Archive for September, 2008

Lessons

September 20, 2008

My son Chuck made me aware of Robert Reich’s website.  He is the former Secretary of Labor during the Clinton presidency.  In this latest writing, he emphasizes that  our current financial fiasco is indeed a crisis of trust, a foray into fear.  The underlying financial structure, now hopefully faced with the proper legislative checks and balances,  will weather the storm.

http://robertreich.blogspot.com/2008/09/coming-bailout-of-all-bailouts-bill.html

It is an interesting website, especially if you need a clearer explanation of what is going on with our economy, its general principles and its nuances.

A Canary In A Coal Mine

September 20, 2008

When coal miners needed to know if the air in a coal shaft was safe, they would put a canary in a cage down there. As long as they heard the canary singing, they knew the air was safe. If the chirping went silent, no miners were sent into the mine as the silence of the canary meant there was not enough oxygen or the air was poisonous.

Thus our stock market. These wild swings of 400 points a day are only an indicator, the canary if you will, of a sick economy. The stock market itself is not the problem; it is a symptom, a mirror reflecting the underlying structural weakness in our national and global economy.

Likewise, the Bush administration”s lawlessness and rejection of legal procedures can be considered also as a sign, a canary in a coal mine. Time after time, i.e. the lie about WMD as a basis for going to war with Iraq, the Valerie Plame affair, its coverup and the refusal of the major players in that scandal (Rove, Gonzales, Miers and Cheney) to honor the subpoenas issued to them , this administration and its supportive Republican Party are getting away with murder because they can. They just can, and ARE. This canary of a government we now have is poisonous, but no effective antidotes are being offered. We are hearing the silence of the canary but ignoring it totally.

So why are we so surprised that Sarah Palin and her husband are not going to cooperate, testify or abide by the subpoenas issued to them in the Alaska Troopergate affair? The big boys in Washington are ignoring legal procedures, so the Palins are following suit. Sarah Palin is now one of the D.C. big boys. She is just as lawless as they are.

One scenario I foresee is that MCCain is hoping that Troopergate will subside until after the election. He has the attitude (hey, it worked so far for the Bush Administration) that if he does not acknowledge the possible illegal actions, they will just go away. Then, after the election, after he has used the cache of Palin to get him elected, he can toss her aside as his VP and replace her with Pawlenty or Romney. In this way he has not only taken the election, but also gotten rid of a scandal. Neat job.

You know the jig is really up when Bush, McCain or Palin invoke the will of God, that our problems are in the hands of the Lord. Translation: the situation is hopeless. This is the exact strategy that Bush used, and the masses then adopted, with the Katrina fiasco. Only God can help us now. God helps those who help THEMSELVES. Government got us into these messes, but it will be up to God to get us out of them.

Please view this video parody from The Onion:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/bush_tours_america_to_survey

Chirp, chirp.  TWEET, TWEET.

Reckless Reaganomics

September 19, 2008

Make no bones about it: this financial crisis, mushrooming and rippling through supposed rock-solid institutions from banks to lenders to investment companies all the way up into what will be the ultimate test of the United States’ fiscal viability, had its beginnings under the Ronald Reagan administration.

Reagan’s legacy is draped in his trickle down economic policy. Sure —– he militarily outspent the USSR and brought that empire down. Sure —– he was an uplifting speaker who gave this country back its hope and vigor. But here is what else Reagan wrought.

Reagan was a big believer in total deregulation. He applied it to the airline industry and to financial institutions. Capitalism is a laissez-faire policy. Let the chips fall where they may. The rich will still be rich. However, the middle and lower classes will grow and the divide between the upper echelons and Joe America will increase drastically.

There are a number of events from the Reagan years that stick in my memory. During the 1980’s, I was a thirty-something mother who was raising two babies. However, even I had a thought or two about policy during that time. Reagan’s economic and political outlook had non-recuperative effects that translated into very bad social policy.

First, I remember during the 1980’s the Japanese were buying up American real estate faster than you could say “Sayonara.” Skyscrapers in major metropolitan areas were scooped up. What I deeply remember is that many heartland farmers could not maintain their land which, in many cases, had been in their families for generations. Reagan’s trickle down economic policy NEVER dripped down to help the farmers, the very people who fed our nation. Many farms were lost or sold to the Japanese.

