Archive for December, 2009

Are Journalists Irrelevant or Making Themselves Irrelevant? (Dec. 28, 2009)*

Posted in Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media, Society, Technology on December 28, 2009 by

. . .

“Newspapers really are in a death spiral.  From my review of the editorial stances and endorsements of the newspapers across the country, however, half of them could fold and probably leave us better off.  The Great Divide between the two Americas rages in the country and in the editorial rooms.  The way the market is heading, half of the undesirable newspapers will fold, yet half of the ones contributing to the dialogue also will fold.  The great loss is the lost possibility that cannot be regained once a newspaper no longer folds paper and instead simply folds.”

“Look at the product.  Too many of the columns in newspapers seem to be hissy fits among a clique of columnists.  One columnist says one thing and then another columnist inserts ‘not’ at some points and elsewhere deletes the ‘nots.’  The length and style of the columns are formulaic and could be recycled and reprinted every few months.  The columnists could be laid off and computer generated columns substituted for their daily show.”

“And yet that is the best case scenario.  Other papers promise to deliver only one side of an issue and deliver on their promise.  We still return to the need in a Republic for a free and robust press.  The First Amendment removes most government impediments, yet the contemporary impediment is economic.  Why pay today when information is free or appears to be free?”

“The subscribers and advertisers each pitched in to pay and now both are abandoning ship because the ship is sinking.  My friends don’t read papers.  The advertisers don’t reach them.”

“There really were no free newspapers or sources of information, yet TV was free from a direct and immediate charge.  The advertisers, not the viewers, sponsored the show or paid the freight initially.  The auto, food, insurance and pharmaceutical companies paid for the ads up front.  Then HBO asked the public to pay to view; the public paid.  ABC provided sports for free and then ESPN asked the public to pay to view; the public paid.  Now the public willingly pays for some TV.  That is what newspapers must do.  The Internet is the hybrid ‘television newspaper.’  Induce the public to pay.”

“For what?  The major news networks transmit bogus fluff.”

“What about the MacNeil/Lehrer program?”

“PBS?  Only if I can record it or view it on line.  The news on public television is credible but kind of stodgy.  Those of us who will soon run what is left are getting our news and opinions from a former soccer player who realizes that a person must entertain to inform.  He both entertains and informs and appears to be speaking truth to an audience raised on lies.  That is a workable business model.  Provide a quality product and people might pay.  What could be more obvious.”

“HBO and ESPN provide divertissements not news.  Something unsexy like investigative journalism is expensive and does not pay.  The hard task is not merely reporting on findings but finding the findings.  That will be the big loss every time a paper folds.  We as a society are losing the slim possibility that someone in power will be held accountable for his or her actions and inactions.”

. . .

(* This title was changed in February, 2010 because the prior title was too understated.)

Bumper sticker of the week:

Starting with Monday’s edition, Section D on “Jobs” is now titled “Job”, Section F on “Classifieds” is now titled “Foreclosure Notices”, and the “Sports” are found in Section B and the new expanded section C.

Tea Party Patriots? (Dec. 21, 2009)

Posted in Bailout/Bribe, Bush, Debt/Deficits, O'Bama, Race, Solstice, Tea Party, USA PATRIOT Act on December 21, 2009 by

. . .

“Are the Tea Party Patriots really veiled members of the Klan (Ku Klux Klan) running around in their civvies?  Is ‘Nazi’ the code word for the ‘n-word’?”

“They certainly ‘drank the Kool-Aid’ for eight years of reckless Republican (and Democratic) spending without a rally or a ruckus before they drank the tea.”

“They are a little late to the party.  The Tea Party types never railed against the USA PATRIOT Act when it was parsed and passed.  The Tea Party types never demonstrated against the TARP imposed by Bush and Paulson.  Their anger, fright and frustration are legitimate, yet they seem at core really angry, frightened and frustrated that an African-Irish-American is in the White House.”

“There is a lot of undigested anger percolating out there.  Our futures are not promising and those of the kids are even bleaker.  The public senses that America in so many ways is in decline even if they can’t articulate why.”

“I don’t care if he, or she for that matter, is chartreuse, I want competence.  Ronnie Reagan’s statement that ‘Deficits don’t matter’ is one of the ten greatest lies in the history of the American Republic.”

“And the line was repeated repeatedly by former President Cheney and former Vice-President Bush.”

“They made deficit spending the national sport.  At least O’Bama recognizes that long-term deficits represent a threat to the financial integrity and security of the country.  His spending does trouble those few of us left in America who believe in fiscal responsibility.  O’Bama is making and taking a huge gamble.”

“O’Bama also represents a threat to some members of the public because of class differences and what passes for education in America.”

“The anti-intellectualism leaves me as an intellectual in the cold, although those who pass for the intellectuals in America are often charlatans and con artists.  The Tea Types don’t even realize that they should be railing against their rousers.  I would like to see just one of them carrying a sign that proclaims:  ‘It all started under Reagan.’  When the Tea Types start carrying caricatures of McConnell and Boehner and their clan, I will pay them some heed.  Until then, most of them seem to be little more than contemporary Klansmen in coveralls.  However there may be some unaffiliated iconoclasts who march with them because they have no other drummer to inspire them.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” dated June 1, 2009 titled “The Humongous Gamble” discussing the great gamble pursued by O’Bama and the risk to the future of America, dated January 19, 2009 titled “The TARP Is A Trap,” dated Oct. 6, 2008 titled “A Bleak Day: The Trillion Dollar Tragedy,” dated Sept. 29, 2008 titled “Futile Efforts” and dated April 4, 2005 titled “USA PATRIOT Act.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Fiscal responsibility:  Good; Racism Veiled as Fiscal Responsibility:  Bad

It’s evening in America.

