Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

What has Obama done in office?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I have posted a couple times addressing this question. What has Obama done so far? You can read those here and here. But… I stumbled upon a fantastic site that answers that question simply—over and over and over again– What the F*** has Obama done so far dot com. Obama has done so much for our country. He cannot fix all the years of damage the last administration did but he has done a lot towards repairing so many national wounds. From healthcare reform to rights of all people to corporate responsibility—Obama has been working hard for all of us…these are just a few examples the website cites…

For Women…

For Children…

For minorities…

 

For gay rights…

 

For students…

For Human Rights (and for restoration of political legitimacy)…

For science and research…

For the disabled…

 

For the veterans and their families…

For the elderly…

For the unemployed…

For the fiscally conservative (and the next generation)…

For the geeks, even…

 

And as I said above, these are just a few of the examples of What Obama has done so far… in one term in office. I would say he has done an outstanding job so far.

Thank you President Barack Obama.

You can read more on the website: What the f*** has Obama done so far?

Soft Capitalism (Capitalism 2.0)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a “war profiteer” was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­– like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason –­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you’re going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that’s where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That’s why America has the world;s largest prison population ­– because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite’s day. I thought, “Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.”

But maybe they aren’t. Because unlike in Cronkite’s day, today’s news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter’s time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there’s health care. It wasn’t that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that’s good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they’re run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They’re not hospitals anymore; they’re Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America’s largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it’s not a right, it’s a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they’re always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what’s wrong with firemen? Why don’t they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-not-everything-i_b_244050.html

Nullius in verba

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

“on the word of no one” — Horace

This has always been my philosophy—the philosophy of most thinkers. Like Socrates, I am the gadfly of a deeper truth. I was born with an innate sense of curiosity. You telling me something doesn’t necessarily make it true. I accept no authority of information as THE authority. I am compelled to investigate. And vice-versa my researching something you’ve told me doesn’t mean I believe it to be untrue—it is simply the manner in which I operate intellectually. I have always and will always think for myself.

Moreover, I believe others should do so as well. A little thinking could go a long way to getting us out of the current economic situation we are finding ourselves. Why are we allowing the so-called experts tell us we are in an economic depression that we cannot escape? Was it not other so-called experts who watched idly as we got into this mess through artificial financial prosperity, the hay day for bankers, Wall Street and middle America alike? Why should we accept their predictions, their explanation of reality? Why should we not think for ourselves and improve our situation?

This is exactly what I have been doing. Thinking about what we can do. Here are some of the things I believe will help us get back on track as a nation:

  1. Tax according to our current laws — you will pay more than the next guy, if they you make more as you should.
  2. Place a tariff on all imports from other countries to encourage new industry within our own country and discourage cheap, disposable crap flooding in from other countries while displacing local workers and exploiting foreign children in unsafe work conditions. This will also create extra revenue which we could put back into the economy.
  3. Upgrade the power grids to be more efficient. This will save a gob of money and energy sources while preparing us for the needs of the technology of tomorrow.
  4. Invest heavily in science, technology and alternative energy. We should be able to compete in all these areas. The Chinese said they want to be the leader in electric cars within a year—why should we not give them a run for their money? We already have excellent technology and the capability to do this.
  5. Raise the standard of living in our own country. We as a society are only as good as the lowest rungs within. If the poor feel as if their well-being matters as much as the wealthiest than they will be willing and anxious to help improve our society.
  6. Each of us take what we need and put the rest back into our economy. This means reasonable wages, solid benefits for employees—healthy  less profits for corporations, less waste and mindful consumption all around. No more keeping up with the Jones, no more million dollar wages.
  7. Implement as severe punishments for white collar crimes as for other crimes. When someone robs a mini-mart and takes $250—they go to prison for multiple years. Yet, someone who embezzles 100’s of thousands often escape jail time or get reduced sentences. They should pay according to the crime.
  8. No more bonuses for failing companies. Period. No more bailouts. No more excuses. And the government should put regulations harshly punishing such policies. And if a company is deemed ‘too big to fail’ — it should be split up into smaller companies with new management.
  9. Reduce the number of HB-1 Visas. I know this will be controversial but we can train locally. There are thousands of displaced out-of-work technologically savvy people—why not put them to work?
  10. Accept responsibility but refuse to be the donkey to which all blame is pinned. Insist the rest of the world do their part as well. For example, countries like India and China can work on effective birth control to reduce their excessive population. You cannot expect to properly provide for your citizens if you lack the resources and yet you continue to overpopulate and expect the world to help you. Countries must be willing to help themselves as well. And if two countries are perpetually at war and do not wish to stop being at war, as long as they are not harming other countries, we should not interfere.

