Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Change in seasons and in politics

Some ruminations______________
**The leaves are turning...the color will be glamorous this year.
" To everything, turn, turn, turn.There is a season, turn, turn, turn.And a time to every purpose under heaven.A time to be born, a time to die.A time to plant, a time to reap.A time to kill, a time to heal.A time to laugh, a time to weep.
To everything, turn, turn, turn.There is a season, turn, turn, turn.And a time to every purpose under heaven.A time to build up, a time to break down.A time to dance, a time to mourn.A time to cast away stones.A time to gather stones together."Pete Seger
"How many years can a mountain existBefore its washed to the sea? Yes, n how many years can some people existBefore theyre allowed to be free? Yes, n how many times can a man turn his head,Pretending he just doesnt see? The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,The answer is blowin in the wind."Bob Dylan--
***"life will somethimes hand you a magical moment. savor it" Life's Little Instruction Book, V.II,#639.
It is Obama's FDR moment. Change is in the air, and, if elected, Obama wil have difficulty holding back the tsumani waves of change.
***"If McCain has supported Bush 95% of the time, then one is redundent"source unknown.
*** Let's remember as historians revise Richard Nixon that he had Paul Newman high on his Chuck Colson dervived "enemies list".
***Is it true that NYT's Maureen Dowd has been banished from McCain's Straight Talking campaign bus?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The bailout and Newman

Some random ruminations------------------------------------
"Never buy anyhing electrical at a flea market" Life's Little Instruction Book, V. II, 662"Never wash a car, mow a yard, or select a Christmas tree after dark" Life's Little Instruction Book, V.II, 638.Or draft a $700 financial bailout after dark.It's still too early to know what is in this bailout draft. There's appears to be some Main St. safeguards, such as equity shares in the some financials, caps on CEO pay, and help on mortgage foreclosures. Kudos for those.
Is this the mother of all October political surprises? The Bush family needs forsenic accountants. Papa George allowed the S & L scandals, and the son has allowed this Wall Street scandal. What's a forensic accountant?
45% of the public oppose this bailout. The Main Street Republicans don't like it. Too much unchecked executive authority, too much money, and too little oversight. Could McCain throw a long pass, and vote against the bailout bill?
Those Congressional politicos look silly wandering around the halls, dazed from lack of sleep. Barney Frank should stop using the Barney name. It, and his personal demeaner, are too cartoonish. He looks like a lost high school algebra teacher. Our senior Sen. Schumer always likes the camera lights. Never stand between Schumer and a camera? You will be trambled.You call this a deliberate legislaive process. Agreeing to outlay up to a trillion $s w/o hearings?
Is Hank Paulson an authoritian, or what? He has little knowledge, and lots of contempt, for Congress. His wristwatch looks like a miniature Blackberry. By the way, Speaker Pelosi confiscated all the politicos' Blackberries.-------------------------The Glens Falls Post Star this am has a front page line "Actor dies". What a pitiful way to announce Paul Newman's passing on. Newman was a "Hollywood" island of morality in an entertainment sea of sleaze.He was also a politically active liberal...and there is nothing wrong with that.
I recall sometime last century when he visited Storrs, Ct., when my wife and myself were attending the UCt graduate school. He was campaigning for Yale's Joseph Duffy in the primary against Chris Dodd's father, Tom Dodd. It was the Vietnam war issue. I felt compelled to block my wife's eyes so she could not stare at Newman.
In memoriam to Newman, all of us should buy one of his family's food products or coffee.RIP, Paul.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saratoga Springs, the Civil War and the bailout

