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In this past month’s news cycle, the state visit by the Chinese delegation, … got little attention. Yet, Historians will probably look back on that visit as the most important finishing touch of the past decade, even though it happened a few days into this current one. (Decades begin in the 1 years).

Alas, giant snowstorms and football playoffs have the tendency to suck up America’s attention in January. 🙂

What was notable;

A. China and the US are now equal players, both dependent on what the other does.

B. Both sides recognize that the other entity will do what is best in their self interest, and that neither party can make the other change course.

C. Both countries suffer malignancies the their hard line conservative movements (the mother-in-law syndrome), that slow the machinations of better relations.

The best description we have in today’s world to describe this relationship, at least that comes to this mind, is that of a marriage.

For an enjoined relationship has now grown up between these two partners; one that appears beneficial on all fronts for us both to continue; but one, which if ever split apart, will cost us both, ….. half of everything we own ad infinitum.

With that in mind, … the unilateral dominance that America has enjoyed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, is no more. We have a marriage now, whose new rules may cause us both some internal turmoil, but one that is better resolved through negotiation and discourse, than unilateral actions to the contrary………..

The US and China relationship …. has matured.

January 20th, Inauguration Day 2009.. Wow, it’s been two years…..

So…. what did he accomplish? And what did the Republicans accomplish by Inauguration Day 2002? At the same point in their tenure?

The answers are damning for Republicans, that’s for sure…

First of all, we must all remember. One president walked into a budget surplus, full employment, a roaring economy, and took over the nation that was the most respected in the world. ( That of course would be the Republican, because he had the good fortune to come in after 8 years of solid Democratic leadership ) The other president, took office that was deeply in debt, the economy was in a massive free-fall, we were losing two wars simultaneously, GM and Chrysler were belly-up, all our banks had collapsed, people could not keep up on their mortgages, and health care was out of control with insurance dropping paid-up people off their roles, simply because they got sick………..

One president had the world handed to him; the other came in owing the world….

At the end of his midterm, George W. Bush was rated by historians as the worst ever… Among some of their reasons… were:

the doctrine of pre-emptive war, crony capitalism/being “completely in bed with certain corporate interests,” bankruptcy/fiscal irresponsibility, military adventurism, trampling of civil liberties, and anti-environmental policies.

On the contrary, the Obama administration drove and got passed, the Recovery Act, which is the largest infrastructure investment since Eisenhower, the largest educational investment since Johnson, and the largest clean energy bill, since….. George Washington.

Similarly, with the help of Delaware’s Ted Kaufman, the Obama administration enacted Wall Street Reform, which empowered both investors and consumers, stopped predatory lending practices, brought trades into light, and…. ended tax payer funded bailouts…

The Recovery Act also reduced taxes for 95 per cent of working families. Very necessary unemployment benefits were extended for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Credit Card Reform banned retroactive rate hikes, implemented new protections for young people who were enticed to spend more than they could afford, and required credit card companies to explain their terms in plain language. It also stopped banks from manipulating your balance to trick you into going over your limit, then socking you with excessive amounts of late charge fees.

New clean emissions standards and new mileage requirements rejuvenated the auto industry, causing it to undergo rapid development and growth in that sector, making America’s cars the envy of the world again. America’s auto industry was on it’s deathbed when Obama took over. Now, that sector is doing well, even better than Toyota.

At the midpoint of his first term, …George W. Bush, had at this time, ……….

Presided over the loss of approximately three million American jobs in his first two years in office, the worst record since Herbert Hoover.

Overseen an economy in which the stock market suffered its worst decline in the first two years of any administration since Hoover’s.

Transformed almost universal respect for the United States into worldwide condemnation. (One historian made this point particularly well: “After inadvertently gaining the sympathies of the world ‘s citizens when terrorists attacked New York and Washington, Bush has deliberately turned the country into the most hated in the world by a policy of breaking all major international agreements, declaring it our right to invade any country that we wish, proving that he’ll manipulate facts to justify anything he wishes to do, and bull-headedly charging into a quagmire.”)

Misled the American public about weapons of mass destruction and supposed ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Failed to follow through in Afghanistan, a military situation where we won, then abandoned that area allowing the opposition to regroup and become more powerful than ever. We are in Afghanistan today, solely because we did not finish what we started.

Insulted and ridiculed other nations and international organizations and now has to go, hat in hand, to those nations and organizations begging for their assistance.

Completely miscalculated or failed to plan for the personnel and monetary needs in Iraq after the war, so that he sought and obtained an $87 billion appropriation for Iraq, a sizable chunk of which is going, without competitive bidding to Haliburton, the company formerly headed by his vice president.

Inherited an annual federal budget surplus of $230 billion and transformed it into a $500+ billion deficit in less than three years. This negative turnaround of three-quarters of a trillion dollars is totally without precedent in our history.

Cut taxes three times, sharply reducing the burden on the rich, reclassified money obtained through stock ownership as more deserving than money earned through work. The idea that dividend income should not be taxed—what might accurately be termed the unearned income tax credit—can be stated succinctly: “If you had to work for your money, we’ll tax it; if you didn’t have to work for it, you can keep it all.”

