Thursday, September 29, 2016

Identity Thief Wells Fargo Hits Rock Bottom

Have others put it so baldly? The shocking scenario
at Wells Fargo, with unauthorized accounts opened,
complete with fake debit cards, etc. is identity theft,
PERIOD. Execs Stumpf and Tolstedt are forced to forfeit
millions of their inflated salaries/bonuses to recompense
robbed customers. 5,300 employees have been fired in the
wake of these allegations, which sadly appear accurate.

This is a frightening expose' of the USA's largest mortgage
lender, and a black mark on our national reputation--
ruthlessly reflecting shame on us all! Who in the business
world can we trust these days? My answer right now is:
do business locally, with people in your community you
know, not some faceless corporation giant long distance.
My bank is NOT a big, "prestigious"  bank, i.e., Chase,
which has had a number of scandals internationally and
domestically. But pride goeth before a fall, and banking
on prestige with "premier, historic firms" like Wells Fargo
is proving to be ruinous.

Bipartisan outrage has haled WF CEO Mr. Stumpf
before the U.S. Senate's Banking Committee; Senator
(R) Bob Corker's indignant ire is especially heartening
to see...more hardline penalties presumably to follow.

Morality may have sunk to a new low in American
business; where's Teddy Roosevelt when you need
him? Even though wealthy, he revered his father, who
imbued him with concern and values sadly lacking
in this era. His trust busting, ending egregious
business combines childhood required reading still.

Wells Fargo: let's let 'em have it, identity thieves
now at rock bottom.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Texas, a Shooting Gallery Yet Again: Nihilism and Chaos Today in Houston

Before 7 a.m. today (09/26/'16) a run-amok attorney
shot at least six people in Houston TX. Our gun-crazed
society has one of these outrages now at about a daily
clip. This "lawyer" with his car full of weapons is believed
down, "pronounced dead" (per CNN), yet reporters
at the scene still referred to this sad scenario as active,
with police officers being shot at as well as firing back,
complete with dated film footage. --WHAT?? How about
broadcasting events and official statements in possible
(chronological) order?

This is what lack of leadership and cynical, staying in
office at all costs, pandering to the ignorant, desperate
and disaffected has brought us: Gun Carry, legal now
in all 50 states, whether open or concealed, has pushed
the danger dial firmly into the red right zone. No one
is safe, no amount of "formal education/credentials"
is any guarantee against future shock, death and chaos.

How many years have I warned about this, how many
decades have the even more studied tried to explain
to American adults just what is required for a people to
attain reason, justice and peace?  Check historians of
note, journalists of probity; you will see all that I have
described in various screeds has come to pass.

If fun and material possessions were not the greatest
foci of time and passion, the USA would be far better
off, but the epidemic has morphed into new/now normal.
TV free and cable, online, etc. prove observant others
all too correct. Texas is one of our country's worst
exponents of  reality-evading, dangerously demented
denying and lack of sustained, serious effort. Beef and
oil profits still constitute prestige and royalty there even
in 2016, a very wise woman from there recently
reminded me.

Here we are, "once again, into the breach", with
nothing more than some sweet hopes to sustain us
...come ON, America! Get sense, buckle down,
NOW is the hour.

Texas, meanwhile, did it again, Houston a shooting
gallery of nihilism and chaos.



Donald Trump's Supporters Have Weakened World Confidence in the U.S.

--A dangerous development, especially in this
destabilized, "Post Cold War" world era. When
representatives of our country meet with other
nations' officials, some have asked about "crazy"
Trump, with worried misgivings. Stability in the
international political arena is as highly sought as
it is in the economic sphere; when it begins to
teeter, international relations, wars and trade will
surely deteriorate. Obviously, our overseas opinion/
reputation suffers when we can't really be counted
on in former, reliably positive ways.

Beyond the shallowness, lack of experience, oddities
and meanness ad infinitum Trump blithely broadcasts
around the world, a deeper, even more troubling
phenomenon exists: the stupidity married to arrogance
of much of the USA's electorate is now regarded as
proven, whereas before the Donald's ascendancy,
that was mere suspicion. Other countries, friend and
foe alike, will be aiming for an advantage at our expense.

Donald Trump and crew, irony supreme:
"Make America Great Again"--?? They have
weakened others' confidence in us, NOT
MAKING US STRONGER...

OR better, sadly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Syria in September, 2016: Nothing's Fair in Love or War

...but plenty of woe in warn-torn Syria, five years
and counting. CNN, September 21st, shows more
"disputed " collateral damage, denials and accusations
by America and Russia, while humanitarian aid is
impossible to get through to civilians in Aleppo or
Damascus.

The "Big Two" powers have failed, have caused
bloodshed of the innocent and the young over time
along with Bashar al-Assad, evil as he is, utilizing
chemical weapons, his forces firing on residential
areas, etc. International meddling has NOT helped
the ordinary citizens of Syria, only exacerbating and
extending a fiendishly complex and violent situation.

"All's fair in love and war". (--?) Whoever wrote that
cliche' way back when is entirely wrong; witness
the establishment of the Hague to punish war crimes,
and the granting of grounds for divorce in  failed
marriages. Lately, nothing's fair in love OR war--
logic long gone, caring and manners out the metaphor-
ical  window at about the same time. Yet there are
those of us who keep trying for justice and peace,
as we do know those are worthy goals.

Assad may have been voted into high office, but
it seems clear he has lost the support of his people.
How unmanly and pathetic of him to insist on
maintaining his putative "leadership", no matter
the cost, due to ego. No human is worth all the
suffering this monster of a man has rained down
on Syria--not forgetting the destruction of so many
historically irreplaceable, beautiful structures.

