Sarah Palin Transformed; Tina Fey



CNN Laughs It Up Over Sarah Palin Interview

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Sarah Palin performs admirably, or was that Tina Fey.  It is difficult to discern who is who.  It is perhaps a greater challenge to determine which said what.  Days ago, Katie Couric of CBS News, interviewed Vice Presidential nominee Palin.  The original statements and much of the script is virtually identical or so it would seem.  Tina Fey, may have meant to perform in parody.  However, in the satire the humorist altered little.  Indeed, Tina Fey directly quoted the Alaskan Governor.  What a wondrous world.  Wit and wisdom are one.

Regardless of a point of view, it may be true, the election coverage need not be the source of tragedy.  There can be some comic relief.  Please take time to laugh a little, cry a lot; weep for the Veep who may soon enter the White House.  Moan for the United States citizenry Governor Palin may serve.  Ponder the prospect, Sarah Palin, informed, innovative, a cause for intrigue, and an inspiration to others may soon preside over this country.  The chances are good.  Sarah Palin, if elected on the McCain ticket in 2008, may become President of the United States in the near future.

Please consider how important your ballot might be.  Become conversant.  Consider the issues and the individuals you believe might or do not represent your positions.  Cast an aware vote.  Research the candidates.  Respond to more than the label Democrat or Republican.  Realize, an election is not just a Party or political postures.  Prominent may not equate to profound.  

If you would, please share your thoughts on matters of import in this campaign season.  You thoughts teach; no one else can tell your tale.  I thank you.

Bailouts Blaze; Exuberance Explodes



Bailout failure ‘will cause US crash’

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Never spend your money before you have it.

~ Thomas Jefferson

I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.

~ Thomas Jefferson

Tis Sunday, September 28, 2008.  The weather is warm and word on the streets is warmer.  Fire from Hades, fervor, and fury heat the debate heard on the streets and in the halls of Congress.  Businesses fail.  Banks do too.  Bailouts are planned and these too falter.  Those in the White House are red hot with concern.  People in Treasury Department and within Secretary Henry Paulson’s office sense the burn.  Many fear they too will be scorched.  The flames are intense on the Hill.  Yet, on American avenues many feel, while inflamed by the rhetoric, chilled at the prospect that this immediate need for a bailout is but a hoax or perchance, just hype.

Citizens in this country have been lied to too often; particularly, the public believes, the current Administration has been irresponsible with facts and finances.  Candidates and Congress have delivered a fair share of untruths.  Tycoons, most accept, fudge the numbers.  Countless conclude, there is no one, in government, or in corporate offices, they can trust.  Hence, when confronted with the claim, American taxpayers must bailout Wall Street, most say, and what of Main Street?  What of me?

The electorate fumes.  Even the apathetic are steamed.  Big-businesses will receive bailouts while the poor wallow in economic waste.  What is a person to do?

History might tell us we can do nothing.  Rome burned and Nero fiddled.  That is often the case when people are provided with fruits of folly in hopes they might forget financial woes.  “The fundamentals of the economy are (still) strong,” is uttered to appease Americans and perchance, those throughout the globe.

Today, and throughout this week we might recall the recession, the correction that preceded the perceived bump.  The year was 1929, near four score ago.  The month was October, and the date was the 27th.  While America had realized many fiscal depressions in years prior, none was as the crash heard on that solemn Thursday afternoon.  Few expected what amounted to a sonic boom.  The smoke rose from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.  The fire on that day singed portfolios and people.  The rumbles and rubble reminded many of the ruins of Pompeii.  Some could not bear the high temperature of an explosive economy.

At first, economists and leaders thought this was a mild bump, perhaps merely a correction of the market, or in any case, no worse than the recession the nation suffered after World War I.

Numbers soon proved the optimists incorrect.  The depression steadily worsened.  By spring of 1933, when FDR took the oath of office, unemployment had risen from 8 to 15 million (roughly 1/3 of the non-farmer workforce) and the gross national product had decreased from $103.8 billion to $55.7 billion.  Forty percent of the farms in Mississippi were on the auction block on FDR’s inauguration day.  Although the depression was world wide, no other country except Germany reached so high a percentage of unemployed.

The poor were hit the hardest.  By 1932, Harlem had an unemployment rate of 50 percent and property owned or managed by blacks fell from 30 percent to 5 percent in 1935.  Farmers in the Midwest were doubly hit by economic downturns and the Dust Bowl.  Schools, with budgets shrinking, shortened both the school day and the school year.

The breadth and depth of the crisis made it the Great Depression.

No one knew how best to respond to the crisis.

Nor does anyone today.  On boulevards and in banks, citizen question why do we need a bailout for big-businesses.  What of the common folk?  Who will or has ever assisted the little guys and gals.  All these questions and more are apt.  Where were the regulators, and what ever became of regulations?  

No one wondered, not even those in the well-educated Middle Class when they could cash in on high home prices.  Few fretted when it was easy to secure a loan.  Brokers and borrowers could live in the lap of luxury when no one was watching the safe or our fiscal security.

It was fun, to burn billions, while it lasted.  Now, as Americans sit on piles of ash, once called McMansions or glorious abodes, too many millions weep for what they were happy to have wrought.  Credit card companies call and demand; they must collect on the debt.  Americans whimper.  “I cannot pay.”  My foundation, my funds were burned when all was set ablaze.

When life was good Americans bought the oratory from the Oval Office.  People purchased businesses, stocks, bonds, clothing, and any capital that could boost a sense of wellness.  Americans spent . . . it all, and on what.  Inflated images.  Irrational exuberance was contagious.  It spread as a wild fire in a forest full of tinder dry trees.  Yet, now the Bush’s are bare.  Everyone has his or her hand out.  “Alms for the poor” is not the cry.  “Alms for the rich is what citizens are told will help.  People read.

Bailout failure ‘will cause US crash’

The US stock market could suffer a devastating crash with shares losing a third of their value this week if Hank Paulson’s financial bailout plan fails, US Treasury officials have warned.  

By Tim Shipman in Washington and Edmund Conway ?

Telegraph

28 September 2008, 10:14AM BST

The financial system could face a meltdown of 1929 proportions unless US politicians succeed in their efforts for a $700bn rescue scheme, experts added.

The warning came as Republicans and Democrats met in Washington for a rare weekend debating session to attempt to seal agreement on the contentious plan, aimed at preventing a long-lasting recession in the US.

Officials close to Paulson are privately painting a far bleaker portrait of the fragility of the global economy than that advanced by President George W Bush in his televised address last week.

One Republican said that the message from government officials is that “the economy is dropping into the john.”  He added: “We could see falls of 3,000 or 4,000 points on the Dow [the New York market that currently trades at around 11,000].  That could happen in just a couple of days.

