Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain and the 3 A.M. Call

"The modern economy, it turns out, is a dangerous place — and it’s not the kind of danger you can deal with by talking tough and denouncing evildoers. Does Mr. McCain have the judgment and temperament to deal with that part of the job he seeks? "

The thrust of Paul Krugman's column is that John McCain is a very dangerous man when it comes to making important decisions for this country. He is erratic, and impulsive, and not well-informed.

Nancy Pelosi Must Be Muzzled

At one of the most critical points in this country's last 100 years, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, needed to exercise all the qualities of a superior leader. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to do this, and she ran off at the mouth chastising already irate Republican Congressman about the failures of the Bush Presidency and the impact on the lack of regulation and oversight on the financial system of this country. It is absurd for Republican leaders to claim that she caused reluctant Republican conservatives to not vote for the financial proposal, when they clearly had little inclination to do so in the first place. However, her case of foot in mouth disease couldn't have come at a worse time.

Every time Nancy Pelosi smiles in public, particularly when she is dealing with Republicans, I always get the sense that she is under great stress and strain. She has risen to one of the most important political positions in the country because she is extremely bright and talented. Unfortunately, her repertoire of leadership skills is still wanting in critical areas. Hopefully, the congressional Republicans and Democrats can get together and work out a compromise that will allow sufficient votes for the financial rescue package to pass. The next time the House of Representatives is voting on such a measure it might be a good idea for Democratic colleagues to tape her mouth shut

Friday, September 26, 2008

Governor Palin Speaks Out

Governor Palin spoke to reporters from her traveling press corps for the first time. We now know why the McCain campaign handlers were so concerned about limiting press access to her. In some of her responses, Governor Palin was inarticulate and demonstrated an inability to express herself in grammatically correct/coherent sentences. Some of her responses were very inappropriate for someone with a college degree in journalism, and much worse for someone who is the governor of any state.

Below is a verbatim response from Governor Palin when she was talking about what happened at the World Trade Center.

"I wish every American would come through here. I wish every world leader would come through here, and understand what it is that took place here and more importantly how America came together and united to commit to never allowing this to happen again. And just to hear and from and see these good New Yorkers who are rebuilding not just this are but helping to rebuild America has been very, very inspiring and encouraging."

Excuse me. "And just to hear and from and see these good New Yorkers….”

It is important for Governor Palin to speak clearly and coherently because as potential vice president of the United States, and possibly even the president of the United States, the entire world has to understand what she means by what she says. This was not evident in her brief interviews with the press, nor in her interview with Katie Couric, which is seen below. There is simply no way Governor Palin is even close to being a reasonable candidate for vice president of the United States. Choosing Governor Palin to be his vice presidential running mate wasn't a gamble on Senator McCain's part, it was an egregious example of poor judgment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wall Street and Washington Organized Crime in America

Organized crime in America, which was long associated with Tony Soprano wannabes, shifted to the major brokerage houses and current banking institutions on Wall Street, as well as major and smaller banks across America and the mortgage brokers that worked with them. The extent to which actual criminal activities occurred is being investigated by the FBI, but ethical and moral crimes were committed on a daily basis by people driven by greed and unbelievable ignorance of the cumulative effects of their money manipulation policies and tactics.

The shift of organized crime was aided and abetted by lax oversight laws in Washington and the failure to exercise the stripped-down oversight powers that remained. The Republican Party, rulers of Congress since the mid-90s, had nothing but contempt for regulatory rules and statutes which were viewed as hindrances to unfettered operations of markets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ran amok paying little or no attention to what their true functions and responsibilities were. The Republicans were joined by the Democrats who were all too willing to accept donations from lobbyists from financial organizations and other inducements that made it possible for the financial debacle to occur. In this quasi criminal environment, members of Congress never retired, they just went to work as lobbyists for the organizations they were supposed to oversee. Members of Congress were accessories in a new model of organized crime.

All of the above occurred in an environment in which the Bush administration subverted the Constitution, tortured people contrary to existing American laws, lied to the American people and the rest of the world, and perpetrated an endless series of misinformation and manipulation. This constituted organized crime on the part of the presidency of the United States. I don't cite specifics because that would take many pages, but surely the lie about the existence of weapons of mass of destruction in Iraq constituted a high crime and misdemeanor on the part of the president. When Joe Wilson attempted to speak up about the misinformation supplied to the American people, the Bush administration struck back by "outing" his CIA employed wife. This was followed by a series of lies and cover-ups which protected the people who actually ordered the felony.

Many people in the financial markets and throughout America are decrying the end of capitalism. If capitalism has died it was a result of its own misdeeds and failure to police itself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Great Depression of 2008

It's a scary headline, but one that could have easily happened if the "Great Bailout of 2008" wasn't proposed last week. Last Wednesday morning commercial paper that companies need for everyday business was frozen and a run on money market funds had begun. Lehman Brothers was no more, AIG was about to disappear, Merrill Lynch had been bought by Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were on the ropes with their futures in doubt. And this was only a part of the nightmare scenario.

