Saturday, December 20, 2008
I am old enough to remember waiting on lines during the oil embargo of the early '70s. Nightmares of getting up 4AM in order to line up for whatever gasoline might be available. Illegally parking in the streets until the station would open. As a pre-teen, I was shocked to see fist fights over drivers accusing one another of cutting the line. The chaos caused by the embargo had sparked society's awareness that this path of fossil fuels compromises our way of life in many, many ways. The American car companies were staples of industry and were a clear barometer into the economic situation.
During the later 70s, pollution control became a higher priority. Caught off guard, the auto makers were incapable to transitioning their assembly lines quickly enough to address the new standard. Also, the desire to increase gas mileage became paramount. The auto companies coped while Chrysler croaked. In Chapter 11, Chrysler eventually pulled through to become successful enough until now.
The Middle East conflict was never far from anyone's mind since the Arabs felt the embargo would coerce the West to support their cause. Many college students were perplexed about what direction their support should move. Many of their parents views were shaped by the generation involved in WWII. Everyone knew someone from the wartime. Support for Israel was unquestioned because of the Jews plight from Nazi Germany. The 1960s brought out the hippie view which brought Civil Rights into everyone's living room via TV. Any oppressed people become the focus of the movement. When the Palestinians took radical steps to generate attention, they were influenced by the reaction society was having from the Civil Rights. Riding the coattails of radical 60s icons, the terrorists put their cause to the forefront of the evening news during the 70s. People took notice and started to question support for Israel. The oppressed people must be the Arabs since they are so moved for their cause. Oil became the fuel for the Arabs for political gains. Today, Arab oil has lost its luster and is solely used for supporting terrorism and bolstering the population boom in the Arab world.
Throughout the 80s, the US auto makers constantly played catch up. Troubling years and low gas prices led to little memory of the hardship the embargo caused. Technology was moving forward, but not at the pace the Generation Y members are accustom to. Advances in anything today are done at sprinting speeds. One can rest assure that next year computers will be faster. That internet programs will have upgrades. That the iphone will only get better!! I love the iphone!
The car companies today are giving people flashbacks of a more troubling time. Tired of the reported turmoil between Unions and the CEOs, the current frontpage news is leading a backlash towards the fighting. Most people have been listening to Al Gore soapbox the green future. He was a global warming cohort. As the environment becomes an ever important resource, he yelled the US is the big criminal in spilling environmental distress. Deliberately igniting anger towards the US, Gore fueled feelings of disgust around the world to an audience which already had tremendous contempt for this country. When gas prices skyrocketed, he shouted at US automakers for not keeping up with Toyota and their move towards hybrids. All evidence showed the vehicles Toyota made were not financially viable for most. When the Big 3 were asked about what will they do to compete, they answered the technology is not good enough to create an all electric vehicle with financial responsibility, reliability, and responsive to the American driving patterns. The Big 3 have made some hybrids in the meantime. The biggest argument for answering the financial viability was the increased gas price. The high cost of oil sparked a revolution in green tech. It became a potentially profitable alternative. This sparked Wall Street interest! But now that gas is plummeting...
The interest in investing in green tech is disappearing because it is no longer financially attractive. The world has fallen from good times to a new recessionary period, possibly leading to a depression. Money for research is drying up fast! No one will ever settle for the status quo. Therefore, green tech is the future. But maybe not appropriate for the present. Maybe the Big 3 were right all along about the tech for the green car not being ready today. The Chevy Volt shows they are taking the direction seriously and will make it available when its timely. Until then, I think Gore should shut his pie hole. I think Obama should stop telling the coal industry and power plants that run this country that unless they convert to green tech he will fine them. Maybe when the US starts referring to a car czar for fiscal responsibilty, we can start seeing that when the business world is ready to present the green tech we want, they will. Leave the Czar in Russia! The bailout is done, like it or not. Leave the government out of their business.
Weyrich today is probably best known as the co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, arguably the most influential conservative think-tank in the world. But perhaps more notable is his awakening of the Christian Right. He was confounded by the Christians' reticence to become active in politics - they made up such a huge potential voting block. His problem was that he was not a pastor, and he himself was a Roman Catholic. He didn't have the Christian credentials to be an effective spokesperson.
Weyrich turned to Jerry Falwell, then a Virginia preacher who hosted a popular evangelical TV show and founded a Bible college. Together, Weyrich and Falwell raised enough money to conduct some national polling asking Christians whether they'd tolerate their pastors becoming political and whether they'd contribute to faith-based political action committees. The polling was overwhelmingly positive.
And thus the Moral Majority was born. The Moral Majority overtly pressed the Christian evangelical agenda in the political sphere to great success. In 1977, four years after the infamous Roe v. Wade in 1973, Weyrich founded the Heritage Foundation. Many of the ideas, principles and policy positions disseminated by the Heritage Foundation served as the arsenal with which President Reagan won the Presidency in 1980.
Weyrich, perhaps single-handedly, sparked the Christian Right's political ascendancy that won us Presidents Reagan the Bush I and II, not to mention Gingrich's 1994 Republican Revolution that pushed the nation paradigmatically to the right.
Weyrich and his contributions are enduring.
Friday, December 19, 2008
President Bush announced today that he is offering $17.4 billion in loans to Chrysler and GM because letting the automakers fall would send our economy into a "deeper and longer recession."
This girly-man move goes against a central pillar of western capitalism - creative destruction. The Austrian-school economist Joseph Schumpeter popularized and used the term to describe the process of transformation that accompanies radical innovation. In Schumpeter's vision of capitalism, innovative entry by entrepreneurs was the force that sustained long-term economic growth, even as it destroyed the value of established companies that enjoyed some degree of monopoly power.
I've always maintained a solemn respect for President Bush and the belief that history will judge him favorably, particularly his decisions involving the war and, more generally, the global war on terror. However, on probably one of the most important issues of his Presidency, he has decided to let the voices of his conservative base fall on deaf ears in order to prop up the uncompetitive U.S. automakers.
Essentially, he has folded like a cheap lawn chair, and my respect may fold alongwith.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
My articles on Obama's political stand towards Israel and how he intends to deal with the Mid East Peace Process are about as thorough and accurate as any expert could possibly imagine. I hope readers look through the articles we published and the future articles. When this Presaidency starts, I will post nearly daily on how he does. So far he supports Israel's response, supports tax cuts, and is considering raising taxes 10 cents on gasoline. So far he sounds more Republican. Now if he could just stop thinking about taxes....
The bank bailout provided funds to prevent a collapse of the financial industry. In fact, the Congress proudly passed the Bill singing their own praise about preventing a Depression. Well, with no stipulations given to the banks, they gladly spent the money on frivolous shenanigans and umbrellas while simultaneously hording the monies to solidify their positions. The government is failing to pursuit the bailout money because no legislation has been passed to add stipulations now. Improper conduct is rewarded by the banks with taxpayer money? It's never too late when taxpayer money is involved. The Democrats have been involved in the deceit which strikes me as perplexing given the election results.
The Bush administration has done nothing to address the issues responsible. He could have brought investigations into the fiasco which would have squarely placed the cause on high ranking Democrats. Instead, he remained silent which now puts his inaction as a supplement to the problem.
One solution the Congress should implement is every bank which received taxpayer funds must immediately provide every person with a mortgage an interest rate half of what the current rate is or that is in contract currently. This would allow everyone to free up sums of money to use on necessities they currently have. Also, this would allow people to pay down their mortgage faster if they choose.
I would like readers to make suggestions in order to write their Congressman here on this page. Any feedback would be appreciated, good or bad.