“What’s being put around behind the scenes is that we’re looking at 1930s stuff.  We’re looking at catastrophe, huge, amazing catastrophe.  Everybody is extraordinarily scared.  It’s going to be really, really nasty.” . . .

Peter Spencer, economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said: “This is the time you have to bail people out and ask questions later.  It is very difficult to see how the US banking system would survive without that.

This has the potential to make 1929 look like a walk in the park.”

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said: “We hope sometime [Sunday] evening we can announce some kind of agreement in principle.  We may not have another day.”

Rebel Republicans – who see Paulson’s proposals as socialism by the back door – were warned they will be responsible for causing an “amazing catastrophe” if they continue to oppose the plans, which would see taxpayers buy up the bad debts of failing banks.  Instead they want an insurance scheme for banks, which would spread the cost to private enterprise.

Would it be that insurers could ensure, people will not do as they have done and ignore all cautions.  In the past, professors preached, “Remember the Alamo,”  Today, teachers beckon, “Recall the demise of American International Group (AIG),” an insurance company who fell only a week ago.

A person considered a prominent and extremely prosperous investor attempted to teach the world of what no one wished to see.  Early in May 2008, Entrepreneur, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett warned us the winds from the warm blaze would scorch all life on the planet today.  He said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, we are in for a “long, deep recession,” “Perhaps not in the sense that economists would define it.  But the people are already feeling the effects.  It will be deeper and last longer than many think.”  

Sadly, Few heard him.  People were off shopping.  Most paid for purchases with fire.  Sales, while robust, were often transactions that led to greater debt.  For decades now, people have preferred to buy now and pay later.  Only now do Americans experience an economic pinch.

Awestruck by the economic wreckage, people ask why.  Why me?  Why now; and a few astute monetary masters say, “Why not?”  Economists wonder why is it that humans do not learn from history.  People look back after they are burned.  The question might not be what caused the fire or the frenzy.  That answer is easily found.  Humans, flawed and filled with the foible of avarice wish to accumulate what they cannot afford.  Perchance, the query could be, who or how often will people pursue a bailout?  When will debt not be an option and when will humans guard against avariciousness?

References for Fiscal Resources . . .

Build a Green Economy; Jobs Will Come



Green Jobs Now (by Free Range Studios)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

The skeptics snickered; if man was meant to roam far and wide, he would have been born with wheels on his heels.  They said it could not be done.  Yet, circular tubes were made to ease travel on the ground.   Cynics sneered when someone said we might travel on water.  People would be born with buoyant blubber if they were intended to float and move with the flow of the current.  Rudders would protrude from our behinds if we were supposed to navigate the seas.  They said it could not be done; still someone invented a boat.  If people were meant to fly, disbeliever declared, humans would have wings.  Orville and Wilbur Wright did not accept that logic.  Travel to the moon; how absurd an idea.  Surely, the skeptics thought, if he was destined to soar to such heights, he would be physically able to propel himself far above the atmosphere.  Then, John Fitzgerald Kennedy set a goal and devised a mission.  Neil Armstrong took a giant leap for mankind.  Currently there is a cry for green energy.  However, doubters think the job cannot be done.

The costs are too great.  The technology too primitive.  Our conveniences would be lost and what of jobs.  If America or the world were to invest in other, more expensive industries, people would be put out of work.  Critics continually counter, we cannot endow renewable energy propositions.  There is no need.   Those who love life as it is believe there is an endless supply of fossil fuels.  Countless rely on the hope that conveniences will be preserved.  Humans know what they know.  People prefer familiar creature comforts.

Improvement is beyond a collective imagination, just as it was centuries ago, or in the more immediate past.  The prospect for progress is frequently limited.   Even scientists can be technicians.  Experts, often only explore within a realm of possibility.  Few feel a need to change.  Less see beyond the horizons.  

Certainly, the Earth is the center of the universe.  The planet is flat.  Electrical energy cannot be captured.  People cannot communicate through wires or even the air.

UN: Millions of green jobs to be created by 2030

By David Beard

Boston Globe

September 25, 2008 05:49 AM

Alternative energy technologies will create millions of new jobs in the next two decades, including 11 million alone in biofuels, according to a UN report.

Climate change and the efforts to reduce it already have created new jobs and investment — a process that will accelerate with the inevitable shift from fossil fuels to wind, solar, and geothermal power, said the UN Environment Program. Click here to see the agency’s summation of findings.

Among the findings:

  • Clean technologies are already the third largest sector for venture capital after information and biotechnology in the United States, while green venture capital in China more than doubled to 19 per cent of total investment in recent years.
  • About 2.3 million people have in recent years found new jobs in the renewable energy sector alone, and the potential for job growth in the sector is huge. Employment in alternative energies may rise to 2.1 million in wind and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030.
  • Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of $630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.
  • Investments in improved energy efficiency in buildings could generate an additional 2 million-3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the United States alone, with the potential much higher in developing countries.

The BBC quoted the agency’s director, Achim Steiner, as saying a delay in transforming to a low-carbon economy it would “miss a major opportunity for the fast tracking of millions of new jobs.”

Granted, life as people know it to be today, might be different.  Recognizable employment opportunities may not be realized, or these may not be as is customary.  However, the careers created  will more than compensate  for what was, and the newer job scene will be clean.  The terminology, technology will be perhaps, a bit tidier, neat, and even keen.  There is a Silver Lining to Climate Change – Green Jobs.  In the United States alone, while slow to travel the path towards pure energy, in 2005, the environmental industry generated more than 5.3 million jobs.  This number is  ten times greater than the US pharmaceutical industry produced.  In this nation, it is well-known people desire more drugs.  Doctors prescribed and the public pours millions into miracles cures, at least those ingested into their bodies.  Yet,  imagine;  a less  traditional task creates a more significant need for people power.  Perhaps, if we build this field the financial rewards, the environmentally friendly effects, and employment will come.

If people believe, they may wish to encourage a bequest.  Write to a Representative.  Submit a statement to those who have power of a political sort.  Use the computer that did not exist only decades ago to do a deed that would have been impossible to achieve tens of years ago.  Click and communicate with Members of Congress.

Dear Elected Officials . . .

I’m ready for Green Jobs Now.

I urge our elected officials to invest in creating millions of green jobs by repowering America with 100% clean and renewable electricity within 10 years. We can create new pathways out of poverty and curb global warming at the same time. We will do this by retooling our factories, rebuilding our communities, and repowering America with clean energy. ??

Signed,

Please remember the words of Spanish Philosopher and Writer, Miguel de Unamuno.

