Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Collins and horse rumps

Current events have made a horse's ass of Maine Senator Susan Collins. A short time after she went flitting around pundits belittling pandemic preparedness as a ridiculous stimulus, we find ourselves amidst a global swine flu pandemic.

This video serves up a little crow for her to eat:

The GOP has deteriorated to the point that I wonder how anyone would want to be associated with it. From Susan Collins to Bobby Jindal to Karl Rove to Dick Cheney to Newt Gingrich to Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh and the incomparable Michele Bachmann the GOP is one joke after another.

Perhaps it is clarifying moments like these which give Sen. Arlen Specter the rationale for switching parties?

There is more to governance, especially now, than whining about paying taxes and immigrant bashing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu, Bird Flu, TamiFlu, Hazah!

When I heard that Swine Flu was combatted by Tamiflu I remembered a little something about the bird flu pandemic, Tamiflu, and Donald Rumsfeld:

"NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.

Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.

Source: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu"

One must plumb paranoia to barrel bottom to believe that press reaction to the potential swine flu pandemic is a ploy whose intent is scaring world governments into purchasing Tamiflu.

I do wonder, however, what happened to those Tamiflu doses purchased to ward off bird flu. According to Tamiflu lasts for 5 years, and the bird-flu scare was in 2005.

Maybe we can at least sell that stuff off to forgotten-world countries for cheap and help alleviate their suffering while we replenish our own first-place stocks?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lie to me

New reporting suggests that the Bush administration decided to use torture to obtain false confessions that could be used to "prove" operational links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

Jonathan Landay writes...

"The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist."

Source: Mean means for dishonest ends

Fools can be intelligent enough to be devious, but will act in ways that are contrary to their interests. An evil fool like George W. Bush will stop at nothing to get what he doesn't intend.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Out in front

Here is a short clip from the movie "The Corporation" in which Robert A.G. Monks explains how CEO pay went stratospheric:

The bubble was fun while it lasted, but it done r-u-n-o-f-t. Perhaps we should now turn to those who saw it coming and tried to warn us?

I'd rather see that than politicians let loose with billions of our tax dollars.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick hits

Here are a couple of stats to ponder:

In America, about 22 percent of adults do not have health insurance.

For every 1 percent increase in the jobless rate, 1.1 million people lose coverage.

Source: Recession leads to health care crisis

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fat Cats

One thing that I keep coming back to in the early days of the Obama administration is that when it comes to fiscal policy, president Barak is an avid fat cat feeder.

The phrase "fat cat" is a pretty good analogy here. A fat cat doesn't play much, and doesn't catch much vermin. A fat cat mostly sleeps and eats, and the fatter it gets the more it will eat.

If you care about the health of the cat you must cut back on the food and kick it outside, where it will at least have to fend off other, leaner cats.

One other thing that I come back to in the early days of the Obama administration is that he got where he is on a groundswell of small donations and is therefore not as beholden to Wall Street as his policies imply.

How is this country going to turn things around if changing administrations has all the impact of changing the drapes at the whitehouse?

Is D.C. so corrupt that not even multiple national crises, a rout at the voting booth, and a qualified leader can change the course?

It is sure starting to look like we're just circling the drain.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Disfunctional Democracy?

Are we a functioning democracy?

If by functioning democracy it is meant that political will and popular will are one, then we haven't been one for decades, as this video makes clear:

When Obama ran for office he liked the phrase, "Yes, we can".

Where is that Obama now?

Was he just another insincere politician out to comfort the comfortable?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Step right up

The best way to humiliate a fool is indeed to hand them a microphone:

I'm not sure these self-infatuated, circus-grade clowns get the recognition they deserve, but wise democrats should immediately cede the microphone whenever one of them wishes to speak for the GOP.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

More Simon Johnson

I like people that write clearly and in uncomplicated language, for instance this paragraph from Simon Johnson as he analyzes America's economic woes:

"The root problem is uncertainty—in our case, uncertainty about whether the major banks have sufficient assets to cover their liabilities. Half measures combined with wishful thinking and a wait-and-see attitude cannot overcome this uncertainty. And the longer the response takes, the longer the uncertainty will stymie the flow of credit, sap consumer confidence, and cripple the economy—ultimately making the problem much harder to solve. Yet the principal characteristics of the government’s response to the financial crisis have been delay, lack of transparency, and an unwillingness to upset the financial sector."

- Simon Johnson -

You can read the entire article here:

The Quiet Coup

What has disturbed me most about Obama's tenure so far is just how little our fiscal policy has changed from the days of George W. Bush. This "plan" by Geithner is cash for trash repackaged with different lingo.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A different proposal

Simon Johnson of MIT appeared on Bill Moyer's Journal to discuss another way to handle the current financial meltdown. He summarized his idea as a "scaled up FDIC intervention", and suggested that the trust-busting techniques of Teddy Roosevelt should also come into play.

See the interview here

Put me down as favoring his plan, not because I am an economist but because I know that there is no welfare cheat like a corporate welfare cheat.

In October of 2008, George Soros appeared on Bill Moyer's Journal to discuss the economic situation. There is similarity between what he says and what Simon says.

That interview is here

An interesting quote from that interview, I thought, was this:

"I think our ability to govern ourselves doesn't keep pace with our ability to exercise power over nature, control over nature. So we are very complicated civilization. And we could actually destroy our civilization because of our inability to govern ourselves."

- George Soros -

Monday, April 06, 2009

Who likes it?

The more I read about the Geithner plan, the more I find myself wondering, "Who likes it besides Geithner and the corporate-types that got us into this mess?"

I am beginning to think that Obama is not the change I wished to see in the world.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin