Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Odd Couples

The thing about odd couples is that when they share a common cause, they are no longer odd, and the odds are in their favor .

A few articles caught my eye recently. All have to do with new potential problems America faces thanks to our financial sector. Here are the articles:

1.   Occupy Wall Street Compared to Other Protests

2.   Obama, Geithner and the Next Financial Crisis

3.   Ron Paul Catches Cain in a Lie over Fed Audits

Seems like same old same old, what else is new, right? And it seems when people speak or protest, they get made out to be crazies or irresponsible or terrorists. On both sides now.

I am intrigued by the idea of the Tea Partiers joining in Occupy Wall Street with the 99%-ers. I think it would go a long way to bringing us all together in common cause. We hardly have anything anymore in common politically. I believe that we MUST begin working together in order to move forward, so this could be a start.

I loved what the first article quoted from Imanuel Ness, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the editor of the Encyclopedia of American Social Movements. "The messaging is directed at working people," he said. "Both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street are arguing that something needs to change. The question is, What is the source of the problem?"

A former 60's student protest leader notes this: "We are the 99 percent' is a clear message," he said. "It is unfair and in fact disgusting that the American political economy is run for the benefit of a plutocracy. I don't see how that can be misunderstood."

And look at this, on the GAO website (Government Accounting Office, the best federal governmental agency we have). They audited the Fed (Federal Reserve Bank). This speaks to Ron Paul's biggest complaint, that it is such a secretive agency. So secret that they would not even disclose how much in bailout money they gave to the big banks. Until now.

The list of institutio­ns which received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows:

Citigroup: $2.5 trillion($­2,500,000,­000,000)

Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,00­0,000,000)

Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,00­0,000,000)

Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,00­0,000,000)

Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion* ($868,000,­000,000)

Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,­000,000)

Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,­000,000)

Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,­000,000)

JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,­000,000)

Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,­000,000)

UBS (Switzerla­nd): $287 billion ($287,000,­000,000)

Credit Suisse (Switzerla­nd): $262 billion ($262,000,­000,000)

Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,­000,000)

Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,­000,000)

BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,­000,000)

When you see just how much they were given without any real accountability or limits or benchmarks for use, it is difficult to say the least to argue that our financial system is not run for the benefit of the plutocracy.

Just sayin'.

I know it is a longshot, but if, just if the two groups marched together for this, it would inform both sides, both factions, both parties that business as usual must end now. Both sides seem to be stuck in the past, back when we could afford business as usual...or we at least thought that we could. The sooner we get to working, cutting the gangrene, the sooner we can heal. We have to find common cause.

And I'll leave you with some great news, at least for all of us Gumby fans. He's on the Google homepage this the animated Google Doodle! It's to honor his creator, clay stop motion pioneer Art Clokey, whose 90th birthday would have been today. And, how old is Gumby? He's a year older than I am. He first appeared in 1955. Many a Sunday during my childhood was spent watching Gumby and Clokey's other famous claymations, Davey & Goliath.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

So many mixed messages

I've wanted to post an entry more than once this last week, but I've been so confused by all the mixed messages out there that I haven't been able to digest them down to any coherent conclusions. Finally, the last 24 hours have been kinder to my addled brain. Things are beginning to make some sense. And I had zero help from the media. In fact, they've been part of the problem.

I'm talking about two issues, mainly: this Occupy Wall Street movement, and the GOP primary race.

To understand the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, you need to go a couple of places first. First, go here, to the We Are The 99 Percent website and read as many one-page testimonies as you can stomach.

Then, go over to Occupy Wall Street's website. Read the front page. In case you have heard on the news about a list of demands that OWS has, you should read THIS. OWS says they do not have an official list. What the front page says is pretty light on details, more of a general disgust for what exists in our financial infrastructure and that they want change.

They appear to me to be mimic'ing the Tea Party movement as a reason to exist, which I cannot really find any reason to be against. What's good for the goose, yadayada. And, I basically think Wall Street should hurt and be ridiculously regulated and restricted from this very second on, as I follow the old axiom Burn Me Once, Shame On You. Burn Me Twice, Shame On Me. And the first time was 1929, lest anyone forget.

So, I'll be following this. I'm remembering Van Jones talking in a speech about a month ago about the Left needing to take lessons from the Tea Party. Then, suddenly, this movement. So, is there a connection? Or, is it that others can have the same thought and go with it?

On to the GOP primary race. Herman Cain is having his moment now, and even though I really do not think I can support him for president because of his social positions, I'm still plenty happy for him and find myself thinking, go Herman go. If he would call a moritorium on the social stuff as part of his platform, I'd be happy. We do have one huge economics problem, after all. Plenty to deal with right there.