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”

Renewable Sources for Energy and Information . . .

To Know Thy Friend Kissinger



Henry Kissinger: High Level Negotiations with Iran

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Tonight, during the first Presidential Debate, in the year 2008, John McCain empathically claimed to know his chum of more than thirty years.  The Arizona Senator strongly stated former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, would think Barack Obama wrong.  Senator McCain repeatedly reassured the public that the Ambassador would not think it wise to negotiate with rogue nations such as Iran.  John Sidney McCain reminded us of the refrain, Barack Obama is “naïve.”  Yet, it might be puerile to ponder that friendship ensures explicit agreement.  Relationships may remind us of a capricious certainty and why countries engage in combat.

The implication, or indeed, the powerful proclamation, that potential President Barack Obama was “wrong” on Iran was one John McCain offered with confidence and conviction.  Yet, the assertion was perhaps, inaccurate.  After the debate, in retrospect, or in support of the Republican Party, Secretary Kissinger reflected upon his personal alliances rather than his previously stated philosophy.  

“Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level.  My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain.  We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”

Nonetheless, the record remains, twisted, and turned on its technical edge as it now is by the former Secretary of State.  Perchance, neither Presidential candidate was wrong or right.  Perhaps, this scenario illustrates why the world is not at peace.  People vehemently profess, someone is either correct or in error.  Humans often sense another is against us, attacking us, an adversary, rather than a person with a point of view.  In actuality, reality is personal and at times political,

Shades that might bring serenity are ignored and abhorred.  Avoidance and aversion create the combative circumstances that currently exist in a debate and within diplomacy.

Let us consider the nuances too frequently overlooked.  Only days earlier, the words tripped off the tongue of John’s friend Henry.  Secretary of State Kissinger avowed, “I am in favor of negotiating with Iran.  And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it.  And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the Secretary of State level…”  

Henry Kissinger, when asked if he thought it wise to confer at very high level at the outset, at the earliest possible moment, the long time acquaintance of Arizona Senator John McCain, said unequivocally, “Exactly!”  The question might be how high?  Does the answer vary if the inquiry is made before or after an partisan parleys?

A well-regarded attaché, such as Kissinger is known to be, advocated for communication between countries.  His words were . . . “Initially, yes.  And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are – what the outcome is that you’re trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to . . . So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we’re trying to prevent.  What is it going to do if we can’t achieve what we’re talking about?  But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations.  Yet . . .

Apparently, contrary to John McCain, who appeared angered by the perception that his pal might have professed as he did, Henry Kissinger thinks it best to put forth the American vision of a stable Middle East, or did.  

The Statesman, in an earlier recorded conference with fellow former Secretaries of States expressed a belief that if positions are presented in person,  there is an opportunity to study proposals.  The suggestion is, people can come to terms if the terms are stated in a manner that allows for discussion.

Days ago, Henry Kissinger pointedly proclaimed, if we are to effectively work together we must come to the table.  Our intention need be one of cooperation.  Perchance, Secretary Kissinger, an Ambassador, understood what his acquaintance, Presidential aspirant John McCain does not.  The purpose of peace talks is to avoid war, not create greater reasons for combat.

Tonight, the insight into how to create peace is gone. The Party’s are at war.  All is fair and nothing is in love and battle.

Earlier persons who heard the words might have believed, Envoy Kissinger had the experience John McCain lacks.  It would seem the esteemed Henry Kissinger knew empathy is indeed, the greatest educator.  An audience might have mused, Kissinger had faith a Chief Officer cannot command unless he communicates.  People could have asserted as they thought the Secretary had, communication requires give and take.  It would have seemed “(T)his notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked . . . our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated (their) efforts to get nuclear weapons.”  In the recent past, people might have trusted what Barack Obama concluded was as a statement released by Henry Kissinger a week earlier.  News reports affirmed what many thought fact.

Kissinger Backs Direct Talks ‘Without Conditions’ with Iran

ABC News’ Rachel Martin Reports: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today told an audience in Washington, DC that the U.S. should negotiate with Iran “without conditions” and that the next President should begin such negotiations at a high level

The former Nixon and Ford U.S. Secretary of State early in the year indicated his belief that the U.S. should hold direct talks with Iran when speaking to Bloomberg Television.

Kissinger spoke at a CNN sponsored forum at George Washington University along with other former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, and Colin Powell.  The leaders were asked to pinpoint the major challenges the next president will face around the world and to offer advice about how to handle those critical issues.  The secretaries named the fight against terrorism, restoring America’s reputation abroad, re-building the country’s economic power, and global climate change as atop priority.

There seemed to be a consensus.  Global harmony can come if a Commander-In-Chief is not intent on a hundred year war.  Henry Kissinger shared, “I agree with what my colleagues have said about the importance of reaching out to the rest of the world.”  However . . .

While the population prays for peace, and hopes to honor the philosophy, perpetual battles need not be if world leaders would only look each other in the eye before they presume the other President or Premiere to be an enemy, our diplomats may not share this belief  

One might have mused, Henry Kissinger, through his conversations with many Prime Ministers learned what the maverick McCain has not discovered.  Yet . . .

The American people could have acclaimed as they thought Mister Kissinger had, whether a person shoots from the hip or the lip, if an individual fires before he or she sees the whites of another person’s eyes, this person may accidentally kill one who would have never been an adversary.

Perchance, Secretary of State Kissinger, and the other Heads of State, understood, the power one has when they listen, or at least some did days ago.  Secretary Kissinger may or may not have appreciated the idea as numerous imagined.  

Might John McCain have ever focused on what were the words or wisdom of the man he considers his friend, Henry Kissinger, the secretary may not have felt a need to elucidate his assertion.

Had the supposed reformer John McCain acknowledged as an experienced veteran might have, tonight an envoy, Mister Kissinger could have been content to share what he may have learned in countless conferences.  People, when treated with respect, reciprocate.  Possibly, if Senator McCain had thought to listen carefully, earlier, had he closely connected to what was expressed and not his personal, political preference, Secretary of State Kissinger would not have had to revise, clarify, his statements post haste.

Granted, all may agree, then and now, there are times when an indignant dictatorial authority comes to a consultation with a closed mind.  Nonetheless, individuals might trust the mere presence of another illustrates a willingness to work.  Would it not be wondrous if Senator John McCain, or the man who might later be identified as his  possible predecessor, President Bush realized, reverence remains the more significant tool for negotiation.  Would it not be wondrous if Mister Kissinger again accepted this truth.

