PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Design, Art, Culture/ some of my favorite things

February 19, 2013

1. Valentines’ Day, The NY Times,the last section of Thursday’s styles offers vintage posters at affordable prices. All posters are for sale with a certificate of authenticity. AT $ 150.00 / each, buy art , live well and enjoy the color!

2. Every one is doing it. Offering art and Technology; looking for local talent, the Museum of Modern ART, spotted a Red Bike, by Brooklyn Cruiser outside their design studios in SOHO. The BIKE IN THE red color, is available in a limited edition of 15 , for $580.00 thru the MOMA STORE. ENJOY! A wooden crate is available for carrying packages @ $80.00 extra. Pleasantly retro.

3. 3D Printing, Just an advertisement, in today’s Financial Times, conjures images of stuff, designed as prototypes which look like the ” original” products. IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES? Take your printer with you to the job site, need a part, place the resin in the container and make the part. Or take an image, send it to the printer and you’ve got the part, layer by layer, the designs and products are only limited by your imagination. No need for full scale models or the middle man; more freedom to spend time creating!

4. Heard on the News/one building, dating back to the 1880’s at the Pratt school of Architecture was torched today. Who knows why? I just felt saddened, I can’t imagine destroying a bastion of culture and defender of cultural rights. When my daughter graduated (1988), Pratt was an activist school, deeply concerned about preserving their freedom in the face of a slashed budget by the Endowment for the Arts, censorship at any level was not tolerated.

5. Save the Starving Artist, an Acorn Publication undertaken by Marylin Barr, herself an artist in Greenboro, S.C. is an example of how we can promote our artists through empowerment. I’ve enclosed several photos from the book and would urge, any reader who is able , to ” save a starving artist” . Being a patron at any level, ensures the continuation of our civilization. Think and buy beauty if you can and be enriched for years. We have many choices.


PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Daylight shining on financial reform?

February 12, 2013

1. 2/10/13 NY TIMES/ Gretchen Morgenson’s column/ On the waiting list at the debt rating club! As S&P. awaits a civil trial for rating securities they allegedly knew to be fraudulent , at least 10 other boutique rating agencies have not achieved SEC certification. One firm, R&R Consulting has applied for rating certification, though they weren’t denied a license, it has’t been granted either. According to Gretchen, the founders have exemplary credentials and they are well respected globally. It appears, though denied, the folks responsible for granting this firm’s accreditation , come from S&P and other rating agencies responsible for the 2007 Financial Collapse, and they are maintaining the status quo. Hence, no new faces and ideas in the rating agency pool! Where’s our choice?

2. Bill Moyers, PBS 6:00PM The conversation turns to media communication, where the consumer is being short changed. Captive Audiance by Susan Crawford provides a detailed account of our limited access to ” real information” and varied media content and universal access to the Internet. Why is this undesirable? To be educated, to be connected to each other, we need to be connected independent of the content provided by the media moguls. We have a choice, sensible oversight would provide more competition, more information at competitive pricing. All these issues are part of the same problem, a limited marketplace placing people at a disadvantage. We have a choice.

3. THE FINANCIAL TIMES2/10/13. A must read article by John Gapper: Money, Money everywhere- except in the real economy! All of this is reminiscent of the period before the crash, when one PE boss spoke of ” getting liquidity at the corner store”. What’s happening, we’re creating deals between existing, known companies, creating wealth for the few, while the ” real economy” produces very little. We have a choice, but we shouldn’t wait too long to invest in entrepreneurs.

4. LOL . 60 minutes reports on the Government’s audit of the three credit rating agencies: Esperian, Trans Union and Equifax . They have determined the following: Disputes with these agencies are pointless. They have a 20% error rate and no accountability. According to the Ohio AG, the consumer rating agencies are not in compliance with the Law. Lives have been destroyed by these agencies and so far, the consumer is powerless. What is our choice?


ISRAEL/the PLO: THOUGHTS AFTER READING THE TRIP’S LITERATURE AND NOTES

February 10, 2013

1. More thoughts from my recent trip to Israel. What did I learn?

CISCO, INTEL AND MICROSOFT WILL HAVE OR HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE WEST BANK/ KFC IS THERE ALONG WITH 1 store named ” BLOOMINGDALES”. I couldn’t get to my iPad fast enough to get a photo out the Palestinian driven bus window, but it does exist in Ramallah.

Next when we stopped In Ramallah, we were greeted by THE PLO , represented by Nour Musa Odeh, educated Golden Gate University, 1999, San Francisco, California, who BELIEVES THE SOLUTION FOR GAZA IS SEPARATE FROM THE SOLUTION FOR THE WEST BANK. He said, as I noted and wrote, “The PLO are now prepared to accept the 1967 borders in the West Bank and agree to the acceptance of at least 72% of the territory of Israel. Their latest attempt to obtain ” legitimate” status through the UN is a method to push Israel to the bargaining table. The PLO does not talk peace, but hope!” To be noted: 80% of all goods required by West Bank business comes from Israel/ thru an Investment Fund. ( details not included).

The Palestine Liberation Organization, provided our group with ” booklets” stating their case. Some of the ” facts ” presented were compiled by the US based organization, PEACE NOW. It is interesting to note, that the PLO BOOKLET, reflecting Palestinian attitudes, is a mirror image of the attitudes expressed by the Israeli’s in the areas surrounding GAZA. ( I can’t state the position in Jerusalem, because it wasn’t heard. ) However , the recent Israeli elections speak to the issues confronting Israeli’s; the people want to pursue the ” good life”. They want to escape ” the bunker” mentality and live ” normal lives, too.”

