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Gah… 15 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
66 comments

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HALF MOON BAY, CA – OCTOBER  A man looks at a giant pumpkin in the back of a truck at the 34th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off October 8, 2007 in Half Moon Bay, California. Thad Starr of Pleasant Hill, Oregon took the top honor at tihis years pumpkin weigh-off with his pumpkin coming in at 1524 pounds, earning his $6 per pound in prize money for a total of $9144. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This year the pumpkin winner weighed 4 lbs more, obviously last year was an off year…. in the article the winner claims it is no problem to raise them this big… but I caught an interview with him with an hilarious anecdote.  He dosed his pumpkin field with so much fish fertiliser he noticed it smelled like something washed up on the beach and died… and he got vultures.

Oh that sounds like an allegory..

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — Thad Starr’s giant pumpkin really began putting on weight in August. A lot of weight. The pumpkin gained about thirty pounds a day on its way to victory Monday at the 35th annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off in Half Moon Bay.

Starr’s pumpkin finished at 1,528 pounds, beating the contest record he set last year by four pounds.

“We really pamper them,” Starr, 41, of Pleasant Hill, Ore., said about the pumpkins he raises, adding that the secret to growing big pumpkins is good soil.

Tim Beeman, a spokesman for the contest, said Starr’s pumpkin was four feet, four inches tall with a circumference of about 15 feet.

Starr beat out dozens of other growers from Washington, Oregon and California. Beeman said seven pumpkins came in at more than 1,000 pounds.

Forklifts were used to place the giant gourds on a 5-ton, industrial-strength scale. Starr said he bought a trailer to transport his giant gourd.

At $6 a pound for the winning pumpkin, Starr is taking home more than $9,000.

The giant gourd and other large pumpkins will be on display on Main Street in Half Moon Bay this weekend.

I think Half Moon Bay blew up to something bigger than simply being the area where pumpkins are and people taking a nice drive down the coast to pick up a few, when Charlie Brown the cartoon character regularly communed with the great pumpkin, every fall Shulz did a few strips of CB, in the pumpkin fields….

The “last hope debate”… can anyone bear to watch? 15 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
86 comments

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Reflection
Passing through an Amtrak station on his way to an interview in Greensboro, North Carolina, Barack Obama catches a glimpse of himself in a mirror.
[Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME]

Well.. the NYT calls it the “last, best hope for John McCain to reverse the tide…”

Hoefstra – Long Island – 9 PM –

This gave me a laugh tho:

First Read:

NBC/WSJ pollster Peter Hart (D) passes along this finding from a recent poll he conducted: 37% of McCain voters say they detest Obama and would have a hard time accepting him as president, while a similar number of Obama voters (36%) say the same thing of McCain.

DNA! DNA!  We need some DNA!

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Mike Davis has a new piece out…

[I]n addition, both Obama and his vice presidential partner Joe Biden, in their support for Secretary of the Treasury Paulson’s plan, avoid any discussion of the inevitable result of cataclysmic restructuring and government bailouts: not “socialism,” but ultra-capitalism — one that is likely to concentrate control of credit in a few leviathan banks, controlled in large part by sovereign wealth funds but subsidized by generations of public debt and domestic austerity.

Never have so many ordinary Americans been nailed to a cross of gold (or derivatives), yet Obama is the most mild-mannered William Jennings Bryan imaginable. Unlike Sarah Palin who masticates the phrase “the working class” with defiant glee, he hews to a party line that acknowledges only the needs of an amorphous “middle class” living on a largely mythical “Main Street.”

If we are especially concerned about the fate of the poor or unemployed, we are left to read between the lines, with no help from his talking points that espouse clean coal technology, nuclear power, and a bigger military, but elide the urgency of a renewed war on poverty as championed by John Edwards in his tragically self-destructed primary campaign  [oh please, there was no inherent ''tragedy'' as he meant none of it, his run was to eclipse any poverty message from Kucinich   -- Mcat].  But perhaps inside the cautious candidate is a man whose humane passions transcend his own nearsighted centrist campaign. As a close friend, exasperated by my chronic pessimism, chided me the other day, “don’t be so unfair. FDR didn’t have a nuts and bolts program either in 1933. Nobody did.”

