Archive for the 2008 Elections category

October 5th, 2008

Swift Boats Redux:
Need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows?

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Yow.  The GOPhers are hitting swing states with TV commercials highlighting Obama’s relationship (?) with an old Weatherman bomber.

And Palin has added the notion to her stump speech. Accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”

McCain betrayed his career in the Senate when he choose Palin.  One wonders how precisely it came about.

Should Obama lose, it will be interesting to see how the academic feminists who splintered the Democratic Party’s base in the 80s — with Identity Politics targeted at the White Male Hegemony — will react to the prospect of President Palin up their butts.

October 3rd, 2008

Vice Prez Debate

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Miss Alaska not only did not pee on the floor, but carried herself with surprising poise and flair.

Thank goodness the Swimsuit Competition had been canned.

Biden was flawless, earnest and charming.  I admire him as much as anyone in Washington.

But the net effect of the show will be to stem the tide of GOP disserters that Palin’s dumb public appearances had loosed.

First reactions to the VP choices are now again current.

So. Down to the wire. The same basic map that’s constituted the prior two elections — but with McCain drawing more so-called independents than baby Bush ever did — and with Obama powered by a youth vote that may be largely beyond the scope of the landline phone polls.

Good news that Camp McCain has conceded Michigan.  Surely the Wall Street meltdown has to help Barack?

Everybody seems to agree there’s no need for more debates.   As a friend recently wrote, “I want my President Obama now!”

September 29th, 2008

House Rejects Paulson Plan –
Stocks go off cliff –
Pelosi must follow

Posted in 2008 Elections, Money by ed

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1. I’m surprised at the vote — rejecting the Congressional leadership version of Paulson’s plan 228-205.  With 95 Donkeys braying Nay.

Here’s a map showing where the No votes came from.  The hinterlands, mostly.

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2.  The Dow in reaction was down 777. Too bad it’s not a slot machine.

The sell-off was the largest ever in raw points and the 17th largest percentage drop.

Can anyone measure the damage done to the country and the globe since the Straussian installation of Bush-Cheney?

3.  No — but for that matter:  Pelosi.

I’ve never thought she was much of a leader:

– She laid down before the GOPhers going into the Iraq war. The most signal case:

A Donkey rep from the south, three months before the invasion, had the temerity to speak truth to Joe Public: that the White House had been shanghaied by a cabal of radicals for whom Tel Aviv was the center of the universe.

Pelosi, the next day, chastised him publicly about anti-semitism and deprived him of his subcommitte chair.

– After the voter revolt in 2006, her first move was to squash the impeachment momentum, which — again — had the effect of easing pressure on Bush-Cheney.

– Her inability to get the Donkeys (at least!) in line for today’s vote settles questions about her talents as a floor leader.  She was a chief negotiator of the bill, and had her face all over it on TV.  Yet came up twelve noses short.

These three suggest she’s more interested in getting along with people than ramming bills and resolutions through the pipeline.

Then again, apparently the fiery speech she gave directly before the vote alienated some GOPhers. From the Times:

In the speech that Republicans said infuriated them, Ms. Pelosi accused Mr. Bush of squandering the budget surpluses of the Clinton years.

“They claim to be free-market advocates, when it’s really an anything-goes mentality,” she said. “No supervision. No discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute and the taxpayer will bail you out.”

Democrats later said that if her speech truly cost votes, then Republicans, in the words of Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, were guilty of punishing the country because Ms. Pelosi had hurt their feelings.

David Brooks (whom I rarely agree with) reacts by observing that perhaps this wasn’t the best moment for the Speaker to give a fund-raising speech.

One hopes then the Change theme reaches across the aisle a bit post November.

Steney Hoyer of Maryland — who tangled with Pelosi for the speakership after the 2006 vote — should get the job in the new Congress next year.  He’s super smart and a great worker of the chamber.

September 28th, 2008

Daily Show & Saturday Night Live re Looming Disasters

Posted in 2008 Elections, Money by ed

Jon Stewart from the night of the White House food fight.  Pretty sharp.

And SNL with a great Miss Alaska bit.

September 26th, 2008

Prez Debate #1

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

1. I watched it streaming online, but have not seen any of the punditry.

Obama did extremely well. Presidential and cool and smart and good-natured.

