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Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Saga of Smyrna, Georgia

In July of 1988, National Geographic published a story about Atlanta and referred to Smyrna as the redneck town on the outskirts.  This prompted a grand scheme of eminent domain takeovers and arsons of private property which were then turned over to corporate developers in order to develop Smyrna's new mayor Max Bacon's grand vision of abject corruption and graft.

Arson of business after Eminent Domain court filing.
Local Smyrna arsonist/doctor who lost his Medical License
flees country for over a decade while his lawyer/enabler
practicing law, after a brief and fruitless run for a local Cobb
magistrate  position, claiming that he "remembers nothing".

Cobb Judicial Circuit, Fire Investigators, and FBI refuse to
investigate RICO actions due to connected GOP players.

Meet the Inquisitor, an alleged prostitute/spy sent to rent an office
in Smyrna next to mine by yet another local Cobb Attorney.  When
law suits began to fly, she disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

Condemnation Court Filings After Arson

Property Destroyed by Arson, Christmas 1989

Starting with the National Geographic redneck story, and ending with the most pretentious display of abject corruption I've seen (and I've lived all over ticky-tacky Florida and the US), Smyrna and its fat crook of a mayor have plumbed the depths of dysfunctional government.  A wholly undesirable, mismanaged city of 50,000 people saddled with the costs of a grandiose government complex that dwarfs those of cities having 20 times the population - including that of the county it resides in.

While they are busy massaging their bloated egos, wasting property owner's tax money on ostentatious street lights that resemble Coney Island on acid, why don't they try paying the landowners who were robbed through eminent domain during the period of intentional arsons (and subsequent cover-ups) starting in 1989.  Property which was taken from people who served honorably the residents and schools of Smyrna for 20 years and needed their $175,000 for medical bills.  Land effectively stolen and turned over to private developers to realize this freak show of a city's monomaniacal pipe dream.

The Grandiose Pipe Dream Realized on the Backs of Taxpayers

Google Gordon Gerson and the locally infamous $300,000+/year school board attorney Richard Still to see where this all started.  You see, it pays to have crooked friends in high (and low) places.  Like Atlanta area attorney, prosecutor, magistrate, cocaine dealer, money launderer, and wife murderer, Fred Tokars.

Grossly overpaid crony Cobb school board attorney.
Cocaine dealers at an NFL hangout in NE Atlanta knew him by name.
Interestingly, the aforementioned hangout was burned down as well.
And you wonder why your kids can't get a decent education?

Gerson flees US in 1992 and reappears in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2004.
Not in 1988 as his Career Fair bio falsely claims in 2005.
1989-1992 was his period of bankruptcy, arson, and shotgun law suits.

Then there's the recent June 2012 state banking regulator and FDIC seizure of Security Exchange Bank (SEB) of Marietta.  While bank seizures are not so unusual in these days of rampant graft and corruption within the deregulated banking industry, the interesting part of this whole debacle is that most of the board members and directors were members of the Smyrna City government and, of course, Mayor Max Bacon himself.

Security Exchange Bank's members include Larry Freeman and James Freeman, SEB Chairman of the Board and head of the Smyrna Downtown Development Authority; Arthur Max Bacon, SEB director and Smyrna Mayor; Scott Cochran, SEB director and Smyrna City Attorney; David McGinnis, SEB President and Cobb EMC Board; John Smith, local car dealership; David Sitten, car salesman from Kennesaw; Steven Askea, local Ask-Kay electrical contractor.  How convenient for a city that continues to purchase and raze properties that it considers "unfit" to exist in this little redneck town to control its own piggy bank - until now.  You would expect municipal failure and possible jail terms for those involved.

But here's the curious part.  In September of 2008, SEB's Texas Ratio was over 56%.  Six months later it had grown to 145%.  At that point state regulators would normally have stepped in to halt the downward spiral.  All that happened in reality was that on March 10, 2009, the FDIC issued a Cease and Desist Order (FDIC-08-352b), alleging that the Bank had engaged in unsafe or unsound banking practices and had committed violations of state and federal banking regulations.  The FDIC concluded that the Bank had operated with management and Board of Directors oversight whose policies and procedures were not adequate for the Bank and jeopardized the safety and soundness of the Bank.

But still no yellow tape and the bank continued to operate, ostensibly under the watchful eye of state regulators.  By the end of 2010, the bank's troubled assets were 558% of capital plus loan-loss reserves.  Yet the bank remained in operation and at the end of 2011 the bank's Texas Ratio had surpassed an astounding 1000% - ten times the normal "Katy, bar the doors" condition.  This continued until June of 2012 when the Troubled Asset Ratio hit an astronomical 1209% and state regulators finally ignored ongoing political cronyism and did their jobs; shutting down the bank and turning the bank's assets over to the FDIC for disposal.  US taxpayers will now get to pay for the bank's losses and bad paper subject to a loss-sharing arrangement with the FDIC that covers 68% of the loan book.  What a country!

Also, Google the Birmingham, Alabama sewer scandal to see how corrupt Wall Street banks and greedy, ignorant southern politicos work together in three part harmony to turn a $250 million sewage plant into a $5 billion dollar fraud against taxpayers.  A financial albatross which has destroyed Jefferson county by turning human crap into billions in graft.

Other Resident's Comments

Just when you think things couldn't be any worse in that awful city something always pops up. Smyrna is in sorry shape and the city leaders are nothing but crooks.

What could really turn it around for Smyrna is a year-long celebration starting January 1st.  2013 will be the 25th anniversary of National Geographic's "Redneck Smyrna" story.  That's Smyrna's only claim to fame, so they need to put on a big party!  If you bring a rope, I will bring a General Lee pinata filled with, what else, BACON!

Want to see proof of dysfunction?  $758,000 spent on 120 streetlights erected in front of the government complex (no trees/no landscaping) - just circus lighting!  Just when you think it can't get any worse, this mayor finds a new way to hurt the homeowners again & again!

