You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Politics’ tag.

03palin2-600

From the CNN news desk:

“As a public official, I expect criticism and I expect to be held accountable for how I govern,” Palin said in a statement released by her office Friday. “But the personal, salacious nature of recent reporting, and often the refusal of the media to correct obvious mistakes, unfortunately discredits too many in journalism today, making it difficult for many Americans to believe what they see in the media” (emphasis mine). Yeah! Salacious! When did she pick that one up? Surely not studying for the SATs. I’m glad she’s gone to the trouble to hire a vocabulary coach. Sadly, she’s about twenty years too late.

Mama Grizzly also said she got up on her hind legs when Tina Fey made a crack on her daughter. I say amen. Tina Fey almost single-handedly saved the republic by exposing Palin’s idiocy — and in the process the idiocy of American conservatives.

Speaking of which, check out Sam’s comment on this CNN blog post: “Why do we need Congress anyway? When the Constitution was written, people needed others to represent them in making policy decisions. Now we have the technology to vote and represent ourselves directly.”

OMG. I know that some secretly bad stuff lurks in the hearts of men, but I didn’t think anyone would have the bad judgment to expose himself in public as a monarchist. That’s right people. If you enjoy your liberty, you better stand up with Harry Reid and the Congress, and say we want government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Congress — a legislature — is the only way to have such a government. If Sam’s plan were implemented, and we all voted individually for every piece of legislation that was proposed (by whom?) — as if government were like American Idol — first there would be deadlock, then there would be a breakdown of government, then the executive would assert him/herself to become a king.

I blame the miserable state of American education for comments like this. No one who has studied history, government, or politics would say such a perniciously stupid thing.

burj-dubai-2009

Burj Dubai

The Burj Dubai is the tallest building in the world and holds records for many “biggest” and “most” categories including tallest structure, tallest freestanding structure, building with the most floors, and highest vertical concrete pumping for any structure. The picture above was taken (by me) from the roof of Al Ghaya Residence on Sheik Zayed road, a pitiful 30+ story building. In the foreground you can see several other buildings in various stages of construction.

dubai-skyscraper

This is the building next door to Al Ghaya Residence, some 80+ stories tall. It has been under construction for more than a year, and it looks complete from the outside. It is empty, however, and the entrances are sealed. This building became emblematic, for me, of our unique historical moment.

The Baharain Tribune noted on October 2nd 2008 that Dubai’s growth is “founded to some extent on a burgeoning property market heavily dependent on borrowed money”, and Norton Rose, a corporate law firm specializing in investing, said on its “credit crisis blog” that “there are rumors that some large projects will be placed on hold.” The analyst at Norton Rose is optimistic, if not in the near term, at least in the medium term:

The “real” market, that is where construction has commenced (and therefore finance is in place to complete the project) or the property has been completed, is suffering a short term state of confusion although the medium term view is that the market will bounce back particularly in quality sectors in quality locations.

But this may be a species of optimism ridiculed by Paul Farrell (my new favorite Wall St. contrarian) in his Marketwatch.com editorial today. Norton Rose thinks the fundamentals of Dubai’s growth are strong, and that the financial problems of the last year will clear up soon, but one could also make the case that demand in Dubai has always been artificial, and that its incredible ten (really five) year growth spurt is an effect of the global bubble that has driven over-production in all sectors to astonishing, never-before-seen levels. As the New York Times reported recently, globalization led to global growth, and now it is leading to a global contraction. Is it implausible to postulate that globalization, growth, and blowing bubbles were interconnected, self-reinforcing phenomena?

But beyond a global contraction, Dubai has other worries. Norton Rose again spins the situation in positive terms:

Dubai has built itself as a trading hub, financial centre, tourist resort and is an attractive and exciting place to live. The number of expatriates moving to Dubai from throughout the world is staggering; all of these people will need a home. Office space still remains in very short supply with heavy demand. Rents in all sectors have continued to increase and demand remains strong, however owner occupiers are struggling to find lenders to accommodate them.

On one hand, many of the immigrants to Dubai are from India and Pakistan, and those people are definitely not the people Dubai wants filling up its empty towers. Certainly, Dubai’s planners have gone to great lengths to lure Western investment. Investment banks are able to run by Western laws — within the walls of their own buildings.

