Monday, December 29, 2008

CONDI Rice . . . crazy or just stupid?

Photo Credit: Reuters

By l.t. Dravis

SOMEWHERE IN CONDI-WORLD – Sunday, December 28, 2008 – I’m worried that Condoleezza Rice, the least effective Secretary of State in recent memory, has lost her mind or is just plain stupid.

Why am I worried?

Because the Secretary of State was interviewed by Rita Braver on yesterday’s edition of the CBS Sunday Morning show and said, “people will soon start to thank this President for what he’s done.”


Why on earth would the Secretary of State say something like this?

What was she thinking?

Does any sane, reasonably intelligent person seriously believe that, except for leaving Washington on January 20, 2009, George W. Bush has done anything that people will ever thank him for?

The sanity or intellectual capacity of the Secretary of State of the United States of America is too important for even me to play politics, so I’ll simply compare the Secretary’s words to the George W. Bush record.

Rice said, “So we can sit here and talk about the long record, but what I would say to you is that this President has faced tougher circumstances than perhaps at any time since the end of World War II, and he has delivered policies that are going to stand the test of time.”

Secretary Rice failed to tell us, specifically, which George W. Bush policies will ‘stand the test of time’?

Was she saying that the Bush policies which alienated even long-time allies around the world will ‘stand the test of time’?

Was Secretary Rice saying that George W. Bush’s unnecessary, unprovoked invasion of Iraq predicated on a series of orchestrated lies . . . the ‘policy’ that killed thousands of precious Americans, maimed thousands more, caused the deaths of a half million or more Iraqi men, women, and children, and indebted U.S. taxpayers for billions of dollars for decades to come . . . is a policy that will ‘stand the test of time’?

Would the Secretary of State be willing to sit down with the families of dead and injured American troops and tell them that it was okay for their husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters to be killed or wounded because the Bush Iraq policy will ‘stand the test of time’?

Does Secretary Rice seriously believe that the Bush policies that created a $10 trillion dollar national debt and helped cause the near-collapse of our economic system, a system that was able to survive centuries of hot wars, cold wars, racial strife, political upheaval, depressions and recessions, but very nearly couldn’t (and still may not) survive eight years of Bush/Cheney will ‘stand the test of time’?

The Secretary of State praised George W. Bush for his ability to ‘change the conversation’ in the Middle East.

Rita Braver should have asked, What is Bush’s ‘new conversation’ and has it been worth the cost in lives and treasure?

But Rita didn’t ask.

So, Rice didn’t say.

Secretary Rice did say, “This isn’t a popularity contest. I’m sorry, it isn’t. What the administration is responsible to do is make good choices about American’s interests and values in the long run . . . not for today’s headlines, but for history’s judgment.”

I don’t know about you, but I was shocked to learn that the Secretary of State believes a President, Vice-President, and the Cabinet should invest its time and taxpayer money in making sure the administration looks good for ‘history’s judgment’.

If that wasn’t crazy enough or stupid enough, Rice went on to say, “And I am quite certain that when the final chapters are written and it’s clear that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is gone in favor of an Iraq that is favorable to the future of the Middle East . . . when the history is written of a U.S.-China relationship that is better than it’s ever been . . . an India relationship that is deeper and better than it’s ever been . . . a relationship with Brazil and other countries of the left (sic) of Latin America, better than it’s ever been.”

How can Rice possibly know that today’s Iraq ‘is favorable to the future of the Middle East’ when Iraq is rife with corruption, is surrounded by hostile neighbors, and is divided by ethic and religious factions historically prone to violence.

The Secretary of State’s prediction seems to dismiss some troubling facts: Iran, a potential nuclear power, lies on Iraq’s eastern border while Syria, certainly not an ally, borders Iraq to the northwest. Rice seems also to have forgotten that Kurds, Shi'ites, and the Sunni are still in Iraq, will stay in Iraq, and are not likely to ever stop killing each other. The Secretary of State is either too crazy or too stupid to think beyond the day when U.S. troops are finally out of Iraq and Moqtada Sadr, his militia, other militias and ethnic, political, and religious factions, Al-Qaeda, and any other terrorist organization decide the time is right to start killing and maiming for oil, cash, and power.

