Archive for April 2009

100 DAYS- A MEASURE OR A MYTH

April 28, 2009

OK, were forced to play the 100 day game mainly because since Teddy Roosevelt we’ve had to.  Granted a President has never faced times like these since Teddy and some say today is even worse than Teddy faced . (I’m one of them)  A quick look at the problems handed off to Obama reveal a country in steep economic decline not seen since the Last  Great Republican Depression.  A nation fighting two wars (both unwinable) and costing hundreds of billions of dollars.   A nation who’s morality has been raped by the Republicans use of torture in violation of all we believe in.  A huge trade deficit a huge national debt.  A world image of the country lower than low.  Into this steps the first Black President of the United States, Barack Obama.

So now, 100 days into his Presidency we are asked to grade his performance!

The following evaluation is based solely on my expectations of the President at the beginning of his term.

Image: I was longing to be able to watch the President on TV or in interaction with other leaders without being embarrassed by or being ashamed of his appearance.  President Obama gets an A++++ in this department.  Every speech or town hall meeting have been presented with humor and candor and has shown a good command of a wide range of subject matter.  His interface with all the leaders of the world to date have been well done , he has upped the image of the country by showing his willingness to talk to anybody , anywhere about all subject matter.  No peacock strutting bad ass but a like able guy who all seemed to enjoy his company.

Torture: I have a very mixed opinion of his actions in this department.  I was pleased when he discontinued torture as a policy but disappointed when he took the individuals who did the torture off the prosecution list.  He seemed to me to be forced into letting Ag Holder investigate and maybe prosecute those who ordered it.  While it may sound good to say he would rather look forward than backward, all crimes are by nature backward and have to have their day in court or we will carry this shame forever.  Best I can do on this subject is a C-

The Wars: I was pleased to see him in the very first day order the end to the Iraq War (sorta) .  We now get to quibble over who are combat troops and who are support troops.  A support force of 50,000 is totally ridiculous . If you can’t support an embassy with the same amount of troops any other embassy in a troubled company has then you shouldn’t be there at all.  Out of Iraq in my book means out of Iraq period.

Afghanistan: The increase troop level to this region is total folly.  When you start adding troop levels of Iraq to the force projections in Afghanistan you come real close to the force that was in Iraq at it’s peak.  One , we can not afford to have this many troops in the field at the cost of 100’s of billions of dollars a year.  Two, The Russians had 150K troops in Afghanistan for 10 years and had to leave with a loss and bankruptcy of their country.  If anything we have created even a worse battlefield than they had to face.  There are 20,000,000 Pushtans and every damn one of them is either a Taliban or will soon be one.  These guys have never been defeated by anyone at any time.  Meantime,

Pakistan is falling apart , and Obama has upped the use of drones in an attempt to do what I am not exactly sure.  Only one thing I’m sure of it creates 10 new Taliban for every civilian killed, no way to win doing this.  The horror of all horror is Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, they got em, could they fire them , who knows.  I’m am pretty sure if Pakistan falls into the Taliban’s hands we will take out the nuclear capability.  One can only guess where this mess will end.  Best grade I can muster is a D

CABINET: Mixed bag here.  Disappointed in his economic advisers and appointments , considered them to be dealing out more of the same fixes the previous team dished out.  Sure enough that’s been the story to date. It hasn’t worked and most likely is just the first in many tacks they take.  A whole change of team might be necessary to head in the right direction.  Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff most thought was a bad choice, given his rep I thought at least he might be a good guy to whip the Congress into line, don’t seemed to have worked yet.  Bothered by his Israel connection.  The rest of the staff seem to be OK so far, we haven’t really had a chance to see them in action.  This flu thing is giving us a chance to see how they react to crisis and I think they get high points for putting out information.  Best grade I can muster is a C , big worries over the economic picks.

