Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: How much more will they take?

I want it to be said I was first to say it. I was amazed that two days after the announcement of Miss Congeniality that she hadn’t been asked to step down as I noted in the post, “She still hasn’t resigned?”

Finally after all the hype about her “energizing the base”, GOP mouth pieces are calling for her to “step down”. McCain seems unmoved. The polls are getting to the point that they are overwhelming. Sarah Palin has become the Laughing stock of the media. The SNL team has a winner in Tina Fey who makes it hard to tell who the real VP nominee is. Yeah he is a "maverick" alright. If you mean that junky Ford car from the 70's that was known for rusting out quickly and breaking down often.

This week was highlighted by a comedy of errors by the campaign. First, there was the trip to the U.N. that was more like speed dating then an actually diplomatic event. Pakistan’s president was even quoted as saying Sarah was “gorgeous”.

Then she stopped by Katie Couric for an interview. Katie asked her “what were your news sources before you were tapped?” Palin’s answer, “Oh I read all of them.” “Which one?” countered Couric. Palin’s brilliant answer, “Oh any of them that were put in front of me. You know up in Alaska we get news like anybody else.” If that interview wasn’t bad enough, McCain came and “re-interviewed” with her. It has the feel of a father going to argue for his “little angel” in the principles office. She says that the only answer she ever gave was turned into a “gotcha moment. Well, actually she said it, and then she vigorously agreed like she was being fed the right answer to say to a police interrogation. Lastly, as if things were not bad enough, the McCain team has sent her to “debate camp”. So who is going to send her to economics camp when we have a catastrophic failure. Is there a diplomatic camp for when she has to talk Russia out of putting nukes in Cuba?

For my next prediction. I am predicting she runs off the stage crying on Thursday. The whole thing will look like an episode of Murry Polvich. It would really make the choice that much easier. She is so freaking stupid.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Before We Give Away Money

Ah, finally some time to sit down and write. Been a busy week indeed.

For this post I would like to address how we got here. The best way to decide if the bailout is a good thing is to first figure out what happened and why it happened. If we don't know that, how can we make an informed and logical decision on what to do next. So, how did we get here.

It could get deep and hard to understand but I will do what I can to present something I only loosely grasp in plain English. The hard stuff first. There are these entities called government sponsored enterprise (GSE). They come with no money alloted guarantees, but many are implied. They get a fair amount of tax breaks though. They also take a fair amount of input from the federal government on their business practices. Then there were insurance companies like AIG that helped spread out the risk associated with the lending industry. By “risk” I mean there are people out there who will not be willing or able to pay off their loans. Lending businesses assume "bad loans" will make up 5% of the industry, but the profit being made off the other 95% will way more then cover it. (Please see the old adage about 'assume'ing.) AIG tells a GSE like Fannie Mae, “on years where it goes over 5% we will cover it as long as you pay a billion a year premium.” So these little companies that you would get offers from in your mailbox to give you a mortgage for, “no money down, low monthly rates, and great starting interest rates.” have no real risk at all. Many people accepted the offer. Immediately their loan was sold to a bigger company like one of these GSE. The “mom and pop” loan company got their money and the risk was absorbed with out checking by the GSE and its insurer. Well what happens when those estimated 5% doubles blooms into 10% that don't fulfill their obligations. "a billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you are talking real money. If it continues there is going to be a whole lot of hurting going on.

Alright that is the tough stuff. One might ask, “why would the government support a business like this.” More inportantly, "why would they want to help them out. Many of the individuals got really rich off this pyrimid scheme." The answer to that is one basic understanding and one reality. The US uses "capitalism" as the method for wealth distribution. Capitalism requires one thing prosper. That one thing is “consumers”. We need people to buy stuff and services to keep people employed so that they can buy stuff and services, so that people can be employed. So the government aware of this situation felt it a good idea to inspire the credit industry. With a credit and loans one can buy stuff that they wouldn't otherwise be able to buy right away. That highlights the reality. Since it is every persons desire in government to get re-elected, and by inspiring the credit industry, more people will buy more stuff and more people will be employed, and more people will think the current government elected are doing a great job. Hence the interest in not concerning oneself with the affects of interest.

