Friday-Sunday, June 10-12 2005
The Trade Deficit
The trade deficit widened to 57 billion below the expectations of 59 billion. I suppose on Wall Street that's considered good news but certainly not on main street.
“The manufacturing sector has largely shifted from the US to Asia. While Asian economies are pursuing export-led growth, it is inevitable we will see large trade imbalances with the US.”
-Kathleen Stephansen, director of global economics at CSFB in New York
Gee whiz, I been saying for over ten years! But, I wonder why there's so much rhetoric on the trade deficit? Most reports say something to the effect that "Americans continue their voracious appetite for foreign goods". Yeah right, these reports pretend there is a choice when there isn't much of a choice. Sure, a product may have a US flag on it and be sold by a US company. But, check the label carefully, you will no doubt see "Made In China", "Made in Malaysia", "Made in Mexico", anywhere but "Made in the USA".
Some people say I shouldn't fret so much about this. Greenspan is certainly in that school. Okay, during Clinton's time I wasn't happy about it but to his credit he had a plan to cope with the eroding manufacturing base. There was the knowledge based industry that his policies stimulated - transforming the Internet into a commercial network for instance. Displaced manufacturing workers were provided with trade adjustment assistance (TAA) to re-train in knowledge based jobs. Sure, no easy task but it worked for many people - at least, it was humane. That's why I gave Clinton a vote in his second term. Let's all be honest now, Clinton's eight years on balance were very good.
But, along comes Bush Junior, now even the knowledge based industry is disappearing overseas. Junior has no plan to deal with the eroding knowledge based industry and doesn't care about manufacturing. So, what's next Junior - everyone stocks shelves at Wal-Mart's? Also, he has steadily cut TAA funding. In short, I give him an "F" grade for a dismal economic performance and won't excuse him because of 9/11, Iraq or the "blame Clinton game".
Mr. President, it's been your show and it hasn't
By the way, computer software is the last sector that the United States runs a trade surplus in and it is rapidly eroding. Even agriculture and aerospace now run small trade deficits. Not to worry? Judge for yourself.
Georgie-Boy and Mr. Cheney
GW: Hey Dick. What's all this I hear about this
Global Warming report by the National Institute of Science report? What are we
gonna do 'bout it Mr. Cheney?
Cheney: Relax Georgie-Boy. We go it covered.
GW: I'm nervous, Mr. Cheney. They say that I'm making the world dirtier. They say "George W. Bush is making it harder to breathe." They say "George W. Bush is making the water so no one should drink it." They say "George W. Bush letting polluters get away with polluting more." What am I gonna do?
Cheney: Relax Georgie-Boy. Didn't I get away with creating an energy policy by putting your dad's and my friends on the panel? Wasn't it me who got away with not telling the names of those guys? Don;t worry about a thing, Georgie.
GW: You got a plan?
Cheney: Of course I do Georgie. Here's what we're going to do. We hired this guy, Philip A. Cooney, to work right here at the White House. He's the chief of staff to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, whatever that is. He was an oil industry lobbyist, so he already knows exactly what to do.
GW: Yeah? Yeah?
Cheney: We're going to have him look at the report...
GW: And then what?
Cheney: Now, Georgie. You're going to have to stop interrupting me.
GW: (With a sad face) Sorry, Mr. Cheney. But those pointy-heads at the NIS is blamin' me for all this stuff. They're blaming ME for the dirty water. They're blaming ME for the dirty air. What are we gonna do?
Cheney: We'll have him change the report. that's what we're "gonna do", Georgie.
GW: This guy Clooney, is he a scientist? Does he know this stuff?
Cheney: Nope. He's a lawyer. That'll be just fine.
GW: A lawyer? I thought we hate lawyers.
Cheney: Nah, that's just what we tell everybody, right karl?
Karl Rove: Right Mr. President... er... Vice President (wink, wink).
Cheney: This guy, as you call him, Clooney worked for the American Petroleum Institute. That's who he was a lobbyist for. He'll take care of it.
So what we have here is a lawyer and lobbyist for big oil interests, Philip A. Cooney, a guy with no scientific experience whatsoever, re-writing a report on "G"lobal "W"arming by a group of real, accredited scientists at the National Institute of Sciences to make it sound like "G"lobal "W"arming Bush isn't responsible for making "G"lobal "W"arming worse. What we have here is a member of the administration "changing key words" so as to make the "G"lobal "W"arming problem seem like less of a problem
"There are policy people and scientists who are involved in this process, in the interagency review process, and he's one of the policy people involved in that process, and he's someone who's very familiar with the issues relating to climate change and the environment."
-Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary,according to a transcript by Federal News Service Inc.
A lawyer changing the National Institute of Sciences scientists' report would be like the 12-year-old bat boy telling Babe Ruth how to hit a fastball.
Democracy In A Cone Of Silence
On June 11th, the House Judiciary committee convened an open hearing on renewing the Patriot Act. After the panel gave testimony, the committee chairman James Sesenbrenner (R-WI) had a temper tantrum. He adjourned the meeting and walked out despite other committee members calling for a point of order. Most of the committee and panel continued the discussion without him.
This is an outrageous attempt to silence debate on an important issue. American civil liberties are at stake. The renewal of this act must be openly debated and all testimony should be considered even when the chairman disagrees with it. The committee must determine if the Patriot Act has led to civil liberty violations and indeed should institute a regular bipartisan review process.
A Media Madman Suggestion
It's simple. In order to stop Fox News from slanting, lying and misrepresenting the news, the only thing progressives can do is to stop shopping their advertisers. Once a week, Note From a Madman is going to list an advertiser on Fox News. This week we are going to look at a Brit Hume advertiser, Best Buy.
I'm not going to not shop at Best Buy this week, and I'm not going to shop at someone else next week.
More Media Madman
"A Republican environmental group with links to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and former powerhouse lobbyist Jack Abramoff claims it is a tax-exempt corporation and does not have to account publicly for at least $250,000 that Indian tribes report contributing to it at his urging.
"But the IRS says it has no record that the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy has been granted tax-free status as a corporation.
"The absence of IRS approval raises questions about the extent of the council's political activities."
-The Arizona Republic
Republicans for Environmental Advocacy? Must have been a real short campaign.
In response to "JUST HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THE AVERAGE AMERICAN FAMILY CAN SAVE THESE DAYS?" Rhian writes:
Here's my "not so average American family finances":
Husband, subtracted from household by Bush/ Rummy coalition of Stop Loss (Length of mission-Unknown)
Two children, working mom.
Rent - $1085.00 mo
Water: $200.00 mo
Electricity: $100.00 mo
Propane: $150.00 mo
Fuel for auto, zero payments, 91 Ford Explorer, 11 miles to the gallon including work: $800.00 mo
Auto maintenance not including tire replacement: $170.00 mo
Out of town expenses, work, lodging: $250.00 wk food: $80.00 wk
Clothes for three: ?
Food for three: ?
Entertainment? What's that?: 0
Insurance for auto: ?
Communications/home/ school (computer satellite/no TV cable): $70.00 wk
WalMart/TP, shampoo/cond., fem hygiene, toothpaste, etc. ?Savings-change jar (used to hold pickles) $15.00-$40.00
Wages, $16.00 per hour, $10.50 per hour per diem, $.36 1/2 per mile.
Every week I have $300. automatically deposited into a savings account. Every week, I have to use most of it. Most times all of it.
Credit cards. None. . . .Uh. . . .What was that about savings, Mr. Greenspan? Does the pickle jar count?
Can I care about security? About money? About savings?
The question of the day, of everyday: Is 'he' still alive or has he been killed and no notification is possible because the op was that classified. (are men nuts?)
Thought for every day: Priority. Take care of the kids. Your problems, rage, grief, frustration, disgust, etc., not a priority. You gotta be. . . keep your hand off the gun. . . . that Arab Muslim on the corner, in the store, down the street, in the car, won't hurt you today, even though he kills your dream and maybe your husband. . . Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too. . . .Bush.???? . . . .LIES!!!!.. . . . . . .Damn. Sounds like imbalances and uncertainties. But we don't throw up our hands and become victims in our family.
Really, Really Stupid Quotes
"I'm going to be stubborn on this issue,"
-"G"lobal "W"arming Bush, regarding Social Security, in Iowa
Just what issue aren't you stubborn on, Mr. President? With the attitude of never admitting mistakes, that "stubborn streak" is... well.... stubborn!
The only reason to keep up "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's $30,000-a-day Social Security Reform-by-Trashing-Tour HABIT is to make sure the issues that require our attention NOW take a back seat.
Just in case anyone forgot, here are some of them:
The Growing National Debt
The Growing Trade Deficit
Need I go on?
focus of monetary policy is to create an environment in this country which
enables capital investment and innovation to advance."
-Alan Greenspan, in response to Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
It just amazes me, Robert and obviously, Rep. Sanders as well, the extent to it that Alan Greenspan just doesn't get it. Capital investment and innovation are certainly important, but only as it pertains to making this country greater. The policies of the Bush-Cheney regime, and the Greed Over People Party as a whole has not made the good of the nation its priority.
They have made the priorities Greed and nothing more. In a society that places Greed Over People, in the end, the Greedy will suffer as well.
-Robert Scardapane & Noah Greenberg
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