The lush courtyard of the Dubai Financial Center

The lush courtyard of the Dubai Financial Center

But outside the walls Dubai is still a theocratic state run under Sharia law. The world chuckles at Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer who were caught having sex on the beach and sentenced to three months in prison. The situation is made human and poignant, however, by the case of Marnie Pearce who was accused of adultery by her estranged husband and consequently convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. As a result she may lose custody of her two children entirely. In the print version of the article from January 5th, Ms. Pearce tells the reporter for the Telegraph with obvious passion that Westerners need to remember that Dubai is not a liberal state. A woman — any woman — can be punished for being alone in the company of a man who is not her husband or kinsman. And that is a kink in Norton Rose’s projection of continued demand for Dubai properties.

xin_37040418063186922441115

Merry Christmas to any Christian readers. Happy Chanuka for the Jews. Happy Kwanza, happy holidays, and merry festivus for everyone else.

I read the news today, oh boy. It looks like folks in state governments in the middle states want to use Obama’s stimulus plan to build more highways — just in time for plummeting gas prices. They argue that road projects are already started or ready to go, and plans for beefing up the rail system are too far in the future to get people working now!

Sounds like drill baby drill! And it is. The hype is motivated by our dear old attachment to individual transit and the automobile. I am sure that even after eight years of strangulation and abuse, Amtrak has a capital plan they would loooove to put into effect. The car maniacs say our country is less productive because we waste so much time in traffic jams, but as this review of Traffic by Tom Vanderbuilt reminds us, building new roads doesn’t alleve congestion, it just makes it worse. More importantly, as the MTA report on ridership during the 00’s points out, New York state’s investment in mass transit paid huge dividends in increased ridership and decreased car traffic.

I hope to high heaven Obama and his cabinet have the testicular fortitude to stand up to state governments and tell them the money has to be put to good use — building up our national rail system.

Illinois Governor Jarrett

This is the headline from the AP: “Did Obama team have contact with Ill. governor?” The first paragraph isn’t much better:

Barack Obama insists he didn’t have any contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or anyone else who might have been scheming to sell the president-elect’s U.S. Senate seat. But he has not yet given his transition staff the same clean bill of health — perhaps with good reason.

Jon Stewart showed Wednesday night how Fox has been trying to tar and subvert Obama by subliminally implying he and Blagojevich were best buddies, but in a rare nod to subtlety, Sean Hannity went to great lengths to say Obama had no connection with the soon-to-be-former governor. Leave it to the AP to take the fight to the next level.

The New York Times article on the scandal today tries to mitigate some of the right-wing echo chamber. But as I said in a previous post, Obama must make this an opportunity to purge any and all corruption in government. Our future depends on it.

10blagojevich-600

Should Democrats, and specifically Barack Obama be worried about corruption scandals? Yes they should. It is true that conservative = corrupt. From Iraq to Katrina to Wall St. to The Big Three, success has bred corruption throughout our culture.

Now is the time for Barack to do a Hank V and renounce any and all shady buddies. They’re just skeletons in the closet, waiting to sabotage the necessary reforms that must be implemented in the next four years. Bill Clinton tried to play the middle, and his presidency was hobbled by conservative attacks (gays in the military, socialized medicine) within his first 100 days. He played a rearguard action against the conservative hate machine for the rest of his tenure.

Please, please Mr. Obama, don’t let your presidency be scuttled by scandal before it even begins. Purge all corruption now, make it public, make it a crusade. Only then will you be able to give us the rest of your agenda.

Zach B.

P.S. Also try to avoid doing an Eliot Spitzer. For the next four years at least you have to be holier than Mother Teresa.

Ronald Reagan and Lee Iacocca, Detroit, 1980

Ronald Reagan and Lee Iacocca, Detroit, 1980

The clamor is coming from all sides: extend the bailout to the car companies.

The rationale for doing so is that it is responsible fiscal policy: only by saving automobile manufacturing jobs will we be able to save Michigan. And as Michigan goes, so goes the country.

The holes in this argument are big enough to drive a Hummer through.

In the first place, whatever happened to the jobless recovery of 2003? I thought all the manufacturing jobs were already gone?

In the second place, as I have argued before, bailing out failing industry is a mistake. A firm line must be drawn between what is public capital and what is private capital. We have worshipped in the temple of private capital for two and a half centuries, while the idea of public capital has never been adequately articulated. The agopee of “privitization”, that is making what was public capital private, came with Reagan.