It's a beautiful day in Saratoga Springs. The city is a beehive of activity. There is a Civil War encampment in Congress Park. The Civil War was such a massacre....over 600,000 deaths, I believe. Does anyone believe Lincoln could have avoided this civil war? Speaking of experience, Lincoln had less Washington experience than Obama.
There is a running marathon in the city. I wish I could walk a mile, let alone run.--------------------------------The Feds. are going to borrow, or print, $750 billion early next week. That's in addition to Bear Sterns-$24b;Fannie and Freddie-$200b;AIG-$85; and other bailouts totaling $400 billion. A trillion here, a trillion there. Pretty soon it begins to add up.
Our buddy, neighboring Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders, has some suggestions on this bailout, some very cogent:
"..a) Impose a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue;
b) Ensure that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and
c) Require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the assumption of risk is rewarded when companies' stock goes up.
(2) There must be a major economic recovery package which puts Americans to work at decent wages. Among many other areas, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and moving our country from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Further, we must protect working families from the difficult times they are experiencing. We must ensure that every child has health insurance and that every American has access to quality health and dental care, that families can send their children to college, that seniors are not allowed to go without heat in the winter, and that no American goes to bed hungry.
(3) Legislation must be passed which undoes the damage caused by excessive de-regulation. That means reinstalling the regulatory firewalls that were ripped down in 1999. That means re-regulating the energy markets so that we never again see the rampant speculation in oil that helped drive up prices. That means regulating or abolishing various financial instruments that have created the enormous shadow banking system that is at the heart of the collapse of AIG and the financial services meltdown.
(4) We must end the danger posed by companies that are "too big too fail," that is, companies whose failure would cause systemic harm to the U.S. economy. If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. We need to determine which companies fall in this category and then break them up. Right now, for example, the Bank of America, the nation's largest depository institution, has absorbed Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender, and Merrill Lynch, the nation's largest brokerage house. We should not be trying to solve the current financial crisis by creating even larger, more powerful institutions. Their failure could cause even more harm to the entire economy. ...."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/billions-for-bailouts-who_b_127882.html

The US Senate

The US Senate DOES matter. And it could be be a very, very good year for progressive Dems.
Of the 35 Senate seats up in Nov., 23 are currently in GOP hands. Assuming the Dems hold all the 12 Dem. seats, they would only have to win 8 or 9 of the GOP seats to get a veto-proof majority. As an added bonus, it would allow the Dems to send Joe Lieberman into space.
The Udall cousins, Mark in Colorado and Tom in NM, should win. The Udalls are good politicians, and long standing members of the Mountain political establishment.
Mark Warner should win in Va.
Former NH Gov. Jeanne Shaheen has good progressive instincts and should beat that antidiluvian John Sununu.
Al Franken hopefully will send Norm Coleman packing in Minn.
The corrupt curmudgeon Ted Stevens should easily be retired by Mark Degich in Alaska. Has Sarah spoken out against Stevens?
We can all pray that that Okla. wierdo James Inhofe will be defeated by Andrew Rice.
GOP Senators Gordo Smith (Oregon) and Maine's Susan Collins are not without redeaming qualities. Gordo may lose to Jeff Meakley.
That's nine Senate seats that should go Dem. That would be more than enough to send Lieberman into that ethereal, vapid atmosphere reserved for cynical political opportunists.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama's FDR moment

