Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bracing for the worst, expecting it could be even worser!

Dada assisting "Democracy Now!" host, Amy Goodman, during a book
at Taos, NM in April, 2005. (Note: This photo was taken just
before Amy, tremendously charismatic in person, turned to me and
uttered those words I'll never forget, "Beat
it before I call security!")

In today's blog, I'd like to lean almost exclusively--and shamelessly--on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!" headline news from her morning program of yesterday, January 15th.

If you don't think things are crashing around us, if you don't think Rome is burning while Bush is off begging the Saudi Arabians for more oil as he shoves 900 satellite-guided weapons of mass destruction up the Saudis noses as part of a twenty billion dollar arms sale, we should probably pause to reflect on what is happening to America, former leader of the "free" world, now becoming just another historical footnote of fallen empires.

Did you watch last night's democratic debates? Did your candidate win? Hillary? Obama? Kucinich? Sorry, just being devilish here. After a Nevada judge ordered MSNBC to include candidate Dennis Kucinich in last night's debate, MSNBC showed us all who, besides other special monied interests, controls who debates, hence, inherits the White House. But let's all keep believing, in America, anyone can grow up to become president.

Meanwhile, in Michigan's republican primary, governor Mitt Romney won going away as he advocated for lowering fuel standards he believes are crippling the U.S. auto industry by saying, "Let’s take those burdens off and let our (auto) companies compete," apparently unaware Toyota's surpassing U.S. auto maker's market share with better fuel economied cars and ignoring the threat of global warming, which is not only real but may become far more deadly with that kind of thinking. But as primary results show, it played well with Michigan's highly unemployed.

I was surprised to see the MikeHuckabee/Chuck Norris share of Michigan votes at only 16%. Maybe an indication that while still here on Earth, Americans prefer a Constitution over God's law?

Meanwhile in economic news, the effects of which will impact American's lives most significantly in 2008 unless Cheney manages to ignite World War III to deflect attention from our domestic woes, things continue to sour rapidly.

A story this morning indicates U.S. inflation in 2007 was the worst it's been since, since, well since 1990 when a republican president, George Bush, was in the white house! Those statistics are really sad because inflation was relatively tame, save for those damn food and energy costs we all depend on to live.

A couple of items Amy Goodman pointed out on her program yesterday that emphasized the dire economic conditions promising to make 2008 a very exciting year were the news of Citigroup's write down of $24 billion as a result of that subprime mortgage loans bubble now bursting all around us.

Besides people losing their homes, thousands of worker layoffs are also in the offing as Citigroup could dismiss as many as 24,000 of its employees! We 're aware of huge auto industry layoffs and, being as how we're all living in the same pond, the ripples from cuts in jobs like Sprint/Nextel's several thousand more on top of 5,000 axed last year, EMI cutting a third of its workforce, will make these ripples far, far stronger.

We can give thanks, however, not all Americans are in quite the same pond as most of us. Folks like CEO Angelo Mozilo, co-founder of subprime mortgage lender Countrywide, rumored on the verge of bankruptcy and now being purchased by Bank of America. Mozilo stands to realize $115 million after the sale goes through. This shouldn't be news to any of us as many, many CEO's reap huge rewards like bonuses, stock options, parachutes, even as their companies lose millions or billions of dollars and stockholder's value in those companies tumble as thousands of their workers get axed, lose their benefits, cars, and/or homes.

Americans should give thanks that people like this never stop working for the good of all of us. Another fine example is our former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan. At 81 you might think he would want to retire, but in yesterday's news he's still going strong after we learned he's become an advisor to a hedge fund that made an estimaged $15 billion (!) betting aggressively against the subprime mortgage crisis, a crisis Greenspan assures us he didn't realize was as bad as it was while head of the Federal Reserve.

Not to worry, you can bet Greenspan will be paid (rewarded?) handsomely by the CEO head of this fund who made an estimated $3-4 billion last year! Just when one would think, at age 81, Greenspan might want to kick back, spend more time with the great grandkids, we can be thankful such a servant finds part-time work to continue serving our public interests.

Finally, I note from this morning's local paper that El Paso has the highest number of health uninsured of any major city in Texas. A whopping forty percent. That's a figure that's sure to grow in '08, not just in El Paso but nationally.

Take heart, if it's any consolation, another article reveals while employers are scaling back or eliminating their workers health care insurance, pet insurance is gaining popularity as an employee benefit. So while it may be difficult to find a job that offers you health insurance, maybe you'll at least rest easier knowing Fido is covered by your employer.

