Dear Steve

January 30, 2009

 Steve,

The stimulus package, like the bailout is nothing more than a free lunch for the Bi-polar values of the elite class (Political, Social, & Business). Global Central bank credit creation is the virus that has set in motion the current collapsing of the economic systems. What is the governments answer? More credit creation, which is similar to treating a Salmonella infection by eating Salmonella. The stimulus’s (There will be more to come {several}) will only serve to exacerbate the current situation by making it more severe in depth and time. Elliot Wave International gave a great analogy: “It is like filling up lake Mead with a garden hose after the Hoover dam collapsed and now the Fed is using a firehouse. The fed has thrown 2 trillion dollars at a 58 trillion implosion”. Eventually, the amount of money thrown at this catastrophe will catch up with the implosion. I would liken it to the Twin Towers, whereby it only stopped falling when all the floors where no longer standing. It was only after that point the rebuilding could begin. Economically speaking, this is exactly what the global economies are headed.

The ethical question that I struggle with is if money will be spent, where and how should it be done. Do you throw money at the crisis for housing and food for those who will literally be left out in the dark? Or do you let it fall fast and hard to bring about the rebuilding quicker? I am currently wondering, which scenario will impact the least amount of individuals in both depth and time. We know what the government is doing! Some may not believe what I write can actually come to pass in a modern society like ours. I think the headlines speak for themselves………FYI- I will be blogging this email.
Best,

Kevin

 

 

 

 

 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/business/NJs-Unemployment-Fund-Is-Running-Out-of-Money–.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/08/jobless.claims/

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/us/15funds.html

 http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/12/states-running-out-of-unemployment.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Quit My Dentist Today

January 29, 2009

This is a strange title for a post, but if you read the letter below, it may make some sense:

Dear Dr. Marion:
I have been utilizing your services for the past four years, and have been completely satisfied.  Unfortunately, when I came in for cleaning yesterday, I was quite distressed to be subjected to political propaganda.  The Fox Propaganda Network was on the TV in your waiting room.  In my opinion, there is no place for this type of programming in a place of business; frankly, pornography would not have any more objectionable.  This is a network that claims to be fair and balanced while alleging that our President is a muslim, and that it makes a difference.  This is a network that has accused our President of being a terrorist, and his wife of being un-American.  This is a network that showed a picture of a Republican gay pedophile congressman with (D)FL on the bottom in an obvious attempt to deceive the viewers.  I could go on for hours with examples of their transgressions.  I realize that Butler County is a very conservative area, and it is likely that many of your patients are not offended by this programming, but there are also many like me that have friends and relatives that may be Muslim, Black, Latino, etc. and find this hate-spewing network offensive.  This network validates the most destructive xenophobic instincts in our society, and for me to overlook transgressions of this type would be a violation of my most basic principles.  In addition, businesses who subject their patrons to this trash must be informed that not all approve.  While I hold no personal animosity toward you or your staff, I have no choice but to seek dental services elsewhere.
Sincerely,
Joe Talarico
Fox News is offensive to me, as it is to all progressives.  While every American has every right to watch whatever programming he or she pleases, and every business has every right to broadcast whatever it pleases, individuals also have the right to patronize (or not) any business they please.  It seems that Fox News is everywhere, from hotel lobbies to auto dealers to professional offices.  If we don’t stand up, this poison will become even more pandemic than it already has.  Let me know if you think I am crazy.  Better yet, let me know if you think I am crazy for this reason.

Where did all the money GO?

January 25, 2009

Metcalfe & Ellis with your tax dollars

Recently, Butler County’s dynamic duo legislator Metcalfe & Ellis portend to take aim at budget cuts. This is nothing more than a dog and pony show. The first piece of BS in the article was made by Ellis, “I think this is the first year you’re going to see a clear difference between the two parties,” The truth is politicians from both parties say whatever will get them reelected! Ellis and especially Metcalfe are poster children for partisanship. They never seek to find common ground but prefer to seek and destroy anyone who opposes their political views regardless of party. When we read Ellis advocating “reducing the size of the bureaucracy in state government” and then Metcalf adding “if we could eliminate just half of the waste, we could fix the deficit” we should all answer. Leadership begins at home and they should start with their offices and the legislature.

