Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mr. Next President . . . tell us the truth . . . PLEASE!

By l.t. Dravis

MSNBC NEWS – Sunday, October 26, 2008 – Alright . . . what if Barack Obama wins the election?

What if John McCain wins?

Does it matter?

Frankly, between you, me, and the gatepost, I’m wondering why either of these two men would want the job.

Think about it . . . bank failures are continuing, business and consumer credit is nonexistent, foreclosures are skyrocketing, job losses are increasing at exponential rates, world stock markets are falling like flies, deficits are daunting, the national debt is profoundly overwhelming, the infrastructure is crumbling, our educational institutions are woefully inadequate to prepare the youth of America to compete in world markets, the Iraq War is costing $10 billion a month, we’re losing in Afghanistan, and Dancing With The Stars has evidently jumped the shark.

So, Mister Next President, how on earth can you restore confidence in our economy – domestically and internationally – in time to save significant numbers of businesses and jobs?

Can you take the right steps at the right pace to prevent us from becoming a second-rate power, economically, politically, and militarily?

After all, we’re in the economic fight of our life against some pretty powerful opponents like the European Union, China, India, and Japan.

You’re going to have to have the wisdom, determination, courage, and bipartisan support necessary to create the kinds of dramatic, powerful, economic initiatives necessary to resolve not only a national economic crisis but a worldwide crisis as well.

So, what can you do?

On the economy, the $700 billion so-called bailout package puts money into the wrong end of the economy because it doesn’t do anything to create jobs and it does nothing to even guarantee that banks will loan one single dime of that $700 billion to business or consumers.

Without enough people working to generate tax revenues for local, state, and federal coffers and consume products and services, nothing you do to pump cash down the funnels of banks and other financial institutions will impact families who live, love, and work on “Main Street”.

You’re going to have to find ways to put people to work . . . in energy related jobs, in rebuilding the infrastructure, in revamping our educational institutions, in improving and expanding health care, in taking care of the environment, and on and on.

So, how are you going to do everything that needs to be done?

It ain’t going to be easy . . . but ‘easy’ doesn’t matter . . . not these days.

The problems left us by eight years of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are enormous and too unforgiving not to challenge head on.

But where’s the money going to come from?

You can’t just print the cash and you can’t continue to borrow so all you can do is increase revenue (raise taxes and/or increase jobs) and reduce costs (cut programs and/or eliminate waste in government) which means you’re going to have to make some tough – and unpopular – choices.

So what?

Rest assured, Mr. President . . . we’ve learned our lesson.

We can no longer try to consume by ‘virtue’ of home equity loans and credit card charges and cash advances . . . ergo, we can’t have it all.

No more, no way.

We might grumble, we might groan, we might even complain, but we’re ready to follow your lead.

We only ask you to be creative, be courageous, be realistic, be willing to work hard, and most of all, be honest with us.

We can take it . . . even if Dancing With The Stars is canceled.

After all, whatever you ask us to do to get out of this mess can’t be as bad as staying in it.

Can it?

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

IS Douglas Holzt-Eakin just another lying political hack?

Photo Credit: Petersen Institute

By l.t. Dravis

MSNBC NEWS – Friday, October 24, 2008 – Here we go again . . . another day, another hour, another minute, and another talking head comes on the air to ‘answer’ questions asked by a cable news host.

In this case, we’re watching ‘Race to the White House’ hosted by David Gregory on MSNBC.

By way of full disclosure, I am an avid MSNBC and CNN watcher, often flipping between both channels at a frantic rate, trying to catch as much of Wolf Blitzer, Jack Cafferty, Chris Matthews, and David Gregory as I can.

So let me ask you (again), are you as sick of listening to lying political hacks as I am?

If so, let’s take a listen to Senior Economic Advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, ‘answering’ David Gregory’s questions.

Who is the real Douglas Holtz-Eakin?

Though he’s an incredibly bright guy (Senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Senior Staff Economist for President George H.W. Bush, etc.), he’s probably best known for having imputed the creation of the BlackBerry to John McCain.


In any case, we need to know . . . Is Douglas Holtz-Eakin just another lying political hack?

Let’s see how he did in an interview with David Gregory this afternoon.

David Gregory: “I want to welcome Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senior Economic Advisor to the McCain campaign who joins us this evening. Doug, it’s good to see you.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “Good to see you, Dave.”

David Gregory: “L-let me follow on this point, this ad that the McCain campaign is running in the context of an international crisis. Let me ask you the question in terms of an economic crisis, you’ve seen the polls, I don’t have to remind you of those . . . the advantages of taxes and the economy goes (sic) to Barack Obama. That’s in our poll. So if it comes to a test, what to you point to, to show the voters, the undecided voters, that John McCain has passed and that Senator Obama has not?”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “I think there are three or four key points here. The first is that Barack Obama is firmly aligned with the Bush administration in not getting it that the key to this financial crisis is taking care of the housing market. Keeping people in their homes will help stabilize the real economy, help keep unemployment from going up, keep consumers spending. Stabilizing the housing market will take care of the banking sector and the idea that you just want to throw the cash at banks is really, uh, uh, uh, an incomplete and mistaken policy. I think the second major point is on the substance, Barack Obama is bad news for the economy. The kinds of things he wants to do, misplaced tax policies that hurt small businesses, trade policies that are protectionist, bad health policies are all going to hurt jobs and John McCain is not going to turn this recession into a depression like Barack Obama is.

“Third key point is, you know, Barack Obama’s got more money. He gave up the, uh, the pledge for public financing in the general election. He’s trying to buy this election by running misleading ads about all this and, and the question is, can he get away with it?”

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Holtz-Eakin failed to answer David Gregory’s question . . . which was, ‘What do you point to, to show the voters, the undecided voters, that John McCain has passed the test and Senator Obama has not?’ Holtz-Eakin threw out some unsubstantiated stuff about Barack Obama being ‘firmly aligned with the Bush Administration’. He lectures on the obvious benefits of stabilizing the housing market and he gives us a few more unsubstantiated claims, says Obama will turn the recession into a depression (again, without substantiation) and complains that Barack Obama has raised more money and is running misleading ads. Translation: Who put a gun to the McCain campaign’s head to force them to take public financing and the limitations thereof? And, is Holtz-Eakin calling the kettle black when he accuses the Obama campaign of running ‘misleading ads’?

David Gregory: “Let me ask you the question about tax policy and the debate that’s being framed here in the, in the, closing days. Explain to me why this pitch about Joe the plumber and about tax cuts is anything more than a play for non-college educated, working class voters in a state like Pennsylvania which is key on the electoral map for the McCain campaign.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “People tried for months to get Barack Obama to reveal, A, the details about what he really plans to do and, B, what exactly was the philosophy that somehow underpinned it. Without success . . . I mean, you still cannot get the Obama campaign to tell you what is the definition of a small business that gets the differential tax treatment. They, they, refuse to actually come clean.

“Joe the plumber in Ohio got Barack Obama in a moment of losing his verbal eloquence to actually lay it out. What he believed. And the American people don’t like his agenda. Ah, that’s not, ah, ah, a judgment made by this campaign. It’s a judgment made by the American people. And all we’ve done is see it exposed.”

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Again, Holtz-Eakin failed to answer David Gregory’s question . . . which was, ‘Explain to me why this pitch about Joe the plumber and about tax cuts is anything more than a play for non-college educated, working class voters in a state like Pennsylvania which is key on the electoral map for the McCain campaign?’ Holtz-Eakin opened with a vague criticism about Obama’s alleged refusal to reveal something about ‘what he really plans to do’. He expresses a concern about the definition a small business, criticizes Obama’s loss of ‘verbal eloquence’, and closes with a blatant lie when he says the ‘American people don’t like his (Obama’s) agenda’.