President Bush, however, assures us in face of all this alarming economic news, "The U.S. economy is on solid foundation." I suspect this is largely due to his tax cuts for his "haves and have mores." And I'm sure that explains why efforts are afoot to make those tax cuts for his fat cats among us permanent. After all, we sure as hell wouldn't want the economy to falter, to sink, leaving we little folk Americans to suffer now, would we?

As "Susan's Blog" author, and writer, Susan Rosenthal, reminded us last fall, "Wiser capitalists remember the French Revolution. Those who take too much can lose their heads."

Obviously, this isn't France. And clearly there sure as hell is no revolution in sight, so I guess we Americans should brace ourselves for what promises to be one hell of a very revolting year.



D.K. Raed said...

This is great, Dada! So much to comment on. For now, let me just caution Greenspan to hire himself a food tester for any of that special tea his "young trophy" (and I use those terms as loosely as possible) wife Andrea Mitchell might be serving him, upon learning of her husband's true wealth. She's probably thinking it's about time he retired, too. Permanently.

I wish I could take heart in the thought of some bloody heads. MME Le Guillotine! Where is our MME DeFarge?

eProf2 said...

I don't know if you intended the two thoughts of presidential debates and capitalist practices to be joined. However, one cancels the other. That is, any revolution or revulsion against capitalist practices is neutralized by the belief that a) anyone can be president and b) this is an election year so everything will be all right in the near future. God help US!

Cartledge said...

"Democracy Now!" The concept of America as the Great Democracy or any kind of effective democracy has been cause of a good laugh for years from the outside. Not that any of us get close to a reasonable democracy, but closer, we tend to think.
Personally I think we should promote the spread of rugby rather than military, then stay out of the way for a bit until it is time to clean up the whole mess. Oh! That is revolution isn’t it…
I’m still wondering how capitalism became a nice synonym for bloody minded, who gives a flying fuck, greed! But then I’m still wondering how to get that message through the concrete skulls of the morons who buy it.

pissed off patricia said...

For all the reasons you mentioned there are times when I feel I'm losing my mind. Is that any worse than losing ones head?

It would be so easy for me to go into a major rant about how f*cked up I think things are right now, but I will spare you that.

fran said...

I just happened to read this before breakfast, I'm feeling like my plate is full! Why do I feel like I have a hangover, even though I have not been on a drinking binge?

dada said...

d.k. - your "young trophy" wife came on the heels of a lecture Mrs. Dada gave me about what I should do should she leave this earthly plane before me.

"Find you a wife that is younger than you." I started envisioning her instructions by asking, "How much younger?"

"In her 30's or 40's. She must be nice and marry you for love."

"Really?" I said. "In her 30's!" thinking she'd be making frequent trips to to her hair dresser when really meeting younger men instead.

"She must be nice. Pretty, even better. Self-sufficient - a professional woman able to support herself."

I was beginning to enjoy this as I refined the my next wife dream.

"And very importantly, willing to take care of you in your declining years; to hand feed you and wipe the drool off your chin, change your diapers if necessary."

She was beginning to tarnish the dream. Well, I hadn't read your comment yet but, if I had, I might have imagined myself like an ancient Alan Greenspin with an "arm candy" bride like Andrea Mitchell, 20 and 1/2 years my junior.

Mrs. Dada then set her final requirement, "She must respect and love animals, especially dogs."

Good point. Excellent point. And now I'm left wondering if these weren't the instructions given Alan Greenspan by a former wife. (Save for that last one...Greenspin probably kicks his dog if he has one.)

But in the event I'm wrong, I wonder if Andrea loves dogs as much as I? (I suppose that could be considered a set-up line for the obvious response, i.e., "Of course, she married one, didn't she?)

dada said...

eprof: Good point re presidential debates and capitalist practices. But are you intimating there's no hope? Surely you're not, are you?

(Actually, reading recent economic news in the paper, one is struck by the terminology associated with successful capitalism - terms all now shriveling like, consumption, consumer spending, etc. etc.

dada said...

Cart: "The concept of America as the Great Democracy or any kind of effective democracy has been cause of a good laugh for years from the outside."

Thanks for an outsider's view. OMG! You mean we're not the beacon of freedom and liberty every one aspires to? (Could it be, we're the fucking laughing stock of the rest of the world instead?)

That aside, I'd just like to thank Australia for giving us Cate Blanchett.

dada said...