The city elected officials are completely incompetent!  Why didn't your reporter cover the $40,000 from hotel taxes being awarded to (a secret) entity, hired to study the civil war artifacts the city owns and build display cases to house them?  First, I can't think of any hotels IN Smyrna!  And certainly no TOURISM, or any reason to visit!

Welcome to Smyrna, the crooked little redneck town on the outskirts of bustling Atlanta.  Mad Max, you can pave the streets with gold and your filthy little corrupt redneck town will still emit a foul stench that reaches Lower Manhattan.  You've progressed from a corrupt little redneck speed trap town to a corrupt little redneck freak show.  Congrats!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Herrings

All of this manufactured media outrage about debt and fiscal cliffs is bullshit.  It's actually a red herring meant to distract from the real truths that the complicit don't want revealed.  For example, CEO's and the "investor class" don't want to be taxed.  Yet on Black Friday nearly every WalMart and mall in America was staffed with dozens of police officers used to control the stampeding hordes of morons that are their customer base.  They use the roads - trucks causing greatly accelerated road wear rates versus cars - to stock their big-box retail stores, and the ports and rail lines to bring in the disposable Chinese crap they hawk.  Yet they are emphatic in their refusal to willingly contribute to this supporting infrastructure that enabled their accumulation of grotesque wealth in the first place.

They have done their damnedest to eradicating manufacturing in this country by outsourcing; thereby removing the huge tax base of reasonably compensated workers who paid 22-33% of their income in taxes, and transferred those revenues to the top 2% who pay ~12% at best, and generally shelter most of their earning in offshore accounts to avoid taxation while leaving what little remains in circulation as salaries to retail store workers who are the economic lowest common denominator and pay little to no taxes at all because they are below the poverty line.  And then the thieving bastards refuse to contribute to the very infrastructure that enabled their accumulation of vast wealth; haughtily branding everyone who objects as "losers" and "takers."  It's called gaming the system, and the bulk of those "taking" are those using these red herring arguments.  This exact same rhetoric has been used in politics for over 100 years; always resulting in massive declines in government revenues.  I'll be the first to admit that there are some aspects of the government, both federal and state, that are bloated, ineffectual, and even criminally complicit, but many of these issues are attributable, not to government, but to BAD government.  Government stuffed to capacity with industry tools and rampant nepotism; people who do not meet even the most basic requirements of the job as intended.  In other words, a complete waste of taxpayer monies.

Every time you hear someone utter the words Fiscal Cliff, Job Creators, Growing the Economy, and Entitlement Reform, ignore anything that comes from their lying mouth henceforth.

Canards, all.

Fiscal Cliff:  There is no such thing.  It's a scary sounding load of hogwash used to frighten moronic Tea Partiers and red state southerners into a frenzy - to their own detriment.  The primary result will be an automatic increase in taxes to Clinton era rates.  Whoopee.  Nothing is going to stop functioning, least of all the economy.  People will still buy groceries, toilet paper, and fucking Chinese iPads.  What it does do is eliminate the ability to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the top 5% without affecting the rest of the US.  Once the middle class and the top 5% of earners are separated, the GOP doesn't want to look stupid (i.e. their real motivations to be revealed) when they are forced to decide on cuts for ONLY the lowest payers on the rung while leaving their friends, relatives, and best contributors out in the cold.  We live in a world of fiat currency and debt has absolutely nothing to do with job creation, investment or income potential.  It's a problem, to be sure, but not for the reasons the avaricious bullshitters maintain.

And just for historical reference, remember that the top tax rates in this country have been as high as 91% in 1963, and were 70% in 1965; not exactly periods of great public austerity.  The rich still got richer, and the middle class grew steadily; in fact, my parents had it far easier than those of my generation.  And this was before the myriad of tax loopholes, which were engineered into the grotesquely complicated tax code by hordes of bought and paid for congress critters and "tax consultant", "wealth preserving foundations", which are now present in the tax code, existed.

Job Creators:  One of the biggest lies out there.  According to the numbers I've collected, the top 1% doesn't create jobs.  Less than 2% of people in those top brackets want anything to do with sullying their pink hands by manufacturing anything other than unsecured debt and Ponzi Schemes.  The bulk of that group makes their money by "hypertrading" and gaming the stock market, to the chagrin of every _real_ corporation that tries to exist and contribute to the hostile environment that is what is left of America.  The fact is, most "Job Creators" are those that make less than $500k a year.  One can only look towards Wall Street and the hundreds of failed Ponzi Schemes unleashed during the deregulated Bush years to see the drain they place on the actual economy.  People like Lee Farkas of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker / Colonial BancGroup almost single-handedly brought down not only the Florida housing market, but were major participants in the bundling of trash mortgage securities to the Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac FHA investors as well as dumping tons of worthless paper into Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas via Bank of America.,_Bean_%26_Whitaker

Or how about the organized, criminal fleecing of Jefferson County, Alabama, which has effectively destroyed the county and the lives of those who live in and around Birmingham.  In a perfect storm of criminal activity, Wall Street banks and bribe taking politicians turn the construction of a sewage treatment plant in to one the nation's most publicly observable examples of what Wall Street Banksters and unsophisticated red state political grifters can accomplish in three-part harmony.  A 250 million dollar waste treatment plant ballooned into a 5 billion dollar financial albatross thanks to a morass of corrupt local officials and morally deficient financiers who got together to build a giant machine that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for the soulless vampire capitalists of Wall Street.

And guess who gets to bail out all of this crap, and why the European economy is now in tatters?  Blame also the ratings firms who gave this fiscal garbage AAA ratings resulting in the fleecing of otherwise stable economies worldwide. (excluding Greece which had problems for years.)

Growing the Economy:  An irritatingly stupid phrase to begin with: you grow corn and flowers.  But to put this into perspective, "growing" the economy implies increasing revenue streams, both retail and taxation.  People are already drowning in consumer debt for shit they don't need, and what exactly are you going to sell that you aren't already selling?  The only way to "grow" the economy is to either reduce the already pathetic lifespan of imported consumer goods so that they require replacement more often, or increase the population to unmanageable levels.  When considering environmental damage, energy, water, and arable land issues, marked increases in population is utter folly.  And when factoring into this equation China and India, both of which are increasing exponentially their consumption of world resources, triply so.