Another vivid memory I have from that time is that many mental institutions were closed down and its residents released on the streets. This is the period when we had thousands of homeless people sleeping in our cities, parks, streets, anywhere and everywhere. Reagan did not believe that the government had any responsibility to pay to house and care for these mentally unstable, indigent people. Let the chips fall where they may. Capitalism working at its worst, and economic policy wreaking havoc with social policy.

Perhaps my most vivid memory is of Reagan saying that “all the Democrats do is tax and spend.” Reagan borrowed and borrowed from our own government so that he could spend and spend on arms to put the USSR out of business. So yes, the Berlin Wall fell, but man oh man, were we ever so deep in debt. My take on this is that the Republicans BORROW and spend. George W. Bush, over the last eight years, has taken up this borrowing tactic as well. Borrowing on end by printing up funny money from the Mint is not acceptable, even if the reason for it is military action. As we have seen, with our national deficit in record territory, there are financial consequences of dire proportions.

So now on top of the war debt, we are spending even more non-existent dollars on financial bailouts. I do not have the answer. All I know is that if we do not rescue many of these financial institutions, we will lose our personal shirts as the markets react to their tanking value. On the other hand, if we do bail out these institutions, we, the taxpayers, are going to have huge tax liabilities in order to pay back the government for these “saves.”

Two things I do know for sure: first, we should NEVER spend more than we have on tap and second, there should be a flat income tax rate of 15%.  That way there would be no loopholes, shelters or evasions that wealthy people and above all, corporations, could use to dodge their fair share of taxes.  Fifteen percent for EVERYONE;  No exceptions.

So as true as my name is Yo Mama, Ronald Reagan was the architect of what has befallen us today. Increasing a country’s morale is no excuse for taking from the poorer to line the pockets of the richer. This is NOT capitalism; this is rape. Plain and simple, it is economic and as a result, social suicide.

The part of this current predicament that we have not seen yet is social discontent and uprising. Do not be fooled: when absolutely NOTHING trickles down to the middle and lower classes, there will be frenzy afoot.

Stiff Upper Lip

September 17, 2008

Hang in. The markets needed this shake out. Needless to say, our government and leadership need a shake out also, now more than ever. Kick those bastards out NOW!

With that in mind, here are some encouraging words. First, from David Plouffe of Obama for America:

https://donate.barackobama.com/ourstrategy

Next, some uplifting news from Andrew Sullivan:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/09/patience-and-st.html

Keep your wits about you.  But loosen up those purse strings and give now to Obama for America.

Funnies

September 17, 2008

Here are a few funnies about McCain/Palin. Oh all right, its mostly, no its ALL Palin!

In the following paid advertisement, approved by McCain/Palin, it wasn’t even the implied sexual deviancy of the Obama candidacy that really ticked me off.  After all, this ad is a straight out lie;  Obama was talking about educating young children about potential sexual molesters.  Kind of useful knowledge to have, huh?   The part that really astounded me was where it says Obama seeks to continue the “public education monopoly”. Well I’ll be: isn’t public education SUPPOSED to be a monopoly? DUH!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/09/mccain-ad-obamas-lone-edu_n_125205.html

And yes, Ben Stein, Palin is everything McCain is not plus she is nothing that McCain is. Confusing? You betcha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M83qYgtCho

And I saved the best for last, despite its widespread screening on the web:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/Tina_Feys_world.html?showall

Lost In Translation

September 15, 2008

A bumpy ride indeed.  The financial markets are having a horrendous day.  Good.  We’re getting there.  “There” is the place in the time and space continuum when actions turn into ACTUAL VOTES for Obama.

Those white working class men and especially women who are thrilled with Palin as the Republican VP choice will never turn into votes for Obama.  They will go with their “gut feeling” that MCCain/Palin are “real” people, i.e. candidates who poo-poo education as elitist, equate community activism as radical politics but nonetheless are incredible people to have a beer with.  I really do not think that these voters will change their votes.  They think some of the historical cache of being a Republican, the party of the classy, rich, white and truly elite people,  will rub off on them just by association.  Fat chance.  McCain/Palin are playing to this element of stupid wanna-bes.  Then, once they get their vote, they will chew them up and spit them out and be done with the “lower classes” until the next election.