Reagan privitizing a Michigan State Fair T-shirt

Reagan privitizing a Michigan State Fair T-shirt

The end of that privitization happened when Henry Paulson was handed the keys to the Treasury and used them to write checks to his former pals in the financial industry. “Don’t worry boys — you’ll get your Christmas bonus this year!” The same is about to happen to the Big Three if they get their “bailout”: Executives will get to save their houses, while the workers’ jobs are eliminated and shipped overseas, and their retirement is left to a non-existing public dole. GM will not be able to build giant inefficient machines in the future. The market will not allow it. To prop them up will not save jobs for workers, it will only hold open the fire escape doors long enough for the rich to get out while their house is burning down.

Real fiscal stimulus has to do what the New Deal did: guarantee the future of the Re – Public by funding public capital.

Obama Transition

Nancy Pelosi says we should bailout GM and Chrystler. Coming on the heels of the financial bailout, this will rack up more trillions of Federal debt, and it will set a bad precedent, as I argued in an earlier post. But more to the point, as Paul Farrell has forcefully argued at Marketwatch.com today, it is an inexcusable extension of Reaganomics.

[Naomi] Klein further exposed this insanity in a recent Rolling Stone article, “The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq, a ‘free-fraud zone’ where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create.” Paulson’s privatization, outsourcing and management of the $700 billion bailout has the exact same Reaganomics ideological, strategic and deceptive footprints that President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to privatize, outsource and mismanage the costly Iraq War blunder. Yes, Paulson is America’s new Rumsfeld!

And they keep going at it! Where is Krugman’s vaunted conscience? This needs to be shouted from the rooftops until someone in government grows the testicular fortitude to do the right thing: Fiscal stimulus is an investment in public capital — not private capital.

Read the rest of this entry »

…according to some lads who wrote the following song:

save the dinosaurs!

save the dinosaurs!

The Democrat leadership has obviously not gotten the memo on ideological shift. Here is the article from the wires.

Democratic Congressional leaders urged the Bush administration on Saturday to consider using the $700 billion bailout for the financial system to aid distressed American automakers, in a prelude to what may become urgent negotiations over additional economic stimulus measures.

This is a bad idea for so many reasons. First, it sets a bad precedent. Every progressive policy idea of the next four (let’s hope eight) years will be stained by the memory of this capitulation to corporate interests.

Second, it invites an environmental nightmare. What’s next? Bailing out the coal industry because it’s losing jobs to green energy? Bailing out AIG because they’re “too big too fail”? (Oops. Already done.) These guys are going out of business because they thought cheap gas would last forever. They are dinosaurs who deserve to die. Maybe if we’re lucky their carcasses will provide fuel for someone in one hundred million years. They even knew the good times couldn’t last, but they put that nasty thought out of their heads for instant gratification of quick profit. This is how the AP put it:

At Ford Motor Co. they called it “Blue,” a team set up around the year 2000 to design an array of small, fuel-efficient cars to compete with the Japanese. It didn’t get far because no one could figure out how to make money on low-priced compacts with Ford’s high labor costs.

Besides, the automaker was racking up billions in profits by selling pickups and sport utility vehicles. Times were good and gas was cheap.

If the government commits to maintaining failing technologies because people have jobs that depend on them we are never going to get ahead of the energy curve. If Chevron and ExxonMobil get bailouts there will be an insurrection right here in the good old U. S. of A.

Third, it validates the idea that corporations are the equivalent of citizens. It should not need to be said, so why am I saying it? Corporations are not people. They may have a lot of money, but corporations are not citizens. The business of government is citizens, not collections of citizens, or business syndicates, or legal fictions. If the Dems in Congress want to do something for the people who will be laid off if the auto companies die, put money into infrastructure or unemployment benefits. That at least will tide workers over until a true entrepreneur comes along with a better job to give these men and women. When you work in a factory it doesn’t matter if you build SUVs or hybrids — it’s all the same to the assembly worker. But if you bail out GM and Ford, all you will see for the next ten years are more SUVs and Hummers.

drshift

Source: Paul Krugman's NY Times Blog, The Conscience of a Liberal

Look at the dark blue in Indiana. Ditto for the non-Appalachian areas of Kentucky. This is a map of the percent change from Republican to Democrat votes between 2004 and 2008. There are only two, maybe three, plausible reasons for this change. Either people all over the country so were shocked by Bush and Co.’s ineptitude that they voted for an relatively unknown and untested candidate, or they changed their minds about the core truth of conservative political philosophy. Maybe both.

