Archive for February 6, 2008

Barack Obama: Whose Money Is This?

February 6, 2008

Blame Barry Eisler. He sent out a MySpace Bulletin with the Chabon link. As usual, I start trouble by being curious.

Michael Chabon wrote a rather irritating OpEd in the Washington Post endorsing Obama. (Where was his optimism when Nader ran? Can he say with a straight face he supported Kerry? Can anyone?)

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So, I decided to go to Obama’s site. The first thing I am hit with is a screen to sign up and an autoplay video with a pitch from Obama himself. This does not win my affection.

I trim the URL to bypass the unwanted invite and get into the main site (how many regular people would know to do that?).

I am on a mission. If Obama is so damned great, who is funding him?

I go through 13 pages of FAQ, most of which is about his political positions, how to send him money, and how to buy his schwag(!). Really! Obama has merch. (And he assures us in the FAQ with a Yes that it is Union Made. Uhhhh… is that American Union? That’s not specified. Odd that no one asked if the merch is Made In America!)

OK, this list of contributors thing just isn’t happening. It’s not one of the Qs in FAQ. And, really, why should I send an email that might take days to get a reply — if ever (hello, Dubai! I’m looking at you!).

So I go to the Federal Elections Committee and look up Obama.

Scrolling down the list of contributors, something stands out right away:

ACCOUNTER – 30,523.34

Most of the contributions up to that point were four-figure. This is the first five-figure one.

So who is this? I Google and come up empty. How is that possible? A thirty-thousand dollar contribution is not pocket change. It has to come from some company that should be easily found via Google. Why isn’t it? Who is this?

ALLSCRIPTS – 11,030.00

This company is found via Google. They do electronic medical records. But at the time of writing this, their website refuses to load.

Here’s something interesting:

ALSTEN&BIRD – 750.00
ALSTON & BIRD – 1,500.00
ALSTON & BIRD LLP – 5,189.87
ALSTON & BIRD, LLP – 500.00
ALSTON AND BIRD – 1,000.00
ALSTON HUNT FLOYD & ING – 3,000.00
ALSTON& BIRD LLP – 100.00

Through the magic of creative typing, one firm is shown as several, thus spreading the total contribution apart. This is a law firm.

The same thing happens with Apple:

APPLE – 1,391.89
APPLE INC – 2,400.00
APPLE INC. – 705.00
APPLE, INC. – 527.80

Bank of America — the company that wanted to give credit cards to illegal aliens — puts in a big lump:

BANK OF AMERICA – 14,535.00

Bryan Cave, a law firm, gave big too:

BRYAN CAVE – 250.00
BRYAN CAVE LLP – 9,386.00
BRYAN CAVE, LLC – 200.00

That’s pretty sweet, how they can drop the corporation designation, then use LLP, then use LLC to mask three contributions.

Here’s a neat trick too:

CENTAURUS – 4,600.00
CENTAURUS ENERGY – 6,900.00
CENTAURUS ENERGY MANAGEMENT COMPANY – 2,300.00

What’s especially neat is that they have a one-page website. Yet they can give over ten-thousand dollars? Oh I see. It’s doesn’t make energy. It’s a hedge fund. Remember that name. I’m sure it will make headlines. Bad ones.

It helps to have many divisions. I guess this is why the Suits just love mergers.

CITI – 1,600.00
CITI GROUP GLOBAL MARKETS, INC – 500.00
CITI PRIVATE BANK – 250.00
CITI SMITH BARNEY – 500.00
CITIBANK – 880.73
CITIGROUP – 21,850.79
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS – 1,000.00
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC. – 150.00
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS LTD. – 2,300.00
CITIGROUP INC – 100.00

Yeah, this multi-division thing is really sweet:

COLDWELL BANK – 1,500.00
COLDWELL BANKER – 7,497.42
COLDWELL BANKER BAIN – 500.00
COLDWELL BANKER BURNET – 929.00
COLDWELL BANKER GUNDAKER – 100.00
COLDWELL BANKER MCKENZIE – 150.00
COLDWELL BANKER REAL ESTATE – 107.95

Look at this! Government can get in on it too:

COMMONWEALTH OF MA – 1,200.00
COMMONWEALTH OF MASS – 250.00
COMMONWEALTH OF MASS. – 1,550.00
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS – 3,482.59
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS – GOVERN – 1,000.00
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS EASTERN – 200.00

Hey, Suits! Abbreviations can be your friend!