This free-fall of the market is going to have its greatest impact on the “haves”, those high net worth investors who are seeing their accounts shrink considerably.  THESE are the people whose displeasure will eventually translate into votes for Obama.  I have met many of these people who say that enough is enough.  However, there are many more who haven’t hit that point of no return (literally!) yet.  These are the people who can “be turned”.

So let the stock market crash.  We need it to hit even lower lows so that it hurts people in their pocketbooks, so that it tackles them right to their white collar, white shoe being.  These people in their isolated towers think they are immune to the pitfalls of bad government and empty leadership.  Let’s see how their unhappiness translates into votes for Obama when they get socked in the nose with a rapidly declining financial status.

Trust me, it will work.  Money rules and the loss of it might even get people to rethink their social, cultural and economic alliances.  These people, given bad enough times, will translate their misery into votes.

So let the markets fall; just get the votes.

Buckle Up

September 15, 2008

It will be a wild ride today when the financial markets open.  Toldja, toldja, toldja!

The last eight years, the Bush Administration, has “led” our country with  irresponsible abandon  both abroad and at home.  The war in Iraq was entered into based on a lie and then carried out without forethought or management as to rebuilding and withdrawal.  All of this with government experts and appointees who were going to guide us correctly.  The President has no taste for details and his judgment of personnel was atrocious.  All of this AND we have the loss of almost 4500 of our troops.  Then, when injured and maimed soldiers arrive home, they are faced with a lack of medical care and mental counseling.  Fact:  the National Guard forces, who enlisted thinking that their service would be in this country in times of domestic emergencies, have NO MEDICAL COVERAGE for their sustained injuries in Iraq once they arrive home.  So Bush and MCCain,  do not talk to me about the patriotism and honor of our troops.  Put your money where your mouth is and get these kids better.

Furthermore, our international reputation, in the past coming from a real position of strength, is in shambles.  Not only is out reputation shot, but our actual standing and influence has dwindled to a slow drip.

In the home front, what a disaster!  I have written in the past how the Republican’s policies of deregulation will be the downfall of our economy.  Buckle up.  By reckless policies starting in the lending industry, we have seen repercussions in the real estate market, the banking industry, the investment industry ad infinitum.  The lack of oversight, described by Republicans as “capitalism” at work, has hit America in its heartland and will take years to reverse.

Bush, and now McCain, like to use catchwords such as “patriotism” and “honor” as the basis for all their policies, both international and domestic.  They never speak of the necessary DETAILS that must underlie possible solutions.  Is that because they just have a distaste for any thinking, or are they not at all concerned about finding solutions?

Even those that tutored Palin for her interview with Charlie Gibson taught her big girl words, but as for real details of America’s problems and possible antidotes, well, that seems to be below those who are seeking office.  The attainment of office appears to be the end goal.

The Bush administration has essentially raped our foreign policy of any meaning, and is now, through its ignorance of any real economic policy, dismantling our national economy.  There has been no oversight, no forethought of what our current deregulation might bring, and then a denial of disaster once the bottom fell out of the markets.  Once again, as long as Bush and now McCain get to keep their high office, once Big Oil gets to keep their obscene profits, and once the arms corporations get to make their trillions based on a trumped up war, then and only then is this country described as “the best”.

It is all a facade, a masquerade.  Our foreign allies realize this now and our educated masses are aware of this greedy winner-take-all government.  However, irony of ironies, it is the downtrodden in this country who are bucking the facts.  They think “patriotism” and “honor” will put food on their tables, get them jobs, provide them with heath insurance and put gas in their cars.

Barack Obama, in a sad statement for this country’s present standing, might just have the opportunity of the ages to put back together out international standing and out national economy.  What might be needed is a complete overhaul, just like FDR did with the New Deal.  I know one thing for sure: that the “old deal” has come apart at the seams.  For the life of me, I can not imagine why Obama wants this job.  But I believe that he is up to it.  I believe he can reinstate out international strength and our domestic viability.

One small example of the conning of Americans by Republicans:  McCain came out today and said that his lack of knowledge of computers and technology is due to his disability in his hand stemming from injuries suffered while he was a POW.  Isn’t it a fact that senators receive quite a number of administrative assistants who actually do the typing?  McCain has taken a hand injury and elevated it into a philosophy of technological stupidity and ignorance.  A useless hand has turned into an even more useless brain.

I am going to check on the financial markets now.  Buckle up.  It is going to be a bumpy ride.