Did Rice consider the possibility that when the history of the U.S.-China relationship in the early 21st century is written that it may very well contain a chapter on how the Chinese foreclosed on America’s failure to repay the billions borrowed by George W. Bush, throwing us – not him - into bankruptcy?

Do you think Secretary Rice forgot that India always resented George W. Bush’s support and praise for former Pakistani strongman, General Pervez Musharraf, and that resentment has seriously, if not permanently damaged relations between India and the U.S.?

What has George W. Bush done to build a partnership with South America to develop sustainable, renewable, energy? What has George W. Bush done to help our South American neighbors fight climate change? What has George W. Bush done to manage immigration? What has George W. Bush done to promote the expansion of South American economies? What has George W. Bush done to protect the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and South America from drug traffickers and organized criminal activities?

Secretary Rice didn’t say.

Instead, she said, “I’m here to make tough choices, and this President is here to make tough choices, and we have. And, yes, I . . . there are some things that I would do very differently if I had it to do over again. You don’t have that luxury. You have to make the choices and take the positions that you do at the time.”

Wait a second, Madame Secretary!

When you say, “You have to make the choices and take the positions that you do at the time,” you make me wonder, what happened to your concern about ‘history’s judgment’?

Are you talking out of both sides of your mouth or are you crazy or stupid?

Or all three?

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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Monday, December 22, 2008

WE'VE Been had bad . . . again!

By l.t. Dravis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sunday, December 21, 2008 – We’ve been had bad . . . again!

The Associated Press reports that two supposedly smart guys, Treasury Secretary Henry (Hank) Merritt Paulson, Jr. (B.A. in English from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs) and his bagman, Neel Kashkari (Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois; Master’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois, and Master’s degree in Business Administration, Wharton School of Business) have handed out nearly 1.6 billion taxpayer dollars to banks that used the money for cash bonuses, chauffeurs, company jets, country club memberships, multi-million dollar executive pay packages, salaries and stock options.

Remember last September 21, when Treasury Secretary Paulson so somberly urged Congress to move quickly to give him 700 billion taxpayer dollars to bailout financial firms?

Paulson went on MEET THE PRESS and justified the historic bailout by saying, “Credit markets are still very fragile right now and frozen. We need to deal with this and deal with it quickly.”

The Treasury Secretary also said, “I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative – a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion. The financial security of all Americans depends on our ability to restore our financial institutions to a sound footing.”

‘Hank’ didn’t say a word about giving banks $1.6 billion for cash bonuses, chauffeurs, company jets, country club memberships, multi-million dollar executive pay packages, salaries and stock options.

George W. Bush, the man who has all the financial expertise in the free world at his fingertips said, “My first instinct (sic) was to let the market work.” But then, according to White House insiders, Bush actually listened to some of his financial advisors, evidently changed his mind, and said, “a robust and strong bailout was necessary.”

Bush went on to explain to all of us who wouldn’t otherwise understand by saying, “It is a big package because it was a big problem.”

And, then, if that wasn’t enough, the 43rd President made sure we were able to understand the complexity of his thought process by letting us know that “The risk of doing nothing far outweighed the risk of the package.”

Thank you, Mr. President, for explaining this very complex set of financial machinations so we can understand, too.

But, wait a minute . . . there was nothing in Bush’s statement about giving banks $1.6 billion for cash bonuses, chauffeurs, company jets, country club memberships, multi-million dollar executive pay packages, salaries and stock options.


Okay, let’s give these guys the benefit of the doubt and take a hard look at where we are now . . . perhaps I’m being too picky about Paulson and Kashkari handing out $1.6 billion so banks could pay for cash bonuses, chauffeurs, company jets, country club memberships, multi-million dollar executive pay packages, salaries and stock options.

Three months after Paulson urged Congress to give him $700 billion, Paulson and Kashkari have handed out $350 billion.

How much better off is our economy today?

Paulson said the bailout was necessary to prevent a ‘series of financial institution failures’?

How’s that working for us?

Since Paulson got his $350 billion, the following financial institutions failed: Franklin Bank (Houston), Security Pacific Bank (Los Angeles), Community Bank (Loganville, Georgia), Downey Savings & Loan (Newport Beach, California), PFF Bank and Trust (Pomona, California), First Georgia Community Bank (Jackson, Georgia), Haven Trust Bank (Duluth, Georgia), and Sanderson State Bank (Sanderson, Texas).

