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Again, lifted from Der Spiegal

The current favorite? He’s a political dinosaur, dishonored and discredited. Or so we thought. Yet just because he studied history and speaks in more complex sentences than his rivals, the US media now reflexively hails him as a “Man of Ideas” (The Washington Post) — even though most of these ideas are lousy if not downright offensive, such as firing unionized school janitors, so poor children could do their jobs.

Pompous and blustering, Gingrich gets away with this humdinger as well as with selling himself as a Washington outsider — despite having made millions of dollars as a lobbyist in Washington. At least the man’s got chutzpah.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. Gingrich claims moral authority on issues such as the “sanctity of marriage,” yet he’s been divorced twice. He sprang the divorce on his first wife while she was sick with cancer. (His supporters’ excuse: It’s been 31 years, and she’s still alive.) He cheated on his second wife just as he was pressing ahead with Bill Clinton’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky affair, unaware of the irony. The woman he cheated with, by the way, was one of his House aides and 23 years his junior — and is now his perpetually smiling third wife.

Americans have a short memory. They forget, too, that Gingrich was driven out of Congress in disgrace, the first speaker of the house to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing. Or that he consistently flirts with racism when he speaks of Barack Obama. Or that he enjoyed a $500,000 credit line at Tiffany’s just as his campaign was financially in the toilet and he ranted about the national debt. Chutzpah, indeed.

Yet the US media rewards him with a daily kowtow. And the Republicans reward him too, by having put him on top in the latest polls. Mr. Hypocrisy, the bearer of his party’s hope.

“I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking,” former President Clinton told the conservative online magazine NewsMax. “People are hungry for ideas that make some sense.” Sense? Apparently it’s not just the Republicans who have lost their minds here.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

Pondering over Steve’s return and the ramifications which came with it, (for example, I noticed the re-humanization of Dana Garrett), I was reminiscing why so many bloggers had fallen off the wagon…

Back in the glory days, there was a rather eclectic collection of men and women who put their thoughts down nightly or almost on a regular basis. A few are left today… But missing are Mike Matthews, Shirley Vandever, Tommywonk, Dave Burris, Dana Garrett, Duffy, Maria Evans, Joe M., Mat Marshall, …..

Most all of these posted their reasons for giving it up…. and they all sound the same. Tireless demands of time, no real feeling for posting anymore, realization that it was a lot of hoopla and little real substance.

And ironically the more successful you became the more time you felt you had to spend answering comments. And for the amount of time spent, the numbers of people actually reading them, were dwarfed by just the voting totals of Delaware alone.

But it is with Steve’s return that I think I finally was able to put my finger on just why the blog-world fell apart. It was because we had stopped becoming a community. It is rather interesting to read something someone posts that says: I think thus about this subject and here is why…. It is less interesting to have a blurb saying: “check this out” and then click a video and sit back waiting through the commercial….and then after watching, think: “that was a waste of time…”

Each person had a personality. Shirley tried portraying herself as a crusty curmudgeon but she was anything but…. Dave would bluster about, but then, without warning come through with brilliance. Mat, provided a odd twist from the enlightened eyes of a Cab Calloway student. Donviti was … well Donviti..and that’s a good thing. Hube could on the turn of a dime, surprise you by agreeing with what you said. Kilroy roasted Red Clay school district, no doubt causing them to cringe with his misspellings, and put New Castle’s school troubles on the map. Duffy always found the most eclectic random findings, and mainstreamed them for the rest of us. Nancy, with her sources, and emails, provided the bulletin board for all of us to snatch our next story from… Coupled with airplay on WVUD,WHYY, WMGD, Al Mascitti and Rick Jensen, actual influence over current events was projected… or at least it felt that way…

What we had was a community. And that peer group was who you wrote for. Sometimes you wrote evocative pieces just imagining Hube reading it and reddening his ears. Other times you could get Nancy’s gander up, just by praising Chris Coons. One out of this group, even considered running for Governor, and probably should have, considering the complete tanking of the campaign by that person who did run.

But mostly, we wrote for each other… If other’s wanted to read they were welcome. I think some who tried to fly too close to the sun, and write like they were the News Journal, got burnt out, and dropped by the wayside.

