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Liquidation Sale!! 15 September 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


Dept. of Homeland Graffiti Liquidation Sale via Graffiti Research Lab

all I can think of is the endless businesses, always with a big red paint lettered sign on the windows: LIQUIDATION SALE… followed by an overflow of exclamation marks.

Lehman to declare bankruptcy

50 billion dollar buy out from BofA for Merrill…

AIG in teetering land… “the rush is on to save it”

WSJ Page One

In addition, 10 major commercial and investment banks announced Sunday night that they would pool $70 billion of their own money to create a borrowing facility. The 10 institutions, which include Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank AG, could tap the pool to help them ride out the crisis. The banks also said they are mutually committed to trying to mitigate market volatility.

A sense of foreboding gripped Wall Street as top executives feared collateral damage from a Lehman liquidation. Attention was focused on Merrill Lynch, which boasts the largest force of retail brokers, and American International Group Inc., the insurance giant. Both firms have seen their stocks get hammered on worries that they needed capital.

“Monday will be a day of reckoning for the financial markets,” said Carlos Mendez, senior managing director of ICP Capital, a boutique investment firm in New York. On Sunday, he said, “it was like a fire alarm went off and people ran in all directions.”

Sunday Biden was somewhere and talked of a sleep over that his grandchildren had with the Obama children in Denver… his take away offer? That America will vote for whomever they want to have a sleep over with. I am not kidding. Obama off the trail (do come back, dear) but he’s to blast away on Monday, will be making promises on GMA, or so I read.. Biden is due to blast away too, on Monday. Some blurb promised his “fiery rhetoric to take it on”.

Oh, spare me. If we were not neck deep in high water and floating sewage before, we sure are now.

McCain was at NASCAR and Palin was somewhere or other, think it was before 10,000 in Carson City. Isn’t she pregnant – or something? KGO, powering the local machine message over night, is still sorting out the pregnancies.

Politico tries to be helpful with an overview of What It All Means to The Races:

America’s banking instability could upend the final 50 days of the presidential campaign, with both candidates forced to confront a calamity that has gotten only glancing attention during the first 20 months of the race for the White House.

hmm not sure .. but think that “upending” done did happened.

Rogoff in The Guardian, on the 8th of this month:

The idea that the world’s largest economies are merely facing a short-term panic looks increasingly strained. Instead, it is becoming apparent that, after a period of epic profits and growth, the financial industry now needs to undergo a period of consolidation and pruning. Weak banks must be allowed to fail or merge (with ordinary depositors being paid off by government insurance funds), so that strong banks can emerge with renewed vigour.

Just saw film of the stunned streaming out of Lehman with boxes, several wearing their college identifying sweatshirts and t-shirts… I saw ”Bucknell” leading a pack of the stunned. The voice over mentioned among their packed personal items were “company trophies”… hmm

The right sleep over will cure our ills… and we are all pregnant – probably to do with earlier sleep overs. But, let’s see what the wise and sane politicians make of this opportunity.



1. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Speaking of Biden and his fiery rhetoric planned for today, Monday. In a critical state, Michigan. Excerpts via The Page. Snooze land.

[A]merica needs more than a great solider, America needs a wise leader.

Take a hard look at the positions John has taken for the past 26 years, on the economy, on health care, on foreign policy… and you’ll see why I say that John McCain is just four more years of George Bush.

On the issues that you talk about around the kitchen table, Mary’s tuition, the cost of the MRI, heating the home this winter — John McCain is profoundly out of touch.::snip snappy::

Sausage in, sausage out. Breakfast lunch and dinner.

2. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

Boing Boing post w/ several links about yesterday’s revelations:

“America’s financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday.”

3. marisacat - 15 September 2008

The Economist entitled “Nightmare on Wall St” MIND THE WINDOWS!… I forgot about WaMu. How could I … those Woo Hoo ads.

Wall Street has company in its misery. Washington Mutual, a big thrift, is fighting for survival under a new boss. Even more worryingly, so is AIG, America’s largest insurer, thanks to a reckless foray into CDS of mortgage-linked collateralised-debt obligations. Investors have fled, fearing the firm will need a lot more new capital than the $20 billion raised so far. Prompted by the weekend bloodletting, AIG brought forward to Monday a restructuring that was to have been unveiled on September 25th. This was expected to include the sale of its aircraft-leasing arm and other businesses. It is also reported to be seeking a $40 billion in bridge loan from the Fed, to be repaid once the sales go through, in the hope that this will attract new capital, possibly from private-equity firms.

4. marisacat - 15 September 2008

hmm bet the retailers are shaking. The Christmas they have dodged for a couple of decades

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

The AIG mess is very dangerous. This country has let insurers play faster and loser for years now, and without that safety net things can fall apart very quickly.

hmm bet the retailers are shaking.

I read somewhere not long ago that back-to-schools sales were weak. That’s the second biggest season next to xmas.

They just said on Morning Joe that futures are showing the markets opening at 400 points down.

Off to work …

6. marisacat - 15 September 2008

well it is just last year that “bonuses” on Wall St of multi millions fueled a frantic and very rich Christmas, in some stores.

7. marisacat - 15 September 2008

OBAMA: “The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren’t minding the store.”

MCCAIN: “The McCain-Palin Administration will replace the outdated and ineffective patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight in Washington and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street.”