But it seems clear that McCain neither “lost” nor stumbled nor did a Nixon 1960 — and that constitutes a surprise victory. He comes across better on formal TV than in stump speech news video.

2.  Shocked to hear McCain harping on cutting spending. Twice going out of his way to do so at length.

As if going out of his way to parrot Herbert Hoover. Who spent his last three years echoing calls from Wall Street and Treasury and the Fed for a balanced budget to combat the contagion set off by the ’29 crash.

As if unaware that by March 1933, as FDR took the oath, every bank in the country had shut its doors, and every titan of finance had passed through the Congress to confess in public the bankruptcy of his ideas.

What is McCain thinking?  Same thoughts that led him to quietly participate in the House GOPher food fight at the White House last night?

3.   Also less than pleased that Obama kept saying We gotta get Osama.

But, that’s show business …

4.  So.  It’s a real race.  And whatever complacency may have infected Team Obama in Denver has now been dosed.

So what’s the Vegas line? Another half dozen banks are likely to disappear next week. Surely the GOP cannot survive this calamity …?

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Oh yeah …

Speaking of which. I fear Joe Biden (whom I like) may overplay his hand in next week’s episode — may talk too much — and too exuberantly — his eyes and his teeth are way too bright — allowing Miss Alaska, like McCain last night, to exceed expectations by not shitting the bed and tumble out ahead.

Somebody give Senator Biden a sleeping pill, he’s always flailing out of frame. Less is more, Joe. Think Michael Caine.

September 26th, 2008

28 million DVDs defaming Islam (Obama ?) distributed by Likud Lobby

Posted in 2008 Elections, Mideast & Oil by ed

The Asia Times is fingering well known Likud Lobbyists in D.C. and the publishers of the right-wing Jerusalem Post as the folks behind an apparently vile DVD that’s been inserted  in 28 million battleground-state newspapers in recent weeks.

Ah, here it is: Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

The DVD does not mention Obama. But people elsewhere are complaining that nevertheless it targets his candidacy.

I haven’t seen it.  The trailer at the website suggests it relies heavily on video of jihadist training camps and doctrination sessions.

To instill the fear of Allah in middle-of-the-road voters, clearly, is the aim.

Is it fair, then, to conclude that they’re trying to push the idgit vote to McCain, having finally been snuffed this spring by baby Bush?

However that may be, both candidates were careful to bow deeply to Israel in the debates this evening.

That is: Lehrer asked about the threat Iran posed to the US — and instead each candidate devoted his time to expounding the threat to Israel and the mideast generally.  Reading the same teleprompter.

Caroline Glick, a top editor at The Jerusalem Post, and a bellicose belcher of neofascist screed, is named by the Asian Times.

And in D.C. — Meyrev Wurmser.  Of similar cast.  (Proud to have blocked the application of the Helsinki Accords to Israel’s war.)  You can check her out here — then follow the links within her bio to others and …

Voila. You’ve been well introduced to the Likud Lobby, and the makers of the Iraq war.

Apparently they want more.

(Want more? Here.)

September 26th, 2008

Morning After: Credit freeze

Posted in 2008 Elections, Money by ed

Reactions to the food fight at the White House last night from the realtime “Buzz & Banter” board at Minyanville.com:

Credit Market Update
Bennet Sedacca
10:24:45 AM

Have you ever walked up to a diner really hungry and seen a ‘closed for business’ sign on the door?

Welcome to the credit market, folks, it is officially closed.

After Lehman, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and Washington Mutual debt and preferred holders have been unmercifully tossed under the bus so [JPMorganChase Chairman] Jamie Dimon can be given banks, do you really think many want to get in front of this train wreck.

Me thinks not. For what it is worth I was just offered Wachovia (WB) 5.8% hybrids at 10 cents on the dollar, and I passed.

So the few that can raise capital, like JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) will survive, but many failures lie directly in front of us.

Many regional banks are likely next.

Risks remain high, and the stock market, IMO, still has blinders on.

Vibes from Minyan Tony “Snoop” Dwyer of FTN Midwest

The leaders of the Republican Party don’t understand how serious this crisis is, and as a result, the credit markets that drive the global economic engine remains seized up.

The entire global financial system is melting down and one-by-one, major institutions are failing with Washington Mutual being the latest victim.

Listening to Senator Shelby state publicly that it is ok not to get a mortgage relief facility and “let the markets correct,” is the scariest statement we have heard in a long time.