Damn. Even typos are good:

COVINGTON & BURLING – 18,550.00
COVINGTON & BURLING LLP – 2,839.70
COVINGTON AND BURTING – 500.00

Using a T instead of L is pretty neat. Just blame it on the damned temp who had to type it in. And it is a typo. Ain’t no Covington & Burting. It’s Covington & Burling, a law firm.

Lawyers like to give:

CRAVATH SWAINE & MOORE – 2,300.00
CRAVATH, SLUAINE & MOORE LLP – 1,300.00
CRAVATH, SWAINE & MOORE LLP – 5,850.00

Wow. Give it up for that typo: LU for W! Another law firm. They’re biggies, even legendary.

Another biggie:

CREDIT SUISSA – 250.00
CREDIT SUISSE – 25,350.00

Another typo. Here’s some more:

DEBELOISE & PLIMPTON LLP – 2,300.00
DEBEVOISE – 300.00
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON – 1,400.00
DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON LLP – 4,750.00

Of course, another law firm.

Again, having lots of bits to make up your company can go far:

DELOITTE – 1,050.00
DELOITTE & TOUCHE – 925.00
DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP – 250.00
DELOITTE CONSULTING – 1,375.00
DELOITTE CONSULTING LLC – 75.00
DELOITTE CONSULTING LLP – 1,250.00
DELOITTE FAS – 500.00
DELOITTE FAS LLP – 200.00
DELOITTE SERVICES LP – 500.00
DELOITTE TAX LLP – 552.00
DELOITTE TAX, LLP – 1,000.00
DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU – 550.00

Here’s an eye-opener:

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE – 4,815.82

Ah, so this is where tuition money goes (nah, it’s probably alumni bequest money):

DEPAUL UNIVERSITY – 5,905.59
DEPAUL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW – 100.00
DEPAUL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW & SEL – 100.00

Oh look who likes Obama too:

DEUTSCHE BANK – 11,429.50
DEUTSCHE BANK AG – 500.00
DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES INC – 13,800.00
DEUTSCHEBANK – 300.00

Wow. Look at this consecutive sequence of fortuitous typos:

DEWEY & LABERUF LLP – 250.00
DEWEY & LEBOEUF – 1,300.00
DEWEY & LEBOEUF LLP – 100.00
DEWEY BALLANTINE LLP – 15.00
DEWEY BALLEN FINE LLP – 2,300.00
DEWEY LEBOEUF – 500.00

I’ve only gotten to the Ds but I think I’ve found the most interesting Obama contributor. Digital Gravel, Inc.

DIGITAL GRAVEL, INC. – 250.00

They offer this T-shirt for sale:

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Detail:

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It’s called: FIFTY24SF: ‘Grotesk 01’ women’s t-shirt.

Sorry, no direct link to the shirt, but here’s the one to the JPEG.. (And I took a screensnap Just In Case it mysteriously disappears. Like Saddam did — down some rat hole.)

This T-shirt is particularly interesting because of what our own government asserts:

A TSA [transportation security officer] told me that coming to a US airport with Arabic words on my T-shirt was equivalent to visiting a bank while wearing a shirt that read “I’m a robber”.

If Obama wore it, would they think he’s a terrorist?

This is the first time I’ve ever looked into an FEC statement.

More tomorrow, if I’m not busy with other things. (God, I hope I will be!)

In the meantime, if anyone from the Obama campaign happens to read this, just who or what is “Accounter?”

obamaslogan.jpg

I believe I’d like an answer. (I’m sure it’s nothing nefarious. But as you can see, I hate mysteries.)