The Bottom Line

September 14, 2008

THIS is why we can not vote for John McCain.  Read Andrew Sullivan:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/09/mccains-integri.html

Surrogate Mama

September 12, 2008

Should Obama fight this race by staying on message and plugging policy, or should he sink to the McCain/Palin level of personal, lying attacks? Don’t know, don’t care, but I have decided to step in and put on my surrogate cap.

Read Paul Krugman’s op-ed peice in The New York Times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/12/opinion/12krugman.html?ref=opinion

Perfectly said. The lies are outrageous not only in and of themselves, but also have no positive, healing effect on the path for the U.S. Ultimately, the ones hurt most by these diversionary campaign tactics are the American people.

With regard to Palin, raise your hand if you saw her interview with Charlie Gibson. She prides herself on her empty bluster, her inability to answer any yes or no question straight up, and perceived talent “not to blink”. Listen up: if her finger might be on the nuclear button one day, I damn well want her to blink. And then I want her to blink again.

The following was sent to me by a friend. Since I am fulfilling the bitch surrogate role today, enjoy:

I’m a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight…..

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”
* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a
state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you’re very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America’s.
* If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Lose the Lipstick

September 11, 2008

Today, 9/11 is a solemn day, a time for remembrances. I have no doubt however, that in a few years Americans will be saying on this date, “Happy 9/11. Have a nice day:)!!” This country is having a hard time deciding which way is up. I fear a terrible decision for the future is about to come down on us. A lack of logic and reason is plowing its way through America, gathering steam every day and being powered by a visceral, gut streak that will cut American down to her toes.

But hold on: Senator Barbara Boxer was on MSNBC yesterday. Her thoughts really allowed me to breathe deep. She said that McCain/Palin are dwelling on “distract and attack”. They are totally avoiding discussion of any policies because they have nothing to counter the reality of our highest national debt ever, no national health care plan, a plummeting jobs report and a never-ending war. The Republicans are deflecting the real issues by concentrating on pseudo-cultural issues. As Boxer said about McCain, he must have a very low opinion of the electorate, to use this distract and attack method without putting forward any policy solutions.

And the American people are positively reacting to these tactics. As a result, McCain continues to throw dirt, twist the truth and bombard Obama with lies. How do you like that advertisement that said that Obama wants Kindergartners to have sex education? Why was it fine for McCain not once, but FOUR times during the campaign season, to use the term “put lipstick on a pig” and then accuse Obama of sexism when he used the term? How can America rally to a VP candidate like Palin who preaches morality and ethics in public policy yet she puts in for her own reimbursement with taxpayer’s dollars for sleeping in her own home?

This is just too wild for me. Even after McCain ran the sex ed advertisement, he had the nerve to come out yesterday and say that Obama’s attacks were merciless and have no place in the campaign. Excuse me, who was the candidate to run attack ads pre-Republican convention? Who IS the candidate who continues untrue, personally insulting accusations, while spouting off at his convention how he is conciliatory to the other side? Is McCain a plain-out liar, or is he far worse off mentally than we had thought? The Republican campaign has pretty much decided that McCain will not appear publicly without Palin at his side. John McCain —– a real dynamo, right? Oh yeah. The old man needs the gung-ho hunter mother at his side to prop him up. Now that’s a man we want leading our country.

I do not have the answer for Obama; I wish I did. I do know that sanity, knowledge and leadership are all on his side. But I am not yet positive that those factors, as opposed to blasphemy, lies, fear-mongering and ignorance, will win the election for him. I hope he stays above the fray and relies on substance. But I also hope that he finds the necessary surrogates to throw the muck back at McCain/Palin.

Here I am: a 57 year old mama who took on this enterprise to have more common ground and communication with my children. I undertook this writing endeavor also to prove to myself, after having some physical ailments diagnosed, that my brain was indeed still intact and functioning. But glory be, my heart is just as heavy as can be.

Just since McCain chose Palin as his running mate, I have lost five pounds, which is not a good thing for a person who doesn’t even clear 4′ 11″. I have developed acne at age 57. My hair is thinner than a pig’s lips WITHOUT lipstick.

But I WILL continue the good fight. Thank you Barbara Boxer for calming me down and making me see the logic inherent in Obama/Biden. But the question remains: how shall the game be played out to actually win it? Demagoguery and dirt or sense and solutions?