As I have said, this is rapidly growing into a national security issue and not a “save Wall St.” issue.  As soon as they opened this rescue package debate to the public, the impact of the deal was significantly diminished.

How serious is this?

Washington Mutual experienced a run on the bank, and according to the Financial Times, Morgan Stanley has lost close to a third of their prime brokerage assets in the past week.  This despite all unprecedented the Fed and Treasury actions to date.

Now read the interview with Mr Practical at Minyanville.

McCain this morning has said Aw shucks, let’s debate.  This crisis leaves me unable to imagine him winning in November.

Knock on wood.

September 25th, 2008

Then the President said,
“this sucker could go down.”

Posted in 2008 Elections, Money by ed

What the heck happened in the Cabinet Room last night?

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September 24th, 2008

Michael Moore film — SLACKER UPRISING — Free Stream

Posted in 2008 Elections, Movies by ed

Far as I can tell this was just released yesterday.

A record of his 2004 campaign to depose Bush-Cheney.  Nothing earthshaking but perhaps worth recalling.

Free streaming online at SlackerUprising.Com.

September 23rd, 2008

Senate suffers fools sourly / McPalin suffering /
New York to suffer

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The reception for Boom Boom and Hammerin’ Hank before the Senate Banking Committee today went from cool to frosty to hostile.

Chairman Dodd of Connecticutt concluded that the big bailout plan was “not acceptable”, and ranking GOPher Shelby of Alabama told the departing big brains that all options remained on the table.

The markets wandered up and down, ending up down hard — but then some green was generated by a post-bell item about Warren Buffet buying into Goldman Sachs for a nickel.

($5 billion)

I wondered over the weekend if the big bailout was really necessary.  Today in the air was the notion that things have already gone so far wrong, for so long, that Bernanke’s opening demand that something big be done immediately was ill founded, or, at least, absurd.

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Personal income in New York City is going to be pressured for years because of this, beginning in the investment banks and their law firms, and spreading through the services that serve them.

Perhaps, however, the city might benefit. Culturally.  Might trend a bit toward sleepy and philosphical. Even, in time, affordable …

But it’s the current homeowners who will pay for that adornment, and today the mayor announced the notion of a 7% property tax hike for January.

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???

The only good news is that the crisis seems to be hurting McCain-Palin, as the odor of gross incompetence in high places begins to overwhelm Sarah’s rustic charms.

And here we have another late news item — that McCain’s campaign manager has been getting a $15,000 monthly stipend from Freddie Mac, and doing nothing in return.  Payments discontinued only this past month.  Guess the bloke’ll resign before the opening bell.

Might the pain of what’s happening be compensated, then, by a spectacular victory for the Donkeys in November?

Not so fast — a trader I know has been worrying since the weekend that a “catalyzing event” may occur in the city before Election Day to get people panicked about National Security again instead.

Oh but that’s so 2004 …

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September 23rd, 2008

We’ve seen this movie before —
But is it EL CID or 1984?

ED NOTE: See comments below to follow the question of Bin Laden’s existence into May 2011, when the americans announce that bin Laden has been killed. I for one do not yet believe them.

The sudden heat in Pakistan has McCain and Obama stomping and swearing to get Osama next year.

But it seems most likely that Osama died around the time of the Tora Bora bombings in late 2001, when this video was released:

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Around the same time, the CIA said it found on a Jalalabad computer another video of Osama.

But the blubbery fellow therein was probably somebody else.

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True, this Fatty Osama (left above, right below), as he’s generally called, has appeared twice (if memory serves). He just doesn’t seem to be bin Laden. His nose, to begin.  His jocular manner. His jewelry.  Supposedly he’s writing with the wrong hand …

Moreover, he neither sounds like nor uses language like Osama, who, acccording to arabist Bruce Lawrence, speaks in an elevated, pious and poetic style most distinct. Neither Fatty Osama’s vulgar gloating over the attacks in his first video, nor the voice on recent tapes discussing world affairs like Wolf Blitzer, come close.

Lawrence has published a book of Osama’s messages and is one of Uncle Sam’s experts on his language, diction, and their meanings.  During 2006 he came to think something was fishy.  Then went on radio in 2007 to spread the news:

Lawrence, citing informants in the US intelligence apparatus’s Bin Laden units, told [radio host] Kevin Barrett that everyone knows the tape is fake, adding that the hoax has been kept alive because it is politically useful to those who wish to bolster the official 9/11 conspiracy that 19 hijackers directed by Bin Laden from a cave carried out the attacks.

