Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dashle's withdrawal

It’s a two-sided knife and it cuts both ways. By the time you become an “insider”, you have consorted with too many people on both sides and your moral vision becomes blurred. You also have to trade too many favors and, in return, you get votes and contributions and sometimes perks that can be construed as “bribes” or just as a friendly gesture to someone you were friendly to. So Dashle was driven around by a driver for two years; a convenience offered by someone who wanted to be his friend and, of course, sooner or later, needed access or a favor. By being nice to so many people, and being forced to raise contributions regularly, a symbiotic relationship develops that sometimes is so close no one even recognizes it; it’s sort of just there. That’s why McCain has no moral compass, either, nor do most Senators or Representatives when they stick around too long. Obama appeaared to, but he’s learning how harsh the D.C. crowd can be (as harsh as Illinois, no doubt) because of the way the system works.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Krugman and Social Security

Krugman had a piece today about privatizing Social Security. I commented, The amnesia of Republicans and Conservatives when it comes to this is actually a high water mark in their ability to forget what is painful and was just plain wrong. Talk to any of them about this and the gobbledegook you'll get from them is actually funny to behold. They have become, as far as I'm concerned, a bunch of joksters, not to be taken seriously for a time, but the damage they will do in holding up bills and obfuscating the forward-looking plans will be, I fear, considerable. Perhaps the Democrats will gather some courage and push back, but from people like Reid, Pelosi and the rest of them, I somehow doubt it. Maybe Obama will fight a battle at some point, but his concilatory stance at this point doesn't seem to lead down that path. The impetus behind pprivatization was, as many have pointed out, the 3% upfront commissions the Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns would have made, a virtual bonanza of money that probably wouldn't have kept them afloat anyhow, but oh what fun Bush and his cronies would have had, skimming the money off the top.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Response to Peter Ferrara, director of budget and entitlement policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation

What Conservatives Need To Do Now
And who will pay for all those services that everybody wants, with what taxes or profits. Lowering the income tax rates, time and again, hasn't proven to invigorate the economy; it only helps those who have a lot, so if the Republican / Conservative base is rich and has a lot, it might help them; but it has never stimulated the economy. "Back to grass roots" is old thinking, old ideas, and most of your article doesn't reflect much thinking about economics, only about organizing; ironically enough, a kind of Conservative community organizers' handbook, just what Obama was criticvized for and is now being proposed. Come on, guys, where is the original thinking that truly can lift us out of the mire we're in, the new programs, ideas that will help recoup our portfolios and retirement funds, the money we've lost, the crisis in manufacturing? Not a word about it that makes any sense. What you've proposed is a way to continue to lose voters and party membership. Let's hear some new thinking. Why do you think intelligent people like Buckley have abandoned ship?

About the "song" parody disk sent out...

Face it. The word "negro" is demeaning, and to those from the South it is doubly so. The Republican Party, evidently, doesn't understand how much better off it would be if, instead of criitcizing and carping, complaining and whining, it adopt a healthy, forward-looking cooperative attitude. We have a crisis here in the U.S., a bad one that affects all of us, those with protfolios and investment accounts, and those of us without them who struggle every day to meet our bills, and the Republican Party has been derelect for too long in (a) promising to work with the party in power in a cooperative fashion to help solve these destructive problems (yes, they affect you, too), and (b) proposing new solutions, innovative solutions, that will solve some of these problems. Standing on the sidelines, starting a "shadow government" (ominous sounding, isn't it?), singing little ditties that criticize the (yes, he was elected and by a majority) new President-to-be, all are stupid childish reactions that impotent people participate in. Be strong, resolute, bring the best minds forward, get some new really effective ideas on the table, talk about cooperation and bi-partisanship, or risk being consigned to the ashheap of history.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lack of care about our country

A brief memo, reported by the L.A. Times, circulated among Senate Republicans, outlines internal political strategy on the bailout. It says

Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:12 AM
To: Subject: Action Alert -- Auto Bailout

Today at noon, Senators Ensign, Shelby, Coburn and DeMint will hold a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery. They would appreciate our support through messaging and attending the press conference, if possible. The message they want us to deliver is:

1. This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.

2. This rush to judgment is the same thing that happened with the TARP. Members did not have an opportunity to read or digest the legislation and therefore could not understand the consequences of it. We should not rush to pass this because Detroit says the sky is falling.

The sooner you can have press releases and documents like this in the hands of members and the press, the better. Please contact me if you need additional information. Again, the hardest thing for the democrats to do is get 60 votes. If we can hold the Republicans, we can beat this.

Senate Republicans blocked passage of the bailout late Thursday night, over its insistence on an immediate union pay cut. I would say it shows how the Republicans now are putting politics, and the destruction of labor / unions over the continued health of our total economy. Seen on video, my conclusion this is a group of bitter older white men who have driven the Republican Party, and our country, to the brink of devastation.