Severely curtailed the very American freedoms that our military people are supposed to be fighting to defend. (“The Patriot Act,” one of the historians noted, “is the worst since the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams.”)

Called upon American armed service people, including Reserve forces, to sacrifice for ever-lengthening tours of duty in a hostile and dangerous environment while he rewards the rich at home with lower taxes and legislative giveaways and gives lucrative no-bid contracts to American corporations linked with the administration.

Proclaimed himself to be a conservative while maintaining that big government should be able to run roughshod over the Bill of Rights, and that the government must have all sorts of secrets from the people, but the people can be allowed no privacy from the government.

Against that negative backdrop, in two years Obama has done what progressives since Roosevelt have wished for: Health Insurance Reform, a simple law that returns decency and forces humanity back into the insurance industry. It returns things like they used to be.

It used to be.. if you got sick, your insurance would cover you. Thanks to Obama’s Health Insurance Reform, it is that way again. It used to be… that insurance would cover your check ups to keep you from getting sick. Thanks to Obama’s Health Insurance Reform, it is that way again. It used to be, that one’s children in school, were covered under their parents insurance… Thanks to Obama’s Health Insurance Reform, it is that way again. Since Obama’s Health Insurance Reform brings back the benefits of the Health Care we had growing up,… it is truly, the true conservative Health Care bill.

SCHIP was increased to cover 4 million more American children. Healthier children, lower medical expenses for all of us… in the future.

As for national security? Whereas Bush led us into fighting two wars, one completely unnecessary as well as a complete failure, since we didn’t get any legal oil from out that country, ( it still goes to Europe and China), under Obama, we have removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, and are currently reinserting ourselves into Afghanistan, to undo the damage that Republican president created.

In education, Obama saved American taxpayers 68 billion on student loans, over the next ten years, by making student loans more affordable and less profitable for banks. Under Bush, banks were pocketing most of the Federal guarantee money covering very high interest rates.

Whereas under Bush, we had “no child left behind” which meant that “no child ever moved forward”, under Obama, we have initiatives like “Race to the Top”, “Educate to Innovate”, which have a better chance at giving our nation’s students a competitive edge against the Chinese.

Like Harry Truman, the new GI Bill makes education more affordable for our veterans. Whereas “W” Bush sought to cut veteran’s benefits, as every veteran can attest from their real life history, Obama has tried to improve the lot of America’s finest…

Likewise, Obama ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, provided law enforcement new tools to deal with hate crimes, and made it easier for women to challenge unequal pay practices.

And to do all that? Obama in the worst of times, has added $201 billion to our deficit. The policies of Bush “W”, are responsible for the other $1.862 Trillion spending spree towards of this nations deficit, half of which is owned by our good friends, the Chinese. Thank you China for saving our ass from what the Republicans did to our nation…….

In just these two years, it’s obvious that we have a really great man… versus the Republicans abysmal failure…

Truth talks.

(Plus I just invested a big chunk into Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Depends, because obviously, … a lot of republicans are going to be needing them……… )

It is such a great time. The cold front has passed, warm moist air flowing in, misty rain, not enough to get you wet, but enough to wake you up as it dances across the face. In it one can feel the snow coming two days early… For a weekend night, outside it’s peaceful… Those with money, have finished shopping. Those without, are waiting for that last check before the holidays…

The annual tradition of trading favorite YouTube’d carols over the internet, has begun in earnest… Strains of Mozart, Celtic Women, Cat Stevens, Bon Jovi, Metallica, and tons of favorite carols by assorted artists, have caused all the stress, pain, heart attacks, symptoms of short breathing,……….. to melt away somewhere into the distant future, as we float back into all those happier times as we remember fond memories of our past……..

Happy Holidays.. Happy Holidays
Courtesy of All American Patriots

AFghanistan
Courtesy of Pat Dollard

Afghanistan: like walking on the moon
Courtesy of Theodore’s World

Things aren’t so nice for 100,000 plus Americans now fighting in Afghanistan. Things aren’t so nice for their families, friends, and lovers back home,… now that things have really heated up over there….

Take a second: Imagine you’re a Taliban fighting this foe invading from a very distant land. Imagine the hope, and shot in the arm a headline like this from the United States, would instill in you upon having it read to you. Imagine how quickly its words would resonate in your blood, and how less inclined you would be to throw in the towel against overwhelming odds? Imagine if you had rounds of waterproofed AK 47 ammo hidden in your well, how inclined you must now be to pull them up, and lay in wait for an American serviceman, any American serviceman, to come close enough to fire a killing shot.

That Headline….

Republicans Shoot Down $700 Military Appropriations Bill Funding War in Afghanistan. Bill Not Passed.

Republicans just aided and comforted our enemy…. Can you hear the Taliban cheering?

It’s the holiday season;  I’ll be honest.

David Anderson: you served. How can you stomach supporting the Republican Party when they refuse to fund American servicemen in combat?

Frank Knotts: How can someone with your passion for all that America has stood for, still call yourself a Republican when they play games with Americans living and dying for our shared values?

Hube:  What gives?  Where is the line across which the Republican Party stops supporting America, and the Tea Party begins to represent the Conservative’s cause?

Tyler Nixon: How can any ex service man, support the party that is so self centered, they have no clue of how their vote to, not fund the war, emboldens our enemies?

