Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last Call

I leave you with this because I had to watch it and experience the pain, and I just don't see why I should have to suffer this misery alone (h/t Instaputz):

Share and Enjoy.

Sure, Let's Have Another War

I wonder how long it will take the wingers and neocons to jump on this one.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of U.S. voters nationwide favor a military response to eliminate North Korea’s missile launching capability. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 15% of voters oppose a military response while 28% are not sure.

North Korea defied international pressure and launched a missile last night. Officials from that country claim a satellite was placed in orbit. U.S. defense officials confirm that a missile was launched but that no object was placed in orbit.

"With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations,” President Obama said.

The telephone survey was conducted Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, the two days immediately prior to North Korea’s launch. The question asked about a military response if North Korea actually did launch a long-range missile.

Support for a military response comes from 66% of Republicans, 52% of Democrats and 54% of those not affiliated with either major political party. There is no gender gap on the issue as a military response is favored by 57% of men and 57% of women.

So what, are we supposed to blast Pyonyang into dust? Then what? Methinks we can't exactly afford a Second Korean War on top of the two and a half wars we have right now with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. But here's the depressing part:
Seventy-three percent (73%) are at least somewhat concerned that North Korea will use nuclear weapons against the United States. That’s up just a few points from 69% who held that view in October 2006. Prior to that survey, North Korea had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

Currently, 39% are Very Concerned about a possible nuclear attack from North Korea.

So yeah, apparently a whole hell of a lot of us are concerned about Korean nukes blowing up Joliet or Boulder or Tallahassee. Once again, thanks Dubya! Couldn't have done it without ya. Let's push for another war! After all, we still have unemployed neocons looking for something to do, well here you go guys. This seems like a no-brainer to me...

That'll be a great idea!

Seriously. This seems like the dumbest poll ever. As Bob Farley points out at LGM:
Ahem. If you believe that 75% of the registered voters in the United States were closely following the North Korean missile launch on Friday, then I have a tea party to sell you.

When you have a poll that suggests that 40% of registered voters have been following a national security event "very closely," and then you note that the poll was taken before the missile launch even occurred, you should know that there's a problem somewhere...

This reveals how useless polling on obscure issues can be. Rasmussen would have us believe that more people want us to go to war with North Korea than favor the current wars in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
In other words, none of this makes any sort of sense whatsoever. Oh but it gets worse. Guess who wants us to attack North Korea now?
This is farcically stupid; although it appears that Newt Gingrich came out in favor of a preventive strike on North Korea, it's a position that's held by approximately zero policymakers on either side of the aisle. That said, I'd love to see the Republicans try to run in 2010 on a platform of starting a third unpopular war...
And yet we already have Republicans like Newtie trying to do just that.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Jobless benefits are beginning to expire for those laid off this time last year.
In the coming weeks and months, hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans will exhaust their unemployment benefits, just when it's never been harder to find a job.

Congress extended unemployment aid twice last year, allowing people to draw a total of up to 59 weeks of benefits. Now, as the recession drags on, a rolling wave of people who were laid off early last year will lose them.

Precise figures are hard to determine, but Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute, estimates that up to 700,000 people could exhaust their extended benefits by the second half of this year.

Some will find new jobs, but prospects will be grim: Layoffs are projected to go on, and many economists expect the jobless rate, already at 8.5 percent, to hit 10 percent by year's end.

"It's going to be a monstrous problem," Vroman said.

U.S. employers shed 663,000 jobs in March, and the jobless rate now stands at its highest in a quarter-century. Since the recession began in December 2007, a net total of 5.1 million jobs have disappeared.

It gets worse. The unemployment market won't begin to recover until 2010 at the earliest, meaning that by the first part of next year, we'll have millions of Americans running out of unemployment benefits.

They'll lose their homes in 2010, meaning that home prices will continue to fall and more and more as more homes enter the market. No stabilization in the housing depression. No stabilization in the greater economy, just continuous descent into miasma. More families out on the streets, less spending, more layoffs, more unemployment, more people exhausting their benefits...

