Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Weekly Rewind

Ok, turn off the TV, or at least turn the sound down, March Madness will still be there after you finish reading The Weekly Rewind…..I’ll try to make it quick.

Heckle: to paying no attention to the 800 pound gorilla in the room. About half of the state legislatures nationwide are scrambling to plug gaps in their budgets, shot through by rapid declines in corporate and sales tax revenue, distressed housing markets and a national economy on the verge of a recession. Just remember we are not ‘officially’ in a recession….

Heckle: to a not so pleasant vision of the future. Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) current visit to Iraq is bolstering the belief by the country’s politicians that if he is elected president, “the American military would have a large presence in Iraq for a very long time.” Jalaladeen Sagheer, a senior member of the leading Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, described McCain’s visit as “an advertisement for the American elections.” As if we need anymore negative advertising.

Applaud: to someone with knowledge of the impending crisis speaking out. The current economic crisis “is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the second world war,” writes former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan in the Financial Times. He also argues that “market flexibility and open competition” are “our most reliable and effective safeguards against cumulative economic failure.” Hmmm, that would mean wild market speculation and obscene corporate profits would help lead the way to economic failure….

Applaud: to a long time coming. Reports are that an internal Department of Justice investigation into the firing of at least eight U.S. attorneys is approaching its conclusion. The report will likely be released in the spring, and it “will almost certainly be explosive.” This will be interesting. What surprises will this hold for our lame duck president and his cronies?

Heckle: to continually spreading the manure. Vice President Cheney made a surprise visit to Iraq this week, in order to reaffirm “the unwavering commitment” of the United States to rebuilding Iraq. Cheney told reporters that it was “especially significant” he was in Iraq five years after the March 2003 U.S. invasion. Shortly after his arrival, “two explosions rocked Baghdad.” How unwavering is our commitment…read on….

Heckle: to our ‘unwavering commitment’. The success of the US ’surge’ strategy in Iraq may be under threat as Sunni militia employed by the US to fight al Qaida are warning of a national strike because they are not being paid regularly. Leading members of the awakening councils “have said they will stop fighting unless payment of their $10 a day wage is resumed.” According to a survey by Guardian Films, four of the 49 councils have quit while 38 more are threatening to leave. Maybe the Bush(whacked) Administration should consider diverting some of the obscene amounts of money being paid to government contractors and instead pay the militias their paltry $10 a day wage.

Heckle: to the fact that maybe $10 a day just isn’t enough. A conference to reconcile Iraq’s warring political groups began to unravel even before it got under way on Tuesday, with the main Sunni Muslim Arab bloc pulling out and protesting it had not been properly invited. I’m sorry did we not put the proper ribbon on the outside of the envelope? Once again, why are we there??

Heckle: to not knowing when to hold ‘em, or knowing when to fold ‘em. JPMorgan Chase agreed earlier this week to buy banking giant Bear Stearns for $2 a share, less than one-tenth the firm’s market price last Friday. The bank and the Federal Reserve “will guarantee the huge trading obligations” of Bear, “which was driven to the brink of bankruptcy by what amounted to a run on the bank.” Now just remember we are only in a slowdown…..

Heckle: to ruining peoples lives for profit. “My life has been flushed down the drain,” said one Bear Stearns employee. Bear Stearns had always encouraged its 14,000 employees, from secretaries to top executives, to be long-term holders in the company’s stock, and the employees own over 30 percent of the company. Remember, slowdown…...

Heckle: to more manure. Following weeks of oil prices hitting over $100 a barrel, Vice President Dick Cheney met Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday for talks that will include discussions on cooperation to stabilize the oil market. “I’m sure they will talk about the need for a cooperative way forward to try and stabilize this market, reduce the volatility in the market, and serve the interests of both consumers and producers alike,” John Hannah, national security adviser to Cheney, told reporters. Oh and while giving the impression that they care about stabilizing things and helping the consumers, I’m sure they will also talk about ways to keep profits in the pockets of Bush(whacked) Administration supporters.

Heckle: to not listening to the service chiefs in the field. The LA Times reports that “turmoil over the war has increased” inside the Pentagon, with some commanders, including Gen. Davis Petraeus, advocating continued high troop levels in Iraq. On the other side “are the military service chiefs who fear that long tours and high troop levels” will leave “the Army and Marine Corps hollowed out and weakened.” Can the Congress tell the Pentagon to shut up and sit down while they hear from the true line commanders in the field?

Heckle: As the economy sours, voters are increasingly demanding immediate government relief, which is a problem for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “whose focus has been on longer-term solutions such as tax and spending cuts and free trade.” “The notion of ‘the market will straighten things out, be patient’ — that has photos of Herbert Hoover juxtaposed with it,” said pollster John Zogby. McCain is nothing more than the same song and dance we have had for almost the past 8 years.. Can we really handle, or yet survive 4 more years at this pace? I don’t think so..

And then we come to our Tool Of The Week. This week it is none other than Vice President and multi-tool winner, Dick Cheney, who wins the TOTW award with this little exchange with ABC Reporter Martha Raddatz as broadcast on Good Morning America:

V.P. Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

V.P. Cheney: So?

Raddatz: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

V.P. Cheney: No…

There you folks, this is part and parcel with the 'rethuglican' philosophy, “You don’t like the way we do things on your behalf? How much money did you give our canididates? I’m sorry you’re not wealthy enough and not financially beneficial to us, so we don’t care what you think.”

Okay, back to the games, that wasn’t too hard was it? And a Happy Easter to all from Kemp and I.

Be good, stay informed…..later

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