David Gregory: (interrupting): “. . . Are you saying they don’t like his agenda on taxes? On general handling of the economy, Barack Obama gets the higher ratings. The polls show that . . . “

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: (Interrupting) “ . . . Barack Obama has gotten, B-Barack Obama has gotten the higher rating but this election is not over. If you look at the only poll, the only poll that called the 2004 election right, Investor’s Business Daily, this is a 2 point race. And we shall see whether Barack Obama, uh, by revealing exactly what he’s up to, which is, let’s spend a lot of money, let’s raise taxes to, to pay for and let’s not worry about economic growth, let’s not worry about prosperity that’s generated by ss . . . having a jobs, saving for college, saving for retirement, uh, we’ll see if that plays so well.”

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. For the third time, Holtz-Eakin did not answer the question . . . which was, ‘Are you saying they don’t like his agenda on taxes? On general handling of the economy, Barack Obama gets the higher ratings.’ Holtz-Eakin tells us the obvious – the election is not over – and then dismisses every other poll in the nation by claiming that the only accurate poll is the ‘Investor’s Business Daily’ poll because it happened to call the 2004 election right (unsubstantiated). Holtz-Eakin then makes a few more unsubstantiated claims about a secret Obama agenda to spend a lot of money, raise taxes, not worry about economic growth, not worry about prosperity generated by having jobs, saving for college, or saving for retirement.

David Gregory: “Right . . . you know, I-I was asked by, uh, uh, a voter the other day, uh, w-who was not necessarily coming from, from the other side of the aisle, but who said, look, ‘cause I-I often will say in covering the, the Bush White House that I can remember well John McCain bucking President Bush and bucking the Republican party, uh, but the facts are also clear I remember covering John McCain when he did talk about voting with the Bush Administration ninety percent of the time. So, how do you reconcile that . . . in our polling that shows nearly six in ten voters think that McCain would be more Bush at a time when you’re saying that the Bush Administration doesn’t get it. You’re going for separation pretty late in the game.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “Well, I mean, the reality is it’s not the number of votes, it’s, it’s what votes matter. Uh, a-at key moments, John McCain has in fact done the right things standing up to the Bush Administration. He’s done the right thing at times in standing up to the Republican party, uh, and he, he will continue to do that for the American people. That’s the key moment. The leadership moments. That’s what the ad was about today.

Barack Obama has never displayed one moment of leadership . . . when he said that his party or his political backers, ‘no I won’t do that for you because there’s an important issue that the American people need for me to deliver on’. He’s never shown any, uh, uh, ability to do that and without that, he is truly untested and dangerous.”

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Once again, he failed to answer the question . . . which was, ‘You’re going for separation (from the Bush Administration) pretty late in the game (aren’t you)?’ Rather than answer the question, Holtz-Eakin talks about John McCain’s ‘maverick’ image and refers to an unknown ad. He then goes on to criticize Barack Obama for never having displayed even ‘one moment of leadership’ and he warns us that Obama is untested and, moreover, dangerous.

David Gregory: “Al right, we’re going to leave it there. Senior Advisor on the economy, uh, Doug Holtz-Eakin. Doug, uh, good to see you. Thank you for being here.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “Thank you.”

Though David Gregory, an experienced, well-respected journalist asked a series of insightful questions, Holtz-Eakin didn’t answer even one of them.

If Holtz-Eakin was hired by John McCain to give folks like you and me reasons to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin, he didn’t earn a dime’s worth of his pay today . . . unless bad-mouthing Barack Obama works for the McCain campaign.

But I’m curious . . . why on earth wouldn’t Douglas Holtz-Eakin take this opportunity to tell hundreds of thousands of MSNBC viewers why they should vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin?

Why would he waste your time, my time, David Gregory’s time and his time by leveling a bunch of unsubstantiated attacks on Barack Obama?

Could it be that Douglas Holtz-Eakin is just another lying political hack?

Good question . . . what do you think?

P.S. Doug . . . take a shave, willya?

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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HOW Much are you willing to lose to your fears?

By l.t. Dravis

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Friday, October 24, 2008 – Hey, folks . . . what’s going on?

Stock markets around the world this morning are selling off like there’s no tomorrow.

Though it closed down 312.62 points, the Dow was as far down as 500 points today.

