Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin on Her Foreign Policy Experience - This is So Scary I Don't Even Want to Think About It

Watch CBS Videos Online

Bush Says Entire Economy in Danger?

What is this? Didn't he and his best buddy, John McCain, just say that there was no problem? I suppose that means that our economy went into the toilet in just a couple of weeks. Up to that time our two economic "experts" had been saying that the economy was strong. After all, their close friends and supporters in the banking industry were well in charge, and we had nothing to worry about. Mr. McCain's economic advisor, Mr. Gramm, told us that any perceived problem was in our heads because we were simply "whiners."

Now a grim Bush appears before the cameras, telling us that we are in danger of a depression...well, he calls it a "recession." McCain, always thinking in terms of the White House, hurriedly "suspends" his campaign, calls on Obama to cancel the debate, and rushes back to Washington to "take charge" and fix this problem. He is an "expert" on the economy. No, wait a minute, he once said that economics was one of his weak points. Never mind. He has been reading up on it and talking to his experts like Gramm. He can fix it because he is ready to be president.

Meanwhile, a cool Obama says the debate should go on, because the American people should hear what the candidates have to say about their economic programs at this critical time. Instead of "suspending" his campaign and rushing to Washington, when the Senate isn't considering Bush's bailout, he says, "I'll go when I am needed." In short he isn't using this issue as a campaign ploy, while pretending to be doing something about it.

While Washington "rassles" with this potentially fatal problem, our VP candidates continue to impress us. Joe Biden says that Roosevelt went on TV to talk about the potential depression. Palin makes small talk with a few minor foreign leaders, while her handlers continue to make sure that the press and the American public hears nothing she says. Don't you love politics?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain, More of the Same

I'm not an economist. I don't understand the economics of Wall Street and all of the back door dealings done there and among the big banks of the world. What I do know is that the Republicans have long advocated deregulation of just about everything and have refused to even watch over any big business, and certainly not the banks.

The oil companies are running rampant. I do not recall gasoline shortages because of a gulf hurricane until Katrina. Yet there was Camille in the late sixties that laid waste to the Mississippi gulf coast. Granted, there weren't as many cars on the road at that time. Suddenly, gas prices go up ridiculously over night. Why? Supply and demand? Or is it simply an excuse for more price gouging? The price of oil not yet refined or even pumped from the ground goes up on the world market and gas refined days or weeks before, goes up ridiculously at the pump. All the while, the President of the United States, a big oil man, says or does nothing, and the oil companies shamelessly reap incredible profits.

The U. S. economy appears to be on the brink of collapse, along with many banks large and small. Yet John McCain, a Republican, says regulation is not the answer. Someone should be watching over these people, particularly the mortgage industry, and closely regulating them. If that had been being done, chances are, we would not be in this situation. Of course, had there been regulations, the last eight years would have seen the Bush Regime, paring down the regulatory agency to one or two people in some out of the way office somewhere in Washington, much like the consumer protection agency. One man in that organization tests children's toys. One man.

Then there is the Interior Department agency that is supposed to be watching over the oil company drilling, but the personnel were, instead, having sex and doing drugs with their oil company friends. Great watchdogs. Or were these DOI employees instructed to cozy up to the oil companies rather than watch over them? They became too cozy, instead.

The EPA under Bush has been instructed to allow more pollution through less regulation. They have been pushed to turn their heads to climate change, or global warming. Their recommendations have been changed at the White House and their studies have been altered.

All of this is simply the Republican philosophy of laissez-faire, when it comes to business. Let big business rule. Let the toy companies make dangerous, poisonous toys. Allow the oil companies to charge outrageous prices and let them drill where they want. Don't even think about watching over the mortgage companies. After all, they know what they are doing. Why should the government become involved?

