Sunday, January 25, 2009

  • The John Thain news just further reinforces the notion that to be a CEO at a major corporation requires one to be part psychotic, part sociopath. These people are so often removed from everyday reality and can tell a lie better than Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct -- it's not all that surprising when hearing about the details of Thain's reprehensible actions. If it was any of us, you wonder how you could face your neighbors or acquaintances in town, but these people don't come into contact with mere regular folk so they have nothing to worry about when it comes to shame or embarrassing encounters. And I'm willing to bet the people Thain does hob-nob with will likely forgive him or worse, understand and empathize with his apparent motives.

  • I asked it a week ago in the entry below and I'll ask again: can someone please tell me, where is the socialist that is supposed to be inhabiting the White House for the next fours years? Not only did Obama pack his original stimulus proposal with tax breaks amounting to 40% of the total cost, but word is he's willing to include even more tax breaks to win over some straggling dissenting Republicans. But that won't stop the lunatic right from fanning the flames of fear with that "S" word, and unfortunately the fools that comprise their base will just unquestionably take it as gospel...

  • My two favorite progressive radio shows are hosted by Thom Hartmann and Ron Reagan Jr. John Harris of Politico was recently on Reagan Jr.'s show to discuss an article he co-wrote and he made a comparison between invading Iraq and Obama's fiscal stimulus proposal. He claims beware of the herd instinct as it was wrong when Bush pushed for the invasion of Iraq and it may be wrong again when it comes to spending nearly $1 trillion in hopes of averting an economic depression. The two couldn't be more different. Prior to invading Iraq, there were several experts warning against it (but were either ignored or told to revise their intel/thinking), we were told it was going to be quick and cheap, we were told it had something to do with 9/11. As for the stimulus package, many top economists (experts) believe that this move is the right one and the alternative facing us if it's defeated is much more real when it comes to adverse ramifications than anything that was ever verifiable when it came to an Iraqi threat. The comparison is absurd.

  • More and more trees are dying due to global warming. Meanwhile, in late October it was reported that Bush/Cheney were rushing to have power-plant pollution rules relaxed. Let's hope we can recover from all the damage wrought by these irresponsible, craven clowns. Thankfully, this just in, Obama will let states decide when it comes to emission standards; recall Bush was for states rights on many things -- but not air pollution (he wanted to insure all 50 states had bad air).

  • In today's NY Times magazine, there's a brief interview with former SEC chief, Arthur Levitt. Wow, in my humble opinion, it's all quite embarrassing. When asked if he has modified his spending habits given the dismal economic environment, Levitt says, "Yes. I canceled a vacation to the Far East that I had planned for the spring. I don’t feel right about spending large sums of money in this environment." That's nice, he doesn't feel "right" about it -- I guess meaning it would look bad. It's safe to say that Levitt is worth many millions, many. I wonder what he decided on instead for a vacation spot... As for Madoff, when asked why the SEC under his watch did not catch this longtime schemer, Levitt says, "Bernie Madoff was simply not on our screen." What can you say? Incompetence did not just occur in the last eight years.

  • UPDATE: At InTrade, odds of the U.S. entering into a depression (not recession, a depression) is up to 65%.
  • Thursday, January 15, 2009

  • As far as I know, Bernie Madoff is not in jail. So let me understand this, if he was caught with a couple of ounces of marijuana, his butt would've been tossed in the pokie -- like most who get caught with said amount of weed. But because he defrauded many people out of $50 billion (with a "B"), he gets to avoid such an existence...? And we're to believe our justice system is blind to class or social status?

  • President-elect Obama recently gave a speech to the public. Isn't this unheard of, for the to-be prez to give such a speech? Some might say unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions, but that doesn't excuse the fact that the current administration many weeks ago just checked out. What we've been treated to instead is both Bush and Cheney taking to the interview circuit, trying desperately to shore up their legacy, concerned more about themselves than our country. If anything, now is a time when both the prez and prez-elect should be working together in hopes of staving off a depression. Instead, we have an empty White House and Obama governing from afar.

  • Here's a question: what ever happened to all that talk from the right about Obama being a socialist? Call me crazy but I don't think a socialist would have 40% of his stimulus package comprised of tax cuts. Hmm, could this have been just more pre-election red-scare labeling to frighten voters, more empty rhetoric based on zilch? You know, like the empty rhetoric McCain voiced with his bragging he knew how to capture or takeout Osama bin Laden (and apparently such know-how still stays with him). Socialist, my arse.

  • Surprise! This administration had a direct role in torture. Bush is likely to grant many pardons to protect the guilty, but can Bush pardon himself?

  • Kevin Drum writes about how Bush's science advisor for eight years was not allowed to insert any science into the president's briefings. (Instead, he was likely forced to bring GW milk and cookies three times a day).

  • It's a bit disturbing to witness the excessive expectations people have in Obama. Prior to the election, Republicans tried as they might to convince people he was the Messiah. The right-wing knew to “reverse engineer” what they do to benefit their side: play down expectations; with Obama, they played up expectations to the hilt in hopes that he would fail at least in the court of public perception. Unfortunately, he’s being tagged as President Panacea (i.e. cure for all ills), and in large part it's why Obama made the unprecedented move of a prez-elect doing a speech prior to the inauguration, in hopes of making clear the many severe problems we face and play down expectations. However, it appears as if very few heard what he was saying or even more so understood the purpose of giving the speech....

  • This is disturbing:

    It shows on InTrade the odds that the U.S. will enter a depression this year (we're already in a recession; we're talking depression with a "D"). 56% believe it will happen -- scary.
  • Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    The GOP is blackmailing Obama into providing tax cuts if he wishes to pass his stimulus plan. The country is in danger of potentially regressing into the Great Depression II and most legit economists say on record that a massive spending package is needed to avert such a disaster. However, the GOP does not wish to hear from high-minded academics; they'd rather do as usual and cater to their affluent cronies. Of the proposed $775 billion plan, 40% is now pegged towards tax cuts, leaving around $500 billion in spending money. But even the $775 billion figure was regarded as too light if it were completely dedicated to spending as most credible figures on the subject state that more like $1 trillion is needed to really push the needle.

    What's most outrageous is to witness the GOP suddenly gain renewed religion when it comes to fiscal prudence. From 2000-2007, the GOP controlled government spent our money like there was no tomorrow, as shown in this graph:

    Notice the two rising red lines. The deficit as a % of GDP has risen under Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

    It's hard to imagine Republicans becoming any more of a joke.