What's All This Then?
Sunday, February 01, 2009
PLUS CA CHANGE PLUS LA MEME CHOSE
I was going to write something about Rush Limbaugh’s latest nonsense, but decided against it. He’s a on e trick pony. A continuous loop. He’s not going to change and it just isn’t worth responding to any of the garbage that he spews over the airwaves daily.
I started this blog close to six years ago - On April 2, 2003. And after a few introductory lines on that day - my very first comments on April 3, 2003 , were directed at Rush Limbaugh with the title SHUT UP LIMBAUGH. I said the man was dangerous on that day and he has consistently verified that conclusion for the past seventy months. And the nature of that danger? That I also mentioned in my first blog commentary. Millions of people listen to him - many of those millions take his nonsense seriously and most of them are American citizens entitled to vote. And that’s scary.
Fortunately, they are not in the majority. Sanity and common sense prevailed two months ago and we elected Barack Obama to try to move this country back on the path our founding fathers designed. Still, it’s disheartening to look back at my very first comments to see that not only has nothing changed - but the idiocy has become more idiotic. Now, because Mr. Obama mentioned his name in some offhand remark, the mouth that fouls is bragging that the President of the United States is afraid of him!! Is there any need or any purpose to frame a response to such egotistical madness? I think not.
That look back at my first few days of blogging in 2003 made me realize how much of a rut we are in on so many fronts. For example, the perpetual struggle between Israel and Palestinian Arabs has been front and center lately and once again the former president who fancies himself an expert on the subject - who not too long ago sat down with Hamas leaders and assured us that they had assured him that they could be trusted to make a deal with Israel if certain conditions were met - who not long ago wrote a book titled "Palestine - Peace Not Apartheid - has written another book, this one titled "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land" - sub-titled "A Plan That Will Work." On that first page of Blogs back on April 30, 2003 - I wrote my first comments on the struggle in the "Holy Land" - pretty much saying that the then plan de jour - the "Quartet Road Map" was going nowhere because the Palestinians and other Arabs had yet to accept Israel’s existence and were still fighting the 1948 War. If you can see any difference between how things were eight years ago and how they are today - which might give some new "plan" - even one proposed by Jimmy Carter - a chance of working, please let me know and I’ll nominate you and him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
A week ago, the CBS "60 Minutes" newscast did a piece on the problem, concentrating on restrictions imposed on the west bank and concluding that THE impediment to "peace" and to a two state "solution" was the existence of Jewish settlements. Only one or two problems with that conclusion. "Settlements" of course did not exist between 1948 when five Arab armies went to war against the fledgling Jewish state and the six day war in 1967 - but "peace" also did not exist. Today’s impediment to "peace" is the same one that existed in 1948 - the non-acceptance of Israel and its right to exist as a Jewish state by the Arabs living in parts of the original British mandate for Palestine and by their supporters in Islamic states.
Even if there was no Hamas and all the rest of the Palestinian Arabs were sane, the chances of peace arising out of a "two state solution" are slim and none. The best idea for any kind of solution - assuming sanity prevails - was outlined here on October 10, 2003. More or less a "two in one state" solution. But, like any other "solution" - it would only work as an agreement among sane people - and there have not been enough sane people on the Palestinian side for 60 years and little sign that this will change in the foreseeable future - even if Jimmy Carter writes a book a month.
How about the economy - then and now?
On April 26, 2003, still on my very first blog page, I wrote about failing airlines and failing retail chains. The economy wasn’t that great then and it’s a lot worse now - but there were reasons then for such failures that had little to do with the ups and downs of the economy - and to my mind, they hold true today. Six years ago, there were too many airlines competing for a limited number of passengers and there were far too many retail outfits competing for the business of a similarly limited number of potential buyers. The airline industry has shrunk - perhaps enough to be a sustaining industry in the years ahead - and the closing of some retail chains might make the retail industry more sustainable if and when we begin to recover from the current mess. But somehow I doubt that the lessons will be learned and that the future will continue to hold too many businesses competing for too few customers. It’s a topic that I’d like to expound on in a future commentary - this whole business of the mad desire for growth as though an economy can continue to expand with no end in sight and continue to be sustainable. I don’t think so.
And finally, from this blog’s original first page, I wrote about what I call Market Flim Flam - a subject I have returned to again and again - those daily pronouncements about why "the market" went up, down or sideways. I doubt that this is something that will ever change. People who should know better, blindly repeat the nonsense that is fed to them about the "whys" of daily market movement. People like Charlie Gibson of ABC News for example - and just about everyone like him. The market can jump 200 points one day and drop 200 the next and we’re told that it’s because of any number of excuses - for example " disturbing unemployment numbers." Except that the numbers were no different than they were the day before when "the market" moved in the opposite direction. But the news readers continue to read this nonsense and don’t say what they should say. Which is that "there was either more pressure to buy or to sell Dow stocks which resulted in "the market" moving up or down. And as to why - your guess is as good as mine." And I guarantee you that I could refer back to this blog page six years hence and nothing will have changed. Except perhaps that the Dow may have climbed back to where it was a year or so ago.
The one unknown of the future of course is whether or not Barack Obama will be able to influence real change. He is after all a politician and knows the ins and outs of politics and what you need to do to be successful politician. But he’s also a different kind of politician who could engender national and international support for new ideas and new ways of doing business. I liked his comment the other day about Wall Street bonuses being "outrageous." It’s not something we’re used to hearing from Presidents and maybe it’s a signal that there will indeed be a new way of doing business during his term
I have some thoughts about what he’s doing to try to stimulate the economy and I’ll pen them here in a day or so - perhaps after the Senate has suggested some much needed changes and the bill is ready for conference. But for today, this has been a look back at the day this blog began and how little has changed with the topics that I covered in April, 2003.