Friday, January 02, 2009

Working through the Fear

It's 2009 and in a just a few days, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

There will be a lot of great speeches, lots of promises made and hope will rain down from above. We've worked hard for this moment and we should take a wee bit of time to revel in it.

But its scary out there. Shit just keeps piling up deeper and deeper, day by day. The economy is tanking far worse than people realize, unless you're one of the 'lucky duckies' who've already lost their job. Retailers took a solid blow to the gut this holiday season. The time of year they use to pay for the rest was more than a little disappointing. It was down right brutal.

Fear is growing across all sectors of the country. Manufacturing centers are shutting down. Some are closing for the holidays, others for the season, and some forever. Retailers are cutting back drastically, layoffs are growing stores are closing. Some of the most familiar names in retail will be closing their doors forever. The big box stores who can weather these times will do everything they can to stay profitable. It's an economic Katrina out there.

I have a job. Still. I hope. I've worked for two major corporations the last 15 years. From the trenches, this disaster looks surreal. I see the effect this has on my coworkers and managers. I see the effect it has on the upper level managers that answer to corporate icons. This shit is real and it is going to get worse. There is no stimulus that can come fast enough to help most of the people brought down by this collapse. We are the walking wounded.

People are scared. My parents have seen their retirement funds impacted. They were luckier than most. Some good people, hard working folks who more than earned their golden years, have seen their nest eggs scrambled and eaten by this collapse and nefarious investment goons like Bernie Madoff. There is no place in Hell deep enough for people like him, no punishment too extreme.

I have a lot of faith in Pres. Obama's desire to bring us out of this mess. However, even the most optimistic course of action will not have any effect for months, perhaps years. Realistically, knowing what we know about the bastards in the GOP and the spinelessness of the Democratic leadership, there is little to no reason for much optimism. Pres. Obama will have to fight and fight hard on every front to get some of his recovery plan in place. Pessimism is getting thick as a London fog around here.

Cynics like myself can be irritating but we are useful. We need to be realistic and grounded as we revel in the Inauguration celebration.

The first thing I suggest we do is shortly after the inauguration, march en masse to the Halls of Congress and hold Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi's feet to the fire. Sack up or sack out! The times need real fucking leadership, not wimpy capitulation disguised as political manoeuvrings.

The GOP is at its weakest point in a generation. The people are squarely in Obama's corner and the political capital has never been this high. We cannot squander it on pissy little baby steps. We have to be as bold as the man taking the helm. Face down the Republican Leadership. Call them on their bullshit! If they threaten to hold up legislation, let them! Let them face the Wrath of the People. I have my doubts about this. I don't think it's in Harry Reid's DNA to be combative. He's too close to some of the opposition. He's too concerned about how they'll 'feel' about him afterward.

Grow a spine, Senator. If they stand in your way... let them eat your dust as you push by them. The GOP is in no position to control the debate any more. They lost that right on Election Night. Don't give it back to them.

So Mote It Be.
David A.

From the Brambles Cometh Sanity

Happy New Year!

Now that the calender has been satisfied, we can get back to reality. Put away the funny hats and party whistles, throw away the empty wine bottles and take an Advil or two - it's time to get busy.

Lots of things to go over but that'll wait for a clearer mind and a day of reflection. Suffice it to say that today I'll be throwing a few links out for you to peruse. We will start with a good one.

Rarely do we hear sanity from the chattering class. This link's author isn't really a chatterer, he's got more respect in his back pocket than Brooks, Broder, Sullivan and the cast of McLaughlin's Zoo will ever achieve.

I'm, of course, referring to Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman. His most recent column in the New York Times should be the first read piece for any liberal activist this year. Have a cuppa joe, a cheese danish, and log on...

Prof. Krugman so eloquently states...

The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.
The entire column is full of tasty bits of reality. Go there and sup grandly.