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Daveparts Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:48 AM
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Let That Be Realized
Let That Be Realized
By David Glenn Cox

The speech given yesterday was, for me, a letdown, perhaps because I expected so much more from such a gifted orator. A friend asked me what I thought of Obamas speech and I said, If Bush would have given such a speech, it would have been a home run. But for Obama, it was barely a sacrifice fly."

It acknowledged our problems without addressing them, like a template or laundry list. Let's see, bad guys, check; good guys, check; make world a better place, check; America is great, check. We are facing the most grievous crisis in Americas history; its resolution will dictate our path throughout this century. The banking industry is on life support, retail sales are falling at record levels, home values are dropping at double digit rates, exacerbating the banking crisis; all as the Republicans in Congress declare that now is the time to focus on budget restraints.

Winston Churchill, when he made his first speech as Prime minister, acknowledged their dire situation; he did not sugarcoat it or try to minimize it, but made the one defining point,

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised.

Let that be realized, there is no survival, not as we know it or as your children will dream of it. There is no longer a choice in the matter. This is a worldwide economic collapse; the days of tinkering in the margins and half measures of fiscal restraint are over. We have infused Citicorp with 49 billion tax dollars and its market cap as of yesterday was estimated at $16 billion.

Bank of America has purchased Merrill Lynch, US Trust, Countrywide Mortgage, LaSalle Bank and other Chinese banking interests, and now B of A is sliding toward the abyss. This was the last administration's plan to prevent failure, for the big, healthy fish to gobble up the small, toxic fish. Now, however, the big fish all have bellies full of toxic fish. Just last week the government gave B of A an additional $20 billion and guaranteed $118 billion in bad assets and still the stock price fell to $5.10 from a high of $45.08 just ten months ago. Bank of Americas market cap is listed at $32 billion after the government gave them $20 billion just last week.

So, for the new President just to mention it in passing is troubling, to say the least. You see, weve done all that can be done for the banks. The Fed has cut interest rates for the banks to borrow money down to zero. They have infused them with new capital, and still all life has gone from their bodies. The banks raised interest rates on their credit card customers and wont lend money for a mortgage without 20% down. Almost half of all home sales, which are at all-time lows, are foreclosure sales, properties bought off the court house steps by investors. They are buying, for pennies on the dollar, the dream of American home ownership.

Again, its about survival, or as FDR put it in his first inaugural,

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources.

Or, as it was echoed by JFK,

"To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is requirednot because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

The Republicans in Congress prescribe for us the same medicine, tax cuts and budget restraint. They lambaste Obamas stimulus package as too expensive at $850 billion. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman suggests an adequate stimulus package should be in the range of four to five trillion dollars as Republicans clutch their throats and gag, wetting themselves on such news. Over the last eight years theyve had no problem whatsoever supporting the Bush tax cuts which have and will, before they run out, cost the US Treasury between two and four trillion dollars.

Of those tax cuts, 74% went to the top 20% of wage earners; 31% of that relief went to the top 1% of earners. We have engaged in a frivolous war which has cost us far, far too much in human misery, but just in dollars alone it has cost us


Still, the Republicans and some Democrats in Congress think that this is about spin and not survival. Millions of senior citizens are losing their retirement security in the stock market meltdown. They will not live long enough to recover it; the market wont be back in their lifetime. To their children, retirement becomes a mirage off in the distance, in sight but far out of reach, illusionary. 401ks are being cashed in at record numbers, not to pay for the future but to keep the lights on today.

The sanitized government unemployment numbers are at a half million a month and accelerating. States, counties and municipalities are canceling projects, cutting hours and even eliminating police and fire positions. As Republicans suggest, now is the time to fix Social Security by cutting entitlements.

In 1914 polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and 28 men were trapped in the Antarctic; there was no rescue in sight. They would survive or die solely on their own actions, Shackleton spoke to the men about the need for traveling light across the ice pack. As he spoke he tore one page from his Bible and dropped the rest of the book in the snow. That page was about the salvation of the faithful; Shackleton reminded his men that at this point it was all the Bible they needed.

They hauled two 22-foot long boats miles to the edge of the ice floe and waited for spring, living off of penguins. When the ice finally broke, they made for an island barely five miles wide and 800 miles away, across the most violent stretch of ocean in the world.

Reaching Elephant Island, six men in the best boat headed for South Georgia Island, the nearest permanently-inhabited spit of land. After 15 days at sea they reached the far side of the island, the winds and currents would have carried them past the island's beaches, so they landed on its rocky coast and began to plan to climb the islands mountain to reach the camp on the other side.

Without any climbing supplies they scaled the mountain and reached the summit near midnight. Without a tent or a fire, Shackleton feared that they would freeze at the summit. Observing the ice pack on the far side of the mountain, the men lay on their backs and slid for their lives down the ice. It was a foolish and dangerous gamble, but so was attempting to climb a mountain without equipment. But there was no choice, no margins for the safe path.

Shackletons adventure lost all of its money and its ship, but he saved all of the people. Because Shackleton never forgot that, as a leader, the well-being of the people was his sole responsibility. It was about survival and survival only, and had the Republicans been along they would have cautioned him at every turn to take the prudent course. To sit on the ice and wait, to not strike out across open ocean, to not try to climb that mountain, and to not attempt the dangerous slide down its side. The men called Shackleton "Boss," and they never questioned, grumbled or complained about their condition.

He suffered by their side and they knew that his one and only goal was for their survival. That was missing from Obamas speech yesterday, and today the new administration will begin work on another bank rescue plan. While we stand in the snow and shiver.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:38 AM
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1. big ass K&R
never heard the shackleton story before. appears obviously to be very prudent to our current situation, though.

the trick, it seems, will be to get rethugs to realize this. it seems the people - to an extent - are already united to the cause and understand that dramatic steps will need to be taken in the next few years.

bravo Mr. Parts.
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