It’s always darkest on the Winter Solstice.

Nonetheless, there is much to celebrate in this good country

As a political compromise, Alaska was admitted as a “Democratic” state (49th) and Hawaii as a “Republican” state (50th).  Alaska gave us Sarah Plain/Palin; Hawaii gave us Barack O’Bama.

An Economic Tsunami?: The Road Ahead (Dec. 14, 2009)

Posted in Bernanke, Depression, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Economics, Volker on December 14, 2009 by

. . .

“Log this road map in the back of your mind.  The M3 money supply is no longer even reported. The world currently has reservations about the world’s reserve currency – our handy-dandy trusty dollar.  Petrodollar implodes; gold explodes.  Residential housing market, commercial real estate, and criminally over-leveraged corporations (LBOs) start really diving precipitously.  Fire employees; productivity/profits increase.  U6 unemployment up to 20% or more.  Fired employees decrease purchases; profits decrease.  Murdoch (Dow) down to 6K or less.  Gazillions of no good dollars spewed by the Fed; no goods are produced nor services provided by plundered economy.  Imagine unimaginable inflation exploding.  A great, catastrophic and unanticipated economic surprise surprises us.  And you get the Great Depression 2.0.  We are on the road.”

“To ruin?  To perdition?  To serfdom?  We’re Americans, we always do something.  We demand success and we expect success.  We can just decree that it not happen.”

“The problem is that nothing can be done effectively or efficiently to stimulate the economy when the economy at core is so fundamentally broken.  O’Bama inherited this imploding and exploding economy.  However, other than possibly some insights from Paul Volker and Warren Buffett, O’Bama has failed miserably in selecting his economic advisers.  He is now in control of an economy that is out of control and out of his control.  Many members of the public are angry, anxious, frightened, and desperate.”

“And there is nothing you can do about it.  Nothing.”

. . .

[The Murdoch (Dow) could go to 6,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 but not likely 36,000.  See the “e-ssay” dated Oct. 12, 2009 entitled “Dow: 10,000 To 5,000: The ‘FUBAR’ bubble” and the “e-ssay” dated May 11, 2005 entitled “The Coming Depression Is Not Depressing.”]

(O’Bama in Oslo.  “Si vis pacem, parati para bellum.”  Strong speech; right message.)

Bumper stickers of the week:

Next stop – Pottersville

Great Economic Tsunami 2010; Great Depression 2.0

The Republicans are part of the problem; the Democrats are not part of the solution.

Pass the Terrorist Tax

The Audacity of Afghanistan (Dec. 7, 2009)

Posted in Afghanistan, China, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Military, O'Bama on December 7, 2009 by

. . .

“We can’t leave and we can’t stay.  But we must leave, because we can’t afford to stay.  But we must stay, because we can’t afford to leave.”

“The graveyard of empires will be the graveyard of the American Empire.”

“And of many American kids.”

“At least in ‘Nam, the long shoreline allowed the Navy to provide much needed cover deep into the jungle.  The ‘stans are all remote caves and stone quarries.  We haven’t even started bombing and yet the whole place looks like it already has been bombed back to the Stone Age.  Charlie could move among a few countries.  Now they can move around the world.  My concern is not that we are signaling when we may leave in 2011, my concern is that they have ample notice to move to another theater.  The world is their stage.”

“The real concern is Pakistan and the Bomb.  And oil.  They don’t want anyone to deploy the bomb or to divert the oil.”

“And no real support on the home front again.  The populace is so disconnected from the sacrifice.  I don’t think I detested anything more than that draft.  The only way to bring the effort home is to reinstate the evil draft rather than the poverty draft.  It still steams me that even with the draft in place cowards like Cheney, Bush, Giuliani and the chicken hawks dodged the draft and then got to deploy kids off to get killed.”

“It’s all about the Bomb and oil.  The only possible way to fund the American effort is to quit funding their effort.  Implement the Terrorist Tax on fuel.”

“You have gotta pay to play.”

“Yet it comes back to the Bomb.  That remains the problem.  They got it.  The surge in Iraq was not military, it was economic.  The surge was a splurge of dollars to buy and bribe the locals for a cessation of violence for a short period of time.  The bribes worked.  The additional troops were incidental and marginal to the military effort, yet served honorably as the paymasters.  In Afghanistan, the US cannot begin to bribe all the tribal leaders and followers and buy peace.”

“The villagers are no different than the villagers in ‘Nam.  They are just trying to get through the day.  At night, when the US leaves, they receive visitors.  They need protection from their own.”

“The US is borrowing money from a very problematic source, China, to put troops in Afghanistan to influence activities in Pakistan so that Pakistan does not deploy the Bomb on India.  The US cannot ask for or accept Indian troops to be stationed anywhere near Pakistan soil, yet a few rupees to support the cause are in order.  Now Iran is bracketed by US troops on both sides, yet the US cannot afford to pay for the grand endeavor much longer.  The tactic mistakenly described as ‘terrorism’ is a greater threat to Europe than to the US, yet the Europeans are not making a commensurate contribution.”

“And because the American people are not making any sacrifices, they are not invested in the discussion.”

“We cannot afford to maintain the American Empire.  Pass the Terrorist Tax.  When the first Bomb is deployed, admittedly a few things will change.”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

Vietnam:  LBJ’s ‘Nam;

Iraq:  Bush’s ‘Nam; and

Afghanistan:  O’Bama’s ‘Nam