Here’s another arabist, once employed in the 90s to translate and analyze a real Osama tape. He agrees with Lawrence, and is good to recall that shortly after the attacks in 2001 Osama told a Pakistan paper that he had nothing to do with them.

And here’s an overview of the question, including what purports to be a facsimile of an Egyptian newspaper that on December 26, 2001 reported bin Laden’s death.  The next day what seems like the last genuine video (first photo above) was released.

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If indeed he’s long gone, then who’s pulling our leg?

Both sides have reason to keep the hero alive.

If Al Qaeda’s behind the curtain, then …

It’s El Cid.  Charlton Heston, as the legendary spanish hero in the wars with the Moors.

He dies one night, recall, in a besieged fortress, the battle far from won.  So his people prop the corpse on his horse. Tie a cross to his arms and back Jesus style. Then as dawn breaks they open the gates, slap the horse’s ass …

And El Cid rides again.

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But if it’s Uncle Sam behind the scam, then  …

It’s Goldstein, from 1984:  the phantom jewish bolshevik terrorist on every telescreen noon and night, whose (non) existence grounds the propaganda of the police state and its perpetual war:

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We are at war with Eurasia and have always been at war with Eurasia.”

But then, a month later:

“We are at war with East Asia and have always been at war with East Asia.”

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El Cid.  Goldstein.  But not bin Laden. He probly dead.

So one wishes Obama would stop talking about Osama.

Talk about what is and will be.

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September 15th, 2008

GOPhers win Vice President derby — No assassination insurance on either side

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

1.  Joe Biden is very knowledgable and thoughtful about constitutional law — has been right for decades re eg crackpots like Robert Bork and Catherine MacKinnon.

He was also vocal and right during the wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, when most Washingtonians either didn’t care or were too prudent to speak up.

For these reasons, Biden became one of my favorite senators.

But he was an unproductive, uninspired, indeed chicken-shit choice for VP.
He would have been a good Secy of State — and had been quietly campaigning for the job ever since retiring from the presidential race.  Was offering him the VP slot instead a way for Team Obama to take that off the table?

And, of course, choosing Biden — a close friend of the Clintons — was a gentle way to say No to Hillary, for the Young Turks to tell the world that they want nothing to do with DLC moderation.

An Obama-Clinton ticket would have been impervious to the Sarah Palin move.

Biden on the other hand seems to bring to the ticket not a bleedin’ county of the contested electoral map.

What was the thinking here?  Biden’s roots in the Wyoming Valley (where Scranton and Wilkes Barre lay) sure to capture Pennsylvania?  But he’s been in DC so long, and is such a sharpie, that it’s hard to think he still shines as a Favorite Sun in a Carbondale cafe.

Team Obama, then, seems to have been more concerned here with party infighting — sidetracking Biden out of the State Dept, burying the Clintons, asserting their Youth Movement — than with defeating the GOPher.  Classic complacency.  The stuff jaw-dropping defeats are made of.

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Also, I can’t help but note that Biden provides no assasination insurance.

That is:  Any interest intent on removing President Obama — whether a warped lone cracker or a cabal of passionate militarists — would surely find the prospect of President Biden less than a show stopper.  Hillary would have served better here, too.

Choosing Biden, then, seems to have been a large error: the first cause for serious worry about Team Obama’s judgment.

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2.   Across the years I had admired Senator McCain for his steady push for campaign finance reform, and then appreciated his steady grinding on the Dubya gang.

He is the best GOP candidate of my lifetime, which began late in Eisenhower.

And it was certainly more “fiercely urgent” to depose Bush-Cheney in 2004 than it is to keep McCain out of the White House now.

Such, anyway, were my theelings before he invited Sarah Palin to town.
It was, to begin, vile hack politics for McCain to have chosen her.  The country he professes to love has been done a disloyal disservice.

And now — given McCain’s age and health — it seems fiercely urgent indeed that Obama win. Simply to prevent the rise of a President Palin.

She would be as fine a hand puppet as Reagan and Dubya were — better, indeed, than the latter ever has been. She’s sexy, chipper, telegenic.  Just perfect. The worst side of Reaganism would miraculously revive.

