Thursday, January 15, 2009
Needing a new strawman argument for the forseeable future, Obama Derangement Syndrome is apparently the sarcastic belief that liberals are so insane that they see Barack Obama as being ultimately responsible for even the smallest good in the universe. Wingnuts love this as it allows them to more comfortably dismiss legitimate praise of Obama and avoid logically discussing his merits. Just ignore the argument the liberal makes, then yell "You just love Obama!" and bam, you win.
To wingnuts, this is called "evolution."
Why the hell is Obama going at this from a position of weakness? What makes him think the GOP has any respect for his position or his agenda when they just stopped publicly calling him all but a secret Muslim terrorist only two months ago? They will not stop until they get everything they want: another Bush trillion dollar plus tax cut for the rich and especially for corporations. If they don't get it, they will destroy the entire spending package and the economy along with it. If they do get it, they will destroy the economy and finish the most massive transfer of wealth in history and eliminate the middle class.LA Times, today: (h/t Hullabaloo)
Obama's already playing like he's lost, and he's not even President yet.
President-elect Barack Obama's hopes of scoring significant bipartisan support for his stimulus package are fading, as the debate over the nearly $800-billion plan morphs into a classic Washington impasse: two rival parties in irreconcilable conflict.Thank you folks, I'll be here all week, try the veal!
Obama had hoped to induce Republicans to back his plan by putting forward a series of business tax cuts. But GOP support is peeling off as the party crafts alternative ideas that rely even more heavily on tax reductions.
In all honesty folks, is anyone surprised? Give the GOP an inch, they take the whole playing field, the stadium, the parking lot, the concession stands, the bathrooms, the overflow parking, the streetlights, the little parking shuttle tram and the sports bar across the street. When you try to walk down the center of the highway, you get hit by the eighteen-wheeler. The only purpose Obama serves for the GOP is to be somebody to blame for this economy. They will do everything they can to destroy him on this. The more Obama gives in, the more the GOP is able to control the narrative (and the Village will help them every step of the way.)
In the end, Obama has two choices: act like he and the Democrats won an overwhelming majority in 2008, or cede control of the country to the obstructionist GOP minority.
Here endeth the lesson, Mr. Obama.
I really need to stop watching cable news, but I had the idiot box on CNN last night and got to watch this spectacle:The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled off was to convince the world he didn't exist. The second greatest trick was to convince the world that Barack Obama is already responsible for George Bush's failed legacy (except for all the problems that Clinton and Carter created.)JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No.
But the reason, as you just heard Dana report, that Harry Reid, the Senate leader, wanted to schedule it sooner, rather than later, is, they believe, the longer it waits, as David just said, the more water the ship could take on when it comes to the TARP funding.
And—and David makes a key point, Anderson, because, politically, every day we get closer to that inauguration, and then, on Tuesday, this becomes Barack Obama’s economy. It’s Barack Obama’s bailout money. And it’s Barack Obama who is paying the price for the anxiety. He has a lot of goodwill. He has high public approval.
Even many people who didn’t vote for him want him to succeed. But guess what? They’re still mad about the economy, still don’t think this bailout is a good idea, don’t know where the money is going, and don’t think it’s getting to them on Main Street USA or to the bank on the corner of their street.
And that is now becoming increasingly—and is about to become completely—Barack Obama’s political problem, not John McCain’s, not George W. Bush’s, not the Republican Party’s.
Got it? Obama OWNS the economy the day he becomes President. His fault. That growth during the Clinton years- that was due to Reagan. The bad stuff from 2000 on, that was the Clinton economy, until, of course, the 20th, when it becomes Obama’s.
It's impossible for a Republican President to be wrong, bad, or even responsible in any way to our "liberal" media. At the same time, it's impossible for a Democratic President to ever do anything other than to reach various levels of failure in a futile effort to be absolved of the Great Original Sin of Democrats...being a Dirty F'cking Hippie.
You see, a Republican can ignore every miscue of Hoover, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Poppy Bush. But a Democrat will never be able to escape the shadow of that most hated and most infamous miscreant of the 20th Century, that foul miasma known as FDR. Obama is no different. The transfer of wealth the GOP engineered over the last eight years will pale in comparison to the transfer of blame over the next four.
And this is why I hate the Village so very, very much. Well, this and those Subway $5 footlong commercials.
As a matter of fact, everything you need to know about Tim Geithner in general is that his situation has caused Hugh Hewitt to defend Obama on the grounds that "A president deserves his cabinet choices because he has won the election and been charged with executing the laws".