Defensive Pessimism: Part Of The Real Secret

February 6, 2008

The Office Pessimists May Not Be Lovable, But Are Often Right

But pessimists aren’t given the benefit of their doubts. Research shows that relative pessimists are more accurate at gauging success and failure rates at a simple laboratory task than optimists, who undercounted failures and overcounted successes, says Edward Chang, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Also, evidence shows that pessimism can be highly motivational, as what’s called “defensive pessimism” drives people to achieve their goals.

Arguably, adds Prof. Chang, investment banks suffering from the subprime-lending crisis were too optimistic while Goldman Sachs, which plotted out disaster scenarios, has thrived. “Optimism associated with inaction is useless,” he says. “But pessimism associated with movement, motivation and energy is exactly what people are talking about in terms of the best of optimism.”

– from Matt St. Amand

Some day I will have the opportunity to reveal the true “secrets” of success. None of which is contained in drivel such as The Secret.

Let me just say here that what is called “defensive pessimism” is a trait of very successful people. Names you would recognize.

Let me add this for myself (as my blood pressure rises recalling the eejits I had to labor under): there is optimism — a hopeful belief in the future — and there is psychotic idiocy, which refuses to acknowledge, for example, that the “unsinkable” Titanic is in fact doomed. It’s been my grief in life to encounter the latter again and again.

optimisteejit.jpg
Psychotic Optimists Smile A Lot

And, oh yes, they’ve gotten promotions. While the intelligent staffs beneath them contemplated suicide.

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Aftermath Of Psychotic Optimist Leadership

Truths Of Ill Comfort

February 6, 2008

The Testimony of a US ex-marine, who went to fight in Iraq
Jimmy Massey: “I have been a psychopathic murderer”

I’m 32 and I am a trained psychopathic murderer. The only things I can do are to sell youths the idea of joining the marines and kill. I am not able to keep a job. For me civilians are despicable people, mentally retarded and weak persons, a flock of sheep. I am their sheepdog. I am a predator. In the army they used to call me Jimmy, the Shark.

And:

Q: When did you find out you had been deceived?

A: Once in Iraq, where I arrived in March 2003. My platoon was ordered to go to the places formerly controlled by the Iraqi army and we saw thousands of thousands of ammunitions in boxes bearing the US label; they were there since the US had supported the Saddam government against Iran. I saw some boxes with the US flag on them and I even saw American tanks. My marines—I was a sergeant with E-6 category, a staff sergeant, which is a higher rank and I had 45 marines under my command— would ask me why there were US ammunitions in Iraq. They couldn’t understand it. CIA reports said that the Salmon Pac was a terrorist camp and that we would find chemical and biological weapons there, but we found nothing. In that moment I began to think that our real mission in Iraq was focused on oil.

And, on shooting peaceful unarmed protesters in Iraq:

A: I returned to my vehicle, my Humvee (a highly equipped jeep) and I heard the sound of a shot over my head. My marines started shooting, so did I. We were not shot back, and I had already shot 12 times. I wanted to make sure that we had killed people according to combat requirements set by the Geneva Convention and the operational proceedings established in the rules. I tried not to look at their faces, I only looked for weapons, but I found none.

Q: How did your superior officers react at that?

A: They told me that “shit happens.”

And:

Q: Do you think there is a short-time solution to the war?

A: No, I don’t think so. What I see is the same policy being practiced either by democrats or republicans. They are the same thing. The war is a business for both parties, since they depend on the Military Industrial Complex. We need a third party.

Emphasis added by me. I said it too.

And there’s this:

Q: You have participated in a workshop titled “The United States: The Revolution is Possible. ” Do you really think that a revolution could take place in the United States?

A: It has already begun to take place in the South, where I was born.

Q: But southern United States has traditionally been the most conservative zone in your country.

A: That changed after Katrina. New Orleans looks like Baghdad. The people in the South are indignant and they wonder every day how comes that Washington invests in a useless war and in Baghdad, while it has not invested in New Orleans. You must recall that the first big rebellion in the United States started in the South.