Want another way to "grow the economy?"  Clawback all of those outsourced jobs that heretofore provided livable wages to the residents of this country and provided tax revenues sufficient to run the damned country and provide for the health and welfare of those who live in it.  Don't want to pay employees?  Well how about huge import tariffs based upon comparative standards of living.  Nothing revolutionary here, either; the early 1900's were filled with such examples.

But the former solution sure beats sending trillions of US dollars to China and watching them filter into massive military buildups that we then have to counter with massive increases in taxes to fund a corrupt military industrial complex.  Think about it; they already have.  With those "evil commie Soviets" now rendered impotent due to internal economic collapse, what better way to keep money flowing into their malignant coffers than to perpetuate endless "wars on terror" and eventually counter threats from "evil commie China", who is already rattling her sabers towards Taiwan and Japan over a handful of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.  A self-created foe; proving once again that Eisenhower got it right.

And to lay bare another misconception, the current obsession with the stock market as some kind of barometer of economic health for the majority of Americans is just more bullshit.  The stock market was originally intended to enable companies to gain access to the funding needed to facilitate the purchase of machinery and infrastructure in order to meet expanding product markets.  In this age of millisecond trades, however, it exists primarily to enable legions of avaricious pink-handed money-changers to divert and deplete as much money as possible from the actual production of goods into their own pockets at light-speed rates.  There are huge sectors of the economy that exist solely to contrive various computer algorithms meant to tap into this revenue stream and bleed off as much as possible into the pockets of those who have no interest in providing jobs or manufacturing anything other than short term profits.  Anyone foolish enough to invest in Wall Street, who is not rich and well connected, might as well go to Vegas and piss his money away at the blackjack tables - the odds are far better.  You will simply be providing the revenue stream which these grifters feed upon.  Wall Street has devolved into a seething morass of insider trading, confidence games, corrupt SEC officials, and outright fraud.

Entitlement Reform:  Yet another canard which has nothing to do with the "Fiscal Cliff" or US debt.  But again, if more, actual well paid workers were contributing into the pool which backs Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid it could be in better shape. Yet it's a separately funded pool that is actually solvent and was reworked in the 80's.  More importantly, however, is that for all the whining about "entitlements", there is so much fraud and waste involved enriching the various criminals that feed from this pool you will see no realistic changes, it's all just more noise meant to distract.  These investor backed monopolies that have taken over what is laughably called "healthcare" in this country are nothing but the same ilk that have perpetrated massive, organized fraud upon the banking, mortgage, and financial markets worldwide.  Wherever there is a massive revenue stream you will find them, gorging themselves, to the detriment of those who contribute to and depend on these services.

Finally, the primary reason there is tremendous pushback against increased Federal regulation of these various rogue entities is because it is far easier to demonize Federal oversight to a bunch of racist secessionists yearning for a replay of the Civil War and then buy off the state legislators who are utterly corruptible due to poor public oversight and lack of accountability.  Especially in the poorly educated southern red states, NASCAR and the NFL get far more coverage than anything to do with governance, and they like it that way.  Just fine!

One only has to look towards, again, the southern red states to see how easily corporate entities can buy off these alleged state lawmakers as they force consumers to fund the construction of their corporate equity.  Rate payers in GA are being extorted to the tune of 2+ billion dollars for the construction of two new nuclear power plants that may, in fact, never even obtain approval from the NRC for operation, yet they have built-in, guaranteed profit margins for their construction.  Citizen ratepayers do not receive stock, equity in kind, and likely won't even be the recipients of the electrical power that might eventually be generated; most of the power will probably end up sold to other states while GA ends up footing the bill for construction and cleanup of the messes left behind, a la TVA.  And at the Federal level, over 8.3 billion dollars have been provided as taxpayer backed loans for these plants.

TVA coal ash spill  (not nuclear, but coal)

In Florida, over 550 million dollars has already been collected for the construction of two nuclear plants in Levy County that have been effectively cancelled.  The original construction cost estimate in 2006, when the CWIP law was passed, was 6 billion; in 2007, 10 billion; in 2008, 17 billion; currently estimated to cost 22 billion.  Original completion date: 2012; last estimated completion date: 2027.  Total current cost per Progress Energy customer is over 340 dollars.  Amount to be refunded to defrauded ratepayers?  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.

Florida Power & Light was planning to build two new reactors at its Turkey Point plant near Miami for an estimated 20 billion dollars. Amount to be refunded to ratepayers due to CWIP advance construction funding laws should these plants not be completed?  Again, ZERO.

And here you were, thinking that the Federal government is your only problem?   Ha!

BAD government combined with complacent, low-information voters who repeatedly elect complicit, predominately GOP criminals in office are the problem.  Note the votes on this bill and their party affiliation:

So much for the GOP's stand on fiscal conservancy, "fair markets", public service, or anything other than graft and corruption.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First, God Made Idiots

In March of 2009 I went to Florida for a vacation.

Some vacation.

Due to events which transpired there, I stopped blogging, reading, watching the news, and haven't gone more than 5 miles from my residence in over 3 years.

Oh, yeah, and I had a heart attack.

Or so the klowns at the hospital insisted as they behaved like a bunch of used car salesmen hawking a car with bad paint, sawdust in the transmission, and a motor filled with STP as they tried to sell some high-profit, medieval, medically questionable procedure that I refused - but they did anyway by shoving an anesthetic mask over my face while I screamed, "No!" More on that later, but for a glimpse of why, read the previous post, "Grinding Your Bones To Make Their Bread."

The stress from what appears to be a targeted, ongoing, and collusive criminal conspiracy involving individuals in the government, judiciary, and just about any thieving asshole that shows up for the latest contract hit for hire is directly responsible for my health, or lack thereof. And don't think for a minute that the FBI or any other policing organization in what's left of this pathetic excuse for a democratic republic is your friend, because they are not. More on that later as well.

