The Tale of Two Editorials…and comedians

Obama’s poll numbers are dropping! Obama’s poll numbers are dropping! If you are a new left Republican of course you would be dancing with joy that so soon (7 months now) of Obama entering office as president, he is already going through some very tough times as president.  However, I can expect Obama’s poll numbers to change with the flick of a light switch depending on whom you poll.  What I don’t expect, is that the American government reinvesting billions of dollars in this country with a trillion dollar deficit (as recently reported on the CBS News) to have an overnight or instant success in putting the economy back on track.  Won’t happen.  For anyone with a short term memory loss of the primary season 08; Obama said at the time (on his way to becoming president) that it took years to accomplish a wrecked economy and that it would take years to fix it.  But if you are a news media not in the tank for Obama (after all) and don’t want to refer to what the man said at the time and the facts as they existed then and now then you can do the following poll:  Did you want the stimulus plan to be instantly successful?  Yes Ο No Ο.  If you checked Yes then went on with the next caveat how do you feel about continued job losses?  Upon that would hinge whether or not Obama’s poll numbers would stay in the stratosphere or come down significantly.

What the news media who do such polls don’t wish to recall is that job losses were exceedingly high in this country over the last 8 years.  The jobs growth (?) reported by business interests to the federal gvt as well as the GDP (business profits but not worker productivity) was not one that benefited the American workforce nor those businesses that most depended upon the American consumer.  So, when you willingly go along with the propaganda put out by a Republican administration then there is no question that you can skew so called “random” polling of a few thousand individuals accordingly.  The economy started its downward slide for real (not with the dot com bubble burst) upon the discovery that Enron was exploiting greed and a lack of real regulation and proper oversight of its business dealing to literally cost businesses to go into a state of collapse.  Of creating energy prices so high, along with rolling black outs that greatly effected the state of California…  California wanted a timid Republican administration to do something about the looming Enron caused catastrophe.  But, GW bowed to the pressure of business interests and lobbyists and refused to act.  Veep Cheney was prepared to put the scandal plagued company on a preferred status of getting gvt handouts as part of an energy task force—taxpayer funded—package.  Perhaps if that package hadn’t come acropper at the hands of Congress, it might have prevented Enron’s financial collapse for a little while longer. But, it wouldn’t have prevented Enron from ultimately collapsing from its weight of pure greed…

But it isn’t the prior Republican administration that Cal Thomas wants to point to as “timid.”

However, without a doubt, Bill Maher had this in mind when (Comedy Central 13 July 2009) he had an hour long commentary about “The Decider” and the fact that not only did Congress become a wholy owned subsidiary of varied business companies esp. big pharma, but also the White House itself.  When you are a wholy owned subsidiary of the private sector you are indeed going to be timid in your dealings with them nor will you be decisive in acting on the behalf of the people being hurt by this same private sector.

Enron set the stage for the train wreck that the economy would become.  And it took all of 8 years before the economy reached the point where GW’s “base of support” got to feeling the pinch and a significant number of them simply did not vote for McCain by 4 November 2008.  A timid president is what we had the last time.  Yet, for all of his timidity he had remarkably high poll numbers didn’t he?  Well, if you knew who his “base” happened to be and where they lived, you could indeed keep his poll numbers artificially high, even as our timid president couldn’t be the decider to keep a nation economically healthy.  We could go to war in large part to keep business interests like Haliburton economically healthy.  We could drain the treasury of tax $$$ to fund two wars and keep the very wealthy and the most wealthiest of businesses rolling in even more dough.  We could encourage, couldn’t we, the arguments given by business interests that they simply “couldn’t compete” unless they hired all those illegal aliens or outsourced as much labor as possible, or even imported legal and far cheaper foreign labor.  But the unemployed pay no taxes.  And if they pay no taxes then the states are going to feel the pinch as to the services they can provide, the cut backs that will have to commence, the loss to education, public safety and public health just because of it.  Nor do the unemployed buy anything.  With the net result, that retail chains started suffering because of the drop in consumer spending.  Some small businesses went out of business.  Various mall owners started facing bankruptcy.  Our timid previous president wasn’t concerned with the actual GDP of profit losses that business suffered from because of the increasing lack of consumer buying.  He was all about fudging the numbers.  Of a very creative propaganda about where this nation economically stood when in fact no one could have in reality have been able to paint such a rosy picture.  Because to be actually decisive and tell the truth was a much too frightening prospect.

