Thursday, October 2, 2008

* Finally, an answer – If you are like me, understanding a number of the underlying causes of the current financial crisis besetting our nation has not been easy, until now. When you need an answer to difficult questions, especially as they pertain to disasters, crises and calamities – go to the folks with God’s cell phone number – the religious-right fundamentalists. “Christian Civil League of Maine Executive Director Michael Heath writes that the financial crisis facing Wall Street is a symptom of America's sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.” With red-faced embarrassment all I can say is, “Why didn’t I think of that?” On second thought, perhaps the red in my face is a reaction to Mr. Heath using the word “civil” in league with his League. Perhaps it is time for the American people to emphatically let these ungodly radical right zealots know they are welcome to believe what they want but, they are most unwelcome to be defining our values and policies. George Bush was their product and John McCain wants to be. Amen.

* Financial Tip of the Week – This advice will not directly benefit individual investors but if you are a business corporation there is no better return on your money than that spent on lobbyists and political campaigns. The Washington Post points out that, “Since 1998, AIG has spent more than $72 million on lobbying and contributed more than $25 million to campaigns. The insurance company received $85 billion from the federal government last month. For this $97 million investment AIG received an 876 percent return. Until America comes to the realization that public financing of elections and congressional ethics reform is instituted, the American citizen will be treated like bubblegum stuck to the bottom of a politician’s wing-tipped shoe. The current financial crisis resulted from the marriage of the financially privileged and the governing class. Forces in this country have tried to focus our attention on something that is none of our business – the issue of gay marriage. Our attention would be better served, no, critically served, to the divorce of the parties that caused this financial meltdown through greed and malfeasance.

* Quote of the Week - "I will oppose the Wall Street bailout plan because though well intentioned, and certainly much improved over the administration’s original proposal, it remains deeply flawed. It fails to offset the cost of the plan, leaving taxpayers to bear the burden of serious lapses of judgment by private financial institutions, their regulators, and the enablers in Washington who paved the way for this catastrophe by removing the safeguards that had protected consumers and the economy since the great depression. The bailout legislation also fails to reform the flawed regulatory structure that permitted this crisis to arise in the first place. And it doesn’t do enough to address the root cause of the credit market collapse, namely the housing crisis. Taxpayers deserve a plan that puts their concerns ahead of those who got us into this mess."-Senator Russ Feingold, October 1, 2008

* Suppose the year is 2009 and at 3:00 AM the phone rings in the White House informing the president of another financial crisis. Do you want Obama or McCain answering the call? NY Times writer Paul Krugman asks and answers this question. One man would be surrounded with clear-thinking advisors and the other’s chief economic advisor is an arch-deregulator. Krugman notes, “to a large extent the poor quality of Mr. McCain’s advisers reflects the tattered intellectual state of his party. Has there ever been a more pathetic economic proposal than the suggestion of House Republicans that we try to solve the financial crisis by eliminating capital gains taxes? (Troubled financial institutions, by definition, don’t have capital gains to tax.)” The article is worth a read.

* Assessing the damage ~ and looking ahead - John McCain is often described as a maverick, impulsive, a gambler. These characterizations came to mind while reading Jill Abramson’s review in the NY Times of Bob Woodward’s new book about Bush, The Final Days. This is Woodward’s fourth book about the Bush administration and Abramson puts the four volumes in context when she writes, “These books offer a chilling lesson in how not to lead. They also describe the tragic pattern of a president who operates impulsively, guided solely by his instincts, abetted but ill-served by advisers who fail in the crucial task of speaking truth to power.” A number of times I have referred to McCain as McBush, implying that a McCain presidency would be more of the same with even greater peril to America since it is already so weakened by the Bush years. This review offers no reason for me to change my mind.

* A break with the past – The Record is a newspaper in Stockton, CA. For the past 72 years, since endorsing Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, this paper has endorsed a Republican for president. Not this year. From the editorial: “For eight years, American politics has been marked by smears, fears and greed… The result is a cynicism every bit as deep as that which infected the nation when Richard Nixon was shamed from office and when Bill Clinton brought shame to the office… This must end, but John McCain can't do it. He can't inspire, nor can he really break from a past that is breaking this nation.” The editorial is interesting and the reasoning is instructive. In order to address the challenges facing our country it is important that we all re-evaluate our propensities.

* What a difference a century makes ~ welcome to the Big Top:
Antedated definition of “Republican”– somebody who believes that the best government is one in which supreme power is vested in an electorate.
Current definition of “Republican” – a circus performer in grease paint, bulbous red nose and baggy pants who, when its mouth opens, spews lies like clowns from a Volkswagen.

The press conference of the House Republicans that followed their vote against a supposedly agreed upon bi-partisan legislation to stabilize Wall Street was laughable. Grown men saying the bill was okay but, they voted against it because Speaker Nancy Pelosi insulted them. The country can flush itself down the financial sewer because their feelings were hurt. On Tuesday we learn that House Republicans not only acted stupid, they lied while doing it.

The Republican National Committee's new advertisement critical of the Wall Street "bailout" was produced and sent to television stations in key states before the package failed, officials at two stations said.” The ads were also placed before Pelosi’s remarks. I recently noted that people tell lies when they fear the truth. In the case of House Republican toddlers and the McCain campaign, they have reached a point that they do not know the difference between truth and lies. Recall the good old days when a voter tried to be alert for a politician’s lie. In today’s world the challenge is to be alert for a truth.

* “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein


Anonymous said...

Having had first experience dealing with AIG, I will tell anyone who will listen that they do not respect there customers "one lick".
They treated our company worse than that piece of bubble gum stuck to the bottom of that winged tip shoe.
We have been in Federal Court with them for over two years. After being a customer of there's for twelve years, they threw us away like a used bubble gum wrapper.
If this is the type of company our legislators want to bail out because of there own greed, both legislators and company officials, I for one would look very carefully at any proposed bail out that our elected officials come up with in our best interest.
Cowboy Al

Sue Katz said...

Stephen, I had no idea about those anti-bailout ads coming out before Pelosi even spoke, but it seems all part of a pattern. I loved the "McCain Won!" advertisements that accidentally went up before the debate. I know their numbers are falling, but I just don't understand how the Republicans have any support at all, beyond the fundamentalists who are ga-ga for Palin. Thanks for always teaching me something.

Anonymous said...

As Sue commented, we always learn something after reading & chuckling over your blog. Obama indeed has a poor record of action as a Senator but a great record as a grass-roots organizer. Hopefully he hasn't forgotten his action-tools and can kick ass if elected. - Pugilists Ruth & Scott