Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Putin: Measure your success by non-fired missiles!

This video raises alot of questions about "modern political systems" and the future world international relations.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sen. Randy Hopper's 1 800 475 TALK for "Hot, Horny Girls"!

Randy Hopper continues to live up (or down) to his double entendre name with this latest exploit as reported from Uppity Wisconsin:

"First Sen. Randy Hopper's wife told protesters he wasn't home: He was in Madison shacking up with his mistress that was half his age.

Then it was found that he got his mistress a plumb state job AND a hefty raise shortly after she started.

Now Randy has put the perfect cherry on this FUBAR sundae: He put out a newsletter to ALL of his constituents that mistakenly gave the number of an ADULT XXX CHAT LINE."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Russian Oligarchs Oppose Pension Reform, Echos Of The Tea Party Russian Style

The similarities between oligarchic kleptocracies never ceases to amaze as these articles from the Moscow News amply illustrate. Unbeknownst to most Americans a struggle between Russian oligarchs and the Russian people now mirror Americans struggles to prevent the sell off of basic human benefits such as medical care or in this case social support for the elderly:

"Workers in dangerous jobs, generally involving oil or metal, just lost out as a long-discussed bill on employers paying more into their pensions was finally dealt a mortal blow by the Duma.

The bill has been talked over since 2002 and Friday’s death knell passed largely unnoticed, overshadowed by trade unionists and parliamentarians decrying the efforts of Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia’s richest men and leading light of the RSPP or ‘oligarch’s trade union’, to tilt the labour code in favour of the employer.

The pensions bill would have meant that workers in dangerous industries who retire up to ten years earlier would have their pension shortfall made up by employers. The standing situation poses ominous consequences for the pension fund.

Dead hand of the oligarchs

Of Russia’s 20 richest oligarchs 16 have made their money in the listed dangerous industries of oil, coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, ports and airports, Moskovsky Komomolets reported.

The paper links this with the failure of the bill, something that Lyubov Maslova, of Alttrak, a currently mothballed tractor factory in Altai region, agrees with.

Yes, it would affect the tycoons’ profits and “Yes, they did affect [the fate of the bill], because it’s additional money that would go nowhere but to the welfare of the common worker,” Maslova told The Moscow News.

Interestingly Vladimir Putin, attempting to raise some sinking political capital has weighed in on the side of the workers:

"Amid proposals for increasingly liberal economic reforms, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was adamant about boosting the pension fund, and insisted on getting whatever funds necessary to provide adequate care for some 40 million veterans and pensioners.

“Everyone must pay for the pension system,” Putin said in a Monday video-link meeting with pension fund heads from eight federal districts. This came amid a growing debate on the budget deficit and talk from President Dmitry Medvedev’s advisors of easing the burden on businesses in paying social and pension fees.

In 2010, pensions rose by over 40 per cent, with people receiving an average of more than 8,800 roubles a month ($312). Putin pointed out that Russia was one of few countries that raised pensions during the economic crisis, and said pension spending would increase by 20 billion roubles ($0.7 billion) this year.

“There is money in the budget for this,” he said. “I want to stress that this is our top priority, and we must find the funds. We cannot allow a return to a situation of the 1990s, when pensions were not paid out for months.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Messer fur Frau Muller - Funny man

After the previous post this seemed somewhat appropriate.

Russian American Parity: Nukes Now Income

Americans are used to comparisons of Russian vs. American military strength however they may have to adjust to the idea of approaching income maldistribution parity becoming unnervingly similar in both countries. From the Eurasian Review:

"The real incomes of the two least-well-off quintiles of the Russian population have fallen since 1991 while those of that two best-off have risen significantly, dramatically increasing income differentiation and potentially exacerbating class-based tensions, according to two studies by the Higher School of Economics...
" The bottom 40 percent of the population has fallen behind over this period, he reports. The level of real incomes for the lowest 20 percent has fallen 1.45 times and the next lowest quintile by 1.2 times. At the other end, the top 20 percent have seen their incomes double, and the next highest quintile had their incomes go up a quarter...
"This change in the distribution of real incomes has hit the least-well-off groups especially hard because of the decline in state support for housing, education and especially medicine, with the lower quintiles forced to spend a higher proportion of their incomes for all these things or do without them, the studies found.

The situation in medicine is particularly striking, Polunin observes. In the European Union, for example, individuals directly bear 24 percent of the cost of medical treatment while in Russia that figure is now 40 to 50 percent, a dramatically higher fraction than only twenty years ago.

And this increase is hitting Russians, especially those least well off, because the average rate of illness among Russians rose 43 percent per 100,000 population over the period 1990 to 2008 and because many of the illnesses involved, such as cancer and heart disease, are particularly expensive to treat.