Kilroy of Delaware: What kind of political party would play with funding for troops in active combat? How can that be tolerated?

Oh, well, it’s not skin off my teeth. It’s your party… do what you want. I don’t care… But I’ll tell you this… This nation needs a little old one horse Tea Party for this one reason alone: so conservatives have somewhere else to go without crawling on their knees to suck up to the moral backruptiveness of the Republican Party, that’s why…

Oh, well, I’ve said too much already. It’s not my problem. I just think that:

Our servicemen deserve better.
Conservatives deserve better.
Our republic, the United States of America, deserves better.

Conservatives: isn’t it way past time to switch your parties affiliation?  It’s the holiday season!  What better gift to your kids and grand-kids  could you possibly give?

Bristol Palin and a friend go for lunch at McDonald’s where she eats a salad on Wednesday (September 29) in Los Angeles.

The most important election deciding event of all time

The 19-year old was recently at an Anchorage bar where her Dancing with the Stars partner Mark Ballas performed. However, the Palin family attorney says that Bristol was with two people over 21, ate food and did not consume any alcohol.

(Point is: I give up ) If no one else wants to talk about the issues, especially when it comes to Christine O’Donnell, then why should I bother. Apparently our children’s future will be decided by what our candidates eat. not by what they say, do, or to whom they owe money…

Has anyone talked about O’Donnell’s platform? No?

We vote in 31 days.

We were round tabling this discussion when one person said… “What if the US just gave up after Pearl Harbor?”

Valid point.

Now I’m all for people speaking their mind. I’m all for supporting the majority. And like the founding fathers, I have implicit faith in the ability of the people to sort out our problems and separate wheat from the chaff… if not the first time, then definitely over time.

Most ordinary people I know have far more wisdom than any leader I’ve had the privilege to share conversation with. Therefore I believe in the sanctity of the people’s choice. If the people voted him in, he’s there for a reason.

But that’s only if the election was fair. If someone padded the ballot box, or switched vote totals, than obviously this premise wouldn’t apply for the very reason that the choice of the people was not the person who was actually representing them.

Mike was bushwhacked, sort of like the US was at Pearl Harbor or on 09/11…Reading his interview yesterday in the News Journal, one gets a sense that perhaps this was not a fair fight…. By election laws it was, and we all have to accept the primary results. However, if Mike doesn’t run as a write-in, he is putting himself in the same position as if the United States did nothing after Pearl Harbor or 9/11….

And with Mike, it is not about winning, although winning would be nice. It would be about whether good or evil triumphed. Polls say it’s Mike’s race to lose. He actually has enough money to send every voter a personal card telling them exactly how much he’s done for them, how that will soon change for the worse, and explain how to write in his name and send the evil perpetrators back to their cardboard boxes.

If Mike doesn’t do this…. exactly then, what is he saying to future generations of Americans? ? That we should just give up when hit from behind with a baseball bat? That it’s the American way to lay down and bend over? That being a man, is knowing when to run away and hide? That brutality and tastelessness are the new American Way? That perhaps Christine was right? Castle has no man pants on? That the wishes of Delawareans don’t matter; we’ll stop immediately and do what Californians tell us? That how we brush off defeat is a better mark of character, than coming back strong and punishing the evil that befell us?

And sentences keep coming one after another… the list keeps going on…

But if I were in Mike Castles shoes, and if it were me looking over the entire scene before me… I would have no choice but to say I’m in… Oh yes, I would wait till the last minute of September 30th to do so… and I would create a smoke cloud beforehand by pretending to roll over and let bygones be bygones… …. …. and from somewhere out of the fog, then overwhelmingly, I’d strike.

I wouldn’t hold back.. It’d be my last race, it would be the one I pulled all my stops for. Every person I’d ever helped would get a personal appeal from me. Unconditional Surrender would be our rallying cry, just like for the troops of WWII… Our goal would be not just to win, but destroy the O’Tea Party forever.

Ok, Hannity O’Tea Partiers: so you were secretly prepared and yes, you overran Poland, and yes, you then went on to incorporate the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway, and even surprised France pushing their ally Britain into the water… But this time, you went too far.. You’ve taken on the United States. You’ve pissed off someone five times your size. We will Normandize you, Elbetize you, Dresdenize you, give you a Kolnectomy, Rhineantipuovertize you, Remagenisque you, and even liposuctionize your Battle of the Bulge. We will Pattontize you, Bradleydice you, and Marshall you into a corner from where you can’t maneuver.. We will take average civilians and turn them into a fighting force the world has never seen…

We will do so for the honor of America.

What kind of an America? An America where truth wins out, where decency prevails, where honesty and hard work eventually win out over trickery, skulduggery, and political assassination. You wanted to play dirty? We’ll show you how it’s done… In doing so we will show the world that modernism prevails, that decent people still run America. that the “Boehner Bullshit” is just that. It’s time to show the world what we’ve known all along.. That in America, it’s the people who run politics..Not the Politics who run the people…..

I’d tell every Delawarean… Do yourself a favor… Turn off your TV’s.. You got a question? Call me or my staff directly! We’ll talk to you… try talking back to their commercials! Where will that get you?