(As anyone can tell, I have become very discontented with the Republicans and their lack of morality or their care about our country's survival.)

Suggested Readings

Here's a list of suggested readings for those who want to get an idea of what happened to bring us to this lousy place:

In MarketWatch by Paul B Farrell. http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/eleven-reasons-america-new-top/story.aspx?guid={D23E1901-728E-4A3C-99D1-7E80F74C3AE3}

Pam Martens How Wall Street Blew Itself Up. http://www.counterpunch.org/martens01212008.html

Henry Blodget Why Wall St Always Blows It. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200812/blodget-wall-street

Peter Drier: The Mortgage Mess... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/the-mortgage-mess-and-the_b_93289.html


Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/01/stiglitz200901

What are they thinking?

Because of their blocking the auto bailout bill, it would appear that the Republican GOP, which by its actions has pretty much written off New England and the Mid-Atlantic, has now ceded the Midwest. They used to consider Indiana as a given, Ohio a must, and Michigan as something they wanted to have. By their actions, now, all three are gone, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some "big tent", right? I guess until a strong leader arises, sometime down the line, they will continue their contractive stance and try to discredit Obama and his government and will stick to local state principles against the general good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Letter Sent To PowerLine

Dear Mr John H. Hinderaker , Scott W. Johnson , and Paul Mirengoff :

One of the problems the Republican Party (and Conservatism) faces is restoring peoples' faith. By this I mean the Republican Party supposedly stood for the principles of fiscal responsibility, minimum interference in individuals' lives, limited government (not the same as minimum interference in people's lives), prosperity and the restoration of morality in government. The Republican Party has failed on all of these accounts. It is easy to blame George W. Bush for this, but the Party went along with him for two terms without protest. This has brought us to the brink of disaster as a country.

Fiscal responsibility has been abandoned and our country's debt is the highest it's ever been. We see meddling in peoples' lives on a regular basis, including adopting the right-to-life position and the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. Limited government has been a joke since Reagan, with the current government being the largest ever. Prosperity is another joke with even the richest people I know wondering where the bottom is. As for morality in government, the Republicans certainly racked up a majority of the criminal and moral infringements in the last two terms. Not that the Democrats haven't had their faults.

Neil Gabler has written that the true Republican tradition is McCarthyism, scaring people, and he makes a good case of it. The concomitant of this is that, instead of criticizing everything the Democrats do, presenting positive believable programs would make the Republicans believable once more. Instead, from McCain to Palin, to your own blog, you harp on the negatives, nitpicking everything the Democrats do (the latest contretemps being what Obama said or didn't to the Governor of Illinois when it's obvious he wouldn't "pay to play", as caught on the quote from the wire that Obama was a "F-blanker." It's easy to criticize when you're not really doing deep thinking about this great country of ours; it's too easy to blame it all, and I mean everything wrong, on the Democrats and not assume any responsibility for the Republicans.

I urge you to abandon the McCarthy scare tactics, trying to besmirch the Democratic Party as it tries to fix our country, which is why they were voted in, because you ought to face it, by being negative you border on being self-destructive, and if you want to face more economic loss and more fiscal destruction of our country, just keep it up, forget about really helping, and find you're losing everybody but the ignorant and the truly angry.

I think Republican and Conservative principles, if truly enforced, can be a fine moral structure to run a country on; but you have to mean it, not just propagandize it; and you have to make it believable and workable.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Foreign Cars

At a recent gathering, three of us stood around discussing bailouts for the auto industry in Detroit.

One person, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, blamed the unions for the current mess; the other two believed it was more complicated than that. But one of the people, inspired, looked around and said, "How many people in this room has an American car? How many of you bought an American car?"

Silence. Silence greeted him. Everyone, including the ditw-Republican, owned foreign cars, Japanese or German.

Yet all pretty much considered the idea of a bailout to be feasible. For the jobs, of course. For the economy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Republicans want to destroy unions

The Republicans have been very focused on bringing down the unions. They will use any excuse to do so. For example, in this recent round, they blame the unions for the cost of medical insurance and pensions. As if the management of the automakers didn’t acquiesce and enable the unions. And isn’t it the job of the unions to get the best, the most, for their membership? Are the workers supposed to get only what management wants? At any rate, being surprised by all the attempts to break the unions is kinda naive. This has been going on a long time. The important thing is to separate out the facts from the BS and propaganda. A friend of mine, staunchly Republican, blames all of the problems the auto industry is facing on the unions and the health plan and pensions; when, actually, the German automakers, who have equally good plans for their workers, perhaps even better, seem to make a profit, perhaps because their government finances these plans. At any rate, why is anybody surprised at this Republican tactic? It seems to me this kind of naivete was rampant when the Democrats were the minority and people were wringing their hands at those awful Republicans doing such terrible things.