One needs to look back only as far back as the current retires people bought most things with cash. You remember that stuff, green, cloth like, found in a wallet or even a “money clip”. That generation saved up to buy things they needed, and they negotiated a good price. My father often tells the story of buying his first brand new car off a years salary of picking strawberries. Houses were often built as wedding presents. Cars were a luxury not a necessity. Higher education was something of merit but not necessity. There were no phone bills, insurance bills, or cable bills. There certainly were no credit card bills. These bills either a) make you pay for something you never buy, or b) make you buy something for way more then market price. Remember, if you buy something on credit you are always paying more then market price.

So here we are stuck with our capitalism of the late 20th century and early in the 21st. We are addicted to credit. We pay 6 years for a car that lasts 5. We pay 30 years for a house that ends up costing twice its sale price and half the value of that money if we had actually invested it, and call it a “good investment”. The government forces us to pay for insurance for accidents that we might get into, then again we might not. We in the US have achieved a negative savings rate. That means we spend more money then we make. Since the money going into the economy is mostly credit money, what happens when we can't even afford to pay monthly minimums? Right. The Credit companies start going broke. That means they can no long offer credit lines and mortgages. That means less people are buying them. That means less people are being employed by these purchases. That means more people are going to find it difficult to make their monthly payment. And the downward spiral continues.

Now if dumbing down of America, target marketing, and unregulated capitalism wasn't a bad enough situation to begin with, The Bush administration along with the republican held congress put pressure on the GSEs to lend to more risky people to buy houses. A policy was developed called “the ownership society”. Using more backing and back room deals they nudged the credit industry into offering loans to an even more at risk sector of the economy. What do you do when you buy a new house? Do you sit in the middle of it and stare at the empty walls? No! Even if you couldn't afford the down payment, you go our and max out the credit cards buying furniture, paint, and a pudding tub. So the instant that the economy took a downturn, these weaker financial links fell like dominoes.

So that is how we got here. And now I see them screaming for a bailout. Just so you understand who "they" are. Here is a link to the top CEO's of '06. You might recognize some of the industries, you will definitely recognize some of the organizational names. If anybody has ever known an addict. They know that when the drugs run low, the addict's anxiety is whipped into a frenzy and they plead with you to help them right away or they will suffer terrible consequences. Often your help will cause more damning consequences. So will the bailout do more harm then good? Some drugs cause mild discomfort from the withdraw sickness. Other drugs the withdraw will kill you. So what effect will the bailout have, well that will have to wait for another post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Good, Bad, And Ugly About Bail Out Fest ‘08

I have been struggling to first come to grips with what the impact of the decisions of the weeks events really mean to “you and me”, the American worker with boots on the ground in this war against poverty. I kind of grasp it, but would take a very long post to explain it in words most of us could understand. I am trying to avoid those these days. So I am working on the best way to break the concepts down. But before we even bother with that, there are some points that are missing on all of the news networks.

“The Good”.

Of all the people who will really feel the impact of the Banking and credit collaps, the "classically poor" people will feel it the least. The people that already live off government assistance, don’t have a job, are never sure if they are going to have a place to live next week, and send their kids to school more as a form of daycare then for an education are not going to be negatively effected. Their environment isn't going to get any worse. They can't expect it to get any better, it might get a little more crowded, but those closest to absolute zero can't sink any lower. In a way they just got richer.

“The Bad”

The few remaining in the true "middle class" will feel it pretty bad too. They will feel the most spited for living life right and still getting it in the hind end. The “artificial middle class” who have used credit to keep their ship from sinking all of these years are apt to face their real financial stature. (For definition sake, I like "middle class" as "anybody who can maintain their current lifestyle in the face of at least 2 major financial events.") These people will find it harder to get credit to bridge the gap when needed. They will find they might get barraged in financial troubles. The reason is part of that long description that I mentioned earlier. The question/ answer to contemplate until then is this. “What is the one thing that a capitalist society needs to remain successful?” The answer, “consumers”.

The other people really going to feel this is those within a few years of retirement, or so they thought. All of the sudden you go and check your 401K and boom!! Seems you will have to work another 10 years after all. Too bad they weren’t allowed to invest part of their social security too?