That stuff they’re airing? That’s not Delaware talking, That’s California money talking… That’s rich bitch snitch drug money being laundried to throw a Senate seat into supporting their snatching up of all your money… You want to keep some of your money? Call me. Call my staff… That’s Delaware talking.

Do you want reason to take on ins’hannity?

Well, it’s on. Support me. You can’t let the devil win… ”

Well anyway, if I were Castle, that’s exactly what I’d do. And I would do it selflessly, not to win, but to give Delawarean another alternative between a Democrat and our equivalent of the brown shirts of the Nazi Party.

Yes, if there is still good left in America, then Castle needs to run.
If the doesn’t, then the America that came back after Pearl Harbor……. is gone.

You have a Herculean task before you… Essentially to clean up what Republicans have left behind.

However, it would be fair to warn you that my support for the Constitution of the United States of America, and my sworn duty to obey it to the best of my abilities, has me fearful of some the changes you propose for public safety. As an American, I have the right to live unsafely if I wish…

My ancestors had the same right.. They chose to come to America… and because of that… here we are today.. Our ancestors chose to travel west for opportunity, and because of it, here we are today.. Our ancestors chose to sign up and wear blue, to keep the grays from splitting us apart.. and because of that, here we are today…

I want that same right to maximise any opportunity that may present itself before me..

So, with fair warning, any criteria you propose to tame the Internet, which limits the right I hold so dear, the right to express my opinion with impunity, will cause you to lose the battle of public opinion… because I will fight you there..

The rules for engagement are as follows… YOUR PROPOSALS MUST FIT WITHIN THESE GUIDELINES… Once offered in high prose, but for everyone’s benefit today, I have put them in street language… For after all, that is where these values need to be upheld… on the streets of this great nation…

The ten basic rules are as follows…

1) You can’t tell me what to believe, or make me go home and shut up.

2) I’ll go armed and defend myself, thank you.

3) You can’t make me let someone else live in my house.

4) This is MY house; if you can’t demonstrate a compelling need to
snoop, stay the f*** out.

5) This is MY sh**; keep your greedy hands off it. And don’t go
accusing me of Evil without evidence.

6) If you’ve got evidence, lay it on the table. And no fair getting
a confession by pitchforking me in the ass.

7) I ain’t guilty just on YOUR say-so.

8) You can’t keep me in jail just because you want to.

9) As to the rest of my life, you can’t tell me what to do or not
do.

10) And neither can your big fat uncle in Washington.

Keep these in mind.. As long as you remain within the parameter of what I have sworn to cherish and uphold, you will continue to have my support… especially the fourth, since it’s misuse directly applies to us bloggers….

A bridge to the future, if collapsed, takes you no where… –kavips

This chapter looks at rebuilding our infrastructure. We have highway problems, energy problems, educational problems, as well as health problems, environmental problems, and social problems. Can rebuilding our infrastructure be a tool to begin the mending process?

Up to now very little has been spent on maintaining our highways. Most highway money was earmarked for new growth.. It was as if no one gave consideration of the fact that maintenance of what we already had up and running was a cost that needed budgeted in.. After all, what political points are ever given for repairing a road before it goes bad? (Damn it, why are they tearing up good highway, costing me twenty five minutes in each direction?) But with the August 1, 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35 Bridge in Minneapolis, we see what happens when highway infrastructure is ignored.

For example in the United States alone, 25% of our bridges are deficient. In Delaware, 15.4 % of our bridges are either functionally or structurally deficient, which is actually good when compared to our fellow small state Rhode Island with 52.9% of its bridges deficient. As one travels back and forth, one crosses an unknown number of tiny bridges; of these, one out of four is deficient. How would you like to be on the I 95 bridge across the Susquehanna… when its time came to fall?….. or perhaps driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge between Kent Island and Annapolis? Thinking “one out of four” may raise your apprehension rate the next time you find yourself traveling unknowingly across a potential deathtrap…

The need to improve our infrastructure is obviously there. So if we have the labor available, how will we pay for the construction and repairs with our treasury bottomed out?

That depends on whether bonds still had any worth, meaning whether or not anyone still had any interest in buying them… Normally bonds are sold at a low interest rate, and the money taken in is used for construction. The notes are paid back in regular payments. But if there is no demand for, or more money out there with which to buy the notes, who will fund the infrastructure investment?

Today the bottom line is that the money will have to come from the Treasury. Being broke, that also means the Treasury will no choice but to print more money in order to accommodate the economy’s need. As more money starts chasing fewer goods, inflation looks at us dead center down it’s barrel. Unfortunately we are in such dire straits, that we have no choice but risk the chance of inflation just to keep the next Great Depression at bay….

The same scenario applies to our efforts to revamp our educational system. Now estimated to require between 45 to 50 billion (how much was AIG’s bailout?) the infrastructure of our schools systems faces the same challenge of acquiring minimum funding, as does that of rebuilding our highway system.. Up until August of this year it could still have been done. Now due to insufficient funds, this accomplishment is unlikely. But if we choose to go forward, we will have to do so again funded by printed money with inflation drawing another bead upon the target on our own purchasing power..