Overnight, the Nikkei in Japan fell nearly ten percent, Britain’s FTSE index of 100 stocks dropped 7 percent, Germany’s DAX index dropped more than 7 percent, and the Hang Seng index dropped more than 8 percent . . . other Asian markets dropped precipitously as well.

We’re trapped in a Bizzaro World where we react to a drop of 300 points on the Dow like we used to react when it went up by 100 points.

Hey, investors . . . how much are you willing to lose to your fears?

Get this through your collective heads . . . you’re running from phantoms, folks!

You’re throwing away trillions of dollars, Euros, yen, and pounds for fear!

Stop for a minute and use your heads for something other than worrying . . . okay?

Think about it . . . the basics still exist: there is still plenty of hydrogen in the world . . . there’s plenty of helium, oxygen, food, water, tin, bauxite, gold, uranium or any other critical element necessary to sustain life.

There are oceans of oil, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, and billions of tons of coal in the ground around the world.

The means of production that existed in last year exist today . . . that is, the worldwide infrastructure that creates, builds, ships, sells, and delivers airplanes, bridges, buildings, buses, cars, computers, DVRs, furniture, highways, homes, televisions, and trucks etc., etc. still exists and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

So, what’s the problem?

You’re worried about corporate profits and losses, the credit crunch, deficit spending, layoffs, and an uncertain political future?

Okay . . . so what’s new?

We’re all worried, so what?

Get over it!

Forget your fears, suck it up, and look at the global economy for what it is: Billions of people need and want to be fed, clothed, housed, cared-for, protected, entertained, and transported . . . and those needs and wants will ultimately be provided by businesses and governments around the world . . . and those activities create the ebb and flow defined as the global economy.

It ain’t going anywhere . . . no matter how scared you get.

So . . . let’s get to the bottom line.

If you’re in the market, should you stay?

If you’re out of the market, should you stay out or get back in?

The choice is simple: You can lose your money forever or you can wait it out and ultimately get your money back and then some.

Which sounds best to you?


Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

ALAN Greenspan . . . he's the man!

Photo Credit: MSNBC

By l.t. Dravis

WASHINGTON, D.C. MSNBC NEWS – Thursday, October 23, 2008 – Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan did what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez, John Snow, Chris Cox, Josh Bolton, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and too many others to mention here haven’t got the guts to do: Admit a mistake!

As Dr. Phil (I still don’t get how fatman Phil could write a diet book with any credibility) says, ‘You can’t change what you won’t acknowledge”.

Greenspan admitted in front of the House Oversight Committee chaired by Congressman Henry Waxman (one of the toughest and best Representatives in America) and the entire world that he was wrong when he made decisions based on his belief that banks ‘operating in their self-interest’ would protect their shareholders, their equity, and, therefore, the backbone of the economy.


So, what do the losers . . . Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Snow, Cox, Bolton, McConnell, Boehner and others . . . who ‘led’ us down this disastrous path have in common?

One thing and one thing only: They’re gutless!

They don’t have guts enough to admit their mistakes and correct those mistakes in order to do what the taxpayers pay them to do: Protect the interests of the people . . . not their buddies, not the special interests, not the lobbyists!

Now, do I agree with everything Greenspan said today?


Not that I’m an economist because I’m not.

I couldn’t even hope to stand in Alan Greenspan’s intellectual shadow.

But I am a people-onomist and I disagreed with Alan Greenspan when he said, “All those extraordinarily capable people were unable to foresee the development of this critical problem, uh, which, undoubtedly, was the cause of the world problem with respect to mortgage-backed securities. I have to think, I we have to ask ourselves, why is that? And, the answer is, that at, uh, we’re not smart enough.

The reason, in my never to be humble opinion, is not that ‘we’re not smart enough’ but that we’re not honest enough . . . in other words, greed rules. Unrestrained greed, not lack of wisdom, motivated financial manipulators to create the current economic crisis we have to pay for.

Anyone surprised by that assertion?

If so, I don’t know why.

Every religion and every philosophy ever embraced by humanity teaches the simple, unchallenged fact that when human beings have access to riches without oversight or restraint; they will grab all they can for themselves without regard for anyone – or anything – else.

