Friday, September 26, 2008

Taxpayers Loan Financiers -- Update

As I watch what Congress is doing or not doing regarding this rescue plan some of what I wrote before the first vote was ever taken raises even more questions in my mind such as some of the add ons tacked on to this plan. We seem to have a bunch of Neros in Congress fiddling while Rome burns.

Most importantly, a critical vote is scheduled later today, and I, for one, continue to believe this rescue plan needs to be passed in the House. I'm appalled it wasn't passed on the first vote. We should get the names of all those who voted against passage and make a concerted effort to see this is their last term in office.

Fri., 10/03/08 12:13 A.M.

700 Billion Dollar Bailout Loan -- Rescue Plan

(Just added note: with this post Blogger has repeatedly not allowed me to publish which they describe as some sort of HTML code problem. Since I don't even type in any such code nor do I have any links on this post, I don't know what the problem is. If this post publishes it will be a minor miracle as I've been up all night with this, a feat I do not intend to repeat in the future just to publish to my blog.)

A mind-boggling series of political and financial events affecting our country as well as the world have transpired in these United States in the weeks since my last post. Regrettably, ongoing computer Internet connectivity problems I've noted earlier have hampered the ease and frequency of my blogging activity during this time period and continue to do so.

Also, on a personal level an active working younger colleague and friend startlingly learned within this same month-or-less time period she had a serious medical problem. Symptoms she had periodically experienced since the first of the year had repeatedly been undiagnosed. Finally, when the diagnosis was made, but only after frustratingly (to put it mildly,) extenuating circumstances, she was presented with few life choices. At best she could begin treatments maybe extending her life for an unknown short duration, or forego that medical intervention. Ultimately she chose hospice palliative care, but then hastened her own demise by voluntarily restricting food and liquid intake. All of us who cared about her could not quite believe the suddenness of her medical condition, or accept the reality that she left this world eight days later after making that decision and returning home.

During this time I've been able to stay fairly abreast of Presidential campaign activities using the whole media approach by availing myself of print, broadcast and Internet sources as I was able. My stated opinion beginning with my writing here about the Primary election campaign has been that I believe the candidates should restrict their discussion, speeches and debates to their stance on issues such as the economy, social security, health care, foreign affairs and the Iraq/Afghanistan war, though this is not a conclusive or hierarchal list.

I have been aware during this time of some political party introductions of what I consider to be extraneous matters. I believe they should be excluded as major campaign topics. Such topics are often the subject of negative campaign advertisements, and info news exploitation. These include distracting moral issues that should not be election political fodder to be used for fomenting division among voters, nor should they be government dictated legislative mandates.

I strongly believe introduction of emotionally loaded moral issues serve to be distracting. I think such actions are intentionally done to not only seduce a specific voter block group but to foment division within the country – the divide and conquer strategy. Such moral issues are not appropriately the subject of legislation or government dictates and yet some keep trying to make them so. In addition to these issues serving as a tactic to distract voters as was deliberately done in the previous two elections, they prove to be destructive to a forthright, honest, open election process and our democracy. I deliberately do not name these destructive issues here less the mere act of doing so promotes them more and distracts from the point of these thoughts.

Before these weeks we began to experience a deep rumble within the depths of our countries banking system. We became fearful realizing all was not well when a major Federal Reserve takeover of a bank occurred. Some other banks began seeking stronger financial partners. Many banks are still considered potential candidates to become insolvent, thus requiring assistance. We have yet to experience the full impact of this banking and thrift situation. Housing prices decline and decreasing loan availability to purchase a house continues to indicate a weakening market, also.

Simmering much like a volcano's molten lava deep within the much larger U.S. and financial world has been a declaration severe financial difficulties exist that threaten to destabilize International economies everywhere. Suddenly this volcano has exploded with the searing heat of overwhelming debt signaling the virtual collapse of major Wall Street financial firms. Their steaming rocks rain down on frightened investors large and small crushing stock values, financial houses, threatening tidal wave effects within our own nation and around the world.