Even today, there is enough work to employ every man, woman and child in America if we can find the resources to pay for them doing so… Work such as environmentally cleaning up Superfund Sites, energetically laying new transmission lines, socially integrating our square pegs into round holes, educationally teaching problem readers to become literate, or simply maintaining hospice care over those citizens who cannot survive long enough to see America turn its corner; yes, work can be found…

But the underlying question still remains as to how we will be able to fund the privilege of keeping America employed… and at whose expense? If we were unable to solve these problems during the past 8 years of plenty, how will we deal with them during a time of shortage?

Fortunately, we are not the first group of people in our lifetimes to rebuild our world around us… Three examples of what can be accomplished, are found in three post war states who after war’s end, found themselves under American influence. That would be Germany, Japan, and South Korea. These are the models we need to turn to. Someway and somehow they bounced back from complete devastation to becoming the the second, third, and fourteenth largest economies behind that of the United States…

At war’s end, there were very poor resources to spread around. Everything possible needed fixed at once. But with a small amount of seed money provided by the Marshall plan, a major currency adjustment, and a release from price controls, the German population pulled themselves up and today have roaring economies better than do any of our allies of that past conflict. (It doesn’t seem fair.)

History shows us that for two years after the war, while post war punitive policies were kept in place, all of the occupied countries’ economies decreased. The Soviet sector opted to maintain those policies and their economy continued to suffer accordingly until German Reunification in 1990. However in the western Allied sector, starting in 1948 with the abolition of price controls and most post war rationing, along with the devaluation of their currency designed to shrink the amount (by 93% contraction) of the money in circulation, their economy took off; lost days decreased by half, and industrial production climbed within six months by 50%. Both nations were blessed with the post war abundance of skilled cheap labor; therefore both nations were able to increase the flow of money into and around their country.

Rising to the challenge imposed upon them by history, all three countries had able leadership which was effective in communicating this to each countries’ populations: … that their time and effort were to be properly considered as an investment. Their rewards would not be reaped immediately, …but would someday be magnificent. Their leadership was also effective in communicating that timing was critical. If they did not begin immediately… their nation’s dreams would never materialize. It was their competent leadership that marshaled the populations of both WWII nations back to work “on the cheap” and that…. the bottom line, is how both counties bounced back. Not dictatorially, but economically. One should note that both of the two occupied economies fared much better than our Allies, who received far more Marshall Plan aid than did the conquered nations, and who did not have to pay for war repatriations as did both of the war-torn countries.

From here I pulled this little piece of history, showing the progressiveness that forced the German economy forward…..

Colonel:“How dare you relax our rationing system, when there is a widespread food shortage?”

Erhard:“But, Herr Oberst. I have not relaxed rationing; I have abolished it! Henceforth, the only rationing ticket the people will need will be the deutschemark. And they will work hard to get these deutschemarks, just wait and see.”

That they did.

Obviously sitting in our armchairs looking forward, we too understand that we will face the specter of inflation. It MUST come with the copious amounts of money we are currently and anticipated soon to be printing. However as does any nation in a war, our country does what is needed. Currently and just like it was after WWII, the US right now is the only global entity strong enough to expand its money supply fast enough to put most of its citizens back to work. As we begin earning extra spendable income, our demand increases; when that demand pushes up prices, more and more entrepreneurs race to fill in the vacuum of goods… bringing them back down. Greed is good.

As for actual rebuilding of infrastructure, postwar Japan offers a slightly different model. In Japan we meshed the government, banking system, and large industrial players to fund, construct, and grow their infrastructure during the sixties. The local banks, backed by the government of Japan, used a system of overloaning. This policy is one which the Bank of Japan guarantees all loans issued by city banks to their industrial conglomerates. Because there was a shortage of capital in Japan at the time, industrial conglomerates borrowed beyond their capacity to repay, often beyond their own net worth, thereby causing city banks in turn to over borrow from the Bank of Japan. This gave the national Bank of Japan complete control over all dependent local banks until the loans were repaid.

The primary difference between the Japan of then and America today, is that today, the money is still not being lent out by those banks receiving Federal assistance. Instead, today’s over loaning is being wasted on the buying up of other banks; today that mass infusion of capital is being used to consolidate the financial industry, instead of financing large projects that actually put citizens to work, and in turn funnel money back through the economy.

The question remains. Does rebuilding our infrastructure get us back on our feet?

Yes and no. The economic impact on the local level at the location where the federally funded project is being built, is huge. But it is a localized effect. For an economic turnaround to be effective, infrastructure building must occur simultaneously in almost every town or village across the United States. If funded solely by the federal government, that significant cost would appear prohibitive. But if instead of being funded solely by the Federal Government, it is done as did the Japanese during their infrastructural rebuild, (where all local banks simultaneously financed local projects close to their locations), much more capital becomes available. If we place our bets on the option that local banks WILL lend out the money, if we guarantee that they lose none of the amount lent out,…. then that outcome could start some infrastructure development in the very near future somewhere near every community’s small bank, no matter where it may be located.

So if as a nation, we choose this plan, and we attempt the Japanese-tried approach, the question next arises over which infrastructural improvements will return the largest investment? The consensus seems to be that Energy, Education, and Technological advancement lead the pack.