 
Did you know the total numbers of PA legislators as well as salaries are the second highest in the nation? Yes, they are! Moreover, PA spends 22% more on the total amount paid out to legislators than the second-place state, New York. The 2005-2006 state budgets contained $462 million for Pennsylvania’s legislative branch. Why is it, when we hear calls for sacrifice by Metcalfe and Ellis it never includes the legislature or their offices? Why shouldn’t they make sacrifices by way of reduced salary, pensions, health care, perks, and the legislature size when we are?

Metcalfe & Ellis with your tax dollars

I Am Cautiously Optimistic

January 23, 2009

Many progressives were concerned, to say the least, about Obama’s reaching out to the right before the inauguration.  From his including of Rick Warren in the inauguration ceremonies, to his dinner with George Will and his band of fascists and his repeated calls for unity in these critical times.  Unity is not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, our conservative friends are Americans, too (although many don’t think we are).  However, Democrats have been, for good reason, conditioned to equate unity with bending over for the right, moving to the center and compromising with those who do nothing but move further to the right.  It may be early, but I am starting to see signs of change.

 

President Obama met with the republican leaders of Congress today, and reportedly informed them that “I won.”  While he listened to their concerns, he apparently left no doubt in their minds that his stimulus bill will pass, with or without their support.  Even “No balls Harry” Reid, when asked if he was concerned about passage, replied simply “no.”

 

The Republicans still don’t get it.  John “Total piece of shit” Boehner (really, look in Webster’s dictionary under total piece of shit, and his picture is there) is asking for more tax cuts, claiming that Obama’s plan won’t work fast enough, and many of Obama’s cuts are going to those who don’t pay taxes.  There are three flaws to his reasoning:

·        Tax cuts haven’t worked at all so far; remember the Bush years?

·        Nothing will work fast; we are in a huge hole that nobody short of God could get us out of quickly.  When there is no quick fix, the best course of action is to do something that will have beneficial effects for years to come.  Government spending on infrastructure, renewable energy, and universal health care will help keep people from starving in the short run, and will have a long term benefit on not only our economy, but also our society.

·        Republicans like to point out that many with low incomes “don’t pay taxes.”  It’s true that many don’t pay income taxes, but all pay payroll taxes.  Since George Bush opened the non-existent Social Security “lock box” and used the money on his corporate welfare and warfare programs, payroll taxes essentially go into the federal coffers; these people do pay taxes.   

 

A perfect illustration of how Republicans still don’t get it can be seen on the NRCC web site,

http://www.nrcc.org/issues/default.asp?ID=47

If I didn’t see it for myself, I wouldn’t believe it:  they attribute our “robust economy” to Republican fiscal policy.  They are absolutely right in that Republican fiscal policy is overwhelmingly responsible for the current state of our economy.  If robust means being in the shitter, there’s no argument here.

 

Getting back to the point, I am cautiously optimistic from what I have seen so far, from the closing of Guantanamo, which I suspect will be far easier than Faux News wants us to believe, to reversal of many Bush executive directives, to his apparent standing up to the Republicans on economic policy.  This is all the more reason that it is up to us to remain active.  Call or write Congress and support these policies, let President Obama (that really sounds a lot better than President Bush) know where you stand by frequently visiting the new site

http://my.barackobama.com/neworganization

 

Visit early and visit often.  Let your voices be heard.  We are in for a tumultuous period; there is not a lot we can do about that.  However, we can look at this period as a threat or opportunity.  Because of social upheaval, the last depression was followed by arguably the longest period of economic growth in history.  The growth of “the great middle class” was a direct result of policies passed in dire times.  Let’s make sure that this time it’s no different.  It won’t come from Washington alone; it must come from the masses.


Our Work has Only Begun!

January 14, 2009

I have followed the development of the coming Obama administration closely, and am extremely impressed, but uneasy.  I believe that many progressives feel the same way.  While Barack has tapped some of the best minds in the country, their ideologies are not necessarily in synch with those of us that worked in the trenches to accomplish the great change that we envision.   There are a number of ways that progressives can react to the situation, but the course of action we decide upon is crucial in the present environment.

