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Please Kill Me 


Madoff associate had heart attack. Wall Street exhales.  

Turns out the death of Jeffry Picower, 67, accused by Madoff victims of making more than $7 billion from the infamous Ponzi scheme, may not have been murder.

Or are authorities holding back on the cause of the heart attack so there will not be a panic on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, in Palm Beach, Palm Springs and the Hamptons?

Could it be someone has figured out how to induce heart attacks in Banksters and other Big Greed persona in swimming pools? Could an electric jolt do it?

Think about it Wall Street. Pitch forks, torches and Molotov cocktails are so a Fight Club ago.

Is it possible the hoi polloi are capable of better, quicker, easier, craftier? Well, a lot of really smart people have been screwed by the Big Greed created societal Armageddon.

Could it be the formerly infallible esprit de corps has flagged among the educated and wholesome? Inconceivable!

A more perfect murder? A more learned murderer? A more perfected malcontent? Who could it be? From what ranks would such a person emerge? Ridiculous!

Who perchance? The chemist demoted to bank teller? The engineer who finally found work at Best Buys? The unemployed logistics manager who likes to tinker in the basement? The journalist who got a job as a postal employee? God bless the second amendment! The assembly line worker turned handyman who sucks a cigarette in deep contemplation of his now dark, shabby living room?

How about: The IT engineer who took a job in residential water treatment? The beautiful gal who tends bar at the country club on weekends? But, she always has a smile for everyone you say? How pursed are her lips? Why was it she needed a second job?

What about: The graphics designer your wife hired for the faux finish paint job of your foyer? She claims to enjoy her new found freedom as a small business owner. Oh, dear, you must tell her she missed a spot here and there. Maybe you should just let it go.

Then there's the fellow who maintains the pool? Didn't he mention something about his former career at... what was that multi-national he worked for until he was fifty-five?

Or, do you recall that mortgage underwriter who retrained for a new career building water gardens? And what about that unfortunate former electronics engineer who just installed your home entertainment system?

Who can you trust? How secure is secure? Somebody has to cut the grass. Unclog the pipes. Tutor the children. Clean the bathrooms. Service the HVAC system. I'm just saying.

Those of us that don't have access to you, well, what can we do? We'd never get away with anything, would we? I mean, we might be witnesses, or maybe not. A few of us will serve on juries, but not at your trial. You know you'll never be indicted, much less face a jury of your peers. No, they won't be your peers. It just isn't part of the system.

I mean, what chance do we have to hurt you or those you love? Not much. Next to none I'd say.

No. We could stop investing in stocks, bonds and all those investment thingies we don't understand. But that would be silly of us, right? That would be like not going to Atlantic City or Vegas or Reno or Mount Airy or Foxwoods. Gosh, as you well know we would have had better odds at the casinos! Ha! Man, that's funny. People thinking they were investing. What idiots.

We can yell and scream for financial regulation, but let's face it; it's never going to happen. Monetary reform, fugetaboutit! No, our only option is not to participate. Scary thought, but don't worry it won't happen. At least I doubt it.

Stop banking our money? Well, for that to happen we would have to be more afraid of banking system then we are of the street thug or burglar and we're not there, anywhere near there yet, are we? Could we be?

And credit cards. Well, here's a raw deal. But if we give them up, how will we rent a car or book a flight? So, you can keep ripping us off with those damn things ‘till kingdom come and we'll just ask for more. Twenty, thirty percent interest rates won't scare most of the public away, no, why would it? Well, that might get some people, not everyone, those without jobs, maybe, to consider the B word.

What am I saying? That's just crazy talk. Mass bankruptcies? Don't worry about that. The riffraff has been sold, lock stock and barrel, on optimism. And hope. And faith. And TIJ your honor, TIJ I implore you (trust in Jesus). They'll hang in there. Even if they can't afford a doctor or medicine or a necessary medical treatment. Especially now.

Now that health reform is coming like a freight train.

