Sunday, September 28, 2008

Didn't It Look Like McCain Was Acting?

Well, well, well, the debate happened after all. Like the Republican Convention, the suspension was suspended. Apparently, the only thing that actually was suspended was McCain's appearance on Late Night with David Letterman – which turned out to be political suicide. David Letterman did not take kindly to being stood up.

However, the McCain campaign suspension did give me a chance to pontificate on what would have happened at the debate. In my last blog entry I claimed that John McCain didn't have a chance in this debate with Barrack Obama. I pointed out that John McCain wouldn't be able to dodge the blame for the “bailout.” His policy of deregulation was just indefensible. And his participation in the Savings and Loan “bailout” back in the 1980's fit a pattern that made him look like he's been doing the bidding of fat cats for decades.

Apparently, Barrack Obama chose to take the high road though, and didn't bring up McCain's Keating 5 participation. It was irritating to know this while watching McCain accuse Obama of misusing earmarks, knowing that Obama's earmarks were not for pork (like say, Palin's bridge to nowhere).

On the other hand, if Obama were to have pointed out McCain's intimate and questionable involvement in the Savings and Loan “bailout,” Obama might have been seen as taking the low road also. That isn't a good option for him. We all know that an angry black man is seen as something totally different than an angry white man. Though the mass media doesn't cover it often, the race issue usually works against Obama.

Obama's strategists must have recommended he not attack McCain's not-so-reputable past. They must feel that although Obama would have won the argument, he would have tarnished his image as being more mature.

Although I wasn't happy with those tactics, I guess it worked. Most of the polls claim Obama won the debate.

However; there was one thing I did notice that was extraordinarily creepy. No, not so much that McCain kept trying to disassociate himself with Republican policy. I expected that. What was really creepy was that it seemed to me that John McCain was trying to imitate Ronald Reagan. I kept expecting him to say; “Well...”

What McCain did say, however, is that he would freeze spending on most everything except military spending. Now wait a minute. That's where all the real big-money pork barrel spending is going. It's been that way for decades. That's where we need to make the cuts. The military/industrial/fossil fuel complex has driven our nation to the edge of insolvency. But John McCain wants to leave that off the table. Sure, he claims to be against such things as cost plus/no bid contracts, but that's just the tip of the spending iceberg. John McCain wants to finance our unnecessary wars with even more cuts to domestic spending (that would obviously help our nations citizens and boost our legitimate economy). This man is not for the people.

Moreover, with the “bailout,” it is starting to look more and more like we won't be seeing all that much change no matter who wins the election. John McCain is essentially another George W. Bush. And Barrack Obama will end up with such a mess, there won't be money to fix anything. Either way, they're really not all that different.

Just what the disaster capitalists ordered.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lie, Cheat, and Steal

I can see why John McCain is too chicken to debate tomorrow night.

With everyone angry about the “bailout,” what's he going to say? He's not about to tell the truth. How would that sound? How about...

I've supported deregulation for all of my political career. I even got into quite a bit of trouble over some “special” treatment I got back during my support of deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry. That led to a “bailout” too. Back then I was branded the member of the Keating Five who could lie the best – by packaging myself as a “maverick.” We could have fixed things back then, but instead we chose to make them worse back in 1999. We deregulated laws enacted during the Great Depression (which up until then had prevented another depression). But enough about that. I'd rather talk about being a war hero... Oh yeah; Wall Street has had a field day for the past nine years. Never mind Enron. The fundamentals of our economy are strong. I really don't know what fundamentals, but that sure sounds good on camera... Except for when I say the fundamentals of our economy are at risk a few hours later. So, now that we can't hide the real costs for deregulation, I'm going to act like an outsider... We'll get those Washington fat cats! We'll drown 'em in money!”

But seriously, we all know that John McCain wouldn't say that. But what could he say?

  • What could McCain say when Obama asks him about his history as a member of the Keating five?

  • What could McCain say when Obama reminds us all of McCain's close ties to the people who masterminded this catastrophe?

  • What could McCain say when Obama points out that McCain voted for the deregulation that led to this “bailout.”

  • What could McCain say when Obama asks him about his flip-flop on socialism – but only for the rich.

Face it; if John McCain would have gone ahead with this debate, he would have lost the election. (If that's possible.) He would have been exposed as a Washington insider who has done the fat cats' bidding for years. Since the late 1990s, Wall Street has been given cuts in the capital-gains tax, dividend tax and estate tax, cuts in marginal income tax rates, free-trade agreements, low interest rates, and very light regulation. With all that, things still went to hell. It makes you kind of wonder if this was all inevitable do to bad legislation. It makes you kind of wonder if John McCain has sold his soul for a chance at being president.