And so far she seems to be bringing the GOPhers votes:  Inspiring supposed conservatives who were discouraged by McCain’s nomination — and, more importantly, drawing some middle-of-the-road women who found that the trouncing of Hillary (more by the TV flacks than Barack) had left a bad taste in their mouths.

Perhaps she’ll blow up.  Perhaps a debate with Biden will send some women back to the Donkeys.

Pundits point out that McCain had little choice but to do something daring, to get back in the race after Barack’s potent speech in Denver.  Nevertheless, choosing Palin now glows on TV as gutsy and inspired — and all the more so when compared with Obama’s lame move.

So far, then, the Donkeys are getting clobbered in the VP derby.

It will be interesting, should McCain win, to see how the academic feminists who splintered the Democratic Party’s base in the 80s (with Identity Politics targeted at the White Male Hegemony) will react to the prospect of President Palin up their butts.

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As for assassination insurance, McCain too seems to have ignored the notion. The passionate militarist would see in Vice President Palin a more malleable playmate than the maverick former POW.

And as for the warped cracker …  In North Carolina two weeks ago I heard Rush Limbaugh (doesn’t like McCain) bellyaching for “a rock gut conservative” to seize Washington by the throat.

Sarah, he and has his foaming felt-clad audience felt, would do fine.

Seems the next president, then, may be spending motorcade time squinting over his shoulder into the sun.

September 12th, 2008

Funny cartoon re the campaign

Pretty funny!

August 25th, 2008

Ted Kennedy at the Donkey Convention

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

I noted with shock and approval that when Ted Kennedy addressed the Dem Convention tonight almost the first thing out of his mouth was that Barack would put an end to “the old politics of group against group, gays against straights” etc.

I think it’s great he said this, and everyone cheered.

But what it means is that the failures on Our Side of the Aisle these past 30s years are attributable in important part to the Identity Politics that (under the leadership of the academic feminists in the late 70s then in reaction to Reaganism) replaced universalism at the core of the American Left.

I have been squawking about this for years.

And Barbara Jordan (venerable black congresswoman from Texas) squawked about it as keynoote speaker at the 1992 Dem Convention. “Separatism is not allowed!” she thundered, pounding the podium.

IN ANY CASE … Pleased as punched over here (even vainly flattered) to hear Ted LEAD his talk about the good that Barack will bring by plainly implying that the Left’s been fucked for 30 years by bad self-serving intellectual leadership.

Separatism is NOT allowed.

Marxism, rather, is basically right (re universalism as basis of politics).  And, of course, marxism in this congrues with the Declaration of Independence.
The time of my entire adult life has been spent squandering the political power the non-rich had acquired across centuries of English and then two centuries of American experience.

That is: the Identity Politickers played right into the Reaganite hand. The rich were laughing up their sleeves. “They can have civil rights,” a GOP battleaxe once said in my grad-school cab (Midge Decter, I believe). “Civil rights aren’t ECONOMIC rights.”

OR (to touch on prior chat re prime-time cop shows where 4 of 5 crooks are Sex Offenders): Women may well be right that men are devils. But no successful politics will be built upon such truth.

July 12th, 2008

Crisis of the Old Order: Wall Street melts as sabres rattle …

Destructive, unpatriotic trends that have obsessed me here across the past two years seem to have accelerated during my Summer Vacation.

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The sabre rattling re Iran is at its height: Iran testing missiles in the night, and threatening to strike Tel Aviv if attacked. Rice seems the last muppet in the administration with any ability (not to say credibility) to speak on the world stage, and responded to Tehran Thursday employing the administration’s distinctive English:

“‘We will defend our interests and defend our allies. We take very, very strongly our obligations to defend our allies and no one should be confused of that,’ she said.”

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Meanwhile the financial system continues to melt.

– After the market close on Friday (yesterday), the FDIC announced it was taking over IndyMac Bancorp., which had suffered a run of over a billion the past week as accountholders lost confidence that the doors would stay open. The second biggest bank failure in US history.

Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia, Washington Mutual — all are in equally bad shape. IndyMac’s quietus came about only because it’s just not quite big enough not to fail.

– Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the massive core of housing finance in the US ($5 trillion in mortgages held, securitized or guaranteed) — are going under this week. Their stocks have fallen beneath $10 and will soon be measured in pennies.

