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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Thinking About Lame Ducks
The posturing for the incoming Congress has already begun. Those all-importance committee chairmanships in the House of Representative will revert back to the GOP come January. Will we then see NEEDED change? I hope so, but I am NOT holding my breath.
I’ve been thinking about “lame ducks.” Actually I’ve been thinking about our current situation(s), changes, QE-2, the old Congress, the new Congress, the wounded Obama, Seoul, and the G-20. We haven’t seen this many potentials for blow ups in my lifetime. Sure, we have faced crises both nationally and globally in the past sixty years. I have observed them, I have studied them, I have helped in the resolution of a few of them (corporate restructurings, banks that failed, and the S & L crisis), and I have chronicled them in my TH*NK*NG columns. Right now we have more ticking fuses than I can remember. We just went thru an exceptional election. Ok, the election was pretty normal in the scheme of elections, but the implications, results, and outcomes are potentially staggering.
You see every two years there are some newbie’s going to Washington, and there are oldies sent packing. What is different about 2010 is the extent of the changes in the bodies coming and going. We have just witnessed the greatest changeover of elected officials in roughly seventy years. True, some of the old farts have been there since the 1960s, but we also saw a significant number of those who only just came to town in 2008 sent home. In DC time, that is hardly long enough to learn where the restrooms are located. (The locations of the expensive restaurants and which lobbyists you want as “friends” are covered in the freshman class orientation.)
Change was/ is clearly needed. Our economic and financial problems have NOT been fixed – much less disappeared. Obama ran on “Change you can believe in...” His coattails carried many new faces to Washington just two years ago. Despite all the hype, pie charts, speeches, and news releases; the public perception of these “changes” did not alter. Our systems/ controls are breaking down. Deficits, debt, unemployment, and “negative” growth are still growing. The public on Main Street is well aware of this. The pendulum once again swung, it is just the frequency of the swings that has accelerated.
The Republican Party gained control of the House of Representatives and did gain more seats in the US Senate. We are now facing a potential for gridlock. Gridlock is (in and of itself) not bad. No policy is preferable to bad policy! Yes, you heard me. Recently, we have seen the so-called fixes help the well-connected few and make the situation worse in the long run. THAT has to cease and desist immediately! I am guarded optimistic that we will see some progress this time ONLY because if we don’t, the newly elected will be ousted in two years (self-serving preservation is a good thing).
What a difference a year can make. Obama, the rock star, has lost his glitz and glitter. Our pointless wars are still breaking US/ us. Real unemployment at 22% is still rising. The US dollar is dying as the world’s reserve currency. Our debt/ deficits set new records by the hour. Customers for new US Treasury Securities are evaporating. Obama did NOT succeed when his own party controlled the House and the Senate at near record majorities. He may try to regroup by moving to the middle, but just who is left in the middle? The parties are polarized, our nation is polarized, and the elected victors are polarized. His philosophical underpinnings and high brow rhetoric are NOT going to cut it any more. The new Quantitative Easing 2 (monetizing the debt by printing more fiat money to pay our bills) has never worked in the history of the planet. “We” know this, as do the political, financial and economic leaders globally. Still the US Treasury and the FED proceed ahead with QE2 at full speed.
Last week Obama’s change in US status was evident at the G-20 conference in Seoul, Korea. Obama did not walk on water, he was drowning --- worse for a major political leader, he was ignored. Almost the entire planet Earth is looking down the barrel of a double barreled economic shotgun with the possible exception of China. These leaders perceive the US as the problem, not the solution. The most typical US consumer can’t come to their rescue anymore because they are un(under)employed, maxed out, and looking down the road at pending foreclosure. Obama was ignored --- he got NOTHING! He couldn’t even get a revised trade treaty with South Korea. Look at the verbal and written outcomes. The body agreed to "get the global economy back on the path of recovery.” Well, big whoopee!!! There was no plan to “get” this accomplished. All their individual (and collective) arsenals for “fixes” are empty. They did stand for a group picture of smiling faces, and Obama was still in the front row.
The President returned home this week to deal with his coming Congress and to re-strategize the remaining two years of his Presidency. The lame ducks will be in DC “quacking” for another month yet. Don’t worry about those ousted from office, their “pensions” are way more than they deserve. The posturing for the incoming Congress has already begun. Those all-importance committee chairmanships in the House of Representative will revert back to the GOP come January. Will we then see NEEDED change? I hope so, but I am NOT holding my breath for anything substantive at the onset. Quack, quack, quack...
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on November 15, 2010.