Citigroup bailout

I find it rather curious that just a few days after I read some story on “Forbes.com” that highlighted among other things the increase in ownership by a Saudi prince from 4% to 5%, that

the government now is going to rush in to save Citigroup with a $20 billion bailout and partial ownership stake of sorts.  

Could it be that Bush and company have not forgotten where their bread is buttered, hearkening back to the known connections of the Bush family with the Saudi royal family?  (thank you Michael Moore)?  If Citigroup was doing this bad, then why even bother going after Wachovia?  I think it may be yet another demonstration of the out of control, out of touch, and reckless ways of a financial industry that is now so in a panic and suffering such a corporate pseudo-psychosis that such a move that may have precipitated failure may have been almost put down to inevitable, but for which banking or financial firm the example would be.

Given the years and years I watched, as Citigroup’s people and vendors hocked wares inside the Student Union at Kutztown University and other campuses in this area, allegedly “helping” college students enter the world of credit, I am sadly again left unsurprised by the recent outcomes and consequences of practices that were designed to make a lot of people rich and a whole lot more eventually in deep debt trouble, which in turn has now come full circle as the house of cards fell apart, under its own weight of greed and mindless detachment from any shred of common sense.  I have little sympathy for these giant banking and financial institutions or for the people who really believed they were just going to keep on having it all and gave little thought of “what if I can’t afford it?”, in their reckless choices.  

I think the government should do something to make sure we don’t end up in another true great depression, but what they are doing now is akin to giving a lot of dying patients morphine or other emoluments to lessen the inevitable cycle of events that have been sewn and now must be reaped before new, better, smarter seeds can be sewn, with the bitter taste of the bad crops in the farmer’s mouth as a guide to doing a much better job in succeeding seasons.  

This whole thing needs to be gone through fully and allowed to live out and play out its parts or else we’re going to keep re-staging the same theme of plays, only with much nastier outcomes than we’ve got now.  It may seem utterly painful and distasteful to confront, but if left to denial and indifference, I assert a greater peril awaits us all.  I only hope the new Congress has the mind and the guts to stand up and help take us through this turmoil and into the beginnings of a better, smarter time of taking care of business in all aspects.  However, ultimately, we must wish to save ourselves from these crazy ways of living or else suffer our self-made wrath or ruin.

California’s Sexual Apartheid

Now that Californians have voted to openly discriminate against a minority, creating two distinct classes of citizens under their law they have imposed a system of sexual apartheid.  We must approach this bigotry with the same tools which brought down racial apartheid, segregation and slavery: tough economic boycotts.

Stop going to California.  Stop going to the movies, Disney Land, buying anything made in California which is available elsewhere, and boycott any business owned by Mormons.  The Mormon Church put $20 million into defeating Proposition 8 by using outright lies and fear mongering to scare people into voting for discrimination.

It is time to make California pay for its sexual apartheid along with Florida, Arizona and any other state which practices open bigotry.  

Obama Cabinet Taking Shape

Barack Obama’s Cabinet is quickly taking shape as he includes former foes and various experienced hands.  It certainly isn’t the “change” people were expecting but it is long on experience.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brings serious cred to diplomacy, Bill Richardson gets Commerce and could succeed Clinton at State later in a two term administration, retired General Jim Jones as National Security Adviser and Timothy Geithner at Treasury.  

The Cabinet has a definite hawkish bent and Geithner is a Larry Summers protege which means he’s another Friedmanite.  Wall Street seemed to like the selection however and went up 500 points on the news.  It is expected that Robert Gates, who has been a breath of fresh air at The Pentagon, will remain at Defense.

This pretty much complete the most important posts.  National security and economic policy advisers are thought to be the most critical for the time being.  Things like Housing & Urban Development, Education, Energy, Health & Human Services, Interior, EPA and others remain.  Also, hundreds of Undersecretaries and Deputies also remain to be filled and are especially important and influential spots.

Obama seems determined to focus on building his team and not appearing to get in George W. Bush’s way in spite of his being the lamest of ducks.

A Turkey By Any Other Description- Is Still the Governor of Alaska

A Turkey By Any Other Description-

Is Still the Governor of Alaska

by Walter Brasch

         President Bush, as has every president since his father began the practice in 1989, annually pardons a Thanksgiving turkey.

           Amid hundreds of spectators, most of them members of the media, the president makes a few cute comments, issues a pardon for the turkey and a “runner-up” (in case the Main Bird can’t fulfill all the duties), and then sends the turkeys off to a petting zoo or ranch, where they live about a year. Why they live only a year is because domestic turkeys are bred to become so pleasingly plump so quickly that disease takes over their bodies if not slaughtered. A domestic turkey has a 26 week life span; wild turkeys, if not killed by natural predators, have a 12 year life span.

