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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things we need to do

The economy's a mess.

The world economy is in the same shape.

We're a mess--and in a mess.

So what to do?

What should be done so we clean up this mess, first, and make sure it doesn't happen again?

Here are but a few of the most important ones:

1) REGULATE BUSINESS. (notice all caps, boys and girls). We need to regulate business, period--especially Big Business.

Whether they're banks or oil companies or energy markets or stock markets, what have you. For the last 8 years, no one's been at the governmental, regulatory switch, so to speak, and we absolutely need them there.

We have to keep greedy people from acting on they're desires and greed. Regulating business is how you do that.

2) Make Hedge Funds illegal. They used to be. They should still be illegal. They are "bets on bets". They were unregulated, again, for the past 8 years on top of being just sheerly stupid. They shouldn't even be allowed. Do away with Hedge Funds.

3) Make "short selling" of stocks illegal. This, too, is a "bet on a bet." Short selling is betting, literally, on a stock's rise or fall. A stock, ladies and gentlemen, is, basically, a bet that a stock's value is going to rise. To allow this short selling is to allow a bet (that the stock will rise or fall) on a bet (the stock itself).

It's stupid. It's irresponsible. It shouldn't be allowed.

It makes for wide and wild swings in the market that are dangerous to our economy and country.

Right this moment, the SEC has made short selling on 19 specific stocks illegal so it's clear we can do this.

We can do this. We should do this.

Stop "short-selling."

4) Regulate the energy markets.

I've written about this before.

For 78 years, up until the year 2000, we regulated the energy markets.

Then we stopped.

Since that time, our energy markets and costs have gone crazy wild. That should be enough indication right there of what we should do.

The energy that runs a country is far too important to be exposed to the greed and selfishness of Big Business, speculators and deregulation.

Even if you could disregard that people's lives are at stake--irresponsible enough, I know--then we have to take into consideration business own existence. Business can't afford the wild swings up and up that we've experienced in the last 7 years.

No, regulate the energy markets. Regulate them completely and responsibly, for everyone's concern--the individual and business.

And do it as soon as possible.

(While we're at it, Congress, why don't you look into that GM "Impact" automobile that ran 120 miles on a charge of electricity? For readers, see "Who Killed the Electric Car"--the movie. Very informative, if disheartening).

5) Take profit out of health care in the United States.

Granted, this will not happen for a long, long time--if ever--but this is what we need to do.

It's antithetical to our society and culture and that's too bad but we need to do this just as we need to do no. 4, above (regulate the energy markets).

We want and need people to be healthy, of course, not the least of which to work in our society, right? But if someone should get sick (and we all do, at one time or another, right?), we throw them to financial dogs, by letting our worship of the rich and wealthy and profits and big business instead of making health care available for all, LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES).

6) We need to, as a country, stop worshiping wealth, the wealthy, business, Big Business and profit.

We really do, you know, worship wealth and the wealthy, just as we worship "things".

Can we all just accept that this is not, any longer, a good idea?

We need to fuel our society on something beyond products and items.

How many Ipods are we going to buy, for God's sake? (How many versions of that little bastard are they going to keep remaking?)

Think about it, folks. It's blind consumerism that's gotten us into this mess, in a large part.

We HAVE to stop just buying and buying and buying.

The United States has SO MUCH more retail space than any other country on the planet.

All of us--the United States and all the countries in the world--need to get off this product-driven, production-crazed treadmill. China's environment, and so, their society, will benefit from it, too. (No more melamine- or lead-laced products, for starters).


So there you are. Six easy and, I think, obvious things we ought to do for ourselves, for the planet and mankind.

Some of them I do think we'll do and that gives me hope.

Some of them we won't and that's unfortunate.

Some of them we're not even capable of--and honestly, that makes me sad.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, regarding the economy and bailout


In the meantime, we've committed, it's been quoted, $7.7 Trillion dollars to the banking financial bailout.

(Link here: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/11/bailout-pledges-hit-77-trillion.html)


Thanks, George. Thanks, Hank.

You can't say the last 8 years haven't been interesting.