Once Fannie and Freddie’s just about Dead, then some sort of governmental “recapitalization” — by taxpayers and/or asian investors (in US treasuries) — will reconstitute them. They will likely no longer be quasi-public “government-sponsored entitites” but rather more like an old public utility (the purpose of which is to package and resell residential mortgages). Not for profit. Not for sale.

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– Meanwhile Lehman Brothers continued its plunge (down about 20% Wednesday, another 14% Thursday), weighted with mortgage bonds, spiralling it seems for the same drain that consumed Bear Stearns.

– And oil on Friday hit an all time high in dollars at over $147.

The Fed across the past few weeks had signaled it’s thru cutting interest rates due to fears of energy inflation. So that bullet’s been shot.

Also approaching its limits: The Fed’s capacity to continue trading cash/Treasury bonds for market-valueless structured finance bonds (backed by mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, student loans, mall leases, David Bowie royalties, etc).

Before Election Day will all the bullets have been spent?

One of the NY Times financial columnists, Gretchen Morgenstern, concludes her latest roundup (Silence of the Lenders) with:

“A week ago, Bridgewater Associates, a research firm, estimated that losses from the credit crisis we’re now mired in might amount to $1.6 trillion when all is said and done. We’ll have to wait years to see if this is accurate. But whatever the number is, it will also represent, in stunning red ink, the cost to society of financiers who are shortsighted and greedy and regulators who don’t regulate.”

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For a broader vision of the near and mid-term future, read Arthur Schlesinger’s The Crisis of the Old Order. About the politico-financial collapse of the early 30s.

Particularly piquant is the account of hearings in the Senate in the fall of ’32, as FDR was running against Hoover, where Wall Street titan after titan, and Federal Reserve governor after Federal Reserve governor, all cleared their throats and told the Senators, We have nothing more to suggest. We are out of ideas. We’ve tried everything and nothing works. Our policies have failed. Our ideas are wrong.

depression.jpg The Fed of the early 30s, too, tried to ease the credit crunch, in a manner quite like today’s — lending Treasuries against market/confidence-challenged collateral. But then as now there was no reason in the world for a bank (healthy or no) to refuse in a confidence-poor environment a Fed offer to exchange Treasuries for wounded bonds. The banks of the early 30s took all there was to take, until the Fed had no more to give. Circa 1932.

When today’s Fed began, last fall, the Switcheroo, it said it was willing to swap 25% of its balance sheet (that 25% being roughly 200 billion). It has since exceeded that limit, while widening time after time the list of wounded bond types its willing to take on. Someday sooner than later the well is going to go dry.

The coming fall, then, is shaping up as a horrendous wild replay of 1932. As Obama challenges the Old Order.

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April 24th, 2008

Mo Dowd’s purty funny this mornin’

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Dr Seuss brought to bear:

The time has come. The time is now. Just go…. I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Hillary R. Clinton, will you please go now?!

April 11th, 2008

Hot off the press:
Carl Oglesby interview

Aha, a new interview with Carl Oglesby:

– former head of Students for a Democratic Society.

– author of one of the best conversations about US politics of the postwar era — The Yankee and Cowboy War (1977) — which tries to make sense of the domestic terrorism the US experienced from Dallas November 1963 through Memphis and Los Angeles 1968 to Watergate, and is wonderfully written.

Also turns out he was tight, man, with Hillary back in the day:

Oglesby: It was a friendship, a comradeship, within the context of the movement. She and I, for a while, were warm with each other. She and I were semi-close. I always liked her. I thought she was bright and had a lot to say. A friend of mine mentioned me to her not long ago, and according to him she got a case of the shakes. I think it was because she could imagine if any of her considerable enemies on the right wanted to do her in they would be happy to discover a relationship between her and me. Especially given this lie that I was a “Maoist.” I mean, no way! I was the last thing from a Maoist!

Reason: Did you see her when she was first lady?

Oglesby: I wouldn’t begin to be in touch with her now. I know what her enemies would do with a piece of information like that. They would defame me and defame her. There’s no point in it.

Reason: Is there today within her a trace of New Left anti-imperialism?

Oglesby: You got me. I don’t know much about her positions. What I think I know about Hillary Clinton is that she is honest and she’s good-hearted. She’s smart and she has lots of energy and she’s tough. I’m all for her. It’s too bad she and Barack Obama are having a faceoff. Both are good people. But she’s my guy.

Cool.