The impending financial catastrophe also involved growing concern over money market funds. One major money market fund had "broke a buck" which means its value was less than a dollar. The run on money market funds had begun and it is likely that a significant number of money market funds could not have met the demands for withdrawals. Money market funds normally invest their assets in government securities, certificates of deposits, commercial paper of companies, and other highly liquid and low-risk securities. The problem for the money market funds was that some of the commercial paper they owned and other securities were no longer liquid or low risk. So the money market funds began to accumulate cash and the entire credit market was seizing up.

The housing market was continuing to collapse and the stock market was beginning to collapse. A major sell off in the stock market, by itself, would not have been sufficient for Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke to call a meet with the leaders of Congress and propose a 700 billion-dollar bailout. It took a combination of all of the aforementioned events and circumstances, in addition to other factors that have not been detailed. When the meeting was over the members of both parties had extremely somber looks on their faces. For the first time, they had been told the true nature of the catastrophe that was occurring. The piecemeal approach taken by the government was failing and unless a more comprehensive approach was instituted a financial catastrophe akin to the Great Depression was almost inevitable.

I don't have the expertise to critique the proposed plan. In fact, one of the problems with the proposed plan is that it contains so many unknowns. However, to have continued the piecemeal approach, or to have done nothing, would have led to disaster. Is a depression no longer possibile? Hopefully, yes. But in these times no one can say anything with a great deal of certainty.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

McCain Accuses Obama of Ruining Paradise

Senator McCain said that he had irrefutable proof that Senator Obama was the snake in the Garden of Eden that persuaded Eve, and then Adam, to eat the forbidden Apple, causing them to be cast from Paradise. He went on to say that this was a typical Democratic ploy to force to people who had everything they needed to move into government supplied housing. When Senator Obama replied, "I wasn't born yet" Governor Palin said, "That's one more evasive answer by Senator Obama."

Senator McCain went on to say that Senator Obama was complicit in the destruction of the fleet at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. McCain said that Obama, a Hawaiian resident, failed to perform his civic duty and inform the authorities that the Japanese aircraft were flying across the island. Once again Senator Obama replied, "I wasn't born yet." Governor Palin said, "You can never get a straight answer from Senator Obama."

Senator McCain also accused Senator Obama for the poorly planned war in Iraq. He said that Obama had failed to listen to his generals and had implemented unilateral strategies which forced the war to last more than five years. An outraged Senator Obama said, "I was against the invasion of Iraq never had any responsibilities for military decisions or planning." Governor Palin said, "once again Obama was refusing to accept responsibility for a Democratic caused debacle." When Governor Palin was asked what "debacle" meant, she giggled.

Lastly, Senator McCain said that Senator Obama was entirely responsible for the economic collapse confronting the nation. He pointed out that as one of the nation's wealthiest men with a controlling interest in all of the major brokerage houses Senator Obama failed to act with due diligence when his brokerage houses were creating junk securities. Senator Obama replied, "I have no stock or relationship with any of the brokerage houses on Wall Street." Governor Palin replied, "It’s pretty awful when a man can't own up to what he does."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wall Street and Big Banks: a Nation of Greed

The lack of oversight and failure to follow regulatory rules clearly contributed to the financial crisis in which we enmeshed. However, without boundless greed on the part of the major Wall Street institutions and large banks throughout America the possible financial catastrophe we are facing would have never occurred. People all over America played their part by wanting houses they couldn't afford, and mortgage brokers with the morals of loan sharks were only too happy to accommodate them.

On Wall Street a game of musical chairs has begun and only Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are left after Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch found themselves sitting on the metaphorical floor. What is particularly appalling about the way this fiscal crisis played out was the continuous lying by the CEOs and CFOs of the major institutions on Wall Street. At first it was a small problem, then it was a little bigger, and finally it kept getting worse and worse until an economic tsunami washed over the nation and most probably the rest of the world.

We find out that financial institutions, such as Lehman Brothers, were leveraged up to thirty to one in some of their investments. This means they had $1 of assets for every $30 of liabilities for vast portions of their investment portfolio. And their investment portfolio was contained bundled mortgages from people who were encouraged to lie about their ability to pay them. When is enough, enough ever on Wall Street? The question is its own answer. There are undoubtedly good and honest people who worked for Lehman Brothers and other now deceased institutions, and continue to work for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. However, the moral climate of corporate greed was so pervasive that the people in charge not only lied to us, they lied to themselves.

