Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Republicans Have No Idea How To Handle McSame

They do know he is going to lose. They don't know how to help him, because there is simply no getting past the fact that Americans blame the GOP for the economy, and John McSame is the GOP candidate.

Again and again, party leaders said in interviews that while they still believed that Mr. McCain could win over voters in the next 30 days, they were concerned that he and his advisers seemed to be adrift in dealing with an extraordinarily challenging political battleground and a crisis on Wall Street.

The expressions of concern came after a particularly difficult week for Mr. McCain. On Friday night, new questions arose about his choice of Ms. Palin as his running mate after an investigation by the Alaska Legislature concluded that she had abused her power in trying to orchestrate the firing of her former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

“I think you’re seeing a turning point,” said Saul Anuzis, the Republican chairman in Michigan, where Mr. McCain has decided to stop campaigning. “You’re starting to feel real frustration because we are running out of time. Our message, the campaign’s message, isn’t connecting.”

30 day thing aside when there's 23 days left, the problem is the GOP just doesn't understand why the Rovian tactics aren't working. They really don't see why any thinking American would vote Democratic this year, much less for a black man. They don't understand because comprehension is simply beyond their grasp. You and I know that any "message" the GOP is trying to get across is drowned out by the 800-pound gorilla in the room with the airhorn and the neon sign that reads "THE BUSH REPUBLICANS CREATED THIS FINANCIAL MELTDOWN!" They honestly believe that since the media and America has given the Bush Republicans a pass on every other cock-up they've rammed down out throats, that this one should be no different.

Only it turns out this one is the last straw, because it's going to put millions of us out of work with no way to feed our kids. And that's making people stop and think about who should be in charge this year. The answer they are arriving at is "not John McSame."

But no subject has more divided Republicans than the one that has been a matter of disagreement in the McCain camp: how directly to invoke Mr. Obama’s connection to his controversial former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., and William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground who has had a passing association with Mr. Obama over the years.

In Colorado, a traditionally Republican state that Mr. McCain is struggling to keep in his column, the party chairman, Dick Wadhams, urged Mr. McCain to hit the issue hard, arguing that it was fair game and could be highly effective in raising questions about Mr. Obama in the final weeks of the campaign. He said he was surprised Mr. McCain had failed to do so in the debate last week.

“I think those are legitimate insights into who Senator Obama is,” Mr. Wadhams said. “I do not think it is irrelevant to this election.”

But Fergus Cullen, the Republican chairman in New Hampshire, said Saturday that he thought it would be a mistake for Mr. McCain to go down that road, warning that it would turn off moderate voters in his state who have a history of supporting Mr. McCain.

“I don’t think he should be giving into elements of the base who have been asking him to be going after, using Wright, using Ayers,” Mr. Cullen said. “Think about it as an undecided persuadable voter.”

Who the fuck cares about Jeremiah Wright AT ALL when you just lost your job, your health insurance, your pension, or your 401(k)? Who cares about Tony Rezko or the color of Obama's skin when you don't know if you can feed your kids or make your mortgage payment or car payment or credit card payment this month because you've been letting them slide and the collectors are calling daily?

Look folks, when people are losing trillions of dollars, their life savings, are going into indentured servitude and are watching AIG executives get spa treatments on the taxpayer dime, and your CHIEF CONCERN about yout party's candidate for President is "how negative John McSame should be when attacking on the Wright/Ayers angle" your party deserves to lose every election it's in.

The people are going to bury the Politics of Stupid for good. The GOP has nothing now. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This mass repudiation will put them in the wilderness for years. John McSame will go down as the GOP's McGovern.

If we come out of this with a country instead of a live-action version of Jericho then we're ahead of the game as far as I'm concerned. The Democrats are still infinitely preferable to the GOP.

Forget Universal Health Care's not going to happen. It will be all the next President can do just to keep basic order and combat a breakdown in services like food, water, and power. The bailout's impacts are immediate and devastating on our economy with news that the 2009 fiscal deficit could be upwards of two trillion dollars.
The global financial crisis is turning into a bigger drain on the U.S. federal budget than experts estimated two weeks ago, ballooning the deficit toward $2 trillion.

Bailouts of American International Group, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac likely will be more expensive than expected. States are turning to Washington for fiscal help. The Federal Reserve said this week it will begin buying commercial paper, the short- term loans companies used to conduct day-to-day business, further increasing costs. And analysts now say the $700 billion bank- rescue plan passed by Congress last week may have to be significantly larger.

``I always assumed they would be asking for more money along the way if it was necessary, and it looks like it's going to be necessary,'' said Stan Collender, a former analyst for the House and Senate budget committees, now at Qorvis Communications in Washington. ``At the moment, there's nothing happening here that's positive for the budget. Nothing.''