Now, the Bush Regime has decided to throw Republican philosopy to the wind and bail out the mortgage industry by assuming an incredibly bad debt with money the country doesn't have. It is all being done with a policy drawn up over a weekend by a man, who just might be one of the villans who caused the problem in the first place. After all, he headed up one of these bad companies before becoming Sec. of the Treasury. Being the same old, same old, Bush and his cronies don't want to see the CEO's of these rogue companies fail to get their golden parachutes, when they jump out of the crumbling company. I have an idea. Let's let the oil companies bail them out. They have the extra billions at the moment.

Then there are taxes. McCain advocates the same old, same old. Give the rich and the big companies more tax breaks and pass it on to the middle class. It's that same old Reagan tax lie that if the breaks are all given to the rich and big business, it will "trickle down" to the middle class and poor. It hasn't worked and it won't work. Every time a Republican president has taken office in the last 30 years, he has been given a surplus and almost immediately it has been blown away by these inept Republican economic theories.

McCain continues to rant about how Obama will raise our taxes, when in reality, Obama will lower taxes on the middle class and increase them on big business and the rich, while McCain proposes the opposite, or the usual tired Republican voodoo economics. Given time the mess may be cleaned up, if Obama wins. However, this mess may be more than even a Democrat can manage. Economists are saying that McCain's proposed economic policies will cause the deficit to increase. Therefore, if McCain wins, it will continue to be more of the same, while the middle class flounders and continues to drown in debt, high prices, and taxes to pay for more wars and more bad management. At the same time the deficit will continue to climb until the country finally cannot take it anymore. What will happen then is anyone's guess. It could, however, be a fatal blow.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Over, I'm Tired, and What Fun!

Our bluegrass festival is over. Boy am I tired. I did not wake up until 9 a.m. this morning after two late night returns to my home with no supper. Most of the day Friday was spent on last minute chores, including about an hour unloading a small trailer of logs, cross ties and other debris. I had to work the sound in the courthouse on Friday night and for about six and one half hours on Saturday. I also served as an emcee at one stage for a one-hour segment. It was exhausting but very fulfilling.

And the music...great. Not a loser on the list. Bluegrass today is an eclectic mix of traditional and just about anything the musicians want to try. I don't believe we had more than two or three traditional bands out of the twenty-five or so bands present. I heard Bob Seager, CCR, Bach, Benny Goodman, and, would you believe, Sam the Sham and Pharohs. Yes, Wooly Booly rang out from the courtroom in the old courthouse on the square, shaking the ghosts of the Blue Sky Boys, Bill Monroe, and the many other traditional groups who have played there.

Today's bluegrass musicians experiment to find the best mix of music that they can find and they interpret it in their own style. Believe me, they don't sound "hillbilly" when they do them. I suppose the influences and experiences of the younger musicians and the younger of us baby boomers makes these musicians stretch the limits of their musical abilities and their instruments. Many of them are urban dwellers, who have moved into bluegrass, because it gives them an option to experiment with so many types of music. Some are trained classical musicians who play bluegrass as a hobby. A new musician friend of mine's late wife played with the Atlanta symphony and taught music in the public schools, but played bluegrass on the weekends. A former band member of our historical society president's band, is an amazing classical guitarist, but also plays fantastic bluegrass guitar and banjo.

The kids who choose this style of music are simply amazing. Their instrumental talents are awesome. There is a sixteen year old, Raven Welch, who is quite a singer and an excellent mandolin player. Her sixteen year old guitar player was equally talented and quite a showman. Alex Tomlinson, a Union County kid, is a three state Jr. champion. Alex, who is around 12 or 13 years old, is as comfortable with a classical piece as he is with an old time Scottish fiddle tune, or a western swing rag.

I look forward to next year to see what bold, new directions these musicians have taken. I hope by then I will have mastered the mandolin well enough to take a small part in a jam or two around the square, if time permits. Many folks say that some of the best music at a bluegrass festival is the impromptu jams that take place in small groups away from the stage. If you haven't been to a festival, but you like music and are willing to stretch your tastes a bit, try one or two just to see and hear these folks perform. Their talents are amazing.