Archive for August 4, 2012
Once more we have a guest opinion from Larry Hodgden of Tipton. Larry is a retired Viet Nam era veteran of the USAF. He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children and seven grandchildren who keep him very busy. Family, education, church and politics have been a lifelong passion.
There was a reason you spent so many hours in History class and it can be summed up by a quote from George Santayana, “Those who ignore the lessons of History are condemned to repeat its mistakes”. Sadly too many citizens were not interested in History when they were in school and likely are not very interested in current affairs today. It would serve us all well to recall the three biggest financial scandals in the past 100 years.
The first was the “Teapot Dome Scandal” of 1922-23 which occurred during the administration of Republican president Warren G. Harding when his Interior Secretary, Albert Fall, gave low price, no bid leases to his friends in the oil business in exchange for “loans”. During three Republican administrations from 1921-1933, the failure to regulate big business and Wall Street led to our country’s “Great Depression” following the stock market collapse in 1929.
The second scandal was in the 1980’s, and came after deregulation of the savings and loan industry. Then owners of the S&Ls were able to loan themselves money which they used to speculate on the market or invest in risky ventures. When these ventures failed and the markets collapsed, the S&Ls were facing bankruptcy and their customers faced massive losses of their life savings. The cost to the government (taxpayers) to bail out the S&Ls during the Reagan and Bush I years was around 1.4 trillion dollars.
Next in 2008, after years of Republican failure to regulate the excesses on Wall Street and the risk taking by commercial banks, investment firms and insurance giants, we were faced with a near total collapse of our financial system. Lehman Brothers had gone bankrupt and faced with more failures, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Republican President G.W. Bush pleaded with congress to pass Tarp, a 700 billion dollar giveaway to the same people who created the mess. This scandal is still being uncovered day by day.
This latest financial scandal need not have happened except a Republican Congress under pressure from their wealthy friends in banking and Wall Street repealed the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) in 1999. The GSA was put in effect in 1933 to regulate banks following their risky investments which lead to the collapse of the banks and the failure of Wall Street in 1929 which ultimately brought about the “Great Depression”.
These History lessons clearly show that when Republicans talk about too much regulation they are speaking for their wealthy friends in business and on Wall Street. Republicans have shown no concern for the lives of the average American and we, the taxpayers, are still paying for their greed and self-interest. So when you vote, “ignore these lessons at your own peril” and remember that we, the taxpayers, have been warned by “History”.
What makes us laugh? That is a question that has roused man’s curiousity for eons. One thing that makes us laugh is expecting something normal in a comment or picture only to be presented with something that doesn’t fit, but makes us think of the comment or picture in a different, sometimes ludicrous way.
For instance, when George W. Bush was basically taken to task by his own party and given a way to pull troops out of Iraq to get himself out of the mess he had made. Bush looked at their advice and thought “SURGE” and greatly increased the amount of troops in Iraq. Funny if it weren’t so sad.
Willard Milton Romney is a comedian’s dream. Romney will make a comedian’s work so easy because damn near everthing Romney does defies the logic that most of us think a presidential candidate would use. For one thing Romney seems so ill-informed and out of touch that a common question is what planet does he come from to begin with? Some place that thinks dogs belong on the top of cars.
There is a long standing publication out of Madison, Wisconsin called the Onion. I am sure many of you are familiar With the Onion. For years they made their livlihood on making outrageous fake stories. Now they are challenged weekly to outdo the Republicans in this category. I will submit the Birther story as my first exhibit. This story is simply crazy. Let us take a trip to August 1961 when a child of mixed race is born somewhere. His parents hatch a plot to make this child President of the US in 50 years. So they create a fake birth certificate in Hawaii. As a young black man in America this young man has a much better chance of being killed, ending up in a gang or jail that ever being elected to any office, let alone president. Top that Onion! BTW call Steve King for the most recent details.
How about the guy in Tennessee (Kelly Keisling) who claims Obama is plotting to fake his own assassination. Seriously. Top that Onion!
Then there is Iowa’s own own Steve King. He’s is a walking barrel of laughs. Besides being a birther King says dog fighting is alright. You would think anybody would stay miles away from this after what happened to Michael Vick, but not King. This guy is comedy gold, I tell ya’.
I could easily write a book on this today. But there is another side to this story. That is the media that not only covers these crazy Republican comments and situations with a straight face, never saying a word about how truly ludicrous much of it is. Not only do they report it with a straight face, they often push these stories as the next great turn in American culture. For example they discuss ad infinitum how cutting jobs and cutting wages and killing access to health care are things that will actually help the economy. And they are serious, because they have tons of commercial air time to sell and they need races. So TV and radio must treat crazy ideas as valid because they have a vested interest. Plus almost all stations in this country are owned by right wing corporations.
Hey did you hear the one about the governor who wanted his state to be the most healthy in the country? He went about it by trying to cut poor people’s access to health care by getting rid of Medicaid and then by trying to break a union contract so union employees had to pay much more for their health care. Comedians as governors. No wonder he gets 2 salaries.
And Hey! How about that presidential candidate who went to a foreign country and praised their health care system which is much more liberal than the one he is fighting tooth and nail to kill here in the US. Is he the definition of a twit or just stupid?
And what about those people who will vote for this guy after he tells them he will raise their taxes by thousands (see graphic above) they can’t afford while cutting his by hundreds of thousands he doesn’t need? That is a well-informed public.
Sadly, they got a million of them and there’s more everyday.