Ain’t that the truth!

Disagreements aside, I say thank you, Alan Greenspan, for your service.

Thank you for your wisdom.

But, most of all, thank you for your guts.

If only others in positions of power could take a cue from you.

You are, after all, the man!

P.S. Didn’t see one of my favorites on MSNBC today . . . Andrea Mitchell, where are you? Hope the suits didn’t take you off because Alan was under the lights on Capitol Hill. I’ll see you tomorrow . . . I hope.

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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CREDIT CRUNCH: 1 - Hank: 0

Photo Credit: Southern California Inquisitor

By l.t. Dravis

SKID ROW, Los Angeles – October, 2008 – I HATE THIS PLACE AND I’M WONDERING WHY I CAME HERE . . . I’m standing near the corner of 5th and San Julian Streets in downtown L.A. where Angelinos, black, white, male, female, young and old, live and die . . . on the mean streets of L.A.’s ‘Skid Row’.

I’ve got a tape recorder in my shirt pocket and I’m looking for someone, anyone, who looks like they might be a recent arrival.

I’m looking for someone – like you or me – who had it all, lost it all, and wound up here.

I want to know how and I want to know why so I can write about it.

I’m in a living dichotomy . . . in one of the most progressive cities in the world in one of the most prosperous states in the country in the richest nation on earth; within blocks of temperature controlled, perfectly comfortable skyscrapers where thousands upon thousands of well-dressed, well-fed, comfortable commuters sit in ergonomic chairs behind ergonomic desks, manipulating high-tech computers, processing information sent around the world . . . I’m surrounded by drug addicts, drunks, ex-cons, fugitives, psychotics, and other assorted homeless folks who’ve given up on themselves and everyone else.

It’s horrible on ‘Skid Row’.

Homeless people are everywhere . . . sitting on curbs, leaning against buildings, standing, shuffling, walking mumbling, talking, smoking, drinking, staring, drunk, sober, sleeping, dying . . . and I’m feeling edgy, real edgy. I suddenly feel claustrophobic and I’m having a hard time handling the combined odors of rotting trash, traffic fumes, and urine.

I want to go home . . . now!

I lean on a metal pole that supports a “No Right Turn/One Way” on 5th and as I seriously consider just walking away; I spot a tall man with a full head of scruffy gray hair, bent slightly at the waist coming my way. He’s wearing a blue blazer, a dirty white collared shirt, stained gray trousers, and scuffed cordovan loafers. At first, he doesn’t make eye contact with anyone and he appears to be a little confused, perhaps even lost.

Then, for some reason, he looks at me and, if I’m able to judge a man’s expression, he seems relieved to see me . . . I mean, why not? I don’t fit in with this neighborhood; I’m dressed suburban casual . . . with shined shoes, a freshly pressed pair of Dockers®, a crisp long-sleeved shirt with a button-down collar; I’m clean-shaven, my hair is combed, I’m sober, and I’m too small to pose a threat.

He passes on by and I realize he’s the guy.

“Excuse me,” I say, “can I ask you a question?”

He slows as if he’s about to stop but he doesn’t.

“Excuse me,” I say a little louder, “can I ask you a question?”

He stops but he doesn’t turn around.

I walk around him and, because he’s about six-four, I look up into a weathered face with symmetrical features and tired but intelligent blue eyes. I suddenly realize that he resembles MSNBC host Chris Matthews. “Hi,” I say, smiling and extending my right hand, “I write a national newspaper column and a blog. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.” I’m trying to economize my words; I don’t want to drive him away.

He shakes my hand limply, looks at me with a tired smile, and asks, “What do you want to know?”

“First things first,” I say, looking him square in the eyes, “anything we talk about will be confidential. I don’t need to know your name . . . “

“What do you want to talk to me about?” He asks, peering intently into my eyes.

“I want to talk about you,” I say. “I want to know how you got here and why.”