Tragic, sure--and misguided and wrong--but interesting.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 Movies all Americans should see

Last evening, I finally got to watch the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?".

It immediately made clear to me that this one, along with 2 others, are three simple, important, informative movies that, like it says above, all Americans should see.

And they should see them not because we need to blame anyone (George W. Bush), or because we need to punish anyone (George W. Bush), but because it's important to know what happened in our recent past so we also know where we are now, what we can do--what we're capable of--and where we should go and what we should do, as a country.

Last night's movie told of the magnificent, simple electric "EV" car (electric vehicle) General Motors was, at first, required by California to build and its temporary, short-lived success in California and Arizona and expedient, diabolical demise, due to both GM and the oil companies, with the help of local and state government.

It's fascinating, not well-known, sad, frustrating and, again, important.

The second movie we all should see is "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room". It told of the financial and economic raping of America by one group of people from one corporation, with the complete and total backing and support of our very own President at the time, one George W. Bush. (Sound familiar?). There's so much more here that happened that we all need to know about, before, during and after this debacle.

The last film that should be required viewing for us is "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War".

This should be self-explanatory but actually, most Americans think they know what happened to get us to where we are now when, in fact, the buildup to this Iraq War has many details and components to it most don't know. Also, after we invaded Iraq, it was found we didn't really have a plan for its occupation, making an even larger, greater mess and causing many more casualties.



What's sad is that precious few Americans have seen these films.

What's sadder is that so few will--or want to.

Again, how can we know where to go and what to do if we don't even know our recent past?



We're going to be paying for this Administration for years--both for this war and the economy.

If there's a hell--and I don't think there is--there would be a special place for this President in it, surely.

The worse the economy gets, the more important it is to see these each week

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama's Radio Address 11-15-08

An important first: a Saturday Presidential address on YouTube.

Important we all see these, I think.

News this last week

First things first, could we get over the fact that President-elect Obama (I still love saying that) requested Senator Clinton be his Secretary of State?

Why the big hub-bub?

Remember why she was running for the Presidency? Let's see--she's smart, hard-working, ambitious and intelligent. Why this should be a surprise fails me.

Let's get over it, embrace the intelligence of it and move on. So what if they were, at one time, competitors for this same job?

The same with his meeting tomorrow with Senator McCain.

Apparently we're so used to divisional politics, stupidity, narrow-mindedness and short-sighted moves from our politicians, we're awestruck by intelligence and intelligent moves, even if they are political.



The other news this week was an oft-repeated story about President-elect Obama possibly being our next FDR.

The obviousness of this, to me, is extremely apparent. It's great to say, sure, but seems very apparent.

In the first place, we're coming off a "do nothing", know-nothing dolt of a President, just as they did going into the first Great Depression. The only thing is, at least Hoover wasn't blatantly evil (my highly biased but common opinion) and in the pockets of Big Business, the way the current occupant is.

But secondly, and really, much more importantly, it seems that, unfortunately, we're apparently going to need just such a figure in this position, to lead us from Washington and the White House, given our current state of affairs.

Our economy and that of the world is going to heck in a handbasket right now, so we need this guy to do all the right things and put the people first, just as FDR did.

The one big difference between the two--FDR and President-elect Obama--besides their skin color, is that the first was born to wealth, making Obama's rise to power all the more magnificent.

So yesterday, when the President-elect announced he'd be releasing, each week of his Presidency, a video on Youtube for his weekly address, instead of on the radio as all his predecessors since the Depression did, he at once connected to FDR and, in effect, brought us in closer. I'm surprised I haven't seen anything written, yet, about this. This makes the "fireside chat" even more personal and relatable. It's fascinating.

It also takes him (Obama) and the fireside chat and us--all of us--into another "next generation moment" for his campaign, his Presidency-to-be and the nation.

The thing is, it was a very deft, intelligent, simple but brilliant and obvious move.

For everyone on computers, it was the obvious next step for that venue.

Now, instead of no one listening for and to the President's weekly radio address, virtually everyone will be tuning in to Youtube for it.

