Friday, September 19, 2008

Credit Where Credit is Due (no pun intended)

I can't say I know enough of the specifics and implications of all of this--other than the obvious fact of its obvious contradiction of what conservatives claim to believe about the economy--but I am going to give credit (no pun intended) where credit is due and at least acknowledge that the president had the wherewithall to put a grown up in charge at Treasury and endowed Paulson with some independence and authority.

Again, maybe this is all way too much gubmit, much much too late in the game, but at least it appears that there is someone minding the store (albeit after it has been looted).

Wind-up Doll

I'm still wondering how this guy got past Mike Huckleberry, let alone Mittens, in the GOP primaries.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

$600 Bill

Oh well. Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money.

Obama is an Islam and will eat your Bibles

The financial meltdown, and Obama's subsequent rise in the polls, undoubtedly means we'll start hearing new reports of Obama's devotion to Allah and his having fathered two black children.

McCain/Palin: We'll Make Bush/Cheney look competent and dedicated to the Constitution

McCain's selection of Palin is starting to make a little more sense now: McCain's an idiot.

I hate to raise the "S" issue, but is McCain senile? On top of confusing Spain and Latin America, or taking a bizarrely belicose stance towards Spain, McCain apparently doesn't know that (a) the president can't fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission or that (b) that the SEC isn't the source of the current financial meltdown. A 1999 law authored by his top economic advisor, Phil Gramm, is.

I wonder how all of this will go down during a debate? Won't meet with a NATO ally. Doesn't understand the workings of Wall Street or the government's role in regulating it? Maybe the media will fixate on Obama's being "uppity" or something.

"Today, We Are All Fundamentals"

BarbinMD is right: Gail Collins chimes in with a truly lovable snarkfest:

“The people of Ohio are the most productive in the world!” yelled John McCain at a rally outside of Youngstown on Tuesday. Present company perhaps excluded, since the crowd was made up entirely of people who were at liberty in the middle of a workday.

Folks were wildly enthusiastic as the event began. That was partly because Sarah Palin was also on the bill. (With Todd!) And when McCain took the center stage, they were itching to cheer the war hero and boo all references to pork-barrel spenders.

Nobody had warned them that he had just morphed into a new persona — a raging populist demanding more regulation of the nation’s financial system. And since McCain’s willingness to make speeches that have nothing to do with his actual beliefs is not matched by an ability to give them, he wound up sounding like Bob Dole impersonating Huey Long.

Really, if McCain is going to keep changing into new people, the campaign should send out notices. (Come to a rally for the next president of the United States. Today he’s a vegetarian!) “We’re going to put an end to the abuses on Wall Street — enough is enough!” this new incarnation yelled, complaining angrily about greed and overpaid C.E.O.’s. Slowly, people begin to peel out of the crowd and drift away. Even in these troubled times, there are apparently a number of Republicans who think highly of corporate executives and captains of high finance.

The whole transformation was fascinating in a cheap-thrills kind of way. It’s not every day, outside of “Incredible Hulk” movies, that you see somebody make this kind of turnaround in the scope of a few hours.

On Monday in Jacksonville, Fla., McCain made his now-famous reassurance that the fundamentals of the economy were still good. It’s a longstanding line of his, but this was perhaps not the best week to dredge it up. So the handlers went to work, and by the time McCain arrived in Orlando a few hours later he was reprogrammed. And angry!

“We’re going to put an end to the abuses on Wall Street! Enough is enough! We’re going to put an end to the greed!” he told a town hall meeting crowded with Hispanic Republicans. It was a rather jumbled message, but the new story line was firm. The fundamentals were not things like employment rates or trade statistics. The fundamentals were the workers.

We are the fundamentals!

And, naturally, the humble, hard-working fundamentals are good. Who could doubt it? Was Barack Obama trying to say that he didn’t think the American working man and woman was good? Was this the sort of thing they talked about at those fancy-schmancy Hollywood fund-raisers? Which, of course, John McCain hates. Give him some hard cider and a log cabin, and he’s happy as a clam.

But wait! The fundamentals are in danger! At risk because of “greed.” Which John McCain was shocked to discover has been running rampant in the canyons of Wall Street.


It is also disconcerting, of course, to hear the Republicans rail against Washington as if the Socialist Workers Party had been running things there for the last eight years. But really, what would you do if you were McCain? There aren’t a lot of options, and he never did like George W. anyway.