Where GW stood on domestic matters, you can be just as certain that he was equally timid on foreign policy as well.  Whether it had to do with Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea and Iran.  He could take us to war, all right; but he kept shifting the goal posts on decisively dealing with any of the above nations in a non war capacity.  Only a timid president would do that.

So, where did Thomas come up with the idea that Obama was “timid” in attempting to keep his well-known campaign promises as a matter of foreign policy?  To put it bluntly, Thomas hates the fact that there isn’t now a GOP for president.  That’s the main crux of his argument.  But would a hypothetical President McCain have done a better job?  Not if he agreed with GW 90% or better during the primary season.  And only followed in the footsteps of the previous timid president.  But, McCain wouldn’t have been attacked for 1.) Doing too much.  2.) Not doing too much.  3.) Spending too much.  4.) Not spending enough.  5.) Having the wrong foreign policy.  6.) Not having the wrong foreign policy.  7.) Trying to fix what is broken with the potential for a trillion dollar deficit.  8.) Refusing to fix what is broken just because of a potential for a trillion dollar deficit.  Unless you happen to be a “liberal” of course.  Everyone else, happy to have a Republican in the highest office in the land would have floated on past what went wrong and what went right about his administration.

Barney Frank was on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”  He explained the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco that ultimately fringe Republicans wanted to hang on him and other Democrats during the primary season and during the general election campaign.  Seems that the GOP wanted Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to finance subprime lending to guarantee home ownership for people who actually couldn’t have afforded that type of mortgage to begin with. He wanted Fannie and Freddie to stick with affordable renting.  So, let us put it bluntly, that if Frank is correct in what he said, then the collapse of housing, Countrywide, banks, and the rise of foreclosures in this nation (after all, part of the taxes taken in by the state comes from property as well) can now be handed entirely to the GOP.  The people who seemed to have fully wrecked the free market they were supposed to be fully in love with.

Kinsley being published a day before Thomas (Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington) had quite an argument about what Obama should do to push for health care reform.  Begin only reforming and in small chunks that which was most affordable and therefore most palatable to Congress.

Then again, when watching Bill Maher on Comedy Central last night; he had quite a stand up routine on big pharma.  Correct as far as it goes that big pharma seems hell bent on producing pills these days that might kill you before they can cure you.  And inventing diseases in order to push the pill onto the market.  And inventing those highly spendy national ads to push the pills for diseases that most doctors might never have heard of.  And requiring of the consuming public that they knew better what their symptoms were and therefore should ask their doctor if the recently advertised pill was right for them.  Shouldn’t the doctor tell me?  That was one thing I could find myself in complete agreement with Maher over, ask your undertaker if ___________________ is right for you.

Kinsley did not get into discussing how big pharma could control costs.  Quit introducing fad pills that creates more medical problems than it solves.  Quit advertising those fad pills that results in people getting sick and dying for having taken them.  Of course not.  But a percentage of out of control health care has to do with people seeking profits long before they consider actually helping people with their products.  Let’s put it bluntly, health care as a “free market” attitude isn’t going to put health first.  Nor will costs be controlled while $$$ are at stake.  A lot more would have to be changed than say replacing a faucet on a leaky pipe while the water gushes somewhere else.  Or putting pipe fittings here and there willy nilly.  Attitudes have to change, for the health care system to begin to function again.

