Maybe the erstwhile riverboat gamblers who now populate the upper echelons of the financial services industry in this country are beginning to see some of their investments unravel as the ripple of stock market panic, from the Asian markets, to Europe to Wall Street, grows into a tsunami of bad faith and credit in U.S. bonds–the bedrock of the world economy. Maybe.
Most of the smart ones have probably already short-sold their vulnerable investments, and are cooling their heels with their holdings now shifted to gold, and other more secure market hedges. Earlier this Century they cashed-out the U.S. real-estate market. Then they managed to get the government to bail them out with hundreds of billions of dollars because their super, high-stakes “investment” operations were deemed to be “too big to fail.” So, now I’m sure the crafty ones are “making bank” on the impending default on the U.S. debt.
Meanwhile, the political blame-game is going on, as if the elderly, the poor and their defenders in the Democratic Party, are equally culpable for the impending crash, as are the gluttonous corporations, the rich, fat-cats who run them and their wannabe-billionaire protectors in the Republican Party. Continue reading
The kindest thing I can say about President Barack Obama and his conduct in the ongoing talks about the federal deficit is that he has a proclivity for making concessions without a demand being placed before him. That is, he goes into each negotiation concerning the nation’s future, offering his GOP interlocutors major compromises before the bargaining even begins.
In return for the generous concessions made by the President, the recalcitrant Republicans make even more strident demands. They have forced him to concede on nominations, from so-called “Green Czar” Van Jones, to so-called “Consumer Czar” Elizabeth Warren, Agriculture Department specialist Shirley Sherrod, and he got nothing in return for sacrificing those honorable public servants to the right-wing bully pulpit. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
I don’t have a “beef” with the President like his most prominent critics, Dr. Cornell West, and TV personality Tavis Smiley. Continue reading
The U.S. debt ceiling debate has become a high drama.
Around August 4 or 5, the country will be required to make an interest payment of more than $30 billion on the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt. The problem is Uncle Sam is, for all practical purposes out of money. Ordinarily that would be a ho-hum event, because the country would simply sell some new bonds to raise the cash to pay the older debts coming due. It’s called the “national debt” and it is secured by “the full faith and credit of the United States.” In other words, as long as there is a USA, holders of U.S. bonds will eventually get paid.
The only problem is that now, the government has no legal authority to borrow any money above the already reached debt ceiling, without the approval of Congress. Usually Congress raises the debt ceiling and the country remains solvent, because the federal government–which prints the currency, which incidentally is used as the standard medium of exchange to pay for oil and most other international transactions–because the federal government says the country is solvent.
On the boulevard, that’s called a “Ponzi scheme,” in honor of one Charles Ponzi. Continue reading
When it comes to efforts to resolve the looming U.S. default on its debts–the first time in American history–Republican politicians are behaving like a “deadbeat dad,” who refuses to even consider any solution to his “family’s” financial crisis that involves bringing in more money into the household. Everybody’s just going to have to tighten their belts and cutback, that’s all.
I imagine the conversation going along like this.
“No,” dad says. “I will not get an extra part-time job. That’s out of the question. Junior will just have to come home from state college. There’s a junior college here in town. He can study there.
“No,” he continues. “Bristol can’t be on the cross country team. We can’t afford the fee. And she can forget about going to the prom, too. We can’t afford that either.
“And your mother is just going to have to move in and live with your brother or your sister, because we just can’t keep paying for her to stay in that fancy hotel they call an ‘assisted living center.’
“What? I will absolutely not stop racing my customized Mustang-Shelby-GT. I’ve already cut back to one out-of-town rally per month, and I only golf once a week now, and only go for drinks with the fellas two nights a week, so why don’t you get off my back, for crying out loud?
“And don’t even think about cutting back my premium cable-TV sports or girlie channels. That’s the only relaxation I have around here!”
And so it goes in Congress. Continue reading
Herman Cain is a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Herman Cain is African American.