Some Cannon ruminations____________________Is it a beautiful late Summer Saturday morning, or what? The leaves are beginning to turn. All is right with the universe.It was then Senate GOP leader Everett Dirksen who once said about fed. spending,. "a billion here, a billion there. After a while, it begins to add up..." LBJ used to bring ol' Eve to the Wh, fill him with scotch, and Eve would say "yes" to everything LBJ wanted.
The supreme financial bailout will cost us between $700b and $2 trillion. What's a trillion here, or there? It will be borrowed from the Chinese and the Walmart family.-------------------------Who said "Sarah Palin doesn't know her Fannie, from her Freddie"? It sounds like a Barney Frankism or a Joe Bidenism. Anyone out there know who said that?"_______________
A forthcoming book by a Fidel Castro aide says he bedded 35,000 ladies over a 40 year period-2 or 3 per day. Now that is speed dating excelisor. It's a dubious perk when you are the Supreme Commandant. Fortune Mag. has also estimated that Fidel's personal wealth is over $1 billion.
Why would you favor democracy when you can have all the wonderful perks. that come with being a dictator?
With the possible exception of universal, free, health care, Fidel has been a disaster for Cubans. JFK and RFK were probably morally correct in wanting to assassinate Fidel. Fidel's female slave trade would have been disrupted. Joe Kennedy, the father, wanted to buy Cuba and then sink it. Should've happened.________________________Does 2008 resemble 1932, or what? The economic sharks that have encircled the US are described by Kevin Phillips (Bad Money)....a good read. It is Obama's FDR moment.
George Bush is no Herbert Hoover. Hoover was a traditional conservative, slow and reluctant to use the State to arrest the Depression. Bush is a corportist neo-conservative. Yesterday, he outlined a plan that will have the State intervene in the private sector never before seen. Those crazy neo-cons believe in privatizing profits, and socializing losses.
The 1930ies Depression resulted from the excesses of the 20ies Guilded Age. The current crisis is a result of the new Guilded Age..Wall Street excesses, finanical casinoism, income inequality, and corruption.
Obama should win the WH in a walk. The fact it is a close race now is due to other factors. Assuming he wins, he should invoke an FDR-type 100 days of action. Michael Moore describes 10 actions that Obama should do quickly (Mike's Election Guide 2008). Most are good, a few are silly:
1)Institute a military draft. But only draft the 18-26 yr. old children of the richest 15% income earners (about 1.4 million). This would check the power structure from invading countries too quickly;
2)Force the rich to pay Social Security tax (6.2%) on all income over $102k. This would make SS solvent through the 21st century. And bury, forever, the canard of privatizing SS;
3)Ban all commercials in movie theaters;
4)Defeat Al Qaeda by building wells in the 3rd world. 2 billion people have no santitary sewers and 1 billion have no drinking water. Building wells for them would cost $10 per person, and create tremendous good will;
5)Free HBO for everyone;
6)Ban high fructose corn syrup, which has turned us into an overweight, diebetic-inclined nation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin, Tina Fey and Maureen Dowd

Tina Fey was good. Global warming is "God just hugging us closer" was funny. Fey/Palin saying she is experienced in foreign policy because she can "see Russia from her window" is also right on.
When JFK was asked if he had listened to Vaugh Meader's record, JFK said he thought he sounded more like Teddy than himself.
Carly Forina, former H-P ceo and McCain head counselor, ripped into the NYT editorial page this am on George Step.'s ABC show. Forina didn't like Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and even Tom Friedman's comments this am.
Actually Dowd was right on. She ripped into Palin, writing from Alaska:" Two weeks after being thrown onto a national ticket, and moments after being speed-briefed by McCain foreign-policy advisers, our new Napoleon in bunny boots (not the Pamela Anderson kind, but the knock-offs of the U.S. Army Extreme Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Boots) is ready to face down the Russkies and start a land war over Georgia, and, holy cow, what business is it of ours if Israel attacks Iran?......
Sarah has single-handedly ushered out the “Sex and the City” era, and made the sexy new model for America a retro one — the glamorous Pioneer Woman, packing a gun, a baby and a Bible.
Her explosion onto the scene made Obama seem even more like a windy, wispy egghead. Like W., Sarah has the power of positive unthinking. But now we may want to think about where ignorance and pride and no self-doubt has gotten us. Being quick on the trigger might be good in moose hunting, but in dealing with Putin, a little knowledge might come in handy. "