Was he cheating on his taxes or just sloppy with his finances? Lawmakers vetting the nomination of Timothy F. Geithner to serve as Treasury secretary say they may never be sure. But leading Republicans nonetheless joined Democrats in leaping to his defense yesterday, calling Geithner's tax gaffes small potatoes compared with his qualifications for saving the global economy.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), the second-most senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is charged with reviewing Geithner's nomination, called him "brilliant" and "honest" and said that, despite his tax errors, "I don't think we can get a better person for this position. . . . He has the kind of background that should be very helpful to us at this time."
Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a close associate of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said: "If I was a traffic officer, I'd say he may have exceeded the speed limit, but he wasn't weaving out of lanes, he wasn't drunk and he wasn't endangering anybody. He may have some explaining to do, but in the end, I think he's going to be just fine."
If Hugh is making actual logical sense in a column, there is something fundamentally wrong in the universe. The reason the GOP want Geithner around is because they honestly believe he's Hank Paulson with better press.
Societe Generale said on Thursday that the United States' economy looks likely to enter a depression and China's could implode.If Edwards is right, China's economic collapse will knock us square into the ten-year stag-deflation nightmare. Without the ability to purchase our debt, China devaluing the yuan would almost immediately cause the US to go belly up and take the global economy with it. China has become the world's third largest economy now, but that has all but fallen apart in 2009.
In a highly bearish note, veteran cross asset strategist Albert Edwards said investors should now cut equity exposure after a turn-of-the-year rally and prepare for a rout.
He predicted that the S&P 500 index of U.S. stocks could be set for a fall of around 40 percent from recent levels.
Edwards also raised the danger of a global trade war with China.
"While economic data in developed economies increasingly reflects depression rather than a deep recession, the real surprise in 2009 may lie elsewhere," Edwards wrote.
"It is becoming clear that the Chinese economy is imploding and this raises the possibility of regime change. To prevent this, the authorities would likely devalue the yuan. A subsequent trade war could see a re-run of the Great Depression."
Edwards has long been one of the most bearish analysts in London, first with Dresdner Kleinwort and then with SocGen.
The central government has believed that as the demand for exports softened recently due to the global recession, the country's new middle class would continue to help GDP growth through consumption.In other words, China's raging dragon of an economy has burned itself out. It's going to have to take (fittingly) draconic steps in order to right the sinking ship, and the fact of the matter is China is going to call in the trillions of debt we owe it in order to help it out.
The plan has fallen apart like a cheap watch. According to The Wall Street Journal, "China's exports in December fell 2.8% from a year earlier to $111.16 billion, while imports in the month fell 21.3% to $72.18 billion."
What was unimaginable a year ago has now happened. China has entered a recession and it may end up being deeper than the one in the U.S. It is not clear that the government can mount and manage a plan to create about 10 million new jobs. This will be an even more difficult task if exports continue to fall sharply. China does not have a service industry which is anywhere close to being as large a part of the GDP as it is in the U.S.
The illusion developed over the last decade was that China had become an independent power with a population which could make and consume goods at levels which have never been seen before. During the last two quarters, it has become clear that the the opposite is true. China's economy may be the most dependent large economy on earth.
If GDP in the U.S., E.U., and Japan contract at 5% this year, China's economy is very likely to shrink faster. It will be faced with a sharp drop in what it makes and exports. More importantly, large numbers of Chinese are leaving the huge new industrial cities and going back to rural regions where they can at least find work growing their own food. What is more than a trickle now could become a flood. Those who have gone back to non-industrialized sections of the country will not be net consumers at all.
With a short-lived and dwindling middle class, China no longer has the economic core to continue the "miracle." China has just become another big country in trouble.
And when we can't pay up, we lose. As Roubini will tell you, our choices at this point are a nasty 24-month or more "U-shaped" recession, or a decade-long "L-shaped" depression, Japan-style. The jury's still out on which one we're facing. Keep in mind the 2-year recession is in fact the best case scenario at this point: we still have another 12 months to go of truly bad economic conditions, millions of lost jobs, thousands of businesses going under and probably a few hundred more big companies.
In other words, we're in no shape to help out anyone. Like a group of massive dinosaurs who have wandered into the tar pits at the same time, there's not going to be anyone on the outside big enough to pull us out of the muck.
For a few weeks since late November equity markets ignored the onslaught of much worse than expected macro news (and all the new were really worse than awful) and had a nice 25% bear market sucker’s rally. But the drumbeat of terrible – and worse than expected - macro news and earnings news and financial news has finally taken a toll on the delusional market belief that the worst was over for financial markets and for equity markets and that the US and global economy would recover in the second half of 2009. So equity prices have already reversed more than half of their most recent bear market rally as the lousy macro news have finally shocked in the last week the wishful thinkers.