He evidently thinks about that for a minute, nods at me as if the idea makes sense, and says, “Not a good idea to stand around here.” He starts walking and as I hurry to catch up, he’s talking slowly and softly about how great the weather is in L.A. and about how he’d gladly trade the occasional California earthquake for the miserable weather the poor people suffer with back east. He tells me how tough it is to get a place to sleep in one of the local missions. He tells me that he tries to stay close to the police station on 5th Street, especially at night, and he tells me he’ll never get used to sleeping on concrete.

He surprises me by telling me his name is Hank (not his real name) and he gives me a friendly pat on the shoulder. We stop at the corner of 5th and Los Angeles Street and he says, “Thanks for listening.” He then turns around and starts to walk away.

“Whoa, Hank,” I say, “how about we get a bite to eat and finish our talk?”

He looks hungry, so I figure he’ll bite (no pun intended).

I’m right.

He stops, turns around, smiles, and asks, “You buying?”

“Absolutely,” I nod and he leads the way to a nearby greasy spoon where we order up a couple of ‘BLT lunch specials’, tasty plates of carbohydrates, calories, and more chemicals than I care to think about, and we sit down to eat and talk.

I shut my mouth and let him tell me everything.

Hank is sixty-three. Too old to get a job, he says, and too young to collect social security. He says he’s just applied for General Relief payments from Los Angeles County. He thinks he’ll get a ‘couple of hundred bucks a month’ for nine months.

He tells me that he was born and raised in Pennsylvania and by the way he pronounces the letter ‘L’ (like a ‘Y’), I’m sure he was. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in business.

With his draft deferment fading fast, Hank joined the Army in the summer of ’68 and shipped off to Vietnam. He worked in a warehouse near the docks in Saigon, never saw a lick of combat, and after a 13 month tour of duty, he returned to Pennsylvania, got an honorable discharge, married his high school sweetheart, moved to the west coast, and wound up getting hired by a construction equipment manufacturer in the sales department.

He and his bride bought a four-bedroom tract home in West Covina for $35,000.00 in 1970 and paid it off in 2001.

They raised a son and a daughter in that home, bought a new car every three or four years, barbecued on the weekends, took annual vacations, and, like most of their friends and family, thoroughly enjoyed living out the American dream.

Over thirty-some years, Hank worked his way up the corporate ladder, and ultimately became Vice-President in charge of sales for the construction equipment manufacturer.

In 2003, at the top of his professional game, Hank retired, cashed out his 401k, paid the penalty, refinanced the house, and sunk four hundred thousand dollars into a car dealership with his car salesman brother-in-law.

The deal was simple. Hank put up the money and became CEO and General Manager, the brother-in-law put up ‘sweat equity’, his contacts, and his knowledge of the business and he became President and General Sales Manager.

They worked like mules and though they didn’t make a lot of money, they paid their bills, made payroll, paid taxes on time, took care of their families, and even managed to help a few of their friends and relatives along the way.

But by January of this year, with gas prices skyrocketing, with the credit crunch beginning to rear its ugly head, sales dropped to a fraction of what they were in January, 2007.

Through the Spring of 2008, fewer and fewer people came into the dealership and too many of those who did come in were too worried about the impending recession to make a buying commitment while too many of those who did want to buy couldn’t get financed.

The bank raised the interest rate to floor an unexpectedly large inventory of unsold cars and trucks and in an effort to keep the service and parts departments working, Hank begged, borrowed, and maxed out his credit cards, but by Memorial Day, he’d run out of resources and the dealership was running dangerously low on cash.

The pressure from creditors, vendors, and unpaid employees drove Hank’s brother-in-law to a nervous breakdown and he was committed to a locked-down mental facility in Pasadena.

Without a partner, with no cash on hand, and with the bank’s decision to cancel inventory financing, Hank had no choice but to lay off all the employees and close the dealership in the first week of June.

Within a week, Hank’s wife took off with the dealership’s former service manager and filed for divorce.

Hank couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer, so he defaulted and the court awarded the few remaining liquid resources to his wife.

By the end of July, the bank foreclosed on their house, and Hank was forced to move to a week-to-week furnished studio apartment on Citrus Avenue in Covina.

By end of August, Hank’s F150 had been repossessed and he was about to be evicted from the apartment.