Okay . . . but, surely, the inflow of $350 billion in taxpayer money into bank coffers has eased the credit crunch, hasn’t it?

Yes or no?



Because nothing in the bailout bill requires banks to lend a red cent to any one, any time, under any circumstance.

I know it sounds nutty, but it’s true.

So . . . why on earth would any bank risk loaning ‘found’ money when the Treasury Department doesn’t require them to?

Does anyone believe bankers have the character it takes to use the bailout money to help anybody but themselves?

Of course not.

So, I wondered, why would supposedly ‘smart guys’ like Paulson and Kashkari hand out hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to prevent bank failures and free up credit markets without conditions to prevent bank failures and free up credit markets?

But then, I remembered the great words of wisdom left us by an equally great American, Forrest Gump, who said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

And then I knew.

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, December 17, 2008

THE Bush legacy . . . too late to change?

By l.t. Dravis

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – Sunday, December 14, 2008 – Under a strict veil of secrecy, the White House issued false schedules detailing George W. Bush’s activities for today so he could tiptoe off to Baghdad where he attempted - for the umpteenth time – to convince the world that the Iraq war was necessary.

“The work hasn’t been easy, but it has been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope, and world peace,” George W. Bush said with a straight face. “I’m just so grateful I had the chance to come back to Iraq before my presidency ends.

Let’s evaluate the 43rd President’s own words and we’ll decide the truth – not the spin - about Bush’s legacy!

“The work hasn’t been easy,”

Thinking people will ask, what work has George W. Bush done?

While Donald Rumsfeld was doing his senile best to screw things up in Iraq, by his own admission to Bob Woodward, George W. Bush had so little concern for hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops he put in harm’s way that he handed the Iraq war over to Stephen Hadley, a lawyer turned career bureaucrat who’d earned enough political points to become Bush’s National Security Advisor.

Hadley, a man with no military experience, was the White House Iraq Groupie who ‘allowed’ Bush to lie about Saddam Hussein’s supposed attempt to secure nuclear materials from Niger in the President’s 2003 State of the Union Address. Hadley is also the man who didn’t know the difference between Nepal and Tibet when interviewed by George Stephanopoulos as recently as last April.

This is also the man George W. Bush considered to be best qualified, in his abdicated absence, to protect more than a hundred thousand American men and women who went to Iraq to risk their lives in service to their Commander-in-Chief.

That this Commander-in-Chief would abdicate his responsibility to protect our troops, that he would turn over that responsibility to a Washington bureaucrat, fits what we know about George W. Bush’s character.

When George W. Bush assumed the Presidency, he had every power and every resource necessary to govern wisely, to use his office to protect and defend Americans in particular and the people of the world in general.

He was given a majority in the House and the Senate.

He was given a budget surplus by President Clinton.

Moreover, he was given the trust of millions of Americans and millions more freedom loving people around the world.

But George W. Bush lacked the intellectual curiosity, the compassion, the intelligence, the insight, and the vision to use the gifts he was given to make the nation and the world better today than it was when he took the oath of office . . . twice.

“but it has been necessary for American security,”

How does George W. Bush, with any true sense of history, reason or logic, say that the Iraq war was necessary for American security?

Do the families of 4,209 brave Americans who gave their lives because George W. Bush ordered them to fight an unnecessary war based on lies trust this assessment from a man whose own record of military service is at best questionable?

How about the thousands upon thousands of brave American men and women whose bodies and souls have been forever damaged by horrific war wounds? Do they believe they gave their limbs, their flesh and bones for a war that was necessary for American security?

Prove to us, George W. Bush . . . not with rhetoric, but with facts . . . that the Iraq war was indeed necessary to keep America safe, stay silent, or admit your culpability, apologize profusely to the victims of your misguided ego, then go away.

“Iraqi hope,”

Would George W. Bush have the courage to sit down, face-to-face with even one of the millions of Iraqis who’ve lost sons and daughters and husbands and wives and fathers and mothers in firefights, bombings, and mortar and rocket attacks in his war and tell him or her that their sacrifice was worth it because Iraqis now have hope?

“and world peace.”

