I get a good belly laugh everytime someone compares today's situation to the GREAT DEPRESSION, then blames it ALL on Bush!
Those people need to go back to 6th grade and re-take history.
I agree, at least in part. We are nowhere near Great Depression levels of human misery. However, it would be foolish to suggest that this situation lacks the potential to become GDII. I'm hawkish when it comes to the economy, but I do blame Bush, and Bush is gone.
We have been in a recession for more than a year now. When gas was $4/gallon, it was killing us. The War in Iraq has been disastrously expensive. Remember how it was going to pay for itself? But there's a difference between limping away from wreckage (eight years of it) and going over the bridge in a Vanilla Sky moment.
You're too hard on Obama, and perhaps a little too quick to let talk radio turn you into a dittohead. I mean, Obama has been president for all of, what?, a couple of weeks? I agree that the Obama hype is dumb, but not nearly as dumb as the babblings of Bush, the lies of Cheney and Rumsfeld or the twerpy frat-boy hijinx of Gonzalez. Obama doesn't have to make the sun rise to have been worth my vote. All he has to do is stop selling stupidity on a stick. I think he's done more than a passable job at that, which is why he continues to have my support. He will, however, have to come to the same conclusion that Rush Limbaugh seems to have missed when Obama got elected by a landslide: The GOP is out. While raw partisan politics will offend the sensibilities of just about everybody, there is no need to ask the Republicans if they approve of anything. They had their chance. They blew it. It's time to stop asking for permission. Leadership also means doing what has to be done, regardless of what the other guy thinks.
You are exactally the person Obama preyed on. He is a GREAT orator, and can tell a facinating story, but his stories to me are about as realistic as the BoM is to an Evangelical.
And you are perhaps "exactly the person [Bush] preyed on." I get the appeal, I really do. In the early-to-mid-90s, reformist types - combined with the new realities of the workplace - caused a crisis of sorts. Lots of people felt overwhelmed, some even persecuted. In the peak of Political Correctness, there was a cultural backlash. This is what unleashed the sudden "man" movement - with aggressive alt rock you can kill a cat to, skinheads and goatees, the new fart-joke culture, the popularity of movies like Dumb & Dumber and Forrest Gump, the popularity of TV shows like South Park, and the all-around "extreme sports"/macho nonsense that questioned every nagging, mom-knows-best, older-sister-in-charge restriction on the books.
Republicans took back the House for the first time in 50 years. Newt Gingrich went from being a bomb-thrower to Speaker of the House. Montana made it legal to drive any reasonable speed. Dodge Ball came back. It became perfectly acceptable to take the office paintballing. More states eased restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms. Macho Wacho was in; the sensitive male was out. Real men drove Hummers. Their wives drove SUVs that looked like tanks. Chrystler made a killing selling its PTCruiser, a Hyundai with the body of a gangster wagon from the 20s. What were people watching on TV? The Sopranos. Are you seeing a pattern here?
This is about the time George W. Bush reinvented himself. If Clinton stole a page from Ronald Reagan (the way Reagan stole a page from FDR), Bush II copied Clinton but gave him a facelift. Instead of presenting himself as Elvis, Bush presented himself as John Wayne. When 9/11 happened, the first great crisis - even while attending to the chaos and the carnage - was figuring out who to blame. Nobody knew. Unlike a typical terrorist attack, nobody called in and took credit. Even Osama initially denied having anything to do with the attack. How do you wage war against something you can't even recognize? But when Bush blamed Osama, Osama went from outright denial to giddy grandstanding. How does something like that happen?
I'll let the watchers of the X-Files figure out their favorite angle. For me, the easiest, simplest, most direct answer is that bin Laden has spent decades doing little more than passing the hat. When we got hit, the terrorists didn't blow up the most critical infrastructures. They did hellacious damage, but it was to a pair of buildings in New York and a wing of the Pentagon. They hit towers, not unlike the Great Shatans at the Qaaba in Mecca, the towers the crowd pummels with stones as they make their great circle around them. Why hit the WTC? Because it was known all over the world. Had they poisoned a water supply or sabotaged a nuclear facility, they could have done even greater damage, but what they were after were the pictures. All that smoke! All that destruction! It was a freaking Michael Bay picture!
