Ravings From The Bog


Gangster + Banker = Bankster. Sounds about right!

BanksterAn interesting and timely article on todays’ BBC News website about the revival of a 1930s word “Bankster” which indicated how Americans felt about the bankers who managed to screw up the US economy back in the 1920s. Fairly useful word now too!

BBC Article

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Starbucks Denies Supporting Israeli Zionism

 

Starbucks Denial

Starbucks released a statement on it’s website denying its rumoured support for Israel and the savage brutality of it’s invasion of Gaza. Coincidentally, the window of the Starbucks directly outside the Israeli was one of the first to be broken in yesterday’s protest riot in London.

January 5, 2009
Rumor Response: Starbucks Statement re: Support of Israel   

Rumors that Starbucks Coffee Company and its management support Israel are unequivocally false.  
 
Starbucks is a publicly traded company with stores in 49 countries. Though our thousands of partners (employees) and business associates around the globe have diverse views and share many beliefs about a wide range of topics, our primary focus remains to deliver the best customer experience possible. Starbucks is a non-political organization and does not support political causes. Further, the political preferences of a Starbucks partner at any level have absolutely no bearing on Starbucks company policies. 

Contact Information:
Starbucks Customer Relations
(800) 235-2883
info@starbucks.com



Thomas Jefferson The Time Traveller?

Another financial screw up!How did Thomas Jefferson get it so right all the way back in 1802? Did he have a time machine? Obviously not, but this quote is right on the money for what we’re experiencing now.

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson 1802

Very prescient!



Norman Rockwell Art or Nostalgia Americana

Rockwell Marine HomecomingI’m not sure exactly what it is that appeals to me so much about Norman Rockwell’s pictures of American life. I imagine that it is the fantastic realism and the accurate reflection of lighting and detail, but probably more likely, it is the wholesome goodness of the images that reminds me of my impressions of America garnered from the years of Hollywood movies I watched in my youth. This was long before I had begun my political education at the hands of my father. He showed me that in every conflict in which the US was involved, with the exception of the two World Wars, you could find out who the “good guys” were by checking which side the Yanks supported – it was always the other guys. He led me to the writings of Noam Chomsky, David Halberstam and others that opened my eyes to what was happening in the world.

Rockwell’s world detailed an era when the American people in general were comfortable with themselves and their lives. Now that many modern Americans have seen years of blatant profit orientated, oil-based foreign policy and financial scandals, like Cheney’s Halliburton fiasco, the majority of decent people in the US have taken a chance and stepped into a hopeful future with Barack Obama. With lots of effort, patience and focus, the American people can try to return to Rockwell’s world. It will not be easy. In recent weeks, I’ve listened to some Americans on podcasts and radio interviews, with disturbing views on why the US was attacked in September 2001. Their grasp of what goes on outside the US borders and in many cases, inside the US borders, is so far from reality, that it’s frightening. The knee-jerk right wing reaction to anything approaching a foreign threat appears to be “kill them all and let God sort them out” – a glib summary of the situation but not far from the truth in my experience.

Barack Obama has a vast number of urgent and critical issues to deal with. I suggest that political re-education of the American people around US foreign policy and the reasons why the US is considered “the villain of the piece” needs to be near the top of his list.



Lehmans Bank Employees Stage Protest

Lehmans FerrariDisgruntled Lehmans Bank employees stage a protest in the company car park!



Further Evidence Of Corporate Greed At Ebay

I have been a member of Ebay since June 2004. Not long after joining, I set up an Ebay shop to sell among other things, sheet music from 1890 to the 1970s and railway-related postcards. In that time, I tried to be fair with all my buyers and sellers and amassed a 100% positive rating that currently sits at 2258. I have made a number of regular customers who are delighted with my quick service, honest descriptions and reasonable postal rates.

Contrast that with the behaviour of Ebay. Recently, the rental rate of the virtual shop went from £6 (US$11.50) to £14.99 (US$29.00) per month. The 30-day automatic renewal rate of items went from 0.03p (US$0.06) to 0.20p (US$0.38). As I had 708 items listed at the time of the change, my potential monthly rental went from £42.48 to £141.60! Combining this with the shop rental increase, the overall cost rose by 410%

I fired an email off to Ebay Customer Services immediately on receiving my increased bill. Two days later, I got the usual banal rubbish back (both emails below – fyi).

I use Ebay as a source of petty cash. Given the charges from Ebay and it’s sister company, Paypal, I don’t imagine that very many people will ever make a living from their Ebay “profits”, but it has regularly covered my petrol bill for a month, for example. Given that many, many people are now in a critical financial position, I’m sure that they are relying more on every possible source of income and these profiteering increases from Ebay at this particular time will close down many Ebay shops putting people closer to poverty than they’d like to be.

My email to Ebay:

I’m completely disgusted at the increase in the cost of my shop from £6

to £14.99 and at the monthly automatic relisting fee increasing from

0.03p to 0.20p (over six times the original fee!).

I will be closing my shop as soon as I can, despite having it since

2004. I hope many other shop-owners feel the same and close their shops

too. This is profiteering of the worst sort and your tweaks to the

selling systems are merely a cynical way of you boosting your already

inordinate profits. Over the last few years, your fiddling with exposure

of UK-sold items in the US has cost me a lot of trade, but this is the

last straw.

Their response to me:

Hello,

Thank you for your email about the increase in your Shop’s monthly

subscription fee. I appreciate your concern about the impact on your

business.

The rise in monthly subscription fee reflects improvements we’ve made to

Shops:

-All Shop listings can now be seen by buyers in the main search results.

Previously, Shop Inventory Format items were separated off in a box at

the bottom of the search results page.

– Significantly discounted Insertion Fees are available to Shop owners.

– Featured and Anchor Shop subscribers can now access telephone support.

We’re confident that these improvements will help you grow your sales on

eBay, while still offering good value for money for your Shop

subscription.

I trust this explains why Shop subscription fees have increased. Thank

you for using eBay.

Kind regards,

Gilbert Doore

eBay Customer Support

Enough said!

 



Lehmans Is A Lemon – Bad News For Ferrari Dealers!

The recent “market re-adjustments” due to the sub-prime mortgage greedfest, which has now resulted in the demise of Lehmans, will have ramifications across America. Recent immigrants employed as garden mower jockies, maids and drivers will find their “job” opportunities reduced and at the other end of the spectrum, yacht, property, and Ferrari dealers will also be feeling the pinch as the decline in multi-million dollar bonuses,  for idle bankers feeding off the labour of the poor, starts to kick in.

All together now…aaaaaw! Poor puppies…