Like at least a dozen other prominent Republicans including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Cain will not be on the GOP ticket, either as the nominee, or as the vice-presidential running mate. It just won’t happen for Cain this time around.
No matter how well he does in polls, debates, and even in Republican primaries, in the final analysis he’s going to be out of luck this season. Continue reading
When it comes to news about Libya, absolutely no one can be trusted.
When I say “no one” I expect to be included in that count because what I’ve got to say about the subject runs counter to what the U.S. government and its NATO allies have to say; runs counter to what is reported every day in the U.S. corporate-owned media; and is even contrary to what is reported by so-called “progressive” news outlets like Al Jazeera English, and even Pacifica Radio’s Free Speech Radio News.
I came to the conclusion that absolutely everybody has gotten into the tank on this one, when I saw two particular stories last week. I won’t even deal with the corporate-owned media lies about Libya because I am convinced that if their lips are moving when they are reporting a story about Libya, they’re lying. Continue reading
To say that former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) has “fallen from grace” almost goes without saying.
He was once sitting on top of the world. He was a U.S. Senator from a southern state. He was articulate, unashamedly liberal, and blessed with boyish good looks. He was 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) vice presidential running mate.
His career as a successful trial lawyer had made him an independently wealthy man. He was so confident of his future; he declined to seek re-election to the Senate after only one term in office. He was a viable contender for the 2008 presidential nomination. What could go wrong?
He sinned. Continue reading
The recent visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to Washington and his White House visit with President Barack “Barry” Obama made for an interesting mating ritual, if you will.
The “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel was reaffirmed, but not before some icy stares and sharp words were exchanged between the two leaders.
Netanyahu has some distinct advantages. He is fluent in English, while Obama speaks little, if any Hebrew. In some American circles the Prime Minister is more popular than the President. Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress received only 25 standing ovations, while Netanyahu’s speech before the same body received 29 such rounds of applause.
It’s kind of reminiscent of President Herbert Hoover’s standing in 1930. When baseball legend George Herman “Babe” Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 (equivalent to $1.05 million in current dollars) being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. The Bambino responded: “I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.” Continue reading
The list of local, national, and international bigwigs volunteering for scandal and humiliation with highly paid attorneys is an ever-growing one, like the list of publicly nameless wannabe thugs volunteering for their brand of criminal beefs, often with the aid of public defenders. They seem to never learn.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson seems to me to be the most witless, although former California Governor Arnold Schwartznegger, and former Nevada Senator John Ensign, and former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strass-Kahn are certainly no slouches in the department of stuck-on-stupid.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After being confronted by FBI agents who had been investigating him for several years, with evidence they had the goods on him, Johnson called home, and directly implicated his wife (a former judge who should have known better) in his dastardly deeds.
Uh, Mr. Johnson, you just left a meeting with the FBI where you were confronted about a crime and you called your wife on your cell phone? Continue reading
President Barack Obama fashioned for himself a pretty good first week of May.
Just a few short days ago, the President was depicted by a Southern California Republican official in an email as a baby chimpanzee, with a note attached reading: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”
Then there was TV celebrity and real-estate heir Donald Trump and his shrill exaggeration of the merit less “birther movement” campaign. The birthers argued that Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore he was not a “natural born Citizen” as the Constitution requires, and as a result ineligible to be President.
The President silenced most of his critics with a brief appearance in the White House Press Briefing room, where he announced that the White House had prevailed upon authorities in the state of Hawaii to release his “long form” birth certificate, complete with signatures from the attending physician, and other details from the hospital, attesting that he was indeed born on Aug. 4, 1961 on U.S. soil, to an American citizen mother, and an African national father.
He said the nation had more important business at hand than to waste time being distracted by people he described as “carnival barkers.”
“Hi-yah, hi-yah. Got somethin’ fuh yah,” is the refrain I remember from barkers at the carnival selling everything from chances to win cheap prizes by proving one’s masculinity throwing balls at metal bottles, to selling sure-fire cures for “what ails yah.” Continue reading