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The Nitwit We Have As President


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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucgg/20080925/cm_u...QmtRT2IElv9wxIF

CAN AMERICA BE SAVED?

Thu Sep 25, 7:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Lurking behind the infamous $700 billion bailout that is monopolizing our attention these tumultuous days, loom other even more important questions -- deadly serious and historic questions -- that have become, all too suddenly, the true stuff of our new reality.

Does American citizen democracy, regulated free enterprise and community responsibility still constitute the model for the world, as we have simply assumed since the voyages here of de Tocqueville in the 1830s presented this "wonder" to the world? After failure built upon failure, can we still inspire the rest of the world with our philosophy, drive them to mimic our system and join them together in forming international organizations built upon our internal ones?

So far -- behind all the discussion, rant and general abuse of the citizens' rights, and behind presidential candidates rushing to Washington to do what they should not be called upon to do and a weakling American president presenting "the problem" with bug-eyed strangeness to the American people -- we have a number of choices being bantered about concerning the future.

George W., in his Strangelove speech Wednesday night, meticulously laid all the blame for the economic collapse on a spendthrift American citizenry and none on either the "sorry, not present" regulators or the $490 million-richer CEOs of the doomed firms. Amazingly, with a straight face, he said that, "Despite ... abuses, democratic capitalism is still the best system.... And together we will show the world once again what kind of country America is."

One of my favorite thoughts on what we are putting ourselves into came from Sen. Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, who took the purist conservative position and was quoted as saying in the Congress: "This massive bailout is not the solution. It is financial socialism and it's un-American."

In the think-tanks of the city and in Europe and even further beyond, the wordplay became ever more far-out, but it was not playful. Speaking at the opening of the U.N., French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on world leaders to effectively launch a war against speculation and to hold a summit later this year to rebuild a "regulated capitalism" to replace what Brazil's moderate President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called a virtual "anarchy of speculation."

Economist Arnold Kling was quoted in The New York Times as using a provocative term for what we are facing, as the U.S. Treasury literally bought up -- yes, effectively socialized -- many of our most important financial assets: "Progressive Corporatism," he called it.

And, of all people, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kitchner, not widely known for her economic genius, made a lot of good sense. She denounced what had happened in America as "a casino economy or an economy of fiction where it was thought that only capitalism can produce money. ... Money on its own does not produce more money. It has to go through the circuit of production, work, knowledge, services and goods." Hey, Sarah Palin, listen in!

One of our true -- and rare -- wise men in Washington, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, scholar and diplomat, expressed his fears to a group of us at the annual meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies here this week. Even as the message outside was "all fall down!" Americans today, he said, are "very prone to fear and demagoguery -- and if offered demagoguery, they might embrace it."

This is very much what "moi" has been having nightmares about in the dark of night: I learned long ago from history and from covering the world that in hard times, when leadership is perceived to have failed, no country in the world -- none -- is free from fear-mongering populist demagogic leaders.

Finally, the Financial Times' Martin Wolf, often one of the wise men in the press, carries the whole discussion to a further question -- and the most profoundly disturbing one. IS the so-called "American model" still the most enviable and viable one for the world? Hard to think so, he says, given all that the world is observing here.

Still, the American inspiration has a chance, he writes in the Times. But the next administration will have to choose between two "elements in the (Anglo-American) tradition: the instincts for conflict and for co-operation. The first instinct seeks enemies and the latter deals. The former is Manichean and the latter conciliatory." It's not hard to figure: McCain is writ "conflict" and Obama "co-operation." So the choices are pretty stark and abundantly clear.

The fact is that while we of course had problems before, the husbanding of our polity and of our wealth over these last eight years has left this country, for the first genuine time in its relatively brief but brilliant history, on the downward track on the world scale. We have become the world's torturers; we can't keep our money straight or even our geography (Iraq? Iran? Afghanistan -- hey, we're also losing in Afghanistan, anybody notice?); we seriously put up for the highest positions in the land a woman from the outer reaches of America whom we know nothing about and who herself knows nothing about the world; the worst indicator, to me, is The New York Times writing a piece about how judges around the world who have long looked to the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court for guidance no longer "pay attention to the writings of the American justices."

Only your verb tense is wrong, President Bush: We already HAVE shown the world what kind of country America is -- today, at least!

Most of these analysts, and indeed my humble self, believe there is still time to turn America around, but we all believe that the time is short, indeed painfully short. We cannot afford another disastrous administration. At the very best, it will be extremely tricky because the American people, used to that old "getting and spending," will now be asked to sacrifice. Can we do it? We must.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucgg/20080925/cm_u...QmtRT2IElv9wxIF

CAN AMERICA BE SAVED?

Thu Sep 25, 7:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Lurking behind the infamous $700 billion bailout that is monopolizing our attention these tumultuous days, loom other even more important questions -- deadly serious and historic questions -- that have become, all too suddenly, the true stuff of our new reality.

Does American citizen democracy, regulated free enterprise and community responsibility still constitute the model for the world, as we have simply assumed since the voyages here of de Tocqueville in the 1830s presented this "wonder" to the world? After failure built upon failure, can we still inspire the rest of the world with our philosophy, drive them to mimic our system and join them together in forming international organizations built upon our internal ones?

So far -- behind all the discussion, rant and general abuse of the citizens' rights, and behind presidential candidates rushing to Washington to do what they should not be called upon to do and a weakling American president presenting "the problem" with bug-eyed strangeness to the American people -- we have a number of choices being bantered about concerning the future.

George W., in his Strangelove speech Wednesday night, meticulously laid all the blame for the economic collapse on a spendthrift American citizenry and none on either the "sorry, not present" regulators or the $490 million-richer CEOs of the doomed firms. Amazingly, with a straight face, he said that, "Despite ... abuses, democratic capitalism is still the best system.... And together we will show the world once again what kind of country America is."

One of my favorite thoughts on what we are putting ourselves into came from Sen. Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, who took the purist conservative position and was quoted as saying in the Congress: "This massive bailout is not the solution. It is financial socialism and it's un-American."

In the think-tanks of the city and in Europe and even further beyond, the wordplay became ever more far-out, but it was not playful. Speaking at the opening of the U.N., French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on world leaders to effectively launch a war against speculation and to hold a summit later this year to rebuild a "regulated capitalism" to replace what Brazil's moderate President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called a virtual "anarchy of speculation."

Economist Arnold Kling was quoted in The New York Times as using a provocative term for what we are facing, as the U.S. Treasury literally bought up -- yes, effectively socialized -- many of our most important financial assets: "Progressive Corporatism," he called it.

And, of all people, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kitchner, not widely known for her economic genius, made a lot of good sense. She denounced what had happened in America as "a casino economy or an economy of fiction where it was thought that only capitalism can produce money. ... Money on its own does not produce more money. It has to go through the circuit of production, work, knowledge, services and goods." Hey, Sarah Palin, listen in!

One of our true -- and rare -- wise men in Washington, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, scholar and diplomat, expressed his fears to a group of us at the annual meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies here this week. Even as the message outside was "all fall down!" Americans today, he said, are "very prone to fear and demagoguery -- and if offered demagoguery, they might embrace it."

This is very much what "moi" has been having nightmares about in the dark of night: I learned long ago from history and from covering the world that in hard times, when leadership is perceived to have failed, no country in the world -- none -- is free from fear-mongering populist demagogic leaders.

Finally, the Financial Times' Martin Wolf, often one of the wise men in the press, carries the whole discussion to a further question -- and the most profoundly disturbing one. IS the so-called "American model" still the most enviable and viable one for the world? Hard to think so, he says, given all that the world is observing here.

Still, the American inspiration has a chance, he writes in the Times. But the next administration will have to choose between two "elements in the (Anglo-American) tradition: the instincts for conflict and for co-operation. The first instinct seeks enemies and the latter deals. The former is Manichean and the latter conciliatory." It's not hard to figure: McCain is writ "conflict" and Obama "co-operation." So the choices are pretty stark and abundantly clear.

The fact is that while we of course had problems before, the husbanding of our polity and of our wealth over these last eight years has left this country, for the first genuine time in its relatively brief but brilliant history, on the downward track on the world scale. We have become the world's torturers; we can't keep our money straight or even our geography (Iraq? Iran? Afghanistan -- hey, we're also losing in Afghanistan, anybody notice?); we seriously put up for the highest positions in the land a woman from the outer reaches of America whom we know nothing about and who herself knows nothing about the world; the worst indicator, to me, is The New York Times writing a piece about how judges around the world who have long looked to the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court for guidance no longer "pay attention to the writings of the American justices."

Only your verb tense is wrong, President Bush: We already HAVE shown the world what kind of country America is -- today, at least!

Most of these analysts, and indeed my humble self, believe there is still time to turn America around, but we all believe that the time is short, indeed painfully short. We cannot afford another disastrous administration. At the very best, it will be extremely tricky because the American people, used to that old "getting and spending," will now be asked to sacrifice. Can we do it? We must.

McCain/Palin can do it.

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McCain/Palin can do it.

:D

John, John, he's our man! If he can't do it, Sarah can!

And if she can't do it, she'll look it up and git back to ya.

Rah! Rah! Vote Repuuuubbbbbblicannnnnnnnnnn!

Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaa!

;)

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We would certainly have been better off if we had a cocker spaniel the last seven years. Just about every decision made by Bush has been wrong.

One reason we are in this financial mess is because Bush emptied our treasury with his year after year deficit of 600 billion, managing to raise our national debt by 5 trillion. If it hadn't been for his 5 trillion national debt increase we would easily have handled the 700 billion needed for this latest economic disaster. Thanks to Bush, that elasticity is gone.

How do you people who are living on retirement funds, pension plans and annuities feel considering on the average you lost 5-10% of your total retirement money in one day? You put in year after year and you lose so much in one day. You can thank your Republican buddies for that.

And don't think that government pensions are safe, they are heavily invested in equities. You can't pay out what you don't have. And don't expect the taxpayers to add contributions to your pension funds - the tax base will be shrinking.

We have a Pearl Harbor economic crisis and our fine congress decides to take tomorrow off for the Jewish holiday. Most people are working tomorrow but the "congress" needs the day off during a national crisis. I don't care if tomorrow is Easter, Christmas, Yom Kippur, Ramadan or whatever, they have to come in and fix this.

McCain looked like an asshole running back and forth to "resolve" this. McCain's brought nothing to the table and as usual it is the Republicans who are obstructing.

Even though I don't like Obama, I now think he's a better choice.

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