But the most striking findings of the report concern income differentiation, Polunin suggests. “In Soviet times, the earnings of a worker (120 rubles a month), an engineer (180 rubles a month), and a colonel in the KGB (350 rubles a month) of course were different, but not by ten times as much as is the case today"

Meanwhile in the U.S. misplaced concern about socialism aggravates more social disparity as noted by Reuters:

"Americans actually live in Russia, although they think they live in Sweden. And they would like to live on a kibbutz. This isn’t the set-up for some sort of politically incorrect Catskills stand-up joke circa 1960. It is the takeaway from a remarkable study by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely on how Americans think about income inequality.

The right likes to argue that income inequality as an issue doesn’t win elections because Americans don’t begrudge the rich so much as they want to join them. The Norton and Ariely study suggests otherwise. Given a choice, the authors find, Americans would prefer to live in a society more equal than even highly egalitarian Sweden.

Another popular view is that income inequality isn’t experienced as acutely by most Americans as the numbers suggest because of how much can be “consumed” by the lower rungs of the nation’s socioeconomic ladder. No less a figure than Alan Greenspan, the maestro himself, once made this case at the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole conference, presenting data on the consumption of dishwashers, microwaves and clothes dryers showing that if measured by the possession of these goods – as opposed to the huge and growing income divide — inequality was decreasing.

That interpretation is not without merit. But it turned out that allowing Americans to prosper by using their homes as A.T.M.’s and maxing out on their credit cards was maybe not such a great idea.

Personally, I lean toward two other theories. Americans are mistaken about income inequality because of national self-confidence and the lottery effect.

By national self-confidence, I mean the widespread conviction that the American way is probably right because all those other ways don’t seem to work out so well. This is a wonderful national quality and one of the reasons America has such resilience. But confidence in the American way can make it hard for the country as a whole to recognize when things aren’t working.

Take, for instance, the health care debate, when a politically effective criticism of what has come to be known as Obamacare was to argue that it would destroy the “best” health care system in the world. Mary Meeker, a Silicon Valley guru of impeccably capitalist and American credentials debunked that idea in her recent USA, Inc. presentation, in which she pointed out that “U.S.A. per capita health care spending is 3x OECD average, yet the average life expectancy and a variety of health indicators in the U.S. fall below average. But if you spend way more than everyone else, shouldn’t your results (a.k.a. performance) be better than everyone else’s, or at least near the top?”

Aside from faith in American national excellence, the other main reason Americans seem so unperturbed by the widening chasm between the rich and everyone else is what I like to call the lottery effect. Buying lottery tickets is clearly an irrational act — the odds are hugely stacked against us. But many millions of us do, because we see the powerful evidence that an ordinary person, someone just like us whose only qualifying act was to buy a ticket, wins our favorite lottery every week.

For many Americans, the nation’s rowdy form of capitalism is a lottery that has similarly bestowed fabulous rewards on the Everyman. The current leading exemplar of self-made billions is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and he may soon be outstripped by the even more instant cyber-star Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon.

But the problem with lotteries is that there are only a few winners. That is the story the numbers tell us about American capitalism today — and unless that underlying reality changes, at some point all those folks who think they already live in Sweden will realize they live in a winner-take-all society, and that most of us aren’t winning."

I first visited the then Soviet Union in 1975 and was struck more by similarities than differences in the two societies. The Russian communists had more in common with republican rotarians than American leftists. Today both countries have embraced what I call Fuck You capitalism and are run by oligarchic kleptocracies with similar results for their respective peoples.

Friday, April 15, 2011

oleg kostrow in three hands

From the great album "Moscow, the sex the city, the music".

Prosser Wins But State Investigation Into Years of Waukesha Voting Irregulaities Looms

Supposedly David Prosser has pulled off a squeaker in what was to be a cake walk:

"A conservative state Supreme Court justice overcame efforts to tie him to Wisconsin's polarizing governor and survived a near-upset in a race that drew national attention after a fierce fight over union rights.

County tallies finalized Friday showed Justice David Prosser defeated little-known challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes. State election officials said they will wait to declare an official winner until the deadline for Kloppenburg to seek a recount passes. She has until Wednesday to call for one."

I say supposedly as an investigation into the suspicious activities of the Waukesha county clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, is in the offing:

"The state's investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday.....
"Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus' published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general.
"This is part of what we're looking into. We have a lot of complaints," said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for GAB. "It's part of our investigation."