"The Ugly"

It is funny how many people around the world have a stake in our economy and how few people here in this country have a stake in it. It should scare Americans to think that many interest other then our own have bought pieces of us. It should scare us because these foreigners that care less about the US people and its doctrine and solely about their money that we have ended up here today. Not once in the past 3 days have I heard somebody say, “Wait, if we have a deficit, where is all the money to bail these people out coming from?”Remember, there is about 300 million in the US. Every time you hear the government giving these big companies money, for every billion, you could more then triple it and think they could send it to you. So $85 billion for AIG? The government could send you $278 for each member of your family. Yet Americans still slumber. They may have stirred a bit. Unable still to connect low prices from over seas to high wage disparity here at home. Americans have let the machine grow smarter then the op

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Voting To Fix The System, Not For A Person Or Party

Bear with me. I wrote this post to exemplify a fact that changing the country means changing the policies. To do that effectively, you may find that you have strange bedfellows in politics. I used the abortion issues because to make the point.

I got into a debate with a friend. As a set up, he is your typical NRA supporting, ex-marine, who occasionally goes to church. He said to me, “If you believe that abortion is killing and so wrong, how can you vote for a candidate that is pro-choice?” I explained to him that I do not vote for a man or a party but an effect on the system. I said, “because while the Republicans mostly represent ‘pro-life’, their policies of ‘no sex-ed in school’ and ‘abstinence only’ has lead to no change and a net increase in abortions over the past 8 years.” There has actually been a slight increase in teen pregnancies over the last 4 years even as funding for the “abstinence only” programs has seen an increase. One place it didn’t work was in the Palin household. I said, “If I had to pick between two candidates. One guy who says he holds the same beliefs I do, but his policies end in a result more abortions. The other guy who says he disagrees with me, but his policies lead to less abortions. I am picking the second guy.

The point was this. I believe in saving as many human lives as possible. We have had a “pro-life” president with full backing of the legislation the first 6 years for 8 years. He has done nothing to save those lives and instead chose to needlessly go to war and take many more lives. It is a net loss in life. You can spin it however you like, but the math is still there.

Comprehensive sex-ed classes have been shown to reduce the pregnancy rates as well as STDs and other related side effects. So the results are what I want but the way there is not what I was hoping for. I would like to see an immediate end. However, in the end the education deals with the “what now?” factor. If you ended abortion tomorrow, are children going to stop having sex?

The math is the problem. People like to take complex algebra problems and apply simple math solutions. Oil cost too much? Drill for more. A few people in another country want to hurt us? Wipe out the whole country. Economy in a slump? Send everybody money. Teens keep getting pregnant? Tell them to stop having sex. It just doesn’t work that way. It has many Americans scratching their heads trying to refigure why the answer didn’t end up like the one in the back of the book.

The issues of the day are far more complex then they were when the only thing that mattered was "who was going to stop the banks from being robbed?" Then the laws of nature had the most impact on society. At the start we had our own plot of land that we either owned or were a slave on it. There was no healthcare, no highways, no gas prices, need for higher learning, no abortions, and everybody had to have a gun. Today we are a giant “Commune”. The individualism that allowed us to become “America” has been paved over. There is no more living your life with your actions completely removed from society. Every change in policy affects many other issues. However, we do less and expect more from our government. (By that I mean politically. We do less research about the topics and understanding of the issues before we vote, then expect the ignorant yahoos that marketed to us to fix problems they are not equipped to.) We create our own problems then spend more time fighting about who to blame then how to fix it. The truth is that the people who actually understand how to fix it are “weird” and not understandable. They would never get elected. This will ultimately be not only be the undoing of western cultures, but of mankind.

So while I am “pro-life”, “pro-gun”, opposed to welfare, opposed to immigration, opposed to globalization, and conservative in government spending practices, I find that Obama is the best candidate because if he gets to impose his views on these issues, they will lead to the results I feel are good for the country and its future. McCain’s approach is akin to going brain surgery with a chain saw.

"I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing. Doomed to
crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication." - Tool, Scism

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Comparing Apples To Oranges.

I often hear, Obama’s mother was 17 when she got pregnant with Obama. Here is the difference.

Obamas Mom: He was born to a white mom, who had a black baby during the Jim Crow years. She was hated by both races. Women didn’t even have the right to vote yet. After you leave a school where you are not taught at the level of your mail piers, your only option is to start a family. That is what was before you.

Bristol Palin: A snotty nosed little tramp, raised in an all white state where here mother was the leader of the PTA. You can guarantee that she got the best treatment possible. Classroom sizes in her little school max out at about 10 per teacher. Her mother was mayor, then governor, and not VP nominee. Her options were as wide open as her legs.

