Kicking the Can Down the Road

June 21, 2011

Let it burn. No really, let it burn. You'll save the Germans a lot of money.

Did you hear the wonderful news that sent stock markets around the world higher?  The Greek ruling party in parlaiment narrowly passed a confidence vote – so their prime minister, (Papindreau or something like that) can stay in power and have his party cram more austerity down the throats of their lazy constituents.  Obviously people who aren’t used to paying taxes, working, or doing anything to stimulate their economy aren’t going to be happy about the goodies being taken away.  I make a grandiose generalization but I think you catch my drift.

Here is the crux of the problem…they are basically taking money from German taxpayers, pissing it away down the rat-hole known as Greece, and this controversy and subsequent raise in the stock market is all about getting a traunch of money promised last year.  Its not about new money.  Its about stuff they’ve already agreed to.  Greece’s economy is so bad, that everyone is worried the citizenry is going to pull the place apart as the government bean-counters force more cuts (which drive their economy in the ditch even further – but rightly and fairly so).  Thus, the controversy isn’t even addressing the fact that the bailouts didn’t hold things up as long as they planned or that they haven’t actually voted for the austerity measures that they still need to get the money, OR that the Greeks are going to need a nother $140 billion dollars to forestall things another year.

The Greeks are broke.  Any money thrown their way is only keeping counterparty banks in Germany and France whole.  Its not helping the Greeks…its just keeping the all-powerful European banks in the money so that they don’t have to take a haircut…and to let Spain get its fiscal house in order before Greece finally does have some kind of default.  You see, Greece isn’t too big to fail, but Spain is.

That my friends, is the real truth about the Greece economic situation.  Its all a shell game and its not a matter of if, but when the Greks will deafult.  Default isn’t really even that big a deal – obviously they can’t hold up their end of the E

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Congress = Off Kilter Moral Compass

June 7, 2011

Being a pugilistic dick has its consequences when you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar - no one else gives you any quarter either

I could rant and rave about good ‘ol dis-Honorable Representative Anthony Weiner (you couldn’t make this up folks!) went from lies to cries, but I won’t.  It pleases me to see a liberal blow-hard fall, and fall hard all for lame choices that didn’t even get him laid…but that is a partisan angle and not what I’m trying to get at, as juicily scrumptious as it is.

There are two types of corruption – one more moral and the other more ethical.  Ethically, you have the Charles Rangels, Barney Franks, and the Tom Delays of the world who bend then break rules for their own financial gain…be it outright money laundering or cut-rate deals for their gay partner.  That’s bad stuff, and could evoke its own article from me, but I’m interested in the guys who are thinking with the wrong head.

Those would be:  Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards,  Mark Sanford, JFK, and many, many others who are just a list of recent or infamous names of politicians who thought they could get away with it and so they strayed despite the possible consequences to the body of work they’ve worked hard for their whole lives to establish.  Even a paragon like Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t resist having multiple affairs with multiple women.

Why is this?  Two reasons.

I call the first the ‘second rule of modern politics – power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

(the first rule by the way is that job #1 for the modern politician is to get re-elected rather than actually govern).

The other reason generally has to do with attractive young ladies who lack the self-respect they should have.

When you mix the two, you have a politician who thinks he is above the rules everyone else has to play by….  i can hear the thought process now:

“Have occasional sex with the ONE woman I’m married to who doesn’t put out anymore because she knows she’s got me?   Pffaah!  Why do that when I have all these hot twenty-something interns fawning over me?  They don’t call it sleeping your way to the top for a reason…its good to be on ‘top’!  Mwahahahahah”

You’d think this analogy would especially apply to Ah-nuld, but somewhere he confused what was ‘hot’.

In any case, these guys are not used to someone telling them ‘no’.  When the one person in their life who can say ‘no’ does because she is your wife and knows you better than anyone else; and possibly knew you before you were ‘powerful’…she is now immune from your prowess..she knows the man, not the myth.  Well, when she has a headache, Mr. powerful eventually can’t take it any more and the slippery slope starts.  At first it’s just flirting over cocktail drinks…but then the dopamine gets kicking in that male head of theirs and they get swept up, making one poor decision after another.  It may take a while, but its the classic story.  Cheat a little.  Cheat a lot.  Get caught.  Deny and Lie.  Come clean…and most likely with your political career in tatters.