World peace . . . by what measure beyond rhetoric?

Since the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq 5½ years and a trillion dollars ago, U.S. troops continue to lose life and limb in Iraq, terrorist organizations around the world still threaten to attack the United States and its allies, expanding conflicts threaten to engulf Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and a revived ‘Cold War’ with more nuclear players on the pitch than ever before is evolving even as I write this piece.

Epilogue: Mr. President, I have news for you: Your legacy is inviolable . . . it cannot be tampered with . . . no number of talking points can change eight years of bumbling, narrow-minded, stupid, wasteful actions, inactions disguised as your ‘policies’.

Just go away Mr. 43rd President, quietly, while millions of Americans hope and pray we never see your kind again.

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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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHY 'Bailout' the big 3 when we can invest in them and us?

By l.t. Dravis

DETROIT, MI – Tuesday, December 9, 2008 – WHY ‘bailout’ Detroit when we don’t have to?

Why not guarantee the success of the Big Three Detroit automakers – short-term and long-term – by utilizing taxpayer investments to develop a new 3-Part business model so Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors never again have to return to Washington D.C. for a handout?

We’ve all heard the propaganda – for and against – the so-called ‘Detroit bailout’ and to those who oppose the government rescue of any private enterprise, I understand and respect your opposition.

However, no matter which side of the so-called ‘bailout’ argument you’re on, it’s important to remember that Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors do not just build cars and trucks . . . they create, design, manufacture and deliver a broad range of vehicles for a variety of applications at various price points.

These capabilities, developed and delivered by thousands upon thousands of educated, experienced, skilled, talented people working with an incredible array of advanced mechanical and electronic tools and high-tech facilities, are too valuable for the nation to throw away.


1. Concept & Design . . . The Big 3 automakers are experts at creating and designing a variety of vehicles for a variety of applications; skills which can easily be transferred to the creation and design of ‘Green’ vehicles required to break our dependence on foreign oil

2. Prototyping parts, components, and completed assemblies . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have the experience, capabilities, and tools necessary to produce computerized models of 3-dimenstional prototype parts prior to dynamic elastic analysis in preparation for casting, forming, and/or machining

3. Fabrication . . . The Big 3 have the proven ability to produce parts, components, and assemblies utilizing a variety of specialty processes, including computerized press brake forming, computerized precision laser cutting and machining, Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) technologies, and computerized MIG and TIG precision welding processes

4. Assembly . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors employ thousands of men and women who know everything there is to know about manual and automated precision assembly processes

5. Distribution . . . the Big 3 Detroit automakers have perfected the logistical infrastructure necessary to efficiently and consistently deliver millions of cars and trucks to every town, village, and city throughout the country

6. Parts and Service Support . . . The Big 3 have successfully provided parts and service support for tens of millions of vehicles in tens of thousands of configurations in thousands of locations for decades

7. Warranty, Repair, and Service . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have created, written, and distributed printed and electronic service and repair protocols for numerous varieties of millions of increasingly complex vehicles produced over decades


1. MULTIPLE-FUEL INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE-POWERED VEHICLES – Each company would develop fuel-efficient internal-combustion engines which run on bio-fuels, natural gas, hydrogen, and blended fuels for their existing lines of hybrids and non-hybrid cars and light trucks.

a. Technical Goals: Reduce time to design, prototype, acquire or modify capital equipment, and manufacture new products from the current industry standard of 48 months to 24 months. This reduction in product development time would come from strengthening relationships with suppliers and partners. New efficiencies would be built-in to the manufacturing process by utilizing advanced technologies such as intelligent flexible assembly processes, virtual manufacturing, ceramic injection, metal injection, powder metal processing, precision forging, squeeze casting, and reactive molding, improved precision tooling, net-shape forming, and the expanded use of high-tech lightweight materials (ceramics, polymers and specialty metals)

b. Cost Reduction Goal (Build-to-Order Models): Each company would implement a ‘build-to-order’ matrix which would allow consumers to order certain models with specific options direct from the factory to eliminate dealer inventory costs, minimize dealer inventories, and reduce consumer acquisition costs. ‘Build-to-Order’ vehicles would ship from the factory along with dealer inventory units and would be prepared and delivered to each consumer by the nearest factory authorized dealer