What Franklin D. Roosevelt did possess in that year of breadlines and bank failures, according to my friend, was enormous empathy for the common people and a willingness to experiment with government intervention, even in the face of the monolithic hostility of the wealthy classes. In this view, Obama is MoveOn.org’s re-imagining of our 32nd president: calm, strong, deeply in touch with ordinary needs, and willing to accept the advice of the country’s best and brightest.  ::snip::

I caught an NBC (GE! GE! USA! USA!) interview with Paulson, in which he unblinkingly stated that the American people were buying shares “that will be very valuable”.

Yeah?  Who says?  You?

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This from Madman from the last thread fits in here…

America’s Political Cannibalism By Chris Hedges

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

As the public begins to grasp the depth of the betrayal and abuse by our ruling class, as the Democratic and Republican parties are exposed as craven tools of our corporate state, as savings accounts, college funds and retirement plans become worthless, as unemployment skyrockets and as home values go up in smoke, we must prepare for the political resurgence of a reinvigorated radical Christian right. The engine of this mass movement—as is true for all radical movements—is personal and economic despair. And despair, in an age of increasing shortages, poverty and hopelessness, will be one of our few surplus commodities.

Karl Polanyi in his book “The Great Transformation,” written in 1944, laid out the devastating consequences—the depressions, wars and totalitarianism—that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.” He warned that a financial system always devolved, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism—and a Mafia political system—which is a good description of the American government under George W. Bush. Polanyi wrote that a self-regulating market, the kind bequeathed to us since Ronald Reagan, turned human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. He decried the free market’s belief that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market. He reminded us that a society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic worth beyond monetary value, ultimately commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. Speculative excesses and growing inequality, he wrote, always destroy the foundation for a continued prosperity.

And a single day on the markets changes it all… right? right? 14 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Afghanistan War, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
67 comments

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A mullah kisses his son outside a temporary mosque at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Kabul. [AP via BBC]

I just loved that baby, festooned so beautifully with poppies… and where is the baby?  In a refugee camp in his own country.

But! not to worry!, the markets surged!  Best single day!  Best rebound! Ever!  Best best best best! One enthusiastic burble I heard was, the single best day and it did what took 69 years previously to reach (a more than 900 market, not just a day’s rise).

Endlessly we prop ourselves up… truly we are High Schoolers, let loose on the world.

But! Not To Worry!  An even better day is coming!

The Republican National Committee, growing nervous over the prospect of Democrats’ winning a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, is considering tapping into a $5 million line of credit this week to aid an increasing number of vulnerable incumbents, top Republicans say.

With party strategists fearing a bloodbath at the polls, GOP officials are shifting to triage mode, determining who can be saved and where to best spend their money.

And with the House and Senate Republican campaign committees being drastically outspent by their Democratic counterparts, and outside groups such as Freedom’s Watch offering far less help than was once anticipated, Republicans are turning to the national party committee as a lender of last resort.

A decision is imminent because television time must be reserved and paid for upfront, and available slots are dwindling.

A representative for the RNC would neither confirm nor deny that it was considering the move.

300 in the House, Nothing Less!  I have lit candles.

As for the senate the new number to pray for is 61… so that if Lieberman takes his mean little balls and goes home to the Republican Yahweh, the Democrats still have 60.  Jot it down and ruminate on it during the day, at odd times.  Jesus hears every little prayer, however inadvertent.

In other news, I just heard that since the Yes on Prop 8 crowd began with their very powerful commercial using Newsom’s own triumphal words the day the SC ruled on SSM (“it’s comin’, whether anyone likes it or not!”, what made it bad ws he screamed it.. I swear he is bi polar), why, those enterprising folks (ein volk ein reich) have turned the polling around by 10 pts.  AND they have only just debuted their second ad, the one that hits at the old bugaboo, your tiny frail children will be indoctrinated in the Great Gay Way.

4 weeks ago NO! on 8 was not out of danger but it was leading (with possibly as many as 20% undecided, the Yes forces saw that and moved in).  No more.

But, Jesus is coming.  Have no fear.  And the mullah and his divine baby really must perk up.  We have brought them Democracy and Better Days are Coming.  Chickens in all pots.

^^^^

UPDATE, 6:06 AM PT

I need entertainment, don’t you?

Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-Classytown)

October 14, 2008 7:37 AM

ABC News’ Brian Ross has a recording of Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Florida, firing his mistress.