As we now all know, even during prosperous times our nation gives up a large percentage of its income to other overseas nations just for oil. By simply keeping that dollar amount in the United States we could provide our economy a substantial boost. Furthermore, manufacturing and exporting new technology which help frees the rest of the world from their dependence on oil, would certainly assist us in turning the trade balance back in our favor. Both of these lines of thought converge to point out this: the increase of our energy independency could become the primary viaduct which could bring America back into prominence.

As for increasing our energy independency, there are several options for doing so. One, is to create new sources. Here is one startling fact: there is enough potential wind power in North Dakota alone to cover 25% of America’s energy needs. The problem is getting it to where it needs to be used. Building transmission lines from America’s heartland out to its extremities, where its largest users are, should be a first priority. For one, it actually uses the free market plan and opens markets to a cheaper supplier of that required product. Two, transmission costs are a significant portion of the energy costs we pay for electrical energy today. Three, poorly outdated transmission grids eat up a lot of energy that could instead be used to power America.

Likewise building transmission lines from our local shores to major metropolitan areas, provides those city areas with cheaper electricity from off shore wind, thereby increasing the likelihood that more wind power generating companies will set up off-shore. The larger the wind farms are off shore, the better our economy will weather that upcoming Depression that appears to be looming off our horizon… And if hydrogen is one day destined to become our replacement fuel, then locating their manufacturing plants in close proximity to offshore wind farms, in order to capitalize on a wind farm’s free excess energy during non peak hours….. could certainly help build an industrial base to back up the tourist economies of rural shoreline counties.,.

Directly related to the new technology of wind power, would be the need to construct electrical storage facilities in areas that have no jobs. Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia would be ideal localities to build closed circuit water generators that use free excess wind power during non-peak times to pump water up a hill to reservoirs on top, from which water can then be released during peak times, flowing downhill turning a series of giant generators as it falls to the valley floor. These massive projects would put large numbers of Americans to work in those areas desperately needing new development.

But these three investment strategies are all dependent on the knowledge that wind driven energy will be a big player in the years to come. No one will make such an major investment in a climate of doubt. The Federal government over the next few years … has to make that clear.

For other hard hit areas, an investment in solar power out in America’s Southwest can do the same. A conglomerate of local banks issuing out loans, guaranteed by the Federal Banking System, should have sufficient resources necessary to begin the immediate construction of a series of large solar farms in that area. With such an investment to attract large numbers of employees to that area hardest hit by the housing crises, local banks could with the Federal bank’s support., begin paying workers who in turn would help out the local banks by buying back some of those foreclosed mortgages at market prices…

But unquestionably, the largest saving can be made by simply conserving more energy in our homes and businesses. Just re-insulating every home in America, can save the cost of its installation within a year. According to the Department of Energy, re-insulating a home can save between 5% and 22% of its energy costs per year. At their estimated energy cost of $1500 a year (seems low, doesn’t it), the range would be from $75 dollars to $300 dollars a year. So paying someone a bounty of $75 dollars for each house, just to infra-red, then re-caulk it’s leaky windows and insulate it’s doors, would see its return within one year on every dwelling visited. Paying someone to go through a city’s public housing could save that city government tremendous amounts of money which could be better spent putting its citizens back to work.

Educational infrastructure is likewise needed. Our nation’s schools for the most part, have not been updated on a grand scale since they were originally built for the influx of baby boomers … What is more important than structural additions to existing buildings, is a revamping of the educational process itself.

America needs to regain their technological prowess… Our educational system ranks behind most of Europe and civilized Asia. One Duke study concluded that 137,437 engineering graduated in the United States, compared to 112,000 for India and 351,537 for China. Of course the quality of those foreign engineers are open to debate. But still, with lopsided numbers like that, it is obvious that over time…. we lose the technological war. Today… whoever is driving the global need for technology… drives the global economy.

Putting additional parents or motivators inside of class rooms, increasing allocations for science supplies (simply dropping sodium into water turns most students on to science as well as instantly explains the clarity of the periodic table), and increasing the social status of the “geeks” in teenage classrooms, are just some of the ways we can rebuild our educational infrastructural needs, without large investments of cash… Where we most often complain that the educational system is broken and in dire need of fixing, at the core of the problem is broken down people. Whether it is administrators, teachers, school board members, parents, or the students themselves, what we have throughout our education system is a group of talented, but leaderless individuals. All are spinning their wheels independently in their effort of trying to find some type of traction in improving education. Often within the same schools, different partners are spinning in opposite ways.

What American education needs is a grand goal, one that is set nationally and bought into by all of its people. Once again, America needs to be challenged. At its forefront it needs a leader capable and willing to stake his reputation on meeting and achieving that goal.. And most importantly, that challenge needs to me made without any financial strings attached. You know: the usual “we need to invest $$$ in …….”. Instead, what is needed by our incoming leadership is to voice a measurable goal such as this one for example: that says by 2015 we will as a nation, turn out as many engineers as does China….. (Goal reaching against a competitor worked for reaching the moon). Perhaps to achieve it, some additional funding may be necessary. But what is more important, is that is sends a real signal to students that fun and games as they have been portrayed on children’s TV, can no longer be tolerated within our high schools. Every young person now has the survivalist duty to apply themselves to the best of their ability, for the honor of their country in whatever the direction their talents lead them… (With proper leadership, this can be done fairly cheaply: it takes just one big speech.)