8. wilfred - 15 September 2008

Former head of Solomon Brothers on CNBC saying “Washington’s love of deregulation and the CEO’s playing fast and loose has caused this problem”. Umm, it’s not Washington who loves deregulation, it’s Neocon control of Washington that loves it. The Neocons got exactly what they wanted domestically and internationally for 8 years and now our pants are firmly planted around our ankles.

Wonder which Neocons McCain will turn to for his economic policies?

9. marisacat - 15 September 2008

well I could nto think of the name of it the other day, when I posted transcript from recent Moyers with Greider mentioning repeal of usury laws at the end of Carter admin… but repeal of Glass Steagall was discussed here at Mcat last year.

Not inconsequential to what is happening now. NTIM (not that it matters, by now, nor will either side tell the truth)

10. marisacat - 15 September 2008

el heife will address us at 11:10 am ET. On the Financial Crisis…

11. wilfred - 15 September 2008

I can’t imagine anyone with less credibility than Bush, it’s runaway train time and Bush doesn’t can’t tell a throttle from a joystick.

12. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Nouriel Roubini at RGE Monitor

Monday Morning Update:

Now that the collapse of Lehman is leading to the risk of the generalized run on the shadow banking system (the other independent broker dealers, the broker dealers that are part of larger commercial banks such as Citi and JPMorgan, hedge funds, private equity funds, the remaining SIVs and conduits, money market funds, other smaller broker dealers) the policy reaction is to try to build a new set of levies while the financial perfect storm of the century has destroyed the first sets of levies. This reaction includes the following steps.

First, the Fed is accepting even more toxic collateral for the TSLF and PDCF, including even equities; so now after having nationalized the mortgage market via the takeover of Fannie and Freddie the government is also starting to manipulate directly the stock market (a step that started with the SEC restrictions on naked short sales of the primary dealers; so the process of turning the US market system in a socialist system controlled by the government is now in full swing. And the Fed takes massive credit and now market risks by its effective purchase of equities.

Second, the Fed is waving Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act that restricts how much commercial banks can relend liquidity to their investment banking affiliates; these restrictions are sensible prudential rules aimed at avoiding banks to subsidize their broker dealer affiliates with deposit-insured deposit. Now these sensible prudential regulations are thrown to the wind; so Citi, JPMorgan and Bank of America can happily use or raid their FDIC-insured deposit to support their bankrupt broker dealer operations. This is reckless as abuse of this new form of subsidization of near insolvent broker dealers with commercial banking deposits may eventually impair the viability and solvency of their commercial banking regulation. This is a form of connected lending that eventually led to the Japanese financial crisis and their severe banking crisis. This process of raiding FDIC insured deposits already started in 2007 when the Fed waived Regulation W for Citigroup and Bank of America when the unraveling of their toxic SIVs and conduits occurred with the roll-off of the ABCP paper. So, now all banks – not just two – can happily raid their deposits to save their broker dealers operations where funding mostly occurs with unstable reckless overnight repos. This desperate policy action shows that even the broker dealers arms of non-independent broker dealers (Citi, JPM, BofA) are now at the risk of a run on their overnight liabilities.

Third, an attempt to bail-in the private sector and provide a private lender of last resort support of the financial system is at work: ten major global banks will each fork $7 billion to create a $70 billion fund; each of these firms could borrow up to a third of such fund or $23 billion. But this private lender of last resort (LOLR) facility will not work since if any firm were to access this facility in case of a run on its liabilities panic will ensue – as the use of it will signal severe trouble – and the run will continue. The IMF created a similar facility to deal with liquidity runs on sound and solvent but illiquid countries; but no country ever used or even signed up for such facility as it would have been associated with “stigma”. Also such private LOLR facilities need to come with rules on their use (“conditionality”); otherwise an illiquid and insolvent broker dealer could access the facility with no restrictions and bankrupt the fund and the other members of the fund. But the new facility apparently does not come with any conditionality; so it is flawed in its design.

Fourth, since Lehman is bust the new line of defense was the takeover of Merrill by BofA. After taking over the insolvent Countrywide now Ken Lewis is making another reckless gamble by taking over at a vastly inflated price another distressed broker dealer. This is dangerous behavior for BofA. The lesson for Mack of Morgan Stanley and Blankfein of Goldman is that they should find a buyer today. After the collapse in six months of three major broker dealers Morgan Stanley and Goldman will be next unless they find a large financial institution with a large commercial bank that provides stable FDIC-insured deposits. As predicted here months ago no independent broker dealer will survive.

For some reason I got stopped clicking on the 9/13 post (to which he updates) from NR, so I registered. If anyone wants to use it

marisacat at aol dot com

pass word: “kittycat” (I went for something easy)

13. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

I had a dream last night that Target (of all places) filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores. It was tragic! I like Target.

Andrew Sullivan continues to astound. He posted his latest screed about Palin illustrated, without explanation, by what appears to be a photo of her taken when she was extremely pregnant.

And your point, Andrew??

Then he posts a link to an article about biological theories of homosexuality (actually a pretty interesting article) and makes a snide allusion to the idea that it would take “lots and lots of gin” to make him want to have sex with a woman.

I’m embarrassed for him and his gay-fratboy cluelessness but I’m also very angry. I’m tired of seeing this kind of misogynist garbage all over the place and people just shrugging it off. I hope that Obama wins so I don’t have to see these puerile attacks on Palin for the next four years.

14. NYCO - 15 September 2008

Obama is only up 5 points in New York, according to a Siena poll taken Sept. 8-10 (during the height of Palinmania).

syracuse.com link

um… holy crap?

15. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Judging from the rhetoric overnight on KGO, comparing photos of two different pregnancies (on the radio mind you) is the latest thing in Watch Palin. Still furthering the vital issue of who is the baby’s muther………..

Or so I gathered, I had not gone searching out the The Devil Sent Us Palin sites… or whatever they call themselves.

16. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

15 – do they hear themselves? It doesn’t seem to have occurred to any of them that if Palin’s private reproductive habits are our business, then our own private reproductive habits are fair game for anyone.

Matters of principle are beyond them.

17. marisacat - 15 September 2008

well I have said already that by watching the past two weeks I have no doubt at all (and both shitty parties are watching too) that Griswold v CT, which deals out a bit of privacy and allowed married couples to purchase birth control as well as Doe v Bolton which over turned the old abortion panels, finding them unconstitutional… are under threat. It may take years, but …

Anyway, listening carefully for years, it was easy to see the sniper scopes line up. Poor dumb fuck Dean, who once parsed abortion well, even admitted to a possibility of the return of the old panels, in one of his first interviews as Chair.

I did a quick google of ‘reproductive law griswold doe‘ for anyone who cares to pick thru. It’s a starting point.

People, millions more now, feel they can pick thru the live body of a woman, in fact they feel that it is important… combine that with the SC ruling on “pba”… add in the exposure of the winger plans with the leaked HHS dox, and we are well on our way.

I could care less about Palin personally.. tho it would be nice if Obama GOT THE FUCK OVER HER. And, you know, battled to the end like a real cnadidate for a real office.. I’d be entertained at least by the sport of it.

18. NYCO - 15 September 2008

I guess Biden is out on the trail today hammering the simple message of “McCain used to be a reformer, but is now a Karl Rove disciple.” Now that attack message might actually be effective among some of the sick-of-Republicans voters they need to get.

19. NYCO - 15 September 2008

Re candidates and the economy… Gov. Paterson of NY has been getting some great approval rating mileage out of harping on the poor economy and addressing it head-on (like a live TV address during local news hour, etc). That’s the way you do it. Don’t make vague statements — make a big fat show of how concerned you are, and immediately push a plan (Paterson’s was cut, cut, cut the budget).

Looks like Paterson is set to make another public statement about it (specifically, AIG) at noon. He’s on it. Go go go!

20. wilfred - 15 September 2008

18. I just saw much of the Biden speech on CNN and then switched to MSNBC. He was hitting hard for once, it’s about damned time.

Of course just before that CNN had their own banner across the screen at the Palin speech that said “Golden Time in Colorado”. Gee, couldn’t they just say ‘Vote for McCain/Palin”? We know what town she’s in, so nice of you to editorialize.

21. wilfred - 15 September 2008

Interesting NYCO, it’s 12:03pm and the local NYC news has no Patterson nor does CNBC, MSNBC or CNN. I saw that earlier about the noon speech too but no coverage (or it’s starting late).

22. NYCO - 15 September 2008

20. Well, he’s hitting hard with the correct message now. Rather than that puerile “McCain plays with Rubik’s Cubes and smells like pee!” stuff that the Obama wunderkinz were pushing.

McCain’s core strength (beyond even the Palin excitement) is his status as a Noble Republican. The sort that appeals to the good moderate Republicans disgusted by Bush, neocons and Bible-thumpers, AND by Rove. Colin Powell was also one of their patron saints.

The thing to do first is to get people un-excited about McCain. They may not vote for Obama, but they may not turn out for McCain, if Biden can get this meme started again.

23. NYCO - 15 September 2008

You can watch a webcast of Paterson here, when it starts in a few:


24. wilfred - 15 September 2008

Thanks NYCO, just saw the last part of it. Can’t believe that no local station here carried it in NYC and none of the cable channels either. CNBC had it on in the background m.o.s. but that was it.

25. wilfred - 15 September 2008

From Salon, about Palin book banning and abortion:

And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library. Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a “hit list” targeted by Palin. “I’m as certain of that as I am that I’m sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do.”

Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital’s community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.

At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie’s office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer’s Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician’s practice that day was Sarah Palin.

26. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008
27. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Here is a more exact reference to what happened in Mat-su Valley in 1997 – and relates to the religious/conscience/moral/personal exception I have posted about repeatedly. I am nto bothering ot look up the legal case, but the reference is there for anyone who wishes. The document refencing this (and other similar cases) is the mainstream US Conf of CATHOLIC BISHOPS. HTML of a pdf Scroll to Page 2

Valley Hospital Ass’n. v. Mat-Su Coalition for Choice, 948 P.2d 963 (Alaska 1997).

On November 21, 1997, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a private non-sectarian hospital was
required to provide abortion. The court reasoned that Alaska law protects abortion as a
fundamental right; factors such as, the state’s granting of a certificate of need to the hospital, and
the receipt of federal and state funds for construction and operation of the hospital, transform the
hospital into a “quasi-public” actor, which must provide abortions. The hospital stated that its
policy against abortion was based on the sincere moral conscience of the hospital’s operating
board and asserted that it was protected by the Alaska conscience law. The Alaska Supreme
Court struck down the conscience law as applied to this hospital, holding that there is no
compelling state interest in the conscience rights of the hospital. In April 1998, a proposed state
constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision fell one vote short of the two-thirds
majority needed for approval by the legislature. Incredibly, the court’s mandate results in part
from the hospital’s receipt of federal funds, even though federal funds themselves are generally
barred from being used for abortions.