As bad as 2009 has been and will continue to be, 2010 will be far, far worse. The pace of entropy is accelerating.

No Surprise Here

Bill Moyers has a fantastic interview with William K. Black, Mizzou economist and former S&L crisis bank regulator. He explains in layman's terms about the current financial crisis and the very scary truth that America's banks are insolvent.
BILL MOYERS: Is it possible that these complex instruments were deliberately created so swindlers could exploit them?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, absolutely. This stuff, the exotic stuff that you're talking about was created out of things like liars' loans, that were known to be extraordinarily bad. And now it was getting triple-A ratings. Now a triple-A rating is supposed to mean there is zero credit risk. So you take something that not only has significant, it has crushing risk. That's why it's toxic. And you create this fiction that it has zero risk. That itself, of course, is a fraudulent exercise. And again, there was nobody looking, during the Bush years. So finally, only a year ago, we started to have a Congressional investigation of some of these rating agencies, and it's scandalous what came out. What we know now is that the rating agencies never looked at a single loan file. When they finally did look, after the markets had completely collapsed, they found, and I'm quoting Fitch, the smallest of the rating agencies, "the results were disconcerting, in that there was the appearance of fraud in nearly every file we examined."

BILL MOYERS: So if your assumption is correct, your evidence is sound, the bank, the lending company, created a fraud. And the ratings agency that is supposed to test the value of these assets knowingly entered into the fraud. Both parties are committing fraud by intention.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Right, and the investment banker that — we call it pooling — puts together these bad mortgages, these liars' loans, and creates the toxic waste of these derivatives. All of them do that. And then they sell it to the world and the world just thinks because it has a triple-A rating it must actually be safe. Well, instead, there are 60 and 80 percent losses on these things, because of course they, in reality, are toxic waste.

BILL MOYERS: You're describing what Bernie Madoff did to a limited number of people. But you're saying it's systemic, a systemic Ponzi scheme.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Oh, Bernie was a piker. He doesn't even get into the front ranks of a Ponzi scheme...

BILL MOYERS: But you're saying our system became a Ponzi scheme.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Our system...

BILL MOYERS: Our financial system...

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Became a Ponzi scheme. Everybody was buying a pig in the poke. But they were buying a pig in the poke with a pretty pink ribbon, and the pink ribbon said, "Triple-A."

Now, I've been saying this for quite a long time now. Regulators turned the other way, and banksters made billions off of pure fiction.

Now the bill has come due, and the banksters know that the easiest way to avoid paying was to make sure the collapse was so systemically massive that revealing the truth would plunge the world into absolute anarchy. It's trillion dollar extortion. And it was the plan from the absolute beginning.

The country is bankrupt, but calling us on it will in turn bankrupt the entire global financial system. Now, everyone's trying to figure out how to save themselves. It won't work. The party is indeed over. We'll refer to 2009 as "the good times" before too long.

Your standard of living and mine are about to be sharply adjusted downward over the next several years.

Push The Button, Kim

North Korea has tested its missile, to the surprise of absolutely no one as this week's worst kept secret missile launch ever.
No object entered orbit, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said Sunday, after North Korea claimed it had launched a satellite.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket Sunday, and called it a successful, peaceful launch of a satellite. But U.S. and South Korean officials called it a provocative act, amid international fears that the launch could be a missile with a warhead attached.

International reaction to reports of the launch -- which took place at about 11:30 a.m. local time -- ranged from calls for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting to calls for measured diplomacy.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, the U.S. and a Canadian organization that monitors space activity released a statement about the launch.

"Officials acknowledged today that North Korea launched a Taepo Dong 2 missile at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, which passed over the Sea of Japan and the nation of Japan," the statement said. "Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean. No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan."

But North Korean and Russian officials said the communist nation successfully launched a satellite in orbit, according to the nations' news agencies.
Russians and NoKos say there's a satellite up there, rest of the world calls BS, anything the UN will try to do will get vetoed by China and Russia, and nothing will happen.

We should thank Bush for allowing Kim Jong-Il to get nukes (even crapass ones.)
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