Monday, September 29, 2008

AIG Owner Of Atlanta's Atlantic Station - Turned A Brown-field Into A Gold Mine

AJC: Subsidiary of big insurance company is majority owner of Atlanta development

On any given weekend evening you'll find a large crowd of young Atlantans "getting their groove on" in the newly developed "Atlantic Station". For years this patch of land sat abandoned. The shell of the steel mill that once operated there and the long abandoned union hall stood near by showing a time that had passed for this land that had no productive use. After hundreds of millions of dollars in land prep and clean up of this urban "brown-field", having been contaminated by the residue of capitalistic exploitation - Atlanta's heart started beating again as this planned community sprouted out of the ground.

The concept was to place one's residence, city-view and recreation, entertainment and job (business) all in one concentrated area. This was to be a model from which others would take note. This was done in the context of an anti-sprawl theme were all of the above accoutrements are now spread with double digit mileage and an hour's commute separating them today.

This dream was turned into reality by the two forces that drive capitalism - the desire to profit from one's plans and .......obtaining the seed money to make it all happen in the first place. There are plenty of dreams floating around in all of our heads. It took the MONEY from AIG to make it all happen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Have To Agree With A Guest On Bill Moyers - "Individualized Profits, Nationalized Debt"

I watch Bill Moyer's Journal on a weekly basis. He makes no bones about his ideology. The current financial crisis in the USA has allowed him to ratchet up his sabre. His viewpoints cut the wrong way with me and his selection of guests only intensify this sentiment.

I am forced to agree with the statement of one particular New York Times business columnist who was a guest. He made the comment "today we have a system that provided for Individual Profits and then Nationalized Debts when it all went wrong".

This is a very astute comment of the current state of affairs.

This current system allowed certain well placed operatives to make money from the arrangements of the market. After the entire system failed - they looked to the same government that they had asked to "stay out of our bedroom" to come in and rescue them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Cost Of The Iraq War In One Fell Swoop!! $700 Billion!!!!

Bush wants OK to spend $700B
Bailout proposal sent to Congress seeks authorization to spend as much as $700 billion to buy troubled mortgage-related assets.

This is an outrage! Despite the fact that most Americans are as disconnected to this current financial crisis as we are to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - the figures that are being presented to us are staggering.


What is going on here? I am a solid capitalist but this all stinks to high heaven.

There is little difference between the "funny money" that we have in Monopoly and that which is present in our wallets. It is the faith and confidence that we all place in the US currency that makes all of the difference in the world.

$700 billion for a bail out.
$1 trillion each year for entitlements.

All of these expenses are being tallied on the books and the day of reckoning will some day come back to us.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Last Thing We Need Now Is A Great Leader - Sounds Pretty Logical To Me

Commentary: Last thing we need now is a great leader By Penn Jillette

(CNN) -- Everyone I talk to seems to think the president of the United States right now is stupid.

The Bush presidency is stupid speeches, stupid high gas prices, stupid bad economy, stupid war on terrorism, stupid war on drugs, stupid hurricane fixing, stupid global warming, stupid war -- stupid, stupid, stupid.

They all seem to think we need to get a smarter guy in the White House fast, and Bush is so stupid, that task shouldn't be too hard.

Not me.

I'd like to say that I believe every president in United States history, including the stupid one we have now, is smarter than me. My alma mater is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth Clown College, so I'm damning with faint praise, but I'm stupider than this here stupid president.

Maybe I'm less stupider than Bush than I'm stupider than Jefferson. But I'm stupider than all the stupid in both of them put together.

The idea, especially from the Democrats that I know, is, we just get a smarter guy in the White House, and all the problems will go away. We'll have smart speeches, smart high gas prices, smart bad economy, smart war on terrorism, smart war on drugs, smart hurricanes, smart global warming, smart war in Georgia -- smart, smart, smart.

Barack Obama is way smarter than Bush -- so way, way smarter than me. Obama is way more charismatic than me. He did his big speech for about 80,000 people; I'll do my show tonight in Vegas for about 1,000 people. He's more ambitious than I; he's going to be the next president of the United States, and I couldn't even get to week three of "Dancing with the Stars."

Obama is a great leader. He can fire people up and get them to do what he wants. He does smart speeches that promise everyone everything they need and make us feel good about our country and how much greater our government could be.

But I don't think our next president being a great leader is a good thing.

I'm worried about someone smarter than Bush taking over that tremendous power. Charisma and ambition increase my fear exponentially, and a great leader scares me to death.

We need someone stupid enough to understand that the president of the United States can't solve many problems without taking away freedom and therefore shouldn't try. The only reason John McCain scares me a little less is because I think he's a little less likely to win. They both promise a government that will watch over us, and I don't like that.

I don't want anyone as president who promises to take care of me. I may be stupid, but I want a chance to try to be a grown-up and take care of my family. Freedom means the freedom to be stupid, and that's what I want. I don't want anyone to feel my pain or tell me to ask what we can do for our country, or give us all money and take care of us.

Gene Healy at the Cato Institute explains that the Founding Fathers wanted the president "to faithfully execute the laws, defend the country from attack and check Congress with the veto power whenever it exceeded its constitutional bounds."

That sounds like plenty to me. You gotta be smarter than me to do all that, but you don't have to be as smart as Obama, and you sure don't have to be a great leader.