This is published by the Cuba News Agency.

A short time ago, I would not have bothered to follow up on this link (in a MySpace Bulletin from Matt St. Amand). I would not have credited a news source from Cuba or any South American country as publishing anything approaching truth.

Then I read the two books by John Perkins. Things that never really made sense before started to click together. I am now open to news from south of our border. In fact, those countries might be the only place where some truth can be published!

We have been sold out.

The Presidential Candidate You Laughed At

February 6, 2008

I haven’t paid much attention to this election.

About all I know is that McCain, Romney, Kucinich, Ron Paul, Hillary, and Obama have been running. There were probably more, but I’ve already forgotten them.

You see that Ron Paul is the only one there with two names. That’s because I’ve come across his two names on the Net more times than the most obnoxious TV commercial (hmmm… HeadOn?). He’s apparently the favorite of ideological psychotics who have lots of free time (read: unemployed) to post his name all over the Net. They have done him a disservice by doing so. Rather than attracting people, they have repelled them. (Perhaps they were really all paid RNC operatives? Hey, Mission Accomplished!)

I think I am in the majority of Americans who are just waiting for this overlong campaign to whittle everyone down to The Two. And I expect those two will be the most distateful of the lot. As usual.

This is my candidate:

nader_ovaloffice.jpg

Although that mockup is meant as a joke, I think it symbolizes what Nader would be about: Getting work done. There wouldn’t be reports of him playing cowboy on a ranch. There wouldn’t be nauseating play-acting by him in a jet pilot’s uniform strutting across a huge banner on a warship. He wouldn’t choke on a goddammed pretzel.

Nader is a man who truly devoted his life to public service.

Show me any of the Corporate Candidates who have. Don’t try. You can’t. And it is to your shame that you would support them. They don’t even know that you exist. And the only thing they care about is your vote (and not even that, if they can successfully rig the election!).

I’ll say it again: Republican and Democrat are nothing but brand names of the same evil.

Had Nader been elected, do you think we’d be at war in Iraq? Had Nader been elected, do you think we would have the insanity of the TSA? Had Nader been elected, do you think relations between us and the Mid-East would be so volatile? Had Nader been elected, would Europe hold us in the contempt that it does?

Keep voting for the fake choices you’re being given. Just don’t cry to me about how everything in the country has been turned to shit. How your kids are on drugs and your job is in jeopardy due to globalization and how your heart medicine turned out to be fraudulent and your mortgage is crooked and your money buys less and less and how you’ve had to resort to gambling to try to pay the bills.

You aided and abetted that with your vote.

You asked for it. And you got it!

Quote: Pat Buchanan

February 6, 2008

Buchanan: John McCain ‘Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi’

He will make Cheney look like Gandhi.

Video at the link. Go see.

U.S. Dollar Assumes The Position

February 6, 2008

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“Euros Accepted” signs pop up in New York City

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain’t what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise.

“We had decided that money is money and we’ll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank,” Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines, told Reuters television.

The increasingly weak U.S. dollar, once considered the king among currencies, has brought waves of European tourists to New York with money to burn and looking to take advantage of hugely favorable exchange rates.

Hey, thanks there all of you politically-polarizing SOBs who have contributed to the destruction of our money.

You will not enjoy your European and Chinese masters.

But you damn well deserve them!

I See FAIL!

February 6, 2008

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Ex-Googlers Launch Instructional Video Site Howcast, Raise $8 Million A Round

A New York City startup called Howcast is launching today that wants to be the YouTube of instructional videos. In fact, the three founders—Jason Liebman, Daniel Blackman and Sanjay Raman—are ex-Google employees who worked on Google Video and YouTube before they left eight months ago. They actually are going for a little more polish than YouTube, trying to bring some production values to the world of Web video.

Blah blah blah.

FAIL!

Just last week I posted about how one of Murdoch’s retarded ex-executives is starting the very same damned thing.

Just this morning I posted about how Revver is just about dead. It launched with twelve million in the bank.

WonderHowTo is FAIL!

Howcast is also FAIL!