Read the rest of this entry »

obama-speaks-nyc-party

Barack Obama is the president-elect of the United States. Yours truly and some friends watched the returns at the New World Theater in Midtown Manhattan — the name fit the mood.

Tessa Birch, English lass and Obama supporter

Tessa Birch, English lass and Obama supporter

The place was packed and richly diverse. Americans of all races were there, as were foreigners, many of whom told me my vote had extra importance because it was also their vote.

Bakar Wilson, Will Kenton, and John Yi

Bakar Wilson, Will Kenton, and John Yi

When the first good news came it was from Pennsylvania.

obama-wins-pa

To say the mood was ecstatic is almost an understatement. We all knew we were on the right side of an historical moment: one that will define the truly New American Century. When Barack Obama was officially declared the winner all of New York City erupted.

obama-wins-nyc-party

When the man spoke he left not a dry eye in the house.

obama-speaks-nyc-party1

Even now, sitting at my desk deep in the heart of Brooklyn I can hear cars driving by pumping triumphant hip-hop. We finally have a president who represents an American hope for the 21st century. Let us have a day of rejoicing before the weight of the world falls back on our shoulders.

obama2

I know this is coming a little late, but, yeah. We endorse Obama. It’s gonna be a big party in the old City tonight. I was in the Fulton/Broadway Nassau stop of the subway, travelling from Manhattan to vote in Brooklyn this afternoon. I was reading some political essay in the New York Review of Books, and kind of dancing around the platform, echoing off the tile walls, was the sound of a steel drum. I listened for a minute and realized the guy, probably Afro-Caribbean, was playing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. “His truth is marching on!”

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol’s Op-Ed in today’s NY Times is good for a laugh. Most of the best refutations of his inanity are already given in reader comments on the Times’s web site, so I won’t belabor the point here. Part of his analysis is right though: If self-proclaimed conservatives are out of power for two years, they will come back in a new and virulent new form in 2010. I hope, as Krugman argued, that the hateful, White elements of American conservatism have had their moment and will be thrown on the trash heap of history after tomorrow. But what will the world be like if the Congress has a solid Democratic majority and McCain becomes Prez? Even better, what if McCain dies in the first 100 days and Palin becomes Prez? Do you think the Congress would grow a pair sufficient to impeach her and all the asinine conservative ideas she stands for?

This battle is far from over, and both sides are plenty sore.

Would-be Obama assassin Daniel Cowart

Would-be Obama assassin Daniel Cowart

Look closely at his face — is he wearing makeup?

Remember the line in that song, “the freaks come out at night”? Nowadays the freaks come out at the end of October — and this is no Halloween joke! (Actually I can see this becoming a popular costume this year — you know how the news cycle is — and the thought chills me to the bone.)

Check out the story here.

This is what Reagan really felt about you.

Conservative, free market dogma states that taxes are always bad and always restrict growth. On the other hand, the more money you have in your pocket, the faster the economy will grow as you spend those dollars on goods and services. Lower taxes always and everywhere means greater growth. Arthur Laffer put the idea into econo-speak in the 70s. If you feel like reading the Wikipedia entry (written by a freemarketeer) you can see how scientific sounding defenders of this ideology are. They have spent the better part of 30 years developing ironclad, mathematical proof that taxes are inherently stifling to growth. Alan Greenspan gave the lie to this pseudo-scientific nonsense last Thursday when he said ““The whole intellectual edifice [supporting supply-side economics] collapsed in the summer of last year.

Read the rest of this entry »

"Party's Over" -- NYC subway, October 2008

"PARTYS OVER" graffiti, NYC subway, October 2008

The editor asked me to write more about NYC and less about national politics. So this is it.

We’ve all heard about the vices of city living: gangs, drugs, AIDS, high taxes, poor schools, crowded apartments, and no place to park. What are the virtues of urban living?