Why was Osama initially reluctant to take credit for the hit? Because he didn't know it was going to happen. He didn't have the oysters to either pull it off himself or put it into motion. He'd won some kind of twisted lottery. Look at that footage - of Muslims warriors popping up out of the sand along with others pulling comando moves as they worked the monkey bars. How did we suddenly have all that footage? Where did it come from? Did we invent it? No, but we sure knew what to do with it. That footage was old stuff. It wasn't some hidden camera. It wasn't something we'd smuggled out of the sand. It was all staged material. The nazis made similar films, as did the commies, as do any army the world over. Such films are created in order to convince an audience - either the general public or one's backers in the government - that somebody has a fighting force somewhere. I and some buddies could go out into the weeds and create my own footage. I'll bet you the Michigan Militia, and all those other silly right-wing outfits, have their own little films, staged presentations of their "army" and what it might do when called up.
Osama had money, but like a lot of other people, he preferred to spend other people's money. These films were made for one real purpose: To get people - all across the Middle East, Europe and America - to pass the hat. These idiots were going to put the bell on the cat. They were going to fight the Great Satan. All they need is your credit-card number.
So, when a group of under-employed, marginalized, young and impressionable outcasts (most of them Saudis like bin Laden) actually pulled off this major coup, nobody could have been more surprised than bin Laden. After all, if bin Laden had had any real cojones, what was he doing in Afghanistan? Bin Laden was both a political and economic opportunist. Islam's greatest appeal right now is its brand image as the religion of the tired, oppressed, third-world outcasts. People straining to survive real poverty take great solace in his words, as did the Germans when Hitler promised them a better tomorrow. Muslims in Europe (particularly in France, the UK and Germany) also found him charming, especially the young bucks, the easily-impressionable idiots who end up brainwashed by military organizations around the world. Without young imbeciles who snap to revele and get choked up by uniforms and salutes, you couldn't get a decent genocide started. You need to recruit as many homicidal imbeciles as possible. You need to find dummies who've got no better prospects than "Be All That You Can Be" - folks who let a commercial convince them that there's some kind of glory in becoming cannon fodder.
There was no central command, no tightly-wound hierarchy through which to send the command to simultaneously attack the WTC, the Pentagon and the White House. Al Qaeda was just open-source gone awry. Osama bin Laden had made it the United Way of terror. Anybody who has ever worked with UW knows, all too well, that it's essentially an ad agency designed to pool vast amounts of charitable gift-giving into a big pot which can then be drawn from as funds are diverted into various nameless charities. Everybody also knows that the decision as to who gets what is highly political and that running the nonprofit is, in fact, quite profitable for the CEO and members of the board. You won't make GM salaries but you'll do just fine. And so, OBL was a guy who had managed to parlay his Arabian fantasies of shoot-the-oppressor in Afghanistan into an endless business enterprise, one which was all about getting Muslims - the world over - to pass the hat. With the fall of the Soviet regime in Afghanistan and the success of other independence movements across central Asia, these guys morphed their organization from an anti-Soviet machine into an anti-western machine. But since the west was nowhere near any caves in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda became the PTL club from Hell.
Just watch some of these videos - later released after 9/11 to whip the public into a fury - and you'll see what looks like a low-rent version of The Daily Show or David Letterman. OBL shows up, gets interviewed, and basically plugs his war against the man. It's like all that terrorist footage of the Symbionese Liberation Army (the idiots who used Pattie Hearst to rob banks back in the 70s). In fact, some of these tactics actually look like a subplot right out of the movie, Network. I can just see Kathy Bates and Faye Dunaway talking about the terror of the week. That's why you'll find a lot of money for Al Qaeda mixed in with Islamic Charities. To a lot of Muslims, giving to OBL was like giving to the 700 Club. Where Pat Robertson - or buddies like Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell or Jimmy Swaggart - speak of sending out missionaries to spread the word, Al Qaeda was all about sending out "missionaries" to "spread the word."
