Saturday, January 16, 2010

Last Call

Now I give the CNBC talking heads a hard time.  They were wrong...dead wrong...about the economy in 2007 and 2008, and yet they're still employed.  Jim "The housing market will bottom out in June 2009" Cramer and Larry "The Republicans will reign in 2008 because of their economics policies" Kudlow are bad enough, but while they are incorrect most of the time, they at least can occasionally construct a decent argument.

That's not the case with their CNBC fellow, Dennis Kneale.  Witness his latest diatribe:
My worry is that President Obama’s overly ambitious political agenda will take a toll on business, hurting investment and growth by spending massive new sums of taxpayer money and imposing a daunting thicket of new and higher taxes, new regulations, scattershot federal crackdowns and brand new government bureaucracies.

One year into office—and with the S&P 500 index up more than 60% from its lows ten months ago—President Obama continues gleefully as Bank-Basher-in-Chief. He’s out today making bankers the bad guys, even though we need them for a full comeback.
Because the problem with the economy in 2008 was too much regulation, federal "crackdowns" and the government being too hard on the banks.  The same banks are making billions in profit while we have a ten percent unemployment rate, and they have mealy-mouthed shills like Kneale defending them.  Honestly, you think they could afford better.
This latest slap-tax on giant banks, and the hue and cry over compensation, isn’t really aimed at making “the people” whole—not at all. It is, rather, a cynical ploy by Washington to divert attention away from an unemployment rate still stubbornly at 10%, higher than when Bam took office. Best distraction: Blame the banks!
Yes Dennis, why would anyone want to blame the banks when they lost trillions of dollars and required a bailout of hundreds of billions in taxpayer money, crippling our economy while the best they can do is half-assed "mistakes were made" excuses.  That ten percent unemployment magically came out of nowhere, I'll tell you.
It is part of a deleterious new mindset in Washington that criminalizes capitalism and decries wealth creation. After 30 years of less-government-is-better, the Obama Posse wants to ensure that Big Government is the only answer. And Big Government requires fat taxes.
Because 30 years of less government is better led to 2008's financial crisis.  Directly.  You idiot.
Didn’t we learn, long ago, that if you want to raise tax revenue you LOWER underlying tax rates; that if you want more of something, tax it less, and if you want less, tax it more? In Washington today, the ruling party views taxes as a sex addict revels in his trysts: More is better, and there is no such thing as too much.
Yep, if you want more multi-millionaire political donors, you tax them less.  He's right about that.

You know, under that "logic" why have taxes at all?  This is the best CNBC has to offer on the voodoo economics?  C'mon.

The Tale Of The Bastard

Scott Brown thinks Obama is a bastard.

No, literally.
Meanwhile, this newly-surfaced video strikes me as about a million times more powerful. It's a news show in which Brown expresses his doubt that President Obama's mother was married to his father.
Hey folks?  In the end, Republicans are Republicans.  They always will be.  We need better Democrats, I'll be the first to admit.  The answer to "How do you get better Democrats?" is not "Elect worse Republicans."

The Land Of The Rising Debt

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is sounding the alarm on Japan's sovereign debt.
I have felt rather lonely after suggesting in my New Year Predictions that Japan is dangerously close to blowing up on its sovereign debts, with consequences that will be felt across the world.

My intended point — overly condensed  — was that 2010 will prove to be the year that Japan flips from deflation to something very different: the beginnings of debt monetization by a terrified central bank that will ultimately spin out of control, perhaps crossing into hyperinflation by the middle of the decade.

So it is nice to have some company: first from PIMCO’s Paul McCulley, who said that the Bank of Japan should buy “unlimited amounts” of long-term government debt (JGBs) to lift the country out of a “deflationary liquidity trap” and raise the souffle again.

His point is different from mine, in that he discerns deflation “as far as the eye can see”. But in a sense it is the same point. Once a country embarks on such policies, the game is nearly up. The IMF says Japan’s gross public debt will reach 227pc of GDP this year. This is compounding at ever faster speeds towards 250pc by mid-decade.

The only reason why this has not yet blown up is because investors (mostly Japanese) have not yet had the leap in imagination required to understand their predicament, and act on it. That roughly is the argument of Dylan Grice from Societe Generale in his latest Popular Delusions note released today. “A global fiasco is brewing in Japan.”
The numbers aren't good and they more than back up his warning.  Japan has been running budget deficits of 30-40% of the country's GDP for about 15 years now.  They owe more than twice of their country's entire GDP, approaching two and a half times.  That was fine when the world economy wasn't staggering around like a man just clocked in the head with a baseball bat and heading for the edge of a cliff.

