Remarks From Remarksman

October 27, 2008

Iron Knee on How Screwed We Are

Iron Knee has posted a couple articles, today and yesterday on, 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.”

February 15, 2008

Bad News from the Bush Administration and the Weak Congress

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 5:53 am
Tags: , , , ,

The news headlines from the past several days have been full of abysmal news. The Bush Administration continues to make stupid moves, and the marginal majority of the Democrats in Congress has failed to do anything useful.

The only sort of good news was that the Senate Armed Services Committee is demanding answers about the incident last August in which a B-52 flew over the US with nuclear warheads, and it took 36 hours before anyone in the Air Force noticed that the bombs were missing. (Link)

But 19 Senate Democrats sided with the President on his wiretapping program. Senator McCain voted for the continued insult to civil liberties, and for retroactive immunity for the telecom companies which illegally cooperated with the administration. Neither Senator Clintor nor Senator Obama voted. (Link)

The Senate did vote to ban waterboarding and certain other “interrogation techniques,” but President Bush says he will veto the bill. Surprisingly, Senator McCain voted against the bill because, he said, it would limit the C.I.A.’s ability to gather intelligence. Senator McCain is a former prisoner of war and in the past has steadfastly opposed torture. Once again, Senators Clinton and Obama were too busy campaigning to vote. (Link)

Meanwhile, Russia and China presented a draft treaty banning weapons in space to the UN Conference on Disarmament. This seems like a good idea, because we have enough to worry about with the nuclear weapons on the Earth’s surface. Allowing weapons in space, including a “Missile Defense Shield,” just creates another arena for an arms race.

Unfortunately, the White House opposes any treaty that seeks “to prohibit or limit access to or use of space.” Spending on space science research and development could be a way to expand humanities living area into orbit or onto other planets, but it seems the Bush administration would rather spend money making sure they can shoot down or disable other countries satellites and missiles. (Link)

So the result is that we’ll be spied on more by a government that can’t keep track of its own nuclear weapons. The President of that government wants to continue to torture the people that it thinks might be terrorists despite a history of mistakes. Our country is dumping money we don’t have into the war in Iraq, but an opportunity to make space a weapon-free place, which seems like it could save some money, is rebuffed.

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