So, the government has to step in time and time again using taxpayer money in what many are calling the socialization of the financial system. I don't know enough about the intricate finances to be aware of solutions other than those the government has undertaken. But the incestuous nature of the situation couldn't be more apparent when current secretary of the treasury Henry Paulson, formally CEO of Goldman Sachs, is orchestrating the bailout of the financial system with the institutions that caused the need for the bailout. From where I nervously sit, it appears that Henry Paulson is doing all he can to save the system. But if the system wasn't so morally corrupt and incestuously tied together it would not have needed saving.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liberals: They Don't Get It and Never Will

The Democratic Party liberals and the liberal media columnists really don't understand what's happening in this election. It's the same thing that happened in the two recent Bush elections and they didn't get it then either. Liberals don't understand conservative values and viewpoints and don't relate well with blue-collar people despite the fact that they clearly represents the economic and health-care interests of blue-collar people much better than the Republicans. The Liberals keep thinking elections should be about ideas, principles, and programs for the voters. The Republicans understand that presidential elections are about whether or not the people can relate to the candidates.

It doesn't matter whether Governor Palin understands the so-called "Bush Policy" or that she continually misrepresents her position on the Bridge to No Where. It doesn't matter what McCain says or how he says it because now he is in the groove and will bash Obama to oblivion until Election Day. It doesn't matter that the McCain campaign lies when it says Obama will raise everybody's taxes. What matters is that enough voters have decided that they can relate to McCain, or feel more comfortable with him, or what ever, than they do with Obama. That determines how people vote.

I was reading columns in the New York Times and was struck by the liberal columnists' predictable reactions to Governor Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson. Gail Collins pointed out that Governor Palin misrepresented what she previously said about the effects of what our societies do on global warming. Paul Krugman pointed out that Governor Palin misrepresented what she originally said about the Bridge to Nowhere. He also pointed out the blatant lies coming out of the McCain campaign. In its editorial on September 12th, the New York Times stated about Governor Palin, “Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd." None of this matters. Millions of people have decided that Governor Palin is okay and they can relate to her.

End of story. End of election. Will the Liberals learn anything from this election? Not a chance.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Presidential Polls Are Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

November 1, 2008 Update
Note: to blog surfers and others who recently found this post. This post was written on September 10, 2008, when the polls showed Senator McCain taking over the lead from Senator Obama. The purpose of the post was to point out that the sampling procedures had been changed to favor a more Republican oriented response. This is a tremendous no-no in any poll or sampling procedure. If you are a Republican hoping to read that the current polls which show Obama with anywhere from a three to eight point lead are wrong, I have to disappoint you. While there is a significant difference among the polls, it is likely Obama still has a four to five point lead. There are significant flaws in some of the polls, such as one that assumes that 42% of the voters will be evangelicals, which is more than twice the percentage of evangelicals that voted in the 2004 presidential election. Besides, the election is decided on a state-by-state basis were Obama has more than enough states to give him the necessary 270 electoral votes. I'm not saying that McCain can't win, but rather that it is extremely unlikely that he will do so.


According to the most recent polls (Gallup, CBS, USA Today etc.) Senator McCain has pulled out in front of Senator Obama. But as everything else in this campaign nothing is what it appears to be. Alan Abramowitz, cited in the Huffington post, said, "One reason for the dramatic difference between the two recent CBS polls is that the two samples differed fairly dramatically in terms of partisan composition. The first sample was 35.2% Democratic, 26.2 percent Republicans, and 38.6 percent independent. The second sample was 34.9% Democratic, 31.1% Republican, and 34.0% independent. That's a change from a 9 point Democratic advantage to a 3.8 point Democratic advantage. That alone would probably explain about half of the difference in candidate preferences between the two [CBS] polls."

Simply put, you cannot change the sampling populations from one poll to the next and have any consistency (reliability). Mr.Abramowitz doesn't think the overall spike in Republican sampling among all three polling firms is an accurate reflection of the electorate. He goes on to say, "Given how important polls can be in the coverage of the race, even a slight assist to McCain during a period in which he is exciting the Republican base could help him solidify a new narrative in the race, regardless of the partisan facts on the ground."

The people of this country need accurate information in order to make an informed decision about whom to vote for in the presidential election. If the polls are inaccurate, and the McCain campaign is certainly not accurate, and Obama is spending most of his time responding to "misinformation" from the McCain campaign, then the American electorate falls back to choosing someone they are most comfortable with. That's the McCain strategy. It was the Bush strategy and it got us eight years under what will go down in history as one of the worst presidential administrations. Do we want that again?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Governor Palin Is the Bridge to Nowhere

Governor Palin proudly states that she was against the "Bridge to Nowhere." In a recent ad by the Obama campaign Governor Palin is shown holding up a "Bridge to Nowhere" shirt with a big grin indicating her support for the project. What are we supposed to believe? What Governor Palin tells us to believe or what we see with our own eyes? I submit that Governor Palin not only supported the "Bridge to Nowhere" but she is personally a bridge to nowhere.

