Meh Culpa

Dear Prez and Dems: Wall Street wants your panties in a twist

I don’t know if anybody besides Wall Street Watchers have noticed that the Stock Market dropped for three days in a row and that “marked its worst single-session percentage drop in more than two months. ”  Well, maybe that’s not precisely true.  President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have probably noticed.   Whether they will quiver and moan or foam at the mouth is anybody’s guess.  Judging from their past behavior and the fear they exhibit upon viewing their own shadows,  they may fold again and beg forgiveness from the All Powerful.

(No, not the Deity.  Wall Street.)

I’d like to address all the Democrats for a moment:

You knew this was coming.  And if you didn’t, you aren’t the brightest bulbs on the porch.  Wall Streeters are attempting blackmail.  They want your panties in a twist, they want to see you shivering in your penny loafers because A) they’ve paid you good money, which implies they own you; B) if they made you–and they think they did–they can break you;  C) they’ve convinced you that the market runs the entire economy.

Do not pay attention to the Little Men Behind The Curtain. Go ahead and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, or bring to life something even better.   Yes, Republicans and Blue Dogs will call you  Frankenstein and your baby a monster, but you know better.   Really, you do.  You can’t allow Wall Street to hold you hostage to its evil plan; you can’t let Wall Street keep making the same mistakes that plunged our economy into ruin.  And you most certainly won’t win any more votes from Main Street by doing the Little Men any more favors.

Do yourselves a favor,  do us all a favor:  find the people who played with derivatives and default credit  swaps and what all else, take away their toys for good.  Then prosecute the bastards who broke the law, who defrauded plain ol’ Americans and pounded them into the ground with rubber mallets labeled “Death. by Debt.”  Remember The Guy In Orange?   Remember the folks who own and run World Savings?  Or who used to be Countrywide?  Yup,  them,  their buddies,  and the horses they rode in on.  Take wooden stakes, preferably some with nasty thorns, to the blood suckers.

But don’t let Wall Street scare you.  The Streeters may have more money, but we have more votes.

P.S.  Please do not assume that the economy is the only reason Scott Brown got elected.  There are way too many groups here under the bus for the voters’ wrath to be all about that.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | banks, borrowing, Congress, Democrats, Economy, Obama, politics, recession, Republicans, Treasury, Uncategorized, unemployment | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My letter to “Organizing America” the former Obama campaign site

(Written while unsubscribing, as a protest.)

I am not a Democrat.

I was a Democrat for a little over 30 years–until Diane Feinstein started acting and voting like a Republican. I told her I would never vote for her again and I won’t.  My point? Barack the president seems to have forgotten the promises he made as Barack the candidate. I have never seen such timid leadership in my life. No, wait:  the Democrats have behaved in such a manner all the way through the Bush administration. They kowtowed to the Republicans (who played serious hardball) while there was a big, wistful to-do in the MSM over “bipartisanship” that never happened because the Republicans were nasty and excluded the Democrats from almost every opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps the Democrats and Barack the president believe they should take the alleged high road and refuse to behave as the Republicans did.

With all solemnity, I adjure you… Now is not the time to abandon progressive ideals because a minority of crazy, hard right, radical Republicans–who don’t have much of a party left, mind you–are playing up the rhetoric and the lies and inflaming the wingnut populace against the president’s erstwhile agenda, inciting the crazies to riot and possibly to assassination.

Elegance and grace will not give us single payer and/or a public option or even decent health care. Besides, it would appear Barack the president and the rest of the Democrats have given up on both. If events unfold as I see they might, the insurance companies will realize even more profits if health insurance is mandated. How middle class and lower class Americans will pay, I don’t know. Tax deductions will not help. They are actually rather worthless. Americans need real help, upfront.

I cannot tell you how sickened I am with the current state of affairs. Single payer (with an option to retain private health insurance as is possible in the UK) is the right thing to do. Allowing Blue Dogs to mark this territory and bark orders to the rest of us is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and slightly insane into the bargain. While Teddy Kennedy was alive, you had a majority and you could have passed a good bill that contained both. Now all you have is mush.

What we Americans needed was an FDR on the economy and an LBJ on civil rights and health care. This administration hasn’t come close to giving us either one. What I see is a money-grubbing party that’s still beholden to big business, a party without backbone.  It’s appalling, truly.

And it’s not just health care. Barack the candidate was worrisome when he voted on FISA. But Barack the president has abandoned all principle on warrantless wiretapping as well as in legal cases concerning Guantanamo detainees, doing precisely what the Bush administration did before him, or worse. Barack the president did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He has left it to Congress, whose members will do nothing, ever. Barack the president has set up another Guantanamo in Bagram, and created an environment where anything will go by alleging that because Bagram is not on American soil (WTF?! It’s a US air base! Does that mean McCain isn’t really a US citizen? Hmph.), people detained there will have no right to habeas corpus let alone any Constitutional right to due process within the US legal system.  Barack the president still allows extraordinary rendition.  Barack the president has allowed the same people who destroyed the economy (think Wall Street investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, the New York Reserve, and the Fed) to retain control over the economy. Nothing has changed in that respect. Barack the president doesn’t want to do anything about the Bush administration higher-ups who approved torture and created an ethos where it could thrive and become even more twisted than Gen. Miller and John Yoo originally planned. Barack the candidate wanted to remove us from theaters of war while Barack the president is digging in in Afghanistan.