In light of the recent events concerning Trayvon Martin, I've got a little story to relate. The first day this story was picked up by the media, I processed the audio myself in order to clarify what was jokingly referred to as "the best audio lab in the news business" on CNN, and could clearly hear the racist comment "Fucking Coons" therein, as well as what appears to be Zimmerman exiting his vehicle, loading a magazine into his weapon, chambering a shell, and hoofing it to stalk Trayvon Martin. It also sounds to me as though he is slightly intoxicated; but since no one bothered to perform a blood test on Zimmerman, although doing so on the corpse of Trayvon Martin, I suppose we'll never really know. The first thing I thought of when I saw the way this was being handled was that I seen all of this before - up close and personal. I commented via email to a friend about this and performed an Internet search for a lawyer, politician, or judge named Zimmerman, both in FL and VA. Couldn't confirm or deny whether Robert Zimmerman was related so let it rest a couple of days. Then, as you well know, the other shoe dropped. The reason this is relevant is that I have lived through a similar experience with the charlatans of the judicial system in Georgia and Florida myself. Self-entitled, powerful people shoveling the misdeeds of their miscreant children under the rug while profiteering, punishing, and using as a pawn in some demented political power play the actual victims of crime.

Now we're going to talk about school boards. You know, those people who are supposed to be responsible for teaching your neglected, ill-behaved children about history, science, math, literacy and being a good citizen. Included in there somewhere amongst the civics and history classes used to be information about agitprop and how to recognize and deal with it. But instead, school boards have become the fetid shit-bucket where all the ladder climbing cronies and con-men are placed who don't possess the hair and skin to run for public office but are still willing to thieve and cheat their way to financial gain in the name of the cause. The cause being, of course, their profit at your expense. Gaming the system to their advantage on an uneven playing field, tilted by and for those who are so consumed by avarice that all else pales in comparison; including the rearing of their own asocial, entitled-by-birth offspring. And when they are caught with their hands in the till, or the pie on their face, they are shuffled around into a new slot, in a new state, and a different school board. And all is forgiven. Just as the Catholic Church does when they catch some pedophile with his cock up a child's ass.

Mark Twain almost had it right when he quipped, "First, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

Twain's mistake was that they aren't idiots (well, they are but that's irrelevant), but leeches. Talentless, thieving, useless, blood-sucking leeches that are doing their damnedest to destroy what is left of what is laughingly referred to as public education.

23 years ago I ran into a bunch of these "school board people". I was at work minding my own business when the wife of one of the aforementioned cronies showed up and began a train of events that would destroy my life. And theirs. And their idiot children's. Through arrogance, ignorance, treachery, and collusion. And for 23 years, every time I stir the pot of corruption, they rear their ugly heads and do it again. And again. And again.

As vividly exposed in Glenn Greenwald's recently released book, "With Liberty and Justice for Some", everything you have been repeatedly told about America being the home of the Free and Equitable is a damned freaking lie. Greenwald's book exposes 'America’s two-tiered system of justice, which vests political and financial elites with immunity even for egregious crimes while subjecting ordinary Americans to the world’s largest and most merciless penal state.' And this is why George Zimmerman was not charged with murder that day, not because there was any question of his guilt, but because of the phone calls made by his judge father. Been there, seen that, got what's left of the T-shirt.

And don't believe for a minute that any of the cable TV news outlets are any better. Not CNN, not ABC, not MSNBC, and certainly not Faux. They may occasionally and endlessly fixate on some outrageous story once it has broken through the barrier they attempt to conceal their injustices behind, but just beneath that veneer is The Matrix. They are part and parcel of the "elites" which cover only that which is inevitable, or profitable, in reporting. They occasionally kick sand at one another when things get too far out of hand and presents risk of exposure to their deceptions, but it is far above and out of sight of you mere mortals. You see, they are the smart ones, the wise ones, the molders of destiny. In their own minds, anyway. From what I've seen, they are simply a stinking pile of self-entitled thieves and low-lives who profit handsomely through chicanery and deceit at the taxpayer's great expense.

And the proletariat foots the bill through ever rising tax burdens, worsening educations, and explosive expansion of privatized prisons when it all goes awry. You can't blame them for taking advantage of the situation, I suppose, as this country seems to be primarily comprised of self-defeating marionettes. Idiots who cannot see that they are being divided by two parties that are essentially two sides of the same stinking coin. Idiots who are ripe for the fleecing. Idiots who would rather argue Red vs. Blue than to seek realistic solutions. Idiots who treat every issue as a high-school football game. Idiots who watch hours of TV wherein head shots and violence are depicted in ever increasing detail and frequency. Idiots who worship feigned piety and dump billions of dollars into the tax exempt coffers of corrupt religious leaders. Idiots who wouldn't recognize the truth if it bit them square in the ass. Twain confused leeches with idiots yet neglected to mention the unending supply of both.

Remember when the "Evil, Islamofascist, Muslim Sleeper Agent", Barack Obama, was elected and the right went bat-shit crazy screaming that he was after all the guns? I went to a gun store in a wholly corrupt "little redneck town on the outskirts of bustling Atlanta", the headquarters of Glock, and the shelves were literally empty; in a huge gun store the size of an old WalMart. They didn't even have a box of shells for the .38 police revolver I owned. Another example of the marionettes being fleeced and continually "operated" by wholly corrupt interests and are too stupid, too racist, too damned desirous of random violence to see it. So instead of educating themselves they spend their kids food money stocking up on guns and ammo. Cripes, I hate this stupid freaking place.

And for some reason, I appear to be a lightning rod for crooked school boards. (Is there any other kind?) Which is rather ironic considering how important I consider education to be, and how I regret not having the money, time, or health to pursue advanced degrees in everything from engineering, programming, botany, law, biology, chemistry, and whatever else peaks my interest . So I go it alone; and with a pile of books and determination I've filled in enough of the empty spots to have successfully written crypto-software for the DOD, designed eco-friendly embedded controller timer modules, skip-matrix network field irrigation sensors, and so on. I have no wife, no family, no social life, but what the hell; I got to live in the state which has been determined to be the most corrupt state in the nation - Georgia. And if not for the corrupt players of Georgia's Judicial System, I would have formally kicked the ass of some white trash Assistant US Attorney from Emory University and his lying, idiot, nearly illiterate, serial arsonist son. And seriously, 1.9 million dollars for a cushy little school board job? From what I've seen, he just wasn't that good; but I guess you don't have to be when the whole system is rigged. And BTW, Tandy, who considers him a rude SOB, wants their money for that computer - with interest. Freaking Scumbag Lawyers.