Thomas, one of his last comments had to do with the “timidity” of the current president that would allow this country’s economy to go into another wreck.  It hasn’t recovered from the first one.  Nor will it, for awhile.  But while Thomas wants to hang the economy as an Albatross on Obama’s neck, Frank had this to say as well, just how much the GOP were opposed to the extra 40 billion going to the states…  Yeah, the GOP timidity in actually doing anything at all for the people who put them in office.  Sorry, everything can’t be blamed on the current president.


3 Responses to “The Tale of Two Editorials…and comedians”

  1. The Tale of Two Editorials…and comedians « Jeh15's Weblog | Iraq Today Says:

    […] more here: The Tale of Two Editorials…and comedians « Jeh15's Weblog Tags: interests-like, north-korea-, trade-relations, year– […]

  2. Spokane Al Says:

    I guess we believe who and what we choose to believe. That said I found your comments on Barney Frank and his vs. the GOPs part in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco to be interesting. From everything I have read your take is a bit of revisionist history.

    For example a Sept 24, 2008 article on the subject states, ” In 1991, Frank and former Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., lobbied for Fannie to soften rules on multi-family home mortgages although those dwellings showed a default rate twice that of single-family homes, according to the Nov. 22, 1991, Boston Globe.”

    A Sept 9, 2008 WSJ article states in part, “In 2000, then-Rep. Richard Baker proposed a bill to reform Fannie and Freddie’s oversight. Mr. Frank dismissed the idea, saying concerns about the two were “overblown” and that there was “no federal liability there whatsoever.”

    Two years later, Mr. Frank was at it again. “I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems,” he said in response to another reform push. And then: “I regard them as great assets.” Great or not, we’ll give Mr. Frank this: Their assets are now Uncle Sam’s assets, even if those come along with $5.4 trillion in debt and other liabilities.

    Again in June 2003, Frank assured the public that “there is no federal guarantee” of Fan and Fred obligations.

    A month later, Freddie Mac’s multibillion-dollar accounting scandal broke into the open. But Mr. Frank was sanguine. “I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis,” he said at the time.

    Three months later he repeated the claim that Fannie and Freddie posed no “threat to the Treasury.” Even suggesting that heresy, he added, could become “a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

    In April 2004, Fannie announced a multibillion-dollar financial “misstatement” of its own. Mr. Frank was back for the defense. Fannie and Freddie posed no risk to taxpayers, he said, adding that “I think Wall Street will get over it” if the two collapsed. Yes, they’re certainly “over it” on the Street now that Uncle Sam is guaranteeing their Fannie paper, and even Fannie’s subordinated debt.

    Another article from the same time frame states in part, “Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

    Who to believe? I know which side I lean towards.

    Take care.

  3. jeh15 Says:

    Repeating what in general Barney Frank had said. Then indeed what Frank had said to Jon Stewart would have been revisionist history.

    I am sure I know why Frank did what he did; after all, he was supporting affordable rental housing. And that may have been the most accurate statement he gave. His opposition to the GOP was on the presumption that GOP “reforms” would have included Fannie and Freddie no longer supporting rental housing and indeed a probably more fiscally unsound financing home ownership. In 2004, Al, the Dems had lost seats to the GOP. In 2004, it wouldn’t have much mattered what Frank might have been opposed to. The GOP could have pushed through any Fannie and Freddie reform that they chose. But, they were guided by GW’s “ownership society” to hang those subprime lending mortgages on what ever organization would ultimately finance them, the Fannie and Freddie humongous liability did come as a consequence of their financing subprime mortgages.

    Let’s put it bluntly, I don’t disagree with you about the Dem involvement in this financial mess. However, both parties share the blame for all that had happened in particular in the last 8 years. For the GOP to continually want to “blame the other side” for what amounted to their own involvement in very bad domestic policy is equally revisionist history.

    Thank you for being willing to discuss the matter. I enjoy having you here.

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