Several other states, like Alaska, protect the abortion right to a greater extent than the federal
courts, regarding it as a fundamental right. Hospitals in states where abortion is given such
heightened protection are, like Alaska, at risk of having a state court mandate the provision of
abortion even in hospitals with moral objections.

Shove them all – this includes Palin – off the cliff. ALL OF THEM.

28. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

This Palin is a real monster. I never thought I’d see the day that an anti-abortion religious nut got elected to public office. What are people thinking?!? Fortunately she’s the only one so far – let’s hope she’s just an anomaly.

And this belief she has that rape victims shouldn’t be allowed to have abortions – that kind of idea can only come from growing up in a weird little fundamentalist sect in the backwoods. Mainstream Christianity would never be so harsh and hateful of women! Can you imagine the Pope saying anything like that?

Snark aside: I was thinking over the weekend that the “rape exception” is actually more hateful of women than a total prohibition of abortion, because of the implied judgment of the intentions/morality of the woman – that killing innocent life is in fact OK as long as the woman didn’t WANT to have sex. If she wanted to have sex, then forget it, no babykilling allowed – she has to live with the consequences.

29. lucid - 15 September 2008

I guess that means I’ll never get to see the real Pink Floyd live… too bad, possibly my favorite band of all time. RIP Richard – you gave the world some beautiful songs.

30. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

27 Mcat – I agree, they should all be shoved off the cliff – all the misogynist fools, no matter which side of the political spectrum they’re ostensibly on. “A plague on both their houses” – to quote Thoreau.

I am so fed up to the gills with them all.

31. marisacat - 15 September 2008

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani security officials said on Monday that troops had fired on U.S. military helicopters and forced them to turn back to Afghanistan, but both the Pakistani and American militaries denied the incident.

According to the security officials, the incident took place near Angor Adda, a village in the tribal region of South Waziristan where officials have said U.S. commandos in helicopters raided a suspected al Qaeda and Taliban camp earlier this month.

“The U.S. choppers came into Pakistan by just 100 to 150 meters at Angor Adda. Even then our troops did not spare them, opened fire on them and they turned away,” said one security official.

While Angor Adda villagers and officials supported that account, the U.S. and Pakistani military denied the report.

Pakistan’s military spokesman Major Murad Khan confirmed there had been a shooting but said the American helicopters had not crossed into Pakistani airspace and Pakistani troops were not responsible for the firing.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman and a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan said American helicopters had not come under fire.

“I’ve checked into that and find it to be a spurious report,” Whitman told reporters. “Did not happen. I’ve checked all the places that would know about something like that and it doesn’t appear to be accurate.


32. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

Adam Gopnik tries to rehabilitate evil imperialist Babar.

The Lion King is a better target, I’d say, if you’re looking for imperialism/fascism.

33. marisacat - 15 September 2008

ugh never could stand Gopnik… he’s is probably slightly more tolerable in print, minus his physical presence.

34. lucid - 15 September 2008

I’m gonna have to put Darkside on the turntable tonight when I go home… this is really depressing.

35. wilfred - 15 September 2008

It’s weird Lucid, “Money” has been playing in the back of my head all day with the stock market mess and now Wright is gone. It’s a sad day all around.

36. lucid - 15 September 2008

For me, I think Darkside permenantly changed my brain chemisty. I knew of Pink Floyd before I was 13, but at some point during that year I taped a copy of Darkside from my cousin and after sitting down and listening to it start to finish in headphones once, I was a different person – almost like a hit of acid.

Any news on AIG’s ‘plan’ yet?

37. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

36. I remember sitting in one of those 70s-style friend’s basements in the dark – blacklight posters – just chilling out and listening to Darkside. It was cosmic, for lack of a better word. An “experience”. There really was nothing else like it.

38. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

31. I’m pretty sick and tired of the US military lying repeatedly about what they’re involved in. SOP: deny deny deny as often as you can unless someone comes up with actual proof. It’s a mindfuck. “Honour”, my ass.

39. NYCO - 15 September 2008

37. So LC, have you ever done the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side sync?

It is WAY cool.

40. aemd - 15 September 2008

#28 HRR “I never thought I’d see the day that an anti-abortion religious nut got elected to public office.”

Please, let me introduce you to New Hampshire’s own “anti-abortion religious nut” Fran Wendelboe. She makes Palin look like a piker.

John Stephen, who just lost the primary in the 1st CD, is also a real peach.

41. wilfred - 15 September 2008

lol Lucid, I listened to Darkside on headphones when it came out for an entire year start to finish before i went to bed every night. Can you imagine what it did to my high school brain?

NYCO, i love both Darkside and Wizard, i saw a clip once but haven’t done the whole thing, bet I’d love it.

42. wilfred - 15 September 2008

Dow is down 411 points in the last hour of the trading day. What a mess.

43. NYCO - 15 September 2008

41. Start it at the third roar. It’s truly awesome for about up to the point where she starts on the Yellow Brick Road. After that, not so interesting.

44. marisacat - 15 September 2008

geesh by accident I ran into a ongoing discussion on npr on the whole conscience issue for health care providers. Standing up for conscience is Crispin Sartwell. And standing up to the nth degree, even if you are the sole pharmacy for miles around in a isolated area, you should be able to decline dispensing… who I thought was somthing of a libertarian… just idly dropping in at his blog from the roll at IOZ.