Hey man, it looks like maybe he read my 9/11 requiem. Here’s me last September:

George W. Bush is an emotionally disordered son of a famous man who found some ground beneath his feet when he was turned into a millionaire by some Cowboy financiers from Texas and told he could ride with them and wear a Stetson.

And here’s Carl last week:

Oglesby: He’s tried to adopt the Cowboy look. He is a Yankee, went to all the Yankee schools, had Yankee money in his blood. He goes to Texas, buys himself a pair of cowboy boots and a Stetson hat, and tries to speak with a bit of a drawl.

Cool.

Oglesby: He’s a phony. He’s a bad actor. He’s no more a cowboy than you or I—probably a good deal less. But his handlers grasped that there is a basic collision between the neo-Union and the neo-Confederacy.

Solid.

Oglesby: The Civil War is not over. Its issues continue to echo. Bush II emerges from that process. He is a Cowboy, as I use that term, and represents the movement of the Confederacy from the East to the West.

Right on.

April 3rd, 2008

Jumpin’ Jersey Jim Cramer hosts Hillary

Posted in 2008 Elections, Money by ed

Yesterday Madam Clinton got in the ring with the half-hinged impressario at Mad Money. See the video.

March 22nd, 2008

Urgency of Now? Unity? Richardson endorses Obama

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

The election is far away. Impossible to confidently assess lines of force in November. But instincts continue to shout recollections of Donkey self destruction.

Polls now show McCain ahead of Barack among independents by double digits. A strong swing from a month ago — the Reverend Wright effect.

1. I’ve never quite bought Barack’s “fierce urgency of now” argument.

To begin, the need in 2004 to depose Bush-Cheney and to restore a semblance of legitimacy to the electoral process was incomparably more urgent than the need now to keep McCain out of the White House.

(The damage has been done; we broke it and own it. And McCain is the Leftiest GOPher since … Nelson Rockefeller? Nah, he Leftier than that. Let’s see … He’s Leftier than any GOP candidate in my lifetime, which commenced late Eisenhower.)

More broadly: the American crisis began in the 80s, when its globalizing owner-operators began to separate themselves economically from the working class. The social and constitutional corruption we’ve suffered since followed that divorce as a near matter of course.

It’s not, then, that the dike has sprung a leak and we need an agile volunteer to lend a finger. Rather, the levees have burst — indeed, have been blown. The plutocratic trends are entrenched and turning them around will be like (the chestnut, but so apt) turning a tanker.

Our urgent need now, then is not merely to win this November but to end the GOP dominance of the White House that has obtained since LBJ fell on the sword of Vietnam.

2. Nor do I buy Barack’s song of unity. (But sense he may not either, in at least one important respect.)

Behind Reagan’s sparkly smile, the owner-operators of the United States resumed the class war that had subsided under FDR and Henry Ford:

– using immigration and globalization to “rationalize” US wages with the cost of Asian labor

– using “pension reform” to shed corporate responsibility for a “coddled” working class

– using debt generated by tax cuts off the top to beggar federal social support programs, and

– cutting federal funding of universities, having been taught by the movements of the 60s and 70s that an educated working class is a pain in the butt.

Reaganomics, in short, were about freeing the wealthy from taxes and regulation, while undermining the reforms of the 30s and the G.I. Bill which together by the mid 50s or so had produced a politically competent working class.

The owner-operators told us in the 80s they’d had enough competency. Then did their best to paralyze Bill Clinton when, unexpectedly, and thanks to Ross Perot, he slipped into office with 43% of the vote. Then installed Bush-Cheney. The Latin American model inspires them.

This reactionary assault on American society is largely a done deal. To what degree it can be undone is a question. But surely the owner-ops are not going to recant and rededicate themselves to Fordism after a S’mores-and-Kumbaya sitdown with Barack.

Thus, we need not unity, but a sustained Democratic response that effectively engages in the new class war, to restore a healthy socioeconomic balance. Last time the Depression provided the opportunity; perhaps the current crisis has a silver lining.

John Edwards was singing this song, but he was unable to compete for media time with the Hillary and Barack show. Identity politics again trumping the facts of life.

However: occasional glimmers in Barack’s eyes (when he utters the word Cheney, e.g.) lead me to think that he would indeed fight the Edwards fight, that his talk of unity is mostly just that: effective and cautious abstract speechmaking.