2. ELECTRIC VEHICLES – Each of the three companies would cooperate to design, prototype, and produce new battery/charging technologies to power pure-electric vehicles (similar size and design as the hybrid Chevrolet Volt) with extended range (up to 250 miles) at reasonable delivered price points.

a. Technical Goals: Improve pulse battery chargers to decrease time required to recharge electric vehicle batteries to 15 minutes or less with a full-charge battery range of 200 miles; establish a network of electric charging stations to facilitate long-distance trips in all regions of the nation

b. Cost Reduction Goal (Build-to-Order Models): The same ‘build-to-order’ matrix would apply to Electric Vehicles as would apply to Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles

3. MASS TRANSIT – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have the people, tools, and design and manufacturing facilities necessary to create, design, prototype, manufacture and deliver Hybrid buses, GLT buses, light rail ‘Trolley’ cars, commuter rail engines & cars, and high-speed rail conventional and Maglev train cars

a. Conventional (Green-Power) Buses: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors would design, prototype, produce, and deliver Hybrid buses which operate on bio-diesel, fuel cells (a reactant fuel is converted to electrical power), fuel generated from renewable energy sources, or electric motors charged by wind-driven generators

b. GLT (Guided-Light-Transport) Buses: The Big Three would design, prototype, build and deliver GLT buses in two modes: In ‘Bus Mode’, the GLT operates like any other bus, powered by a CNG or Natural Gas burning internal combustion engine or by electric motors. In ‘Guided Bus’ mode, the GLT tracks a central rail (guide) imbedded in the roadway to allow it to function as a ‘ground-bound monorail’

c. Light Rail (also known as Streetcars, Trams, or Trolleys) Cars: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors would collaborate on the design and manufacture of Light Rail cars (Powered by overhead electric line via a ‘trolley’)

d. Commuter Rail Engines & Cars: The Detroit 3 would design, build, and deliver multi-level, light weight, computerized, energy-efficient engines and cars for urban passenger train service

e. High-Speed Rail (Conventional & Maglev) trains: The Big 3 would design, build, and deliver self-propelled, electric cars which draw power from a GPS-controlled remote ‘3rd’ rail. Maglev trains use electromagnetic power to literally ‘float’ over rails. Maglev trains rely on electrified coils in rails and guide way walls for ‘magnetic’ propulsion at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour

EPILOGUE – If we take an objective, non-partisan look at the Big Three Detroit car companies, we have to admit that they sell lots of vehicles . . . even in tough economic times.

In 2007, the Big 3 Detroit automakers sold 8½ million cars and trucks in the United States and millions more in countries around the world.

General Motors outsold Toyota by 1¼ million vehicles last year and even in 2008, when the entire free world seems to be decrying General Motors’ ability to give the buying public what it wants or needs, GM managed to outsell Toyota by nearly 600,000 units.

Worldwide, General Motors sold nearly 9.4 million vehicles in 2007 – more than any other manufacturer, including Toyota.

In the U.S., Ford outsold Honda and Nissan, combined, by about a million vehicles in 2007.

And, Chrysler outsold Hyundai and Nissan, combined, in the U.S. in 2007.


Because Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors build quality, market-priced vehicles that offer exceptional fuel economy.

The Chevrolet Malibu is 2 miles-to-the-gallon better than the Honda Accord; the Ford Focus matches the fuel economy of the Toyota Corolla; and, the Chevy Cobalt offers better overall fuel economy than the Honda Civic.

So, if the Big Three Detroit car companies fall by the bankruptcy wayside, who will produce and sell all the cars and trucks that would have otherwise been produced and sold by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors?

Would it be in the best interests of the United States to hand over the production, sales, and profits of multiple millions of cars and trucks to Toyota? Or Nissan? Or Honda? Hyundai? Kia? Volkswagen? Renault? Chery Automobile Company (a Chinese automaker)?

Or any combination thereof?

Of course not.

If we are serious about the ‘greening’ of American industry and all forms of transportation, if we believe in millions of American workers, American technology, and American production capacity to keep the American Dream alive, we should invest in our own industries and keep the profits – and the jobs – here in the United States and finally rebuild this economy and, at the same time, finally the page on our dependence on foreign oil.

Shouldn’t we?