But Bashar Assad is only the most recent Syrian
despot to outrage civilized sensibilities. Lebanon,
let's not forget, was wholly owned by Syria for
decades, may still have an overweening controlling
interest there. Syria as a nation did not arise as
an internal, organic process. Again, France and
Great Britain (AKA the West) intervened militarily
and politically, drawing new national maps. Middle
Eastern tribalism is still alive and well;  imagine its
importance over a hundred years ago, a condition
convenient indeed for foreign powers to take control.

The same tired, uninspired diplomatic overtures
greet our TV and online screens day after day--
nothing new guarantees the same lack of closure
and stability...

No justice, love and peace without new approaches,
so for everyone's sake, invent some NOW,
dammit!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Charlie Hebdo: Unkind and Tone Deaf In France

After Charlie Hebdo re-created a Danish-drawn newspaper's
cartoons of  the Prophet, one  with a mushroom cloud in his
headdress, radical, violent "members" of the Muslim faith reacted,
murdering 12 staff at "Charlie". The world rushed to sympathize,
citing free speech ad nauseam. There were outcries of "I am
Charlie Hebdo"--which sentiment I did not share, saying so in a
past blogpost.

I am unalterably opposed to murder for any reason; it is NEVER
acceptable, even if killing is justified on occasion to save a life
or lives. That doesn't, however, excuse the insensitivity shown by
these cartoonists on more than one occasion, exhibiting a
penchant for the philosophy of "anything's all right on our altar
of humor". --NOT SO, say I!

Demonstrating the inhumanity, coarseness and cruelty the
paper is so famous for, Charlie Hebdo lampooned the ~300
victims of  the recent earthquake in Italy's Apennines Region,
going so far as to draw lasagna layered by prone legs of the
stricken sticking out feet first. Such "outspokenness" outdoes
Howard Stern, making him look like a choir boy in comparison.

Even worse, Charlie responded to earned criticism via fb,
" Italians, it's not Charlie Hebdo who has built your homes,
it's the Mafia". (--Proving that this "newspaper" lacks  English
excellence, since they substituted "which" with "who", the paper
not being a human being, also referring to itself in the third
person, ugh.)

I'll repeat the following until I die:
Because one can do a thing, should one do so?
Often, the wiser way would be to refrain/abstain.

Charlie Hebdo: Coarse, crude, and definitely defiant,
still unkind, ugly and tone deaf in France.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Secretary Clinton's Executive-Worthy Performance at "Commander in Chief Forum"

Yes, I will still actually hold my nose November 8th when I walk
into the polling place, voting for Hillary Clinton as the next U.S.
President. But no attentive student of public affairs can fault her
excellent handling of all comers the other night, broadcast  on
NBC TV.  From skeptical audience members of all stripes
as well as Matt Lauer, she had her integrity and experience
challenged. Yet she remained measured, cool AND warm.
(You can figure that only an apparent paradox out.)

She DOES POSSESS the requisite temperament and
experience to hold our nation's highest office. Her possibly
serious missteps should have advanced her steep learning
curve with respect to studied judgement--which I hope
she will employ if she does become the next Chief Executive
come November.

Trump, meanwhile, continues to spout ludicrous and out
of control statements. He clearly has misogynistic views,
recently revealed yet AGAIN. Should a mere woman
hold high office? The Donald strongly implied "NO" just
a few days ago. His campaign sent me a survey which
I will dissect in subsequent posts; I can't wait to trash
this embarrassing example of a "man"!

Meanwhile, thank you, Secretary Clinton, for your
entirely executive-worthy performance on NBC.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chicago, August 2016: Shootings and Killings off the Charts, Hopes Still Float

...going back to 1997. The local papers, Tribune and Sun-Times,
differed widely on the numbers: The Chicago Tribune quoted
some 60 died in Chicago shootings, whereas the Chicago
Sun-Times claimed about 49. All sources I've checked say
this is the bloodiest month since 1997.

But hopes still float, to recur back to 2008 and the first
Obama for President campaign. Lori Lightfoot, a heavy
weight attorney at Mayer Brown and head of the Chicago
Police Board said on PBS Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight"
she believes Chicago's City Hall (--Emanuel) does care
about the woes wending their way through communities of
color. Activist Pastor Jedidiah Brown, appearing with her,
respectfully disagreed. (--However, I don't support the rev's
acting out this past March when he threw punches at an
attendee during a Chicago rally for Trump.)

I back the Pastor's view: if the city as a whole cared more
about the South and West Sides, we would see more and
better efforts emanating out of the  Mayor's office. A few
appearances after tragedies and "heartfelt" remarks in front
of the press don't do it for me. Results count; the rest are
excuses, drivel, and obfuscation.

Any solution is complicated, must occur on many levels:

--Bring back CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy)
to ALL CPD Districts, as only about half still hold Beat
Meetings where police directly interact with locals;
--More police deployed to known hot spots and troubled
areas, particularly on foot;
--More libraries and parks for the young in such areas;
--More official (and helpful) interaction with parents,
especially with those known to be troubled and IN
trouble.

Then there are the parents, teachers and neighbors:

You all must do your part as well. I am not certain
you actually ARE, being distracted by money and
relationship problems. The kids must come first!

Meanwhile, the November 2016 Election's
"unique" hijinks roll ever forward, to the
detriment of ALL...

But I too will float some hopes.

P.S.: As of September 1st, today, NBC TV
local Channel Five quoted 90 homicides
this past August...how horrifying! Even though
I've lived west of Chicago for eight years, I
care a great deal about Chi Town, where I
spent more years than anywhere else.
Please resolve this complex social dilemma
and fatality-prone violence.

PLEASE.