What’s the most interesting part about this is the current story is the fact that Mr. Weiner only had virtual relationships.  Given time, it is not unreasonable to believe he’d  have gone further, but that is just speculation…you think the guy would be cut some slack..but the fact that he’s such a dick to people he doesn’t like doesn’t help him.

Bottom line:  these guys aren’t sorry.  They’re just sorry they got caught.  They have a brain, they must be somewhat capable if they were elected to office (no comment), and they have logic, reason, and the fear of hungry divorce lawyers carving them up all on their side…but they. just. can’t. do. it….  The supple young body  who is interested is just too irresistible.

Oh yeah – and she doesn’t want you for good looks or charm.  She wants you for your money (think Anna Nicole) or because she is a woman and she has her own inexplicably illogical biological reason to get in bed with an old dude twice her age.  In part, it is instinct that attracts her to the alpha male of the pack…the one in power… and who evinces more power than a U.S. Congressman, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, or the President of the United States?

In the end, its just one more example of how broken our government is.  I’ve already washed my hands of most all of them.  How many more have their eyes on a pair of boobs rather than the sad state of this country and just haven’t been caught?  There are always more.  This is just another reason to ‘drain the swamp’ on both sides of the aisle.

An elite political class forgets how to lead just like its constituency forgets to hold it accountable.

– G.S.


Been Away For A While – Well, Its Starting to Heat Back Up!

June 2, 2011

Just ask yourself, WWCD? (What Would Caesar Do)

I’m not sure if I actually have any of what you would call ‘regular readers’…but if you are, you will see that I’ve been away for a while.  That is fine…in all honesty, I hadn’t been focusing my attention here and it was in part because the news wasn’t that remarkable save us whacking Bin Laden.  As a way to swing back into things, I wanted to make an omnibus posting of what is going on in the world that is wrong – what I call ‘taking stock of the sinking ship’.  I plan on getting back to more frequent and shorter posts.

First let me reiterate that I believe this country and generally the world, has passed the Rubicon on getting its financial house in order before a  depression level crisis happens way back in January when Congress and the President agreed to extend the Bush Era Tax cuts while also extending the unemployment benefits…both of which they shouldn’t have done and goes against their rhetoric of fiscal responsibility.

With that said, lets take stock of the world today and see if its past the tipping point of sanity:

Libya – Its a stalemate.  The resistance fighters don’t have the means, training, or power to uproot Khadafi.  The international community isn’t sending in ground troops.  So, they do airstrikes, but never in the history of Air Power have you won a war with it alone.  YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE BOOTS ON THE GROUND – and the boots on the ground in this case sucks.

Arab Spring – This is actually of nice historical significance.  All the down-trodden people in N. Africa and the Middle East are tired of getting screwed.  The discontent has now spread to Yemen and Syria and even Saudi Arabia some.  These places recognize that they either don’t care about the international community because it’s not on friendly terms (Syria), they have us where they want us (Saudi with all the oil we need from them), or they are the best bet to help us keep the worst terrorists at bay (Yemen).  Idealism meets realism in these places and its a shame that these are the results.

Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks –  1967 borders?  Are you kidding me?  How many times have the Israelis offered some concrete concessions for emphemeral promises.  The leaders of the Palestinians don’t want peace, they want to erradicate Israel.  That is their stance.  1967 borders doesn’t solve any problems while only actually making things worse.  The political impasse is not about a stateless nation of Palestinians, its about a fundamental belief among Palestinian leadership that Israel does not have a right to exist…and the common Palestinian suffers because of it.  Obama was a fool for that one.  He only strengthened the hard-liners in Israel while also weakening our ability to influence them.  Just like Syria, the Palestinians won’t listen to us…so all we have is soft power via Israel.  That’s it. 