But back to the idiots, oops - I mean leeches, of the school boards...

After my little dust-up with the 'entitled' garbage of Cobb County and the corrupt judicial system they were part of, the entire school board was dismantled and run off. Several of the players involved went on to bigger and better things. One of these, Tocco, the superintendent of Cobb Schools, was run out of town and ended up superintendent of Ft. Worth, Texas schools while his kid was extorting the citizens of Clearwater, FL. Imagine that, both Bush Republican-lands. He was dumped from there a few years later due to hiding fraudulent contracts and shadowy involvement with 7 counts of bribery, and fraud concerning, in my and many other's opinion, some grossly overpriced garbage software/hardware computer learning platform from JRL Enterprises, which is the graft that caught Louisiana's Representative William Jefferson with the infamous $90,000 of cold cash in his freezer back in 2006. Dumped from Ft. Worth he headed towards Louisiana, but was stopped cold and what appears to be a decent guy got the job instead. I'm sure the people of Caddo Parish, Shreveport, LA are quite happy about that, and if not, they should be.

But evil never sleeps, and it seems my little trip to Florida in 2009 revealed yet another crop of thieving school board cronies, friends of Jeb Bush, fraudsters, and arsonist tools. As mentioned in my next to last post back in 2009, when I arrived in Key West, family members of then Mayor Morgan McPherson came to the Holiday Inn I was having a drink at and proceeded to harass me about a variety of things. The next night, as I was in Durty Harry's, a fire broke out in American Royal Arts, consuming the entirety of the 'business'. The noise and crowds of Durty Harry's had drowned out the sounds of at least four fire engine companies from the Key West Fire Department, Naval Air Station Key West, Monroe County and Key West International Airport who responded to a fire that destroyed the $4 million building at 512 Duval St. and its contents. Apparently, half the country heard of this and thought that Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville had burned to the ground. When it turned out not to be, the public lost interest and went on to their next idiotic obsession.

I didn't hear about it until about noon the next day. As I was going though some of the trinket shops along Duval, somewhat past Vera Bradly's, some woman pointed it out and my first thought, being somewhat of an engineer type and never having seen the aftermath of a fire in such a dwelling, was that it was shocking how the fire had consumed the entirety of one "bowling alley" storefront, but the shops on each side were relatively unscathed. Wow, a firewall that actually worked. A few seconds later, however, my second thought was, OMG. Paranoid, possibly, but there was a stench about it all, and it wasn't that of burning counterfeit "collectibles". You would have had to be there, I suppose, for the entire trip to understand the abject fear I felt at that point.

And now I know why I had people spouting fire escape routes in a DoubleTree in Naples, slamming doors, and poking at me like a piece of moldy cheese in the back of the refrigerator all the way up the West Coast of FL. I couldn't even get a motel room even though their "vacancy" signs were illuminated. I looked up the event when I got home but the Key West articles from 2009 didn't mention was that there were several of these places over the state of FL.

And I had a freaking heart attack over a bunch of damned con-men.

Now here is where it gets really good, and where you can see the 'elites' favouring, then kicking sand at one another...

Less than a month after that incident, Jerry Gladstone of American Royal Arts began to receive free adds in the form of fluff news bits on various TV shows and media in S. Florida, USA Today, and on CNBC's Power Lunch (click for video in new window). Apparently submitted an insurance claim for approximately a million dollars of losses over the mysterious, unexplained fire even though no documentation on the contents. Then the shit hit the fan - law suits, claims of fraud from customers, more law suits, and then


Disney put out a hit piece on their owned ABC network show Inside Edition (click for video in new window) that pretty much put him and his ilk out of business.

You see, you can buy off the media, the FBI, the cops, the politicians, and the judges, but you don't mess with Disney's cash flow by ripping off one of their 'artists.' He was selling counterfeit Miley Cyrus signed guitars and other such stuff. Watch the video, it's short and an eye opener if you're not familiar with the "collectibles" racket. Check out the fancy graphics, the orchestra hits, the bold innuendo.

Disney spokesman, "Fuck the lawyers, we own the media and we'll grind your sorry, thieving ass under our heel." *[1]

Everyone high up has scrubbed their sites of the videos and the puff news articles, including CNBC, but being a resourceful fellow, I located two of the puff piece videos from S. Florida and CNBC and all the print media.

The FBI eventually raided Gladstone's stores and confiscated his counterfeit goods, but not a trace of prosecution for anything, including interstate and international fraud, wire fraud, insurance fraud, conspiracy, arson or collusion. He's simply opened up several other businesses using different names and is still walking around free with a pocket full of stolen money. Some newly created "Global Liquidation" firm even tried to buy the business to bail him out before it all ended up in a Trustee's hands.

Curiously, his lawyers hail from Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudi Giuliani's plutocratic right-wing law firm in New York/Houston/etc.

Ain't it great to be a tool?

But wait, it gets better...

Less than a week before I got to Key West, the wife of Randy Acevedo, the school board superintendent of the Monroe County School District, is caught dipping into the school funds, including the freaking bake-off funds. In 2010, Monique Acevedo plead guilty to six felony counts for stealing $413,000 from the Monroe County School District. She channeled her best Rush Limbaugh by blaming her years of criminal actions on an undetected bipolar disorder made worse by an addiction to oxycodone. Judge Jones sentenced Acevedo to eight years in prison, followed by 22 years of probation. He also ordered her to pay restitution for the entire $413,012.43 she stole while her husband, Randy Acevedo, was the county's elected Schools Superintendent. Randy Acevedo was also convicted for aiding and abetting the theft. Their bestest friend and fellow church member Mayor Morgan McPherson was ousted as well and replaced with the local NAPA auto parts store owner. McPherson then made a bid for the Florida State House but now seems to have vanished from the political scene.

