A Nation of Nincompoops

~~By Kenosha Marge

According to what I’ve been reading the world is watching America closely. It approves of us getting rid of Bush and approves of our new President but they are still watching our actions with a jaundiced eye. Seems they don’t trust us.

Many countries believe that the United States is to blame for the financial mess the world finds itself in. That’s the risk when you proclaim your country to be the greatest country in the history of the world and are the world’s only Super Power. People then expect you to do Super Power type things. Like fix the mess the world is in. Come on Super Power, use your Super Powers. And do it quickly. (Scanning the sky for a high-flying Super Someone in colorful garb with chiseled features, if a male, and enormous boobs if a woman.)

We have plenty of Confidence in this country, but we are a little short of good men/women to place our Confidence in.  ~Will Rogers

Some of our allies have audaciously declined to join us in our bailout binge and those that agree with our actions have governments as clueless as our malignant pols. Their governments like our government are throwing obscene amounts of money that they don’t have at the problems and hoping they can bribe said problems to just go away. It doesn’t seem to occur to many, if any, that spending more money than you had precipitated the problems.

Spending money is the Democratic mantra while cutting taxes is all the Republicans seem to know. Both mindsets are nothing new for either party. They are monotonously repetitious in their same/old, same/old rhetoric. And as usual they are far more concerned with scoring points against each other than they are in serving their constituency and their country. “Ask not what you can do for your country because it might not get you votes or money” seems to be the thinking. If thinking is involved, I personally and speaking only for myself, would require proof.

Meanwhile the President’s primary concern seems to be in being a Television Superstar. Which is probably fine and dandy with those that voted for him because they too don’t seem to be any more interested in all that boring work stuff than he does.

The only thing new from the spendthrifts now running things is the amount they seem willing to spend. Broke and dependent on the money they/we can borrow from others our government has embarked on a spending spree of monumental proportions.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

The Democratic Party has been waiting in the wings for years to get it’s moment center stage and now that its come they are tap dancing like nobody’s business. And I do mean nobody’s business. Cause nobody running a business could afford the things they plan without money. Get that? Without money. As in we have none. Nevertheless our malignant free-spending politicians are going to give all the people all the things they want. And we have no money.

Like the parents in this country that gave their children every silly bit of stuff that the children wanted whether their budget could afford it or not. Slap down that plastic and get it NOW. Because those kiddies will be flawed for life if they have to do with out one teensy bit of plastic stuff. When the stuff overflows your house then you can always rent a storage locker to store you excess stuff. That does really seem just a tad silly doesn’t it? Verging on ludicrous and imbecilic?

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need. ~ Will Rogers

Houses sit empty and the pathetic plastic outside stuff that people charged so that their children could have the same stuff as all the other children are often left behind. A primary-colored reminder that there comes a time when all those bills for the stuff you charged are due. Citizens are learning, sadly and painfully that bills do come due. The Nincompoops we nincompoops elected, not yet. If not now when?

We all know, or most of us do, that the road to our recovery needs to be paved with fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility. Somewhere deep inside we all know that. But large numbers of us refuse to face that fact and no politician is ever going to tell the voters that they are part of the problem. Just as no politician is ever going to tell the voters that if they want all these programs then taxes will have to increase. No politician will tell voters the truth and so though they have every intention of raising taxes, because they know they must, they hide them in big bills and speak of taxing only the rich because after all they aren’t a large voting block and poor people can really get into hating on the greedy rich. Wonder if that has anything to do with fund-raising being down?

Whatever befalls us as a people or as a nation it is always someone’s fault, not ours. Bankers are evil because they let us borrow more money than we could afford to pay back. People actually say something that mired in nincompoopery and expect us to regard them as adults.

Politicians always reek of nincompoopery. If they were once honest, straightforward people with character and integrity that day is in past. So far in their rear-view mirror for some that it isn’t even a distant memory.

Politics, n:  [Poly “many” + tics “blood-sucking parasites”]  ~Larry Hardiman

We the people are now angry. We are talking tea parties, the Boston kind not Darjeeling, and tar and feathers and pitchforks. Congress, having no integrity or character of their own tried to jump on the People’s Tea Party and Pitchfork Band Wagon and succeed only in making bigger fools of themselves than usual. Which ain’t easy.

The House of Representatives and you in particular Speaker Pelosi passed a bill. that would tax some people 90% if you decided they had been naughty. Some citizens can be forgiven for being too ill-informed or dimwitted to know that such a plan is unconstitutional but the House of Representatives shouldn’t be. Nincompoops is really far to mild a name for those that swear to uphold a document that they evidently don’t understand. Not surprising in a bunch that doesn’t read the bills they pass either.

So merrily we roll along down a steep road headed for a precipice lead by a bunch of nincompoops. Partisan nincompoops are either end of the politican spectrum still have faith in their government. Nincompoops lead by nincompoops elected by nincompoops.

Still there are things to enjoy. I read that the President went off to the G20 in Great Britain aboard a Boeing equipped with it’s own private gym. Gotta keep those FLOTUS biceps in shape.

POTUS took an entourage of 500 people and his own chef and his own armored vehicle nicknamed the “Beast” as well as Marine One helicopter. This is for someone that tells us that we must make sacrifices and be patient. Meanwhile our tax dollars finance a Royal Court that Louis the XVI and Michelle Antoinette would have envied. Evidently if POTUS and FLOTUS are going to eat cake their own chef will prepare it.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.  ~Ernest Benn

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Hat tip to Dandy Tiger on the Traveling Royal Court info.

