Monthly Archives: February 2020

Coral Gables Commission Allows Remote Participation Via Cam or Cell Phone — If You Can Find the Link

According to a recent email newsletter from Coral Gables Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr.,

Live video commenting at City Commission Meetings is now possible. With the support of the City Commission, I passed a resolution that allows any resident with a webcam or smartphone to appear and give public comments at City Commission Meetings via live video feed.

Through technology, this new system further enhances transparency and public access in our City’s governance.

I encourage all wishing to comment remotely to visit our website before Commission Meetings to access the link to the Zoom meeting. (Note: When quasi-judicial items are heard before the City Commission, speakers will need to be physically present if they wish to offer sworn testimony).

I think this is a pretty cool idea. Alas, Commissioner Fors didn’t give a link and I can’t find any relevant info on the City of Coral Gables web site. I did find numerous offers to make an “e-comment” by text, but that comes with the following so-called “Disclaimer”:

Tell us what’s on your mind. Your comments and information will not be read during Commission Meetings, but will become part of the official public record. If you do not want your personal information included in the official record, do not complete that field.

The next Commission meeting is on Feb. 25th, so it can’t be that it’s too soon to have a link, can it? Maybe it’s only visible on the day? But at least they could tell us that. Or maybe I just don’t know where to look, although I tried the general City calendar and what seems to be the agenda for the next meeting of the Commission. (I say “seems to be” because it is hosted at “granicusideas.com” which calls itself “the most trusted marketing [sic] platform for government.)

What am I missing here? Is the idea that there’s some portal only available in real time? Even if that’s the case, they could explain that somewhere, couldn’t they?

Posted in Coral Gables | Leave a comment

Strange Stuff Indeed

In a post entitled Strange Stuff on Wall Street: Big Job Cuts, Fed Bailout, Record Markets at Wall Street on Parade, authors Pam Martens and Russ Martens conclude,

…in a rational world, big Wall Street job cuts and the need for massive bailout money from the Fed would not correlate with a stock market regularly setting new highs. But Wall Street no longer exists in a rational universe. It exists in an alternative universe where Wall Street banks are allowed to put out a buy recommendation on a company and then trade its stock in their own Dark Pools; where trillions of dollars of risky stock derivatives are held by the country’s largest federally-insured bank; where initial public offerings of deeply indebted companies that have never made a dime of profits are hustled for listing on the nation’s stock exchanges; and where Wall Street is allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to run a private justice system which draws an opaque curtain around the kinds of charges aggrieved investors are making against these Wall Street banks.

As we have stated previously, this is not so much a stock market as it is an institutionalized wealth transfer system moving money from the pockets of the 99 percent to the 1 percent who have concocted this market structure.

Millions of Americans are grappling with how to put food on their table while paying their 17 percent interest rate on their credit cards from these same Wall Street banks that are being provided loans from the New York Fed daily at 1.60 percent.

I started reading their blog because it seemed the most concerned by the strange doings in the repo market. The authors come off as a bit shrill, but there seems a lot to be shrill about — and even more to be deeply puzzled about, as this chart from Alhambra Investments shows:

If you go back to early September 2019, the US government was buying no repos at all; it stepped in when the market liquidity vanished suddenly for still-unexplained reasons. And, at last, the Fed beginning, maybe, to extricate itself from being the repo market lender of first as well as last resort, so maybe this will just be another squall before the storm. Then, again, that dark part of the line to the right in the graph is people who wanted the fed to buy their repos (at a great price) but were unsatisfied. So extrication may not be easy unless those sellers can find a market-clearing price on the private exchanges.

Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

Last Day to Register to Vote in the March 17 Florida Primary

Today is the last day to register to vote in the upcoming Florida primary, or to change party registration in order to vote in a different party’s primary. Go to www.registertovoteflorida.gov to register to vote or to change party affiliation.

The Florida primary is on March 17, two weeks after ‘Super Tuesday.’ If you’re already registered to vote, you may choose to enroll in vote-by-mail. Go to www.votefromhome.miami to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Note that this request will remain in effect until you countermand it.

Florida is very free and easy with postal ballots, which I think undermines democracy in several ways, notably that it makes ballot fraud easier (e.g. ‘ballot harvesting’ — a South Florida specialty — and forgery), and that it undermines the secret ballot (e.g. making it easier to sell votes since the seller can prove how he voted, and also enabling pressure from family members demanding to see the ballot).  But postal voting can be very convenient.  Whether they count the ballot is of course a matter of faith.

Remember: Florida has closed primaries, which means you must be registered as a Democrat to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, or a Republican to vote in Republican primaries. If you are registered as an independent (or no party preference), you don’t get to vote in any party’s primary.

There is a state constitutional amendment making its way through the system to require open primaries, but I’m not a great fan of it.

Posted in 2020 Election, Florida | 6 Comments

Biden is Losing It (and Also Losing)

Skip ahead to the 4:00 minute mark on this video, and keep in mind that despite the source the footage of Biden is real:

“Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldier”??? Stick a fork in him. Please. Before it’s too late.

Posted in 2020 Election | 1 Comment

Dogged Campaigning

My mother relays to me this tidbit about Elizabeth Warren:

At a town hall in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on Sunday, a voter asked the presidential hopeful if she ever whispers to her golden retriever Bailey’s ear at night, “Who is going to be my Mike Pence? Who is gonna look at me with adoring eyes?”

She said, “I already have a dog.”

Indeed, Bailey Warren has his own Twitter feed.

Posted in 2020 Election | Leave a comment

Did You Get Your Money’s Worth?

If this claim is correct, then the U.S.’s war in and occupation of Iraq will soon have cost us about $2 trillion (including projected future costs of veterans’ care and increased interest on the debt).  That works out to about $8700 for every man, woman, and child in the US.  Did you get your money’s worth?

Another way to look at this number is that $2 trillion is more than eight times Iraq’s GDP.  Those two trillion work out to, in round figures, about $50,000 for every single Iraqi.  I remain of the opinion that there would have been a better way to spend that money.

Posted in Iraq | Leave a comment