Our first seven presidents averaged a bit more than three public speeches a year, and they didn't promise jobs for everyone, day care, dental exams and free stuff.

It's really hard to find someone who trusts Americans to take care of themselves and each other without government force. It's hard to find someone running for president who would be content to be what George Washington humbly called the "chief magistrate."

I think Ron Paul and Bob Barr mean it when they say they want much smaller government. But the government is already big enough, powerful enough and bipartisan enough (and "bi" means exactly two and no more) that Ron and/or Bob won't even be in the debates. People won't even hear someone suggesting that our president should do less and individual citizens should do more for themselves.

The choice shouldn't be which lesser of two evils should have the enormous power of our modern presidents. The question should be, who would do less as president? Who would leave us alone?

If we could find a lazier, less charismatic, stupider person than me to be president, I'd be all for it. But, it's not going to be easy; stupider than me is rare breed.

So remember, the only way to waste your vote is to vote!

Friday, September 5, 2008

France In An Uproar Over The French News Paper's "Marketing For The Taliban"

Paris Match Taliban photoshoot shocks France

So let me understand this one (in the context of the new talking points by the American left):

Where as Iraq was a "diversion" from the REAL "War On Terrorism", Afghanistan was a just war because "We are fighting those who attacked us on 9/11".

Yet as we see in the article it is "Bush's fault" that the various troops are in Afghanistan.

Help me out here - if Afghanistan is the real war on terrorism isn't it in the world's best interests to be fighting in Afghanistan as they all have an interest in the outcome here? Why then is it made to be "About Bush"?

The French have an overpowering presence of 3,000 troops in Afghanistan. As a comparison the US is planning to pull about 8,000 troops out of Iraq alone and put them into Afghanistan. As the world attacks evil Bush for "staving the fight in Afghanistan" why don't they logically demand that France and Germany and Spain add more troops to bring the battle up to the necessary levels?

I am glad to see that the French don't like their own people implicitly working for the benefit of the Taleban with their propaganda. I only wish that someone goes after the "Anti-America Americans" who do the very same thing all of the time from within the states.

Paris Match Taliban photoshoot shocks France

By John Lichfield in Paris
Thursday, 4 September 2008

Politicians of the right and left blasted the magazine Paris Match today for publishing a photograph of a Taliban guerrilla dressed in the combat uniform of one of the ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month.

The defence minister, Hervé Morin, accused the magazine of taking part in a Taliban “propaganda” exercise. The Green politician, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the French student revolt 40 years ago, said that Match was guilty of “abject voyeurism”.

The photograph was taken by a Paris Match photographer a few miles from the scene of the ambush in which ten French paratroopers were killed 30 miles from Kabul on 18 August. It showed Taliban fighters, who claimed to be part of the force which attacked the French troops. One of them was entirely dressed above the waist in French uniform, helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.

Further pictures in the magazine’s ten-page spread showed Farouki, the “leader” of the Taliban force amid seven young men holding assault rifles and other “trophies” taken from the bodies of the French soldiers. Anger and revulsion in France at the pictures was deepened when the newspaper Le Monde reported this afternoon that Taliban fighters had cut the throats of four of the French soldiers as they lay wounded on the ground.

The French military has insisted until now that the dead men died instantly. Le Monde, quoting the report of an official investigation and other military sources, said that three paratroopers had died from their wounds because other French, and other Nato, forces were slow in reaching the battle scene. Four other wounded men had their throats slit by Taliban fighters.

"It's a shock to see our children's killers parading their uniforms and their weapons," said Joel le Pahun, the father of Julien Le Pahun, who was shot dead while trying to give first aid to a wounded comrade.

M. Morin accused Paris Match of taking part in a sophisticated Taliban propaganda war.

"Should we really be doing promotion for people who understand the importance of communication in the modern world?” he asked.

“This is a communications war that the Taliban are waging. They understand that public opinion is probably the Achilles' heel of the international community that is present in Afghanistan.”

The publication of the photos was also condemned by left-wing opposition politicians, including M. Cohn-Bendit, who is likely to lead the French greens in the European Parliament elections next year. “There has always been an abject side to the voyeurism of Paris Match,” he said.

The magazine, once known for the power of its photo-reportage, became an outright celebrity magazine in the 1990s. In recent years, it has returned to its origins as a seeker of “hard news” scoops, as well as “people” images.

The meeting with the Taliban fighters was arranged by Eric de Lavarène, an experienced and respected Paris Match war correspondent, accompanied by a photographer, Véronique de Viguerie. M. de Lavarène today rejected suggestions that the magazine had allowed itself to be manipulated by the Taliban.

“No one talks of propaganda when we set off embedded with Nato troops, yet information is always very tightly controlled on those occasions," he told i-Tele TV. “However it is true that the Taliban have become masters in the art of communication.”

In an interview with M. de Lavarène, Farouki, the leader of the Taliban force, said that he had nothing against France or the French people. He also denied reports by the French investigative newspaper, Le Canard Enchainé, that French soldiers had been tortured before they died.

“These men died because of Bush and your president,” he said “We did not want to kill your husbands and your sons. We have no ill feeling for the people of France. If you you go, all will be well. If you stay, we will kill you. All of you.”

In a full-page article on the deaths of the French soldiers today Le Monde said that a preliminary military investigation suggested that the paratroopers had been ordered too far into Taliban territory and that ground support had taken more than three hours to arrive after the first shots were fired.