The easiest course is to have faith that Obama will mold his cabinet to his own view of bold and dramatic change.  Before following this course, we must reflect on where the faith-based community has taken this country.  Faith, by definition, implies the lack of thought.  I am not bashing religion; many people of faith have performed great deeds.  What I am referring to is when faith spills over from God to man.  Examples are those who were so ecstatic that we finally had a president who was a man of faith (George Bush, as opposed to that terrible sinner, Bill Clinton), and those who had the faith to follow the likes of Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, et.al.  While faith may well provide a solid basis for one’s spiritual life, it just doesn’t work well in politics.  Furthermore, in these times we don’t have the luxury of taking a wait and see attitude.  By the time we’re done waiting and seeing, we may well be beyond the point of no return, which is arguable rapidly approaching.

Another easy course of action is to accept the fact that it really doesn’t matter who we elect, because the same beltway insiders will continue to cater to the corporatocracy, and we are screwed no matter who is president.  If we decide on this tack, there is no doubt the result will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The conservatives will certainly be pushing the administration to the right.  If our voices are not heard, what choice will the politicians have but to buy into the commonly believed fallacy that this is a center right country.  Because of the complacency of the left over the past 30 years, I fear that from where the insiders sit, it really does appear that we are a center right country.  If this is true, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

In my opinion, the only sane course of action is to understand that we have elected a very good but imperfect man as president.  He is not as progressive as we would like, but he was the best choice we had.  Personally I believe Dennis Kucinich or Russ Feingold would have been better choices, but had no chance in the present environment.  Please don’t misunderstand; I am ecstatic over the results of the election.  Electing Obama was a huge victory for progressives, but to just sit back and expect that things are suddenly going to be perfect will be a catastrophic mistake.  It is time for a massive progressive call to action.

If we don’t make our voices heard, those who formulate “conventional wisdom” will convince the administration that governing from the center (meaning right) is the best course of action.  The economic recovery program will consist of tax relief for those who don’t need it, rather than of jobs for those who do need them.  Health care reform will look like the Massachusetts plan where those that don’t have health care are fined more than those convicted of domestic assault, DUI, of firearms violations, rather than free cradle to grave coverage for all Americans. 

On the positive side, the entire conversation has changed since the economic melt down of October.  Now all economists, not just the smart ones like Krugman (who, by the way, should have been Obama’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury) are advocating putting megabucks into infrastructure and energy (easy to translate into jobs).  Even that lunatic on MSNBC, Tucker Carlson, mentioned the fact that we may as a society decide that universal health care is a reasonable goal (although he claimed is would cost more money, which is globally untrue).

On the other hand, to illustrate that conservative lunacy is alive and kicking, just last week Joe Scarborough suggested that this generation of Americans was weak because we can’t tolerate a period of 7-10% unemployment.  This comes from a guy who, like most conservatives, could not tolerate a 38% marginal tax rate on his income over $357,000.  Who’s weak?  Obviously, Joe has never been unemployed, or has never cared about someone who was unemployed.

Back to the subject, now that my tirade is over (I’m happier now), I’ll get back to the subject.  Progressives have been highly successful in electing the most progressive electable candidates this past year.  In addition to Obama, Western PA has replaced fascists Santorum, Hart, and English with moderates Casey, Altmire, and Dahlkemper.  While none are as progressive as we would like them to be, at least we now have a seat at the table, and all have demonstrated that they are open to progressive principles.  Casey, Obama, and Altmire have supported the employee free choice act, as well as other progressive legislation, and I am confident that Dahlkemper will as well if we let her know where we stand.  

The 111th Congress started last week, and President Obama takes the oath of office next Tuesday.  Now is the time for progressives to undertake the next phase of our quest to remake the country.  That phase is activism.  Whether it’s writing letters to elected officials, letters to the editor, blogging, protests, vigils, forums, political contributions, or whatever activities you believe are most effective, it’s time to act.  It’s time for change, and that change starts with us.  We must change the tone of the conversation to the point where the default point of view is progressive.  We have given the Republican message machine a free ride for thirty years.  In spite of the fact that a solid majority of Americans are progressive (even though many don’t realize it) the conservatives have controlled the dialogue, convincing the masses that this is a center right country.  Even those of us who are not motivated to do something big can make a difference.  Speak up when some right-wing asshole mouths off about how the rich already pay most of the taxes.  When you are waiting for your car, or in a hotel lobby, tell the owner (or the employee in control of the TV) that Fox News is offensive to you.  E-mail your Senator or Representative at least monthly (better yet weekly). Your message doesn’t have to be long or eloquent; just make your opinion clear, as it is largely a numbers game.  Only we can change the game, and now is the time.