It is interesting to see the change in both Hube’s and Delaware Liberal’s format, comparing todays with yesteryears. Today, everything is bite sized. Before, we had the extended version.

The difference is like eating crackers off the table in back of the meeting room, or, breaking for dinner. Taking a break for dinner, is much more enjoyable.

All great moments pass. It is fact that we look back on them in admiration, that makes them great. So, I guess, though the characters are still alive, and a few still active, we cannot return to those times, long ago and far away.

I can only hope that a new generation, may someday read this, and happen to come across something like this, and find inspiration within themselves to do it again….

I think it is safe to say, we “pulled it off big time”. We really did something, which in it’s time was unheard of, and what we did, still has lasting ramifications rippling through our state government today…

I think most of the problems we dealt with, got fixed. Although no one can point to us and say we did it, that we influenced the changes, they certainly can’t deny. After all, each and every one of those problems haunted legislature for a quite a long, long time, and.. they are gone now. We exposed them for what they were…

With that said and done, … it’s pretty cool.

It has nothing to do with facts. It is about power.

Troy Davis, whose conviction had plenty of doubt surrounding it’s authenticity, was put to death… just because.

Because they could.

They could also have stayed his execution…

I remember George W. Bush doing the same thing. I remember Rick Perry actually bragging about himself doing the same thing. It is almost that they would rather be seen as unwavering or decisive, than be seen as right or correct in what they do….

History is full of their other miscalculations.

Yellow cake is in Iraq.
Nuclear weapons are in Iraq.
Chemical weapons are in Iraq.
Al Qaeda and Saddam are in cohoots.
Nuclear Power is the safest energy source available.
Wind and Solar are too expensive of commercial application.
Drilling off Florida’s beaches will drop gas prices today.

And yet when someone provides real information that doesn’t fit in their narrow view of the world, such as… “Osama Bin Laden seeks to attack US (August 6 CIA brief)… they ignore it.

This disregard for truth, and penchant for fantasy, is disastrous…. I would not be surprised if Rick Perry said America would be safe because Iron Man was an American and would protect us. He knows it in his heart to be true…

Well, I have news for Mr. Rick Perry. The heart sometimes lies. The heart sometimes is wrong, and the heart can make people do absolute crazy things they regret later….

Just ask Casey Anthony’s daughter…

Cold logic. facts, balancing and weighing alternatives, long, arduous negotiations, sanctions, are the real impetus of long lasting change.

And cheaper. Iraq? $1 trillion mistake. Afghanistan? $1 trillion mistake…. But the impetus of action by Republican leadership, caused this nation to be hit by two torpedoes. …

“Damn the torpedoes” makes a good story… when one gets it right… as supposedly did David Farragut in the Battle of Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864….

But getting it wrong?

Which is why Troy Davis is so tragic.

Eric Cantor was tipped off early that the firm of Standard and Poors was going to devalue the dollar, irregardless of whatever deal they came up with.

Prior to the devaluation of America’s Treasury bonds, Eric Cantor had sent a letter (how did he know…), warning the Tea Party Republicans that pressure to raise taxes would be ratcheted up by the upcoming Standard and Poor’s devaluation….

He was right… Thank goodness, after 12 years, with this devaluation, we are finally starting to hear a few of the common sense arguments on the main stream media, that illustrate for all… that raising taxes to “now” be our best economy grower.. .

If you read Standard and Poors correctly, their report implies that the Tea Parties line (the one about NOT raising taxes), IS the primary obstacle that prevents the fixing of America’s debt problems… By implication, that makes the election of Tea Party candidates, the sole reason our bonds were devalued. (On the other hand, according to the ratings agencies, Obama receives high marks for his part in trying to make a better life for all Americans.)

In a secret email, Eric Cantor says…..

“Over the next several months, there will be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S&P’s analysis of the inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong. In short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases. We will be told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree.” Eric Cantor

He knew well in advance…

He continues….

“We have said from the beginning of the year, the new Republican Majority was elected to change the way Washington does business. We were not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hard working families and business people. People understand Washington can’t keep spending money that it doesn’t have. They want to see less government – not more taxes.

Back up: we were not elected to…. take more money out of the pockets of hard working families and business people……..

