Saturday, October 11, 2008




October 10 2008

In Summary
Everyone is throwing things into the air to see what will stick. The only thing that seems to be gaining any traction is Barack Obama's lead in the US election.

When my oldest son was a little boy, he’d always cause a ruckus at the local restaurant.

Innocently sitting in his high chair at the end of the table, he loved to eat pancakes and scrambled eggs on Sunday mornings with the family. At nearby tables, a mixture of older and younger couples usually ate breakfast at the same time.

Absorbed in conversation, my wife and I would occasionally turn an eye away from our son to talk to our daughter. And at that very moment, he would start hurling bite-size bits of pancakes and eggs at nearby tables.

They’d stick on top of the hair pieces of old women, paintings on the wall and in the coffee pots of nearby tables.

I was reminded of those Sunday mornings as I watched the presidential debate and the unfolding of the campaign this week. Everyone is throwing things into the air to see what will stick. Few are having the luck that my son did.

The only thing that seems to be gaining any traction is Barack Obama’s lead in the US election.

He has now taken command in virtually all of the swing states, forcing John McCain to campaign vigorously in traditional Republican strongholds like Ohio and Virginia. In those states, the McCain camp is trying everything.

They have started using Obama’s middle name Hussein to tie him to the disgraced Iraqi leader and radical Muslims. At the core, they want to raise questions about Obama’s Christianity.

Last weekend, McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, tried to link Obama to a 1960s radical.

And just this week, the writer of a seriously flawed and critical book on Obama appeared suddenly in Nairobi to promote his work.

Rumours swirled about his real intentions, and the Kenyan Government quickly expelled him.

These antics are a total waste of McCain’s time. He should be telling voters about what he’d be doing to solve America’s problems.

Compounding his problems, President Bush is struggling to save a mismanaged economy overwrought with corporate greed and lack of oversight.

First, we taxpayers were billed $700 billion last week. Just on Friday, we learned that some of the bailed-out business leaders took a $1 million trip to a California spa.

As I write, the US government is proposing to take an ownership stake in banks across the country to loosen up lending. It’s another big gamble.

To date, everything thrown at the problem has been greeted on Wall Street with massive drops in the stock exchanges in the US and Europe.

Many American workers will have to work an extra five years to make up for what’s happened to their retirement accounts in the last two weeks.

My opinion of our economy is this: We’ve been in a downward spiral since 2001.My industry, the newspaper business, is usually the first to smell trouble and that’s when we began to see massive shifts of capital away from the retail and job market.

I believe the Bush administration knew about the dilemma. Their two main actions in the last eight years have been to engage us in a war in Iraq and to allow the borrowing of hundreds of billions of dollars from the Chinese to prop up the US economy.

There are many viewpoints on Bush’s motives, but there’s no dispute that he has failed.

He has left his country in the worst shape since the great depression of the 1930s. In this sad hour, many of us feel that America is leaderless.

It’s during these days that I remember my son tossing scraps from his high chair. From time to time, we had to apologise for his restaurant antics.

We knew, however, that he would outgrow this stage and eventually earn respect in the world. In a few months, he will graduate from college with a degree in economics and plans to go to a law school.

I suspect the same will be true of my country. In four short weeks, the world will be focused on our new president. I suspect the economic crisis will ease, and we may have some normality here for the first time since 2000.

For those of us who love America, we can hardly wait.