Ever since her carefully orchestrated appearances before, during, and after the Republican convention more questions than answers have arisen about who and what she is, and what she stands for. No one, not even the McCain campaign, believes their mantra that Governor Palin is more experienced than Senator Obama, and she is ready to take over the presidency. Any woman who describes herself as a pit bull with lipstick is more prepared to referee a so-called professional wrestling match then she is to become the vice president of the United States. The McCain campaign is well aware of it and has limited all access to her so that she doesn't put her foot in her political mouth.

In a sense Governor Palin is a pawn in the Republican effort to make the election about liking and identifying with people as opposed to determining who would make the best president and solve the vast array of problems facing this country. She is a very willing pawn who "dragged her infant child" onto national TV during the Republican convention. Was I not supposed to make reference to her family? Well, if she's going to bring her baby and put it on display then she's made her family a national issue.

It's inconceivable to think of what would happen to this country if Senator McCain became president and then were disabled or very sick. Can anyone imagine this self-styled hockey mom sitting down with Vladimir Putin discussing the fate of the world. How could she address the significant financial problems this country is facing when she doesn't even understand the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I could go on and on, but that would be tedious. My only hope is that she doesn't go on and on because that would be perilous for this country.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hiding Governor Palin in Plain Sight

The McCain campaign announced a list of places that Governor Palin will be campaigning at for the next three weeks. At the same time they announced the new rules for for interviews with Governor Palin. As of September 7, 2008, Governor Palin will not be giving any interviews with the press unless Senator Senator McCain is also present, in which case he will be answering the questions. In the event Senator McCain is otherwise occcupied, Karl Role will substitute for Senator McCain and Karl Rove will answer all the questions.

The McCain campaign also announced that it won't allow any difficult, ticky, or subversive questions to be asked of Governor Palin. The Senator or Karl will be the final arbiters of what constitutes difficult, tricky, or subversive questions. Furthermore, representatives from CNN, MSNBC. or angry liberal establishment reporters will not be allowed to come with 1000 feet of Governor Palin. The McCain campaign reserves the right to add other subvversive persons or agencies to this list.

Lastly, the McCain campaign made it clear that Governor Palin will contine to unleash hostile, sarcastic, and nasty remarks about Senators Obama and Biden. Anyone evidencing even the slightest hostility to Governor Palin will be shot on site as a sexist pig, even Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McCain Campaign Got Talent

If some people were worried that the Republican convention wouldn't be able to match the excitement generated at the Democratic convention and Barack Obama's sensational speech, recent days have shown that they had nothing to worry about. First Senator McCain rolled out the least qualified vice presidential candidate unimaginable to the astonishment of most of America. Having gotten everyone's attention, the McCain campaign then proceeded to unequivocally state that Governor Palin was more qualified than Senator Obama. This led to incredulity, anger, outrage, and a whole post of other emotions that would have earned the McCain campaign high marks on the hit television show "America's got talent."

A good portion of the basis for the McCain campaigns assertion that Governor Palin was more qualified than Senator Obama was her experience as mayor of a small town of 5000. James Carville showed a picture of the City Hall and proclaimed that it looked like a bait shop southern Louisiana. More high marks for the McCain campaign in terms of comedy.

America then learns that Governor Palin is a supporter of the Alaska Independence Party, as evidenced by a video of her wishing them good luck on their upcoming convention. Then we find out that Governor Palin's husband was a membership in the secessionist party at a time when the theme of the Republican convention is "Country First." This comedic piece of information would've caused the hard to please Piers Morgan to break out in laughter.

Today Senator McCain said, "Enough of this nonsense." Since Senator McCain introduced this nonsense by selecting Governor Palin as his vice presidential running mate he is responsible for the nonsense continuing till election Day. Not to be outdone by his vice presidential running mate, Senator McCain contributed his own nonsense by refusing to talk to members of the media that asked tough questions, calling them "unfair." It is certain that if the McCain campaign were eligible for, "America's Got Talent" it would certainly make the final ten.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Governor Palin: Born Again Secessionist?

In a column in his blog "Political Punch," Jack Tapper, a senior ABC news correspondent stated the following, " Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party say that Palin was once so independent, she was once a member of their party, which, since the 1970s, has been pushing for a legal vote for Alaskans to decide whether or not residents of the 49th state can secede from the United States." If true, this would blow up Governor Palin's nomination, but more importantly blow up Senator McCain's bid to become president.

In the video presented below, Governor Palin is seen giving warm greetings to the Alaskan Independence Party this Year. Her support for this party is quite evident and supports the assumption that Governor Palin may be a born-again secessionist. Like many other Americans, I was under the assumption that the civil war had settled the issue of secession.

I have taken care not to present this as a fact, because there is not sufficient evidence at this time to make such an assertion. In fact, I hope this proves untrue for it would be a disgraceful event in the history of this country.