And we'll do it partially because it's so new itself, partially because it's our new President, partially because it's President Obama himself and, finally, because our economy and country are in such a bad condition and we need to know what new thing will happen next.

Again, it's a brilliant, simple, important move that will be very welcomed by the nation.

Finally, our President-elect evoked another of the most important of our country's former Presidents yesterday, when formally relinquishing his Illinois Senate seat:

"In his published letter, Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln, 'another son of Illinois' who had left for Washington, 'a greater man who spoke to a nation far more divided.'"

"Lincoln, Obama wrote, said of his home: 'To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.'"

"Obama wrote, 'I feel the same, and like Lincoln, I ask for your support, your prayers, and for us to `confidently hope that all will yet be well.'"

President-elect Obama is not perfect. Far from it. He has never claimed to be.

But our hopes, as a nation, are high and we have high expectations. He'll disappoint us, sure. He won't be able to do everything we want or need him to do.

But he's making the right moves. He's thinking and acting deliberately (which is a huge and very welcome change from the previous administration, of course). He'll ask us to sacrifice and work hard.

It seems we've turned a corner and can have hope again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One day, it would be nice to get back to not demonizing each other


We are all Americans, after all, right?

Election night


Yes we can.

The fox still guarding the chicken coop

Okay, so W put Henry Paulson in charge of the 700 billion dollar boondoggle bailout they requested for all of us--keeping in mind he's a Wall Street investment banker--and what happens? Mr. Paulson slipped a 5 sentence change in tax law from the Treasury that gave these same banks what is expected to be another 140 billion dollar tax write off.

Classic, huh? Almost unbelievable.

Congress is furious. Not enough to really do anything but they're angry. And they should be since this is effectively changing tax laws, which is Congress' job (that's what THEY get bribed--er, paid--to do) and Treasury is only supposed to enforce those laws--not change or create them.

To go one step further, technically it may even be illegal. But since we're in such tenuous, new financial straits and territory--and Congress is filled with spineless, fearful jellyfish--they don't want to make too big a stink over it, for fear it will make things worse.

As things continue to go to heck and we get closer and closer to what seems to be a meltdown of our financial system, let's NEVER forget, folks, that it was President George Walker Bush who took us there.

Let's always refer to this as George W. Bush's Depression.

He's been completely irresponsible on his watch as President.

Let's not let him off the hook, like Donald Rumsfeld is now, regarding the war in Iraq.

These clowns made these messes. Let's never forget it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great news!

According to an article out, just now, at The Seattle Times, publishers aren't interested, right now, anyway, in President Bush's memoirs.

Justice, at long last. Overdue justice.

After 7 plus years of the White House lying to us, disrespecting and manipulating us and who knows what all we'll find out, in years to come, it seems there isn't any commercial demand for the Supreme Knucklehead's thoughts, or lack thereof.

Think about it: who would want to read about what he thought or what he says motivated him?

And then, who would believe it? Only the deeply committed Republican--or the extremely dim, it would seem.

Want proof? Here's my favorite quote from the article:

"Few believe he has a chance to get the $15 million Clinton received for 'My Life' and some question the quality of a memoir by Bush and especially Vice President Dick Cheney, who has also expressed in writing a book, but is not known for being self-critical."



Link to full story here:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008360756_webbushmemoirs.html

2 quotes today

When did we lose this kind of thinking?

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK (1917-1963)

With Barack Obama our new President-elect, we're a bit closer to coming back to what was a more common, intelligent and compassionate society, I think.



And the 2nd quote came to us decades before the current administration's unraveling of our environmental gains:

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” Ansel Adams


I didn't know that, even this far back, people were aware that their government was already in corporation's pockets and, against them, as people wanting clean air, water and land.

Hope

From Arianna Huffington:

"It's a theme Michelle Obama touched on many times on the campaign trail. 'Barack Obama will require that you work,' she said at a rally on the eve of Super Tuesday. 'He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism; that you put down your divisions; that you come out of your isolation; that you move out of your comfort zones; that you push yourself to be better; and that you engage.'"

