Sunday, September 27, 2009

What The People Want

My recollection of history is not sharp, but (correct me if I'm wrong) weren't the founders mostly looking for freedom from governmental intrusion? I don't remember any writings about health care or bailing out banks or social security. What is it about freedom from "government services" that got their waistcoats in a twist? They only briefly mentioned the "general welfare" of the citizenry, and I don't recall their pounding the table about the "will of the people" as being the standard of wise government. Maybe the founders were wrong and we need to downplay the "Land of the Free" thing. On a sliding scale of Freedom to Slavery, what mix of liberty and bondage will make for the highest general welfare?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The War Country

Report: Troops needed to avoid Afghan failure

The situation in Afghanistan is serious and growing worse and without more boots on the ground the United States risks failure in a war it's been waging since shortly after the terror attacks of September 2001, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, says in a confidential report.

"Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it," McChrystal wrote in a five-page Commander's Summary.

Let me see if I got this right. We can't win, but we might lose. What, exactly, is the definition of "win"? If winning means financial and political collapse for the U.S., then we might as well bring the troops home and close shop on our worldwide garrisons and occupations. And how did this AP reporter get her hands on a "confidential report"?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tom Engelhardt Rocks!

These are a couple of extracts from Tom Engelhardt's essay, "Is America Hooked On War?":

Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it’s hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere at any moment.

This wasn’t always the case. The early Republic that the most hawkish conservatives love to cite was a land whose leaders looked with suspicion on the very idea of a standing army. They would have viewed our hundreds of global garrisons, our vast network of spies, agents, Special Forces teams, surveillance operatives, interrogators, rent-a-guns, and mercenary corporations, as well as our staggering Pentagon budget and the constant future-war gaming and planning that accompanies it, with genuine horror.

Tom's essay doesn't start off interesting, but by the fourth or fifth paragraph he catches fire and keeps his coals glowing throughout the rest.


Monday, September 14, 2009

New 'Toon from Toles

I shamelessly lifted this great cartoon from my Yahoo home page. Toles nails another one!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summing It Up

"Once upon a time, the Senate was a shining beacon of at least semi-intelligent discourse -- living, breathing,
debating proof of the success of America's experiment in democracy. It was Rome, when Rome was in its heyday.
These days it's more like Rome right before the fall of the empire -- brimming with arrogance, stupidity, influence-peddling
and near-constant partisan hackery, and overrun by self-serving clowns drunk on their own grandiose sense of importance
and always on the lookout for the next illicit sexual encounter."
--Chez Pazienza

I don't think I could improve on that. I like this Chez Pazienza. I lifted this quote off Bartcop, but his link didn't take me to the source of the quote. I think I need to search the Innertubes.

Obama: ‘Time for bickering is over'

WASHINGTON - Shaking off a summer of setbacks, President Barack Obama summoned Congress to enact sweeping health care legislation Wednesday night, declaring the ‘‘time for bickering is over'' and the moment has arrived to protect millions who have unreliable insurance or no coverage at all.

Obama said the changes he wants would cost about $900 billion over decade, ‘‘less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans'' passed during the Bush administration.

Praise be. Home boy finally noticed the elephant in the room. Now if he can only focus, he might make the connection of taxes to taxpayers. Before the government can spend money on wars it has to take it away from the citizenry. But don't stop there. A standing army just begs to be used, and its use right now is to bomb wedding parties. Do you think there might be a connection between U.S. military atrocities and worldwide outrage against the U.S.? Nah, but lets save a couple of bucks anyway and shut down all the U.S. military bases in 130 or so different countries. Since Obama is the Commander-in-Chief, couldn't he close all the foreign bases and bring the troops home? Leave the world alone. Stop the killing and bullying.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bank Comedy

This is from the August 30 Las Vegas Review Journal.

"It certainly is a horrendous market right now," said Arvind Menon, chief executive officer of Meadows Bank. "It certainly is getting harder and harder to find good borrowers to lend money to, primarily because of all the financial devastation that's going on in the market. It's very difficult to be able to make loans that we think will be able to weather the storm."

Menon is looking for borrowers who have strong liquidity, low debts in relation to assets and few contingent liabilities in the form of personal guarantees for outstanding loans.

But why would a person with lots of cash and low bills want to borrow money? The only time a shrewd person would want to borrow is if he was dead certain that prices were going up faster than the cost of the loan. In that case, why would banks want to loan?