The long term return on this cheap investment is that by 2020, our engineers should be in the field working at top notch organizations, benefit them and us from their training and expertise…. The longer we wait… the further behind China and India we find ourselves… We are already talking twelve years from now before we can get any return on both ours, and our student’s investment….

Likewise, tying in with improvement of our educational output, is our need to advance ourselves further along the road of technological innovation, ie. creating new patients. For which ever nation builds the most savvy technical gadgets, that is the country from whom all others will want to buy…

But in today’s economical climate one must realize that a risky investment on some new technological device, untested in the market place, will have difficulty finding financiers. Once again, the Federal government, if it is spending its resources elsewhere, has the option of only printing more money to pay for this investment, assuming that private lenders are too scared to lend. Therefore as mentioned above, as in the post-WWII-Japanese model where the small city banks overloan to businesses and corporations allowing them to invest in research and development, if these loans are themselves guaranteed by the national bank, private lending can fulfill the need.

A very strong incentive to promote new research and development by corporations, would be to allow all such expenses devoted to the creation of new products, to become tax deductible under the newer higher rates that will be forthcoming shortly. Every bit of money spent on research and development, is our nation’s best investment. Innovative new products lead to the quickest economic turnaround as those new developed ideas soon become commercially viable…

Other areas where infrastructure can also be propped up by an infusion of small loans made by city banks which are then guaranteed by the Federal Reserve, are in the areas of environmental protection, health care, social services. Western forest fire fighting companies, environmental detoxification companies, and tree reforestation companies, could begin putting people to work.

It could work like this. A company such as Guardian, on call for disaster, receives a payroll loan from a small bank guaranteed by the Federal Government to keep itself afloat until money comes in from charging an oil tanking firm for the mess they made… Most of that loan money is used to buy necessary additional equipment, which puts someone to work in the manufacturing plant where that piece of equipment came ….. As work eventually comes in, the Federally guaranteed loan is paid back to banks… In this and most cases, no direct Federal investment is required. They just stand behind the guarantee.

In the health care industry, private companies providing hospice care, watching over psychiatric patients, creating new MRI’s, handling billing requests and follow up from insurance claims, can now receive a private loan from a small bank guaranteed by the Federal Government to carry them over until their money returns. Needing new equipment keeps a job at the plant where that piece was manufactured…

Companies specializing in assisting the poor, handicapped, impoverished, hungry, homeless, can also stay afloat by these private loans over lent by their banks, but guaranteed by the Federal Government. When the money returns from their clients, the loans are paid off.

In each of these areas, existing goods and services are maintained. The businesses don’t fold. Here is a different way of looking at it. This Keynesian jolt of economic activity is metaphorically like starting a heart of a human being temporarily stopped in cardiac arrest. At that time, all the systems are in place to work…. the heart just needs pressed to get started….. Our economy is like that. Inattention to the core of our economic problem, which is money not flowing out of banks, will lead to the same result to us as it would to a patient who does not get his heart restarted….

So this chapter can be summed up this way. The Federal Reserve is given responsibility for making sure that all projects having a viable chance of success, receive funding from, and eventually pay back… the small local banks making those loans. The Fed just guarantees the loans won’t fail….

Those out going loans should be focused on projects giving us our biggest bang for our money. Those areas providing the best return on their investment, are in the areas of energy, education, and technological advancement……

Instead of direct investment, the use of Federal guarantees in these three areas, coupled with the Federal Reserve’s monitoring the effects of inflation, are one way our nation can capitalize on its current hardship, and pull itself out through our effort, grit, and tenacity….

The official results do not come out until later. But preliminary evidence has now proved beyond all doubt that no recession this grave has been experienced during the lifetime of anyone younger than 69 ( a good number by the way).

There are signs that those in the know like to watch, which tell the future years down the road and those signs now point to a Great Depression. It would be wise to note, that these “shades of what may be to come” as mentioned in Charles Dickens Christmas story can still be altered by changes in future events…

The fate was solidified with this which occurred on today’s last broadcast of CNN’s Late Edition. Vice President Dick Cheney, known among betting men, as “the man who is always wrong”, today declared “that its premature to call it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Being the one to know, Mister “He-who-is-never-right”; with a record of wrong choices a mile long, some of which include statements such as: “I am the best person to serve as the Vice President of the United States”; “Deficits Don’t Matter”; “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid”; “There are stockpiles of WMD’s in Iraq and we will find them”; “We have to make America the best place in the world to do business”; “We will in fact be greeted as liberators”; …… always seems to make sense at time, but after ample time has passed, seems to have strung us along, fully knowing what he was saying was not backed up by facts, and each time seems to have bettered himself financially by having us believe in what he says, and take him for his word.

