Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wall Street's Bailout:Charity or Payoff?

Why are the same Wall Street Robber Barons who rail against national health care, unions, minimum wage, and helping the average the home owner is now trying to get on the taxpayer financed 700 billion dollar gravy train? For the same reason that got them in trouble in the first place---greed. What happened to the Capitalist mantras of “financial survival of the fittest” or “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”? It’s funny how those same individuals who call any government program to help the poor and working class “socialist” now have their greasy hands out for a piece of the largest bailout in history. I guess when it’s you and me, it’s “socialism” and when it’s them, it’s a matter of national imperative. To listen to Bush and Company, you would think this was a humanitarian rescue operation to some backwater country.

For anyone who wants to make this out as a Republican made crisis, let’s get this clear---it took both parties to blow this one. The Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for encouraging the unethical level of greed and unregulated environment which dominates the culture of Wall Street…and Washington. Let’s not forget either that these same soulless creatures who make their living off other people’s labor are the same people who underwrite both the Republican and Democratic parties. It doesn’t matter one iota to them which party wins since they own both. So don’t worry about whether or not there will be a bailout; there will most certainly be one. The real question is just what this corporate handout…err…I mean bailout, is going the American Public.

According to Bloggingstocks (, there are 305 million Americans. At $700 billion dollars, that breaks out to roughly $2,295.00 per person. If you look just at working Americans (excluding retirees, kids, and I suppose illegal aliens), the cost jumps up to $4,635.00 per worker. Taking it from another angle, if the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 13.8 trillion dollars, the bailout will equal approximately one year’s domestic product. The best example I think is that, according to the article, at 5% a year, it will equivalent to working 13 days for free (well, not exactly free, since your money will be going to pay some Wall Street mogul’s salary). Now, I don’t know about you, but that really ticks me off.

Should government, which is ultimately you and I, be involved in rescuing companies because their owners got to greedy; to sloppy; and made bad decisions? When you mess up your checkbook, does your banker say “awl shucks, forget about it. We’ll get the other depositors to make up the difference?” I don’t know about you, but my mother taught me personal responsibility and dealing with my own mistakes. However, rewarding irresponsibility is what’s happening here, except on a really big scale. And the kicker is, we’re going to get to make up their multi-million salaries to boot. So when this bailout is done, do you think Wall Street is going to thank the American People for the $700 billion “gift” by offering us some really good interest rates or great stock tips? Don’t hold your breath. This is corporate fascism pure and simple, where government is there to serve the needs and interests of Big Money while you and I just hope we can make our next mortgage payment.

By the way, does anyone have any idea just how many people can be feed with $700 billion dollars? How much healthcare for the poor and eldery could this buy? How many Headstart programs or other primary education resources could this buy? How much medical research could be accomplished with the same amount of money? How many roads could be paved? How many police officers, firemen, and EMS workers could this employ? Just asking.

History is filled with “what ifs” and “what were you thinking?” moments. Perhaps we think of presidents as in some way more intelligent than the average person. The reality is that most aren’t. We tend to put them on pedestals and then proceed to throw rocks at them. Presidents and the Presidency are in many ways shaped by the occupant’s personalities, the times they live in, as well as by events outside their control. Tom Craughwell has written a terrific book that looks at some of the biggest goofs, blunders, and horrific mistakes made by the men who’ve occupied the Oval Office. Below is an excerpt from the book. If you have an interest in history, politics, or human nature, I urge to you read this book.

"Failure of the Presidents" by Tom Craughwell

The Bay of Pigs Invasion
John F. Kennedy

A TOTAL FAILURE. Many of the men of Brigade 2506 believed fervently that they were the first wave of Cuban freedom fighters who would liberate their homeland from Castro. They were convinced as they storrned ashore that they would be supported overhead by some of the finest fighter pilots of the U.S. Air Force, and they thought that as they advanced into Cuba, the U.S. Marines would be right behind them. Whether the insurgents had talked themselves into this conviction or the trainers from the United States had made such a promise is still a subject of debate.

The air support promised by the CIA consisted of sixteen B-26 twin-engine light attack bombers. From an airstrip in Nicaragua to the Bay of Pigs was a journey of 1,000 miles, round-trip, which left a B-26 with enough fuel to provide less than forty minutes of air cover for the Brigade. Anything longer than forty minutes and the pilots risked running out of gas somewhere over the Caribbean.

On April 14, 1961, just three days from the invasion, Kennedy called CIA Operations Chief Bissell to ask how many planes he planned to use in the operation. Bissell told the president the CIA planned to use all sixteen of their B-26s. "Well I don't want it on that scale," Kennedy replied. "I want it minimal." So Bissell cut the number of planes for the invasion to eight. The next day, those eight planes attacked the three airfields of the Cuban air force, knocking out some of the aircraft, but not enough to cripple the fleet.

On the morning of April 17, as the Cuban militia pinned down the men of Brigade 2506, the Cuban planes that had survived the air strikes attacked the exiles from the air. Meanwhile, the B-26s, their fuel low and their forty minutes up, veered away from the beach for the flight home. The Brigade's commander, San Román, radioed his CIA handlers for help. "We are under attack by two Sea Fury aircraft and heavy artillery," he reported. "Do not see any friendly air cover as you promised. Need jet support immediately." When San Roman's request was denied, he replied, "You, sir, are a son of a bitch."