These are just some of the things I think about. I think if we did these ten things we could go a long ways towards ending this economic recession and improving quality of life globally. Mostly, I wish to encourage everyone worldwide to think for themselves—to find answers nullius in verba.

Saturday Night Live

Monday, October 13th, 2008

They are hilarious this political season…

Tom Brokaw was a mad man when it came to time. LOL… the stickler.

Sarah Palin takes gloves off

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Reap what you sow, McCain.

It would seem McCain doesn’t want to discuss the economy anymore. He would rather “turn the page” on this issue (he clearly doesn’t understand how important it is right now) and start his ridiculous lying campaign against Obama again. This is stupid. McCain WILL NOT and CAN NOT help us economically, he is corrupt. He was almost convicted once of an economic crime at what he described as the lowest point of his life. He is not trustworthy.

Read all about it for yourself.

THE KEATING SCANDAL

The ABC’s of the Keating Scandal

McLiar at it again…

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Since he cannot win on his real stances and his real record…John McCain continues to lie. He is full of it! And if anyone believes him, they are simply too lazy to do a little research. John McCain is a liar. L*I*A*R!!! He knows he cannot tell the truth or people would not vote for him. He is not for the people. He will not save the American people in taxes. He is clueless and this is why he resorts to out-and-out lies to win votes. I’m sick of it!

Race to the White “Trash” House

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

The new catch phrase being used by the McCain campaign is “Joe six-pack“. Sarah Palin is standing up for Joe Sixpack. This new catch phrase makes sense in one of two ways. She is either trying to appeal to the non-thinking, anti-intellectuals or she is going for the frat boys and girls of America. Either way this must be a ploy to get some of the less than intelligent voters to stand up for her despite or even because of her stupidity.

Let’s analyze this term…”Joe Six-Pack”. Could that be a euphemism for frat boy? Frat boy…hrm, why does that seem so familiar? Frat boy. OH! YES! George W. Bush is a glorified frat boy, albeit in the morning after period of an eight year binge, he can’t be bothered to lead this country at all, even in the wrong direction (perhaps he is too focused on his $805 billion parting gift). Joe Six-Pack…frat boy…George W. Bush. It makes sense now. Given the McCain campaign’s penchant for wordplay campaigning (aka the Straight Talk Express — shiver — is anyone else having Orwellian flashbacks to 1984?)…we can assume this new phrase means he supports the failed Bush and Rovian politics (again) but renamed them to confuse average Joe Sixpacks. I understand now.

Sarah Palin is ridiculous. She is frighteningly unprepared for the Vice Presidency or even for the Senate. This becomes glaringly more and more obvious as time (and McCain) allows her to speak in public. From foreign to domestic affairs, she lacks even the basic understanding. They should be embarrassed. McCain did himself NO favor by choosing her. Now the McCorporation ticket is headed straight to the White “Trash” House, fully equipped with someone even less intelligent than George W. (and we thought this wasn’t possible, silly us!), moose-hunting and “dontchaknows”! Yeee haw! If they become elected, we can start a bill to change the name of our country to the United Stupid of America, Land of the French Fries…the world’s beacon for Idiocracy.

Are we even remotely interested in how this country is led anymore? Or is it simply a matter of ensuring we do not think for ourselves while banishing our civil rights and liberties? Or is the support for Palin and McCorporation simply a case of latent racism? Please tell me Americans are not this stupid!

McCain LOST the 1st Presidential Debate

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I watched the debate intently. I recorded it. I played it back. I listened to hours of post-debate commentary and despite all the rhetoric, and there was a lot of that in the right wing sector media, Obama won this debate no-contest.

A debate is not about talking over your opponent. It is not about points gained by aggression or emotions raised by non-sequiturs or rhetorical nonsense. It is about logical debate on the topics. Obama gave us plenty of that, McCain did not.

The McCain campaign had ads prepared declaring they had won even this morning, BEFORE they even confirmed that McCain would be going to the debate at all. All of this after the dramatics of the past few days. McCain is a drama-king. He announced he would not go to the debate until the $700 billion bailout was signed. Yet, it was not signed and there he was. He is simply willing to say whatever at the moment to get and keep attention, even if it is under false terms. This seems to be his only consistent m.o. in this campaign. He had a television ad prepared just minutes after the debate, filled with snippets of misused quotes by Obama. He is a scoundrel and his campaign knew he lost. Apparently, he knew he would lose ahead of time.