Read the rest of this entry »

The LIBOR is down and the market is up — hooray!!! I spoke too soon yet again. It looks like the VIX is considerably down too. That means less volatility in the markets and more sustained movement. Could we see DJIA 10,000 by election day? Just soon enough to reverse McCain’s electoral fortunes!

The Fed chief said today that if we spend another $300 billion on direct financial stimulus (e.g. in the form of a WPA style infrastructure build out) we might avoid the worst of this meltdown. Sounds good to me!

I only see one problem (and this is why I’m a conservative douche bag at heart): without a little financial pain d-bags like the ones at AIG who went quail hunting after the government (that is, US) gave them $85 billion will continue to go quail hunting — and I will continue to pay more than a quarter of my income in taxes. Where is the congressional bill to make financial shenanegans illegal?

The other problem I see is the massive federal debt. When is too much debt too much? When will the chickens laid by all the coke snorting, whore banging d-bags on Wall Street come home to roost? Because all debts must be paid, one way or another. Who is going to pay for feckless wastes of skin to go on hunting junkets in Europe? You and me obviously. But so far we haven’t felt like we’re paying it. What will it feel like?

Massive inflation is my guess. Maybe even hyper inflation. Because all debts must be paid in one way or another. It’s as good as the law of gravity.

You’re probably saying to yourself, Zach, have you lost your mind? How can you, a big city liberal, think Palin makes sense?! She is the antithesis of everything you believe in!

Well friends, in the first place Zach ain’t no big city liberal. He’s actually a small town conservative trapped in the body of a big city liberal. In the second place, Zach doesn’t think Palin is competent, he merely thinks she’s qualified for the highest office in the land. Still scratching your head?

Read the rest of this entry »

It looks like the bank rescue plan is going to work! Yay! Happy days are here again! This was the shortest Great Depression on record, lasting only three days, from Black Friday (October 10th, 2008) to Happy Mondays! (October 13th, 2008). After the DJIA lost over 50% of its value from its peak over the summer, it gained back 11% on Monday, and if the DJIA follows other world wide indexes today it stands to be back at 14,000 by Christmas.

Some Debby Downers are already saying this looks like a classic “Bear Market Bounce”. They say that — markets be damned — until Americans feel enough pain to make them give up their profligate, spendthrift ways the same mindset that brought us the problem will create new and unforseen problems.

But one thing is for sure, government intervention in global capital has never been this big in the entire history of the world. Whatever the new problems are, they won’t look like your grandparents’ problems. There probably won’t be bread lines in Manhattan (thank God!), nor will there be runs on the banks as frightened citizens desperately try to get greenbacks out of battered ATMs.

I’m gonna play Nostradamus here, and predict that the new problems will have less to do with the money supply (a problem the government has found an elegant solution for) and more to do with inflation. Bad debts are inescapable, as is the hangover they produce. It’s just a feature of overproduction and speculation. They must still work their way through global economies. But people won’t lose their cash. Instead the brand new, guaranteed bills governments all over the world are creating to make sure there is still money in your purse will loose their value when it becomes apparent that they aren’t redeemable for real work. (That’s what happens when people default on their debts — you can’t get the work they promised out of them.) How they deal with 2009’s inflation will be something to see.

The Nobel commission announced that Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics. Krugman won for his work on “the effects of free trade and globalisation and the driving force behind worldwide urbanization” as reported by the BBC.

On this side of the Pond we know and love Krugman for being one of the only public figures with the courage to stand up to Bush, Cheney, and Rove’s palpable lies when they were selling us the Iraq War and selling us (and our children and grandchildren) into debt.

Congratulations professor Krugman!

No, the picture above isn’t the Old West, or Kansas in the 1930s, or a movie set. This ruined house is in urban Buffalo, 2008.

Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame asks the question: why is it that major macroeconomics texts books gloss over the fact that periodical economic crises are endemic to capitalist accumulation? The discipline of macroeconomics came into being as a reaction to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its purpose as an academic endeavor was to minimize or eliminate the business cycle.  The promise of macroeconomics tells us, if we’re smart enough we can think our way out of what looks like a permanent feature of capitalism.