What’s Going On North of the Border: The Canadian Economy and Stimulus Plan

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Recently we posted information about how Canadian banks are moving into buy U.S. financial institutions (See: Canadian Banks On the Move Buying U.S. Banks While Bailout Recipient AIG Sells Canadian Life Insurance Business to Bank of Montreal (”Picking over the Carcasses”).

Things in Canada aren’t all rosy, of course. As of late January:

“The credit crisis and the global sell-off of commodities have started to hit Canada hard. The country lost more than 100,000 jobs in the last two months of 2008, and the central bank is predicting economic output will contract 4.8 percent in the first quarter.”

When Obama visited Canada last month (February 19, the two leaders pledged to work together:

Obama said the US and Canada were working closely together bilaterally and within the G8 and G20 – two blocs made up of the world’s largest economies – to see how to restore confidence in financial markets.

Like much of the world, both nations are battling a severe recession. In Canada, the world’s eighth-largest economy, the unemployment rate in January soared to a four-year high of 7.2 per cent. That rate was at 7.6 per cent in the US, the highest since 1992. Harper said he and Obama agreed that Canada and the US “must work closely to counter the global economic recession by implementing mutually beneficial stimulus measures.”He later said: “We know, as a small economy, we can’t recover without recovery in the United States.”

SNIP

NAFTA had threatened to become an acrimonious issue during this visit. On the presidential campaign trail, Obama had said that the US would threaten to pull out of NAFTA unless Canada and Mexico agreed to strengthen labour and environmental protections. But he has softened his stance since taking office.

Well, if you’re going to have a North American community, I guess some stances HAVE to be softened…

A few days before Obama hit town, The Hill Times, “Canada’s Politics and Government Newsweekly,” ran this story:

Canada needs whistleblowers to protect stimulus package

Given the $1-billion gun registry overrun and the sponsorship scandal, there’s little reason to trust that this unprecedented expenditure will be managed competently or even honestly.

Displaying start of article containing 755 words – Many Canadians rightly fear that the massive government spending recently announced may simply be wasted or the money end up in the wrong hands, without creating jobs or helping the economy. Given the track record of our corporations (with fiascos like Bre-X and Nortel) and past government waste and corruption (such as the $1-billion gun registry overrun and the sponsorship scandal) we have little reason to trust that this unprecedented expenditure will be managed competently or even honestly.

Sounds so familiar!

And the newsletter I receive from Radio Canada International had this tidbit one day:

TORONTO: CBC IN STRAITS

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. President Hubert Lacroix says the public broadcaster is considering reducing services in coming months to cope with budget problems. In a speech in Toronto, Mr. Lacroix says the CBC faces an advertising shortfall of as much as $65 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, as advertisers reduce spending amidst the ongoing economic crisis. Mr. Lacroix says that while the CBC will likely break even this year, the future is problematic. The president said the broadcaster may sell assets, consolidate local stations or introduce more U.S. television shows. Mr. Lacroix says he has asked for a meeting with the prime minister, Mr. Harper, not to ask for a bigger subsidy but possibly for a line of credit or an advance of funding allotted for future years. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister James Moore told The Globe and Mail newspaper that the government expects the CBC to manage with its $1-billion a year subsidy. Meanwhile, The Globe reported on Thursday that private broadcaster CTV plans to close money-losing television stations in Windsor and Wingham, ON.

Meanwhile,  Canadian Auto Worker union members will finish voting today on a tentative agreement which may or may not get the approval of the Canadian government. Although union negotiators have agreed to concessions, it’s not clear sailing:

The new deal is contingent on GM winning financial support from the governments of Canada and Ontario.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement has suggested the deal may not be acceptable to Ottawa, although he seemed more receptive today.

“I’m not here to pass judgment,” Clement said after a speech to the C.D. Howe Institute. “For government money to flow, there has to be the ability to be competitive in the new marketplace, there has to be a viable plan on a go-forward basis, there has to be the right kind of management decisions that have been made.”

Clement suggested that in the end, the only thing that will save the auto industry is the American consumer.

“If you’re asking me what will save the auto sector in North America, it’s what American consumers do and buy, not just what Canadians do and buy.”

GM and Chrysler have until March 31 to finalize restructuring plans to get access to Canadian government financial aid.

So, while Canada may not have the same problems with its financial institutions that we are  seeing  in the U.S.,  the spillover of the U.S. banking system’s crisis and our economic woes is unavoidable.  The condition of the Canadian financial system will have to be watched as Canadian banks assume more risk as they take over U.S. assets.

And, as of the moment, the Canadian government’s stimulus package remains hung up as the budget has still not passed the “Liberal-dominated Senate” as Opposition members demand “reports” on the details:

The reports, which detail the budget’s implementation and costs, are to be delivered this March, June and December ahead of opposition days in Parliament. This would give opposition parties the chance to move a no-confidence motion against the government if they wanted to trigger an election.

How about that? An opposition that could trigger a election.

Meanwhile, there was some fighting over the price tag in the bill to fund the government through September that passed yesterday. The $410 billion bill, on top of the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February is starting to bring out the rancor. But:

While most of the votes throughout the debate were along party lines, eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote to end the weeklong debate on the legislation while three Democrats opposed it. The Senate approved the measure by a voice vote.

So much for a solid opposition here…

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More information on the Canadian stimulus plan and a comparison of the U.S. vs. the  Canadian situations and priorities

Canada’s Stimulus Plan–The Canadian plan focuses on infrastructure.  This article provides a list of measures and a chart of the action plan

Canada’s Fiscal Stimulus Package versus the Obama U.S. Plans