Listen HERE.

“I just learned today about the serious allegations concerning Congressman Tim Mahoney,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “These charges must be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the House Ethics Committee.”

– jpt

via Tapper at ABC

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From NYCO:

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Peeking out at the dawn… 13 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
71 comments

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Kingfisher with fish – Getty

If he wins the White House, Obama said, he will use the $10 billion the nation currently spends each month in Iraq on domestic programs.

He told a crowd of 20,000 in Germantown: “If we can rebuild Baghdad, we can sure as heck rebuild Philadelphia.”

And under each chair was a bottle of Arpege… and a signed, studio head shot (that would be a glossy 8 x 10!) of Obama.

Earlier in the article it says Obama’s 4 stops in Philadelphia signify how important the city and collar communities (are we choking yet?) are to his run.  However, I read at Pa Politics that he has not been there for 3 months.  Information is so selective.  Hosanna.

Eleanor Clift on with McLaughlin said Obama is headed for 300+ EV, and I say, Praise Jesus!  Let it be!, and Bring it On!.  I want good majorities and MANDATES.  Meanwhile, the chick embryo has the spine.

Recent polls show Obama with a double-digit lead, but his campaign expects the race to be tight. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell told Philadelphians that their primary-day turnout of 53% of registered voters was insufficient. For Obama to win the state, 70% to 75% must go to the polls, he said.

“It’s on each and every one of you to bring your friends, your relatives, your co-workers, people on the block, everybody has to vote,” Rendell said. “I don’t care how long the lines are. Nobody leaves.”

hmm.  OK Ed!  Is that a pistol in your pocket or do elections turn you on?  Democratic punditry is very turned on by this election…. no question.

I am sorry, I have just heard all the quadrennial promising that I can take, for a lifetime – and then some… I want good enough numbers for the candidate, so that Dem operatives and pundits MUST accept a different story line as the only saleable line….  I am sick unto death of the party’s whining, obfuscation and excuses.

The Independent has an article up, entitled, Republican Leaders Break Ranks With McCain:

Two former rivals for the party nomination, Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson, went on the record over the weekend about the disarray in the Republican camp. And a string of other senior party figures said Mr McCain’s erratic performance risks taking the party down to heavy losses not just in the presidential race but also in contests for Congressional seats. Mr Thompson, a former governor of the swing state of Wisconsin, said he thought Mr McCain, on his present trajectory, would lose the state, and he told a New York Times reporter he was not happy with the campaign. “I don’t know who is,” he added.

hmm I never saw WI as going for anyone but Obama (as I am sure Madman knows better than I), from his 17 pt win in the primary to the fact I think he has always, always, always out-polled McCain there… the latest WI poll at RCP has Obama leading by 10.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has an interesting piece, her take on the shreds in the pond divide, clue: it’s a yawning chasm for some, she says..  I’d be delighted for some down-and-out time (forever) for the American Empire (HA!  AmEx Empire, really!), in all its parts and pieces.  Never was on board.  But those thousand and more military bases will be the last to go, if they ever go.

In the 90s I thought we’d have Gingrich ’round our necks for a long long time (not fooling myself, he is not gone) in Congress…and I wondered if I could stand it… did not work out that way, tho.  More recently, I thought we’d have Haider of Austria around for a few decades, to rev up the hard Right Wing in Europe… but he died, going twice the speed limit, after a party.

They rise, they fall.

***

I just spied this at The Independent, with a bit more information than I had caught in the US press:

Ms Pelosi wants to galvanise backing for a new financial stimulus package to increase the US food-stamp programme and extend unemployment benefits. It is understood that she is also proposing that federal funds be used for new public infrastructure projects to create jobs.

Food stamps date back to 1943, and are part of a federal programme that gives very low-income families an allowance to spend on groceries. The allowance is distributed on to debit cards which can be used in supermarkets across the country, and recipients are also eligible to claim free school meals for their children. 

A record 28 million Americans now receive food stamps at a cost to the Government of almost $30 billion a year.

Ms Pelosi, who is hosting a meeting with other lawmakers today, has said that she could try to force through a Bill after the presidential election on November 4, but before Christmas.

They need a couple of showy “take action” things, right after winning.  God knows the food stamp recipients need the food and it makes for nice payments to R mid-west farmers, as well.