The financial crisis of the last month has given the ultimate lie to the thought that economies can grow without also shrinking. (With two small exceptions in 1990 and 2002 the US has had sustained growth for 25 years. The unwinding of the current asset bubble in housing is the final end of that growth period.) Conservatives fear the business cycle because in a crisis the people look to the government to keep them from starving, and that, they feel, is socialism. This essay by Murray Rothbard puts the free market fundamentalist case eloquently. Liberals are hoping Obama can turn disaffection over jobs into votes, though liberals also are wary of being too gleeful about the impending crisis.

Read the rest of this entry »

With the economy making us all feel like it’s Halloween 24/7 out there, let’s look a little closer at NYC’s 365 Halloween and costume headquarters, Halloween Adventure, located at 104 4th Ave near Union Square. This store has managed to stick around for 16 years, growing and expanding to serve the needs of freaks, geeks, Goths, nerds, fetishists, exhibitionists and party-goers all year round. I’d like to say I just went to the store and observed the employees and customers, studiously taking notes and watching them from afar like some urban Serengeti journalist, but alas, that would be a lie. For you see, I am a casualty of these scary economic times, and as a means of self-preservation I took a job there so that I could have a reason to get up and out of the apartment in the morning, instead of obsessing over my non-existent career and meeting with yet another headhunter who is unable to get me a job earning a living wage. So I thought, “Why not see if I can find a seasonal job selling costumes for Halloween? They MUST be hiring.” And that’s exactly what I did. I put on my gothiest outfit and did my gothiest make-up and went down and got myself a job. So here are some of my findings thus far:

1) The economy is bad, but people’s escapist tendencies are in full swing. Even though the store says it’s figures are down from last year, the place does HUGE business. I happen to think that this is going to be the last BIG Halloween for a while, for 2 reasons:

A) Halloween is on a Friday this year. Parties all weekend! More parties = more costumes.

B) This is the last year regular, non-trust-fund, non-Wall Street people are going to be able to cling to the illusion that they have enough disposable income to blow hundreds of dollars on a costume and a night out for a pagan holiday (with economic depressions come piousness. Why is that??? Rhetorical: I’m familiar with the concept that God favors the good with prosperity.) Most costumes start off at around $50 and go up from there. A decent one is gonna run you closer to $100. And rentals are about $200. Even with my employee discount my costume came to $65. And that’s not counting the special modifications and additions I need to make to it or all the drinks that will be consumed.

2) No matter what the weather is like, girls wanna dress like hoochies on Halloween. It is the one day in our culture when women are expected and encouraged to wear as little as possible (We all know the “slutty” thing. You’re not just a nurse, you’re a slutty nurse. You’re not just Marie Antionette, you’re slutty Marie Antionette). This is NYC, folks, not Miami. And this year is shaping up to be a cooooolllllldddd Halloween! I’m working down in the “Adult” costumes and lemme tell ya, these girls can’t find outfits SHORT enough. Except if they’re hispanic and come in with their b/fs. Those guys practically want their g/fs in gorilla costumes. I thought these guys would love to have their girls show off their goodies! With all the white couples the guys wanted their g/fs to dare to bare as much as legally possible; with the hispanic guys, not so much. These guys don’t want their g/fs to look like hos, and they tell them so. Some more forcefully than others.

3) We don’t get a lot of requests for political or current events costumes down in the “Adult” costumes. Maybe it’s just that the political masks are readily found upstairs, or maybe people just aren’t doing the McCain/Obama/Palin thing this year. I’ve heard they’re selling fairly well, I just haven’t seen it. People tend to stick to the archetypes: Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Pirate, Queen, King, etc. My fave this year is Beer Garden Wench. V cute, and you get to try to get your b/f to do a couples costume, and for him that means lederhosen. Priceless.

4) And lastly, the biggest hooligans like the sexy cop uniforms. Go figure.

So enjoy this last big Halloween. Party likes it’s 1999. Because this may be the last good time we collectively have for a while. I’m even predicting a quiet New Year’s Eve this year. It’s scary out there!

This guy can't believe Palin's nerve.

This guy can't believe Palin's nerve.

Right now — today, October 5th, 2008 — the world is deciding to quit believing in a brighter future and start hoarding white rice and gasoline. The Dow Jones is down 700 points at the time of this writing, and European shares had their biggest one day drop ever.