Perry seems to be dissed by the media left and right, and by Santorum, Bachmann and Cain (together with Perry, they are the evangelical Christian candidates), but since there have been no debates, it's like it's all in limbo. He does seem not to be able to catch a break, though. A reader emailed me to ask why I was so open to supporting him, and I realized that I think that the biggest reason (other than what I've said previously, that he hasn't caused me much trouble at all in 10 years being my Governor) is that if the Bushes keep control over who the GOP nominates, that means defeating Perry. So, supporting Perry means defeating the Bushes influence. And I am ALL FOR THAT. So, that is pretty much it. My support is that thin. Still, it would really be nice to get those Bushies out of power.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Political Perry-noia Abounds

A recent collage I created...
Well, I apologize for being gone from here so long. Suffice it to say, LIFE got in the way, although it was a pleasant obstruction. More often than not when that happens, it is anything but pleasure, so I am grateful.

At any rate, where was I? Oh, right, debate review. I ended up being gone so long I think they've had 2 or 3 more by now. I lose count, but Perry's honeymoon period has come and gone, and I'm quickly losing patience with all of this adherance to the far Right's cultural PARANOIA that is all landing on Perry like shit on a stick -- hence, PERRYNOIA has been born.

I really need to get this off my chest about Bachmann: I have noticed a very annoying and cheap trick in her political bag, that of spreading gossip about her opponents. And, that combined with me not agreeing with her far-right Christian Conservative social and personal beliefs, has turned me off her completely. Not that I ever was a fan, but I was willing to give her an open mind and I did for awhile, until she reminded me of every other socially sheltered immature person in my life who has chosen righteous stubbornness for their bubble-view tunnel vision over a search for enlightenment, balance, tolerance and reason within the larger world. I am glad to have seen the Florida straw voters turn against her.

Bachmann oozes good girl evangelical in her decision-making, and at first I tried to look for it being a facade, as in, is there maybe a rational secular pragmatist inside there just pretending to be what her core base wants to see? I even found myself wishing it were so, but now I know she is as much at home sending secret code to her following as she is speaking to the "rest of us". That is disappointing at best. We do not want a president who speaks to "his/her" true believers in code (some say we already have one right now), and Bachmann has been doing that. Imagine needing your president to come to your aid and instead being told no because you do not believe as you should. Bachmann IS what Palin's opponents accuse her of being. Without getting into an argument about how far you can throw that kind of thing, suffice it to say that the president should be someone for the people, all the people. Bachmann is of her people only, and a true believer of that.

On to veep choices. I believe Rubio will be the strategic winner on this for two reasons: he's handsome and he's latino. The latino thing will seal the deal. The GOP needs to gain inroads with this demographic worse than Texas needs rain, and having one of their own on the ticket will do that better than attracting flies with a honey-coated stick. However, in the (unlikely) event that Rubio doesn't agree, I think going with Cain will prove to be a good sound choice. For Romney. I do not think Cain would accept a slot with Perry. Plus, Perry has a bit of a bromance with Rubio in real life. They are besties.

So, sit there and picture Romney with Cain and Perry with Rubio. Then, try to picture Paul with anyone.  LOL, not so much, eh? This illustrates something for me: Paul will not be the GOP nominee. But that won't stop him from running third-party, though. And I believe he just might. But his running mate will probably be someone most of us don't even know. Or maybe it'll be Gary Johnson. Choices to chew on.

I like what that scenario might do the more I think about it. I really think a Paul third-party candidacy will hurt Obama more than the GOP candidate. Humor me for a bit: let's say Perry gets the GOP nomination and he goes with Rubio. That puts it as a 3-way race between Obama/Biden, Perry/Rubio and Paul/Paul (let's fun it up and have his son Rand run with him). This would be a great result to my way of thinking, which is that we need to be as centrist as we can in our politics right now in order to maintain the magic of American capitalistic democracy. And such an array of choices gives us this, as crazy as it seems.

This should indicate to you that I truly haven't made up my mind yet. Obama is also still in my choices, believe it or not. I try to keep an open mind. Although, that is getting harder by the moment, because at present I'm halfway through the book, Confidence Men by Ron Suskind.  I completely agree with this NYT Book Reviews assessment of the book. To me, it's like, DUH. This is why I did not vote for Obama, hello? Still, the vote for president is a choice, most of the time between two evils, hardly ever a choice for the person of your dreams, ya know? This is the only reason Obama remains in my stable of realistic choices, because as bad as he is, he may end up being the best choice in 13 months. Anyway, an eye-opening book, highly recommended.