Henry Kissinger had stated, robustly, it best to put forth the American vision.  However, that was long ago, days earlier.  Perhaps the Secretary’s words were not specific enough.  This is another moment, one mired in contentiousness.  After the first Presidential debate American wonders, and argues. Can the public know with confidence what is true, or must the people depend on mutable mentions, belated memorandums, and missives written after the (f)act.

From what the American audience heard tonight, with John McCain in the Oval Office, the aspiration will be war, without conditions, rather than communication without conditions.  Secretary Kissinger will support this decision or not, dependent on the day.  Peace will not have a chance if a Commander-In-Chief cannot and does not acknowledge the words of his ally, or if his associate for more than thirty years, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger no longer avows the impression he made.  

Citizens of this country might muse; will tranquility be possible if our President does not consider the words of a foe or a friend, or if an supporter sways with the wind, in desire for a political win.  This first Presidential debate may have provided the American people with reason to fear.  Words are weapons and those who vie for world power want war.

Sources for the Experience of an Envoy . . .

One-On-One With Sarah Palin



Exclusive: Sarah Palin

Exclusive: Sarah Palin Part II

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Americans each have an opinion on Sarah Palin.  The Alaskan Governor has been the topic of conversation for weeks.  The Press pours over her record.  Average Americans read.  Some say she is sensational.  Sarah Palin has sizzle.  Many hockey Moms relate to the woman who worked her way up.  Governor Palin has cracked the glass ceiling.  She has become a celebrity of sorts.  

Several scorn the lovely lady.  Others imitate the daughter of Eve.  No one disputes, Sarah Palin has style.  Yet, few have the opportunity to make an informed judgment.  Less are able chat one-on-one with the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.  Fortunately, two did.  First Lady Laura Bush shares her thoughts after a conversation with Palin.  ABC News Anchor, Katie Couric offers an objective view.  Only a read from interviews with Ms Bush or Ms Couric reveals what each might think.  Please peruse the reflections and dear reader, decide for yourself.  Who might Sarah Palin be to you.

The First Lady, Laura Bush mused after her meet and greet with the magnificent Sarah Palin.  The two talked when each attended the Republican Convention held in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

The First Lady walked away with an impression of Sarah Palin.  Laura Bush observed the Republican Vice Presidential nominee lacks foreign policy experience.  The President’s partner assured Americans, Sarah Palin is a very quick study.  Then, without hesitation Laura Bush reminded the many, fortunately, the maverick, John McCain “does have that sort of experience.”

Ms Bush also expressed her extreme admiration for the qualities Sarah Palin possesses.  “She’s got a lot of really good common sense, and I think that’s very important,” Laura Bush mused.  The woman who has resided in the White House for near a decade avowed, I have “a lot of confidence” in Sarah Palin.

“She also has executive experience from being a governor and a mayor, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to vote for Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket,” said the equally lovely Laura Bush.

When reporters inquired, did the first Lady think Palin was being treated unfairly, might her gender play a role in the way people approached the Vice Presidential nominee, the Laura Bush said, “I do think there’s a little bit of that going on, and I think it’s to be expected.”

CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric understands this.  She too has been victim to questionable comments.  The fact that she is female has left her more vulnerable to scrutiny.  Hence, Ms Couric might empathize. She may have another sense of Sarah Palin.  However, her assessment is difficult to ascertain with certainty.  We can only watch as a tête-à-tête unfolds.  Then, we might attempt to determine the actual dynamic.  

What any of us can know for sure is the Journalist was among the scant select individuals who had the chance to interview Alaska’s Governor.  

The two spoke of the Economic crisis.  Afghanistan was also a theme for discussion.  The Alaskan Chief Executive also spoke of the need to “keep an eye on Russia.”  Many recall, as mentioned in her earlier conversation with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, the Governor does watch, the Asian continent from her home shores.

Sarah Palin also observes how the foreclosures in her neighborhood and perchance communities throughout the country have altered what was an American reality.

Couric: Would you support a moratorium on foreclosures to help average Americans keep their homes?

Palin: That’s something that John McCain and I have both been discussing – whether that … is part of the solution or not. You know, it’s going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here.

Couric: So you haven’t decided whether you’ll support it or not?

Palin: I have not.

Couric: What are the pros and cons of it do you think?

Palin: Oh, well, some decisions that have been made poorly should not be rewarded, of course.

Couric: By consumers, you’re saying?

Palin: Consumers – and those who were predator lenders also. That’s, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it’s got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found … for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.

Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said, Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

If we are to trust Laura Bush’s evaluation, Sarah Palin will offer the information very soon.  Whence we meet again the Governor will provide answers to questions she had not yet studied  Please, stay tuned.  On-the-job training may be a program worth the watch.  Until then, please enjoy your own research.  Review, reflect, formulate your own opinion and attempt to be open.  Americans can trust, there is more to come.  Let us not study too quickly.

Sources for Sarah Palin . . .

Theater of the Absurd. Cast of Characters; McCain Bush



David Letterman Reacts to John McCain Suspending Campaign

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.


~ Ambrose Bierce (June 24, 1842 – 1914) American Editorialist, Journalist, Author, Satirist

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Two issues of national import flooded the airwaves on Wednesday, September 24, 2008.  On every radio and television station, broadcasters spoke of the economy and the elections.  Journalists reported, tonight, the current President of the United States will address the nation,  One of the persons who hopes to occupy the Oval Office after George W. Bush departs will not speak directly to the people.  For Senator John McCain, the fierce urgency of now is offered as the reason he will  suspend his campaign.  The Presidential aspirant requested his rival do as he decrees correct, delay the debates.  Whilst an audience estimated to be near one hundred (100) million anxiously awaits word from the self-proclaimed “reformer,” John McCain muses his presence in Oxford, Mississippi would be unwise.  As Americans have witnessed on the campaign trail, enter one Grand Old Party boy; exit the other.  Some suggest the Republican President and the Party nominee are rapturous; they love theatre of the absurd.

In this play, the two performers tap dance.  The Republican flit requires the partners to stay separate as much as possible.  Solo recitals are routine in a production such as this.

Observers reflect; the duet, John Sidney McCain and George Walker Bush, tango in tandem.  History might suggest the pair work hard to limit joint appearances.  Neither prefers to be associated with the problems of the other.  George W. Bush worries of his base, and John fears he might be linked to the President’s follies, least of which is the current economic crisis.  John Sidney McCain wishes to be associated with this President’s decisions if he can be viewed as the one who swooped in to save the day, to deal with the dilemma as only he can.

As a rule, or in this script, the President and his presumed replacement will share a stage only if convenient.  However, if the forces of nature can provide cause for a more remote union, no one will complain, least of all John McCain.  In truth, many Republicans were relieved when recent circumstances caused a change in plans.  Hurricane Gustav may have brought fear to those in its path.  However, for delegates, the storm was reason for silent rejoice.  The present fiscal tempest might not be as fortuitous.