PoP: I'm totally with you! I know where you're coming from, I know what you're feeling, i.e., "there are times when I feel I'm losing my mind."

Rationality is not a requisite for our politics, it's resultant government, nor it's economics.

dada said...

fran: Sorry for giving you a hangover. (So early in the morning yet!) With sincerest apologies.

enigma4ever said...

this is a great I love Amy Goodman- and I love how she is smiling shyly in your presence....Everything you wroter here is dead on...and yet I wonder are we suposed to lose our heads at this point or our minds ( although I can think of some Leaders that should lose their Heads- you know" Off with Their Heads"...)

I am still looking for a job with benifits..and still looking for a FT job...and I am still juggling between food or heat...BUT...I feel that I have not lost my head, or mind hmm my marbles...that is another story...

You are blogging a storm here...keep it up....

( I miss you over at Watergate Summer...hope I am not in the doghouse here..)

Fran said...

No need for apology Dada-- I took the quantum leap-- hey! if I am going to feel like a have a hangover, may as well enjoy the pleasure....
Gin & tonic with lime for me please.

D.K. Raed said...

Dada, it's funny that married couples of a certain age seem to get around to THAT conversation sooner or later. In our case, I told EK if he should find himself someone who made him happy & wanted to remarry, he should not let memories of me preclude that option. His wishes for me were not so benign, so I ended up telling him if you want to make sure of all that, you'll just have to make sure you're the last one alive. I must say, it has inspired him to remember to take his HBP & cholesterol meds!

dada said...

enigma: No,'re certainly in no dog house, here nor there. I apologize for the "quiet" I've been of recent over at the Cafe and elsewhere. Things seem a tad busier these days, but I do try to get by still (which is when I discover how far behind I'm falling there and everywhere).

BTW, congratulations on the new heat! Every time we have a cold front pass through, we would give thanks for heat and thought of you. Now we have one thought less to have we come in from outside shivering, i.e. you and 6-6 shivering (and that's good).

And yes, Amy is "rich", is dedicated, and extremely driven. I felt badly I didn't buy her book this day (I'd already read it via the public library).

And yes again, it is not we who are crazy. We're just supposed to feel that way while madmen frolic above us.

Fran: good show! M'ise well enjoy yourself a little bit; EARN what you've been feeling without the pleasure, huh? (BTW, while I didn't comment over on your blog, "Happy Birthday" to your mom. We only get one of those each, right? - Bless her!)

eProf2 said...

No, Dada, I haven't lost all hope. Elections do, in fact, seem to be the blood of revolutions Thomas Jefferson talked about nearly two hundred years ago. There are, however, times when I wish we would have a real revolution and get rid of the stagnation of bureaucracies, laws on top of laws meaning more lawyers, corrupt taxation system, being the world's cop, corrupt intelligence systems, the loss of privacy, and always the promise of nibbling at the edge of reforms through the latest round of candidates. Can a revolution change these things for the better? I seriously doubt it; thus, my sense of pessimism but I retain a deeper sense of hope that, indeed, some or most of these things can change. I guess I'm just getting older and want to see a better world and a better society than we have thus far built in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children and grandchildren.

dada said...

d.k. - Very funny, your and EK's jousting, you throwing down the challenge and EK's response. I'd say you may have twisted the odds, i.e., spouse will survive you if it wasn't for those damn statistics that award you girls the edge. But odds are probably increased now by both your actions, that is, you'll probably die within a couple months, or few weeks of one another, making each others blissful second life after one of you has answered the call of your hereafter highly improbable.

dada said...

eprof: very nicely said, esp. your list of much of what's wrong. Certainly, I never expected to be at this stage of life having to concern myself daily with such things (to the extremes) as you mentioned.

While I'd much prefer to be optimistic, Mrs. Dada and I have no offspring (other than a bunch of great little nieces and nephews coming along), but being a misanthrope, I'm thinking Earth might be better of if we could somehow exit in the least detrimental-to-others way. To give something else hope to succeed that we've so utterly damaged for ourselves and the rest of the planet.

I drifted off last night listening to the radio re the tremendous number of amphibian species being extinguished forever with the resultant implications (none good) for our own.

I don't glory in catastrophism, but opt for it over uniformatarianism and suspect we now have the ability to trigger our own self extinction, and I'm sure we haven't the wisdom to handle that tremendous responsibility with much wisdom.

Which makes a trip to the Oregon coast to see the whales that much more imperative. While there are still whales. While there is still and Oregon coast.