You smartest guys and gals in the room, and your lucky support staff pulling down hundreds of thousand and millions and tens of millions of dollars a year, well, don't you worry your little heads about blow back.

Hey, you may well live to 67 have all the toys and die of a heart attack in a pool.


The Big Black Man Told Me To Grab A Mop – So I Did 

October 20, 2009 - New York City - Hammerstein Ballroom

I've been critical of the administration I supported and helped vote into the White House. Just review my past “Please Kill Me” posts. The evidence of my cynicism is all there.

But the other night a very wise man of color, and large of stature I might add, and I only mention this because of who he is and his job said, “I'm grabbing my mop and my broom and we're scrubbing the floors and trying to neaten things up.”

That single line pounded me in the gut and brought me straight back to earth. I quickly realized this man was making an important point. So, I listened closely to what he had to say.

“Instead of standing on the sidelines,” he continued, “why don't you grab a mop?” Well, if this man could grab a mop, was it beneath me to grab a mop? Because the man talking to me was the President of the United States of America.

This wasn't over the phone or in some letter or on the television machine. Mr. Obama exhorted me in person. I don't think I have to tell you; I grabbed a mop.

And, lest you think I'm a sucker for a charismatic cult-of-personality, hear me out. I should say, hear him out for yourself. I'm not going to agree with everything our current President says or does, but I have to agree with him that it's time to grab a mop. Allow me to elucidate.

Speculation on the left has implied that Mr. Obama is going too slow or hasn't shown enough backbone or is in the pocket of Big Greed. To my face, he proceeded to disabuse me of that notion.

I had my questions.  Are you in favor of real health care reform? Do you know we need to create jobs, jobs that will really contribute to our economic stability? Are you going to close Guantanamo?  Do you believe war should be a last resort and are you being thoughtful about handling the ones we're currently fighting? Do you hear my anger and frustration over pseudo-capitalism and egregious corporate welfare? Can't we build a clean renewable energy system that will benefit us in priceless ways?

But there he was talking to me, not a bite taken from the sound, not a panic spinning. I obliged by suspending my disbelief. I'd like you to know the deep impression this little talk had on me. So, from here on, I'll be filtering his words, but I implore you to read everything he had to say for yourself: Here.

Mr. Obama reminded me that it was only nine months to the day that he had been in office. He thanked me for my help, but then admonished me for my thinking that once the election campaign was over so was my job. Did I feel I was being treated like a child? Yes, but only because I was acting like a child and he made me feel that I was a big enough man to admit it.

Look, he said, “There's a whole industry feeding cynicism and skepticism, and promoting a notion of, well, it hasn't happened yet so it's not going to happen...

“I didn't run for President to accept mediocrity. That's not what this country is about. That's not why you got involved and got engaged.” He was right.

“You didn't decide, oh, this is actually harder than we expected. The insurance companies don't like health reform. I guess we'll just pack up and go home. Oh, well, the banks, they don't want financial regulation. I guess it's just too hard.” No, I didn't.

“We came to solve these problems – right here, right now.”

A couple of the other guys weren't quite so respectful. One shouted, “Single payer!” The other, “Public option!” Mr. Obama didn't flinch. My guess is after Joe Wilson's shout-out he'll never flinch again.

“...somebody just brought up something,” he halted and replied. “But understand that the bill you least like in Congress right now...”

A woman yelled, “Bacus!”

“... would provide 29 million Americans with health care... Would prevent insurance companies from barring you from getting health insurance because of a of preexisting conditions. Whatever the bill you least like would set up an exchange so that people right now who are having to try to bargain for health insurance on their own are suddenly part of a pool of millions that forces insurance companies to compete for their business and give them better deals and lower rates.”

He smiled and paused and gave it to me straight.

“You know, sometimes Democrats can be their own worst enemies. Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kind of — sometimes — do what they're told. Democrats, you all are thinking for yourselves. I like that in you. But it's time for us to make sure that we finish the job here. We are this close. And we've got to be unified.

