Through the Ceiling

August 1, 2011

I am on vacation, but I do read the newspaper, and words are failing me.  Rather, I should say, words are choking me!  I’ll just use a few  bullets and a quote, and have done with it.

  • Repeal the law that created a debt ceiling.  It’s idiotic.  Just a phony way to impose “fiscal discipline.”
  • Do we have a democracy?  Most people want a taxes on the corporations, the wealthy, and judicious spending cuts.  We got neither, and the show is being run by a bunch of radical lunatics with backing from very big money.  I’m beginning to think Troutsky is right after all.
  • I voted for Obama because I thought he could win and Hillary might not, and of course, he was far better than McCain.  I never expected much.  He has surpassed my expectations in a negative way to an amazing extent.
  • Is he a dunce, a tool of the establishment, or a technocrat robot?

Here’s some text from Paul Krugman (bad on global warming, good on politics!) in his column today on Obama’s abject surrender to the Tea Party arm of Wall Street, and part of his linked text – my emphasis:

Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.

First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call. . .

Obama, at his press conference last December, announcing his surrender to the GOP on tax cuts; the questioner was Marc Ambinder:

Q Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?

THE PRESIDENT: When you say it would seem they’ll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?

Q Just in the sense that they’ll say essentially we’re not going to raise the — we’re not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you’re willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have –

THE PRESIDENT: Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower. [Oh, yes you can!!]

And so my expectation is, is that we will have tough negotiations around the budget, but that ultimately we can arrive at a position that is keeping the government open, keeping Social Security checks going out, keeping veterans services being provided, but at the same time is prudent when it comes to taxpayer dollars.

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Uncle Joe’s bailout

October 1, 2008

Stalin is much with us these days.  At left, a crude cartoon published in yesterday’s NYTimes lampooning the proposed bailout that was voted down later that day.  It was paid for by someone in Texas who seems to own a venture capital business.  Today, he ran another one that was a crude parody of the famous Iwo Jima flag raising, with Bush, Berneke, and Paulson raising the flag of communism on American soil.

Also in today’s paper, an article about a fellow in Georgia who makes a tidy living by impersonating Joe himself.

And on my home front, my latest acquisition.  From Regency  political cartoons and satires to deadly serious state propaganda.  A limited edition printing of the report on the first Five Year Plan of the USSR, completed in FOUR years, under the glorious leadership of Uncle Joe.  With a little help from slave labor.

When I look through these pages, I feel a tremendous sadness.  The forced collectivization was on.  The mass murder of the kulaks was in full swing.  The Ukrainian famine had wrought its horror.  The Gulag was growing apace.  The Great Purge was but three years off, to be followed by the cataclysm of the Nazi invasion.  All under Stalin’s watch.  No hint of that in these stirring pages…

A colleague of mine is Russian.  She smells the paper and the ink, and is transported back to her grandfather’s library…


Live, from Wall Street!

September 30, 2008

I took a little walk down to Wall Street, USA at lunch just now.  I actually went into Federal Hall for the first time.  (That’s George Washington on the steps, the Stock Exchange in the background.)  I hadn’t known that the building was erected some 40 years after GW’s first innaugaral.  The original structure wasn’t so imposing.

The scene there was frenetic.  Of course, tourists are always in abundance in NYC these days, what with the dollar being so low, but the television cameras were out in force.  I had to fight my way past a crowd gathered to here the latest pronouncement from the Oracle…er, update from the trading floor.  An historic time, this, and liable to more deeply change the country than 9/11 I would say.  That threat came from without – now, as the saying goes, the enemy is us.

David Brooks, with his finger in his ear to take the nation’s pulse, is fit to be tied as he decries the Republican “nihilists.”  He can’t believe that they are acting as though it is 1984 and the “enemy” is socialism or “Mondale liberalism.”  (It’s always 1984 somewhere!) Well, soi disant conservatives on the right tend to be out of touch with history, Dave.  They yearn for the golden days of 1884!  The Republican elephant is splintering into its constituent parts:  Palin-ite religious paleo-conservatives; Wall Street money men; and strict captialist libertarians, similar to what were called in the 19th century, horrorible to say,…liberals!

The hub hub makes me think of the last days of the ancien regime.  Hope it doesn’t get to that!  History is happening right before me – real people, milling around, wondering what’s going on – hanging on the words of the suits emerging from the temples of Mammon.  Surely, many of them must be thinking, “All those words of the politicians…what do they mean?  This whole system, it’s just made of people!  It’s not rocket science, it’s not the weather.  Some people wanted to get very rich in a very easy way, and now they’re terrified.  Of course they want us to bail them out.”