ECONOMY: Having this mess handed off to him is a bit like being a quarterback and being handed a burning football.  First inclination is to get rid of the thing fast.  I consider their initial bailout programs to be just that , do something to at least make it look like you got rid of the football.  It’s common knowledge to some that there is no one who really knows the true state of all these funny money contracts that are out there and just how deep the problem goes into what parts of the system, so , my guess is what we have seen to date is just that , get rid of the football till we figure out what the hell we really have.  I think just today you have been shown the path to the future in the proposed GM deal.  A Nationalization of the auto manufacturers followed by the banks.  I personally believe this is the only way this football fire can be put out.  The opposition will scream SOCIALISM, and I don’t really care what they call it, they don’t have idea one except to do the same thing that got us here.  The depth of the problem handed to him requires much more than 100 days to fix, after all it took 30 years to get us to this point.  There is little doubt that Obama was handed the SECOND GREAT REPUBLICAN DEPRESSION .  Please keep in mind the right claim we got out of the first depression by going into WWII.  We can get out of this one by the smart spending of large amounts of money.  Hell it’s only money which is a lot better to spill than blood.  I can barely muster up a C for this one but with a footnote of expectations of an A next report.

GENERAL FEELINGS AND IMPRESSIONS: Overall the First Family makes you feel good.  I think we missed being able to watch the President and his family present themselves to the nation in a very open and friendly way making you able to enjoy watching them.  The President presents himself in a smooth, congenial , intelligent way that makes you want to listen to what he has to say.  His command of most subject matter it is obvious he knows of what he speaks, (sometimes I disagree with him) but somehow feel he would be fine with that.  He admits mistakes when he makes them (that’s unusual of late) and promptly adjusts his thinking to rectify the situation.  The whole Obama family present themselves with style and grace intertwined with humour and banter, such a relief!

THE NOT SO LOYAL OPPOSITION: An evaluation of the first 100 days would not be complete without comment on the opposition.  The right DON’T KNOW DICK and prove it every day,even their own base is deserting them (down to 24% of voters) because of their lackluster performance.  Anyone can Filibuster as the republicans prove every day.  In the midst of the greatest economic crisis of our history they play their blocking game over trivial bullshit that is so apparent even to their own single minded clansmen who view their actions as repulsive.  They have not offered one constructive addition to or new legislation in these 100 days.  Remember their budget, not one number, a bloody insult to all of us.  Their blocking of prospective  Cabinet appointment would be laughable if there wern’t so many crisis matters on the table.  To block a nominee because of a pro choice footnote written 20 years ago is a perfect example on their block head stupidity.  They haven’t invented a grade low enough for these pukes.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: A glimmering of hope exists I think on the economic front.  The  GM proposal shows they are recognize their actions  to date are not working and this PLAN B will be tried next.  Applied to banks and other financial institutions could actually work.  At least we now know they are willing to try other things and that in itself is change.

The attitude toward the two wars I think I am beginning to see a change in heart as to their stated intended actions.  Generals are beginning to talk a different walk and seem to be shifting away from combat to hearts and minds operations with not much enthusiasm for adding more troops.

With the prospect of having   60 Senators the outlook for Obama’s progressive programs look a lot brighter. Health Care. Green Energy, Climate Change, Alternate Fuels might actually be passed.

So it is with HOPE in my heart I pass on this evaluation to you.  Please take the time to comment on my work.

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A MODEL FOR RECOVERY

April 28, 2009

A deal was floated by GM and the Government today that would leave The Government (us) and the UAW in control of about 89% of Gm stock ($1.87 today) and total control of the companies direction.  Now I know the big business types are going to hate this deal, but who cares what they like. Were talking about a chance to save a lot of jobs, a chance to build the kind of cars we need (high mileage , green cars) hell maybe even an electric that makes sense.  The bond holders (GM bondholders)are going to get screwed there is no doubt about that.  Estimates vary they will get between .05 to 48 cents on the dollar if they take this stock trade for their bond holdings.  Keep in mind GM bonds have been rated as junk since 06 so if your pension fund has them in their portfilio shame on them.  The other fly in the ointment is some of these bond holders bought CDS’s to cover a bond default and these guys would prefer bankruptcy over this deal.

Yep, this in Nationalizing the company and screams of Socialism will sound out of the right wing, (but hey , they are a small minority in Congress and the country) so let them scream.