This new tactic is different. McCain has always, genuinely, believed in dismantling government regulations, and there he was, vowing to create new “comprehensive regulations that will apply the rules and enforce them to the fullest.” It makes you think that he’s trying to impersonate something he’s not. Or wasn’t. Or might not be. The image is getting fuzzy.

This week, while McCain’s chief economic adviser was telling reporters that it was wrong to “run for president by denigrating everything in sight and trying to scare people,” McCain’s ad people were unveiling a new spot announcing “Our economy in crisis!” and calling for “tougher rules on Wall Street” along, of course, with more offshore drilling. Mournful unemployment-line music swells.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Oh well.

Dow 36,000!!!!

And to think Roger Ailes created Faux Business News station because he claimed CNBC was too anti-business


The Absurdity Of CNBC

The entire financial system is practically collapsing and they're lamenting the possibility of more regulation. I don't think the sports/referee metaphor is perfect, but it's probably good enough. People who prattle on about "the free market" are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to to get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created.

$85 Billion

Oh, well. I'm sure this is what Phil Gramm has in mind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Decline of Congress

Via Glenn Greenwald, Mickey Edwards, former GOP member of Congress, testified today thusly:

There are a great many salient questions facing the American people and those of you who are charged with the responsibility of enacting the nation's laws: access to affordable health care; repair of an aging infrastructure; reducing energy dependence; ensuring the national security. But not one of those issues – and not all of them combined – is as important now or for the future as securing our position as a nation governed by the rule of law. . .

Let me be both candid and clear: the current greatest threat to our system of separated powers and the protections it affords stems not just from executive overreaching but equally from the Congress. America's founders envisioned a system in which each of the branches of government would guard its prerogatives and meet its obligations, each acting to serve the nation through the empowerment the Constitution grants and to protect our liberties through the constraints the Constitution imposes.

For most of the past eight years, and for many years before that, the Congress has failed to lived up to its assigned role as the principal representative of the people. . . .

Here is the challenge, stated as candidly as I can state it. Each year the presidency grows farther beyond the bounds the Constitution permits; each year the Congress fades farther into irrelevance. As it does, the voice of the people is silenced. This cannot be permitted to stand. The Congress is not without power. It can refuse to confirm people the President suggests for important offices; it can refuse to provide money for the carrying out of Executive Branch activities; it can use its subpoena power and its power to hold hearings and above all, it can use its power to write the laws of the country.

Do not let it be said that what the Founders created, you have destroyed. Do not let it be said that on your watch, the Constitution of the United States became not the law of the land but a suggestion. You are not a parliament; you are a Congress -- separate, independent, and equal. And because of that you are the principal means by which the people maintain control of their government. Defend that right, and that obligation, or you lose all purpose in holding these high offices. That is how you preserve and defend the rule of law in the United States.


True words, these. From an institutional perspective, the decline of Congress over the past several decades, and especially over the last eight, is the most worrisome of recent national developments.

"Casual Oversight By Regulatory Agencies in Washington"

McCain for it before he was against it.

It was, to put it mildly, terribly odd to read all of this. McCain has always supported the casual oversight he's now railing against. He's never lifted a finger to rein in Wall Street's excesses -- indeed, he's actively opposed anyone who tried.


Clark Stooksbury, via John Cole:

I have yet to see anything more to her than a politician with an attractive family who competently spouts rightwing boilerplate. When she denounces the war party, supply side theology, the bogus “drill, drill, drill” claptrap, or any other reigning orthodoxy of the Republican Party; I will take notice. But anyone willing to do that wouldn’t be on the Republican ticket in the first place.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Anything To Win

Steve Chapman at (h/t Andrew Sullivan):

[McCain] has charged repeatedly that his opponent is willing to lose a war to win an election. What's McCain willing to lose to become president? Nothing so consequential as a war. Just his soul.

Down 500

Oh well.

Good thing we took John McCain's bestest economic buddy's advice and deregulated the banking/investment industry:

[Gramm]was co-sponsor of the 1999 law that allowed commercial banks to get into investment banking. And the fact that Gramm was a prime architect of a 2000 bill that kept regulators' hands off of "credit default swaps," an exotic financial tool which helped enable the bundling and selling of crappy subprime mortgages to investors.

Oh Well

I'm sure this is good news for John McCain.