The 2009 budget deficit could be close to $2 trillion, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the record of 6 percent set in 1983, according to David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley's chief economist. Two weeks ago, budget analysts said the measures might push deficit to as much as $1.5 trillion.

Forget about Obama's spending proposals, including his tax cuts on the middle class...not going to happen. None of it.

We'll be lucky to survive the riots, shortages, and mass unemployment ahead.

One Person's Pro-Choice Position another person's radical insanity, or so the story goes.

Sarah Palin would have you believe that her position on abortion -- "I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued," is the mainstream position on the topic, and Obama's position -- that he will "will make safeguarding women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority" is just too radical for America.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin charged into the culture wars Saturday in Pennsylvania, painting Sen. Barack Obama as a radical on abortion rights.

The stop comes amid news that Palin violated Alaska ethics law by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator's report for the bipartisan Legislative Council concluded Friday.

Ethics woes aside, Palin focused her attention on abortion -- an issue that rallies the conservative base but some say alienates independent and women voters.

"In times like these with wars and financial crisis, I know that it may be easy to forget even as deep and abiding a concern as the right to life, and it seems that our opponent kind of hopes you will forget that," Palin told a crowd in Johnstown. "He hopes that you won't notice how radical, absolutely radical his idea is on this, and his record is, until it's too late."

It's amazing. The Sarah Palin position on abortion, one shared by plenty of folks in the GOP, is that new Supreme Court justices with specific views on this issue as a political agenda must be installed, that Roe v. Wade must be overturned by these justices, and that state legislatures must then be given the ability allow an up or down vote on banning all abortion procedures under the cover that Roe v. Wade is in fact the denial of the the American people's right to vote in legislators at the state level who will work to pass such legislation, or to vote on such legislation directly in referendums.

So you see, being pro-life in this case with the stated goal of having state legislators and millions of other people decide what is best for a woman's body is actually being pro-choice, because these folks believe that an entire populace has the right to make these choices for you, and Roe v. Wade's pesky "Constitutional right to privacy" argument is keeping American voters and state legislatures from being able to mandate personal decisions involving your body.

Why stop at abortion? If you remove the tenets of Roe v. Wade's arguments, that a voting populace's rights to decide on social mores involving reproduction is more important than the individual's right to make their own decisions on the topic, then you have to apply that logic to allowing the people to vote on birth control, pre-marital sex, in-vitro fertilization and fertility clinic procedures, and even the legality of sex itself as something that has to be voted on.

You see, if Roe v. Wade's arguments are thrown out, if there is no Constitutional right to individual privacy, then the voters and the State then have the right to make a person's life decisions for them, anything less is denial of the voter's rights to express their beliefs in enforcing the moral codes that they wish to see their society have.

Forget the "slippery slope" argument, this is the "Palin's cliff" argument. You are a ward of the state, plain and simple, and these people believe that whether or not you can do anything as a private individual should be determined solely by a vote of the people, anything less is to deny the people the right to vote on your effects on society.

Why stop at the legality of sex at all? Why not allow the people to vote directly on or vote in people who wish to legislate anything that could be a social taboo: homosexuality, religion, interracial marriage, the ethnic composition of neighborhoods, what languages you are allowed to speak, who you can associate with, who is a citizen...the list goes on and on.

But that position is not "radical." No, Senator Obama's position that an individual has rights in our society is "too radical" for America according to Sarah Palin.

Think about that. This is the kind of decision Sarah Palin would make for you as President. After all, you voted her into the office. She therefore believes she has a mandate to make the decision to allow people to make the decisions for you...people like Sarah Palin. Morality must be voted upon and legislated.

She's the ultimate pro-choicer, you see.

Cross-posted at the Frog Pond.

The Price Of Failure

The G7 meeting this weekend has been a complete bust. Germany and France are scrambling to save themselves, and the IMF is now publicly warning of global systemic meltdown.
The IMF warned on Saturday that the global financial system was on the brink of meltdown, while France and Germany pushed ahead with a pan-European crisis response to try to prevent the worst global downturn in decades.

At a joint news conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had "prepared a certain number of decisions" to present at a Sunday meeting of European leaders as they work feverishly to restore blocked credit markets to working order.

The United States appealed for patience, but the International Monetary Fund stressed that time was running short after leading industrialized nations failed to agree on concrete measures to end the crisis at a meeting on Friday.

"Intensifying solvency concerns about a number of the largest U.S.-based and European financial institutions have pushed the global financial system to the brink of systemic meltdown," IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.

It's the last hurrah and the world is burning.