There just isn't a lie big enough to cover McCain's ass on this one. He simply wouldn't have been able to keep up his public persona. We'd all see for ourselves that he doesn't give a damn about the American people.

Let's face it. John McCain was far better off staying home in one of his seven (or is it eight) houses. (By the way; I'll bet none of his houses was financed with a predatory loan.)

Speaking of predatory loans; we're all about to take out a $700,000,000,000.00 loan from the Federal Reserve - to save us from a recession that will happen anyway.

We're borrowing money from one bank to give to other banks – because they made bad investments. We're borrowing our own nation's money from the Federal Reserve to give to Goldman Sachs, the same company the Secretary of the Treasury used to be an executive for. Oh, and the Secretary wants to have complete control over how the money is spent.

Warren Buffet knows what's going on. He knows where the next big welfare handout for the rich is going. He just invested five billion dollars in Goldman Sachs.

They've been planning this “bailout” for months now. [White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony] Fratto said the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials.

This is amazing! We can't afford health care for children. We can't afford to help out clean, safe, and economy saving alternative energy. But we can afford to hurt responsible banks by subsidizing their irresponsible competition? This makes about as much sense as taking money from the kids' education fund to give to compulsive gamblers!

I can also see why Ralph Nader wasn't invited to the debates. Ralph Nader calls this “bailout” the Goliath of domestic panic legislation. He suggests that the bill include:

  • Provisions for homeowners to stay in their homes in default, or rent them at market value

  • A cap on executive compensation and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains

  • A stimulus package for infrastructure repair and upgrade to generate new community jobs

  • Comprehensive regulation of and disclosures by the financial industry and Wall Street to prevent this from occurring again.

  • Prudent margin requirements on derivatives trading and a tax on securities derivatives transactions

  • Shareholders control over the corporations they own

  • Tougher criminal enforcement against culpable firms and executives

But, of course, nobody listens to Ralph Nader anymore... But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? Maybe because you never see him on TV? Even though Ralph Nader has been running for president three times now, how many times have you actually seen him speak on TV?

Ralph Nader has been trying to warn us about those who lie, cheat, and steal. Bush Jr. has lied to get elected, his party has cheated to win him elections, and now Bush's buddies are about to steal $700,000,000,000.00!

We all know that the money could be spent far better on sensible stimulus packages to our economy. But no! These politicians would rather give away our money to multinational corporations – and leave us with the bill... plus interest.

Please Congress, if you can't do it right, don't waste our money.

Update: make that $1,200,000,000,000.00

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Honorable Senator Harry Reid

This is one of those moments in history...

When the history books are written, this will be a turning point – or what could have been a turning point.

The powers that be are desperate at this moment. The powers that be want $700,000,000,000. And they want you to just hand it over, or you'll never see your economy again. But you don't have to. At least not until you get a few concessions.

You could take the pushover route and request that the executives involved in the bailout take pay cuts – or you could press for real reforms that could change the face of corporatism.

We all know that the system is broken. This is your chance to fix it. Right now, you have the power to influence substantial fundamental change. The powers that be are desperate at this moment. If the Democrats (and maybe even a few Republicans) were to filibuster this bill, you could force real rational reforms on the system.

It only takes a few, dedicated Senators to stall this bailout until Wall Street would accept anything – including regulations that would force them to be fiscally responsible. They might even accept reduced influence on Washington.

This is one of those moments in history where our fate, our nation's fate, and even the world's fate rests on a few people to stand and say NO! We won't give you a dime until we are satisfied that corporate interests are not placed above the citizens of the United States.

If you can lead us to a path of a functional, sustainable, fair, and healthy economic system, I believe it would be worth $700,000,000,000.

Otherwise, lets get the depression over with, it will just be worse if we continue to put it off with taxpayer bailouts to inept corporations.

Thank you,

Rick Spilsbury

Click here for his "reply"

Monday, September 22, 2008

They Don't Want Us To Think About This...

"Our" government wants American taxpayers to bail out a failed system so they can continue on without having to change. We all know something is terribly wrong. Failure is a sign. And mass failure is a sign we need massive change. But that's not what they want.

They want close to a TRILLION DOLLARS of our money – so that they can go out and play the system for more – and get even richer (at our expense). These inept corporations blew the billions and billions they had. There is nothing anywhere near a guarantee that the bailout will work. And ironically, some of the bailout money will go to continue to pay the multi-million dollar paychecks of these bungling executives.