Think this is harsh!? Don’t insult my intelligence by running this unqualified secretary with a souped up resume and try to tell me she is the greatest. This is my families and my security you are dealing with. I know more about foreign policy, economics, and religion even when I am bent over a rail drunk throwing up then this chick has ever been around.

Palin’s Speech Full of Lies And Exaggerations Because….

Beacause that is all she has got. It does make her the Perfec candidate for the GOP though, because that is all they got. For 8 years that is all they have had.

Let us check out some facts.

Palin: “Our son Track is 19.”

Fact: Tell him to keep the seat warm, Delaware Democrat personally has added a compelling twist to his case. On Oct. 3, Biden's son, Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III. Since it has nothing to do with being VP or president, and since he had so much more to offer he didn’t mention it. His son was there, and anybody who wanted to know could look it up. He is in the National Guard. You know the people supposed to be guarding our national borders.

Palin: And children with special needs inspire a special love.
To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters.

Fact: I am surrounded by “special needs” Children. I grew up one. I have three friends and colleagues with Down Syndrome babies. The one thing they will all tell you they need more then anything else is “time”. They never seem to have enough time. That is what the good parent of a special needs child will tell you. Yet this woman thinks running off on a hopless quest to be VP is the best thing for her 3 month old Down’s child.

Palin: He's a lifelong commercial fisherman ... a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska's North Slope ... a proud member of the United Steel Workers' Union ...

Fact: She forgot to mention that her husband’s own union doesn’t support her Candidate. She also forgot to mention that her husband’s union spends most of its Washington time fighting the policies she supports. Also that his politics are very different then her own.

Palin: (I) was elected to the City Council and then elected mayor of my hometown, where my agenda was to stop wasteful spending and cut property taxes and put the people first.

Fact: The town she was elected mayor of, was left indebt $20 million. For a town of 6,700 people. You do the math.

Palin: told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that "bridge to nowhere." If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we'd build it ourselves.

Fact: That was spot on. She first said “thanks”, then once the state had the money she said, “no thanks” and kept the money. The state, however, never gave back any of the money that was originally earmarked for the Gravina Island bridge, said Weinstein and Elerding

At that point she turns to what John McCain has done. Nothing about what she will do. Nothing about her thoughts on major issues. Just a bunch of lies and stretched truths. Like I expected anything else.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin: Chasing Two Rabbits

This is actually a favorite pass time of the ignorant and self delusional of our era. I have a friend in the ether that calls them “narcissistic.” The old adage goes, “He who chases two rabbits catches neither.”
What we have heard from the Campaign of John McCain is that, “Sarah Palin is both a dedicated leader and a good mother.” The problem is that her record and current situations says she is neither.

As a leader she has been a dim witted fumbling version of a real politician since her rise to runner up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant. As mayor of a town of 6,000 she was asked to not hand off duties to people who know how to do them. Once governor she waffled like a lamp post in a hurricane. Her conspiracies and hypocrisies were more thinly veiled then the enthusiasm of a cheerleader at a chess tournament. Could it be that she might have made a decent politician if it weren’t for her attempts to also be a “good mother”?

Then again let us look at the “mother” Sarah Palin. The Palin family could easily be guests on the Jerry Springer show if the right story came out. They have all the qualities of daytime talk show attendees. They have the kids all named after NASCAR or hunting references. You have a mother with a 3 month old child and a daughter who is pregnant. The rumors floating around about who is really the baby daddy. Did I mention her political platform of “no sex-ed” and “abstinence only”. That seemed to work out for her, don’t yah think?

If my wife came to me and said, I am pregnant while I was being considered to be VP, My very next call would be to say, “Not interested this time, think of me in the future.” This is especially true if I found out my teenage daughter was going to be brining a child into the house. Presidents and their vices spend a lot of time away from home. It seems that her quest to be governor alone has played hell on the Palin family household. Now they have a Down Syndrome baby and a teenagers child too. Somebody needs to stay home and sit while their child finishes school the Down’s baby is going to need attention too.

However in her continued selfish quest, Palin has shown the republican ability to display a marketing front that seems, “healthy and American”. But a closer look exposes a selfish greedy power hungry underside that only serves to appease one person.

Trying Not To Take Palin Seriously?

Alright, I didn’t want to have to do this. I didn’t want to have to take her seriously. But, It seems that Sarah Palin is not going to withdraw. Here is what you need to know about the Republican spin on issues they are claiming make her a Maverick.