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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Sunday, December 7, 2008

BUSH, Cheney . . . shall we pray?

The 'Big' Men

By l.t. Dravis

SOMEWHERE IN THE WINDMILLS OF GEORGE W. BUSH’S MIND – Saturday, December 6, 2008 – What brought our almost erstwhile President George W. Bush (remember him?) out of the shadows of the White House this week?

Some think Bush came out into the open because of a Labor Department report which confirms that under his vicarious leadership, the nation has chalked up another ignoble statistic in the Bush/Cheney record book: American businesses dumped 533,000 Americans out of their jobs in the month of November, reportedly the largest job loss in 34 years.

After more than 7½ years of deft leadership, skilled management, and responsible budgets, Bush, Cheney, and their helpers finally managed to punch up the unemployment rate to 6.7%, the highest rate we’ve seen in a decade and a half.

George W. Bush surprised lots of us today when he said, “I am concerned about the viability of the automobile companies.”

Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t mean to get your hopes up.

One moment of near-lucidity doesn’t mean that George W. Bush actually understands – or even cares – that 3 million Americans could lose their jobs if the Federal government doesn’t ‘loan’ 34 billion ‘conditional’ taxpayer dollars to Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

Bush confounded millions of Americans who believe he’s a complete fool and even those who don’t think he’s a complete fool, when he said, “I’m concerned about those who work for the automobile companies and their families.” (QUESTION: Did the President mean he’s concerned about people who work for automobile companies and the families of those automobile companies or did he mean he’s concerned about the families of people who work for automobile companies?) “And, likewise (sic), I am concerned about taxpayer money being provided to those companies that may not survive.”

George W. Bush’s concern for ‘taxpayer money’ is out of character for a man who blew through Bill Clinton’s legacy budget surplus like there was no tomorrow, ran up huge deficits every year of his presidency, and who leaves American taxpayers, their children, and grandchildren in debt to the tune of more than $10 trillion . . . and counting.

House Speaker Pelosi, Chairman of the House Financial Service Committee Barney Frank, and Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid know they can’t trust the President of the United States to save millions of American jobs. So they came up with a ‘backdoor’ stunt to prevent the bankruptcies and liquidations of Chrysler and General Motors in the next couple of months. Congress will use $25 billion Congress already approved to help Detroit design and build truly fuel-efficient cars and trucks to keep Chrysler and GM in business until January 20, 2009 when a real, oops, I mean, our next President will be in the White House.

Because George W. Bush refuses to back current Congressional efforts to provide meaningful ‘bridge loans’ to the Big Three automakers, taxpayers will be forced to throw away $25 billion over the next 44 days on a ‘cash-flow bailout’.

Given the staggering economic realities facing the Big Three Detroit automakers, what other choice do we have?

Would it be possible to get George W. Bush and Dick Cheney out of the way by bringing them up on impeachment charges for gross incompetence compounded by a thorough lack of character and integrity?

Nice thought, but no dice . . . not enough time.

What if millions of taxpayers went to Washington D.C., got down on their knees, and ‘begged’ the President and Vice-President to please go home so Nancy Pelosi could be the Interim President who would immediately sign off on a sensible series of bridge loans to make the Detroit Big Three competitive?

Naw . . . who’s to say that Bush or Cheney would notice, much less care?

President-elect Obama, Vice-President-elect Biden, and the economic transition team could take over the White House tomorrow, put the finishing touches on a comprehensive loan package for Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, get congressional approval, and save 3 million jobs.

Then again, it probably wouldn’t be constitutional to take over the White House. Besides, if Bush and Cheney happened to realize they weren’t alone, the country could get bogged down in a costly 44 day court battle and Obama might even lose credibility with millions of conservatives around the country.

Okay, then, what other choices do we have?

Give me a moment . . . let me think through every possible contingency.

Hold on . . . I’m thinking.

Hold on . . . I’m still thinking.

Hold on . . . And, I’m still thinking.

Okay . . . I’ve thought it through and I know precisely what we can do.

Care to join me in prayer?

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, December 3, 2008

WHEN Will we ever learn?

By l.t. Dravis

SOMEWHERE – Tuesday, December 3, 2008 – When will we ever learn to stop trusting the ‘smart people’?