No one said anything about more taxes for the 99% on the bottom… At issue is how much to tax the 1% on the top…

Taxing the top 1% at a marginal rate of 40% and increasing capital gains taxes to a rate of 40%…… actually PUTS MORE MONEY BACK INTO THE POCKETS OF HARD WORKING FAMILIES AND THOSE BUSINESS PEOPLE RUNNING THE ESTABLISHMENTS THOSE FAMILIES CHOOSE TO PATRONIZE……..

So you see, Mr. Cantor.. Raising taxes on the top 1% is not a conflict of interest for you… You said so yourself….. We’ll support you in not raising taxes on the bottom 99%…

Raising taxes on just the top 1%, is good.. WHAM!!!!! It jump-starts the economy…. Whereas,….

Cutting taxes for the top 1%, is bad… We all know this is fact. You don’t need me to explain it; you know just from living through the past 12 years of the Bush Tax cuts… The last 12 years have made the Clinton Tax Hike Years in comparison, seem like the true Guilded Age..Gosh, it seems like so, so long ago, when everything was perfect.

The Bush Tax cuts, collapsed the economy…..

Tax Cuts kill jobs. Always have… always will….

(but what is really, truly, profoundly sad, is this exhortation from Eric Cantor) “When given the choice between bettering the American economy, and getting more Republicans in power, you better vote for getting more Republicans in power…Our new motto: F*ck the economy!”)

Definition: Where American spending was brought up to the level where it should be, without the necessary revenue to support it.

(As evidenced by 154,000 private sector jobs being created in July.)

The problem is not with spending. The problem is the lack of taxing of the top 1%. The spending seems to be doing its job.

There are two choices before us:

One, we tax the top 1% and live the quality of life we deserve…..

Two, we continue the tax cuts, allowing the top 1% to not pay their fair share in taxes, and continue the quality of life we’ve suffered since 2001..

Simple microcosmic view: find a pothole in today’s state road system… You can’t, it’s covered up with stimulus funded new pavement… Nice, crisp, sharply painted blacktop, as far as the eye can see….

Compare that to the Bush Era… Potholes galore and getting them fixed was like pulling teeth…

Now pull back and look at your entire lifestyle with all it’s moving parts…. first see one where everything outside your control is operating smoothly like clockwork ( a Visa commercial comes to mind), and the other where it is all cacophonous and catastrophic…..

So, in which type of lifestyle do you prefer to live?

Decide and vote.

You heard it from the Republicans from both sides of the rotunda. THIS BILL WILL CREATE JOBS.

Because it was said legitimately I took it hook, line, and sinker, and said… “good, we need more jobs….”

Four hours later, it came back up. Wait, a minute, how does trimming $100 billion a year out of our economy, create more jobs?

If the Fed cuts jobs, that’s fewer jobs. Who’s going to hire them? And if you create MORE jobs with this bill, you have to hire not only all the people you’ve cut, but many more besides…. Who’s hiring?

The same people who haven’t hired anyone back since 2008? After all, what incentive does corporate America have to hire people? They’re doing fine just as they are.. In a quarter where strong second-quarter earnings from companies like McDonald’s, General Electric and Caterpillar were just the latest proof that booming profits have allowed Corporate America to leave the Great Recession far behind, UNEMPLOYMENT WENT UP!

When the US Corporations banked $1.7 trillion in profits… UNEMPLOYMENT WENT UP!!!

Not to mention, when unemployment increases as the Fed itself begins to layoff workers, there will be less spending-money in those communities that experience layoffs.

Who hires when the revenue stream is predicted to collapse?

More than likely, those making a living off these same Federal employees, will be out of work too…..

Now we got, even more unemployment….

So how can Republicans stand in front of a microphone, and say this bill is a “job creator”… “It will grow more jobs”?

Someone explain it….. please!

I’m printing this article in full: tell me, where in America can you find journalism this “fair and balanced”?

Another crisis in the horizon?

A | A | A |
Winarno Zain, Jakarta | Tue, 07/19/2011 7:00 AM A | A | A |

It seems the world economy has faced endless threats preventing it from sailing smoothly into a strong recovery this year.

First there was the Greek debt crisis that jolted several major banks, and then a political uprising in the Middle East that pushed up oil prices, and then a tsunami in Japan that disrupted manufacturing activities in many countries.

