Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Great Book About the Economic Collapse

March 30, 2010

I’ve just finished reading “Fool’s Gold” by Gillian Tett.

After hearing theories about the causes of the economic collapse, this book explains it clearly, taking an historical perspective that shows the roots of the problem as they developed a decade prior to the event.

Tett explains how each of the companies became ensnared in complex financial instruments, how these transactions were so well hidden that even those in know on Wall Street were unaware of the details, and how the lack of visibility and the inter-connected nature of the financial instruments all lead to disaster.

While bragging about how the risk of loans going bad had been dealt with by distributing the risk, this was  one of the root causes of the collapse, since almost no bank was free from the investments when they began to go bad.  Tett explains how the companies needed to come up with cash, not because the cash was needed to pay for defaulted loans, but because the solidity of AAA rated derivatives came into question, and their value started to shrink, an event that no one had ever imagined happening.

I learned more from this book than from any explanation I’ve heard before. All of us need to understand what happened, so that we can put pressure on our representatives to ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again.

Read it: you will be glad that you did.

I’m off to start “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, author of  “Liar’s Poker”

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Is this the best that we can do?

November 9, 2008

Perhaps my cynicism is getting out of hand, but were these candidates really the best that we could find, out of all 250 million of us?

Obama. Charismatic, well spoken, and skillful, but mostly untested. Let’s hope he manages to craft a good team and make some progress.

Biden. How can a professional politician continue to make such brain-dead statements? How can anyone trust him when he says such blatantly moronic things, in public, directly to the news media? How could anyone select him as a running mate, or express confidence in him? I’m not sure he’s much better than Palin. Seriously.

McCain. Why would anyone want a leader who was behind the mindless smear campaign against Obama (associates with terrorists, is a socialist)? And who then repudiated those messages, even as he was paying to have them sent out? Two-faced jerk. He was losing the election, but did he really have to lose his class, too? And now we’re supposed to respect him? At least Obama managed to avoid the kind of cruel character assassination that revealed who the real McCain is.

Palin. What a joke. Can’t remember what news papers she reads? Thinks Africa is a country? Now that the election is behind us, even the Republican campaign staff are ridiculing her inadequacies. How anyone could have seen anything but “moron” when they looked at her is beyond me. But they did. And that is really depressing. Her selection by McCain demonstrated that he did not take the responsibility of guiding this country seriously. “Win at any cost” is not a strategy that respects our country.

It seems as if most of the people who rise to the top of the political soup are unprincipled chameleons who appeal to the neuronically challenged by reducing complex problems to simple slogans. None of the candidates stuck to their guns: they danced around the tough issues, adjusting their position to try to appeal to as many people as possible. The debates were endless repetitions of the same talking points, over and over again. The attacks were predictable, and were repeated even after the charges had been answered, over and over again. It was more important to attack than to actually explain positions or differences.

This may be the best system in the world, but the idea that, after 200 years, it is a good one makes me laugh out loud. Of course, most of the blame goes to The People, those who tolerate this crap. So long as people will allow themselves to be convinced that Palin was a qualified leader of this country, this country is in real trouble. And don’t get me started on the Electoral College. One man, one vote? Not even close.

I’ll try to keep quiet about this crap for another four years. But don’t push me.

a disturbing new law

January 8, 2008

I found this article to be quite disturbing.  It seems that the religious right, not content to be judged by their maker eventually, has decided to start judging each and every one of us in the near future.  The idea that non-mainstream opinions should be singled out and inhibited strikes me as being very dangerous.  And the fact that most of our legislators cannot see this is both horrifying and sad.  If you have any radical thoughts or behaviors, I would advise you to start concealing them immediately.  1984 approacheth…

just in case you’re feeling a bit too comfortable

November 6, 2007

If you have even a touch of paranoia, you will enjoy the following.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1VIhdpl4c

Is the income tax illegal?

June 9, 2007

I’ve heard these arguments for decades, mostly from an old friend who, while being a practicing attorney, is enough of an odd-ball (look who’s talking!) to make me suspicious of his opinions. This full-length movie, ostensibly created by a person with real credentials, repeats these arguments. I can’t say how much of it is true, but if the Federal Government refuses to answer the simple question “show me the law upon which the income tax system is based”, one has to wonder what is going on. Wouldn’t it be easier for the government to just answer the question and move on? Unless they have no legitimate answer to the question.

Anyway: here’s something to get you conspiracy theorists’ heart rates jumping.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1656880303867390173&q=freedom+to+fascism

A glimpse into the mind of the Bushies

June 2, 2007

A friend wrote to me:


I give you my favorite quotation from the Bush administration, put forward by the proverbial “unnamed Administration official” and published in the New York Times Magazine by the journalist Ron Suskind in October 2004.


Here, in Suskind’s recounting, is what that “unnamed Administration official” told him:

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…. and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'”

The unnamed Administration official was none other than Bush’s Brain………… Karl Rove.

Let’s get just a little bit political for a moment…

May 31, 2007

So, here’s an interesting short video. At least he’s making a LITTLE bit of sense. The fact at former New York City mayor Giuliani can’t even conceive of the real causes of the 911 attacks is astonishing. Who the &%*@#$ do these morons expect to lead when they don’t even understand the history?

<deep breath>

Anyway. Here’s the video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvrrPCkHKLw

And, here’s a little bit on the lighter side:

*NEW BUMPER STICKERS FOR ’07*

1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That’s OK, I Wasn’t Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let’s Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You’re Not Our President
7. Of Course It Hurts: You’re Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10. Impeachment: It’s Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11. America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him “W” So He Can Spell It
13. Whose God Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?
16. Bush: God’s Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who’s Fluent In At Least One Language
19. We’re Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
20. Is It Vietnam Yet?
21. Bush Doesn’t Care About White People, Either
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
26. Pray For Impeachment
27. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
28. What Part of “Bush Lied” Don’t You Understand?
29. One Nation Under Clod
30. 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified
31. Bush Never Exhaled