Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Wandering Off The Path Into Thorny Hypocrisy And Shanghai-Style Corruption

Paul Krugman
Dana Milbank
Eugene Robinson
"Ultimately, it's the president who sets the agenda and who ultimately is held accountable for America's successes and failures. Obama's focus should be on using all the tools at his disposal to move the country in the direction he believes it must go." - Eugene Robinson
"A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen." - Winston Churchill
"All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway." - Harry S. Truman

One by-product of having the Republicans ruling the House, is that they will continue to march lock-step in time to Mitch McConnell's bad political strategy, a scorched earth style designed not to allow Barack Obama even one bipartisan victory while in office. Hopefully, the new incoming tea party members will not go along with this and cause just as much havoc within their own party as they plan to give to Democrats. Congress, if nothing else, promises to be a lively place... So far, the people who are the biggest losers are those of us who are unemployed, about one in every 10 people you see. Letting the Republicans get away with keeping our country in an economic depression and blaming it all on Obama, is the height of manipulative hypocrisy, and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell should be strung up in effigy for all to see. Every reporter should question them about this at every news conference they give, and not let them weasel out of answering. They see your pain, your economic loss and inability to provide for your children as the way to win the presidency in 2012... As Paul Krugman shows in his column in the NY Times: "So what’s really motivating the G.O.P. attack on the Fed? Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues were clearly caught by surprise, but the budget expert Stan Collender predicted it all. Back in August, he warned Mr. Bernanke that “with Republican policy makers seeing economic hardship as the path to election glory,” they would be “opposed to any actions taken by the Federal Reserve that would make the economy better.” In short, their real fear is not that Fed actions will be harmful, it is that they might succeed."

It was hoped when Obama won, that the more open minded Republicans would willingly work together to find solutions to get us out of one of the worst economic messes, one that at one point, threatened to bring all of Western Europe down along with us. if we were to fall. In addition, the Repubs were supposed to become more accepting of other viewpoints and more attractive to minorities. This never happened because, as George Will points out: "Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose," and this natural opposition will not allow anything to be included... Also, it's easier to tear down things than to create and build new ones, so for the past two years we have had the Old School philosophy of "just saying no" to anything a Democrat proposed, then whining that nobody listened to what they had to say... Hopefully, within the next two years, this cesspool of negativity will drain off, revealing the road to nowhere that John and Mitch have been leading us along... In the meantime the Republicans may not allow another unemployment insurance extension, letting over 5 million people fend for themselves over the holidays, if not longer. I soon expect to see Americans migrating to Somalia for the chance to become pirates, as it's evidently more lucrative than having to resort to theft or worse to celebrate the birth of Jesus this year...

A Chinese report investigating the recent fire in the high rise apartment building in Shanghai, sought to point fingers at corrupt practices in a government sponsored energy-saving program, which doesn't make sense or logic, unless you are the one writing the report, from the AP: "Investigators looking into a fire that ravaged a central Shanghai high-rise apartment, killing at least 53 people, said an energy-saving project that used illegal contracts, unsafe materials and unqualified workers was mainly to blame. “The accident should not have happened and was completely avoidable,” Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said in a statement posted Thursday on the agency’s Web site. He listed a litany of problems with the government-sponsored energy-saving project, including the illegal use of unlicensed subcontractors, poor construction site management, lax local safety supervision and the use of highly flammable materials"

Anyone who has visited China during the last 30 years knows how shoddy their construction process is. Anything made for foreigners will have some standards, while anything made for Chinese will be rat-traps without running water, plumbing that works, wiring that works, and will begin to fall apart before the project is finished. China has a long history of indifference to safety standards because of its high population density and history of the wisdom of the peasant way doing things being better than someone who has studied in that field, thanks to Mao and the Communist Party. During one of the Great Leap Forwards, people were making steel in their backyards, and this was touted as being superior because of the ingenuity of the peasants making it. But the steel produced was so inferior quality that none of it was usable, which was unfortunately found out after people lost their lives... I should also mention that the construction industry is also one of the most corrupt ones in the world, all over the world, so why should it be any different in Shanghai? Or that the shoddy building practices will be corrected with a few finger pointing. Not until the value of a life is deemed to be more than the quick profits made from a few improperly insulated wires in polite Chinese society...

Human nature being what it is, I will never find a country whose government doesn't commit crimes against its citizens, just as I have never found a town in the US where the police don't abuse their powers. I've lived in very liberal California coastal towns, to very conservative ones where there are more churches than banks, and can say that the ones with an ocean view seem to care more about your individual freedoms and well being. In this particular conservative Colorado town, they care more about the unborn rights of a fetus than an aging old man who tends to wander from some dementia... I haven't the faintest idea where I wanted to go  with this, but definitely not into namby pamby land just so I could feel sorry for myself, in some expression of SAD...

David Letterman's "Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking"

10. While digging, they found Obama's birth certificate
9. Read warm congratulatory note from Osama and Julie bin Laden
8. Displayed thousands of books Bush pretends to read
7. George arrived wearing a flight suit and piloting the Conan blimp
6. Dubya only had three shoes thrown at him
5. Dug up thousands of Gore ballots from 2000
4. Bush gave Halliburton $300 million check just for the hell of it
3. George correctly pronounced the word "nuclear" (it doesn't get any more groundbreaking than that)
2. After a few seconds of digging, Bush raised "Mission Accomplished" banner
1. Bush and Cheney celebrated the day with a long, passionate, open-mouth kiss

David Letterman's "Top Ten Ways To Make Airport Security More Pleasant"

10. For $10, screeners will give you luxurious shiatsu massage
9. To your left, x-ray conveyor belt; to your right, complimentary hot buffet
8. Passenger's naked body scan ends up on YouTube — hey, that joke was in the monologue
7. Anyone caught with something suspicious has to eat it
6. You can watch other passengers get groped for 99 cents a minute
5. Guess the TSA agent's weight and you can bring any liquid on board
4. Passengers have option to be frisked by security or airport Cinnabon employee
3. Pipe in soft rock classics from the '70s, '80s, '90s, and today
2. Concludes with a good luck pat on the butt
1. Vibrating wands

David Letterman's "Top 10 New Words of 2010"

10. Lohab
9. Obamamess
8. Baba-Bookdeal
7. Foxtitious
6. Sheentoxicated
5. Witchcrap
4. Baconfetti
3. Opraholic
2. Leno'd
1. Palincoherent

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