When President Bush thought it prudent to remain in Washington during the recent Convention his role was acted out as written.  The Commander stood behind the curtain.  He was but a vision projected on the screen.  For a second he was there.  Then, he was quickly gone and forgotten.

That scene was just as advisers prefer.  Wednesday night, as the fiscal catastrophe looms, John McCain and the Republican Party may not be as lucky.

In Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the presumed soon-to-be President, Senator John McCain, was on center stage, away from the current Commander-In-Chief, whose policies bring McCain’s poll numbers down.  Recent realities preclude such a distance.  John McCain and his public relations person were forced to consider, what might the candidate do.

The play must go on.  The pair need be as players in an Elizabethan comic tragedy.  Appearances need be well-choreographed  It is essential the actors avoid confusion, The duo is only dynamic if they are not thought of as identical.  Each fears that if the public sees one with the other the unmistakable mirror imagine may boggle the mind.  Yet, bailouts beckon.  The Senator must meet with the present President if he is to be thought of as the solution, the change candidate.

Hence, on Wednesday, September 24, 2008, for a moment each emerged in the vanguard. As Americans tuned into the news, the drama of Presidential politics, past and present, played out.  Word was, they would again the following day.  The President appealed for a joint session.  John McCain and George W. Bush each thought a meeting might work to the benefit of both.  Of course, out of a deep respect for decorum, hopeful Barack Obama was also invited.  

President Bush exclaims the Big-business Bailout is vital to the economy.  Hence, he has pledged to  meet With McCain and Obama.  It is fascinating to consider, the conference will take place behind closed doors.  

The partners in policy will not be photographed together for more than a moment.  The façade of a cordial friendship will be maintained.  However, the public will be reminded, between the two, there is nothing more than pleasantries.  This matter is of massive significance.  Main Street could crumble.  Wall Street is already in dire straits.  If this affair is not addressed immediately the nation could falter; the Capitalist system might fail as all other ventures the President engaged in have.

The people were also told, ten days after the economic emergency became known, George W. Bush would publicly discuss the calamity of currency concerns.  Subsequently, within seconds of the first announcement, the potential Chief Executive, John McCain publicized, on Friday night, he, would forego his scheduled appearance at the first Presidential debate.  

One mouth opened and another closed.  Each action was prompted by a need to emerge as Presidential.  Be it in an election or on economic policy, George W. Bush and John McCain share a goal.  Each wishes to look at ease and not act as flustered.

The aspirant from Arizona proclaimed, talk of the eminent election, must not preclude the greater quandary; how might America field this fiscal folly.  That discussion, Senator McCain reasoned must remain in Washington.  The Senator concluded he would suspend his campaign, and fly off to the Hill.  

The presumed soon-to-be President said he must speak to the financial alarm sounded well over a week ago.  However, the conversation would not be with the American people.  Exit, stage East, or is it West Wing

President Bush, on the other hand, “decided” he could no longer hide behind the walls of the White House.  If George W. Bush was to preserve his legacy as a Commander in control of the country, must take to the podium once again.

As John McCain departs, George Walker Bush enters.  The characters, interchangeable, periodically reverse roles.  The desire for change among the electorate necessitates these moves.  When President Bush is out of sight,  John McCain seeks the limelight.

President Bush chose to be less prominent as the news of fiscal debacle was delivered.  Then, the challenger, McCain was very visible.  Senator McCain voiced his immense concern immediately.  First, as a President might do, Mister McCain assured the public, the “fundamentals were still strong.”  Hours later, when he realized his evaluation was erroneous, Senator McCain offered a plan.  Proudly, and promptly, the confident McCain said, fire the Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Christopher Cox.  The distance between  the incumbent President and John must be reintroduced to the dance.

John McCain chided his challenger Barack Obama for not being as decisive as he.  The Arizona rebel need not compare himself to the secluded stalwart President. Impressed with his own rapid response to a catastrophe, the Senator McCain frequently flaunted; he had not hesitated.  Instinctively he shot from the hip, or the lip.  Hurriedly John S. McCain suggested what he might do were he in the Oval Office.

However, the impulsive riposte John McCain presented to a frightful financial condition did not calm conventional constituents who are deeply invested in the market and the maverick’s image.  Indeed, some distinguished fellows such as conservative Columnist George Will trembled at the thought of what a man with the temperament of John McCain might do once secure in his seat on Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the collective consensus among Republicans, as well as Democrats is, it is time for a change, a change in command at the Securities and Exchange Commission did not seem a substantive solution to a problem so profound it affects world markets, Wall Street and Main Street.  

Many agree; America can no longer stay the course.  The path the Bush Administration took has destroyed our credit and credibility.  Nonetheless, the people hoped for a more measured response than the one John McCain offered.  This might be the reason the current President decided to step forward again.  Perhaps, the previously elected Chief Executive could better explain the monetary menagerie than his protégé had.

Certainly, surrogates for George W. Bush had not clarified what seemed an incomprehensible mess, although they tried.  

Days ago, the Bush appointees called for a seven hundred billion dollar ($700) bailout.  This amount would be in addition to billions loaned to financial institutions weeks and months earlier.  Congress heard the arguments.  Anxious citizens also tuned in.  

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testified before the Joint Economic Committee.  He warned lawmakers of the “grave threat.” Banks, businesses, and the American people might find it near impossible to secure a loan.  Economic conditions have deteriorated. Soon the monetary system will be severely hampered.  The future is grim.  Chairman Bernanke claims Congress must act post haste.

More than a week ago, United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called for the creation of a massive government “war chest.”  His proposal expressed an immediate need to take illiquid assets off the books of banks and other financial firms.  Secretary Paulson, and hence, the Administration he represents, hoped that if Congress, and the American public adopted this strategy credit markets would again be open.  For too long now, for increasingly large segments of the business world, the markets have been closed.  Financially, mortgage-related debt strangled the free enterprise system.

While the words of those in charge of monetary affairs were audible, the people, even economists, and market experts did not comprehend the specifics. John McCain’s statements had not reassured.

The people sought more.  The public wanted solace from a situation, they were told, is dire.  Yet, tonight countless citizens may have realized neither man could supply the answers the common folk crave.

The idea of bailout burgeoned.  The audience became impatient.  The viewers, American people, saw no vision.  All the electorate became anxious.  It had been ten days without a word from the presumed main character, George W. Bush.  After word of the economic emergency first emerged, the President was near silent.