Our government financial authorities have quickly come to our rescue devising a plan to avert the potential financial disaster but with one caveat. The plan must be adopted immediately, or financially we will all be sucked into a black moneyless hole. This admonition familiarly panders fear as a means to gain our immediate acquiescence to accepting this plan.

Our distress and anxiety levels over this matter are still very high as the days have passed. Still we know the plan has come from an administration known for deliberately, repeatedly lying, while nakedly stealing power and control for the executive branch, upsetting the governing balance our constitution intended to exist between the three branches – Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Why do I mistrust this latest threatening fear tactic?

As I write this, meetings have been in place with efforts to reach an agreement on exactly how this bailout loan for the financial sector will be written. That financial world has long been resistant to the thought they needed regulation and believe they should not be under any sort of meaningful enforceable government control. This same view has long been highly touted by the current administration and Republican Party. The current candidate of that political party seems now to realize financial regulation and enforcement might be needed.

But now their desperate presidential candidate has acted in such an impulsive way as to try and capitalize and politicize this serious financial issue by injecting himself into the process, no doubt to somehow try to somehow take credit for any final plan. Will his President be complicit in trying to facilitate this impression to aid in his election?

I am much more impressed with the thoughtful measured approach of the Democratic Party candidate. I also believe these two candidates should concentrate on debating each other on this and other issues in the remaining five campaign weeks. They'll each have their opportunity to vote on the final agreed upon plan when it comes before the Senate.

Days have passed since that first foreboding warning we must accept the plan first presented within that same day or the next. I don't presume to be a financial expert. Like so many I must depend on minds wiser than mine on this complex financial matter and yet there do seem to be common sense elements about the situation. I hope they keep my best interests in mind and do not squander my tax dollars on the undeserving. I can't avoid thinking that the financial entities wanting my tax money can likely make their admonitions become self-fulfilling prophecies. Would they be so vindictive and greedy for the almighty dollar, they would be willing to sell out our nation, despite what might be in the best interests of our country?

I am pleased some Congresspersons recognize they must stand firm and demand a few basic guarantees the loan plan adopted is not a bailout of these financial entities and individuals who have contributed so much to creating this financial fiasco:

  • I don't think it's too much to ask that if I as a taxpayer provide my share of the 700 billion dollars bailout that I should expect to receive financial benefits paid in dollars against this loan as reimbursement for the use of my tax dollars. I think an interest rate similar to what these financiers have charged Main Street American customers such as myself all these years on loans, stock purchases, credit cards, bank fees, etc., would be appropriate.
  • I want strict requirements and supervision over the equitable distribution of these loan funds both now and if additional future loan funds are extended.
  • I want to see these companies roll back mortgage interest rates and take other specific measures designed to help Main Street Americans avoid foreclosure. The millionaires and billionaires with equally expensive homes do not qualify for this assistance. They likely have plenty of other funds at their disposal, not to mention all the tax rate benefits they've received in recent years the rest of us have not.
  • I want to see executives of all the companies who borrow my tax dollars have cap limitations on the monies they receive in salary. Certainly bonuses are not warranted.
  • One man alone should not be given the decision-making power of declaring who does and doesn't receive any of this money or even how much. I want language in the loan agreement preventing this blatant stealing of power however well intended.
  • I want regulations required and enforced with more than just a statement "oversight" is being provided. I want limitations put in place on how these financial institutions function now and in future years. An overseeing committee convened after the fact of actions taken is not adequate insurance any of these companies will conduct business in an ethical or morally honest manner in the future, given their past history.
These items alone are the minimum provisions to which those who want to use my tax monies should have to agree before receiving even one of my hard-earned dollars, or a single one of my pennies either, for that matter.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Convention Thoughts ' 08

A Few Issues for Critical Consideration

These 2008 political conventions I viewed on PBS have been interesting in a way I haven't experienced for a number of years. I can recall first seeing similar convention events when only three major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC competed in providing gavel to gavel television coverage. Earlier years consisted of my listening only to radio coverage. TV years had anchormen (and I do mean just men) giving pronouncement on all that was happening as they sat in booths looking down on the stage and delegates below.