Al Qaeda became a front organization for a worldwide movement to jam the gears of the western world. Lots of homicidal imbeciles were "recruited" and given "training" on how to jam up the gears. There were conferences and trainings and a lot of hat passing. In their wildest dreams, they could not have believed that some group of homicidal imbeciles would have been so successful as to hijack four planes and crash them into the WTC and the Pentagon - without getting caught or shot down in the process. Surely, the Great Satan would have caught them in the act and obliterated them on the spot. Surely, that all-seeing eye of evil - straight out of Lord of the Rings - would have seen them coming and taken them out, just for thinking about it. But it didn't happen. The "monster" was alseep. Nobody was guarding the front gate, let alone the back. These idiots strolled in, learned how to fly planes without knowing how to land them, and actually got onto planes without even the least bit of difficulty. The CIA didn't track them coming into the country. Customs didn't catch them. The FBI didn't find them in America. The FAA didn't catch them at the airport. The Air Force didn't blow them out of the sky. They got as far as they did while Uncle Sam was not only caught with his pants down, but sitting in an outhouse reading the funnies upside down.
It was the perfect moment for a man in a big white cowboy hat. Bush dusted off his fake Texas twang. We endured endless speeches about "smoking them out" and "bring it on," the latter turning out to have fascinating consequences in Iraq. We took a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan - for hosting OBL - and turned it into an argument for a new war in Iraq, one where we could roll out the tanks, bomb actual urban targets and seize control of what might possibly be the second largest supply of useful oil in the world. As far as I'm concerned, Republicans who suddenly jump up and scream, "Pork! Pork! Pork!" must not remember the last eight years. None of them seemed to have minded spending billions in Iraq, and on bogus reconstruction of somebody else's country, particularly when so many billions of that money were earmarked for Halliburton.
Yawn. I think I'll catch some other fantasy flick. These whiney Republicans are beginning to make me drowsy.
First of all, it wasn;t a landslide. Second, the financial crisis had a lot of contributors but I blame primarily those who wanted to make home loans easier to get, primarily so minorities or "low income" families could reap the benefits of home ownership. Good intentions, very bad results. Just do some google searches from 2004 on articles on minority housing and you will see that the intention was to get 150,000 minorities into homes in 2005. And, yes, Bush was all for it. But he wasn't the only one. And I blame Barney Frank quite a bit for continuing to push that agenda, right up to 2008, even as the bubble was bursting.
Can Obama's plan of giving several trillion dollars make things better? Maybe in the short run, but as they just raised taxes in California AGAIN making the highest taxed state pay even more, I have strong reservations as to how we are going to pay back this debt. At least with the war in Iraq, we were spending the money on something tangible, but throwing money to banks who just swollow it up with nothing to show is not a good solution. I sadly predict that Obama will end up a sequel to Carter. it won't be as bad as the Great Depression, but we are in for high taxes, crazy levels of inflation and a whole lot of debt.
Second, the financial crisis had a lot of contributors but I blame primarily those who wanted to make home loans easier to get, primarily so minorities or "low income" families could reap the benefits of home ownership. Good intentions, very bad results. Just do some google searches from 2004 on articles on minority housing and you will see that the intention was to get 150,000 minorities into homes in 2005. And, yes, Bush was all for it. But he wasn't the only one. And I blame Barney Frank quite a bit for continuing to push that agenda, right up to 2008, even as the bubble was bursting.
The people who were pushing for increased minority home ownership?
The same types of community organizations that Obama got his start with.
Rather than consider the reasons why so few minority families owned their own homes, several community organizations decided that it had to be because banks weren't giving them loans. These organizations started raising a major fuss, such that some bank employees began to fear for their safety. Several banks were thus forced to lower their criteria for eligibility, but in order to cover their bases they began to up the interest rates and create new forms of loans.
Other banks caught wind of what was happening and began to introduce these new sub-prime loans (among others) because it meant that they could make more loans and thus draw a higher rate of interest. In time, a large number of the banks doing sub-prime pressured Fannie May and Freddie Mac (among others) to begin accepting the sub-prime loans so that if something did start to collapse the banks would hopefully not be left out in the cold.
BILL, it truly sucks being at total odds with you, as I completely respect you in every way and I feel like we share a VERY similar take on religion and religious issues.
But, I just disagree with you politically.
UWUM: I am wide awake, it is you who are dreaming...
Desimans, it is NOT any president that is responsible for the actions of the people, in a free market system, the government kinda has to have a "hands off aproach."
It people who over spend and live a $100,000/year lifestyle on $50,000/year. It's the American people who have spent themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and then whine for help to get out of it. They file bankruptcy and let someone else clean up the mess, or they default and are frustrated why they can't get an american express, or are unable to write a check.
