Quite understandably in the auto industry cacophony of news yesterday attention was mainly focused on Detroit, but five other very important stories also arrived, totally worthy of another sweep of attention before they fade too quickly.
/* I’ve been in enough software projects—on both sides of the cubes—to immediately sense if a team is on mission with a likely chance of success, or simply desperately pushing back on the fly day-to-day with no end in sight, likely ending in a robust face-splat of vivid failure.
Very unfortunately the latter is the total perception I get from Treasury Geithner and his quisling Finance handjob rescue plans, completely confirmed by the most excellent Dr. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo yesterday afternoon by asking a simple question: where, in all these grand plans of loan and grant, are the details of breaking up these “too big to fail” parasitic behemoths?
This, remember, is the entire rationale for looting the Treasury of hundreds of billions of dollars so European banks can get paid off, we have to do all these incredible violations of principle or we’ll crash. Once we’re done we’ll be left with almost the same environment of too big to fail, plus some of those quaint regulations.
Congratulations, Secretary Geithner, on your desperate meander to nowhere. You aren’t on mission, your people scurrilously leak to the press, and the disparity of enablement compared to the recent treatment of Detroit is painting you in a frilly cap and apron as the US government is on its knees in a submissive Finance fetish. I have no idea where this will end, but it can’t be good.
/* Speaking of off-mission, the latest confirmation of policy failure comes from Afghanistan and the incomparable Dr. Juan Cole of Salon, who reports Obama has completely mis-interpreted the Afghan political and demographic environment and is flailing about as haplessly as Secretary Geithner. What is the inevitable outcome to being so disastrously off track? Failure.
I’ve written about this many times before, but Afghanistan is far more important to me on a moral plane than mere geopolitics. We sacrificing our own people and blowing up children in our futility, they were only given one chance at life, it was not ours to take.
Obama could not have been elected as a pacifist? Fine. Perform a pragmatic about-face, things have gone to hell at home and we don’t have the ability to fix whatever we delude ourselves we’re doing in Asia (got opium?). Michigan is going under but we’re spending on Kabul while killing children? There’s an easy way out here, President Obama, take it, it’s never too late to stop a war.
/* Speaking of militarism, the New York Times had a brief nauseating report on $296 billion cost overruns for Pentagon weapons systems, the sparkling gem in all the mess our great F-22, a plane we don’t need first slated at $88 billion for 648 planes, now at $73 billion for 184.
Wielding a blunt club of realism, is President Obama a liberal with his Afghanistan and DOD budget policies? No. Is he a progressive? No. Labels are a slippery, often foolish business, but killing people with money we don’t have for no mission doesn’t give him the honor of possibly wearing those two.
Militarism and Democratic Party denial is currently the most flaming reeking failure the Party cannot address, even though it flagrantly violates many core values of the Party. I’m a very popular liberal writer for continually pointing it out.
/* The amazing Eric Boehlert of Media Matters highlights how our corporate press has shafted us yet again, the Coleman-Franken recount is extremely serious but when a Republican performs nefariously, oh well.
My impatience grows with Democratic Party leadership, if that were somehow possible. How is it possible no lessons of Machiavelli penetrated no DC Democratic cranium? Really. If the press won’t spear Coleman, do it yourselves, it’s not hard. Oh that’s right, I got to read Harry Reid whining about how John Roberts lied to him instead. Jesus Christ.
/* My last mug of good cheer is poured by the great dday, pinch-hitting at The Washington Monthly. Just before the Bush felons and their cholos left office they chucked $64 billion into a horribly stupid stock buy at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, covered so well by Mary below.
I’m very tough on my own people, I know the worst thing we can do is lie to ourselves about our problems, but I am a proud immensely loyal liberal Democrat still precisely because of stories like this. No one President Obama appoints would ever even think of squandering little people money like this so cruelly. We have issues but we are not rapacious crooks knifing retirees just because we can.
I wish the news was better, Left Coasters, don’t you know it. There’s still a day ahead and we shall do our best, there isn’t an alternative.