There was a lot of news and commentary this weekend after Bush’s Bailout was passed and Sarah Palin demonstrated just how unknowledgable she is about important domestic and foreign policies. The economy has been bad for average Americans for years and this election is critical. So I’m going to stay on top of both issues by pointing to aspects of news and commentary I found. I’ll update this post throughout the day due to the volume of material I want to cover.
1. Democratic Rep. Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer were profiled in the Rocky Mountain News. Here’s a short bio on both: Rep. Udall has spent a good portion of his career trying to improve our energy policies – in Colorado first, and then nationally. There is a long road to walk until we have a renewable energy-based society, which is needed for a healthy climate and national securtiy. Mark Udall will make a decent Senator (note I didn’t say good or great. I have real problems with his centrist approach in general and his recent vote to retroactively immunize telecom corporations who illegally wiretapped domestic traffic). Bob Schaffer used to be a Jack Abramoff yes-man. His actions tell us he is in favor of forced abortions, sweatshops and fossil fuels. His past is well-paved with corruption and Colorado can’t afford to have a 20th century fringe CONservative blocking work to move forward in the 111th Congress.
2. Bush admitted on Friday as he signed his Bailout that the legislation is just “the beginning”. Really? The beginning of what, exactly? The beginning of more taxpayers Bailouts of immoral corporate gambling? Overall, Americans recognized this Bailout is just that. There is no part of the legislation that addresses the actual problems in the economy. No homeowner assitance. No path towards more jobs. No increase in income. The Bush administration will not prosecute the fools that set up this economic collapse. The bottom line: trickle-down (voodoo) economics does not work. Dumping larger sums of money at the top will not make any more fall to the bottom.
3. The Bailout passed because of the tax breaks attached to it. There are many reasons why that fact is odious, but I’ll focus on one for now: all of them already exist. That’s correct: the tax breaks were merely extensions! Entities like the Denver Post, in fact, spent more time opining about the tax breaks than they did about the underlying Bailout. The Senate hadn’t extended any of the tax breaks all year, but managed to stick it on the Bailout so it would pass. Oh, the corporate media also hasn’t reported the reason those extensions hadn’t passed all year: a CONservative Senator from Oklahoma issued a record number of filibuster threats this Congress. One person alone managed to hold up about 100 necessary bills. All so the CONS could run ads saying Congress didn’t do anything all year. CONS put all their focus on elections and none of their focus on governing.
4. Amendment 58 would end a source of corporate welfare for fuel corporations. At a time when those corporations have enjoyed record profits every year the past 8 years (at least), the last thing they need is to cheat Colorado out of $321 million in taxes that they owe every year. Fuel corporations have drilled a record number of drills in Colorado for going on 5 years now. Have gasoline or natural gas prices fallen? Nope. Colorado deserves the money it’s owed. It’s time to end this unfair giveaway. By the way, fuel corporations have spent over $10 million on ads targeting this initiative. $10 million that Coloradans spent on over-priced fuel is going to advertising trying to convince people the corporations need more money. Say what?
5. Labor groups capitulated to business groups to remove four initiatives from Colorado’s November ballot. In return, business groups will help raise $3 million to defeat their three initiatives. It would have made sense to simply remove all seven, but the pro-corporate initiatives’ backers refused. If any of the three initiatives pass, labor will have helped once again to further neuter themselves at a time when the middle class desperately needs them to be strong.
6. The Denver Post on Friday had an above-the-fold story about the Colorado Democracy Alliance. It was an in-depth look into how a group of Colorado progressives have helped citizens clear most of the right-wing extremists from their government. As one of the group members explains, their efforts are notable only because they’ve leveled the playing field with the right-wing’s infrastructure that was built up over the past generation. I can’t remember the corporate media putting out a similar investigative look into that right-wing set-up, despite the fact that it’s better financed and more comprehensive that the progressive’s new effort. I guess that’s what you get from the “liberal media”.
7. Economic recovery must begin with a stabilization of housing prices – something Bush’s Bailout failed to address. Banks aren’t loaning money to each other or to individuals or small businesses because housing prices continue to plummet. To be fair, it wasn’t just Wall St. gamblers that got greedy during the housing run up of the past 10 years. Too many people wanted to treat homes like an investment vehicle and we’re all left reaping the results. Once prices stabilize, money will flow again. We’d all be better off when that day comes if we spend the time until then paying off our debts and living within our real incomes again. Unfortunately, housing isn’t near a bottom yet.
8. John McCain is saying the Keating Five investigation was a political smear job on him. Funny how John McCain had very different things to say when an election wasn’t one month away, isn’t it? From his book:
I made the worst mistake of my life by attending two meetings, the first with the chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the government agency charged with regulating the practices of the nation’s savings and loans, and a week later with four bank examiners based in San Francisco who were at that time investigating the investment and lending practices of Lincoln Savings and Loan of Irvine, California, owned by my good friend and generous supporter Charles Keating.
McCain is also attacking Obama for writing a book about himself. John McCain has clearly mastered the CONservative habit of running away from taking responsibility for his actions. John McCain is a coward.
9. Sarah Palin shouldn’t have brought up domestic terrorism or choice of reverends. I suppose she had little choice – she and McCain have absolutely no policy stances that they can describe to the American people – so they’re left with absurd personal attacks. Why shouldn’t she have gone there? Her husband belonged to a political party that wanted Alaska to secede from the Union. She definitely knew about this – she’s given speeches at their conventions. Seceding is treasonous, Sarah. Choice of pastor? The pastor she credits with helping her win the Governorship thinks he can determine if women are witches or not. Not only is she incredibly inexperienced for the position she’s seeking, her judgment is severly lacking also. But by all means, please keep attacking Obama. That’s working out real well for McCain.
10. One of the arguments that I didn’t buy prior to the vote on Bush’s Bailout was that oversight would be vigorous. It turns out I was correct in wanting more information. As Lehman Brothers collapsed last month, departing executives made off with hundreds of millions of dollars, while begging the government for a bailout. A small part of Congress found that out today, as Rep. Waxman’s committee held investigative hearings. Unfortunately, there’s not a darn thing Congress can or will do about it – they’ve adjourned for the year. Think this will be the first thing they take up when they get back in January? Nope, me either. Just for the record – Richard Fuld, the chief executive of Lehman who made off with $480 million, feels just absolutely horrible about what happened. I bet he does. So much for oversight and “no golden parachutes”: Fuld gets to keep his millions. The only advantage is taxpayers weren’t tapped to bail out Lehman, which is small comfort now.
11. John McCain will cut Medicaid and Medicare to pay for his health care credits. CONServatives have been trying to destroy these programs for decades. Why do you think the Bush administration doubled our national debt to $11 Trillion in 8 years? If money is tight, spending has to be cut somewhere, after all. It’s not as if CONServatives will cut the bloated War budget. War corporations donate money to CON campaigns in return for maintaining their unneeded programs.