***

hmm The Rully Big Boyz finally got a room together…  It did not go all that well.  Norris is up in the NYT:

Behind that lurks another risk: Some bankers said that they dared not resume normal lending in the interbank market, in part because investors might think that banks making loans to weaker institutions were taking on too much risk. One promise from the finance ministers was to “support systemically important financial institutions and prevent their failure.”

On Friday, Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary, refused to say whether Goldman Sachs, the firm he used to run, or Morgan Stanley, whose share price has collapsed, qualified as such an institution. But by Sunday the government appeared ready to provide some sort of support for that company.

Part of the weekend was devoted to promises that this would never happen again, with bankers saying they had strengthened their risk management systems and expected new regulatory arrangements to be made.

Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said the Fed had moved quickly to stem the crisis and would do more as needed. But he was silent on what role, if any, the Fed had played in bringing on the crisis.

Monday is a partial holiday in the United States, with the stock market open but some banks celebrating Columbus Day. That could delay until Tuesday the development of clear evidence of whether the banks are still afraid to lend to each other — and of whether the credit crisis will continue to worsen.

Thank goodness! people who know what they are doing! are in charge!, before, now and later!  I am so relieved!!

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well… 12 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
106 comments

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Stop the pain!  Stop the hurt!  We can’t screw it up any worse than they did!

– Obama yesterday in Davenport Iowa (they are playing the audio on KGO, but I can find only a single appearance of it on twitter)

I can’t stand it!  I’m pulling the lever!  He sold me!

No really he said that….  They have had it on all night as a bumper, with strains of Marvin Gaye and .. On The Eve of Destruction (I am terrible at matching bands and songs and titles)…

Tickling the boomers, is my take… ;)  Along with all the rest, they are tossing in old commercials from the 1960 race, Harry Belafonte with JFK (he promised “equality”, the voice over said he’d be like FDR), and Henry Cabot Lodge doing a commercial for Nixon, with whom he shared the ticket.. all of it not-so-subtly invoking The Past.

We are not quite in The Past, however……..

Analysts noted that markets have slumped to oversold territory. And while stocks might see a reflex bounce-back, a significant rally is not expected to be sustainable as long as fear continues to rule.

“There’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling,” said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia. “But this constant selling, you would think, has to ease at some point,” he added.

Choirs are set to sing financial carols all week long… My guess there has been some frantic re-writing…

Tomorrow, the US Treasury bond market will be closed for the Columbus Day holiday. But the stock market will be open.

Among this week’s major economic indicators, September PPI and retail sales are due on Wednesday, while the CPI and the Philadelphia Fed’s October business index are set for Thursday. Investors also will look for the NAHB housing market index on Thursday, as well as the Federal Reserve’s report on September industrial output and capacity utilisation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Fed will release its “beige book” of anecdotal reports on regional economic conditions.

Rubin was on with Wolfe (Friday I think) trailing along assurances that Obama has met recently with them all, himself, Volcker, Summers, Laura d’Andrea Tyson … sorry, not in office the last 8 years, but part of the problem. Not that most of the people either candidate would call on would NOT be part of the problem.

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This rides at the top of Drudge, with the Drudge-generated title of:

Dem Congress Plans on Obama Win, Pelosi May Recall House

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Just for diversion… I don’t think I have ever seen an orangutan who looked as grand as this fellow:

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Sibu, an orang-utan, returns to Dublin Zoo after seven years in the Netherlands, where he was borrowed for a breeding programme. [PA via BBC]

Not worried about his 401(k) either…

On and on it goes… 11 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Culture of Death, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
82 comments

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A Turkish army helicopter flies over the mountains in Sirnak near the Turkish-Iraqi border, October 2007. Turkish aircraft carried out a fresh attack on positions of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Saturday, the Turkish army said on its website. [Xinhua]

Full text from Reuters:

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish war planes and artillery have pounded bases of the Kurdish separatist group PKK in a big operation in northern Iraq, the military said on Saturday.

Turkish TV meanwhile reported that Ankara was considering talking to the Iraqi Kurdish government about acting against the PKK, which launches attacks inside Turkey from its bases inside northern Iraq.

Turkey has previously refused to sit at the negotiating table with the Iraqi Kurds and blamed them for not doing enough to drive out the PKK.