Was I ever wrong.

45. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

39. So LC, have you ever done the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side sync?

I never did try that. I’ll put it on my bucket list.

46. wilfred - 15 September 2008

Dow closes at -468.00.
Tomorrow should be interesting……

47. marisacat - 15 September 2008

well, it closed down 488

48. marisacat - 15 September 2008

468 488

maybe I heard NPR wrong..

49. CSTAR - 15 September 2008

504 down at close

50. marisacat - 15 September 2008

and ti’s only Monday

51. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

The TSX is down 515.55.

52. aemd - 15 September 2008

S&P punched thru 1200. Closed at 1192.

Oil futures below $95/bbl

53. CSTAR - 15 September 2008

9/11 of our own design

Who do we bomb now?

54. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

What kind of answer is this?

It was Obama’s turn to defend his campaign tactics when pressed by Cuomo today.

“It paints him as an old man. You say he can’t use a computer, he’s never sent an e-mail. What does that all mean?” Cuomo asked.

“What it means is that we’ve got a 21st century economy. And John McCain does not have a vision for how to move that forward,” Obama replied.

Umm, what? You attacked him. Own up to it honestly. Sheesh.

55. lucid - 15 September 2008

Who do we bomb now?


56. mattes - 15 September 2008

Never fear, the next war is here:

Pentagon OKs sale of ‘bunker busters’

By Published: 09/14/2008

The United States will sell the Israeli Air Force so-called “bunker-buster bombs.”

The Department of Defense announced Friday that it would sell Israel 1,000 of the sophisticated smart bombs, which are capable of penetrating underground reinforced concrete defense facilities.

The Israeli media had reported that the United States was not willing to provide Israel with bombs that could be used to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

In its announcement, the Pentagon also said it would sell Israel 28,000 Light Anti-Tank Weapon tube launchers to help upgrade the army’s Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.

Congress has 30 days to block the $77 million deal.


57. lucid - 15 September 2008

Catnip – to be fair, there are plenty of people older than Mccain who use computers regularly [including my parents, who are older than him, and have been using computers since the ’80’s – even though they still don’t know how to hook up a stereo system].

58. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

57. Sure, but what’s the connection between McCain being computer illiterate and how he’ll deal with the economy? That answer is illogical.

59. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Who do we bomb now?

Aren’t there some students on Grenada that need us?

60. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

D’oh in the headlights moment:

“If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily,” Obama said.

ABC had to explain that one:

What Obama apparently meant was that McCain, not Obama, has put out more negative ads.

Shorter ABC: hahaha, bonehead

61. NYCO - 15 September 2008

“If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily,” Obama said.

It takes a special talent to be able to tie your own tongue into such an elegant knot…

62. mattes - 15 September 2008

The Pentagon’s cubicle mercenaries
By Frida Berrigan

Seven years into George W Bush’s global “war on terror”, the Pentagon is embroiled in two big wars, a potentially explosive war of words with Tehran, and numerous smaller conflicts – and it is leaning ever more heavily on private military contractors to get by.

Once upon a time, soldiers did more than pick up a gun. They picked up trash. They cut hair and delivered mail. They fixed airplanes and inflated truck tires.

Not anymore. All of those tasks are now the responsibility of private military corporations. In the service of the Pentagon, their employees also man computers, write software code, create

integrating systems, train technicians, manufacture and service high-tech weapons, market munitions, and interpret satellite images.

People in ties or heels, not berets or fatigues, today translate documents, collect intelligence, interpret for soldiers and interrogators, approve contracts, draft reports to Congress, and provide oversight for other private contractors. They also fill prescriptions, fit prosthetics, and arrange for physical therapy and psychiatric care. Top to bottom, the Pentagon’s war machine is no longer just driven by, but staffed by, corporations.

Consider the following: In fiscal year 2005 (the last year for which full data is available), the Pentagon spent more contracting for services with private companies than on supplies and equipment – including major weapons systems. This figure has been steadily rising over the past 10 years. According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, in the last decade the amount the Pentagon has paid out to private companies for services has increased by 78% in real terms. In fiscal year 2006, those services contracts totaled more than $151 billion.

Ever more frequently, we hear generals and politicians alike bemoan the state of the military. Their conclusion: The wear and tear of the president’s war on terror has pushed the military to the breaking point. But private contractors are playing a different tune. Think of it this way: while the military cannot stay properly supplied, its suppliers are racking up contracts in the multi-billions. For them, it’s a matter of letting the good times roll.

What a difference a war makes As we prepare to close the book on the Bush presidency, it is worth exploring just how, in the last seven-plus years, the long war on terror has actually helped build a new, privatized version of the Pentagon. Call it Military Industrial Complex 2.0.

Consider fiscal year 2001, which conveniently ended in September of that year. It serves as a good, pre-war on terror baseline for grasping just how the Pentagon expanded ever since – and how much more it is paying out to private contractors today.
Back then, the Pentagon’s top 10 suppliers shared $58.7 billion in Department of Defense (DoD) contracts, out of a total of $144 billion that went to the top 100 Pentagon contractors. Number 100 on the list was The Carlyle Group with $145 million in contracts. Keep in mind, of course, that this was the price of “defense” for a nation with no superpower rival.



63. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008
64. aemd - 15 September 2008

Junk, nothin’ but junk.