“So,” Hank says, taking a long draw on a hot cup of black coffee, “I walked down to a 99 cent store I’d ignored for years, bought a backpack, walked back to the apartment, packed my clothes and toiletries into the backpack, and caught a bus for downtown L.A.

“Downtown L.A.?” I ask. “Why?”

“Because I wasn’t willing to live on the streets of Covina and West Covina,” he says, arching an eyebrow. “I lived, worked, and played in those towns for nearly forty years. Everybody knew me and I was tired of being pitied and hated.”

I could understand pitied, but I didn’t get the hated part. “Hated?”

“Yeah,” Hank says, looking at me as if he’s wondering why I’m asking. “When you fail, they hate you.”

“Who hates you?” I ask, beginning to wonder about Hank’s mental state.

“Everyone,” he says angrily. “Friends, family, colleagues, vendors, customers . . . everyone!”

“But, why?” I ask. “This wasn’t your fault. You didn’t cause gas prices to jump and you sure as heck didn’t create the credit crunch.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he says, becoming agitated. “When you fail, they act like you did it on purpose. They treat you like you’re a thief. You wouldn’t believe it!”

He’s right. I don’t believe it . . . so I have to ask, “But what about your wife, your kids, and your friends? They can’t hate you. They must know you did everything you could to make your business work.”

“Wife, kids, and friends?” he says as his face turns red. “They’re the worst! My wife left me, my kids won’t have anything to do with me, and all those guys I used to play golf with and all those great friends who used to go with us to concerts, dinners, and barbecues; all those people who were my great friends just a few months ago wouldn’t give me the time of day now.”

The tone of his voice and the look in his eye tells me that he truly believes everything he’s saying.

He’s becoming angry so I decide to shut up and let him cool down.

He reads me well, goes quiet, the red fades from his face; he finishes eating, drains the coffee cup, and looks at me, straight on. “Well,” he says with an expression and a tone that is suddenly devoid of emotion, “guess that’s about it, huh?”

I realize that he’s prepared himself to go back to the streets where emotions don’t work.

“Guess so,” I say with a smile. “Anything I can do for you?”

“Not really,” he says as he gets up to leave. “Thanks for the lunch.”

“Thanks for everything,” I say, “and don’t worry, man, I won’t use your . . . “

“I’m not worried,” he says plaintively. “That’s the one good thing about my life now. I don’t worry . . . about anything.”

I watch Hank walk away and he’s gone half a block before it hits me: No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I’ll never forget him.


Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

IS Ben Porritt just another lying political hack?

By l.t. Dravis

MSNBC NEWS – Wednesday, October 22, 2008 – Ben Porritt, a McCain talking head, went on MSNBC today and said whatever he had to say to promote John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Ben Porritt gets the big bucks to make John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Republicans in general look good, no matter how he may have to manipulate the facts.

Since both campaigns put these people in front of every microphone and every camera every chance they get, I like to check them out every chance I get.

So, who is Ben Porritt and what do we know about him?

At this point, I have no reason to believe he’s a socialist and I don’t believe that he pals around with terrorists.

I do know that Ben Porritt is a nice looking fellow, probably in his late thirties, seemingly bright, very quick, and well-spoken.

But is he just another lying political hack?

Let’s see.

Porritt was interviewed by David Shuster on MSNBC today and here’s how it went:

David Shuster: “Ben, uh, Sarah Palin’s negatives are now higher than her positives and that’s from a poll conducted before we learned that she spent $150 thousand of public and” (Republican) “National Committee money on clothes and makeup at high end stores. First of all, why so much money and, doesn’t this hurt the campaign politically?”

Ben Porritt: “David, this is funny, because a month ago I was on the show and you were arguing that campaigns need to talk about the issues and now you’re asking me about pantsuits and blouses. Um, you know . . . ”

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Porritt refused to tell us whether or not spending a hundred and fifty grand on clothes and makeup hurt the McCain/Palin campaign.

David Shuster: (Interrupting) “Right, but this is an issue of judgment, isn’t it? There are a lot of Americans who can’t afford to spend $150 thousand in two months on clothes from Neiman Sachs.”