The military has stepped up its operations against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) in southeast Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq after a series of deadly attacks by the separatists on Turkish soldiers.

An army statement said Turkish planes and artillery attacked 31 PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region at about midnight Friday. The operation was a success, it said.

NTV broadcaster said that Turkish authorities wanted to seek the help of Iraqi Kurdish leaders against the PKK. They would consider inviting Nechirvan Barzani, who heads the Iraqi Kurdish regional government, to Turkey for talks.

Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday extended for another year a mandate for the military to launch operations against PKK rebels based in northern Iraq.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK launched its armed campaign for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

(Reporting by Selcuk Gokoluk; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

… and arms dealers the world over stand up and cheer!

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Turks chant nationalist slogans in downtown Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, during a protest against the separatist Kurdish rebel group of PKK. Turkish troops killed 15 Kurdish guerrillas in fighting far from the increasingly tense Iraq border region where some of the separatists have sought refuge, a news report said. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for unity between Turks and Kurds against the rebels. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)

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Asia Times

[A]rmy secretary Pete Geren, a former four-term congressman from Texas, also cautioned last Monday that the proposed $700 billion rescue plan could take a toll on the army’s budget in the coming years. The financial crisis could exacerbate the fact that defense budgets traditionally are cut drastically at the end of wars, he said.

Because of its high personnel costs, the army does not have the flexibility of other services to spend on new weapons systems. Thus it will face substantial pressure to cut back on its troubled flagship modernization program, the Future Combat Systems, and its new helicopter programs.

They’ll just gin up the wars, one way or the other…

Last week, as it has each year since the mid-1990s, the US Army sent its “wish list” (in which it seeks to supplement its own budget with “extracurricular” money) that it, as well as the other services, sends to Congress each year after.

Given that it bears the largest share of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the army only sought $3.9 billion. Although, when you take into account the amount by which the 2009 army budget already has been increased over and above the extrapolated 2001 plan for 2009 it is apparent that the army actually is seeking a $54.5 billion “wish list plus-up”. Even so, the army leadership said it would seek larger overall budget requests in future years.

Ironically, this indicates that the basis for each of the services’ “plus-ups” is not war-related; instead they are an artifact of the post-September 11, 2001, political environment. Specifically, as noted above, in times of war politicians in the executive branch and Congress are willing to support a generally rising tide of defense spending, even when it is not spent on problem areas, such as a smaller force structure or reduced readiness.

Yet as long as the United States remains at war nobody expects to see a decline in military spending. Despite large war costs there is nothing comparable to the end of the Cold War, or the Great Depression that would drive military spending significantly downward.

My own guess is that they bleed the nation for wars as long as they can.  There is still a ton of money sloshing around, and part of the game will be seeing how adept Ob is at that… Americans love to stand tall and demand that the poor give up something.

^^^^

Madman posted this to the last thread and it fits here…………..

Faster Uncle Sam! Kill! Kill!

Pentagon officials have prepared a new estimate for defense spending that is $450 billion more over the next five years than previously announced figures.

The new estimate, which the Pentagon plans to release shortly before President Bush leaves office, would serve as a marker for the new president and is meant to place pressure on him to either drastically increase the size of the defense budget or defend any reluctance to do so, according to several former senior budget officials who are close to the discussions.

Experts note that releasing such documents in the twilight of an administration is a well-worn tactic, and that incoming presidents often disregard such guidance in order to pursue their own priorities.

And with the nation’s economy caught up in a global financial meltdown, it remains unclear whether either Sen. John McCain , R-Ariz., Sen. Barack Obama , D-Ill., or a Democratic Congress would support such large increases for defense next year.

“This is a political document,” said one former senior budget official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It sets up the new administration immediately to have to make a decision of how to deal with the perception that they are either cutting defense or adding to it.”

Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s top budget official from 2001 to 2004, who is not involved in the current discussions, agreed.

“The thinking behind it is pretty straightforward,” Zakheim said. “They are setting a baseline for a new administration that then will have to defend cutting it.”

The fiscal 2010 portion of the estimate includes a $57 billion increase, out of which $30 billion would go for a vaguely defined contingency fund and $14 billion would go for replacing or fixing existing equipment, called reset, and modernization, the former officials said.

They added that those items reflect the Pentagon’s attempt to anticipate the end of huge supplemental war allotments that have hidden the costs of resetting and modernizing the nation’s war-torn force. Both presidential candidates have pledged to scale back supplemental war spending.

^^^^

And this from Intermittent Bystander from the last thread…

Hey guess what, folks? The Axis of Evil just lost a Supervillain, and nary a (US) missile was fired. International terra fightin’s so easy when you just use the Limpin’ Lame Duck (Holiday Weekend) Decree!

North Korea has moved to restart a disabled nuclear reactor and takes other provocative steps, including expelling U.N. inspectors and test-firing missiles. Those steps in recent weeks have heightened tensions in the region and place the shaky disarmament deal in peril.

The blacklist decision had been in the works since chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill returned from a trip to North Korea late last week. On his visit, he proposed a face-saving compromise under which the North would accept the verification plan after the delisting was announced. Previously, the U.S. had insisted that the North agree to the deal first.

I guess that means they’re with us, now!

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Not to worry!  We have Pakistan and Afghanistan (the place that sinks empires), Iran, AfriCOM — plenty of choices for war expansion.  And that untidy continent to the South, that the Fourth Fleet is carefully watching for us.

There is always hope for war.

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Red Winter 10 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
115 comments

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Red illuminated ice crystal – Antarctica

Floyd Norris has this list up:

Here are year-to-date figures, in dollars, for various countries. In each case, the numbers are for a major index. The figures are through a few minutes ago  [FN posted at 7:43 AM ET], so they reflect midday Friday prices in Europe and do not include Friday prices in the Western Hemisphere.

United States, down 38%
Canada, down 41%
Mexico, down 45%
Brazil, down 55%
Argentina, down 42%
Chile, down 41%
Peru, down 52%

Britain, down 47%
Germany, down 49%
France, down 47%
Spain, down 44%
Switzerland, down 35%
Italy, down 51%
Portugal, down 51%
Iceland, down 73%
Ireland, down 61%
Netherlands, down 53%
Belgium, down 52%
Denmark, down 44%
Finland, down 54%
Norway, down 55%
Sweden, down 48%
Greece, down 58%
Austria, down 60%
Poland, down 48%
Russia, down 65%
Hungary, down 54%
Ukraine, down 74%
Lithuania, down 55%
Turkey, down 57%
South Africa, down 48%
Israel, down 30%

Japan, down 39%
Hong Kong, down 47%
China, down 57%
Taiwan, down 40%
South Korea, down 53%
Australia, down 53%
Singapore, down 45%
India, down 58%
Indonesia, down 50%
Malaysia, down 39%
New Zealand, down 46%
Philippines, down 50%
Pakistan, down 49%
Vietnam, down 61%

Italics are his… seem to be the BRIC countries.  He has additional commentary and caveats following the list.

Joy.

^^^^^^^

In the previous thread I linked to Nouriel Roubini’s stronger column at his own RGE Monitor… but here will extract the full list of what are his prescriptions.  Geesh, better Dr Roubini than Jesus-Oh.

[A]t this point severe damage is done and one cannot rule out a systemic collapse and a global depression. It will take a significant change in leadership of economic policy and very radical, coordinated policy actions among all advanced and emerging market economies to avoid this economic and financial disaster. Urgent and immediate necessary actions that need to be done globally (with some variants across countries depending on the severity of the problem and the overall resources available to the sovereigns) include:

- another rapid round of policy rate cuts of the order of at least 150 basis points on average globally;

- a temporary blanket guarantee of all deposits while a triage between insolvent financial institutions that need to be shut down and distressed but solvent institutions that need to be partially nationalized with injections of public capital is made;

- a rapid reduction of the debt burden of insolvent households preceded by a temporary freeze on all foreclosures;

- massive and unlimited provision of liquidity to solvent financial institutions;

- public provision of credit to the solvent parts of the corporate sector to avoid a short-term debt refinancing crisis for solvent but illiquid corporations and small businesses;

- a massive direct government fiscal stimulus packages that includes public works, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits, tax rebates to lower income households and provision of grants to strapped and crunched state and local government;

- a rapid resolution of the banking problems via triage, public recapitalization of financial institutions and reduction of the debt burden of distressed households and borrowers;

- an agreement between lender and creditor countries running current account surpluses and borrowing and debtor countries running current account deficits to maintain an orderly financing of deficits and a recycling of the surpluses of creditors to avoid a disorderly adjustment of such imbalances.

At this point anything short of these radical and coordinated actions may lead to a market crash, a global systemic financial meltdown and to a global depression. At this stage central banks that are usually supposed to be the “lenders of last resort” need to become the “lenders of first and only resort” as, under conditions of panic and total loss of confidence, no one in the private sector is lending to anyone else since counterparty risk is extreme. And fiscal authorities that usually are spenders and insurers of last resort need to temporarily become the spenders and insurers of first resort. The fiscal costs of these actions will be large but the economic and fiscal costs of inaction would be of a much larger and severe magnitude. Thus, the time to act is now as all the policy officials of the world are meeting this weekend in Washington at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings.

When I went back, I saw he had added:

Thursday midnite update: A few hours after I had written this note the market crash that I warned about is underway in Asia: the Nikkei index in Japan is down 11% and all other Asian markets are sharply down. This reinforces the urgency of credible and rapid policy actions by the G7 financial officials who are meeting in a few hours in Washington and the need to also involve in such global policy coordination the systemically important emergent market economies.

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hmm I just scammed this from the top of the page at The Corner… maybe there are trickles of hope. That crowd is pretty clueless, but seem to be getting A Clue:

[I]reland has already taken this step, hence “the Irish solution.” I heard a money-market broker making this same point on NPR’s Planet Money yesterday:

NPR’S ADAM DAVIDSON: These guys are pretty unimpressed with what’s happened so far. They say the $700 billion bailout is not going to open up these short-term credit markets. They say it’s like spitting in an ocean to raise the water level. They insist that what has to happen is that the government has to guarantee all deposits in all the major banks, not this FDIC thing up to $250,000, but all deposits, full stop, or else banks won’t start lending to each other. And that affects all of us, because if banks don’t lend to each other, they don’t lend to you, they don’t lend to me, they don’t lend to your boss who pays your salary and on and on.

MONEY-MARKET BROKER: The interbank market basically in the United States… not basically. The interbank market is frozen. For the simple reason that — and you hear this everywhere you turn — banks are afraid to lend to each other. And until the U.S. Treasury stops the primping and posturing of ‘We’re going to take an ownership stake here, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that,’ all they need to do is say one thing: We guarantee deposits six months and in, and this will loosen up.

$11 trillion. The Paulson plan “spitting in an ocean.” I have no idea whether these guys are right. But I agree with the argument that once other countries (Ireland) start doing this, the pressure to follow suit will be hard to resist at a certain point. Capital will gravitate to the countries where bank deposits are guaranteed.

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LOL In case your day week month has not been topsy turvy enough, the offspring of WFB declares his vote for Obama. Which is the problem with Ob, not that he is Marxist, Leftist, Leninist, Trot, or whatever the hell they paint, it is that he yearns for his conservative – and religious – backers. In both parties.

Blessed we are…

[O]bama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.

So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.

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In the red…………… 9 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
69 comments

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No thoughts, deep or shallow.  How can anyone keep up………….

Is there anything much left to say? 8 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
101 comments

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“This isn’t a time for fear or panic. This is a time for resolve and leadership. I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because that’s who we are. Because this is the United States of America.”

Obama – today – out on the hustings – Indiana State Fairgrounds -  preaching to humanity on the hoof

*****

This did at least give me a hoot:

An amused RNC spokesman sends around this clip from a Joe Biden rally in Tampa, at which he was s introduced as “the next Vice President of the United States, Joe McCain.”

Sums it up!

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Mogadishu

BAR put up a story on AfriCOM (seems to be the latest large cap/small cap mix around!) and there are stories that, just this past week, the US is honing in on Tan-Tan Morocco for a base… OR!  Luanda Angola.. mebbe. Denials froth forth.

[E]vidently, keeping Africa barefoot, hungry, sick and at war with itself is good for American business. During the bloody Congolese war, in which the US supported armies of nine nations invaded and pillaged the Congo killing at least five million of its inhabitants, US policy was focused on keeping the timber, gold, titanium, and other strategic minerals flowing to the US and its allies, regardless of the civilian death toll. At the same time, a conflict in Darfur, with somewhere between one twentieth and one fiftieth of the Congo’s death toll has rallied the bipartisan US foreign policy establishment to call for open US military involvement in Darfur, perhaps because some of Sudan’s oil is going to China.

Africans are not fools, and despite the clamor of a few of the continent’s most discredited and craven regimes to locate Africom in their countries, probably as the ultimate insurance against coups and revolutions, Africom has not yet found an African host country. Most African governments fear being labeled as abject stooges of Africom. They fear the wrath of their own people, which is as it should be.  [...]

kip ward in Luanda last week

William “Kip” Ward, Commander of AFRICOM, in Luanda last week.

Happy!  Birthday! AfriCOM!

[W]ard has already backed down from the goal to establish his headquarters in Africa, which is a symbolic defeat. The headquarters remains at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany for the foreseeable future. He will still have a large base in the Horn of Africa, which will likely serve as AFRICOM forward. (At the same time Congress cut funding an AFRICOM headquarters, it increased funding for expanding the base in Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.)

Additionally, the command has had to re-emphasize its role in bringing stability to Africa through military training. This is a very different message than the “hearts and minds” message it was initially promoting. In my view, it was a mistake to overplay the development dimension of the command, which provoked ire from the traditional development community who can do these jobs much more cheaply and effectively than the U.S. military can.

There are traditional military missions to be performed in Africa and AFRICOM should not run away from these.  It can train and deploy African Union peacekeepers to combat genocide in Darfur and Congo.  It can train and equip regional coast guards to interdict piracy to prevent regional security fallout from weak states like Somalia.  It can facilitate maritime safety and security in West Africa to help staunch the illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons, and people that are a threat to Europe.

[It is ready to fuel WAR! -- Mcat]

Along these lines, Ward has urged leaders to be patient and judge the command by the legacy programs it will continue and the new missions it will conduct. He is working to field diplomats, builders, and guardians, not warfighters. The command will help partner countries control their borders, deploy peacekeepers to conflict zones, and develop the capacity to make peace with neighboring countries.  [...]

America is lining up her ducks. Picking her new war colors… And I won’t fool myself, as some media wants me to… that we “can’t afford more war”. I heard Americans, the past few weeks, agree over and over to scale back. Did they mention war? To be scaled back? No.

I doubt, by now, many Americans really care, at all, about bin Laden. The government surely does not and never did, imo. But he is the live rabbit at the end of the stick, as our tired greyhound bodies pound out the distance.

What a mess.

Still peeking at the future… 7 October 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
121 comments

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Houses in the favela of Providencia in Rio de Janeiro which have been painted with the portraits of inhabitants who have lost relatives in the drug traffic conflict, as part of an exhibition by a French photographer known simply as JR .  [Picture: EPA via Daily Telegraph ]

FWIW… snagged from Chicago Trib’s Swamp:

Forty-one percent of all households tuned into the vice presidential debate, Nielsen has found – the second-most-watched of any presidential or vice presidential debate. And today, Nielsen reports that 61 percent of all households have watched at least one of the debates so far – the first one between presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain or the only one between Palin and Biden. Nielsen also has found that 30 percent tuned in to both debates.

Older viewers, those 55 and older, accounted for the largest share of both debate audiences – 42 and 36 percent. The Biden-Palin debate, with its much larger audience (69.9 million watching, versus 52 million for Obama-McCain) drew a slightly younger audience – with a median age of 52, versus the median of 54 for Obama-McCain.

The second of three presidential debates comes Tuesday night, at 9 pm EDT.

I’d be delighted if someone slapped someone in this mess… that seems to be what they really want to do. And not some silly ”glove” display, either, with the gray suede gloves hitting the upper set of cheeks.

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There is a Marist poll kicking around from yesterday… they polled on Health Care, Obama comfortably outstripping McC as to who is more trusted to do anything about our FUBAR (think it was a 13 pt spread) …  HOWEVER, an interesting number, based on registered voters polled, was 78.

78% want something done about Health Care by the next president, no matter the financial situation of the nation or the national debt.

Then again:

Violence in Afghanistan is up about 30 percent this year compared with 2007. The Taliban and associated militant groups such as al-Qaida have stepped up attacks. More U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year than in any year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

“We’re in a very tough fight,” McKiernan said. “The idea that it might get worse before it gets better is certainly a possibility.”

On and on it goes, where it ends, nobody knows.

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