Indeed, the retail sales figures published today confirmed a shopped-out, saving-less and debt-burdened US consumer is now faltering as job losses, income losses, fall in home wealth, fall in equity wealth, high and rising debt and debt servicing ratios and a severe credit crunch take a severe toll on the ability of consumers to spend. And reduction in spending and deleveraging of the US consumer will take years to rebuild the savings rate of a household sector now hit by a severe shock to its net worth (as equity and home values fall while debts have been rising) and shocked in its ability to generate income as job losses mount and the unemployment rate surges.
The only option left is to sink.
--Karl Rove, WSJ
At the time of 9/11, which will forever rightly be regarded as the defining moment of the presidency, history will look in vain for anyone predicting that the Americans murdered that day would be the very last ones to die at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in the US from that day to this.Boy that sure feels good, no additional Americans on US soil murdered by Islamists! It almost makes up for the nearly 4,500 US troops murdered by Islamists in Islamist countries, and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans we murdered over there!
There are Americans alive today who would not be if it had not been for the passing of the Patriot Act. There are 3,000 people who would have died in the August 2005 airline conspiracy if it had not been for the superb inter-agency co-operation demanded by BushThere are 4,000+ troops dead because we invaded the wrong country, but that's besides the point.
Similarly, the cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation: that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.Because like the US, France, China, Israel, and Russia came to the same exact conclusions we did about Saddam's hideous evil terrible nasty lies about WMD then invaded Iraq like we did and are still stuck there after almost six years. Wait, they didn't invade? They're not stuck there with hundreds of thousands of troops in a quagmire?
Mr Bush assumed that the Coalition forces would find mass graves, torture chambers, evidence for the gross abuse of the UN's food-for-oil programme, but also WMDs. He was right about each but the last, and history will place him in the mainstream of Western, Eastern and Arab thinking on the matter.
Instead of Al Franken, history will listen to Bob Geldof praising Mr Bush's efforts over Aids and malaria in Africa; or to Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, who told him last week: "The people of India deeply love you." And certainly to the women of Afghanistan thanking him for saving them from Taliban abuse, degradation and tyranny.Yes, the people of Afghanistan continue to thank us daily.
When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors. When water-boarding is brought up, we will see that it was only used on three suspects, one of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's chief of operational planning, who divulged vast amounts of information that saved hundreds of innocent lives. When extraordinary renditions are queried, historians will ask how else the world's most dangerous terrorists should have been transported. On scheduled flights?And when those same historians ask "When did the American Empire become truly morally bankrupt on its way into collapse," they'll be too busy laughing at articles like this to respond. But here's my favorite line:
The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era. Instead Bush's very un-ideological but vast rescue package of $700 billion (£480 billion) might well be seen as lessening the impact of the squeeze, and putting America in position to be the first country out of recession, helped along by his huge tax-cut packages since 2000.Got that? It's all Clinton's fault. Bush's massive tax cuts, $3 trillion wars, massive deregulation at the executive branch level, and Alan Greenspan's artificially inflated housing mega-bubble to get us out of the post-9/11 doldrums had nothing to do with our current economic crisis. It's all Democrats forcing poor people to take mortgages and the media's fault. Why, Bernie Madoff would be fine right now if it wasn't for those goddamn poor minorities.
Yes, Clinton was responsible for the end of Glass-Stegall. He opened the door for Bush, who promptly burned the door down, urinated on it, and then sold the ashes back to us for a profit.
Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally – perhaps years from now – lends objectivity to this fine man's record.Yay we have won in Iraq. Bush is a genius! Pay no attention to stuff like this, we've won!
So, after the last eight years...was it good for you? Do you think Bush is one of the greatest Presidents we've ever had and a guy who just had bad luck on stuff like Katrina and 9/11 and Iraq and the economy? After all, Bush's only problem was that he was too humble.
I leave you with this.
With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes – for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina – but there are some he made not because he was a ranting Right-winger, but because he was too keen to win bipartisan support. The invasion of Iraq should probably have taken place months earlier, but was held up by the attempt to find support from UN security council members, such as Jacques Chirac's France, that had ties to Iraq and hostility towards the Anglo-Americans.If that paragraph didn't cause you to throw anything at the monitor...congratulations. You've either stopped giving a damn or the Bushies will be contacting you to write a similar piece. Either way, you're doing better than I am after reading this.
- The UN compound in Gaza City is burning as Israel steps up its attacks in Gaza.
- The Big Three world economies are now US, Japan...and China.
- Obama's EPA chief vows to put science ahead of politics.
- The Senate takes up what could be a tough vote today to release the second half of the TARP funds.
- A new year, the same old bad video game legislation from states that faces Consitutional challenges.