Friday, April 10, 2009

Any Bonds Today?

Like I said, lately it takes a lot to get me assed up.

This did it.One of the things that the goddam Bushies did that always pissed me off was this; pretending that the costs of fighting imperial war in the hustings of Southwest Asia wasn't part of the "Defense Budget", slipping these damn supplementals past the budgetary process like an old lady tiptoeing into bed with the gardener.

Now the Obamaites are doing the same damn thing.

It's not like we can't see what's coming. We've been in both places for donkey's years. Our wastage rate and resupply needs are pretty consistent. There's no reason that these couldn't go in the regular budget.

Oh, yeah. Except for the fact that it would remind everyone that were pissing cash down a firehose trying to simonize a couple of tribal Third World shitholes.

And this thing looks like they're not even trying. Let's see...
"The request includes $11.6 billion to replace military equipment, including $600 million to buy the last four Lockheed Martin Corp. F-22 fighters the Pentagon wants and $400 million for 12 Boeing Co. AH-64 Apache helicopters, $3.6 billion to beef up the Afghanistan Security Force, $1 billion in aid to Pakistan, $30 million to begin shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and $350 million to fight narcotics trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. What else? How 'bout $1.5 billion to continue efforts to counter roadside bombs, $1.2 billion to accelerate “Wounded Warrior” programs for injured and disabled troops and $3.8 million for classified military intelligence gathering. Another $2.2 billion would speed up the growth of the Army to 547,000 personnel and Marine Corps to 202,000 members. A mere $5.5 million to deploy about 73 mail-screening devices to diplomatic outposts abroad. $800 million in aid to Gaza and the West Bank, $89 million for efforts to secure nuclear materials in Russia, $200 million in disaster aid for Sudan and elsewhere in Africa, $242 million in aid to Georgia that was pledged in the wake of that country’s 2008 conflict with Russia and $13 million in humanitarian assistance to Burma."
What? We couldn't see any of this coming? That $242 mil for our buddy Sakashvili was a black swan?

My ass. Obama's people managed to pull together a budget in the six months they've been working since the election, they couldn't have junked this crap in with it? The thing I tried for years to get my conservative pals to see (and which most of them just blinked at me owlishly when I mentioned it, like I was talking about frog sex or Dresden figurines or something) was that my headache with the Bushies wasn't that they were a bunch of unrealistic, rapacious, nepotistic and aggressive fatheads bent on shredding our governmental systems for their own selfish and/or partisan gain. It was that they were a bunch of unrealistic, rapacious, nepotistic and aggressive fatheads bent on shredding our governmental systems for their own selfish and/or partisan gain without a fucking clue what they were doing. They were like a bunch of special education kids using Semtex to blow the spillway gates off the Hoover Dam so they could get a drink of water. The damage wasn't just the damage they were doing at the time - it was the lasting damage they would leave behind.Morons.

So here it is, the truest, bestest Bushie legacy in action; their supposedly more adult, more responsible successors are using the Bush toys to play in the mud. It's like we've spent the past eight years living the Bourbon Dream: we've learned nothing but forgotten nothing.

Well, it's one thing for them to be Tom Fool and lead.

But it's another for us to be Jack Fool and follow.


basilbeast said...

You mentioned our ol' buddy Charles down below.

Heard from him lately?

in re: Afghanistan. I've heard whispers of Congress balking at shoving $80 more down that rat hole.

Hope Springs yet again?


basilbeast said...

umm, $80 billion.

Huhmm, age.


Lisa said...

"rapacious, nepotistic and aggressive fatheads" -- he's back!
The Semtex example is priceless.

The inertia is inexplicable.

FDChief said...

basil: Y'know, between illness and worry about our work slowdown I hadn't thought about charles for some time - now I'm quite worried about him. He hasn't turned up in any of our usual places. I know he was diagnosed with some sort of cancer recently. I hope his late silence doesn't betoken what I fear it does. If you're out there Charles, listening, good luck, and my thoughts are with you.

Lisa: What I fear is that the damage is done, both politically and economically.

Politically, as with the Revolt of the Gracchi so long ago, the siezure simply showed how deep the rot has gone. Cicero "put down" the Revolt, but in so doing combined to both incise and reveal the rot of corruption, nepotism and oligarchy that had already killed the Republic. Mighty tree that it was, it still took decades to fall, but it was already dead inside and the Gracchi episode just revealed it to all but the most obtuse and self-deluding.

