret stuff really,
beyond my pay grade.
If we blow up the world,
well our bosses know what they are doing.
They wouldn't put us at harm,
would they?
I keep the secrets I was told to keep.
I'll carry them to my grave.
Some of them I don't even know I'm keeping
are hidden in my bones.

Christopher H. Holte

Inspired by this news article about the Fort Murray Fires, and my knowledge of what is stored at the Fort Murray hazardous (nuclear) waste sites:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not my Fault

Not My Fault!
I didn't do it.
I didn't come to your aid.
So it's not my fault you failed.
Not my fault!
I told you it wouldn't work.
And you tried to do it anyway.
I stood nearby
and told you you would fail.
And you did.
See, it's not my fault.
Or is it?


Christopher H. Holte, 5/24/2016

Finding PLACE

The other day, there was a presentation at the Kaplan. The Powers that Be have ignored local folks. But as with the saying "An Expert is someone from out of town" they brought in some mavens from out of town, and with the input from those folks they seem to be getting closer to the right idea:

"A meeting to help shape Brunswick’s future took place Monday inside the brick shell of the four-story former Kaplon department store. About 20 business people, elected leaders and nonprofit redevelopers considered options to fill space in the city with a combination of arts venues, small stores and places to live on any income."

A little Electoral Troll humor

Troll Troll on the knoll
Surfing the internet
Big fat troll at the bridge
Collecting tolls from all who cross!
Don't wanna pay?
At the end of the day
You'll be roasting on a spit!
Run real fast! You still might pass!
And he will have a fit!
But if he catches you
He'll put you on a spit
And make you "feel the Bern"
Droll troll on the knoll
No sense of humor at all
Comes out at night
Full of anger
At everything in sight!
But if you can trap him
In a thread
He'll argue til first light
And when the sun comes up
And the light strikes him
Poor fellow, he'll turn to stone!

Christopher H. Holte

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Winning doesn't always mean getting elected

I have friends who are Hillary supporters, and other's who are Bernie Supporters. Initially I was a Bernie supporter. I stand behind some of the same ideas as Bernie does. I like him best when he talks about ideas and defeating the Cons.

Bernie say's he's not running for President to lose the election. I admire his determination but winning isn't everything and sometimes winning a personal battle can be a Pyrrhic victory. One can take the field and lose the war for wasting resources. Sometimes one can lose a battle in order to win a war. In this case of this election the war is not a war between Bernie and Hillary. It is a war between neo-liberal "zombie economics" and progressive/ equitable notions of economy. So when he focuses on winning the election to the point of distorting the issues and attacking his allies he loses me. And he has.

But it is also about strategy. Sometimes you don't get your way right away.

Sometimes it takes patience.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Trouble with Bernie Sanders Part II Hanlon's Razor

Hanlon's Razor

Bernie had the opportunity to bring transformative change to the Democratic Party and he's blowing it. I was going to put all this in one book length post and then I realized it was too unwieldy. The subject is too big, and there is too much to talk about. And one cause of this failure is the paranoia and anger of his so-called movement. And what is driving that movement is Hanlon's Razor.

Hanlon's razor basically states that one should avoid ascribing to malevolence what is more likely caused by stupidity. It's a corollary to Occam's razor and this is so because in observing human affairs complex narratives usually involve elaborate conspiracies or hidden motives. But human stupidity is usually the more likely cause for failure or even conflict. People misunderstand each other.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What Bernie is doing Right

The Trouble with Bernie Sanders, Part One
What Bernie is doing right

I started this season last year as a fervent supporter of much of what is in the Sander's plank. I wanted Bernie Sanders to serve as a "loyal opposition" to our party and take a bit of a prophet's role. I wanted him to push the party to uphold its core values and for Hillary not to do that "compromise" and "I'm the Centrist" thing that our candidates have been forced to do for as long as I've been able to vote. I was hoping that Bernie would be active in electing a progressive democrat caucus to be a majority party in the country and support a transformation of our party from bottom up. We need local as much as national changes and I was hoping that he'd put a fire under democrats around the country.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Father Berrigan
I've been thinking of that Father lately.
I guess we are all connected.
I must have heard him
as he passed by my way.
He was calling to us,
as he was welcomed
into eternity.
When people talk about non violent resistance
they are describing paradoxical heroism
Not someone standing on a podium looking brave.
But someone facing real injustice naked and afraid
and offering up themselves as a sacrifice;
to a false god of injustice clothed as justice.
The purpose of non violent resistance
is to illustrate the fatal flaw
in this body of rules that styles itself law
to illustrate why unjust laws are unjust
by taking on the consequences and pain.
To take on the pain and suffering
So that others might be spared.
He took on that pain
He offered himself up to suffering again and again
To Broken bones, and broken lives,
To incarceration and arrest
To hard time spent in meditation
more isolating than a mountain top.
Facing hatred, fear and being shunned.
He broke laws to uphold higher moral laws
Taking on the consequences of his defiance
To Illustrate the awful reality behind the screen.
It takes real courage and sacrifice.
To do the things he did meant paying the cost.
To illustrate injustice clothed in invisible cloth.
Require the courage to walk naked into the abyss.
To take on a pain, as if being stabbed again and again.
To walk in the footprints of and carry a cross.
Father Berrigan was a True Christian.
And his memory is a blessing not a loss
Daniel Joseph Berrigan, S.J. (May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016)

Christopher H. Holte 5/1/2016