           Why domestic turkeys have to be “pardoned” is another matter. The birds did nothing wrong, nothing illegal. All they did was to be born and be turkeys. But, the entire ceremony is a good PhotoOp for the president, while encouraging the sale of turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. Americans will eat about 46 million turkeys this Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

           The Federation first gave Harry Truman a bird in 1947. While most media declare that was the beginning of the pardons, there’s no evidence that Truman did anything other than eat turkey for Thanksgiving. In 1963, days before he was murdered, John F. Kennedy chose to spare the life of the turkey he was presented, but did not grab the salivating media to watch him “pardon” a turkey. The Federation gives each president a live turkey and two dressed ones.

           And now comes a turkey disguised as a human. While most turkeys might be offended at the comparison, “turkey” might be the best way to describe Gov. Sarah Palin.  

The former Republican VP nominee, at home in Wasilla, Alaska, went to the Triple-D farm, Thursday, accompanied by a willing press corps. There, she declared, apparently in all sincerity and unaware of the great irony, “I, Governor Sarah Palin, friend to all creatures great and small.” Yes, the same Sarah Palin who recently cooked moose chili while being interviewed on TV, who regularly kills animals, who approves the killing of wolf pups in their dens, who sees nothing wrong with violating every “fair chase” rule of hunting by encouraging aerial hunting. That Sarah Palin.

           But, her “pardon” actually gets even more outrageous. She said she was pardoning the turkey because it was almost the national bird, that “it is not at all clear that this turkey even had a trial, let alone a fair trial by a jury of his or her peers,” and that Alaska doesn’t have a death penalty. So far, except for her squeaky unmodulated voice and lack of complete sentences, combined with the chortle her line about “friend of all creatures” must have provoked, no harm no foul.

           And then she walked outside the pen into the fresh air and sunlight. While a KTUU-TV reporter interviewed her about returning to Alaska, behind the governor, and clearly visible to the camera, a worker was feeding turkeys into a metal funnel grinder, and grinning at the TV camera. The videographer told Palin what was happening behind her shoulder; her response was “No worries,” as she continued the three-minute interview, upstaged the entire time by the worker and the slaughter.

           During the interview, she explained she went to the Triple-D farm to help promote local business, and because, “You need a little bit of levity in this job.” Near the end of the interview, she acknowledged she was a controversial figure, and threw out an off-hand comment about the work being done behind her: “Certainly we’ll probably invite criticism for even doing this too but at least this was fun.” It certainly wasn’t “fun” for the turkeys.

           Although most Americans have no problem with eating meat, the scene that Sarah Palin willingly became a part showed not just ineptness but insensitivity.

           “The word ‘turkey,'” said Sarah Palin, is “considered a term of endearment in casual conversation.” There is no way that referring to Sarah Palin as a turkey can be misconstrued to be a “term of endearment.”

[Dr. Brasch is the author of the recently-published Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available at amazon.com, bn.com, and numerous independent and chain stores. He is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com or by e-mail at brasch@bloomu.edu]

 

Verizon’s Accurate Commercials

Recall those ubiquitous Verizon Wireless commercials where you get this entire network of support personnel following you everywhere?  Now we know why.  So they can spy on you.  It was bad enough when Verizon joined the other telecommunications companies by allowing George Bush to spy on you but now they’re doing it to Barack Obama too.

Verizon has suspended employees for tapping into Obama’s personal cell phone records.  They say his Blackberry wasn’t compromised (meaning his emails) but I’m sure we can trust this company to be open, honest and truthful (cough, cough).

How do we know this doesn’t done as espionage for the McCain campaign?  After all none of the employees has been fired, something I would think routine for such an egregious breach of security.  Of course with fifty Verizon employees following you around all the time what do you expect?

Mukasey Collapses

Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed while finishing a speech to the fringe legal group The Federalist Society last evening.  He appears to have suffered some sort of brain attack or injury watching the video.  FBI escorts quickly caught him and he was rushed to a hospital.

Mukasey replaced the disgraced Alberto Gonzales following the complete politicization of Justice by the Bush White House.  Eric Holder, Deputy AG under Bill Clinton, is set to succeed Mukasey early next year.

Update:  The hospital gave Mukasey a clean bill of health and is releasing him.  It is being called a fainting spell.  He is due to return to work this afternoon.  Stupid is as stupid does.

Congress to Big Three: Show Us Your Plan

Dueling press conferences yesterday told the tale of Washington in these perilous economic times:  The Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader lectured Detroit about their arrogance and said no bailout money will be forthcoming without a plan for success.  Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stood and represented his Michigan constituents by announcing a bipartisan plan to rescue the dying automakers.

Levin’s plan has no chance without Pelosi and Reid giving it a vote.  They want assurances this won’t be another AIG fiasco.  AIG took taxpayer money then got caught taking luxury vacations on that taxpayer dime.  When the Detroit CEO’s arrogantly flew to DC on three different Gulfstream corporate jets they fried any chances they had of success.

Someone explain to these morons you don’t go applying for food stamps in your tuxedos and have your chauffer wait outside with your limo.  All this got was anger and contempt, justifiably.  Taxpayers are angry that Hank Paulson pulled the biggest bait and switch of all time on them and that AIG keeps coming back for more money for their resort jaunts.

