S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Throwing the windows open to jarring reality -

Between the fall of 2008-2009 too many of us were mostly unaware of what was actually been happening to the world's economy. We got the mainstream media's headlines, their reports but almost no analysis. That is usually as it is with big events; the history has to wait until later. Currently it seems that enough time has passed to find out the main facts and to gain some perspective. Maybe that is why the "Occupy Wall Street" movement has been this long in coming. This morning I watched the best report I have ever seen of the worldwide financial crisis that occurred during the last years of the Bush administration and the beginning of President Obama's term of office. Unfortunately, it had to come from an outside source, a news service not much trusted by our own government over the years, Al Jazeera/English. Here is the link.

Al Jazeera has been broadcasting a great 4-part series the past few days titled, "Meltdown." The piece highlights the main players and events of the period. Skillfully and objectively the segments provided me with an awareness and understanding of what happened - and why - that I never before have had. Rebroadcasts of each memorable episode are available on the "Meltdown" page. The series includes these four episodes:
1) "The men who crashed the world" - who brought down the economy, the sequence of what happened, who intervened to try to stave off the disaster.
2) "A global financial tsunami" - how it happened that the financial crisis was truly and quickly world wide, the present inter-connectedness of current economies.
3) "Paying the price" - The people and groups who lost out, as well as those who won without any negative consequences.
4) "After the fall" [Part 4 will be broadcast tomorrow afternoon, October 11].
Ezra Klein is one of my very favorite pundits. He recently offered his own very thorough and insightful analysis of the Obama administration's decisions regarding the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 and the spring and summer of 2009. It is entitled: "Financial Crisis and Stimulus: Could This Time Be Different?" by Ezra Klein, columnist at The Washington Post (10/04/11). It is headed by a great photo essay by Bill O'Leary called, "Obama’s economic inner circle and other key voices in the debate." I highly recommend taking the time to read this, and the following piece, in order to flesh out the basics so brilliantly laid out by Al Jazeera.

Jared Bernstein, who was Vice-President Biden's economic adviser, is out of government. And happily, he is now another of my favorite pundits. He wrote a very fine piece in response to Ezra Klein's analysis called: "The Self-Imposed Limits of Reaction to a Crisis," by Jared Bernstein at his blog On the Economy (10/11/11). He and Klein had a conversation about these matters when Klein recently filled in at the Rachel Maddow show. There is also a link on Bernstein's blog.

Today has been immersion day for me. I had to do something. I was feeling anxiety disappointment as things things got worse politically; I was becoming more discouraged for the future. Throwing the windows open to the reality of our economic meltdown means I now know a lot more than I did yesterday. Consequently my perspective changed. I am now much more clear about who is responsible and why. And I have a very positive reaction to the Occupy Wall Street events that began a few weeks ago. I am so proud of all those folks! They may not all know exactly why they are in such trouble, but they surely know who caused it. And they know that they are not the people who should be bearing all the burdens of years of Wall Street, greed, irresponsibility and profligacy. And they know that our government's leaders have not done well enough to make things right again.
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