Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Harvesting the Truth

Here is the week's harvest, both the wheat and chaff. Lost in the gleanings was an acerbic voice for brutal honesty.

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Hidden in the chaff was the usual smoke:

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said.

Please join me in standing and performing a collective eye-roll.

Uh oh, more chaff. What's wrong with this? Click on the Disclaimer Button on the bottom of the page. Yep, that's right. Now look at this:

The Pentagon maintains that the information on the sites is true and accurate. But in a recent memo, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that the Web site contractor should only hire journalists who "will not reflect discredit on the U.S. government."

Apparently Mr. Gannon/Guckert isn't the only outlet the Whitehouse has for spreading mis-information under the guise of authentic journalism.

Now this really cranks my tractor. Honesty from a public servant? We can manipulate through fear all day long, but we can't handle the truth.

Speaking of truth, Eric Alterman received this note at The Nation regarding the State of the Union hug between the Iraqi and American women.

The Iraqi woman, identified by Bush as Safia Taleb al-Suhail, is a politician. She was a long-time Iraqi-in-exile and proponent of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, did not live in Iraq at the time of the invasion, and was appointed last year by the US-approved interim government as the Iraqi ambassador to Egypt. I don't have reason to doubt al-Suhail's personal sincerity in that SOTU moment, but nonetheless, her background makes it clear that she is not some average Iraqi whose heart and mind has been won over by the US invasion.

Man, I HATE emotional manipulation. (Unless it's starring Johnny Depp. Then, I'm willing to overlook it.)

Finally, some wheat! Ian Wrisley wrote a great piece featured on All Things Considered on NPR. It's available in audio only. I highly recommend it. Social Security isn't about saving for yourself. It's about the maturation of a society and the care it provides for its elderly. Check it out.

Also worth a look is this: How The Lefty Blogs Can Win The Blogosphere, Revive Their Party, And Save Our Country (And Why They Won't)

I'm not too proud to learn a new trick or two, even if the right thinks I can't handle it. Don't you love being accused of a permanent knee jerk reaction by the people who wrote the book? Me too.

Here's an easy link to use if you want to express yourself to your representatives. I'll be adding it to the sidebar.

Let's pack up the 'ol combine with this from an Altercation reader:

...This week Robert Novak wrote "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is rejecting ***nearly universal advice*** from financial experts that he dramatically should accelerate the decline of the dollar in order to reduce the U.S. international current-account deficit" (emphasis added). Then the New York Times reports that foreign purchases of Treasury securities plunged 75% in December. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Senate is about to fast-track the hideous bankruptcy reform bill. Supporters will tell you that all the bill does is force debtors who can pay at least $6000 of their debt over time into Chapter 13 (as opposed to the "clean break" bankruptcy of Chapter
7). What they don't tell you is that bankruptcy attorneys demand their money up-front, and that Chapter 13 bankruptcies cost more than the bargain rates you see lawyers hawking on late-night TV. One such character in Chicago advertises $500 for a Chapter 7 and $1000 for a Chapter 13 (and that tends to be the bare-bones/no-hitch price). Many debtors won't be able to afford the up-front costs. Add to this the prospect of a dollar collapse -- if the $6000 trigger level isn't tied to inflation, over time many of the debtors not intended to be barred from Chapter 7 will be.

Altercators Beware: Credit card companies have also been laying traps. You probably know that if you are late with a payment the bank that issued the card can jack-up the interest rate, even if you have a "guaranteed fix rate." But did you know that many companies have amended their user agreements so that if you are late with ANY payment (phone bill, repair man) they can do the same thing? If they haven't gotten around to you yet, they will -- they only need to give you 15 days notice. Some have gone as far as to add this language: "We reserve the right to change the terms at any time for any reason."

Live within your harvest, folks. Lean times are coming.


At February 23, 2005 11:17 AM, Blogger frstlymil said...

Great post - and thanks for the additional info on the credit card thing - we're slowly but surely getting rid of all of them and returning to the old school way of paying only with money that's available.

At February 23, 2005 12:47 PM, Blogger Jet said...

We are too, and it's amazing how long it is taking to vanquish what took so little time to amass. It feels good to shed the obligations.

At February 24, 2005 5:31 PM, Blogger ~Betsy said...

I'm trying to get ahead in the credit card game but it's hard! Almost every day I diligently tear into small pieces and throw away the new credit offers that cross our mailbox.They always say something like "Eliminate Debt NOW!" or "Save Money When You Transfer"...
The fine print is the scary part. They've yet to ask for my first born, but it's probably coming.

I'm reading Fear and Loathing again, and I feel like I've had a flashback to bygone days, Jet!

At February 25, 2005 10:26 AM, Blogger JD said...

I'm amazed at how many 'progressive artists' end up killing themselves. That would be a good research project for someone to undertake. Maybe it's because as they grow older they realize that life has passed them by.

And when it comes to credit, pass on it, because you can't go into debt paying CASH!


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