The world economy has not fully dusted off the adverse impacts of these three events. Yet another headwind is looming large on the horizon. This time it is the possible default of the US government of its debt on Aug. 2, if the US Congress fails to approve an increase to its debt ceiling as requested by President Barack Obama. By that date, the US government debt would have reached its maximum allocated limit of US$14.3 trillion.

The current negotiation between representatives of Democratic and Republican parties on the US budget deficit has run into a deadlock, and so the possibility is real that there won’t be any substantial agreements reached, since the dateline is nearing. Major rating agencies such as Standard and Poor, and Moody’s have warned they are ready to downgrade the US government debt rating from top grade AAA.

This would be the first time in 90 years that the US government debt has been downgraded.

It is not hard to imagine what will happen if by Aug. 2 the US government has exhausted its credit ceiling and can not get additional debt to pay for its spending needs.

The US government would have to curb its spending, and because some of these relate to payments to government employees, pensioners and other social benefits, this would strike a severe blow to the consumer spending that is so essential to the US economic recovery.

With debt default and credit rating downgrades, it would be difficult for the US government to get loans. Faced with increasing risk, investors would ask for higher returns for US government bonds. This would push interest rate higher, further depressing the economic recovery.

The US dollar would plunge, triggering a surge in commodity prices and another round of inflation around the world. A deadly combination of inflation and economic stagnation could spin the world economy into a tailspin as happened in the early 1970’s.

How would this worst case scenario affect the Indonesian economy? As capital flows out of the US, investors have tended to seek safe havens elsewhere. Commodities, especially gold and oil, would be their first targets. Emerging markets could be the next destination of this capital flight, depending on the assessment of investors on the strength of its economy and their vulnerability and exposure to the US economic fallout.

But financial crises always result in a loss of confidence and produce negative sentiments in the financial markets. They put financial markets into disarray, and as investors panic, capital starts flowing out of emerging economies.

During the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, capital moved out from emerging economies back to the advanced economies. At that time, the US government bonds and commodities like gold were considered safe havens.

If the US government defaults on its debt payment this time, the question is will the situation change? Will the US government bonds still be considered a safe haven for investors? If not, then where else will they put their money? Or maybe they would prefer to keep their money in the same place and not move it anywhere. If so, the Indonesian economy could get some benefit and may not have to face another shock.

In the longer term, however, the situation may change. No country is immune to the negative ripples of a US economic crisis. As US imports plunge from weakening domestic demand, exports from emerging countries will also suffer. The extent to which these negative impacts affect each country will depend on their trading and banking exposure to the US economy.

What is disturbing about this debt talk is the use of this debate as a political game. This is especially apparent in the Republican stance.

Economist, market analyst and CEOs of financial institutions and even the IMF itself have warned that if Congress fails to raise the ceiling of the US government debt, the world economy would slip into deep recession.

The Republicans did not fully accept Obama’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling. They only agree on a smaller number, but even it was given with some conditions. The Republicans asked Obama not to raise taxes, especially for the wealthy, and Obama should cut social spending, a sacred cow for the Democrats.

By using tit for tat tactics in the negotiation and by seemingly ignoring the impending consequences and dangers, the Republicans were trying to push Obama into an intricate political dilemma.

If the US economy slip into another crisis, economic contraction would be inevitable. Corporate bankruptcies would spread, and jobless rate would surge.

A presidential election is still slightly more than one year away, and Obama’s reelection prospects are solid. But his popularity rating is highly dependent on the unemployment rate. That is why the Republicans think the only way for them to erode Obama’s popularity now is by pushing the US economy into crisis.

As the stakes are high, the two political parties should temporarily set aside their ideologies and adopt a pragmatic stance for the interests of saving the world economy from another catastrophe.

President Obama demonstrated his willingness to compromise his political ideology during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Being a Democrat, Obama’s political inclination is generally anti-big business.

Obama realized that it was reckless lending by some big banks on Wall Street that triggered the financial crisis. But he also realized that saving these banks from bankruptcy was key to saving the world economy from further disaster.

His decision to pour $800 billion of taxpayer’s money to bail out these banks was hard to swallow by his fellow party members, but it worked. Now it is expected that the Republicans will be willing to do likewise.

The writer is an economist.

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