"This call echoed something that historian and presidential biographer David McCullough had once said about JFK. 'The great thing about Kennedy,' he told me, 'is that he didn't say I'm going to make it easier for you. He said it's going to be harder. And he wasn't pandering to the less noble side of human nature. He was calling on us to give our best.'"

"And when Bobby Kennedy was agonizing over whether or not to run in 1968, he told one of his advisors: 'People are selfish. But they can also be compassionate and generous, and they care about the country. But not when they feel threatened. That's why this is such a crucial time. We can go in either direction. But if we don't make a choice soon, it will be too late to turn things around. I think people are willing to make the right choice. But they need leadership. They're hungry for leadership.' Forty years later, we are starving for it. Real leadership. Leadership geared to transforming the country."
_________________________________________________

That's what we voted for Tuesday.


Have a good weekend, y'all.

What the heck, we can still enjoy it for a little while here

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Keep in mind they were supposed to be on the same team

From the Kansas City Star today:

"An angry (McCain) aide characterized the shopping spree..."--of Sarah Palin and her brood at Neiman Marcus, etc., as... 'Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus coast to coast,' and said later the full amount wasn't reported yet."

So it looks as though it will go higher than the $150,000.00 earlier estimate.

Yeah. She was a maverick, all right.

She was--excuse me, is--just dressed up white trash, folks, with little education.

And she was going to be in the number 2 spot, for power, in the United States and the world.

This is how bad it was--and might have been

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's changed

...and what hasn't.


So, here we are, finally, with a historic election and one that was way too long.

It's nice to have it over.

It would have been nice to have it over even if, God forbid, it didn't turn out the way it did--if it didn't turn out this, the right way.

No more election commercials.

I've been thinking for 24 hours about what I'd write.

About how nice it is it turned out correctly.

About how monumental the whole thing was and is, in so many different ways.

But what I've really come down with, finally, is the realization of where we are and what we have and what we've done--and where we are not and what we don't have and what we haven't done, all at once.

Yesterday, by the grace of God (I use that as purely a euphemism) and by education and experience and so many things, we elected the best man, of the last two standing, for President.

That's one of the most important things. And it's huge.

Secondly, not incidentally, he is an African-American. The first in our more than 200 year history to have done so.

That's the monumental part, certainly, as we and the world all know.

What we don't have is true equality.

The United States never has, let's be clear on that, had the equality we declared in our Constitution.

Sure, we may have had more equality than other nations or, possibly, than any other nation on the planet (who really knows?).

But when this nation began, we wrote that we insisted on "equality for all."

At the time, that meant for all property-owning white males. Period. That was all.

Then, we added, what? "People of color"? Kind of. Sort of. Even though they couldn't really vote or buy whatever property they could afford and live wherever they wanted.

Then we added women to the list of "equality".

Yeah, so they could vote but forget about equal pay. Even today, in 2008.

But yesterday, it was also proven in this election that we still aren't there in terms of true, blanket, it's for everyone equality.

While the United States voted Barack Obama to be our next President, California voted to ban marriage for same-sex couples.

No equality.

2 men or two women who want to live together and commit to one another able to have complete, legal parity to opposing sex couples.

Nah.

Nope.

Not gonna happen.

"Wouldn't be prudent."

Yeah, right.

So the fact is, we took a big step last night, to getting closer to our country's long-term goal (of what we understood we had all along, right?).

But no.

We're not all the way there.

Not yet.

We have to keep working on it.

Let's celebrate this advance, sure.

But we still have a lot of work to do.

At least we repudiated the current butt-head President, his sidekick Vice President "The Dick" Cheney, the Republicans, the Republican platform of hate and exclusion, the hating and discriminating religious Right Wing and everyone like them and in their camp.

A brief time now, to celebrate, before we slug on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More hope, more energy

 

From my day of canvassing to get out the vote, today.

I think it's going to be the day we wanted it to be. I think it's going to end up a very momentous, important, magnificent day.
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

 

The first, joking. The 2nd, serious.

Sorry I haven't written. It's been a busy weekend. I'll write tomorrow.
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