The script called for more action.  Finally, the declared “lame duck” President would appear.  He would publicly discuss the calamity of currency concerns.  The persons who produce an image understood without the presence of Mister Bush spectators and speculators were left to wonder; what would be.  Might the maverick McCain make a move and assert his decisiveness.  The nominee tried to calm fears.  He presented a plan.  However, these were not enough to alter the downward fiscal spiral.

Therefore, it had to be announced.  George W. Bush would again take center stage.  President Bush, “decided” he could no longer hide behind the walls of the White House.  If George W. Bush was to preserve his legacy as a Commander, in control of the country, he must take to the podium once again.

Subsequently, within seconds of the first announcement, the potential Chief Executive, John McCain publicized, on Friday night, he, would forego his scheduled appearance at the first Presidential debate.  

One mouth opened and another closed.  Each action was prompted by a need to appear as Presidential.  Be it in an election or on economic policy, George W. Bush and John McCain share a goal.  Each wishes to look at ease and not act as if they are flustered.  Ultimately, they opted for a mere moment the two would stand together as one.  It seemed applause would come only through a cooperative effort.

Here we are today, back where we started.  The curtain opens.  The aspirant from Arizona and the man who now resides in the White House stand together on stage.  It is Wednesday, September 24th.  

A person of quality who asks to be President, or one who has been selected to serve as our nation’s Chief Executive, shows up, speaks to the people, and struggles to share his proposals, disappears, only to arise again.  The resurrection, the renaissance, and the reality revealed.

The debate on Friday was to focus on Mr. McCain’s perceived strength, foreign policy. Mr. McCain had not planned to devote large blocks of time to debate practice as did Mr. Obama, who was holing up with a tight circle of advisers at a hotel in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to prepare. Mr. McCain had a preparatory session on Wednesday afternoon at the Morgan Library in Manhattan, but advisers said it had been interrupted by his decision, announced immediately afterward, to suspend his campaign.

Astounding.  Fascinating.  Each of McCain’s action demonstrates he is no more ready to Command in a crisis than his stand-in, alter-ego, his counterpart, George W. Bush.  The audience wonders will the curtain ever close.

The Program Bill . . .

It’s the war economy, stupids




To view the original art, please travel to It’s the war economy, stupids

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

I understand that deregulation, greed, and mismanagement are major factors in the current economic crisis.  But why are so few of the “experts” talking about a war, fought on credit, that’s already cost hundreds of billions – and that some believe will have a total economic impact of more than $3 TRILLION?  It’s insane.  This week’s toon, “Dollar Wise,” (Archive 0833) pokes at that question.

Till next week,

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com

References . . .

The Reckoning; The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More,  By Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz.  The Washington Post. Sunday, March 9, 2008; Page B01

Slackers Uprising; Free Speech and Download



Slackers Uprising

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Today, you, dear reader, can do as no one has done before.  Any of us in North America can view the full version of Slackers Uprising is now available for free to all residents of the United States and Canada.  In the land of liberty, please take some.  Be bold; be brave.  Prepare to find reasons to partake in the democratic process.  Get ready to click for a film, or cast a ballot for the next President of the United States.

The hype may heighten; still there is work to be done.

Americans already confident that their chosen candidate will win the Presidential election, may wish to assess what happens quickly.  People are fickle.  A voter can vacillate.  Someone may say they will cast a ballot for one candidate or the other.  However, when a constituent finally places pen to paper, punches a card, pulls a lever, or touches a computer screen, one never knows what that person will ultimately do.  No matter what any individual tells a pollster, every citizen must remember, people change their minds.  

The only certainty is the notion nothing is constant.  Each of us must recall, how capricious any human being can be and how imprecise public opinion polls are.  Even election results can be other than they appear to be.  When humans are involved, anything can happen.

People are emotional, not necessarily rational.  Constituencies are more easily swayed than we might imagine or wish to believe.  We each may justify, intellectualize, and seem resolute.  Indeed, every being is strong.  Men and women are strong-willed.  If the public harnesses this vigor, we, the people will have the power to change the county.  

If as a united force, the populace is to transform America, every one of us must honor the reality; we cannot know what others will do.  In truth, no one can predict what they themselves might act upon or achieve.  Nor can any of us forecast or foresee the outcome of an election.

Michael Moore experienced this veracity four long years ago.  It is for this reason the filmmaker hopes to get the vote out and ensure awareness.  Every moment matters.  From now until November 5, 2008, the evening after the ballots are counted, the public must not underestimate the effect of a word, deed, or thought not shared.

Until the tally is complete, the American people cannot assume a Presidential hopeful will win.  It is up to us, each citizen of this country, to preserve, protect, and defend our Constitutional right.  We can choose a person[s] to Represent us well, or not.  The slackers can rise up and roar.  People only need be a citizen who is interested in the quality of their life.  

The connection to everyday excellence and country is evident or can be if individuals climb off the couch, get up from the chair, exit the car and consider the power people united have.  A listless sole can seek influence, and find it at the polls.  Slackers can arise, register to vote, cast a ballot, and create the change they wish to see.

Please ponder the history Michael Moore presents.  We can learn lessons from the past.  

Share the story with friends and family.  Find the will and the way to work for your future, our future.  Please, if you have been a slacker in an earlier time, reflect as you view the narrative.  Then, if you would, rise up.  Be eager, enthusiastic, an active member of the electorate.  Perchance, your energy will excite a friend or someone in your family.  Let us each participate in the selection of our President.  

Collectively we can come together and unite the states.  We, each and every one of us can make this country great again.  Lazybones, ascend.  Loafers, now is the time to lead this nation from the temptation of apathy.  Please get out the vote!  Stand strong and submit your ballot.

The Slacker Uprising Collectors Edition DVD features the full movie and lots of extras, such as:

  • Noodlegate: Mike Bribes the Slackers
  • George W. Bueller’s Day Off
  • Storytime with Mike: My Pet Goat
  • The O’Reilly Factor for Kids
  • Crank Calling Pfizer: 212-573-1226
  • They Worked for George W. Bush
  • Letter From the War Zone: Will They Ever Trust Us Again?
  • Canadian Elevator Music
  • Joan Baez and Michael Moore: America the Beautiful

Get the DVD for $9.95

This is being done entirely as a gift to my fans.  The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November.”

~ Michael Moore

References for Further Reflection . . .

Let the Bailouts Begin



Bush’s Billion-Dollar Bail Out

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Tis true.  For days, if not weeks, months, or years the country has been in a state of financial crisis.  Americans experience what it means when the President of the United States says he will act boldly.  Economically, he has been brazen.  Our current Chief Executive unabashedly embraces businesses, just as he had in his private pursuits before he entered the Oval Office.  Bush policies allow corporations to run free.  If need be, he says, as he did early on in his Administration, Let the bailouts begin.  