You might see a few more burnt offerings in the form of low-level prosecutions and then everything will be bright and shiny in the public's mind and the rest of these thieves will continue on - business as usual.

Ever wonder why George and Jeb have barely made a peep in months and yet we get the senile old man in his mauve socks?

This stunk when I left Key West, and it stinks even worse now.

This country is being controlled by a corrupt morass of deceitful, thieving profiteers.

Welcome to the World's Most Sophisticated Banana Republic.

[1] - Disney and its representatives did not publicly endorse this actual statement.

Grinding Your Bones To Make Their Bread

First of all, all of this hoopla over "ObamaCare" is just that:
A Dog and Pony Show.

It will come, the 'investor class' wants it, and this feigned media brouhaha is just to convince the proletariat there is any real controversy.

Quick, Gertie, grab the smelling salts and clear the fainting couch, I think I've got the vapors.

There are three major healthcare providers that operate in this fetid country. You've probably heard about HCA, but lets cover one of the more recent Houston based, Republican oriented examples, the largest healthcare corporation in the country.

Meet Tenet Healthcare

Between 2002 and 2007, Tenet Healthcare, home office pictured above, has paid over 2 Billion dollars in fines and restitution for stockholders suits, Medicare fraud, patient overbilling, and ripping off their employees.

That's 2.15 Billion with a capital B.

Out of a measly 9 Billion in revenues.

Lets look at a short list of some of the more egregious infractions and the total fines for what they were CAUGHT doing between 2002 and 2007:

June 2002
Overcharging lab services
Overbilling at Brotman Medical Center Billing
Cost report violations since 1994
$17 million
$10 million
$29 million

Jan 2003
Pneumonia & Septicaemia upcoding
$4.3 million

Feb 2003 Coding issues in Florida
$4.15 million

Mar 2004
Failure to provide emergency care at Southpointe hospital
10 year old breach of contract settlement
$148 million

Mar 2005
North Ridge Medical Centre kickbacks settlement
$22.5 million

July 2004
Pays for failures in infection control at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida

Dec 2004
Settles with 106 patients from Palm Beach Gardens hospital in Florida
$31 million

Feb 2005 Settlement with insurer Healthnet
$28.5 million

Mar 2005
Tenet sets aside $30 million to repay uninsured patients
$30 million

July 2005
A series of payments to government, to patients and others by Tenet and
its doctors in relationship to unnecessary surgery at Redding Hospital
$500 million

Jan 2006
Settles actions by shareholders
$215 million

Feb 2006
Billing dispute in Florida
$7 million

May 2006
Settles Alvarado kickback case
$21 million

June 2006
Global settlement
Paying kickbacks
Upcoding payment
$900 million
$47 million
$46 million

Nov 2006
Past and still to pay settlement with tax office
$225 million

April 2007
SEC settlement
$10 million

Total $2.147 billion

There were millions more in fines before 2002, including a record setting $380 million for overbilling the government. And let's not forget the $54 million fine for unnecessary heart surgeries on over 600 patients in California.

So what did the government do, other than getting their cut? Nothing.
And what did the "health care provider" do to improve their image with the self-defeating marionettes inhabiting this country?

They hired Jeb Bush to sit on their board.

Jeb Bush joins board of Tenet Healthcare - 2007

And it was then business as usual. Again.

They spent $3.43 million on lobbying and paid no taxes during 2008-2010, instead getting $48 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $415 million, and increasing executive pay by 19% to $24 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives.

Yesterday, April 10th, they were hit with another $42 million dollar fine for, what else, Medicare fraud.

This is what the modern Republican party, and to a lesser degree, the Democratic party represents. And that son of privilege from Texas, Jeb Bush, is as complicit as they come. George was a misguided post-turtle, in over his head, but Jeb is tantamount to an organized racketeer. Gives one pause as to why Florida has become the largest contributor to Medicare/Medicaid fraud in the nation. And this is but one of the reasons they have not been parading Jeb around the country promoting the empty suit, skin and hair known as Mitt Romney - King of the Vulture Capitalists.

The vehement Republican stance against Medicare/Medicaid is a self-fulfilling prophecy based upon all of the fraud, price fixing and racketeering. They declare Medicare to be bankrupt and subsequently expend all efforts trying to make it so. Thus they become the only providers available. What has happened to Sherman anti-trust/anti-monopoly laws, anyway? They've been ignored by a party that constantly strives to provide quid pro quos to their largest contributors.

And now you also see why any controversy over ObamaCare/RomneyCare is BS. You have three companies, just like this one, that are chomping at the bit for a piece of the captive market share that is the American public. Just like the banks, telecoms, oil companies, cable, and auto insurance companies.

As one doctor aptly put it,
"They will grind up your bones to make their bread."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Chrysalis Motel

First eclosion of the year 2009. Kept this one captive until the tornadoes passed. Hopefully some of its larva will show up for a stay at the Chrysalis Motel later this summer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coastal Tour of Florida 2009

My recent trip to Florida which was intended to be a break from the horrors of living in nasty, corrupt Georgia was instead more reminiscent of a gauntlet from hell. First, I found that it was Bike Week, then Spring Break, and then Gator Nationals. I also learned a little something about South Florida politics; a bit more than I cared to know - even after living there for 10 years and covering every city, park, and beach in the state.

But in the midst of all this the credit card company decided, in all of its Citi wisdom, that gasoline, a motel room, an airboat ride in the headwaters of the St. John's River, and dinner at a Melbourne restaurant was indicative of card theft and left me standing on the dark streets of southern Miami, 900 miles from home, surrounded by crack heads and murderers, with only toll and tip cash to spend for emergency travel home. A trip to a local Kinko's revealed that you now need a charge card to access the Internet, and I ended up in front of a 7-11 on a pay phone at 1:00 in the morning trying to straighten out their errant decision in order to buy gasoline. I bought gas with cash and drove instead to Naples, where imminent death was less probable. This persisted until 5:00AM. I wasn't about to drive back to Skanklanta after having just arrived in South Florida. This from a company who cannot manage their own affairs without holding out their avaricious money-changing hands for taxpayer cash. I don't feel the need to call them before I go on a trip, and they are not my mother or guardian. This was a dangerous occurrence that could have cost someone their life.