In case you don't remember, this isn't a one-time bail-out. The pattern of deregulation, corruption, and bailouts happened back in the 1980's with the Savings and Loan debacle. We, the American taxpayers, have become their enablers.

I've been in this situation before, on a personal basis. I'm divorced from two beautiful, intelligent, and seemingly sensible women – who both had gambling problems. And I can tell you from hard-learned experience that giving them more money never, never, never fixed the underlying problem. It just made me more in debt.

They'll do this again and again, until we force change within the system. And the perfect time to force that change is now. They know that. That's why they're rushing us.

They want us to bail them out, now, with no strings attached. They even want us to bailout foreign banks.

Excuse me?

They didn't just figure this scheme out a few days ago. Important people in Congress warned us that this would happen within 10 years (9 years ago, when Congress dropped all the regulations that would have prevented this). And the mortgage crisis has been transpiring over the past few months now. You'd think they would have figured out at least a few things they could do better. But all they can talk about is the money.

The only thing these “captains of industry” can come up with is; “give us a trillion dollars in a week, or we'll cause another depression.” That sounds like a ransom note.

They just want the money. They don't want us to force them to be fiscally responsible.

Where are the constraints?

Where are the regulations?

Where are our nation's demands?

Where is the leadership?

These people go crazy with greed when they smell money. And they don't want regulations to hold them back. Once they get our trillion dollars, they will fight any form of regulations to control them. And all they have to do is buy off a few Republican Senators to filibuster any bill that is intended to keep them from repeating this disaster. They don't believe in government oversight. And up until earlier this week, neither did many Republicans. They just want our money. If they wanted the system to run effectively, they'd have some ideas for sensible regulations right now.

...It is true that I'm no financial expert. But apparently, neither are these highly paid executives... But I could be wrong about that. Maybe they don't want the system to run effectively. Maybe they figured out long ago that they could rip off the poor, and when things went wrong, they knew they would get bailed out by the middle class.

Which brings me to my point. This bail out will cost us close to a trillion dollars – and maybe more. Our national debt is up from four to nine trillion dollars from our surplus back in 2000. And the “war” will ultimately cost us somewhere between a trillion and three trillion dollars. That adds up to some real money – which we don't have.

So, where is the money going to come from? Bush Jr. cut taxes for the rich. John McCain (the Old-boy network flip-flopper) doesn't intend to raise taxes. Barrack Obama only wants to revoke the Bush tax cuts. So let's face it, the money just won't be there. Not even the rich have that kind of money... So, what are they going to do? Apparently, they're going to print money. And what does that lead to? Inflation. Maybe even runaway inflation. I don't see any way around it. And what will that mean? It will mean that they will be taking money from your savings. What money you do have will lose its value.

If you are middle class, and have some money saved for your retirement (say in a 401K), it's very likely you may as well say goodbye to it's present value. And that money you thought you had waiting for you in Social Security – don't expect it to be worth anything.

And don't expect John McCain, or even Barrack Obama to fix this. By the time one of them gets into office, the damage will already be done.

Which means one thing. We have less than a week to see that the right things get done. Which isn't enough time to organize. I suspect they planned that. However, if you want a future with any retirement money and a paycheck worth anything, we had better get off our butts. There won't be a second chance.

If things keep going in this direction, there won't be a middle class... and these people don't care.

Write your Congressmen NOW!

Let them know you do not want them to be a pushover.

This is the perfect time for a Democratic filibuster in the Senate: Don't give them a dime until they agree to fixing the system. At least they can reenact the Great Depression Era laws that would have prevented this.

Or, if you are like me, ask them to consider some other alternative. I can't tell you what. I don't know myself yet. But, for a simplistic example; what if we gave the money to those who's homes were in foreclosure to pay off their debt? The mortgage companies could have their money anyway, and presently overlooked American citizens could keep their homes.

Sadly, there isn't time to promote any well thought out plans. If we could think this through, we could be at a turning point here. It's time to fix our systems. And you don't fix things by throwing good money after bad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Letter to Stu

I too believe that the system is broken.

But I don't believe that those who control the system will fix it. They don't want to. They're conservatives. They don't want change. Those who have succeeded, often at any cost, don't want change. They want to stay on top – at any cost.

I suspect that is the reason so many civilizations before ours have collapsed. Their systems ceased to be able to respond to change.

The conditions of our world are constantly changing, like a switchback road down a steep mountain. We don't want to be the on the bus without power steering – and a driver who only wants to go straight ahead.

...All I ask; is that we consider the consequences.

I'm concerned that there is a possibility, just a possibility, that things could get worse and worse, until humanity just goes extinct. And I fear that it there is a faint possibility that it could even happen in my lifetime.