I expect by the time the G7 decides to act in concert after another 20% loss worldwide in stocks, maybe something will happen that will prompt the kind of international action needed. It won't matter much by then I'm thinking, but hey. I'm sure it'll be okay, right?

Delusions Of Only Being Moderately Horrible

You really do have to admire the sheer ability of Preznitman to deny reality to the point where he honestly believes he did us a favor these last eight years.
George W. Bush began his presidency with the worst terrorist attack on American soil and he is ending it with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In between, he confronted a hurricane that nearly wiped New Orleans off the map as his administration showed ineptitude in its response.

Now, as he spends his last months in office trying to avert a global economic collapse, Mr. Bush has been telling people privately that it’s a good thing he’s in charge.

Are you shittin' me? This man is the worst President in the history of the country, and he's actually believing we're grateful for the last eight years to him.
“He said that if it was going to happen at all, he was glad it was happening under his presidency, because he had a good group of people in D.C. working for him,” Dru Van Steenberg, one of several small-business owners who met with Mr. Bush in San Antonio earlier this week. The president expressed the same sentiment, others said, during a similar private session in Chantilly, Va., the next day.

“He said that whoever was going to take over in January was going to have a huge crisis on their hands the day they come into office,” Ms. Van Steenberg added. “He thought by this happening now, that perhaps everyone could see signs of improvement before the next president comes into office.”

Insanity. Pure insanity. Bush really does believe history will see him as some sort of saint with a dirty halo, a man who led the country through the "rough shoals of fate" ala Gerald Ford or something, and that he will be absolved by historians decades from now as a visionary or great unifying statesman.

Our President is an insane lunatic suffering from nearly sociopathic levels of delusion. His complete lack of leadership and his blatant refusal to act on some of American history's most turbulent events has directly contributed to the state we're in right now: facing a global catastrophe.

He will be reviled by a generation who will teach their own children to revile him as well. He deserves no less. He should actually appear on the currency of this country in the future with the caption "Never Again."

Never Again. Two words that we must all take to heart now, for it is truly too late. Our standard of living will drop precipitously soon. With clear eyes, sharp mind, and a heavy heart, we must find a way out together now.

I fear it will be a brutally long journey.

George W. Hoover

Preznitman spoke this morning from the Rose Garden, flanked by the G-7 finance ministers. His statement? "We'll fix this! You can count on us!"
President Bush on Saturday once again tried to reassure a nervous public that world leaders were working together to address what is unfolding as the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"We recognize that the turmoil in the financial markets is affecting all our citizens," Bush said, standing in front of financial ministers from the world's top economies gathering in the nation's capital. "All of us recognize this is a serious global crisis that requires a serious global response for the good of our people."

The president did not announce any new actions to stem the financial panic gripping the world, but reiterated measures world leaders are taking to strengthen financial systems.

Those measures will not take effect in time, and by the time they do take effect, they will be too late to do any good. The newest pointless rule proposal by the SEC? A three day ban on a short selling for any stock that drops by 20% in a day. That's like passing a leaf burning ban ordinance two weeks after a wildfire has burned down city hall.

All signs are pointing straight down. Even Jim "Mad Money" Cramer is talking about the honest preparations for 1929 all over again. Six weeks ago of course Cramer said that the "rally is real" and that the WSJ's crazy article that said stock markets wouldn't recover until next year was "totally overblown" negativity. Now, Cramer is actually right about the same percentage of the time as a broken grandfather clock is at telling the time, but the damage is still done and more damage is coming as a result: the systemic, structural basis of the global economy is collapsing.

Idiots. All of them. I've been warning about this for nine months now. People a lot better at this then I am have been warning about this for several years now and some before that have been warning us since 2000 or so that our economy was untenable. Before Roubini there was Libertarian economist Gary North, who said this in 2002:

This is the threat the world faces today. Central banks are in control of money. They have addicted the whole world to massive debt, ever more complex. Any slowdown in the inflation of the money supply threatens the solvency of the entire economy. Ludwig von Mises warned against this ninety years ago, in his Theory of Money and Credit (1912). He warned that the government's refusal to call a halt to monetary inflation – its return to credit-money creation – would eventually destroy the currency. He called this the crack-up boom. In the meantime, we would get endless boom-bust cycles, he said. So we have.

Let me repeat the journalist's warning about buying shares of bankrupt firms: "Gambling involves much hope, little thought and leaves you with the irrepressible urge to repeat your mistakes." But what happens when bad accounting practices, complex debt, and endless monetary expansion persuade investors to buy what are in effect bankrupt companies – companies that are kept afloat only by new injections of bank credit money? The central bankers dare not stop the flow of money. And so the leverage game goes on and on. We are riding the tiger, a tiger of endless debt and capitalized future income streams: derivatives.