Newsmen, and maybe a few women in later years, from each of the respective networks scurried about on the convention floor among the delegates seeking any sort of news item. They sought information previously not known, or facts providing confirmation about building versus disintegrating voting coalitions within and between states for vying Presidential candidates. Speculation could also run rampant about who would then be selected to be the Vice-Presidential candidate. There could be long periods of boredom for the viewer subjected to the rhetoric of the talking heads. There could also be instances of suspense accompanied by a certain air of excitement some years.

Reportedly lots of negotiations between the "wheelers and dealers" were taking place other times in "smoke-filled rooms," (not without a little liquid lubricant I suspect) to ensure the nomination of a candidate desired by many, or possibly encourage one hoping to upset that candidate. Rumors about political maneuvering would sometimes result in uncertainty as to exactly for whom various state delegations would cast their votes and who would garner the most. In my youth there actually were times I could delude myself into thinking that just possibly the candidate finally selected had not actually been pre-selected behind closed doors.

I remember the alphabetical roll call of the states – a loud amplified voice announced"Alabama" and from that state's delegation, "Mr. (or Madame) Chairman, the beautiful (or some other flattering adjectives) state of Alabama yields to the state of ..." (some other state that wanted to be first to place their candidate's name in nomination.) Later when voting commenced I might hear "The state of Illinois is proud to cast its votes for..."(candidate's name.) Each state was sequentially called upon to cast their votes. They frequently added colorful descriptions of their state, often offering the state's slogan, naming their flower or primary commercial products.

For many of those years Alaska and Hawaii weren't yet states. U. S. Territories were allowed to vote at political party conventions to help nominate candidates, though they could not vote in actual national elections. I remember proud announcements from such places as "Puerto Rico casts its votes for ......"

I felt a sense of keen interest watching these Democratic and Republican Party Conventions this year. Certainly this has not been because of any question, nor had there been for months, as to the identity of the Presidential candidates. There had been no reason to think either of these pre-selected candidates would be officially challenged during their respective conventions and they weren't. The attraction for me has been because I believe this to be a critical election of my lifetime.

There was some suspense about the selection of Vice Presidential running mates. Traditionally the Presidential candidate makes that selection, though on one past occasion convention delegates were given that choice. Finally, we've learned who these prospective Veeps would be.

Names on our November 2008 voting ballots will be:


Presidential Nominee - Barack Obama

Vice-Presidential Nominee - Joe Biden


Presidential Nominee - John McCain

Vice-Presidential Nominee - Sarah Palin

I think there is a great sense of excitement in both political parties over the candidates that will appear on our November 4th ballot. I hope this means that more people become actively involved in examining the issues before us in this election and vote when the day comes. Voting by absentee ballot is also an option for those unable to vote in person on election day, but they'll have even less time to thoroughly research the vital issues in order to vote intelligently.

We have only eight weeks in which to ferret fact from fiction as to how exactly each of these political party candidates plans to resolve the problems our country faces. Both espouse they are offering change.

Here are just a few questions to ask from many we need to examine on the domestic and foreign fronts:

  • What is the platform and philosophy of each of these two major political parties?

  • Do those who seek office demonstrate they actually support what their party claims to believe?

  • Does the party have a record of having followed what they profess guides their actions?

  • What plans being touted by which candidates represent true change?

  • Which candidates have action plans to breathe life into the American dream by ending the demise of the middle class?

  • How can we best demonstrate this nation's humanity for people of all ages in our country?

  • Whose plans are most likely to accomplish the best results for the most people?