Now, it only makes sense to face that possibility and do what needs to be done to avert the future's worst case scenario.

You know what scenario I'm talking about. Our civilization is at risk from a combination of human population explosion, resource depletion, and the poisoning of our environment. Talk about a perfect storm. Yet Americans have known about these major threats to our future for 30 years now, and we've done essentially nothing. Talk about a lack of leadership.

If we don't un-break our system, it's going to be extraordinarily difficult deal with these monumental changes to our economy – and our suburban lifestyle.

I don't want to live in a gated community, inside a fenced-in country. What's the point? To keep out the suffering masses? It won't matter. We may be able to build a fence high enough so as not to see others suffering, but we can't build a fence high enough to keep out pollution and climate change.

We have to be responsible about this now.

Even Bush Jr. has admitted that America is “addicted to oil.” What? What? Did I miss an evil laugh after he said that?

I think it's pretty obvious by now that the Bush administration has done their very best to maximize profits for the fossil fuel industry. Just check the record profits for the oil industry corporations for the past few years. I don't think we could have imagined, back in 2000, just how bad things could get. We're in an unnecessary war, which is actually an occupation – for no-bid oil company contracts. The price of gas has what, doubled, tripled? Sure, its gone down, but it never should have been that high in the first place. And worst: the definitive proof that global warming is proceeding much faster than we ever expected has been met with nothing but stonewalling – by America. Even China is cleaning up it's act now. But not us. The Republicans have filibustered every Energy Bill that has come up in the Senate this year.

Republicans may be correct about some things, but they have totally failed to deal with these awesome risks with a clear head or moral bone in their body. The Democrats aren't innocent either, but they're less guilty.

Obama may be promising more than he can deliver. But at least, he claims to be willing to try. Face it; the Republicans' only real response to the depletion of oil is to drill for a little more oil – in beautiful, natural places we would much rather save. That's worse than unimaginative. That's criminal. And all John W. McBush III can promise is more of the same. He even has what is effectively an oil-man for a Vice-Presidential candidate!

Have we forgotten Dick Cheney's secret meeting with the fossil fuel industry's executives the first thing he got into office? That was enough to make the paranoid among us suspect that there might even be some vast-right-wing conspiracy. But let's face it, back in 2001, the paranoid among us would have done a better job of predicting the future.

We may never really know why the price of fossil fuels got so high, but we do know who benefited. (First Enron, now Exxon.) And I have no doubt these giant corporations have far too much influence over both parties – and the press. These are the people who care more about short-term personal profits than long term success of our civilization. These are the people who have taken over our government, by taking over the Republican party. But, of course, that's what powerful people do. It's been going on ever since the beginning of governments. Unfortunately, this time its different. If we break our planet, everyone loses.

Yes, our system is broken. Worse, America is closer to fascism than it has ever been. And not that silly “liberal fascism” the right-wing pundits talk about. Real Fascism. Is that to be our nation's response to all of this? Fascism? Back during the Great Depression the Germans resorted to Hitler, and Americans resorted to FDR. I hope we have the sense to make the better decision again.

...But this time the situation we face is much more complex than back during the Great Depression. And the consequences of more of the same are far greater. This time, even the rich can die. This isn't a right wing/left wing argument. This is about corruption. Only a corrupt government would ignore our long-term future. And our government has been either Republican or Republicrat controlled for the past 30 years.

For example, consider that perfect storm on the horizon. The Republicans' response to the population explosion is to restrict contraception and attempt to ban abortions. Their response to resource depletion is to expend three trillion dollars (and hundreds of billions on oil) conquer another country (or two) for their oil. And the Republicans' response to environmental destruction is to subsidize it. This has to change, or there will be a significantly greater chance that humanity is screwed.

I was once like you. I even voted for Ronald Reagan the first time. But since then, I've done something that you haven't been willing to do. I read those articles and books that you've casually dismissed as “all lies.” And I found out the those “lies” often had more truth to them than what the fossil-fuel-funded corporate-owned mass media has been feeding us. Just ask yourself; who pays for your news? Who decides what gets reported and what gets ignored? Not you.

You should be curious. I'm claiming that I have information that you need. But I understand. It's OK if you're not interested. One letter won't likely counteract a lifetime of programing. But, remember to be honest with yourself, and don't ever claim again that your information sources are “fair and balanced.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pipeline to the Desert Video

Does a water pipeline into the desert sound like a con job to you?
It should.
There are numerous alternatives that are cheaper, less environmentally destructive, and far less risky.
Watch the video.
What can we do to get Southern Nevada Water Authority to do the right thing?
Watch the video.