“But what I reject,” he said looking right in my eyes, “is when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure on health care or they root for failure on reforming our energy system, or they root for failure on getting the Olympics. I mean, who's against the Olympics?”

Mr. Obama suddenly fell into a Seinfeld moment, “What's up with that? You know? That's a sad thing, isn't it?  I mean, I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican, you know, it's the Olympics.  Come on!”

“What I reject is when some folks,” he continued exasperated but determined, “all they've got to say is, let's go back and do the things that we were doing that got us into this mess in the first place.

“That's all — that's all they've got to say?  Like we forgot?  We didn't forget.  It was only nine months ago. We understand exactly who and what got us into this mess.  Now, we don't mind cleaning it up — I'm grabbing my mop and my broom and we're scrubbing the floors and trying to neaten things up.

“But don't just stand there and say, ‘You're not holding the mop right.'  Don't just stand there and say, ‘You're not mopping fast enough.'  Don't accuse me of having a socialist mop. Instead of standing on the sidelines, why don't you grab a mop?  Help us clean up this mess and get America back on track!  Grab a mop!”

Spontaneously, we all started shouting: Grab a mop!  Grab a mop!  Grab a mop!

I made five phone calls that night to organize support for robust health care reform that includes “Medicare for Everyone.”  I'll make some more tomorrow and the day after.

Hey, you!  Yes, you!  We just got the job nine months ago.  We're just getting started and so is President Obama.  Grab a mop, please.


King Making in New Jersey

Make me King!  No, make me King again!  No, I should be King this turn!   You were King last turn and look at the mess you made!  But you're fat and stupid!  Yes, but I'll do something!  No you won't.  You'll go the wrong way on a one way street!  That was a mistake!  You didn't keep your promises!  So, what are you going to do?  The right thing.  You’re corrupt!  No, poopyhead, you're corrupt!  I'm less corrupt than you are!  No you're not!  Yes I am!  I’m less corrupt…. And so on and so on.

The above is gubernatorial election politics as usual in New Jersey.  The two major parties fighting over who shall be King and, as they prove each and every term, the position is more that of a distort figurehead than of leadership, a mere stepping stone to the national scene than a responsibility to be taken seriously.  After all, given the nature of New Jersey, its system and the democratic process, how much can you really do?

Chris Daggett first stepped forward with a concept:  the two party system is too beholden to special interests to get anything done.  This is not necessarily axiom, but here in New Jersey has been proved to be the status quo.

Back in July, I spoke with Chris’s front man, who was at the time unable to flesh out in what ways Mr. Daggett would be different from his opponents.  I left my door and mind open even though his response was not worthy of note.

All the while, the mainstream media has written off Mr. Daggett’s campaign and kept their closed-minded discussions to the question of from which side the third party offer would squish votes.

Then, Mr. Daggett did slay two dragons at once.  He won the first election debate and proposed a plan to get New Jersey back on fiscal track.

How good is his plan?  I’m not sure.  But any plan is better than no plan.  Can Chris Daggett win?  Of course he can.  He has a platform now.  He is David to the two party Goliath.  And, no matter what side of any particular issue you are on, New Jersey has but one issue:  How can we get back to government that works? 

Chris Daggett is the only candidate for Governor of New Jersey that recognized the issue and is will to even talk about it.  For this reason alone he deserves your vote.  I, for one, have had it with those that would be King.


Help Us Tell The Untold Story of the Challenger Disaster

We need your help to tell the true story of why the Reagan Administration, against all logic, launched the Challenger space shuttle on January 28, 1986, causing a disaster that took the lives of seven astronauts including teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe.

Many interests, particularly Reagan worshippers in the worlds of politics, industry and mass media, would rather this story never be told.  I’m hoping you will see its importance and lend whatever assistance you can.

I've been working with Richard (Rick) C. Cook, the man who went to the New York Times with his evidence that NASA wasn't telling us the o-rings were to blame for the Challenger disaster.  