So if we look at his record, we see that he was wrong on Iraq, wrong on Afghanistan, wrong on Iran, wrong on Israel, wrong on Syria, wrong on Georgia, wrong on tax breaks, wrong on the deficit, wrong on securities deregulation, wrong on the economy, wrong on global warming, wrong on renewable energy, wrong on Enron, wrong on education, wrong on environmentalism, wrong on ethics, wrong on Executive privilege, wrong on gasoline prices, wrong on immigration, wrong on privatization,wrong on racism, wrong on what’s best for America; we can only assume by his track record that he is also wrong when he says it is too premature to call this episode equal to the Great Depression. Of course you can go against conventional wisdom and bet against him, ……… but the odds of winning are long…… way too long……

As his track record shows, he is fully aware of the facts, and each time he makes such a brash statement, it is ultimately proven to be wrong and designed to throw us off. Therefore the best option to take away from his last interview as Vice President on CNN is to accept the premise that we ARE in a Great Depression, and pull out all stops now to stop its slide, ….. before it is too late… That means pulling out ALL stops, so that the opposite of this foreboding last statement by Cheney is not given its chance to come due:

“The days of looking the other way while a despotic regime tramples human rights, robs it’s nations’ wealth, and then excuses it’s failings by feeding it’s people a steady diet of hatred … are over.”

As of this writing we have 8 days and twenty hours before it really does comes true………. Let’s not jinx ourselves by listening to any arguments being made by Cheney’s compatriots now arguing against the passage of Obama’s “Economic Jump Start”. Remember all along, they were just as wrong too……..

A couple of points….

In Tom Brokov’s opening statement when talking to Powell, he said this…:

Whoever’s elected president of the United States, that first day in the Oval Office on January 21st will face this: an American economy that’s in a near paralytic state at this time; we’re at war in two different countries, Afghanistan and Iraq; we have an energy crisis; we have big decisions to make about health care and about global climate change. The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States now have the highest disapproval ratings that we have seen in many years.

A valid argument could be made that most of these were self induced by 1) the Republican party succumbing to neocon madness and 2) by the top echelon of Republican leadership which allowed their party to go out of control.

This same message, that it was the Republicans who aimed a self imposed Cheney shotgun blast to their own face…. was also carried through by Powell himself…

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

One specific example of why Republicans should not be entrusted with the keys of this country….

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Then a personal story to illustrate his philosophy:

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

If you read this and are not be livid at those running the Republican Party, you are one sick dude.

Ossetia Split in Half

Sarah Palin’s misstep on linking the future of our country with a war with Russia, brings up an interesting discussion… One that is v-e-r-y- i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g,,,,,

To her credit, she pulls out this nugget of truth, that has disappeared from the American consciousness.

“I mean, that is the agreement when you’re a NATO ally. If another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon to help.”

In so stating, all Ms. Palin did was to enunciate the most basic tenet of the NATO alliance: mutual defense. If anything, she did not go far enough. Most interpretations of the NATO treaty suggest that the U.S. would be obliged to go to war with Russia if it attacked any member of the alliance.

During the Cold War this meant that all would come to the aid of an attack on one member… New York could be sacrificed for Berlin, Washington for Munich, and vice versa… The idea was to provide the credible threat of self annihilation, should one (the Soviet Union) make an attack on one of the alliance’s members…

If Georgia was a member of NATO, we would be obligated right now to be at war with Russia….

Ms. Palin should be commended for reminding us that NATO states must be prepared to meet their alliance commitments at a time when American conservatives (John McCain perhaps most of all) like to make vague pronouncements about Georgia’s future security.

Let us look at how this scenario plays out… (Keep in mind that Russia has 15,000 deliverable nuclear weapons of which we have no way of shooting down..)

Georgia launches a surprising ethnic cleansing operation into South Ossetia, where many South Ossetians want to join North Ossetia and form a separate nation, one speaking the same language, (Ossetian), and one having the same history and cultural bonds… Stalin himself a Georgian from Gori, was the first to arbitrarily place the South Ossetian province under Georgian jurisdiction.

(It would be as if a Republican administration arbitrarily assumed that Sussex County would better serve Maryland, and put it under Maryland’s jurisdiction.. Some would like it, but many would not…)

Overwhelmed the Ossettians appeal for help… Russia responds and retakes Ossettia and establishes a safe zone into parts of Georgia…. After all, they are certainly allowed to by international law. (It mirrors exactly what we did in our First Gulf War.)

Georgia hides the fact that they started it, and appeals to NATO to save it…(Again similar to Saddam Hussein appealing to the world…. “Help us, Save us, Bush is a madman”…)

NATO and the US have two options: one we can attack and commit our nation to war in order to deliver the credible threat we have struggled so hard to build…. or two: we can refuse and diminish all confidence into that credible threat which we have struggled so hard to build up…

Either way, the US loses….

David Anderson brings up a valid point about WWI. That war which killed so many men,and destroyed so many nation’s economies, was fought principally over the duchy of Bosnia buried somewhere deep within the Balkins….What? Yes, read your history… Treaties and alliances effectively designed to keep the peace among the big powers, actually caused World War One, because little powers were given equal status… Their little tiff’s then brought down the big players against each other in what was probably the biggest waste humanity has yet to achieve….

Yes, fifty years ago it seemed noble to trade New York for Berlin…. But how many Americans would want to trade Washington DC, for a little village in a breakaway province that 99.99999% had never heard from until Georgia invaded it?

Under McCain‘s doctrine we would today be committed to nuclear war….as Sarah so rightly point out…

If so, then as for the entire history of humanity,……. all the road running, would have all been in vain.