There is a wide spread belief that, Peace will come to the region, when America stops supporting the old regimes and starts supporting the people’s representative; when they are announced and accepted over time. The “Arab Spring” is a process.

We visited the proposed new West Bank Town, called Rawabi, funds coming from Quatar and developed by Massar International ( Massar has successfully built 13, 000 housing units in Morrocco) .

A renown Media Board and Shimon Perez accept the formation of this new Palestinian West Bank town called Rawabi. The vision should have an enormous influence on the West Bank, providing 5000 permanent jobs minimum. This is envisioned as a self contained city, with amphitheater , shops , schools, hospital and housing for at least 25,000. Is it enough to jump start peace talks? We have a choice.


PUBLIC ADVOCACY: The financial Times

February 7, 2013

1.Tax increases planned 2/7/13 Barack Obama, Proposes tax increases on oil and gas groups and hedge fund executives as a short term fix to avoid $1.2 Trillion in automatic spending cuts. The business community and other Lobbyists are ” up in arms”, fighting to preserve their turf. The reforms, part of an overall tax reform package, is the appropriate first step. We’re given a choice.

2. the mystery of the disappearing Arctic sea ice. IT WAS PREDICTED THAT THIS SCENARIO WOULD NOT TAKE PLACE TILL THE END OF THE 21st Century. But watching the ” ice calve” shows the possibility of the ice melting faster. The disappearance of the sea ice is now predicted in 30-40 years. Clearly, while we have spent years convincing folks that climate change occurs, we have forgotten the battle to stop or mitigate that change. We have choices, but only one planet.

3. A fine for the Royal Bank of Scotland will not fix LIBOR . Since collusion is rampant and the desire to maximize profits exists, there is a race between Banks to set the lowest rate for others to use. The Policies evolved to accommodate the rise in derivatives and ensures their profitability. To prevent this self serving policy, at the expense of the consumer, it is proposed that public intervention occurs to set the rates, either thru the Central Bank or otherwise. More public oversight. We have a choice.

4. Credit Rating agencies must beware of the Law. ” Free speech is not a defense for FRAUD… Nor should it be a defense , if agencies lower their standards and risk models to gain revenues. Investors can only expect so much from ratings but they have the right to demand integrity. The rater should beware.”


PUBLIC ADVOCACY: MY WISH LIST!

February 7, 2013

I wont’t lie. I will not be content till real monetary reform takes place in this country. Justice is Overdo. There will be no equality in the marketplace till the market corrects and laws are Re-instated to protect the consumer and the investors.

No one rating firm should be singled out, nor should only one Bank. The Banks are guilty of money laundering, fixing LIBOR, trading in valueless paper called mortgage backed securities and risk taking for profit without regard for the consequences to ” their clients” , the taxpayers of these United States. Where is justice?

The same system of justice should be levied on the rating agencies. All of them: Moody’s , Fitch and S&P. there is enough culpability to make the case against them all. It is our choice to see justice and laws of conduct and procedures implemented.

Once laws are in place to protect the system and the investor, it would be appropriate to get rid of the grants and winner take all contracts. With so much money available for Sandy Relief, as a citizen I want fair bidding on projects and total accountability on monies spent for redevelopment. There is much to do. We have choices.

Thanks for listening. These are a few thoughts on a normal working day. We can make a difference. There are choices.


PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Thank you Elizabeth Warren plus items of interest

February 2, 2013

1.NY TIMES 2/1/13 Doubt is cast on firms hired to help Banks. Once again the taxpayer has lost Billions as the firms hired to find fraud are the same entities working with the Banks and Regulators. This conflict of interest leaves the Consumer vulnerable to Bank misconduct and the flow of tainted money. Elizabeth Warren ( Mass. Senator) is part of the debate on Banking Reform; making laws to create transparency in our Banking system lest we have a repeat of 2007! We made a choice!

2. NY TIMES 2/1/13. Report faults high fees for out of network care. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Compared to out of pocket expenses when you’re on Medicare several out of network procedures are egregiously expensive. You too , will be shocked by the costs charged consumers with” good health care coverage”: In NY , Lumbar spine fusion $ 115, 625; Muscle and skin grafts on the torso $150,000. The system is broken and the taxpayers who are the consumers are being bankrupted by these expenses. Where’s the choice?

3. FINANCIAL TIMES 2/2/13. Beware real estate flippers’ effect on rising house prices. The investors who have bought into the US housing market are hedge funds, equity firms and more recently entrepreneurs . The national association of realtors estimates that one third of purchases in 2010 were investment purchases. The Hedge Funds have a sophisticated strategy, they are purchasing the property and converting the rental stream into financial products, using the cash flow as collateral for bonds. If the market does not continue it’s upward spiral, this financial scheme may be the next big flop? We have a choice.

4. LOL FINANCIAL TIMES 2/2/13. Bulls charge ahead as stocks lift off! Several Investment officers , see a great rotation ahead and caution; buy stocks on weakness , don’t chase strength. Moreover, to paraphrase, ” It is central bank liquidity that is driving the market. They are not convinced that the link between asset price inflation and economic growth is durable. It can only last so long.”


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