Remarks From Remarksman

October 27, 2008

Iron Knee on How Screwed We Are

Iron Knee has posted a couple articles, today and yesterday on PoliticalIrony.com, discussing the awful actions the Bush Administration is taking during its last few months. Here is a list of recent events (most of it enumerated in the Political Irony posts):

  • Banks are using the bailout money to buy up other banks.
  • Banks are using the bailout money to give bonuses to investment bankers.
  • The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has failed to enforce the Stream Buffer Zone Rule in regards to mountain-top-removal coal mining in Appalachia, so now they’re planning to just do away with the rule.
  • Bush (along with a willing and apparently stupid Congress) agreed to sell nuclear technology to India, which never signed the NPT. (I wrote about this when the bill passed.)
  • AIG (one of the largest recipients of federal bailout money) may have used bailout money to lobby Congress to pass that India nuclear tech bill.
  • And now we are apparently killing people in Syria via cross-border raids from Iraq.

It seems that Bush and his corporate welfare administration cronies are concentrating on extracting every dollar and benefit, and executing every idiotic plan they can during these next few months because it looks like Obama will win the election. It’s difficult not to feel like we’re looking for deck chairs on the Titanic on a grand scale. Like Iron Knee says, we are screwed.

The Wrong Bailout

The administration is trying to loosen the credit market by pumping money into banks by buying supposedly preferred shares (which have no voting rights). Their idea seems to be that if banks have plenty of money, they will hand out loans. As we’re seeing, that is not what banks will do with the money. Instead, the government should be creating new business. It could increase spending on critical infrastructure: fix up a bunch of our decaying highway bridges, build new electric transmission lines, build big solar thermal plants in the southwest, build big wind power fields in the northeast, build geothermal power plants in the northwest. Build or subsidize these kinds of projects and in addition to creating jobs, loans will be requested by contractors — loans which have a great chance of being repaid. Loans that the banks will be happy to make.

The Works Project Administration (WPA) from the Great Depression didn’t hand money out to banks, it built valuable infrastructure for the country and put unemployed people to work. But just last week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress they should start thinking about another stimulus package. Congress already seems to be thinking along the same lines as the “economic stimulus package” from earlier this year. Note to Congress: Handing out cash to taxpayers so they can buy new plasma screen televisions is not the same as the WPA.

I’d be surprised that Congress and the Bush Administration can get it all so wrong, but it’s not surprising if you consider how much the financial industry spends on lobbying and campaign donations. And don’t forget “Clean Coal.”

October 14, 2008

Where Are The Handcuffs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 6:08 pm
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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has finally taken a cue from the Europeans and figured out that it might be smarter to buy stock in the ailing banks than to just buy up the toxic paper. It only took him, what, two or three weeks to figure that out?

I am still waiting for the FBI to march tens or hundreds of the bankers and brokers who engaged in deceptive practices down Wall Street in handcuffs, but, not surprisingly, that does not seem to be a priority for Secretary Paulson (ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs) or the Bush Administration. Instead, we have the previous heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leaving with a combined $9M in severance packages.

A post at The Big Picture, based on Kate Wellings’ work, provides a time-line of quotes from Secretary Paulson clearly showing that he is either totally incompetent, or a compulsive liar. I’m not sure which is worse, but as Kate Wellings says,

In short, any jot of credibility that the Secretary may have had surely cannot withstand this inarguable evidence of aberrant thinking; the inconsistency alone is staggering. These quips run the full gamut from puerile denial to deliberate understatement to bald-faced demagoguery, right on down to yesterday’s call for patience. Suffocated by his unabashed, unprincipled and incessant manure-spreading, I honestly wonder how the heck it is that we are not on the WH lawn – right this instant – pitchforks in hand.

One of NPR’s news pieces this morning was about a coupon-clipping queen. Why wasn’t it about Senate investigations? FBI findings? We’re supposed to stay calm, clip coupons, and wait for Paulson and Bush to sort out a fix?

October 5, 2008

U.S. Gives India Nukes, Who Cares About Non-Proliferation?

Nuclear Disarmament Symbol Another major story lost in the bailout headlines: the Senate voted on Oct. 1 to approve the Bush administration’s plan to begin supplying India with civilian nuclear reactors, nuclear fuel, and other related technologies. India has already exploded a nuclear weapon but has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

More details in this MojoBlog article.

Another entry for the hypocrisy category: The Bush Administration handing out technology for real weapons of mass destruction without requiring India to sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. How the House and Senate were convinced that this is a good idea is a mystery to me.

October 4, 2008

CIA Shenanigans

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 9:23 pm
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Mostly ignored with all the crazy bailout and credit crunch headlines this week, CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo pled guilty to wire fraud this week in exchange for dropping 27 other charges against him. This news article from Mother Jones has all the gruesome details of typical Bush-administration cronyism and scary thoughts about why Foggo was working to award one of his cronies a contract to provide secret air support to the CIA, but the “money quote” below comes from the last paragraph:

The plea deal hasn’t stopped Foggo’s former CIA colleagues from continuing to fume in outrage at Foggo’s behavior, or from pointing the finger at former CIA director Porter Goss for appointing Foggo to the Executive Director position in the first place. […] Goss abruptly resigned in May 2006 just as federal investigators were raiding Foggo’s office. Foggo is scheduled to be sentenced January 8. His co-conspirator Brent Wilkes is currently serving a 12 year jail sentence in California. Cunningham, a onetime ace fighter pilot who reportedly served as the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character in Top Gun, is serving out an eight year sentence, the longest prison sentence ever meted out to any member of Congress. Meanwhile Foggo, based on his plea agreement, is likely to leave prison well before a McCain or Obama administration finishes its first term.

April 17, 2008

CondiMustGo.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 11:02 pm
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The main page of the CondiMustGo.com web site features a video that makes Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s hypocrisy regarding torture crystal clear.

I agree that liars and hypocrites don’t belong at the top levels of our government, especially when they are responsible for authorizing crimes against humanity. I’m not sure how relevant the effort to force her to resign is, given that the whole administration will be replaced in less than a year now, but I certainly support it.

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