Friday, September 12, 2008

This silly campaign

Columinist E.J Dionne says it best:“The campaign is a blur of flying pieces of junk, lipstick and gutter-style attacks. John McCain’s deceptions about Barack Obama’s views and Sarah Palin’s flip-flopping suggest an unedifying scuffle over a city council seat.The media bear a heavy responsibility because “balance” does not require giving equal time to truth and lies. So does McCain, who is running a disgraceful, dishonorable campaign of distraction and diversion.
But Obama bears responsibility, too: His task is to remind Americans that the stakes in this election are far higher than the matter of who said what and when about Palin. He isn’t doing it.”http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/09/obama_must_stand_up_for_himsel.html
Obama must begin stinging like a bee, and stop floating like a butterfly. He should ignore Palin, and attack McCain’s radicalism. McCain’s tax cuts will cost $700 billion yearly. He will have to cut Medicare,Medicaid and Social Security by 20%. McCain believes in war, and that “wars are quagmires only until someone figures out a way to win them”.
Obama should proclaim his adminstration will be a new liberal hour, a liberal schock doctrine (Rick Perlstein in The American Prospect, Sept. 08.). He should proclaim that the time is now for “universal health care, a sustainable energy policy and a sane and secure internationalism”. He should proclaim that McCain is Bush 3- the 3 C’s-a continuation of corruption, cronyism and conservative neoism

Obama, and McCain, and H.L. Mencken

"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.
When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. "
H.L. Mencken
"I float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee."Mohammad Ali
Obama needs to begin stinging like a bee, or he will lose.The two recent scurrilous McCain ads on the charge that Obama supported sex education to kindergardeners and the pack of running wolfs going to Alaska treat the voters as unthinking nitwits. McCain's campaign has read Mencken.
Obama should ignore Palen, drop the law professor demeanor, and attack like Truman, Humphrey and JFK. He should borrow JFK's line in 1960, that he carries a great deal of responsibility. He is the only one standing between Nixon and the White House. Obama could say he carries a great deal of responsibility. He is the only one standing between the White House and Bush 3....a continuation of the neo-cons wars, deficits, corruption and cronyism.
Obama's comments yesterday that we will put Bill Clinton to work was arrogant. The Clintons will do the minimal campaigning, and bide their time to 2012

Thursday, September 11, 2008


You can put lipstick on a $500 billion annual deficit, and it still is obscene.You can put lipstick on 47 million health uninsured Americans, tell them to go to ER, and it is still obscene.You can put lipstick on an illegal, unending invasion of Iraq, that will likely cost $2 trillion, and it is still obscene.You can put lipstick on the receivership of Freddie and Fannie, that will cost Americans $200 billion, and it is still obscene.You can put lipstick on a 6.1% unemployment rate, that is closer to to 15% when part-timers are excluded and those no longer looking for a job are included, and it is obscene.You can put lipstick on the feds' Interior Dept which is in bed (literally) with Big Oil, and it is obscene.
Lipstick as a commodity is really sexist. The 60ies feminists rejected lipstick as a cheap marketing scheme to undercut the natural woman. Lipstick is a marketing tool for females to help capture males. How sexist is that? In fact, the psychoanalytical (babble?) basis for bright red lipstick was to replicate the female gentilia. How sexist is that?
Did Rudy wear lipstick when he would go drag?How much time would a pig need in the morning to apply lipstick?
I've always had a negative vibe toward lipstick since middle school. One day a cute girl blotted her lipstick on a kleenix, throw it at me, and yelled (to all the class) that that was the closest I'd ever get to her lips. Well, after climbing out from beneath my desk, I yelled back that that was the closest I'd ever want to get to her lips. That's when her football center boyfriend jumped from his desk, grapped me by the nape of the neck, and told me to meet him outside under the big tree. After school, I took my 100 #s to the very small tree far away from the school.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sarah and the Big Green Purse