It's not a question of if Japan's economy explodes, but when.  And we're headed down the same path, only maybe 10 years behind them in the cycle.

The Fix In Beantown Is In

And no matter what happens on Tuesday, the progressive moment in Washington is officially dead as far as the Village is concerned.
Win or lose in Massachusetts, that a contest between a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat could appear so close is evidence of what even Democrats say is animosity directed at the administration and Congress. It has been fanned by Republicans who have portrayed Democrats as overreaching and out of touch with ordinary Americans.

“It comes from the fact that Obama as president has had to deal with all these major crises he inherited: the banks, fiscal stimulus,” said Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr., the Democrat who holds the Massachusetts seat on an interim basis pending the special election. “But for many people it was like, ‘Jeez, how much government are we getting here?’ That might have given them pause.”

Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, said the atmosphere was a serious threat to Democrats. “I do think there’s a chance that Congressional elites mistook their mandate,” Mr. Bayh said. “I don’t think the American people last year voted for higher taxes, higher deficits and a more intrusive government. But there’s a perception that that is what they are getting.”

Ms. Coakley, the state attorney general, could still defeat her Republican opponent, State Senator Scott Brown. Polls show the race as very close, and measuring public opinion in special elections is always difficult.
Support for the health care overhaul could grow if it is enacted into law and Americans decide that it has left them better off, as Mr. Obama says will happen. The economy could take a turn for the better by this summer, validating Mr. Obama’s policies in time to influence the midterm elections. And for all the national forces at play here, Ms. Coakley has, in the view of most Democrats, made things worse with a slow-starting and low-energy campaign marked by several high-profile errors.

Still, Mr. Obama’s decision to tear up his weekend schedule to come here reflects concern in the White House that a defeat of Ms. Coakley would be seen as a repudiation of the president’s first year. It would also raise the question of whether Mr. Obama squandered political capital by focusing so much on health care at a time of rising unemployment.

“If it works well, it was a good thing to do for the country here,” Mr. Bayh said. “But there’s definitely an opportunity cost. You could only spend political capital once; it now can’t be spent on other things.”
Translation:  the ConservaDems are out.  Obamacare will not pass. The Village has decreed that it's 1994 all over again, and so shall the narrative be.  The long knives are out for Obama, big time.  And those long knives are not being held by Republicans.

For the first time, I actually do fear where we will be after November.  The combination of teabaggers, ConservaDems, Blue Dogs and firebaggers are going to put this country on a road to hell that we may never recover from, and put the Palin wing of the GOP at the head of it.

[UPDATE 6:26 PM] John Aravosis has a point:
Yeah, that's it. You were all just too freaking bold with that health care reform juggernaut. Jesus, is our party ever going to learn? They honestly think that they're in the pickle they're in because they've been "too" bold.

Yeah, right. Your courage is just blinding.
If you really believe the Democrats went too far, then you deserve what the Republicans who you will no doubt replace them with will do to this country.

Haiti Update, Part 4

The U.S. is sending in 10k troops to Haiti to help keep order and distribute aid.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the top military chief, said that up to 10,000 US troops would be either in Haiti or offshore on six Navy vessels that will arrive by Monday.

"It looks like between 9,000 and 10,000 with the arrival of the Marines and the three ships that are associated with that," Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters.

Mullen said that about 1,000 troops were already in Haiti including members of the 82nd Airborne brigade, who arrived late Thursday and were already delivering water from helicopters.

The US military has also sent the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, which will serve as a "floating airport" to bring in supplies and rush out victims as Port-au-Prince's airport struggles to function.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the security situation remained "pretty good" but that supplies needed to be delivered urgently.

"The security situation remains OK," Gates told the news conference.

"The key is to get the food and the water in there as quickly as possible so that people don't, in their desperation, turn to violence," Gates said.

It's that "turning to violence" part that's the immediate problem this weekend.  As horrific as things are now, they soon will be exponentially worse for the survivors, and the efforts to aid them are being severely hampered by the damage.  It's been 96 hours almost since the earthquake hit.  Those still trapped in rubble and debris are not going to survive much longer.  The window on saving and reaching those in need is closing.  By Monday, we're looking at some scenario out of an apocalypse movie.  We're going to be seeing casualties out of Port-au-Prince for weeks and months, and the total numbers will be six figures, easily.