We trusted some supposedly smart people, people we pay lots of money to, to use 700 billion taxpayer ‘bailout’ dollars wisely and, now we find out from the Associated Press that those highly-paid, well-benefitted folks let us down.

Auditors from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) are telling us that the Department of Treasury, headed by Henry (Hank) Merritt Paulson, Jr. (you’d think a guy who has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard and was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs would be fairly smart, wouldn’t you?) failed to understand that it would be stupid to give $150 billion (so far) to banks without monitoring how they spend – and lend – our money.



The GAO report says, “Treasury has not yet determined how it will monitor compliance with this or other requirements such as limitations on dividend payments and stock repurchases.”


Let me translate this into terms people like me (no Harvard MBA, I’ve never been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, and I’ve certainly never been Secretary of the Treasury) will understand: This is like me going down to my local bank and asking to borrow fifty or a million dollars. I don’t tell the bank how I’m going to spend the money and I don’t tell the bank how much my ‘collateral’ is worth and I don’t tell the bank when, if ever, I plan to give them back their money.

But they give me the money, anyway.


The GAO’s 72-page report also tells us that banks are not lending taxpayer money!

But, wait a minute . . . we were sold this ‘bailout’ plan by members of the House and Senate who told us that the whole point of the $700 billion bailout was to stimulate the economy by freeing up credit markets.

These Representatives and Senators talk a lot about ‘putting country first’ and chatter incessantly (especially in front of TV cameras) about how devoted they are to ‘protecting the taxpayers’ of this great nation.

These patriots includes Senator John McCain (Annapolis, class of ‘58), George W. Bush (remember him?), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (JD Georgetown University), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (JD, Kentucky Law School), Senator Chris Dodd, Chair of the Banking Committee (JD, University of Louisville), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Degree in something from Trinity College), Representative Brad Miller (JD, Columbia University), Representative John Shadegg (JD, University of Arizona) and too many other well-educated geniuses to mention here.

So, why didn’t even one of these very smart folks understand that it is not very smart to allow bankers to run free with billions of taxpayer dollars?

And, if even one of them was smart enough to figure that out, why didn’t that ‘smarter-than-the-rest’ person do something about it?

Unfortunately, you know as well as I know that we’ll never know.

So, how did Hank’s Treasury Department react to the GAO report?

Neel Kashkari (Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois; Master’s degree in Engineering, University of Illinois, and Master’s degree in Business Administration, Wharton School of Business), is evidently the smartest person in the Treasury Department’s so-called Office of Financial Stability because he’s the guy who actually hands out cash to banks, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary to work with regulators.

In fact, Kashkari is so smart, he’s perfectly comfortable with the Department of Treasury coming up with its own program to monitor banks . . . but he doesn’t know where or when that will happen.

So . . . when will we ever learn not to trust the ‘smart’ people?

We believed them when they gravely announced that we were in a so-called ‘financial crisis’ and we trusted them when they told us, just a couple of months ago, they could save the economy . . . if only we would allow them to borrow $700 billion in our names to give to banks in their names.

How’s that worked out for us?

They let us down . . . again.


I’m not.


Because this is the same group that pushed us into a pointless war in Iraq war that cost thousands of precious American lives and wounded thousands more and caused countless billions of dollars to be forever unaccounted for. This is the same bunch that sat by and allowed wounded veterans to be ignored and mistreated at Walter Reed Army Hospital. These are the shameless men and women in the Congress of the United States of America who’ve been content to let millions of Americans on the Gulf Coast live with the damage done by Hurricane Katrina . . . 3 years after the fact. And, these are the people who were ‘smart’ enough to spend us into a ten trillion dollar national debt!

So, we shouldn’t be surprised that they let us down on the bailout.

That is what these people do.

They let us down . . . you know that, I know that.

My question is, why do we continue to let them get away with it?

When will we ever actually hold these people accountable to do the jobs we elect – and pay - them to do?

When will we screw up enough courage to tell them to stop wasting their time and our money with self-aggrandizement, posturing, and strutting?

When will we tell them to either do the people’s work or get out of the way so someone else can?

After all, as of 5:04 PM, Eastern Standard time, December 3, 2008, there are 305,802,056 of us and only 535 of them.

So . . . what are we afraid of?

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