First- Sarah Palin vetoed a bill that would have banned “gay rights”. The following is a link to a “gay” website, but it turns out if you are going to research gay issues, you will find the most perspective relative views from the gay community. Palin's reluctant pro-gay veto, Part 1. If you don’t want to go the main quote is this.

The Associated Press reports that the governor said she rejected the bill
despite her disagreement with a state Supreme Court order directing the state to
offer benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.

Palin said in a media statement that she vetoed the bill on the advice of
her new attorney general who said it is unconstitutional." Signing this bill
would be in direct violation of my oath of office," Palin said.

She claims fiscal conservatives. Yet she has shown the fiscal conservatism of George Bush. It seems . Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.
She was urged by city counsel to delegate many of the “executive duties” to her subordinates because she was failing them.

They will claim she fought corruption in her own state by opposing the “bridge to nowhere.” This link takes you the a news story that dispels that Myth. “Got rid of the bridge but kept the money.” The highlight text from the story is, “Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips, a Republican who represented the Kenai Peninsula city of Homer, is also critical about Palin's reversal on the bridge issue.

"You don't tell a group of Alaskans you support something and then go to someplace else and say you oppose it," said Phillips, who supported Palin's opponent, Democrat Tony Knowles”
Her platform also includes “abstinence only”, “no sex-ed in school”, and “creationism in the classrooms”. Since her 17 year old daughter is pregnant, the first two seem at odds with reality. Then again if creationism is your reality in place of science, anything is possible.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin Sill Hasn’t Resigned?

Day 4 and already McCain’s little sex kitten VP pick Sarah Palin is out with another scandal. Turns out that she has a 17 year old daughter who is pregnant. The conspiracy theories were abound that her daughter (Bristol, you got to look up the names of these kids. They got the NASCAR vote) had the baby and Ms. Palin and her husband took it as there own. This rumor was enough for Palin to come out and set the record straight.

So here is the record. She has been governor for a year and a half. Palin was Officially inaugurated in January of ’07. So quick math here, Jan to Dec is 12 to August is 8, that equals 20 months in office. Did I mention it was a job that she had been trying for 2 previous elections to get unsuccessfully, and finally she got it. Yet 12 months ago, 8 months into her new governorship, with 4 kids already, at the age of 44 she goes and gets knocked up. . We can be a little honest about biology here I hope. If a man did this it would be despicable. A woman doing putting herself in such a situation, it is despicable. You are elected, and expected to give 110% of yourself to the people for your term. To further exemplify the poorness of her decision making skills, as we all know having a child in your 40’s increases risk of Down syndrome. Guess what? Their child they so graciously chose to conceive while she is performing the stressful job of being a governor, has Down Syndrome. So now she has a 3 month old baby with Down, what if a CIA agent needs outed? Don’t worry “my friends” she has the resolve to get done needed corruption. Because also in that first 20 months she found time to get caught up in a “dismissal scandal”. Firing somebody for not firing her sisters ex-husband.

Then there is everybody talking about what a wonderful Mom she is. If she is so wonderful, why is her 17 year old knocked up and not graduated from high school? Yah that is right. Miss “good mother” has a 3 month old down baby and now a 17 year old teen mother at home. I am not sexist, but maybe somebody needed to stay home and take care of the kid. Either the father or the mother didn’t know where their daughter was at some point. If you think it is going to get any easier when you are VP, let alone one step from being President, you are mistaken.

That is the record, We have a former runner up to Miss Alaska, mother of 5 kids with NASCAR related names, former mayor of a town with less people then a Cleveland housing project, 1.5 years as governor, of which one year she has been pregnant of with a newborn, mother of a pregnant teen, with “executive experience.” (My wife has been a secretary for 8 years, “executive experience” is what we put on her resume when she gets an itch to try for a new job.) One really should Imagine a tailor trash Jerry Springer guest just got tapped to be the VP. She is running second seat to a 72 year old man with skin cancer and was abused for 5 years as a POW in Vietnam. He was a graduate form the naval academy in the bottom 5% of his class. He may need some help. If you can imagine her butting heads with the Iranians, Russians, Syrians, or even the Nebraskans, I have “a bridge to nowhere” to sell you.

Ms Palin go home!! Your family needs a mother and the United states needs a President and a vice president that can get things done. You have not the qualifications or the understanding to deal with the catastrophic issues of the day. The think so only demonstrates your selfish ignorance.

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