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"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will." -- Antonio Gramsci "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." -- John Kenneth Galbraith "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell
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%.