So began the long drive from Homestead to Key West. The water was extraordinarily turquoise blue, more so than the other times I visited the keys, and upon arrival I found that Spring Breakers were pouring in. I barely managed to find a motel room, and was exhausted after the ordeal. Nevertheless I showered and drove to Duval Street about 7:00pm and discovered the streets packed with boisterous revelers. Too tired to fight that particular battle, I opted for the Holiday Inn lounge for a bit of conversation. The Mayor of Key West has relatives who apparently like to visit this bar and rudely critique the dental work of its customers; as if it was any of their stinking business unless they were offering to pay for improvements - which of course they were not. After meeting a dozen or so people, I trundled off to the motel room to find that the promised Wi-Fi was dysfunctional, so picked up some food at the Awful House and went to bed.

The next day began with walking the streets to see what had changed since 1998 - not much, overall. Lunch was at Sloppy Joe's for a basket of Conch Fritters, a few beers, and conversation with a myriad of visitors from around the US, including several retired teachers. A sunset cruise on a sailing catamaran into a near storm finished off the daylight hours and a stop for food resulted in plentiful leftovers I decided to give to one of the equally plentiful homeless people. Re-energized after the meal, I headed towards Duval Street, hoping for a more mellow crowd. After listening to a variety of bands from in front of various clubs, I ended up at Durty Harry's, not realizing that this was a spring break hangout. The crowds had apparently not yet arrived, and I found a seat handily. The doormen and bartenders were courteous, even to me, and I listened to the band for a while, intermixed with conversations with a variety of pretty young ladies from around the country who appeared beside me wanting to place their drink orders - Oh, to be 25 again! The band, apparently named Category 5, played a variety of alternative/modern/grunge rock songs - the typical college fare I often listen to. They were an excellent, precise live cover band sporting a singer who hails from NYC. They also went off on a curious rant about the Bush brothers and their likelihood of being re-elected to public office. Then the announcement came that the wet T-Shirt contest was about to begin and I started to leave as the crowd suddenly swelled, but the bartender bought me a drink and not being one to offend a young lady ended up there until 4:00AM. I was a bit surprised at what little I saw of the whole affair, but let's just say that full nudity was involved. Thus the seeds of the misogynists of tomorrow have been planted. And I guess I've attended my very first spring break. The only trouble I saw were fights started by drunk old men gawking at the young girls and picking on the bike-cab drivers. The students were loud but mostly well behaved.

The next day began with a trip to the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, climbing the 88 stairs of the Key West Lighthouse, the Butterfly and Nature Conservancy - which was pointed out to me by blogger and entomologist Doug Taron of Gossamer Tapestry, a walk through the City Graveyard, and a trip down Duval Street to Mallory Square to visit the Key West Aquarium. Along the way, a disconcerting discovery was made - there had been a raging fire at an art gallery the night before. The noise and crowds of Durty Harry's had drowned out the sounds of at least four fire engine companies from the Key West Fire Department, Naval Air Station Key West, Monroe County and Key West International Airport who responded to a fire that destroyed the $4 million building at 512 Duval St., according to the newspaper report I later read. Then someone stole a pack of smokes and lighter from the bench beside me and a bottle of mouthwash from my travel bag. WTF! Needless to say, considering the noises I've made over the years concerning the GOP and various arsons, cover-ups, and insurance fraud they were involved in, this all creeped me out and I left Key West that evening. I had planned stops along the way at other "Key" islands, but at this point thought better of remaining in the area, just to err on the side of prudence. I would have thought Key West was a liberal stronghold, but a little of teh Google upon my arrival home revealed the mayor Morgan McPherson, a Jeb Bush acquaintance, is a member of the Keys GOP, a group consisting of numerous notable GOP members - Creepier still, especially considering the band's rant the night before. Surely not...

So after a trip through the Everglades, stopping at the Fakahatchee Strand Nature Preserve State Park, Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk and Turner River Canoe Launch, I stopped in Naples and took a tour of the Rookery Bay Estuarine Research Reserve land with a volunteer guide named George, and visited The Naples Preserve where I saw a wild honeybee hive and several gopher tortoises. The motel was across from the Cocohatchee Estuary and I took a pontoon boat trip through the estuaries into the Gulf and later ate dinner at an excellent, albeit pricey, Chinese restaurant next door. The next day began with a quick read of the paper and taking a Kayak onto the Cocohatchee River. I then visited the excellent Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where I saw a myriad of interesting wildlife and conversed with a number of people, including an interesting young lady and her family I later regretted not knowing better. Alas, Ohio is too far to maintain a relationship, as I've been down that road before. Soon it was time to move on the Bradenton/St. Pete/Tampa area.

The rest of the trip was not worth the trouble. After a long and dusty trip far around Port Charlotte and Fort Myers, I was met with lousy motels filled to capacity, rude people, crazy drivers, and areas that I had lived in 10 years previous which had severely declined, the economy collapsing, and everyone worth knowing from my past in the area of Pinellas and Hillsborough county had since died. The sole redeeming factor of this leg of the journey was Lettuce Lake Park on E. Fletcher in Tampa and an adorable nubile waif spotted at a gas station.

The next stop was to be Gainesville to visit the Museums of Art and Natural History. I was late getting there due to fatigue from leaf blowers in the last motel in Indian Rocks waking me at 5:30AM even thought I went to bed utterly exhausted at 2:30AM, and a police tourist trap run by Sumpter County. I had to leave the balcony door open, which amplified the wretched leaf blowers, and because the idiot who runs the motel had set the thermostat to "morgue" and shutting the vents wouldn't curtail the freezing cold. The deteriorating room had no phone, garbage can, or thermostat, and the elevator sounded like it was possessed. The locals were rude and incapable of maintaining a conversation - a big change from the last time I spent time there. Couldn't get a motel in Gainesville due to something called Gator Nationals, so I gave up and came home. Ugh!