My daughter is a complete vegetarian. That was her decision, and she didn't ask my advice. But there's nothing wrong with that (as Seinfeld would say).
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends we all have one meatless day a week. It would do more to slow climate warming than any other activity. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/07/food.foodanddrink).
Females guide our consumer spending. As Diane MacEachern, Big Green Purse) says, even when us males go into Home Depot we call the women to get a list of what to buy.
Sarah, the Terminator, the Barracuda, the Hockey Mom pitbull (what female nicknames) should be asked her opinion of MacEachem's 3 R's...Reduce buying, Reduce what we have, and Recycle our throw aways.
Sarah should be asked if we should add the human element to our chemistry table of elements.
The 1968 Presidential campaign was trumatic. During the campaign, Gene McCarthy said he would have an "automobile advisor" in the White House. Bob Kennedy said we should revise our GNP, to include the human elements, our consumption patterns, and quality of life. Suppose we had an auto advisor in the WH early on. We have 40 million cars on the road. The car forms our life patterns. The car culture is no longer sustainable.
ABC's George Step. asked Barack is he would go one-on-one on the basketball court with Sarah. He said he would win, but he wouldn't go target hunting with her.
Sarah should be asked if she would forego Mooseburgers one day a week.

McCain and Sarah

McCain has thrown a long pass in selecting Sarah. She is a fresh, and brash.She may get a small % of the Hillary 50+ women. Although it's an insult to these women that they would vote for a female, regardless of Sarah's far right views. It's so sexist.
Why would a woman or Reagan Dem. vote for Sarah?She would outlaw abortions. Abortions should be very rare, safe, but kept legal.Sarah didn't talk about health care in her convention speech. A GOP high-level advisor and Bush says NO ONE lacks health care. The 47 million w/o insurance can use ER. Using the ER, no one lacks care or insurance. The GOP view is absurb.Sarah supports oil drilling in Alaska. That is so parochial and is no real solution.Sarah has foreign policy views, but they're hidden now. When they emerge into the sunlight, they will be strident neo-con nostrums.
Let's get real. Again, as Gloria Steinhem said, the only similarity between Sarah and Hillary is a chromosome.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

High Noon

Grace Kelly/Sarah Palin and Gary Cooper/John McCain___________________________________________
Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard has a great cover,High Noon, with McCain as Cooper and Palin as Kelly.
Comparing Palin to the Quaker Kelly in the movie is a stretch. The only similarity is Palin carrying a rifle.
Being a Quaker would require a more gentle Palin. Palin says the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick. That is not a Quakerism.
It’s also an insult to pit bulls. I wouldn’t have one (my dog of choice is a collie). But I understand pit bulls have to be trained to attack. Am I right on this?
Comment by gecannonphd — September 6, 2008 @ 9:45 am
In Kristol’s column in the Weekly Standard referred above, he states:
” First: Thank you, Barack Obama. He lacked the confidence or the strength to ask Hillary Clinton, recipient of some 18 million votes, to join him on the ticket. Such a ticket, uniting and exciting the Democratic party, would have been hard to beat in this Democratic year. Having ruled out Clinton, Obama then lacked the nerve to double down on the theme of change, by selecting, say, Virginia governor Tim Kaine or Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius. A change versus experience election wouldn’t have been a bad bet for Obama. Instead, he settled on an unimpressive vice presidential pick, a long-time, long-winded overrated senator from a safe state, who gave him no lift at all in the polls, and offers no prospect of doing so.
Second: Thank you, John McCain. He showed guts with his pick of Sarah Palin. He also demonstrated a shrewd strategic sense. He knew that running on experience would carry him only so far–most likely to a respectable defeat. He understood the implications of Obama’s passing over Hillary–not that Clinton voters would vote for McCain-Palin (though if even a few do so, it could make a difference), but that his pick of Palin when compared with Obama’s shying away from ”__________________________Everyone assumes Hillary wanted the vp and would have accepted it on the ticket. That may not be correct at all. Hillary was vp, in clout and policy involvement, during the 90ies. She been there, and done that.
Interesting that Kristol supports Hillary as the better Obama choice. If, in fact, it was Hillary, the Kristol neo-cons would make Palin’s hockey mom pit bull look like a collie. I agree that Obama going with an outsider (from Wash.) would have been interesting. But experience is gong to be an issue in this election.
And ignore the polls now. They are not significant. It will be a close election, and the talking heads will likely be on the air into the wee hours of Weds, after election day.
Comment by gecannonphd — September 6, 2008 @ 9:46 am
RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI