Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day Video for Rusul

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

There will be NO ‘Iraq savings’

Nicholas von Hoffman gives Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama a well-deserved smackdown on this issue. Instead, in and of itself, all that the end of the Iraq War will offer is a lessening of our Chinese borrowing, he says.

Even if you rescind all the Bush tax cuts, which he doesn’t number-crunch, we would be lucky, lucky indeed to get back to a balanced budget.

Imagine three well-dressed people on a sidewalk: a white-haired man in his early 70s, a woman in a pantsuit, and a young, spaghetti-thin African-American man. They are absorbed in a dispute, but they carry on in polite, moderated tones.

Across the street, a building is collapsing, another one is on fire, and a woman is jumping from the roof of a third structure. Others kneel, gasping for air near inert human forms, more dead than alive. The police, hands clapped to their heads, run to and fro like ants after a squirt of insecticide. Firefighters arrive, jump out of their glistening red machines, and attach their hoses to the hydrants. But no water comes out.

Not so many feet away, the three well-dressed people continue their disagreement, oblivious to the tumult.

Thus the presidential campaign soldiers on, all but ignoring the largest economic upheaval since the disaster of 1929. Given the chaotic state of no-longer-so-high finance in America, they have good reason to stay as far away from the daily debacle flooding out of Wall Street and, inch by foot, putting the nation under water.

But whoever wins the White House will enter it under conditions undreamed of when this long presidential season began. Long-held delusional assumptions have ceased to be tenable, owing to the catastrophic brew mixed up by Wall Street.

Now that you’ve got the intro, you know the tenor of the whole column.

Von Hoffman notes “the dollar isn’t the dollar anymore,” the next president will have to offer “the castor oil of austerity” and tell America to “man up”

As for just how bad the borrowing situation is, well foreigners are starting to get skittish, von Hoffman says:
Owing to the ever shrinking dollar bill, foreigners are ceasing to buy U.S. government securities. Last year they bought $126 billion less than in 2006.

What’s the solution?

Von Hoffman says inflation is the only likely way to get out of this — real inflation. It’s either that or a possible crash, he says.

And, the last time we used “crash” and “economy” in the same sentence to talk about America was back in October 1929.

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Here is a portent for the fall

Donations to presidential campaigns by members and employees of the armed services have gone overwhelmingly to anti-war candidates.

From January 2007 through March of this year, service members or civilian employees of the military donated at least $766,000 to presidential candidates, according to data made available April 20 and provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group in Washington.

The analysis included donations of at least $200 made by individuals who listed their employer as one of the four branches of the military — Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — or the Coast Guard, National Guard, Army Air Force Exchange Service, armed forces or military.

These donors gave the largest amounts to Rep. Ron Paul, the long-shot Republican candidate from Texas who has acknowledged defeat in the nomination process but continues to campaign, and Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrat from Illinois.

During the reporting period, Paul — a former Air Force surgeon who broke with his party to vote against the Iraq war — received the most military contributions, with $201,271.

That’s significantly more than the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain from Arizona, who received $132,133 from military donors, according to CRP.

“I think that our fighting men and women want to protect America, defend our Constitution and defend our borders,” said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Rep. Paul’s campaign. “I think they’re sick and tired of being sent overseas on these police actions and getting caught in the middle of these civil wars, and want someone like Ron Paul speaking sense.

“They signed up to defend our country, not police the world,” Benton said, “and I think they’re hungry for leaders who do that.”

I am not Ron Paul supporter - but that sentiment is right fucking on. Just because military members agree to fight wars by definition when they join up doesn't mean they lust after just any war. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Remember, it was easier to convince every last citizen of Athens that war was necessary than it was to convince a single Spartan. That is because a professional warrior class understands the seriousness of the undertaking in ways that simply aren't conveyed in repeated viewings of Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan.

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