It is well documented that it was under the Clinton admin, that the Banks and CUs and S&Ls were "degreulated" and people went out and started like a sailor on shore leave. Now, they are a$$hole deep in debt and are freaking out.
Bush is NOT the problem, the people in middle america who wanted to live like "The Real Housewives of Orange County" on 50 grand a year who are to blame.
Obama is just coming around and promising to throw them a bone and they are eating it all up. Keep your stimulous package, go spend it on something frivelous, and let me wait out these 4 years in grumpy angst.
The newest flap, in addition to everything else, is that Obama's wanting his chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel to oversee the Commerce Department's handling of the Census.
Officially, this is because the new Secretary of Commerce once proposed eliminating the department and so there were fears that he might not do a good enough job.
Presently, however, it's swung the other way: there are fears that if the White House tries to do anything to exert influence it might result in bias since the census is what the government uses to determine electoral votes and representation in the House; the White House, it's feared, might force the Commerce Department to inflate numbers in pro-Democrat areas and deflate numbers in pro-Republican areas.
Second, the financial crisis had a lot of contributors but I blame primarily those who wanted to make home loans easier to get, primarily so minorities or "low income" families could reap the benefits of home ownership.
Don't even go there. Poor blacks and hispanics did not cause the home-loan crisis. If you're going to blame home buyers, blame the speculators who bought too much house - precisely because they thought they could sell, at a profit, before the balloon came due. Some of those people included blacks and hispanics, like a woman in my neighborhood who sold her modestly-priced house so she could buy a house three times the price. But it would take a lot of sips from the tea to get me to think that it was the minorities who did this to us. I mean, come on.
Can Obama's plan of giving several trillion dollars make things better? Maybe in the short run, but as they just raised taxes in California AGAIN making the highest taxed state pay even more, I have strong reservations as to how we are going to pay back this debt.
This is nothing new. FDR had his Keynesian Economics, with government spending on public works to get the nation moving again. Reagan had his supply-side economics, which used tax cuts to generate trickle-down spending by the rich. Bush had his stimulus. Now, Obama has his. I don't know if this is "Obama's plan" or just Obama's herding of a plan that would be moving forward - regardless of who were president. The government cannot afford to sit idly by and do nothing while the financial dominoes start to fall. I'll be the first to admit that so much of this whining about an economic on the brink of collapse is grandstanding. Panic is what will bring us into dire straits. If anything, the gloom and doom are spooking the herd. People still have to eat. They still need clothes. They still need cars. If the economy is stalling out - because of mistakes in whatever sector (in the late 80s, it was the S&L crisis) - the solution is to put confidence back into the market. That, more than anything else, is what will get the country moving again. It's not that a bunch of people failed to make their mortgage payments. It's that the specter of all those home loans coming due has had a ripple effect. Businesses are downsizing, ahead of the quarterly returns, in an effort to not get burned. But this rush to shut everything down is having a chain reaction. In the meantime, Joe Sixpack is watching all of this happen and is saying, "I think I'd better watch my spending."
At least with the war in Iraq, we were spending the money on something tangible,
What, tangible, have we gotten out of Iraq, besides footage from Abu Ghraib and a lot of flag-draped coffins? Take your time with your answer. I want you to give me your best shot.
but throwing money to banks who just swollow it up with nothing to show is not a good solution.
That's what Jefferson said when Hamilton proposed paying off the government's old debt at face value, which simply enriched Hamilton's cronies in the financial sector. Washington went with Hamilton. Jefferson eventually resigned as Secretary of State (for this and other issues). The country, on the other hand, benefited from the move, which put America on a more stable footing.
I sadly predict that Obama will end up a sequel to Carter. it won't be as bad as the Great Depression, but we are in for high taxes, crazy levels of inflation and a whole lot of debt.
I predict that, eventually, the GOP will discover that it is no longer in charge. We will go through tough times, but not a whole Obama term. Reagan faced a similar challenge during the first two years of his presidency. During that time, he lost some of his luster. But when the economy bounced back, he became unstoppable. Republicans can only hope Obama goes down in flames, because if the economy improves - and it will - they'll be wandering in the wilderness until 2016.
Just ask George H.W. Bush. You don't win re-election by justifying a do-nothing stance on the basis that you want to leave the country less to pay back later.