65. marisacat - 15 September 2008

NYCO and mattes out of Moderation,,,


66. marisacat - 15 September 2008

what a tease!

The former Bush Secretary of State [Powell] tells students at George Washington University Monday he isn’t sure who he’s voting for in the presidential race.

Says the election of an African-American president “would be electrifying… but at the same time [I have to] make a judgment here on which would be best for America.”

67. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

44, MCat- I don’t know Sartwell, but some of the so-called “libertarians” are anti-abortion loudmouths, e.g., Nat Hentoff. They think of the whole issue as an intellectual game, an exercise in theory.

68. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

I’m not familiar with this author but some of you may be: ‘Infinite Jest’ author, [David Foster Wallace] 46, an apparent suicide

69. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

Ya. Here’s what you do after the righties have attacked you for being a “celebrity”: Streisand to croon for Obama at Hollywood fundraiser

PUEBLO, Colorado (AFP) – Oscar-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand will perform at a glittering and lucrative Hollywood fundraiser for Democrat Barack Obama Tuesday, aides said.

The White House hopeful will host a dinner in Beverly Hills costing attendees 28,500 dollars each and Streisand will then sing at a reception at the swanky Beverly Wilsher hotel, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday.

Streisand supported Obama’s party rival Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries but is now backing the Illinois senator in his hard-fought campaign against Republican John McCain for the November 4 election.

I guess at that price, Obama’s pandering to the ordinary American, right?

70. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

Some of my commenters lately are quite entertaining. Exhibit A:

You and your liberal friends are the real nightmare – already happening. This country and its morals are so diminishing so quickly – because of liberals who have the “whatever makes me happy” mentality. Are you happy about bringing up a new generation like this? Marriage being between a whoever or whatever you want? Pretty soon we’ll be able to marry trees and dogs. Well, that’s a personal choice and that’s all that matters, right? No more normal families, mom, dad, kids. People killing unborn babies becuase it’s not convenient to have them. And by the way, the argument “a woman can do what she wants with her own body” is hilarious becuase if liberals could stop thinking about themselves for a second they would realize it’s not “their bodies” that anyone cares about – it’s the other human living inside them. HELLO!! How can any person with a brain argue that?

Erin | 09.14.08 – 2:34 pm |

I told him/her/whatever that I don’t have a problem is he/she/whatever wants to marry a tree. Not my business. 🙂

71. Heather-Rose Ryan - 15 September 2008

68 – Several years ago when Infinite Jest first came out and was touted as the Next Big Thing, I got about 100 pages into it (it’s about 1000 pages long) and finally said “This is crap” and threw it in the trash.

That’s all I know about David Foster Wallace.

72. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

Let’s play Spot the Contradiction:

LOURDES, France (AP) — People must accept death at “the hour chosen by God,” Pope Benedict XVI told ailing pilgrims Monday in an anti-euthanasia message at Lourdes, the shrine that draws the desperate, sick and dying. [ who aren’t exactly accepting their death at the hour chosen by God while they pray for miracles, now are they? -catnip]

At the chilly open-air service outside the sanctuary reputed for its curative spring water, some faithful lay on gurneys, tucked into quilts and comforters. A few breathed with oxygen tanks. The 81-year-old pontiff administered the sacrament of the sick to 10 people, most in wheelchairs, gently anointing their foreheads and palms with oil.

While several European countries permit euthanasia, the Vatican vehemently maintains that life must continue to its natural end. The pope said in his homily that the ill should pray to find “the grace to accept, without fear or bitterness, to leave this world at the hour chosen by God.”

That should be the Republicans’ health care (non)plan slogan.

73. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

And here’s clearly why His Popeyness isn’t a buddhist:

“For each person, suffering is always something alien,” he said. “It can never be tamed.”

The Catholic church has made suffering a cottage industry.

As the saying goes: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

74. NYCO - 15 September 2008

No more normal families, mom, dad, kids.

Oh I wish they’d give it a rest. There is no such thing as a normal family. Life is not a fucking TV show.

75. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

really sad about Richard Wright’s passing. I had no idea that he was ill. I hope his passing was gentle and that he was surrounded by loved ones.

76. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

Congress has 30 days to block the $77 million deal.

LOL … like THAT’S gonna happen.

77. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008
78. NYCO - 15 September 2008

Tomorrow on Wall Street may be worse than today was. Bad things are still happening at this hour (Washington Mutual downgraded to junk, AIG downgraded also)

People might want to get a little mattress money salted away.

79. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008
80. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

Add to WaMu and AIG Wachovia.

Wachovia Corp. shares plummeted Monday amid intensified concerns on Wall Street about big banks’ exposure to bad mortgage loans.

Shares of the fourth-largest U.S. bank, already down more than 70 percent from a year ago, tumbled another $3.12, or 21.9 percent, to $11.15 in afternoon trading.

The steep decline reflected investors’ anxiety about the financial sector in general and banks in particular after the credit crisis claimed two storied investment firms. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to find a buyer over the weekend, and Merrill Lynch & Co. sold itself to Bank of America Corp. to avoid a similar fate.

Analysts raised questions about the potential need for Wachovia to have to raise new capital to absorb future credit losses.

WaMu is toast, IMHO.

81. lucid - 15 September 2008

I told my singer to get her $12 out of the WAMU pronto over the weekend… 🙂

82. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

872,721 Americans Arrested for Pot in 2007

Police arrested a record 872,721 persons for marijuana violations in 2007, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. This is the largest total number of annual arrests for cannabis ever recorded by the FBI.