This woman is not an aberration but rather an example of the ongoing criminal conspiracy known as the Republican Party. A RICO indictment is more in order.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Wisconsin Recall Update: Randy Hopper Joins the List

Randy Hopper, whose name alone is now a double entendre, is now on the recall chopping block.From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"With the results of Tuesday's state Supreme Court race looking more fluid by the minute, the statewide battle over Gov. Scott Walker's budget initiatives pushed forward Thursday on its other major front: recall elections.

Organizers of the recall effort against state Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) filed what they said were more than 22,500 signatures with the Government Accountability Board in Madison - making them the second campaign to claim enough signatures to force a recall election involving a GOP state senator."

While I could give a rip about his personal morality the fact that his wife and maid have both signed the recall petition is added spice since he took up with a 25 y/o female staffer in Madison. More republican family values on display from Fitzwalkerstan.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Russian Art Group Voina and the Болшой Хуй

This was too good to pass up. Russian political/artistic expression is always in a class by itself. The group's website is here. H/T to Mark at Norwegianity. More background:

"SAINT PETERSBURG — The artists have overturned police cars on one of Russia's most famous squares with dozing officers inside and painted a giant penis on a drawbridge in front of the ex-KGB headquarters.

In a radical group called Voina, or War, they have exploded any notion that Russia's modern art scene is dry or conservative. But their provocative installations have also left them exposed to legal action.

The Saint Petersburg-based group's name means that "we have declared war on triviality and injustice," said artist Oleg Vorotnikov, 32, a philosophy graduate from Moscow State University.

He and another member, Leonid Nikolayev, 27, were recently freed on bail after spending three months in pre-trial detention as police investigate last September's car-tipping performance.

In a single night they turned over three police cars -- with sleeping policemen inside -- in the centre of the city to protest against police abuses of power and corruption."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Waukesha, Heart of Darkness, Reports For Duty

This is so suspicious and coming from Waukesha county, the most republican, and some would say racist, place in Wisconsin. Its very interesting to look at the Waukesha QuickFacts and notice a few things stand out: 94.6% self identified white people, avg home value 170,000 (state avg 112,000). Waukesha is where whites fled to from Milwaukee and its African-Americans and decaying industries.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Why Kloppenburg's Election Means Something

As of this posting it appears that JoAnne Kloppenburg has won the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. A bruising recount no doubt looms. The above pie chart shows why this matters. This is the last stand for the remnants of the American middle class.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Zombies For Democracy In Wisconsin

State Street in Madison Wisconsin witnessed one of the more unusual marches against the Fitzwalker regime today as hundreds of the living dead and their supporters took to the street to express themselves.This was shortly after another somewhat smaller gathering of union supporters at the capitol. In attendance were teachers, state workers and immigration activists, among others.

Update: Wisconsin Recall Efforts

The Milwaukee Journal reports on the first of what will be many deliviries of signatures to the state's Governmental Accountability Board. The following are a few salient points from the article which I have taken the liberty of translating from the native obfusacatese to what it really means:

"Organizers of the recall campaign against state Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) delivered about 21,700 signatures Friday in an attempt to force Kapanke into a recall election - well beyond the 15,588 signatures required, and in half the time allotted to collect them."----That's a shitload of signatures from pissed off people rounded up in a short period of time.

"The filing of the signatures with the state Government Accountability Board was the first from the recall campaigns against 16 senators being waged around the state. And it suggested that Democrats seeking to unseat Republicans are better organized, or at least better coordinated, than those on the other side.

For example, recall efforts against the Republicans were all registered the same day and with the same treasurer, and organizers say they're shipping their signatures to Madison as they collect them."-------In an unusual move the Democrats, or rather people who support the Democrats for lack of anything better, are highly organized on this project.

"By contrast, Kim Simac, the Eagle River tea party activist running the recall campaign against Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover), says petitions and envelopes are piled up on her kitchen table.

"It's a mess," she says. "I'll be glad to get my life back when this is over" - though she also said she's confident her organization will get enough signatures to force a recall election against Holperin.

Juston Johnson, a state Republican Party spokesman, says the Republican efforts are purely grass roots.

"It's a top-down effort on the Democratic side," Johnson said."-----the Republicans don't have a fucking clue what they've stirred up let alone what to do about it. It also begs the question of what constitutes grass roots coming from artificial plants.

"Kapanke couldn't be reached for comment Friday, but Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, said the announcement that the goal was reached was "not a big surprise."-----Locked in a closet and crying.

"Kapanke was identified by several political scientists recently as the most vulnerable of the 16 senators targeted for recall, because of the relatively strong performance of Democrats in his district in the past two statewide elections."----Likely to be locked in the closet and disconsolate for sometime to come.