Now for the Model part.  This kind of plan has been talked about not only for the car companies but for the banks too.  In the banks case the Government would buy up the bank bond holders in exchange for stock which accomplishes a couple of things.  The important part is it clears the banks books of most of their debt , cleaning up their balance sheets , and freeing up money so they can start lending again.   This idea has been out there for a long time by some of the smartest economic guys out there who are not heard very often on the public media.  It’s where even the folks who don’t like the idea think will end up at when all else has failed.  Once again the bond holders (who are)  will get little in exchange for their bonds.  In this case as in the GM deal they will get stock in the company.

Given the current stock prices of the companies involved they could actually end up making money in time.  Some say the Nationalization of these banks and other companies will never happen because the rich, banks  and pension funds hold most of these bonds.  I didn’t see them bring the crying towels for you when they wiped out your 401K , did you?  Gee the rich sharing in the pain doesn’t make me feel all that bad.  The pension funds give me pause for concern but you must keep in mind you the owner of the pension fund hire the manager of said funds and if they are still holding these bonds today, shame on them.  They already lost tons of your money playing in the funny money market so one more hit will hurt but with smart investment in the future it can be made back up.

The alternative is the whole country goes into deep depression with no one sure how a manufacture less economy can pull itself up again.  So to me the choice is damn simple.  Nationalize them, save the jobs, give the rich a haircut and just maybe, just maybe we can save the country.

60 VOTES

April 28, 2009

BREAKIN NEWS:  SENATOR SPECTOR SWITCHING TO DEMOCRAT

READ IT HERE

When Franken finally gets the nod it will give the Dems the 60 votes to really make the Reppublicans an insignigicant force.  Maybe we could actually get someting done.    Watch ole Joe from Conn.  though wouldn’t surprise me to see him switch the other way.  THIS IS NOW CONFIRMED BY SPECTORS OFFICE.

NO IDEAS = NO VOTERS

April 27, 2009

One thing that became perfectly clear during Obama’s first hundred days, the Republican Party is totally void of ideas on  just about everything, and the only thing they are good at is saying NO.  They even managed to strip 900 million out of the stimulus bill for Pandemic preparedness. (Oh yeah   Dodd helped) looks kinda foolish about now.

The latest Gallop poll shows the Republican Party sinking to a 24% share of the voters vs 35% for Democrats.  Check out the Historical relationship HERE.

The interesting % in this poll is the number of people identifying themselves as independents.  Fully 40% say they are independent and crying out for leadership from somebody.  Probably the big reason Obama won.  At this point in time I don’t think they got what they voted for.

Therefore  I believe the way is open for a third party candidate to win the Presidency soon.  Look at the traction Ron Paul got in the past election, another huge indicator people are crying out for leadership.  No, I don’t think Ron is the answer, I’m saying a big part of his message resonated with a lot of young people who saw this huge economic problem coming, who saw their jobs being shipped overseas, who saw large numbers of illegals come in and take their blue collar jobs that use to pay good wages all disappear.

Now take a look at what they see now.  They see all this Free Market Crap disintegrate into the Second Great Republican Depression In Spades.  401K’s disappearing, talk of Social Security disappearing, medical care unaffordable and unattainable for a large number of people.  They see many around them loosing their homes to fraudulent banksters, their jobs to greedy corporations, their news sources disappearing because of stupid merger debt loaded up by CEO’s looking for the big paycheck, Banksters making more money in a month then they will earn in a lifetime.  They stare into a future blankly wondering what in the hell they will be able to do with their lives and listen to MSM talking heads blame them for being spend thrifts, greedy , stupid people.

While we might be in despair today, we must remember we have been here before.  We came out of this before and we can do it again and the hell of it is it’s up to us.  We can make them behave with the only weapons we have, our bodies and the little money they have left us.  By applying both as a community we can win.

A FRESH START

April 27, 2009

I deleted all the old posts today and will start new entries as  th mood strikes.  Next planned post is to comment on Obama’s first hundered days.  Thanks for your visits and comments.  Tiger