The moon, growing fuller, was opposite Venus and Jupiter, which are continuing their dance in the southwestern sky, when Koko and I came off the trail last evening. She’d spent her time sniffing, while I feasted on small yellow guava plucked from the trailside trees.
Moonlight continued to illuminate my house all night long, but by morning, thick gray clouds signaled an impending Kona storm and now it’s raining, with the drops falling straight and hard.
Someone sent me a link to Hawaii Tribune-Herald story from last week in which a 66-year-old Big Island man was sentenced to 20 years hard time following his arrest for commercial cultivation of marijuana. Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier argued that if the judge didn’t slam him with serious jail time, it would "erode the community's respect of the law."
So let me get this straight. Failing to send a pot grower to jail for two decades would erode our respect for the law, yet allowing those in the Bush Administration to get away scot-free after engaging in torture, redactions, assassinations, invasions and other crimes against humanity in the so-called “war on terror”shouldn’t even faze us. Alright. No problem.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are moving to rescue America’s “Big 3” from their self-inflicted hard times with yet another in a long string of corporate bailouts, this time in the form of a $15 billion loan for automakers.
I’m not a fan of the Cato Institute, which is calling for telling the auto workers' union that its contracts simply can’t be honored. But it did make a good point when it noted that the Big 3 are losing $6 billion a month – so what good, really, will $15 billion do?
Once again, we find that an overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to the bailout, just as they were against the $700 billion shoveled out earlier to save the corporate elite deemed too important to fail. Initially, it seems, folks supported aid for the auto industry.
But evidence in surveys from other organizations suggests that the poor performance by executives from GM, Ford and Chrysler at congressional hearings, and the admission that they had taken private jets to get there, resulted in a steep drop in support for government assistance to automakers.
I think a lot of Americans are feeling like if they have to start watching their pennies, then the fat cats should, too — especially if they’re coming to the taxpayers for a handout and asking their workers to eat it, too.
And just as many predicted, the first federal audit of the $700 billion bailout indicates that oversight is woefully inadequate.
As for the bailout plan, auditors specifically cited weaknesses in determining whether institutions that received bailout money are complying with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. For instance, some top executives at institutions that receive rescue funds must repay any incentives or bonus pay that was based on inaccurate financial statements.
"The GAO's discouraging report makes clear that the Treasury Department's implementation of the (rescue plan) is insufficiently transparent and is not accountable to American taxpayers," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Gee, what a surprise. A Congressional oversight panel is scheduled to issue its report today. But given how this bailout was crafted, and who is in charge of its implementation, why would anyone expect that it’s anything but a massive taxpayer-subsidized handout designed to keep the elite on top?
Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time seeing how the auto industry bailout would be any different.