If you want to see how bad it can be, check out this web lecture by Chris Martenson. If we contract to pre-bubble levels, we’re looking at Dow 6,000 — and the way things are going today that might not be too far off.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lou Dobbs makes me laugh! He’s so funny! He said tonight on CNN that the markets should be allowed to take care of themselves! Abso-smurfly Mr Dobbs! Just like Herbert Hoover said in 1929! We’re all just a bunch of old rugged individualists in here! Pullin’ ourselves up by our bootstraps!

I said in an earlier post that the Repubs might have scored some political points for — once again — being the only party that will stand up for what it believes in. Sadly what they believe in is wide spread unemployment, a run on banks, and if we’re really lucky a civil war.

Oh boy!!!

Alabama Congressman Richard Shelby

Alabama Congressman Richard Shelby

They won’t be able to just admit they were wrong.

They won’t be able to admit that took the idea of a self-regulating free market on faith. Or that a misplaced faith in their intellectual powers was all they ever had. They won’t be able to admit that reality is more complex than their simple, moralistic ideologies can handle. And yet it looks like the Freemarket Fundamentalists might actually score some political points from the financial crisis.

Who is responsible for the credit crisis that is ripping through American and foreign financial markets like a spasms through an epileptic? It’s like asking who is responsible for the torture at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. If you’re still one of the faithful, it was all the work of a few bad apples and not a massive systemic failure that is bound to happen cyclicly until the end of time — or until real reforms are implemented. But conservatives don’t believe in reform. They believe in human nature. They believe the eschaton is coming. They know Evil will be with us until it’s final, apocalyptic showdown with Good.

In the meantime, Democrats only got about 55% of their due political realigment out of this once-in-a-lifetime political opportunity.

get the rest here…

Hello again friends. Your humble political observateur here. I busted out my lab equipment again so’s I can drop some science on you. Political science that is.

McCain and Co. was hoping an August surprise with Mrs. Sarah Palin would put momentum in their full court press. And I’ll bet you Cheney was (maybe still is) planning an October surprise wherein Iran “fires” on US warships in the Gulf and we respond by righteously invading their country.

Unfortunately for the fantasy-based community, reality, courtesy of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has given us a September surprise to shake up the presidential contest. Yesterday the Dow components lost almost 450 points or 4%, in one day. The loss since the close on 9/11 last week is over EIGHT HUNDRED POINTS (800 pts.). You read that right. EIGHT HUNDRED POINTS. That’s a lot — just over 7% of it’s value in three days. That means people who know a thing or two about which way the wind is blowing are scared out of their wits and are heading for the exits. What color is your parachute?

for more fun, click here!

The only thing Obama and Biden should talk about is the culture of corruption that is endemic to conservative politics.

Thass right y’all, you heard me say it. People who voluntarily call themselves “conservative” are lowlife scum looking to get one over on tax payers. Earl E. Devaney sez so. (OK. Technically he says that Bush appointees to the Department of the Interior are lowlife scum who use your money to buy cocaine and whores. But come on. We all know that if a thorough investigation of the entire executive branch was conducted no one would get out of jail free.)

This means you Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

Are you listening Mr. Democratic strategist?

Ok, so this is ridiculously late, but I had a friend in town and then a job interview, so sue me. So let’s get down to it. First of all, please note that it is super hard for me to report on the RNC objectively, what with all the Christian fundamentalist war-mongering and all. That tends to push my buttons, ya know? My dad lives in Nashville and TN happens to be a big ol’ red state. He tells me horror stories about how sometimes his friends, while seemingly intelligent, thinking human beings, at times will correct him when he’s referring to archeological digs and/or scientific carbon dating. For you see, the earth, according to these zealots, is between 6-10,000 years old, which essentially puts humans, dinosaurs, trilobytes, and all that crap we studied in geology and biology in the same epoch. And they maintain that Noah couldn’t fit the dinosaurs on the Ark so that’s why they died out. Which all prompted me to create this design for a t-shirt (it’s copyrighted, so don’t even try it):

The Dinosaurs Killed Jesus

Like, totally check this out!

Hello, all you CC readers! I hope you have been following the DNC as avidly as I. Overall it was an exciting convention. The stellar speeches filled with pithy barbs! Billary, for chrissakes! And last, but definitely not least, the freakin’ Denver Boroncos Dem-packed stadium, replete with stoic columns to frame our man O in an austere, presidential manner. It was hot hot hot!

“No way. No how. No McCain.” – HRC

more insight available here