Cannabis arrests now comprise nearly 47.5 percent of all drug arrests in the United States.

“These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor cannabis offenders,” said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, who noted that at current rates, a cannabis consumer is arrested every 37 seconds in America. “This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism.”

Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 89 percent, 775,138 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 97,583 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. Nearly three in four of those arrested are under age 30.

“Present policies have done little if anything to decrease marijuana’s availability or dissuade youth from trying it,” St. Pierre said, noting young people in the U.S. now frequently report that they have easier access to pot than alcohol or tobacco.

“Two other major points standout from today’s record marijuana arrests: Overall, there has been a dramatic 195 percent increase in marijuana arrests in the last 15 years — yet the public’s access to pot remains largely unfettered and the self-reported use of cannabis remains largely unchanged. Second, America’s Midwest is decidedly the hotbed for cannabis arrests with over 60 percent of all cannabis-related arrests. The region of America with the least amount of cannabis arrests is the West with 29 percent. This latter result is arguably a testament to the passage of various state and local decriminalization efforts over the past several years.”

83. NYCO - 15 September 2008

They’re talking about AIG bankruptcy now.

84. NYCO - 15 September 2008

Frankly the best thing may be to get your money out and spend it. If too many banks fail, the only way FDIC can cover them all is for the government to print more money. Which will drive inflation through the roof.

What a royal mess.

85. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008
86. wilfred - 15 September 2008

One of Betty Bower’s best, in case you haven’t seen it, in honor of our imminent Fundie takeover:

87. marisacat - 15 September 2008


Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

only for the poor… LOL for the wealthy, it is a worldly, accommodating church. They still take cash for dispensations and annulments.

88. diane - 15 September 2008

If Congress wanted to something right about the current housing nightmare, now made even more nightmarish with hurricane Ike, they would immediately discuss addressing the obscene rental increases, going on, mostly by apartment complexes with multiple investors, who never see the faces of those they’re leaching off of. Or investment “condos” never lived in by the owners (frankly because so many of them really aren’t conducive to living in).

Where are all of the foreclosure victims ending up? Why aren’t we hearing about that, when many rents are now almost equal to mortgages (actually higher since there will be no mortgage interest deduction on their income tax returns, they’ll likely have to pay far more to wash their clothes, they’ll be stuck with shabby, energy sucking appliances, and possibly penalized by their utility companies for having those energy sucking appliances, despite the fact they have no choice, etc. etc. etc. I’d give my eye teeth to know how many over zealous “green” progressives have such real estate investments ). Where will all of the newly homeless storm victims end up?

Why do some sanctimonius assholes feel such umbrage over people who didn’t leave there homes because they live from paycheck to paycheck and had no where to go. Not sure which will be worse off, those who left and have little money and no place to go, especially the elderly, or those who stayed.

Things look really bad for so many after the storm.

89. marisacat - 15 September 2008


Re: Crispin Sartwell

well he was so awful I have no desire to check out his blog(s) more and find out. The show was only a half hour, but I also got the impression, listening to his voice, he is a shit kicker of sorts, amusing himself at others’ misery. He’s a professor of philosophy at Dickenson Colleg.

And misery will abound as religious, moral and personal exceptions for giving medical care spread. He even agreed with a new wrinkle that is occuring and would be codified and permitted in the HHS plans, a dissenting care giver may also decline, as personal choice, to refer a patient to someone who would give care and further the so moral caregiver may withhold information, as well, to assuage his/her fucking religion.

There has just been another instance in Detroit of muslim cab drivers refusing (think htye went on strike, iirc) to carry passengers who are carrying liquor, a problem at airports. Happened out here, over in Oakland, in the East Bay. Lesser version in some ways, as a cab is less critical than medical care, but the same thing.

90. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008

From the NY Times front page just now:

12:18 AM ET
Markets »


Data delayed at least 15 minutes

91. marisacat - 15 September 2008


Where are all of the foreclosure victims ending up?

and it has affected about 4 million now, I just heard that figure the other day…

92. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 September 2008
93. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

88. We now have a glut of condos on the market in Calgary. Too many builders were trying to cash in on the oil boom and things are finally starting to slow down. One huge condo project, parts of which had already been sold, just shut down completely last week. The vacancy rate in this city, however, has basically been stuck at 0% for years now and the rents are absolutely ridiculous. The city would be wise to buy up some of these condos to turn them into affordable housing. They actually did that with one project recently and people in the neighbourhood were complaining because they didn’t think low income people deserved new, nice housing ie. how dare they have granite counter tops??

94. diane - 15 September 2008


I often think the housing problem is one reason why the troops haven’t been pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan…the fockers really don’t want to deal with all those homeless vets until they further perfect their controlling the crowds technology…..

In other great news Mark Turd/HP plan to layoff (or as it’s been recently tagged: “churn”) 24, 000 over the next three years.

95. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Free Market, baby! (on rents)

which I don’t see as fundamentally different frm the so heinous drill baby drill… tho the Dems champion one and worry about some of their “base” in ”embracing” the drill version.

96. diane - 15 September 2008


A hideous Condo complex is just being finished (read slapped together) down the street from me that no one in their right mind would buy to live in, I’m betting the buyers are mostly foreign investors, and the rents are insane in this area, someone I know just had their rent for a one bedroom jacked up $240 dollars.

Ravenous fucking swine……

97. diane - 15 September 2008

oops comment 94 was a response to your comment 91 marisa.

98. lucid - 15 September 2008

There are many NY developments that have stopped, but many more that continue. And the ones that are finished are always left vacant. All this tearing down of the local, century old buildings for vacant cheaply built crap that is unaffordable to anyone. My friends and I had it pegged years ago, that the ‘luxury condos’ would become the new ghettos… I might upgrade that to the new squats…

99. diane - 15 September 2008


Yeah Lucid, it’s heart wrenching to see something built with actual expertise, pride and beauty replaced by a tawdry shit pile. And I love the tawdry new version of windows I see so much lately. There were some really beautiful curved windows in many of the older homes surrounding Pittsburgh (and they were simple homes, not wealthy estates), I’m sure there were many of those in NYC and SF

100. marisacat - 15 September 2008

Obama debuts merch for Believers for Obama. Those would be religionists.

101. diane - 15 September 2008


Don’t know if it’s just my computer, but for the second time in two days, I’ll click your current diairy, and when the window opens, none of the comments show, as if you had just posted it, with only the “be the first to comment box.” Hopefully you’ll see this comment in case it’s a problem with wordpress.

goodnight all.

102. marisacat - 15 September 2008

yes WP is hiccuping. I get that too, it opens with no comments. I refresh or reload and they appear. At least that is what I got with the previous post, it has nto happened to me iwth this one. Yet.

103. diane - 15 September 2008

Obama debuts merch for Believers for Obama. Those would be religionists.

I think I’m going to be sick….

(by the way, just to let you know when my last comment makes it out of spam, that I can now view all the comments, but something quirky has been happening)

Any who, I gotta go to bed, and am hoping I don’t have nightmares about “faith merchandise”……no doubt McCrank and St. Palin will counter it with some equally revolting……..

104. diane - 15 September 2008

yes It burped on me
oh and a comment to Lucid in spam (comment 99?)

and goodnight again all.

105. diane - 15 September 2008

jeez…I keep going to bed but I just noticed I spelled your name wrong Marisa, sorry.

106. lucid - 15 September 2008

Here’s my eulogy for Richard…

107. marisacat - 15 September 2008


God-o-Meter hears that the campaign will be unveiling gear for other Christian denominations very soon, along with “Clergy for Change,” and “Pro-Israel Pro-Obama” merchandise.

108. liberalcatnip - 15 September 2008

100. As for his designer collection (him? an elitist? nahhh) do you see the word “Democrat” anywhere on these items? The man’s ego is seriously out of control.

109. marisacat - 16 September 2008

LOL I posted a few days ago that McCain Palin merchandise was ready to roll (11 items) in about 48 hours, at their website. But ObRama had NO NONE NADA merch with Biden name on it. I even trolled thru their various departments, from bumperstickers to buttons to Delaware merch (not even there) as I frankly did not believe it when I read it….

What a hoot!

I’ve read recently, before Palin, that for all the fucked religion pandering (Obama director of religious outreach, Dubois, is iirc a member of an Assembly of God church, wonder what he says privately to religious groups, he refuses to discuss his position on abortion publicly) he has mved zero evanglicals to his side. He polls where Kerry did, 24%. He has spent many millions on that game, too.

My guess is the big sweep roll out of hate from the Democrats agaisnt Palin is sheer anger that they may lose some. Evengelicals.. not sure how many Pentecostals the Dems ever had. I don’t think they REALLY oppose her ideology. To be frank.

Been wandering thru Ob religion / shit / outreach and speeches tonight. It ain’t pretty. Esp from a near professional appeaser (that would be Ob).

LOL what a joke it will be if he never adds Biden’s name to anything.

Over the years, I figured the Democrats were pretty hard core, behind closed doors, as they reached out to the remnants of Dixiecrats and others in the South. What a joke it all is. NOW I have to worry what the black standard bearer is whispering behind closed doors to religionists ABOUT WOMEN.

What a fucking joke it all is.

110. liberalcatnip - 16 September 2008

Obama’s campaign is just looking desperate from every angle. None of these jokers on either ticket should be given the privilege of running your country. Deeply flawed – all of them. (And I’m about that impressed with the party leaders in this country as well.)

111. marisacat - 16 September 2008

The only amusement in it is the religoius wars for power that are breaking out. And part of the rolling Dem hatred (KGO is still, tonight, on “Bristol the Pistol” and that the baby in view is not SP’s but BP’s) of Palin the She Devil… is that very thing.

The only way to avoid those xtian religious games was for the Dems to be a party of secular appeal, get on board with your religion if you wish, but here is what we profess adn work for. They could nto do it.

Althought PEW has recent polling that a majority of Americans want separation of Church and State (long gone long over) and further a mjority are “uncomfortable” with religion in politics. Which is something Ob emphatically preaches. From his Call for Renewal speech in 2006 onward.

Oh yea I so want to worship at his church.

112. marisacat - 16 September 2008

Oh and they/KGo are on the Cindy McCain “stealing drugs”, old old story.

On a day when there is financial armageddon and plenty to talk about. No they are on top of the women.

NEITHER of whom I care for in any way.

113. marisacat - 16 September 2008

Listening to Charlie Rose. No one wanted Lehman, “not even for a dollar”… apparently their books are known to be a complete mess.

LOL all you can do is laugh.

114. marisacat - 16 September 2008

gnu thred


………………… 8) ……………………

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