Ben Porritt: “If you want to talk about campaign finance, I think that there’s a legitimate issue on the other side . . . that we don’t know where one-third of Barack Obama’s fund-raising totals has” (sic) “come from. This is a ridiculous . . . “

David Shuster: (Interrupting) “Oh, come on, Ben. One-third? One-third? Nobody has said one-third.”

Ben Porritt: “Yeah.”

David Shuster: “What reporter, what credible news organization has said that we don’t know where one-third of Obama’s money’s coming from?”

Ben Porritt: “It’s well over $200 million that we do not know . . . “

David Shuster: (Interrupting) “Says who?“

Ben Porritt: “Look at the reports. There’s” (sic) “plenty of reports out there that . . . “

David Shuster: “Name one . . . I’m just asking you to name one.“

Ben Porritt: “He’s raised, he’s raised about $600 million? There’s $220 million that is unaccounted for . . . “

David Shuster: (interrupting) “Ben, nobody is reporting that there are $220 million unaccounted for, nobody except, I suppose, some very, very right wing blogs that again don’t have, uh, don’t have a lot of credibility. But, again, name one credible news organization that’s reporting, that will back up your assertion.”

Ben Porritt: “When I walk off this set, I’ll send you an email and you can read it on air.“

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Even on the straw man issue about Barack Obama’s missing $220 million, Porritt wouldn’t or couldn’t (so much for preparation for a national news show interview) answer the question . . . should we wait for Porritt’s Email?

David Shuster: “Alright. Fair enough. Uh, umm, the Republican National Committee is sending out a flyer to voters in Virginia and Missouri. I want to show it for you. The flyer invokes the 9/11 terror attacks with the image of a jumbo jet going towards a building. Inside, the flyer says, ‘Barack Obama. Not who you think he is.’ Combined with your previous comment about the money not knowing where it is, do you, do Republicans think that Barack Obama is a terrorist?”

Ben Porritt: “No, that’s a ridiculous assertion. I think that . . . “

David Shuster: Interrupting “Why would they have that, why would they have that suggestion in the flyer with a jumbo jet?”

Ben Porritt: “I think that the question that we’re asking is, that Barack Obama does have some, ah, you know, interesting policy positions of wanting to meet unconditionally with leaders of countries that sponsor terrorism, whether that’s Iran uh, or, or Syria what not, I think those are the questions that we’re trying to raise here . . . “ “

David Shuster: (interrupting) “And that is an absolutely fair point, but what does that have to do with a flyer that has a jumbo jet going directly at a building and a line that says, ‘we don’t know who Barack Obama really is?’”

Ben Porritt: “Well, I think that, I think that, when, when we have 13 days left in this election, there are still lots of unanswered questions about Barack Obama and who he is. But his policy positions still stand and on foreign policy he has shown his naïveté by wanting to sit down without preconditions, with leaders of countries that stat. . , that sponsor terrorism.“

AND THE ANSWER WAS . . . NO ANSWER. Porritt didn’t tell us how the disgusting attempt to link Barack Obama to the 9/11 tragedy by John McCain and the RNC relates to Barack Obama’s ability to lead the nation.

David Shuster: “Ben, that’s a fair point . . . all I’m saying is that has nothing to do with that flyer that John McCain and the RNC” (Republican National Committee) “have both said is acceptable and that most people who look at that say that it’s ex-extremely distasteful, but in any case . . . Ben, we always appreciate your coming on. You’re always welcome to come on here on the show.”

Ben Porritt: “Thanks a lot. Thank you.“

Did we learn anything from Ben Porritt that would make you or me vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin on November 4?

I didn’t . . . in fact, all I learned from Ben Porritt is that even in a three question interview, he won’t give straight answers to straight questions.

So, is Ben Porritt just another lying political hack?

Doesn’t seem like there’s much of a question about it . . . what do you think?

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Want to go to a Blog that listens to you and speaks for you as well?


We want to send your concerns to 435 Representatives

and 100 Senators until they listen

. . . and then, we’ll do it some more

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