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Will Climate Change & Eco-migration Lead to Increased Warfare?

Climate change leads to environmental degradation which leads to forced human migrations which lead to increased conflicts over resources in the poorest countries which lead to American military operations in the new conflict zones which lead to American colonization of more countries.

Hopefully Obama will steer us away from the despicable use of military force to control resources in starving countries for the benefit of private companies.

Right on target, but still no proposition for resolving the existing financial crisis. Obama has signaled no departure from Paulson on "lending" money to insolvent financial institutions to burn through and keep coming back for more.

In the present situation insolvent banks have to pay such high interest rates on the open market that they are unable to make a profit from borrowing and can only continue to operate if they are “lent” taxpayer money at greatly reduced rates. This does nothing to improve their business models, and the new debt to the government further reduces their net worth and is used primarily to pay the bills a little longer while hoping for another handout. It is unlikely that banks or anyone else can regain solvency that way.

The better solution is to nationalize insolvent banks, wiping out shareholder equity (shareholders bear the risk of insolvency) by the government buying just enough toxic debt to make the banks barely solvent. The nearly-insolvent nationalized financial institutions will be able to borrow on the open market (not from the taxpayers) at low interest rates through full government backing of their debts. When through strict supervision the nationalized banks become profitable for long enough to regain solvency, they can be resold to the private sector. This is essentially how the savings and loan crisis was resolved.

A good start, but Guantanamo is just the most visible problem. Obama needs to order the closing of all secret prisons. The only reason I can see for secret prisons is torture. If they can hide people in the federal witness protection program, surely they can conceal the locations of "terrorists" in federal prisons located within the borders of the U.S. where there are laws against torture.

If I were on trial at Guantanamo or about to go to trial, I would want the stay to find out how Obama’s going to proceed. Cases may be dismissed for lack of evidence, etc. and/or referred to civilian courts where the accused have more rights and the government’s burden of proof is higher.
“can’t pardon Gonzo or Libby or Schloz or Yoo or any of the people involved in the torture chain-of-command, because doing so would remove the 5th amendment protection and obligate those people to testify about their complicity in committing war crimes. And once we get on that bus, it only stops at the end of the line.”
Comment by tekel – 1/20/09

Bush Pardon Party Goes Out With a Whimper (Wall Street Journal, 1/20/09)

Under Obama's plan Wall Street will continue to dictate financial policy for its own enrichment. The only way to stop Wall Street from stealing from Main Street is to establish rules (1) preventing executives from financial firms like Goldman Sachs leaving their firms to become powerful financial policymakers such as Secretary of the Treasury, and (2) preventing powerful financial policymakers from taking prestigious jobs on Wall Street immediately after leaving the government. The rules should establish a cooling off period between high level employment in financial firms and government employment involving economic policy. Obama can establish such administrative rules without congressional approval. Once rules are enacted to minimize the conflicts of interest, Wall Street's grip on financial policy will loosen. Only then will economic policies benefit the economy.
I think Obama will be so overwhelmed with expectations that he solve problems created by prior administrations over decades, that he may be forced politically into repeatedly “stimulating” the economy by printing money and giving it to banks and other failing businesses, to no avail, and will end up making things worse.

People want action even if there's no good action to take, and Obama cannot risk the political backlash of not continuing with the prior administration's bailout policies, at least until his second term when people begin to realize that the solution is worse than the problem since printing money and giving it away devaluates the rest of our money and earnings. It's simple supply and demand: you increase the money supply (leaving productivity constant) and the price (value) of a dollar goes down - meaning the money we have and make has less buying power. This is how our wages will eventually come to parity with other industrialized nations such as China. Our real earnings after inflation will become worth less and countries such as China will see real earnings rise to reflect that the workers of each country are approximately as productive. We live in an international economy where capital flows freely and physical movement of workers to wealthier nations will be unnecessary for their wages to rise comparatively.

By his presumed second term, hopefully Obama can get to the important business that a president can do something about, which is to restore rule of law. This means that Bush, Cheney and their many cronies must be brought to justice. If they are allowed to get away with lying to the nation and putting our soldiers in harms way for private profit and committing atrocious war crimes in the process, our executive branch - the sole branch charged with enforcing the laws - will continue to be viewed as a corrupt joke akin to Italy's for much of its history.

Unfortunately, by Obama’s second term he will have little time left to prosecute Bush and company, as federal statutes of limitations will have expired for many if not most of the criminal acts of the Bush administration. That means they’ll get away with it -- which is why it is imperative that he restore rule of law as his first act, not as an impotent second term afterthought.

People are ecstatic in DC and NY and probably CA, but the rest of the nation isn't so sure about the new boss not being the same as the old bosses. Many pitfalls await Obama (and many more will be created for him), and he has already been swept up into bailout fever which scares me into thinking he may not stand on principal (meaning not giving away money for nothing just to be doing something) and focus on the imperative task of restoring rule of law.

Unfortunately for most of us, we live in the real world and Obama may not be able to stand on principal once in office. His almost certain failure to maintain his campaign integrity is bound to disappoint his supporters and delight his critics and haters.

Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few, Bush Tells Reporters (NY Times, 1/12/09);amp
From the article:

Mr. Bush would not address the possibility, widely debated in legal and political circles, that he might issue so-called pre-emptive pardons to counterterrorism agents or administration officials who could face criminal prosecution for a range of activities, including harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding or the firing of United States attorneys.

“I won’t be discussing pardons here,” he said, cutting off the question. It was the only question he refused to answer.;hp

A Reflective Bush Defends Decisions on National Security - NY Times, 1/12/09.

Anyone think "preemptive pardons" of people who haven't been indicted for any crime but might be prosecuted during the next administration, is a constitutional use of presidential authority consistent with rule of law? Isn't there supposed to be only one president at a time, and pardoning people from possible future prosecution during Obama's administration usurps Obama's exclusive authority to grant or refuse presidential pardons? Once again Bush is stretching the Constitution to cover his own ass, by shielding his cronies from prosecution and nearly inevitable "cooperation" with prosecutors (ratting out Bush) to save their own asses.
Posted by: John
An insightful account of the origins of the Great American Credit Fraud, the government’s corrupt, ineffective, inconsistent, and unaccountably expensive responses. The second of the two related articles explores sensible, cost-effective solutions to the real underlying problems. Best of all, the recommended solutions are fiercely opposed by Wall Street, which shows they’re on the right track.

The End of the Financial World as We Know It

How to Repair a Broken Financial World

Great American Credit Fraud