Saturday, October 04, 2008

Someone just like me? I don't think so ...

"She came across like everybody!" -- that's what someone said on one of those post-debate panels of uncommitted voters. "She sounds just like me!" -- how many times have you heard that about her? "She sounds just like me!" That's nice. Maybe she can be Secretary of Next-Door Neighbor. But -- no offense -- I don't want someone who's "just like me" to be Vice President of the United States, any more than I'd want somebody who's "just like me" to be my dentist, or my heart surgeon, or my air-traffic controller. I'd want somebody who's qualified, unless you think that all the problems we're facing are so simple that anyone can solve them.

The rest after the click ...

Herman Melville's assessment of Sara Palin

"A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things."

-- Herman Melville

It works for women, too.

Bin Laden Wins

Thank you, George.

In the beginning, bin Laden said he couldn't bring us down. But, he said he'd figured out how to sucker us into bringing ourselves down. The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was not a military maneuver, it was an economic gambit.

Knowing full well that we would follow him into the wastelands of Afghanistan, his initial plan was to retreat (which he did) and we'd get bogged down in an endless war of attrition that would eventually bankrupt us. His precedent was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In ten years of fighting, the Soviet Union found it had a tremendous drain on its economy. The unpopular war divided the people of the USSR. The end result was a Soviet withdrawal and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. They went bankrupt!

But Bush went bin Laden one better. Finding that Afghanistan lacked significant targets for a glorious war, the Bush administration used the 9/11 attack as an excuse to pursue plans to invade Iraq ... a priority from day one of the administration. Bin Laden must have cheered! The move took the pressure off bin Laden, provided an unprecedented recruiting tool for his cause throughout the Middle East, and we found ourselves embroiled in an unwinable war. Our lack of intellectual curiosity led us into a quagmire with multiple enemies - the Sunni, the Shi'a, the Kurds, and the former Baathists of the deposed Saddam Husein regime. Our ignorance turned it into an exercise in "learning on the job" and the lesson we learned was that no matter what we did in Iraq, we pissed off one heavily armed faction or another.

The exercise drained our economy at a rate of $10 Billion a month while the economic house of cards we'd built over decades of domestic deregulation started showing signs that it was coming apart at the seams.

Our Keystone Cops response to bin Ladin's simple act of hijacking a couple planes and flying them into a couple of prominent buildings in Manhattan became a text book demonstration of chaos theory which posits that the motion of a butterfly's wings on the slopes of Mount Fuji can set currents in motion that eventually result in typhoons in the South China Sea. Bin Laden was a butterfly and the economic consequences of his single act on 9/11 have set in motion economic currents that are about to swamp our ship of state.

It's hard to say you're winning the War on Terror when you just went bankrupt. With a national debt rapidly approaching $11 Trillion that forces us to borrow vast amounts just to service the interest, it's difficult to make the case that we are not.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout Fails

The Republican leadership including President Bush and John McCain couldn't deliver the promised votes from their side of the aisle. The Republican defectors blame Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, for her overly "partisan speech" as their reason for not voting for the measure as their leadership had promised.

Senator Barney Frank summed it up best, "... one of the truly great coincidences in the history of numerology; the number of deeply offended Republicans who put feeling over country turned out to be exactly the number you would need to reverse the vote."

In response to Republican bruised egos, the Dow Jones Average closed DOWN 778 points. That represents well over a Trillion dollars lost in the stock market this afternoon ... enough money to cover the bailout about one and a half times. The market is lower now than it was when Bush took office in 2000! At least now we know what Republican egos are worth and that is far more than we can say for the assets held by their deregulated buddies in the financial sector.

The Australian market was down over 4% in the first fifteen minutes of trading ... opening after the vote of the US House of Representatives had been counted.


Can you spell "C-o-n-g-r-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l C-l-u-s-t-e-r-f-u-c-k"?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hard to tell fact from fiction

... and then there's this from the Couric-Palin Interview Transcript:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Hay, Sara? I can see the end of your political career from my house!