Today the need to extend financial relief to American corporations is far more dire than it had been in the past.  Estimates place the figure at 1.8 Trillion dollars; that is trillion.  with a “T.”  

Conservative calculations state the amount needed as $700 billion.  However, several say that appraisal only refers to an aspect of the aid, the shaky assets now on the books of financial firms.  As he reflected on the exact amount to be paid out and the delicate balancing act of bailouts, Thomas A. Renyi, former chairman of Bank of New York Mellon, said, “Psychologically, it’s very, very important.”  What is said and done must be amenable to the people, big and small.

What George W. Bush and his Administration have done was in accord with the desires of the few; the millionaires and billionaires were pleased.  Enterprise has always been the way of entrepreneurs.  The others, the masses did not realize how the decisions might matter to them.  As long as the plebs worked as economic slaves had for eons, no questions would be asked.  Workers believed in the American dream.  Doubt rose only when the size of bailouts grew.  Now, in September 2008, what began as a bailout or two has emerged.  Americans are faced with an enormous nightmare.  However, this need not be a surprise.  Citizens of this country might instead inquire, are they willing to compromise the future.  Americans could also consider the question; can the United States economy continue to survive on credit.

As of last week, people pondered as they had not before.  Countless considered American history and how each Administration altered financial stability.

It seemed the poor, the wage earners, and the salaried associates poured their hearts and souls into work.  None realized substantive reward.  Nonetheless, for the most part the populace was content.  Everyday people paid taxes.  Yet, the public received few services.  Under the direction of President Bush, the blood sweat and tears of American labor went mostly to the levies that were and perhaps will be lent to those who earned billions in profits.

In recent years, rich business owners manufactured only liabilities.  Still, their securities were preserved by a business friendly President Bush.  

For decades, as deregulation flourished, more so since Bush, the American people lived on credit, as did the conglomerates.  The difference being, with George Walker Bush in the Oval Office, businesses had a friend on Pennsylvania Avenue who would help them out.  Those who reside on Main Street did not.  There was no one to turn to if you were among the working people.  Yet, a conversation has begun.  Recent talk of greater bailouts for bankrupt businesses reminds Americans of what they hoped would pass without fanfare; recession, depression, financial despair.

Since George W. Bush and his corporate cronies came into power, average Americans have experienced one economic catastrophe after another.  Budgetary surpluses realized in the 1990s were depleted.  Monetary gains for the Middle Class are but a myth.  Perchance, in the past an individual could realize an increased income.  However, that was then, pre-President George W. Bush.  Today, economically, the United States has failed.  Earlier in the year, a Los Angeles Times poll concluded 75% blame Bush’s policies for an economy gone badly.  The American Research Group, Incorporated states, at present, George W. Bush’s Overall Job Approval is at an all time low.  Eighty-two percent (82%) say the national economy is getting worse.  Countless cannot imagine that is possible.

As President Bush and his appointees protect the nation from monetary doom, banks file for bankruptcy.  Bear Sterns, one of the largest global investment banks and brokerage firms, finally buckled under pressure, after two brushes with near death.  Billions of dollars in toxic mortgage-backed debt could no longer be erased from the books.  Liabilities could not be hidden from view.  Arrears ultimately appear, if not in ledgers, in the effect it has on an affluent culture gone wild with irrational exuberance.  The corporate love of cash has created what America now experiences as a crash.

Businesses benefited from the Bush budget.  Decrees of deregulation allowed for imbalance.  Income inequity became common.  The public struggled to save greenbacks.  Most, in what was once the Middle Class had adequate access to the dollars they needed.  

Currently, Americans can barely count on a regular paycheck.  Permanent employment is thought to be a luxury of the past.  Companies are strapped for cash as are employees.  Some, in the richest nation on the planet, are barely able to survive.  The common folk are fearful of what might happen if the economy sinks further into a doldrums.  People run to banks only to withdraw their holdings.  They sense the fiscal boom has gone bust.  

In July 2008, there was little time to indulge.  The lazy days of summer did not calm those with substantive concerns.  Only George W. Bush, his family, and friends found solace in the statement, “The fundamentals are strong.”  Presidential candidate, John McCain’s use of the words only hours ago did nothing to quell the concern citizens in this country have felt for too long.  A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, envisions a generation will be lost in the struggle to recover.  He writes in the The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy.

Average Americans understood this.  They knew they could not rest.  The poor and those far from prosperous realized they had reason to act.  In droves, people ran to retrieve their assets.  IndyMac, a large mortgage bank, was seized by Federal regulators.  The second-largest bank failure in United States history occurred after anxious customers attempted to claim their deposits.  A massive run on the bank left the financial institution short of reserves.  George W. Bush sat tight, safe in the sanctuary of the Oval Office.

One business after another collapsed.  Conglomerates crumbled.  Corporations tumbled.  The people in the middle were taxed.  Most of the news coverage focused on the fiscal devastation companies felt.  Men and women without jobs, people who were fearful of an eminent foreclosure read of the monster mortgage firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The Federal Reserve pledged to provide as much as $100 billion for each of these ill-fated establishments.  Stunned, John and Jane Does said nothing.  They only wondered why no one made funds available to them.  Few thought the President would come to their aid.  Visions of the victims of (name a recent calamity) raced through the heads of those hurt by an economic crisis.

Then, security firms stepped into the mix of mergers and mega-moneyed bailouts.  Lehman Brothers, another global investment bank declared itself in a state of crisis.  This firm also concluded they would file for bankruptcy.  On this occasion, historians affirmed, this liquidation was the largest in United States history.  The company founded in 1850 had flourished.  Now, it was said to have perished.  However, as death waited at the door, some associates did not feel they could rest in peace.

The staff in Britain was furious when they learned Lehman Brothers’ colleagues in the New York office were expected to share in a $2.5 billion bonus bonanza. Associates in the United Kingdom were told they  would be paid just until the end of the month.  Perhaps, wealth is not meant for everyday workers.  A spokesman for the Trade Union Congress, the national trade union centre in the Great Britain, which represents the vast majority of organized workers surmised: “It looks like those that will suffer the most from the Lehman Brothers collapse are those at the bottom of the corporate chain while many of those at the top will be looked after.”  

The Union representative went on to reflect; junior staffers would suffer.  “Few may have sympathy for the red braced bonus receivers but there will be many more lowly staff facing real hardship.”  A British employee of Lehman Brothers mused only those in the United States are saved from financial ruin; however, in truth, even in America, those without remain without.  

For ages, personnel did not prosper whether they lived here in the States or abroad.  Ordinary people feel the pain corporations complain of.  If the cost of doing business climbs, the consumer is required to pay the price.