Maybe I’m wrong. It would be an interesting question to pose in debate:

Who, Senator, precisely do you hope to unify?

3. November Risk

Hillary risk is the ghost of Vince Foster.

Obama risk is (i) Rev Wright and similar as trigger of white mainstream voting booth conversions and (ii) international affairs.

Re the latter: Iran-Iraq-Turkey. Pakghanistan. Kosovo. Israel attacks Iran. If new fires are burning in November, it would hurt Barack much more than it would Hillary.

4. What’s a superdelegate to do?

Bill Richardson today gave his answer: roll the dice, in hope that the magnitude of damage done by Bush-Cheney will redound to support the relatively revolutionary vote. I think there’s something to this.

But then what …?

Whoever takes office in 2009 will catch the blast of the Bush-Cheney bomb. It will be hard for that person to repeat in 2012. Again I think Hillary shapes up better in this scenario.

Eight years of Hillary followed by eight of Obama would put an end to the nostalgic Reagan reaction and leave us finally facing the future, where clearly thru the mist it’s not Morning in America.

But a four-year Donkey tour that ends with electoral failure in 2012 would only strengthen the plutocratic trend, as the fresh air and clean hands of Carter’s four years (preceded by two Nixon victories) were followed by the Reaganite assault on the New Deal.

There were no clues in Bill Richardson’s (oddly timed) endorsement speech as to what he thinks about the nuts and bolts of November: he spoke of character, not Nixon/Reagan Democrats and the electoral college. He was close to the Clintons, of course. It would be more interesting — and even perhaps beneficial to settling this Donkey dust up — if he talked turkey about mechanics.

Meanwhile Barack himself seems mired in the tar pit. His comment about his mother (“a typical white person”) is echoing negatively all over the tube, while the GOPher OR people comb clippings and videotape for off-color remarks from his wife.

6. What a mess. The precedents have been clear, well discussed in the press:

– The 1980 convention: Ted Kennedy unwilling to compromise with Jimmy Carter. When that mismanaged show closed down Reagan found himself transformed from a curious old fogey (They say the darndest things!) to frontrunner.

– 1968. Chaos:

A big unpopular war. Eugene McCarthy runs against it — and thus against incumbent fellow Donkey LBJ.

And he does so well as to encourage Bobby Kennedy (who had thought to run in ’72 after a second Johnson term) to enter the fray.

Weeks later Martin Luther King is murdered and grey LBJ quits the race — sick with cancer, sick of the asian war and the domestic terror, and sickened by the Party’s electrified reaction to Bobby’s candidacy.

RFK’s murder then abruptly leaves the Party in pieces without a viable candidate. McCarthy’s people love him for good reason but he’s clear to get creamed by the center in November.

So Humphrey, Johnson’s Vice, gets the nod at Chicago while the kids and police are rioting in the streets.

Roughly one may draw comparisons: McCarthy and Barack. Humphrey and Hillary. But both of today’s candidates are stronger than those left standing in ’68.

===

I continue to worry the Nixon/Reagan Democrats would not vote Obama in the fall; thus that McCain would beat him.

I continue to worry the GOP would slam Hillary with Vince Foster; she’s answered those questions many times before, but never beneath klieg lights.
The only thing clear is that McCain is no longer an underdog.

If I were a Donnkey superdelegate, I would go with Hillary because I think she shapes up better against McCain and in the nuclear winter of 2009-10.

Obama, then, could not lose, whether or not he accepted a Hillary VP offer, and even if she lost to McCain. The Clinton saga would run its course and die a natural death, most likely after fighting the battle of Midway/Stalingrad (2009-10), leaving the party and country in better shape for Obama’s Enlightenment.

March 20th, 2008

Old thoughts about Eliot Spitzer

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Just came across old words posted here after the 2006 elections:

I’m glad Eliot Spitzer won as New York governor. Finally dispensing with the lap puppet Pataki.

Spitzer is a powerful moral force, already hated by Wall Street muscleheads for his piecework prosecution (as state attorney general) of their routinely corrupt business practices. I imagine he will begin to get the Cuomo treatment. We’ll see how he holds up.

(”Cuomo treatment?” Mario Cuomo, by means that remain mysterious but likely to my mind, was blackmailed out of politics as his time to run for president approached — told that if he made a run something awful would be revealed/done. He quietly conceded and left public life.)