With the sea at their backs, no means of retreat, and no chance of advancing into the interior of Cuba, the Brigade was in a desperate position. Back in Washington, the CIA and the Kennedy administration concluded that the invasion would fail. In a conversation with his brother, Robert Kennedy, the president said he wished he had permitted the use of U.S. ships to back up the Cuban exiles. "I'd rather be an aggressor," he said, "than a bum."

On April 18, Kennedy authorized six fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Essex to provide one hour of air cover for the CIAs attacking B-26s over the beach at the Bay of Pigs. But the jets from the Essex and the B-26s missed their rendezvous because the Pentagon forgot to factor in the one-hour difference in time zones between the B-26s' base in Nicaragua and the beach in Cuba.

That same day, Kennedy's national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, gave the president a status report on the invasion. "The Cuban armed forces are stronger, the popular response [is] weaker, and our tactical position is feebler than we had hoped," Bundy said. That was perhaps the kindest possible description of the Bay of Pigs operation.

As a humanitarian concession, the president permitted U.S. destroyers to approach the Cuban coast to pick up survivors. The ships were authorized to get within two miles of shore after dark, but no closer than five miles during daylight hours. The directive meant the rescue mission was beyond the reach of almost every man in Brigade 2506. A handful who had managed to swim to one or another of the bay's outlying cays were picked up, but the rest lay dead on the beach or were captured by Castro's forces.

At 2 p.m. on April 19, after two days of being pounded by militia, tanks, and the Cuban air force, Commander San Román and Brigade 2506 surrendered. "Everything is lost," Allen Dulles told former vice president Richard Nixon. "The Cuban invasion is a total failure."

Sixty-eight Cuban exiles were killed in the Bay of Pigs debacle; 1,209 were captured, and nine of them died of asphyxiation in a windowless sealed truck that took them from the beach to prison in Havana. After twenty days of interrogation, the prisoners were given show trials and sentenced to life in prison.

Soon after the conviction of the men of Brigade 2506, Castro made a public offer to exchange the prisoners for farm machinery. Kennedy leapt at the proposal. Immediately he formed the Tractors for Freedom Committee, chaired by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, with the purpose of collecting donations to purchase farm equipment for Cuba. But the group was not able to meet Castro's exorbitant demand of $30 million worth of capital relief, and it disbanded. The tractor deal fell through.

Negotiations between the two governments went on sporadically over the next twenty months. Finally, on December 24,1962, Castro announced that he was releasing the Brigade 2506 prisoners in exchange for $53 million in medicine and food from the United States. He also promised, "as a Christmas bonus," to permit 1,000 of the prisoners' relatives to emigrate to the United States.

The animosity between Cuba and the United States intensified after the Bay of Pigs debacle. Cuba allied itself with the Soviet Union, while America continued its policy of isolating Cuba economically and diplomatically. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev viewed America's failure at the Bay of Pigs as a sign of Kennedy's weakness and inexperience, an assessment he felt was confmned after meeting Kennedy at the Vienna Summit of April 1962, where it appeared to some that Kennedy was sandbagged by Khrushchev's threat to cut off West Berlin from the Western powers. Within six months, Khrushchev was placing nuclear missiles in Cuba, an action that brought the world as close as it has ever come to all-out nuclear war.

In the face of the missile crisis, Kennedy held firm. The Soviets backed down, removing the nuclear weapons from Cuba, but the tension between Cuba and the United States has dragged on for more than forty years. During that time, political observers and historians have argued that the failed invasion actually strengthened Castro's grip on Cuba. Certainly Che Guevara thought so. In August 1961, at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Uruguay, he sent a note to Kennedy saying, "Thanks for Playa Giron [another name for the site of the invasion]. Before the invasion, the revolution was weak. Now it is stronger than ever."

Author Bio
Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of several books, most recently How the Barbarian Invasions Shaped the Modern World (Fair Winds Press, 2008) and Stealing Lincoln's Body (Harvard University Press, 2007). He has written articles on history, religion, politics, and popular culture for the Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, and U.S. News & World Report. He lives in Bethel, Connecticut.

Journalist, lecturer, and historian M. William Phelps is the author of eleven books, including his most recent, Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America’s First Spy (Thomas Dunne Books, 2008). He lives in Vernon, Connecticut.

A friend of mine sent me this. It’s great! I just wish there was really someone out there who had the chutzpa to run on a platform like this:


I have decided to run for President. After careful consideration, I decided that this was going to be my platform:

(1) Press 1 for English is immediately banned. English is the official
language, speak it or wait at the border until you can.

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the 'Walmart' policy 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border. (six month tour) They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. The president nor any other politician will not be able to touch it.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

(7) Professional Athletes/Steroids - The FIRST time you check positive, you are banned for life. By the way, the FIRST time you attack your coach or fellow player, or get busted you’re history. I don’t care about your childhood. You are responsible for your actions.

(8) On second thought, one export will be allowed, Wheat, The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

(9) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.

(10) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day
in Congress.

(11) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies,
sporting events, outings, etc.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes but a vote for me will get you better than what you have, and better than what you're gonna get. Thanks for listening, and remember to write in my name on the ballot in November. God bless America!

Anyone want to be my VP???

Poll Results

I asked what you thought about Sarah Palin's qualifications to be Vice President. Interestingly, we have 40% of you who said they were excellent while another 40% of you said poor. 20% thought her qualifactions were only fair. Actually, the results seem pretty reflective if the election itself--a near draw.

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