Osama Bin Laden – He’s Dead.  I should have written a piece about this.  This was a good move on the President’s part, so don’t politicize it.  Bad for Clinton letting him get away and turn Afghanistan into a terrorist haven.  Good on Bush for the ground work his team laid.  Without it, Obama wouldn’t have been able to get the bastard.  This is a team effort and kudos to everyone for getting the son of a bitch.  I personally belive they made the right call to do the quick burial at sea for all the reasons they posited, but I do  think that they should have  released the pictures of his dead body however…that and I believe that the Pakistani government is just incompetent, not complicit.  Osama was disciplined, connected, and a master-mind.  It makes sense for him to hide in plain sight in relative luxury in the last place that anyone would look, especially when everyone thought he was hiding in some caves.  Bravo to him…but bravo that he is dead.  May he have ‘fun’ hanging out with Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot in Hell.

Europe – Just like I’ve said, the EuroZone and the IMF did NOT solve Greece’s problems.  Throwing money at the problem won’t do it.  The country is still insolvent and will only require more money to go down the rat-hole until they finally give up on it.  The only reason these international economic and finance people are doing what they are doing is to give Spain enough time to prop itself up and get out from under the shadow of the PIIG (Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, Greece).  If Greece defaults now, the German banks take it in the shorts, and Greece leaves the EuroZone, it drags Spain down with it, which drags down Europe, which eventually drags down the U.S.  THAT my friends is why they haven’t stopped the insanity in Greece.  Great, huh?

United States

– Tornadoes.  They suck and I think there is something to climate change involved here…but what?   That is the question that no one can definitively answer.  Should we shut down our coal factories because of it?  No.  Should we actually put public monies towards developing cleaner technology (like Fusion – see previous articles) yes. 

– Debt Ceiling/National Debt/Political Theatre.  Where was all this talk of debt when Congress piled it on when it passed the Rubicon (see above).  It didn’t exist.  Why?  Because it wasn’t politically expedient and not the hot topic.  So, it takes literally multiple acts of Congress to fund the government until the end of the year, with the political theatre and last minute antics…and we don’t think its going to be the same for this?  You’re kidding me.  While I am sympathetic to the Republicans and laud what they are trying to do, both them and the Democrats know that they will cave in the end (even if it’s no concessions I believe) to raise the debt ceiling.  To do otherwise would be disastrous for the Global Economy, put us into recession (if we’re not there already) and possibly put us into Depression.  That is a bad thing…but it would finally force the chickens to come home and roost and make the folks in Washington address some of this country’s problems.  But for that exact reason that they would be blamed for cutting people’s social security, medicare, Medicaid, and raising taxes, the politicians won’t let things get that bad – they want to get back into office because their personal power is more important than what is good for this nation.  Few are willing to fall on a sword for this nation, much less the majority needed to actually affect painful change.

And that is the crux of the matter.  Notice I didn’t talk about the Healthcare debate…there isn’t one.  It all goes back to the same problem of we as a nation want all the goodies the politicians hand out, but we collectively put our head in the sand and don’t want to pay for it.  Hence the debt.  Hence not wanting to raise taxes.  Hence being implicitly okay with passing the debt burden to the young and the unborn.

  We as a society have abdicated the governance of our country and it should be a ‘shame on us’ moment.  Instead, these guys are controlled by their own ambitions and fueled by special interests and their money.  If we keep voting the same people in, why are we continually disappointed in the same poor results?   The politicians won’t tell you the hard truth because they know they can tap dance around the issues because you are too busy casting votes for American Idol and not enough at the ballot box.  They have no need to tell you the real truth that they know and piss you off because they know you’re asleep at the wheel.  While you borrow to keep your standard of living the same, they live their lives as the political elite and go to a cushy lobbyist job once they get out of the public lime-light.  Why would they want to rock the boat?  Well, I will.  You guys need to wake up.  ALL OF YOU.  Even the tea partiers who I loosely affiliate myself with.  Even you have to rise above the hypocrisy.  The same elderly tea partiers who hate big government don’t want to see their social security or medicare get reduced. 

 You can’t throw these kind of stones if you live in a glass house.  If I actually thought that government could fix itself, I would welcome a raise in my taxes.  I would welcome a raise in age for my Social Security.  I would welcome changes to Medicare.  The thing is, I know it’ll just be another form of generational theft…and that is why while I don’t want a crash, I somewhat support it because it is better to have it happen sooner rather later.  Despite all the ideas I’ve thrown out here before, from revolutionizing the health care industry to energy security and true investments in America I think it is too late. 

 The signs are in the tea leaves.  My ducks are in a row for the coming economic collapse, are yours?

– G.S.