Visitors to the state of Florida should avoid stopping anywhere near Sumpter County, and especially the Wendy's off I-75 and CR-48 at the Bushnell Exit. It is a nasty little engineered traffic trap used by the county to rob unwary tourists of their money in violation of the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices - 2003 Edition - Revision 2 - Chapter 2B - Section 2B.19. First ticket in 18 years, and a million miles of driving. Watch for it, as they have their own crazed version of Barney Fife who sits all day and issues dozens of tickets for the same infraction to everyone unwary enough to venture into this area. Additionally, this clown peels out after violators like he is pursuing a murdering bank robber, thereby endangering the lives and property of those around with his reckless driving. This place, this trap, and this dangerous cop should be eliminated from public influence. They've even jacked the rates of the tickets for this particular violation WAAY over the top, and would apparently prefer that you run over their kids while boarding the school bus than make a U-turn around a barricade intentionally and unnecessarily placed in front of a Wendy's exit, yet improperly marked with a non-visible and improperly placed no-U-turn sign. FYI, I will never pay the fine, and will opt to take this trap, this county, and this yahoo cop to the State Supreme Court if necessary. Otherwise I'll opt for the jail time. In this economy, 3 hots and a cot paid for by public funding is starting to sound pretty good. Sumpter County and Officer Barney Fife #409 may Bite My Ass! (Obviously, that's not his name but I can't read the chicken scratchings on the ticket - it looks like Howie.)

In conclusion, Georgia sucks, and much of Florida now sucks nearly as much. Not one of the bloggers I know from online, some for years, would reply to a request to meet at a neutral place for a drink or quick howdy while passing through their various towns, but it turns out several had pressing personal issues to contend with and later responded, albeit too late. But if you can avoid the morass of tourists, the horrible traffic, the tailgating, speeding, weaving idiot drivers on cell-phones (all in violation of state traffic laws), the jerk yahoo cops and illegal tourist traffic traps, rip-off run-down motels, gross overdevelopment, the Bush brothers' operatives, and the exceedingly rude yet impeccably dressed pool-gate and room-door slamming right-wingers at the DoubleTree Motel who believe Bernard Madoff is a poor fellow who's getting a bum rap, the scenery and wildlife are well worth seeing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

GOP Mascots Run Wild

(Click image for larger version in new window.)
Actually, these unfortunate mascots for the GOP are not to blame. The GOP would have destroyed the hotel and horded all the mangoes for themselves, even if half of them rotted and went to waste, at least it would keep those pesky natives from getting any for themselves.

Builders constructed a lodge in the feeding path of a small group of elephants who now travel to their favorite mango patch through the lobby of the lodge which was built in 1998. Cool!

Wild elephants stroll through hotel reception

Monday, February 16, 2009

Buy American

60 Minutes 02/15/09: Lesley Stahl examines the "Buy American" clause in the stimulus package.

I felt the confrontational attitude towards the steel company CEO was inappropriate - reflecting the views of the "World Trade Order" brokers more than the suffering public who watch this program. To me, it sounded like thinly veiled agitprop being force-fed to the weary viewing audience.

If the US economy, and not just a thimbleful of companies like CAT (who vehemently oppose the Buy American clause), are so dependant on foreign trade that we cannot even consider "Buying American", why do we sport such monstrous trade deficits? Sure doesn’t look like China's buying much of anything from us, yet we are by far their largest consumer. Worse, according to the stats I've read, American owned factories account for 70% of the manufacturing base in China. American CEOs, en masse, have uprooted entire industries and barged them overseas where workers will work for a fraction of what US workers are paid. In return, our shores are saturated with imported products which are sold at the same price as previously US made goods, yet are of substantially poorer quality and represent nothing to the US economy save an ever increasing drain on jobs, erosion of the working class, and landfills full of broken crap. Then of course there are the higher, yet unsustainable, profit margins for the idiot Barons of Industry and their slobbering stockholders.

It's not as if potential buyers of heavy equipment will suddenly abandoned CAT in lieu of, oh say, Malaysian bulldozers. It's a fairly unique market with a handful of potential players. The world buys CAT equipment because of its reputation of serviceability - no country or world business leader is going to embrace an inferior product as retaliation - it's not good for the bottom line. And if "Free Trade" is all important, why did the departing Bush administration impart a 300% tariff increase on French Roquefort Cheese - other than as a petulant middle-digit extended towards the French over Iraq and their wholly justified desire to eat hormone free beef.

This exchange instilled a curiosity as to the attitude. A quick scan of the InterTubes with teh Googles revealed what I expected. My questions were: During CATs foreign trade "boom years", how much of its overseas sales were associated with "rebuilding Iraq" and other war efforts, and what is the political affiliation of CATs CEO. Inquiring minds and all…

FWIW, Here are two old D7s in Ramadi, Iraq.

The D9 is apparently more highly revered, at a cool million each - before battle upgrades.

Military D9 Applications

I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of Chinese purchases vs. Iraq/Israel/et al. as well as how much CAT equipment ended up in burn pits along side SUVs and computer/office equipment due to fraudulent cost-plus contracts with GOP aligned firms such as Halliburton/KBR and Caterpillar.

CAT’s CEO James W. Owens, as I suspected:

Member of the Board of IBM (2006-)
Manufacturing Council
Bush-Cheney ‘04
George W. Bush for President
The Business Council
Business Roundtable
Council on Foreign Relations
Institute for International Economics
The Conference Board Global Advisory Council
John McCain 2008
National Republican Senatorial Committee
World Resources Institute
Not exactly antithetical to the drooling sycophants of the Rush Limbaugh party.

I could be wrong, but I believe I've just expended more effort into investigating the backgrounds of these media players than the administration did in vetting potential appointees.

But now you know the rest of the story…

Funny, yet depressingly accurate: Big Box Mart - JibJab
Listen carefully to the lyrics - if you dare.