Powell, Founding Fathers, and The Real Problem

There was an article on Politics USA  in which Colin Powell says that the Founding Fathers would probably not be happy with the Tea Party. The Founding Fathers were willing to compromise, yet the Tea Baggers think that not compromising is a virtue. And they are causing a lot of our problems.

I agree with the comments more than Powell. Powell makes reference to the “extreme left”. To which we all say: What extreme left? The Democrats keep giving, and getting nothing in return. I do agree with the idea from the article that “The tea party has adopted the symbols and images of the Revolution, but in behavior they mirror the Confederates.”

At the beginning of the year, the consensus for the economy is that things were going to be okay: There would be just enough growth to slowly chip away at unemployment, we would probably putter along okay for a while, but the next recession was probably a long way down the pike. There was a hiccup with the tsunami in Japan  in March, but by mid-April the “not-quite-Goldilocks but still okay for now” consensus came back. But ever since the debt ceiling crisis  in July, things have been a lot more fragile. And it was the Rethuglicans who refused to budge.

I get tired of people saying that our government is dysfunctional and can’t get anything done. That is BS. There is one party that refuses to get anything done. Let’s stop talking about “balance”, “fairness” and “both sides are the problem”. Mitch McConnell has stated that his goal is to make Obama a one-term president. A good way to lose an election is to be in office when the economy is bad. But should people lose jobs and houses just so one party can take back power?

I think a lot of people in this country see themselves as Republicans first and Americans second. Or they choose to define “American” to exclude anyone that they do not like. Both concepts are flat-out false.

My question for conservatives is: You talk about freedom. Freedom for whom to do what?

Image from Wikipedia

Are Bankers Really Blameless

I know I am a week and a half late, but I wanted to get this out there anyway.

Last week, Illinois congressman and deadbeat dad Joe Walsh  yelled at his constituents, and it went viral. (No, I don’t live in his district.)

He’s tired of people picking on the banks for the crisis. He blames the government.

It is odd for a political party that goes on about personal responsibility to constantly blame all of society’s problems on someone else. It is really odd for them to blame government while they are in government. Somewhere I read that Republicans say government is the problem, and then get elected to prove it.

He said that we should not blame the banks since the government sets the rules. True, but that does not let the banks off the hook.

Just because the rules say you can be leveraged 30 to 1 does not mean you have to be leveraged 30 to 1. Just because the rules say you can loan money to people without jobs does not mean you have to loan money to people without jobs.

I get tired of people blaming it on people who “got loans they should not have gotten”. The blame for that should be laid at the feet of the lenders. Lenders know more about lending than borrowers.

See The Big Picture posts about The Big Lie.

Mr Ritholz notes that Veterans’ Day started out as a pledge to end all wars.

Chinese Currency Debate

There was another bill submitted in Congress to punish China for pegging its currency. Personally I think China is pegging its currency, and that does give it an unfair advantage. But I think that declaring China to be a manipulator would be a mistake. I think that it could hurt the USA economically.

I think one reason these bills are no good is because they never seem to explain why China would benefit from floating their currency. Right now I think China is kind of like a shark. If a shark stops swimming it will die. If China does not grow quickly enough, it will have a lot of social unrest. So I can see why China pegs its currency.

I can see why it would be good for the rest of the world for China to float its currency. But I think people are basically asking China to implement a policy that would hurt China. Why should they do that? From what I can tell, all these bills that want to declare China a currency manipulator never explain how China benefits by floating. If you were China, would you replace a policy that benefits you today with one that will be bad for you know and might be good for you in some way at some undetermined point in the future? I think most people would not take that offer. Until floating the currency can be justified as being good for China, then I think it is a pointless debate.

Image from Wikimedia

Occupy Wall Street

I saw an article on the New York Times which explored the opinions of Wall Street on Occupy Wall Street.

There was one quote that I thought was pretty interesting:

Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.

Whoever said this needs his head examined. If a country of 310 million only does financial services well, then there is a serious problem. And part of the reason we don’t do as much in this country as we used to is because of-wait for it-the financial services industry. They are the ones who have wanted everything outsourced.

And now they expect people to be grateful. Unbelievable.

Military Opinions

I listened to a podcast episode of The Takeaway from January, 2010. There was a segment on an officer on the USS Enterprise who was demoted due to some controversial videos he made for the crew.

One caller (I assume she was either currently serving or a vet) said that people who have never been in the military would not understand, and presumably have no business expressing any sort of disapproval.

It reminded me of the period leading up to and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. People who doubted the Bush Administration’s contentions about whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or ties to Al Queda were told that they were wrong. They had not seen all the intelligence that the Bush Adminstration had. Oh, and they should either just support our Dear Leader or be quiet.

I noted that people who believed the Bush Administration’s contentions were never told THEY had no business supporting the war since they had not seen all the intelligence either.

In fact, people who “support the troops” or the war or some other military policy are NEVER told that since they are not in the military they have no business expressing their opinion. It is only the people who express doubts or skepticism who are told their opinion is invalid due to their lack of relevant experience.

In all seriousness, why is that?

Image from Wikipedia

 

No Credit For the Surge

I have been going through my stockpile of old episodes “Countdown With Keith Olbermann”. On September 1, 2010 he had an episode in which he talked about a speech President Obama gave on Iraq.

And a lot of Republicans were upset about it. They felt that Obama did not give GWB enough credit for the “surge”.

I think they are all full of dog poop. If GWB had sent more troops in 2003, maybe the insurgency would not have happened and the surge would not have been necessary. Then-Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki pointed out in 2002 that it would take a lot more troops to stabilize Iraq than the GWB administration was sending.

If you pointed out during the insurgency (say, from late 2003 to mid-late 2006) that Shinseki recommended more troops and that maybe that would have prevented problems, conservatives would get very upset. They were for the war, yet against more troops. I think GWB deserves nothing but scorn for the surge. The surge was nothing more but compensating for a mistake made four years earlier. From a guy who never second-guesses himself, no less.

Addition, 2013-09-02_15.47.54: I would also like to point out that many of the same people who got upset in 2003-2005 at the idea that more troops would have solved a lot of problems just looooooooooved to crow from 2008 on that “the surge worked.” How people who claim to have universal, unchanging values can engage in hipocrisy and revisionist history is beyond me.

Image from Wikipedia

 

Quote from Yahoo article

I was planning on writing a bit on the Tea Bagger nutcases. But I came across an article called “Palin blasts Obama for Wikileaks“. A few days ago there were some comments on the page, and at the time the most recent comment captured my thoughts pretty well:

After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.

You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.

You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn’t get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick along with many other things… Oh, Hell No!!”

I may post something more on this later.