Likewise our refusal to reject the post-regulation "Return to the Panics" economy. This isn't a no-brainer; we've in essence returned to the pre-1932 rules where the markets are unchecked and the bubbles and panics are the norm. Look at the 19th Century and you'll see the same pattern writ large that we've seen over the pat 20 years. It was the S&Ls in the 80's, then the dot-coms in the 90's and early Oughts, and then the real estate/derivatives bubbles in the Oughts just as the Panic of 1819 was followed by the bubbles of the 1830s that were deflated by the Panic of 1837. Wash, rinse repeat in 1857, 1873 and 1893.

The brilliance of the New Deal was to ameliorate the heights of the bubbles and the depths of the panics - this meant lower, slower growth and especially slower accumulation of wealth at the top.

Needless to say, the wealthy scum found this intolerable and finally managed to find a useful idiot in Ronnie Jellybean pry the lock off the national strongbox.

And here we are. The fact that we now have a "financial media" that is eeply in the pocket of the rentier class, that our government is as deeply penetrated and corrupted as the Roman Senate was by its landholding and creditor classes, and that our populace is characterized, as always, by foolish notions and a long-time adversion to critical (especially self-critical) thinking more than explains the inertia.

I think we're screwed.

But then, I'm just a foolish optimist...

Lisa said...


The Gracchi episode is probably analogous. Certainly the rot is deep. It will be intresting to see:

[1] If it can be eviscerated.

[2] What we are left with after the fall.

We seem resolved to boom-and-busts, and reject shaving off the highs and lows, preferring the excitement of behaving like a bipolar individual.

I think you've explained the inertia well, but thank goodness we're optimists :)

I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds, but I've had contact with Charles recently, and he's being very proactive about this whole thing (for lack of a better word.) I wish him the very best.

Anonymous said...

"The brilliance of the New Deal was to ameliorate the heights of the bubbles and the depths of the panics - this meant lower, slower growth and especially slower accumulation of wealth at the top."

Actually, growth was sweet, for quite a while (until the oil shocks hit). That is, for most people. The rich weren't getting their pre-New Deal share, and resented it.

Remember, they don't give a flying f*ck about growth rates for the national or world economy; they care about *their* wealth growth rates.


FDChief said...

Lisa: glad thear about Charles. I, too, wish him well.

Barry: It's hard for us to conceive of the loathing the Rich had for Roosevelt and his "socialist" ideas - almost as bad as Rushbo and the other hate-shouters screaming at Obama. But they did hate the 99% marginal tax rates and the regulatory structures that killed the good old days of the tycoons and Robber Barons, when a man with nerves and a wallet of ste(a)l could go from rags to riches by just buying a state senate and a Congressman or twenty...

Were either heading closer to those days, or not. I see this as a unique moment to close the door on this return to the Gilded Age. I don't see us really trying. Hence, I suspect that the U.S. in the 21st Century will look more like the 19th than the latter half of the 20th. Great if you're a Mellon, a Scaife or one of the other Gilded Ones. For us?

Not so great.

Charles Gittings said...

Hi All,

Oh I'm still around, just not feeling too much like commenting on anything lately. And it's lung cancer FDC.

Yesterday I finally got approval for an MRI, and today had it done. This after waiting SIX WEEKS for MediCal to approve it. Tomorrow I see the oncologist to discuss starting treatment -- chemo and radiation.

It's the kind of thing where you have good days and bad days, and the last few days have been on the bad-ish side. There's also been a gradual but perceptible deterioration over the last six months. I did get some good news recently: Social Security approved my disability so starting next month I'll actually have an income again (and they owe me back pay from July 2008 forward). That actually has some implications for you FDC, because assuming I'm up to it physcially, it makes a trip to Washington state a near certainty this summer, and if that happens, I'll be stopping in Portland along the way.



FDChief said...

Charles: Good to hear from you, man!

OK, well, not so good with the Big C. Here's hoping that you and your oncologist can beat it like a redheaded stepchild.

And you know you're welcome anytime. But pick a summery sort of month - our weather's MUCH nicer then...