For two decades Mr. Cook kept secret the reasons why NASA launched the Challenger in what they knew were fatal conditions. 

Mr. Cook has documented the story in his book: “Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.”  I have developed a screenplay based on the book called “Single Point Failure.”

Though the story and script have been well received by those we have approached in the film industry, we have been unable to move this project forward.  We suspect that the political nature of the story makes it a difficult sell.

To get this story told we need only gain the support of two or three influential people.  Once we have that support it’s one, much smaller, step to creating a motion picture that will set the record straight on this tragic chapter in our American history.

Do you know anyone with power, wealth or fame, who shares progressive political views and who might be interested in seeing this story told?  

If you do, you can make a significant contribution toward a truthful historic record, please contact us.

Chaz Valenza


Nothing Succeeds Like Rules in Your Favor 

I’ve been feeling powerless lately.  How about you?  Here’s what’s got me down:

Healthcare “reform” that is quickly becoming another Big Greed money grab at the expense of taxpayers, small businesses and workers.  Holy crap, the worst of both worlds!  Yet another insurance product we are forced to purchase with meager industry regulation and no marketplace competition.

A government that continues to bailout, subsidize and legislate in favor of “legal” corporate criminal enterprises that profess their undying loyalty to the free market when, in fact, they are nothing more than welfare kings and social despots. 

And, of course, the new economy.  The one where Big Greed industries of all types make money by sending jobs overseas and across borders.  The economy where corporations get H-1b visas for jobs there are plenty of trained, ready-to-go, qualified candidates for right here at home.  The economy that offers us offseason hothouse tomatoes from Israel, the Netherlands and Canada, but not from the United States, as if growing produce in the trade parlance “under glass,” is illegal here.

Examine each of these situations and the lowest common denominator becomes clear.  The source of this illogical, inefficient, energy wasting, money motivated insanity:  the Rules. 

Because nothing succeeds like when success buys you the privilege of writing the rules of the game.

I thought throwing out the rascals would at least help.  It seems to have done little.  As many others have observed, our democracy is not working.

So I was eager to read, “Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back,” Random House (June 2, 2009), by Douglas Rushoff.  Here’s the break-down, eight must read chapters of “how we became” that I loved, and one final chapter of “how to take it back,” which was disappointing.

I applaud Mr. Rushoff’s efforts and sincerely urge you to read his analysis.  His solution, which I agree with, is the “reinstatement of the social fabric.” He postulates that Big Greed has separated us from one another and that we are capable of rebuilding community from the bottom up.  He suggests barter, community-supported-agriculture groups (CSAs), and the creation of local monetary instruments as means toward the ends of recreating community and person-to-person contact.

Wonderful.  Good luck with that.  Here’s my take on just these suggestions, not the overall laudable goal of over-throwing Big Greed with grassroots actions, they’re not enough and sometimes worse than what we are looking to replace.

Person to person barter, in all its forms, from sharing power tools to baby sitting circles are great.  But barter brokers are a complete rip-off.  See:  I know the Bogus Barter Bucks Secret.  Here in New Jersey CSAs can provide some fresh produce for two months out of the year, but are not even a mosquito on the back of Big Agra.  And, local money suffers the same transferability and profit erosion problems inherent in barter brokering.

To be fair, to Mr. Rushoff doesn’t promise a silver bullet answer, he does make cogent arguments as to the ineffectiveness other forms of retaliation against Big Greed, and his bottom up approach makes sense. 

I’ve been beating my head against the wall trying to find a way to wage battle against our “capitalist system” that is far from a free market.  My own tactics, as stated in 9 Things You Can Do to Stop Big Greed are similarly, woefully inadequate, but they are a start on the individual level, no community organizing necessary.

So, for the meanwhile, until another approach is created, I will work to continuing to practice my own version of sticking it to the man.  I encourage you to do the same and to encourage others to do the same.

Feeling powerless sucks.  Take action.

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