And as Gary North pointed out, Austrian Economist Ludwig von Mises warned the world of the problems of central banks and debt long before the Great Depression. He was ignored then. He was ignored for a very long time by most folks.

I honestly thought somebody was going to heed those warnings that had the power to DO something about it. Me, I just made the choice to not get a credit card...still the best choice I made in my life so far.

But it's all coming down around us now. The warnings were not heeded. The perfect storm of willful ignorance, greed, neglect, deregulation, credit addiction and global scale has turned this month into the end of an era.

George W. Hoover, the worst Preznitman the world has ever seen.

Two More Banks Died Friday, Many More Coming

...bringing the total number of bank failures in the US this year to fifteen.
Meridian Bank of Eldred, Illinois, with $39 million in assets and $37 million in deposits, was shut by the state yesterday and National Bank of Hillsboro, Illinois, bought the deposits from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Four branches in southern and western Illinois reopen today, a fifth opens Oct. 14, the FDIC said in a statement.

Main Street Bank of Northville, Michigan, with $98 million in assets and $86 million in deposits, was turned over to the FDIC yesterday. Monroe Bank & Trust of Monroe, Michigan, bought the deposits and today will open its two offices near Detroit as branches.

``The dramatic downturn in the residential real estate market unfortunately knocked the wind'' out of Main Street, Ken Ross, commissioner of Michigan's Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, said in a statement.

Regulators have now closed the most banks in 15 years, and the collapses of Washington Mutual Inc. and IndyMac Bancorp Inc. were among the biggest in history. The housing slump and tight credit led to enactment of a $700 billion bank rescue plan, and triggered a bankruptcy by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These banks won't be the last, either. The number of bank failures during the Great Depression didn't really ramp up until late 1930 into 1931...more than a year after the Stock Market Crash of October 1929. Granted, things move faster these days, but the majority of the bank failures that caused the Depression happened after the Crash, particularly after the US failed to stop the loss in confidence in bank deposits, causing bank runs across the country.

Sound familiar? It should. It's the same problem we have now only much worse: it's Global No-Confidence these days. Hammerin' Hank Paulson's plan to purchase bank stocks isn't going to solve the credit market problem of illiquid assets causing insolvency. If anything, the reverse will happen: since the banks will have to create new shares for the government to buy, the value of existing shares could get diluted and lose value sharply...completely negating the additional capitalization that purchasing banks shares is supposed to bring. After all, if you know the government is stepping in to prop up a financial stock YOU have in YOUR portfolio, aren't you going to want to get out of that stock considering the government's efforts have so far failed miserably across the board?

Example: Bank XYZ has 30 million share oustanding at $12, for a total worth of $360 million. The Government steps in and creates 10 million shares at that $12, giving the bank an extra $120 million in asset value, for a total of $480 million. Looks good on paper except for the fact that people are going to be selling XYZ stock like crazy if the US Government needs to step in to save that bank!

So the share price of Bank XYZ drops like a rock to $9 a share. It now has 40 million shares outstanding...worth $9 a piece for a total of $360 million...exactly what it had before. If the share price dropped to $6 instead, the bank would now be only worth $240 million, having actually lost money on the scheme! Only now the government owns 25% of the bank that still needs more capital injected into the Government buys MORE SHARES...

And the death spiral continues. The plan's not going to work. The credit crisis is a short-term disaster coming in a matter of weeks, but the confidence problem is instant-term right now. No confidence indeed. Unprecedented global action from the G7 is needed NOW or the game ends next week.

But the G7 plan looks like it's going to be worthless.

The world's rich nations vowed on Friday to take all necessary steps to unfreeze credit markets and ensure banks can raise money but they offered no collective course of action to avert a deep global recession.

In a surprisingly brief statement following a 3-1/2 hour meeting, the Group of Seven stopped short of backing a British plan to guarantee lending between banks, something many on Wall Street saw as a vital step to end 14 months of turmoil and growing panic on financial markets.

"The G7 agrees today that the current situation calls for urgent and exceptional action," the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Japan said.

Boy, that'll help the markets!

We're at the point in this economy where our choices are everyone pulling up on the control stick at once and making an emergency landing on the freeway with no landing gear, or arguing loudly while the plane smashes nose first into the ground.

We have days, and then hours left before the markets open. Without extraordinary worldwide action, the spectre of global depression hangs over us all. The IMF is warning inaction this weekend could lead to another 20% market fall like we had worldwide this week. I honestly think it could get much worse than that.

Less than 36 hours and counting until the Nikkei opens most likely with another staggering loss and the spiral continues unabated next week, wiping out trillions and trillions. Less than 48 hours until the US stock markets open (bond markets are closed for Columbus Day but not stock markets.)

The Crash of 2008 may just be beginning.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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