Barbara Boxer might give me hope, but it’s not yet clear she won’t do what she’s told by the White House, by the so-called Democratic leadership, or by the insurance and drug companies. But Barack the president and the rest of his administration? No, I have no hope at all.

I’m writing in the hortatory subjunctive now:  Look to your principles once more, recall the promises you made and work to fulfill them. Think of the people who voted for you, Barack & Company. Think about why they voted for you. It wasn’t simply your “soaring rhetoric,” you made promises that voters wanted kept. I urge you to reconsider your path, which thus far is filled with so many broken promises (after only nine months!). Remember that we who voted you and other Democrats into office can just as easily vote you out of office. Or, as in my case, simply not vote at all. There is no one worth voting for anymore.

Ignore me at your political peril. You will fail otherwise. A pity, but it’s true.

Sincerely yours–

September 8, 2009 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Bagram, banks, Bush administration, civil liberties, Congress, corruption, Defense, Democrats, Due process, Economy, far right, Federal Reserve, Foreign policy, gay rights, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights, Iraq War, Obama, Obama administration, politics, Republicans, torture, Treasury, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Calfornia Proposition 1C snatches $5 billion from the mouths of babes and children

Here they go again.  Arnie and the Legislature are using 1C to borrow from our children and their children and their children’s children.  1C borrows $5 billion from future lottery profits,  while taking 20 to 30 years to pay off the debt,  yet the proposition is being sold as a way to balance the budget. Over the long term passing 1C means that it’s going to make future budget balancing acts even more difficult.

What gets me is that this measure isn’t just a one-time deal, though no one really mentions that point.  1C allows borrowing from the lottery at any time in the future, which means the “loans” to the General Fund may never end, and the children of California from 5 to 21  wouldn’t be getting the Lottery money due their educational institutions.  Oh yeah, as long as  the debt needs repaying, that’s what the Lottery will do instead of abiding by the will of the voters who passed the Lottery measure for K through JC Education back in the 1980’s.

The politicians in Sacramento, especially the *cough*Republican minority*cough,* are all about taking Educational funding away.  It’s always the first thing to go.  And now it’s going ‘way back in the future.

The legislative analyst takes pains in the subjunctive to say that the state might not borrow from the Lottery after all, in which case it might cover future payments the General Fund provides for Education.  Yeah, right.   (Sorry for being all cynical, but the subjunctive doesn’t cover the concrete, it is the stuff of daydreamy maybes.  Castles in the Air, so to speak.)

As if we need more, there’s another problem: The General Fund that’s borrowing from the Lottery to balance a massive deficit would have to make up for payments the Lottery would usually make.  Sound convoluted?  It is.

Plus, if the money isn’t there now,  I doubt the General Fund can make up the balance owed from 2009-10 next year.  Maybe there would be enough money in the General Fund for a payback in some decade or other, but probably not this one. Which means trying to find the money from another program certain politicians like to cut from the General Fund (See 1E and Inside Governor Hoover’s Budget Revise*).  Funny, you don’t see the Gov’nor taxing the people who can most afford it. A Randian** Republican to his core,  Ahhhnold insists on screwing over The Little Guy and The Little Kids and the Disadvantaged Through No Fault of Their Own.

How much sense does this measure make so far?

For creative accountants, it’s great because it  means balancing the budget on paper.  But  it may also make  us less competitive in the future by taking brain candy from the babies’ mouths.  Frankly speaking, the 8th largest economy*** in the world  needs its competitive features, but we’ve been slipping for over a decade.   Considered the high-tech state, California is about 46th in the country in terms of schools’ technology access and use and the state cannot afford to lose what little it has.    Personally, I think passing 1C will help guarantee more slippage.

I don’t think we  can we afford more of what 1A / 1B  promises our kids and possibly their kids and grandkids–less rather than more.

Can you tell I’m voting NO?


* Most spectacularly (for anyone who doesn’t want to read much more): “[I]nstead of temporarily cutting various services, the Governor’s revised budget would cut them permanently, particularly in programs like Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services, SSI/SSP, regional centers, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants. …The vast majority of those cuts would be implemented regardless of the outcome of the May 19 ballot measures.” He’s also raising fees for residents of veterans’ homes.  Despicable.

** See also “The Troubled Economics of Ayn Rand.”

*** In 2007.  Whaddaya wanna bet we’re about 10th or 11th this year?

May 16, 2009 Posted by | borrowing, California, conservative, Democrats, Depression, Economy, Education, far right, politics, poltical theories, Republicans, social theories | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment