Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The audacity of right-wing hope

The Wall Street Journal actually had an editorial today suggesting Obama should govern like Reagan. Tax cuts, deregulation, yada yada yada. Talk about audacity.

Can we revisit this for a moment? Reagan abandoned fiscal responsibility at the first blush of recession. He spend more and borrowed more than any other president in history, and set the stage for the Bushes who followed to do the same. He left with an overheated economy (read:bubble) about to pop and a savings and loan crisis waiting in the wind.

He got out of town just in time that his veep, the one-term Bush, took the blame.

In fact, it's exactly like this Bush leaves office, except that the mess is banks and not S&Ls, and the dollars are much bigger. And for six of eight years, there was was no democratic congress to blame.

We've seen how conservatives and Republicans govern for 28 years now. What a mess. Obama should govern in a very different direction.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Optimism and How To Profit From It

NewAdvertising writes the following about the new Pepsi campaign:

All this is carried out with relentless optimism for the future...aimed squarely at the Optimistic Millenials identified by the Pepsi Optimism Project. They're the generation that, whenever we do research with them, expresses an enormous longing for the optimism of the sixties.They envy the generation's protest, music, dress, sexual mores and so much more. They believe they missed a critical period in relatively recent history. See a earlier blog post from The New Advertising on the 60's & 70's generation vs Pepsi's New Millennials.

So, if you are corporate America looking at this information, what do you do with it? Work toward leading a country toward a more just, less fascist, more creative, compassionate society?

Uh, yeah right.

Tom Waits once said he never licensed his songs for commercial use because Corporate America would strip out the message and attach the meaning to the sale of a product; buy this thing, attain the feeling that the song originally evoked. And that is precisely Pepsi's plan:

So it's no surprise that the look of both the site and the video is 60's pop-art-like. Just take a look at Roy Lichenstein 1962 painting "Art" ...

When we look at the damage that capitalism causes, it can really be reduced to a simple idea that everything - everything - has a monetary value and no value otherwise.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Memos to the madmen in DC

Wow. Just getting over the Obama win hangover, and it's been forever since I posted. So a few quick memos for the new year:

Memo to the GOP: Don't freakin' lecture me. After six years in which GW and the GOP Congress turned a surplus into a sinking swamp, with your president handing a trillion-dollar deficit to Obama, you have no credibility when you say anything about deficits, spending or debt. Nothing new here, either; Reagan turned a $50 billion deficit under Carter into a $200 billion-plus gap. The first Bush raised the ante to $400 billion.

Plus, y'all seem to always leave a bank or S&L collapse when you leave the White House. This time, it was your president, his Treasury chief and his Fed chief who demanded a $700 billion bailout, no questions asked, and no one gets hurt. Now you want us to believe the kooky conservative few who voted against it are the real voice of a fiscally stingy GOP.

Really, if any of you are really worried about deficits and balanced budgets, you should be glad we're in charge.

Memo to historic revisionists: FDR rocked. Based on a couple of widely dismissed academic studies that did things like not count working on roads, bridges and great buildings as working, the righties on Fox and elsewhere keep saying that the New Deal didn't help ease the Great Depression.

In fact, of course, unemployment fell every year but one -- the one in which FDR listened to clueless conservatives and backed off.

But let the academics debate that. FDR got elected four times. Americans sure thought things were getting better under him.

Memo to journalists: Get real. So some web site got a couple of porn kings to say they'd like a government bailout, and everyone has to pick it up? Giving the right wing fodder to tout it as 'Obama bailing out porn." Hell, I'd like a bailout. Want to interview me?

Nonsense. This is the biggest government mess is years, money is going all over the place without any accountability, and you want to focus on guys who won't see a dime?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You Know, I Almost Feel Sorry For Dubya

Almost, but not quite. When I got up off the floor from laughing at the video of the leader of the free world being assaulted by footwear, I read the AP article about the incident. I was shocked to read the following:

In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.

Um, in what culture is throwing shoes at someone anything other than a sign of comtempt??? I mean, have you ever, anywhere in the world, been at what passes for a wedding and heard someone say:

Here comes the bride and groom. Let's celebrate their magical day by pelting them with shoes!

Or have you ever seen a proud couple bringing home their first-born and thought:

Damn, I wish I had some stiletto slingbacks to hurl at them to demonstrate the joy I must feel.

I could go on, but power under the bridge where we now live is limited, and we must preserve the lights to stave off the increasingly-aggressive rats who seek out our dwindling supplies of food ...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's a simpler TARP plan

So we're not actually using the $700 billion set aside for buying bad mortgages to buy bad mortgages? Interesting. What are we using it for? Whatever Hank Paulson wants to do with it.

This will make government budgeting so much easier. You just hand the money to appropriate secretary and let him spend it however he wants.

Anyway, I see they've appropriately name this the Tarp program. Because once these Bush clowns are through with us, they'll buy us all big blue tarps to set up as shelters in the homeless camps.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No bailouts for Main Street!

I have to say all this talk about letting the automakers go bankrupt is getting on my nerves.

We're hearing all the usual junk from the right about socialism, our tax dollars, overpaid workers, free-market principles and such things as the GOP seems to view this as a chance to regroup. Even Glenn Beck, who claims to be a populist and who shills for Chevy, is on the case.

But c'mon. Didn't this stuff about socialism go out the window when we voted to hand the banking industry $700 billion? Ditto for free market principles; the market capitalists of Wall Street wasted no time in coming to beg for our money. They gave it up.

As to the idea of blowing 'our tax dollars,' that cat's out of the bag, too. We're $10 trillion in debt as a nation; we're in the hole a trillion for just this year. Tack $25 billion on to the end, and no one alive today will be repaying it. (Hell, if GM can escape its debt by declaring bankruptcy, maybe the country should try it.)

The other thing they're doing is trying to make us hate auto workers, because they have good retirement plans, health care and can't be laid off easily. Hey folks; maybe instead of asking why they have this stuff, more people should ask why more of us don't.

See, what we're talking here is perhaps 3 million jobs. Maybe more; they say one in 10 american workers, all told, are supported by the auto industry. We're talking about shutting down a good part of what little industry America still has. If this goes, we're a nation that manufactures little more than the caps for tubes of toothpaste and the thong part of things (the soles come from Korea.)

Besides, think about it this way. We can pay $25 billion, demand concessions and try to save 3 million jobs. Or we can let Obama try to use the government to create 3 million high paying jobs to replace them. How much do you think that will cost?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Going, Going ...

Reading my colleague's post below, I am moved to ask the question:

What is this "Ford" thing I hear about occasionally?

Seriously, walking the dogs last night, I counted 20 vehicles parked on my street. One was a Saturn, one a Mercury Topaz (with a Power Forward Toyota license plate frame, so it had been traded in for a Toyota), and two were American pickups at least 20 years old.

So 80 percent of the cars were non-American.

Blaming the American auto industry's problems on union members and labor costs doesn't address the biggest problem any manufacturer can have - no one wants to buy the shit they're producing.