Health care premiums have increased by over 80 percent. . . .  Premiums are rising twice as fast as wages and inflation.  . . .  The number of uninsured Americans has increased every year since President Bush took office, from 39.8 million in 2000 to a record high of 46.6 million in 2005.  (1) . . .

Gas prices have climbed over $3 a gallon.  Prices at the gas pump have jumped 107 percent from $1.47 per gallon the week President Bush took office in January 2001 (3) to $ 3.05 in the latest week of energy price data.  (4)  . . .

Housing affordability has reached a 15-year low.  In 2006, housing affordability reached its lowest level since 1991.  (9)  According to the Washington Post, “the scarcity of affordable housing is a deepening national crisis, and not just for inner-city families on welfare.  The problem has climbed the income ladder and moved to the suburbs, where service workers cram their families into overcrowded apartments, college graduates have to crash with their parents, and firefighters, police officers and teachers can’t afford to live in the communities they serve.” (10)

The tragedies did not end.  On September 15, 2008, Merrill Lynch, expressed a fear.  Might this company suffer the same fate as Lehman.  Merrill Lynch tycoons moved quickly.  The company sold itself to Bank of America for $50 billion.  Many mused; the transaction was quite a steal.  However, few were relieved.  Americans, now savvy soothsayers said, what would be next.

Less than twenty-four hours passed before there was news.  September 16, 2008, was a typical day for Americans.  However, that changed when The Federal Reserve agreed to rescue the American International Group.  The United States government was slated to control an 80 percent stake in the insurer.  Yes, even Insurers seek assurance from the Administration when they cannot pay their bills.  Only citizens cannot come to the White House with claims.  

The American people are the Insurer under George W. Bush.  The people are expected to bailout every business, and they do.  Yet, now, the load, the loans have become too great a burden to bear.  Americans are angry.  Most feel powerless.  For too long they have stayed silent.  No one seems to know what to say anymore.  Perhaps it is too late to protest or proclaim.  Yet, fortunately some one has.

Senator Bernie Sanders reflected upon the Hard Truths About the Bailouts, or the ultimate bailout.  This week, the Bush Administration pledged to pay seven hundred billion to one trillion in taxpayer dollars to businesses that engaged in dubious credit practices, and the Vermont Senator voiced his trepidation.

Sanders Op-Ed: Billions for Bailouts!  Who Pays?

By Senator Bernie Sanders

September 19, 2008

The current financial crisis facing our country has been caused by the extreme right-wing economic policies pursued by the Bush administration.  These policies, which include huge tax breaks for the rich, unfettered free trade and the wholesale deregulation of commerce, have resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy.  

The middle class has really been under assault.  Since President Bush has been in office, nearly 6 million Americans have slipped into poverty, median family income for working Americans has declined by more than $2,000, more than 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance, over 4 million have lost their pensions, foreclosures are at an all time high, total consumer debt has more than doubled, and we have a national debt of over $9.7 trillion dollars.

While the middle class collapses, the richest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s.  The top 0.1 percent now earns more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.  The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president.  In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers, or nurses.

Now, having mismanaged the economy for eight years as well as having lied about our situation by continually insisting, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” the Bush administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to spend many hundreds of billions on a bailout.  The wealthiest people, who have benefited from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all.  This is absurd.  This is the most extreme example that I can recall of socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.

In my view, we need to go forward in addressing this financial crisis by insisting on four basic principles:

(1) The people who can best afford to pay and the people who have benefited most from Bush’s economic policies are the people who should provide the funds for the bailout.  It would be immoral to ask the middle class, the people whose standard of living has declined under Bush, to pay for this bailout while the rich, once again, avoid their responsibilities.  Further, if the government is going to save companies from bankruptcy, the taxpayers of this country should be rewarded for assuming the risk by sharing in the gains that result from this government bailout.

Specifically, to pay for the bailout, which is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion, the government should:

a)  Impose a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers.  That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue;

b) Ensure that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and

c) Require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.

(2) There must be a major economic recovery package which puts Americans to work at decent wages.  Among many other areas, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and moving our country from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  Further, we must protect working families from the difficult times they are experiencing.  We must ensure that every child has health insurance and that every American has access to quality health and dental care, that families can send their children to college, that seniors are not allowed to go without heat in the winter, and that no American goes to bed hungry.

(3) Legislation must be passed which undoes the damage caused by excessive de-regulation.  That means reinstalling the regulatory firewalls that were ripped down in 1999.  That means re-regulating the energy markets so that we never again see the rampant speculation in oil that helped drive up prices.  That means regulating or abolishing various financial instruments that have created the enormous shadow banking system that is at the heart of the collapse of AIG and the financial services meltdown.

(4) We must end the danger posed by companies that are “too big too fail,” that is, companies whose failure would cause systemic harm to the U.S. economy.  If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.  We need to determine which companies fall in this category and then break them up.  Right now, for example, the Bank of America, the nation’s largest depository institution, has absorbed Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and Merrill Lynch, the nation’s largest brokerage house.  We should not be trying to solve the current financial crisis by creating even larger, more powerful institutions.  Their failure could cause even more harm to the entire economy.

The words ring so true.  Several, too many, or most have not spoken of what caused them great distress in recent years.  The public accepts and allows this Administration to run rampant.  The electorate acknowledges what is reality for them only when in seclusion.  American people have become apathetic.  However, the statistics scream out and a Senator shrieks.  Perhaps it is time to ask, can citizens of this country permit this latest proposed policy to stand.  Might it be time to face the financial crisis, or will more days, weeks, months, or years go by.  Will the people remain passive and agree to another bailout, bigger than any other has been?

Might Americans again adopt the refrain, “Let the Bailout begin,” or will the people ponder their own fate first and declare it is time for a complete change.  Could it be time to embrace other than a free market mentality and the plans of a President who put us into this precarious situation.  Will the commoner and the conglomerate submit to the counsel of Senator Bernie Sanders and say, we must no longer rely on credit to survive.  The United States is at a turning point.  Might the average American chose to state, “Let the Bailouts end!”  “Lets us balance our books!”

Sources For Financial Security and Strife . . .

Chaos in perspective




To view the original art, please travel to Chaos in perspective

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

It’s not the actual destruction that makes us fear terrorists, it’s the chaos they introduce into the system. So imagine what the rest of the world thinks of the “First-World Terrorist,” (Archive 0832) who, driven by a radical faith in greed, lays waste to financial markets and threatens prosperity everywhere. Too bad Bush and his cronies didn’t launch a preemptive strike against those bastards.

Till next week,

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com