McCain’s ad used Obama’s words out of context. When Obama said, “John McCain is right…” or “I agree with McCain” it was more to show common ground not to demonstrate he agrees with McCain’s policies. Should we not be looking for reasonable people who want to find common ground with others to lead us as a nation? Or do we want to continue fostering the useless ideology that to disagree 100% is the only way to be true to one’s party. Is it really all about the blue or the red? Should it not be more about the policies that will improve our lives and protect our collective interests? We need a reasonable, flexible President. This is what Obama demonstrated with his willingness to find common ground.

The reason John McCain needed to distort Obama’s gentleman-like behavior was because he lost on the real debate. He could not convince the American people in rational, reasonable or articulate manner that he was superior in matters of foreign relations. He couldn’t even look Obama in the eyes. He was huffing and puffing and fidgeting about. He was completely unprofessional. He avoided answering the questions or responding intelligently to Obama or to Lehrer. He lied about his voting record and the things he had and had not done. And Obama mostly let him.

Why? Some argued Obama lost points because he let him. I disagree.

Obama was trying to be polite. He was trying to debate the way you are supposed to debate. In a debate a topic is brought up, one person opens with an argument, the other gives their argument. The original speaker is allowed a rebuttal and then a counter rebuttal is given from the 2nd person. John McCain seemed to miss this on numerous occasions. He would often go on and on, over Lehrer, over Obama. He was rude and off-point throughout the debate. Obama tried to interject when he was interrupted but he didn’t want to be rude. He assumed any reasonable, intelligent person would not be swayed by such ridiculous tactics. Just because Obama is not rude or angry in his demeanor, does not mean he is weak. He is anything but.

Obama’s reasonable, rational approach worked. It is evident in the polls. It was evident in his answers. He handled himself extremely well and demonstrated unarguably that he is not a novice in matters of foreign affairs. Words you would expect to hear in a real political debate about foreign affairs would be words like diplomacy, legitimacy, discussion, negotiations and phrases like “broader strategic plan” that included something more than just military might. The came out of Obama’s mouth, not McCain, the supposed expert in foreign affairs. Obama also addressed how other countries around the world, including allies (especially allies), perceive us and noted that this is important to international affairs and, ultimately, national safety. It is absolutely vital to national safety. Political legitimacy must not be forgotten. It is tantamount to military might in international affairs. Why is this point lost on so many?

McCain didn’t mention any of these things integral to successful international affairs. Furthermore, he never mentioned the middle class, bettering the lives of every day people, or anything positive at all really. While he was busy being angry and breathing like a dragon, avoiding eye contact with Obama and ignoring Lehrer’s attempts to move on to a new question, he failed to really focus on what he had to offer the country in terms of foreign affairs or national security. And he failed to prove Barack Obama was incapable to lead the country in terms of foreign affairs or to protect the country. Therefore, he lost this debate, period.

Paramount to positive, strong international affairs is diplomacy, tact, calm and reasonable interactions with the leaders of other countries. McCain can’t even look Obama in the eye. He is rude and dismissive. He believes we shouldn’t even engage in conversation with countries who disagree with us. This is not foreign relations, this is forced relations. You must first relate to foreign heads of state to have foreign relations, long before you can have positive relations.

McCain believes we can bully the whole world around but we can not. This has been proven over the past 8 years, time and time again. Ask foreigners what they think of us. Read their newspapers. Once upon a time we were thought of as the beacon of hope, the land of dreams, the forefront of freedom and democracy. Now, we are the ignorant bullies of the world. Even the citizens of our allied countries are raging against us. And McCain is completely out of touch with regards to this entire concept. We are the joke and irritation of the world. And if you think it is not important what other countries thinks of us, think again! If China owns almost a trillion dollars of our debt and we are at war with countries who have or could soon have nuclear weapons. How many more wars can we begin and how many more allies or countries can we alienate before they form an alliance against us? Think about it…

Torture. Military first, no-talking approach to international disagreements. Bullying. Lying. Cheating. Not caring for our own people. Illegitimate wars. Loss of civil liberties. Ignoring our own Constitution. Secret Renditions. Double-Standards with regards to Nuclear Proliferation.

These are the things that are making us lose our political legitimacy and tarnishing the American brand, if you will, throughout the world. We are seen as hypocrites. Are we really so xenophobic we are afraid of talking to people who have different opinions than us? different religions? Certainly, we should not allow terrorism to reign supreme but have we lost all sense of political discourse? of moral discourse? of thought discourse? The mindset of this country has been divided. There are those of us who believe political dissension strengthens us as a country. That we can disagree with our neighbors but not kill them for it or force them to change their views with a gun. And there are those who would have you believe that any disagreement with the Bush policies or the choices made by this country’s leaders in the past eight years, or simply a different ideology is tantamount to treason.

