Monday, January 18, 2010

Massachusetts Doesn't Matter, Hate in Haiti

Paul Krugman
E J Dionne Jr
"The Obama administration’s troubles are the result not of excessive ambition, but of policy and political misjudgments. The stimulus was too small; policy toward the banks wasn’t tough enough; and Mr. Obama didn’t do what Ronald Reagan, who also faced a poor economy early in his administration, did — namely, shelter himself from criticism with a narrative that placed the blame on previous administrations." - Paul Krugman
"It's also striking that most conservatives, through a method that might be called the audacity of audacity, have acted as if absolutely nothing went wrong with their economic theories. They speak and act as if they had nothing to do with the large deficits they now bemoan and say we will all be saved if only we return to the very policies that should already be discredited." - E J Dionne Jr
“You know, on the heels of that victory over a year ago, there were some who suggested that somehow we had entered into a post-racial America. There were those who argued that because I had spoke of a need for unity in this country, that our nation was somehow entering into a period of post-partisanship.”

“That didn’t work out so well,” - Barack Obama

There is a special election in Massachusetts tomorrow, with way too much media attention to what will probably be a lower than expected turnout. I'm glad that there is spirited competition between the two candidates and not an automatic Democratic rollover because the vote is for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. The results may be similar to what just happened in Chile, after a 30 year reign by a Left wing party, the pendulum has swung back over towards the right. After the uber-conservative Mr Brown makes an embarrassment of himself in Congress, the seat will go back to a moderate Democrat.

The Republican strategy for the 2010 elections is to keep on knocking everything that Obama has tried to do or has accomplished, saying that it is bad because it doesn't adhere to their right wing policies. They are assuming that the 14 million people who have lost their jobs over the last two years will forget that it was the right wing economic policies that resulted in the climate where they lost their jobs. In politics its all about short term memory. Unhappy at what is going on right now? It's all the current President's fault, my little duckling.

What rankles me is how much we have been hoodwinked by the banking industry and Wall Street. The abnormal rate it took for them to make profits again, and in some cases pay back the amount loaned to them, tells us that either they weren't in as much trouble as they led us to believe and committed fraud, or they are making money illegally. Either way, new regulatory rules need to be made and enforced to make sure that it doesn't happen again, or we just will have to let them fail. The right wing ideas of less regulation is good for the market only encourages the predators and punishes they honest folks who play by the rules. Regulations are supposed to keep the dishonest people in check so they don't steal your money. Whomever is for deregulating a financial market is getting their share of kickbacks and bribes. Even the free marked guru Alan Greenspan admitted that he was wrong. George Bush didn't want to ultimately curb the anti-regulation binge he had been on, but even he recognized that the predators had stolen way too much... And our economy lost over $12 trillion which won't be made up any time soon, and is even worse in Europe and Asia, thank you very much.

Paul Krugman argues that the reason no jobs were created in 2009 was because the stimulus was too small, it worked on a limited basis, and needed to be about three times larger than it was. Obama opted on the side of caution. Republicans will use this to point out that they are more business friendly and will be able to create more jobs. But this is a lie, because the only idea that they have is to cut more taxes for the rich and for large corporations, who in the past have gotten away with paying next to nothing because of the tax breaks for them. I fail to see how my saving an extra $50 on my taxes will let me get a job this next year, or if you save $50,000 that you will turn around and use that to hire me. It may be that neither Republicans or Democrats have enough creative ideas to get us out of this mess and we will have to wait until we muddle out over the next 20 - 30 years, unless they are wrong about global warming, too, and there won't be a habitable planet to live on in that time...

Yes government is bloated and way too big, but we haven't tried to make it more efficient. The recent Christmas Day bomber proved that. There were all kinds of files on him in different computers that never had a way to link up and share information, there was no one person at the NSA that could have picked up on the conversation intercepted from Yemen and followed through on the project until it was finished.  The bureaucratic way is to pass it down the line for others to do, and it takes place in every office in every government building, whether it's on the federal, state, or local level. I live in Colorado Springs, where the Libertarian Party was born, and most of our city and county officials are very, very conservative. Yet, we are just as worse off, facing deficit budgets for at least the next three years, and our local elected politicians haven't done diddly-squat to make this a lean, mean, right wing paradise over the past years.


 Gangs and violence are overtaking Port au Prince, Haiti, with thousands fleeing to the countryside. Of course, if I had to sleep outside with all of those piled corpses in the street, I would want to flee, too. Tons of food and water have been distributed, but it hasn't been enough, so it is getting ugly in the shadows. After the first humanitarian burst of food and staples runs out, then what?  Will we be able to keep an interest and commitment past the next disaster somewhere else? People already are criticizing the amount of the US's  presence, saying that we are invading the country, when we are barely scratching the surface of what will need to be done... At least we haven't sent Pat Robertson to be head of the church relief, how long would he last on the streets preaching that this is the result of a pact with the Devil. When the people rioted after Baby Doc left, they would throw a burning auto tire around the neck of a Tonton Macute, then throw rocks at him until he died. I wonder if Pat would get a special necklace for his distorted sense of righteousness?

In response to the Afghan government's plan to reintegrate the Taliban, suicide bombers and armed men attacked government building in the capitol city of Kabul. I guess the answer is no..? It would have been nice to leave that country and save a few billion dollars this year...

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