And even if aid does reach them in time, in the long term Haiti is a parking lot.  There is no economy, no government, no police, no infrastructure, no trade, nothing.  It's over.  Haiti is no longer a country, but a nightmare scenario in anarchy.

While short-term aid is vital, long-term we need to consider that rebuilding Haiti and repatriating its people may be a decade-long project or more.

Pushing Teabags In Ohio

Republican John Kasich is running for Governor here in Ohio, and TPM has a run-down of his greatest Wingnut hits.
A lot of Republican candidates are trying to find alliances among the various tea party movements this year. The attempt at wooing the insurgent conservative movement usually goes like this: The tea partiers challenge candidates about why they didn't vote for a spending bill, social program, or revenue plan way back when, despite claiming to be part of their movement.

Kasich may be the first mainstream Republican candidate for whom the conversation is reversed. Faced with his skill at sounding like the most extreme of the tea partiers, it may be mainline Republicans in Ohio who find themselves wondering if Kasich's really one of them.

Speaking on a Columbus radio show last October, Kasich described the tea party crowds packing town halls last year. "I went to one meeting where I thought they were gonna hang two of the Republican speakers that were up there from the nearest tree," he said.
Kasich does love himself a hangin'.
Kasich's probably safe from the noose himself, having had a career that should already put him in the tea partiers good graces. In Congress, he was known as one of the GOP's toughest fiscal hawks. Human Events recently called Kasich's tenure as a Representative "the embodiment of a small government-low tax conservative." Kasich's additional tea party bona fides come from his time with Fox News, where hosted a show called "Heartland" and frequently filled in as a guest host for Bill O'Reilly.

Kasich has put his fiscal policy where his mouth is in the governor's race, where offering a plan to eliminate Ohio's state income tax. In short, in many ways, he's tried to be exactly the kind of Republican tea partiers are looking for, as he said at the rally yesterday.

"I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party," he told a crowd in Columbus.
Eliminating the income tax in Ohio of course means even larger spending cuts in Ohio programs to go with it.  As it is, the state has a Democratic House and a Republican Senate, and nothing got done last year save kicking the can down the road into 2010.  The state, like many others, is facing government employee layoffs in the thousands and a 2010-2011 shortfall in the billions...and should Mr. Teabagger here win, it's going to get truly ugly.

It Keeps Getting Better

This Brad Blog article on voting machines in Mass. that will be used Tuesday should be giving both sides fits.
Since writing today's piece for Upstate New York's right-leaning Gouverneur Times, a new poll has come out this morning showing the Republican Scott Brown now leading the Democrat Martha Coakley by 4 points in the race for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by a Democrat named Kennedy for nearly 60 years.

As of last night, when I filed the story with them, the latest survey from a Democratic-leaning pollster showed Coakley up by 8, though a day or two earlier, Republican Rasmussen had Brown down only by 2 points.
Suffice to say it's now officially "a toss-up", at least according to the Rothenberg Political Report, and to all the Dems and Reps now sweating out what was previously thought to have been an easy Democratic win.

With the 60th "filibuster-proof" Senate seat now hanging precariously in the balance, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that the winner will now be whoever Diebold declares it to be. The near-entirety of the state will vote next Tuesday on paper ballots to be counted by Diebold op-scan systems. The same ones used dubiously in the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, and the same ones notoriously hacked --- resulting in a flipped mock election --- in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy.

And to make matters even worse, the notorious LHS Associates --- the private company with the criminal background, who has admitted to illegally tampering with memory cards during elections, and who has a Director of Sales and Marketing who embarrassed himself with obscene comments here at The BRAD BLOG some years ago, resulting in his being barred from CT by their Sec. of State --- sells and services almost all of MA's voting machines along with those in the rest of New England.
There's a cheery thought.  The stakes are astronomical here on Tuesday.  We're all counting on a Republican-leaning corporation to count the votes and another Republican donor corporation servicing the voting machines in the bluest Democratic state in the nation in an election that will have massive national implications.  The polling is all over the map.  Some show Coakley up by double digits, some show Brown.

Anything is possible.  And isn't that the problem?

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Related Posts with Thumbnails