Dissenters are made out to be anti-American, unpatriotic, haters, anti-troops, anti-military… against the U.S. in every way. This is simply preposterous. We love America. We think for ourselves. You should try it sometime.

Obama has a reasonable, comprehensive plan with regards to how he will approach foreign affairs. His will include the real tools of foreign relations. (Diplomacy, tact, discussions…etc.) This is how you deal with people.

Imagine for a moment, your neighbor and you were feuding. He disagreed with the way you keep your yard. You disagreed with the way he kept his. Would it be better to have a formal discussion, to try to work it out diplomatically? Or do you think you it would be better to jump in a military tank and blow him up? It is simply not reasonable. Period. Even if you wanted to go with the latter, how many tanks  can you reasonably come up with and how many neighbors can you reasonably alienate or declare war with? After awhile, you will run out of tanks but never of neighbors. Then what? The neighbors will join together eventually, to fight against your military tyranny. And what then?

Obama discussed another international relations point eloquently when he talked of our absence in Latin America, in Asia, and in Africa. He noted our absence in these places is amplified by China’s presence. Even Cuba is present in all of these places. Yet, somehow, we are not represented? How is this? How can we, effectively and legitimately, continue to say we lead the world in democracy and freedom, if we are not only NOT present in many countries in a positive manner but simply bullying them into doing what is best for us, even to their detriment?

Furthermore, when asked if McCain would meet with the president of Spain, he didn’t even know who he was. He was obviously mistaking him with a Zapatista (a Mexican revolutionary group). How can he be a foreign affairs expert and not know the foreign heads of states, even those of our allies? That is simply ludicrous.

“We have weakened our capacity to project power around the world because we have viewed everything through this single lens [war].” — Obama

Obama understands that international relations need more than guns to be successful. We must restore our political legitimacy before we lose the support of the allies we have left.

This is spot on. STANDING OVATION.

Obama knows the fundamentals of international relations. McCain does not.

POINT OBAMA TEAM!

I will go through the debate transcript at length this weekend… till then, keep informed and goodnight.

(And what exactly was the existential threat to Israel McCain referred to with Iran? Does he know what existential means?) And what about McCain’s comment about not wanting to go back and forth… um, this was a debate, isn’t that the point?

Obama WON the 1st Presidential Debate — HANDS DOWN!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Listen and watch (< --- CLICK THERE) the first Presidential debate in 2008 between Obama and McCain on National Security and International Affairs, as well as the urgent economic issues. (I will be blogging about this later for in-depth analysis but thought you might want to see it for yourself first). (Source of video: CSPAN) Complete Transcript from CNN:

LEHRER: Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?

First response to you, Senator Obama. You have two minutes.

OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Jim, and thanks to the commission and the University of Mississippi, “Ole Miss,” for hosting us tonight. I can’t think of a more important time for us to talk about the future of the country.

You know, we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is involved in two wars, and we are going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And although we’ve heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street I think have been struggling for a while, and you recognize that this could have an impact on all sectors of the economy.

And you’re wondering, how’s it going to affect me? How’s it going to affect my job? How’s it going to affect my house? How’s it going to affect my retirement savings or my ability to send my children to college? Video Watch footage of the debate »

So we have to move swiftly, and we have to move wisely. And I’ve put forward a series of proposals that make sure that we protect taxpayers as we engage in this important rescue effort.

No. 1, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole process; $700 billion, potentially, is a lot of money.

No. 2, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market — and when the market returns.

No. 3, we’ve got to make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes.

And, No. 4, we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country. Read more about the expectations

Now, we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down.

It hasn’t worked. And I think that the fundamentals of the economy have to be measured by whether or not the middle class is getting a fair shake. That’s why I’m running for president, and that’s what I hope we’re going to be talking about tonight.

LEHRER: Senator McCain, two minutes. (more…)

Ask Bill Gates to speak to the Country

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

We should ask Bill Gates to talk to people in our Country, instead of our President. What kind of ridiculous way was that to address the country last night? He is trying to invoke panic, to ensure this $700 billion scam is pushed through this week. Why the rush? I don’t buy it. It took years to get into this mess, making a decision in one week doesn’t make sense.

I think people should chill out. Bill Gates didn’t make it to being the richest person in the US by being a fear-mongering idiot.

Watch video here:
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