That is how this is perceived by taxpayers and nothing AIG can say will alter that perception.  Perception is reality and too many of these out of touch CEO’s with their $15 million/year compensation packages comprehend the new reality.

Taxpayers don’t want the new money being printed by Treasury officials going down additional black holes.  Reid and Pelosi are demanding business plans from Detroit to explain how that won’t happen before handing over a dime.  Rightly so.  The taxpayers deserve this, at a minimum.  Then the government needs to demand representation on the Boards of Directors tied to escalating amounts of taxpayer equity in the firms.  Underperforming companies may see management gutted, salaries for top executives slashed and actual sane marketing strategies implemented.

The GOP sees this as an opportunity for breaking the United Auto Workers.  Instead of preserving millions of good, middle class jobs they are bent on destroying unions.  No middle class means no consumers for all your business backer’s products and services folks, think about Country First for a change.  How soon you forgot your own campaign message!

The unions aren’t the source of Detroit’s troubles.  In a nation where CEO salaries soared from 30 times that of the average worker to 400 times union bashing is downright wrong and misdirected anger.  What good will it do to rescue Detroit by destroying the capability of its workers to buy cars?

Obama Team Losing Discipline

The vaunted team put together by Barack Obama which garnered respect from the press for its discipline and lack of leaks is leaking like a sieve.  Coincidentally with the appointment of known leaker Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, possible Cabinet appointments are coming out too soon.  Penny Pritzker has now said publicly she is not interested in being Commerce Secretary after being named so by the press.

The Obama team was highly organized and respected for not making such blunders during the campaign but with the appointment of Emanuel the ship of future State is listing slightly.  I suspect Mr. Obama will correct this forthwith.

The Obama Cabinet and White House are taking on a very serious reflection of the Clintons.  Memo to Obama supporters:  it appears you voted for Hillary after all.  All the Clintonistas taking positions in an Obama Administration and with Hillary as Secretary of State there isn’t much difference.

While some appointments are normal in such circumstances it isn’t what was promised during the campaign.  Many liberals are concerned with the DLC bent of the appointments and with so many holdovers.  You would think with all the talent aggregated for his campaign Mr. Obama could find new blood and fresh talent.

Coincidence or omen…

…this evening during a speech to the Federalist Society in Washington, DC, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed and lost consciousness, in what the news story at www.msnbc.com seems to describe as what I would call a stroke or a “CVA” in dispatched medical code scanner talk.  

He was in the middle of the speech in the part about touting the Bush administration’s successes in combating terrorism when it happened.  I don’t know, maybe his brain just couldn’t tolerate having to tell that many whoppers at one time and try to keep a straight face and his consciousness at one time.  Maybe like Bush he’s ignored the facts of his own physical well-being, as Bush has the country’s well-being and it finally caught up with him, as it has Bush and the GOP.  I’d proffer some other really cock-eyed notions, but I’ll save that for really cheeky comedians, tabloid news, and other assorted whack jobs.  

I hope he recovers, because I can’t imagine who Bush would try and replace him with in the meantime until January 20th or thereabouts.  Actually, I don’t want to imagine who, because such things might lead to nightmares that I don’t want or need.

Pennsylvania’s Proposition H8 Supporters

Pennsylvanians, led by the Templetons, contributed to the writing of discrimination into the California constitution.  The Templetons get their money from the Templeton Fund.  Don’t invest in their funds and withdraw your money if you do.  Vote with your dollars because you can do that every day.

Josephine Templeton Jr Support $100,000.00 PA Bryn Mawr 10/29/08

Josephine Templeton Jr Support $100,000.00 PA Bryn Mawr 10/27/08

S Martin Support $100.00 PA Greencastle 10/11/08

Nancy Kilgore Support $65.00 PA Brogue 10/9/08

Josephine Templeton Jr Support $100,000.00 PA Bryn Mawr 10/7/08

Barbara Thierry Support $25.00 PA Nazareth 10/5/08

John Adams Support $100.00 PA Carlisle 9/13/08

Nathan Morley Support $300.00 PA Cranberry Township 8/26/08

John Templeton Jr Support $450,000.00 PA Bryn Mawr 8/18/08

John Templeton Jr Support $450,000.00 PA Bryn Mawr 8/18/08

Nancy Kilgore Support $137.00 PA Brogue 8/16/08

Chris Cridge Support $100.00 PA Yardley 7/31/08

Pierre Koncurat Support $250.00 PA Devon 7/17/08

Mark Zehner Support $1,000.00 PA Glenside 6/30/08

Philip Hertzog Support $100.00 PA Schwenksville 6/25/08

Bob Reilly Support $100.00 PA Langhorne 6/13/08

Robert Griffiths Support $200.00 PA Pittsburgh 6/11/08

Stephen Noll Support $200.00 PA Sewickley 5/18/08

Mark Zehner Support $1,000.00 PA Glenside 4/8/08