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endless war roar 27 September 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


The 69th anniversary of the Battle of Westerplatte, the start of the German invasion of Poland and outbreak of the Second World War, is commemorated in Gdansk-Westerplatte (Adam Waroawa/EPA)

Not much to add… this from Cockburn at Counterpunch is better than I had expected… but he should have titled it, “E v e r y t h i n g is blown to hell…”

Obama was already meekly playing along, with talk of bipartisanship. And then… McCain blew his golden opportunity. Since he’s now lagging ominously in the ratings, McCain needed to ignite at least one or two firestorms Friday night, starting with the bailout. Now the chance has gone.

The first function of any presidential debate is to demonstrate to the Big Money that both candidates are “safe”, first on the matter of keeping the rich secure from worry. The second function is to assure all relevant lobbies that they are ready and willing to blow up the world if American “security” requires it.

In the requisite demonstrations Obama and McCain sang in unison. They are as one with Wall St. They are ready to blow up the planet. Three times Obama said he completely agreed with the elderly madman opposite him. The interactions became progressively more hackneyed and absurd. Obama pledged to “take out” Osama bin Laden. McCain vowed to prevent another Holocaust of the Jews. Obama respectfully agreed with McCain that Putin is a potential problem and that plucky Georgia needs America’s succor. It was nauseating. Most of the world and its problems didn’t feature at all. Latin America? Free trade?

Latin America? Need you ask? In Putin’s grubby little hands, while we put our faith in the Fourth Fleet. Free trade? We’re for it!

I’d turn away, but we are nowhere near bottom…



1. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

An good quote to keep in mind as the two imperial pretenders clammor for more war:

There are things they tell us that sound good to hear, but when they have accomplished their purpose they will go home and will not try to fulfill our agreements with them. – Sitting Bull

Buffalo Soldier or another Old White Killer, the wars will go on.

2. diane - 27 September 2008

Just little identical little tin soldiers silhouetted against a dying sun which leaves the casual observer, with no one in that line up, just a tad uncomfortable……………………

what can ones say or do that will just make it stop?

3. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

Is the Crisis Real?

At a Harvard panel discussion yesterday, economics professor Ken Rogoff made an interesting point: The liquidity crisis isn’t real. Or, to restate it: Any liquidity crisis is caused by the promise of a government bailout. Ken said that his many friends in investment banking said that there is plenty of money to invest in financial services, but right now it is “sitting on the sidelines.” Why? Because the financial services industry does not want to pay the terms demanded. As he put it, why do business with Warren Buffett who will negotiate a tough deal, if you believe that the government will ride in soon with cheaper cash?

Ken also talked about the need to shrink the financial services sector. He thinks it is good that the investment banking houses are failing and many people on Wall Street are losing their jobs because, in his view, we have an oversupply in that sector and our economy just can’t support it.

Ken’s background with the IMF and on the Board of the Federal Reserve add a certain credibility to his assessment of conditions on Wall Street. If he is right, the $700 bailout is saving some investment bankers’ jobs in the short term, but overall it is making the financial system worse.

4. marisacat - 27 September 2008

A few days ago I snipped from a Rogoff piece in The Guardian on the 8th of this month, that said, simply, let them fail. If some firms and banks are so weak, let it fail.

He’s right…

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

yup, they need to be forced to sink or swim. They’ve been doing it to the average person for years … karma is a bitch. The media is pushing this “we’re all gonna fall together” thing really hard, though, and I fear it’s working. I’ve had to talk a couple of people back off the “well maybe they’re right” spin, after they called me about it.

6. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

The Tina Fey/Palin interview w/ Katie Couric bit this week is brutal. I almost feel sorry for her, only I can’t, because she’s a fuckin’ nutter.

Still, brutal ….

7. marisacat - 27 September 2008

You have to love it, both boys have the script, both are pulling their acolytes and adherents along:

While you were watching your money disappear… posted by lenin

As the Bush administration taps US taxpayers to keep refilling the vessels of the Danaides, largely with the connivance of congressional Democrats, something on the periphery of mainstream political vision is troubling. A frontier of the war on terror is expanding. Every day, it seems, there is a new report of an attack by US troops inside Pakistan. Then there are increasingly regular reports of engagements between said US troops and the Pakistani army, who are nominally US allies. One reads that Bush has authorised strikes in Pakistan without seeking the consent of the Pakistani government. Then said strikes take place, followed by astonished denunciations from the Pakistani government. Look, the government says, we are your friends: we are killing the evil-doers, and being killed by them. They say they’ve killed 1,000 ‘militants’ in one operation alone. No matter: the US Secretary of Defense knows that the US can’t expect Pakistani support for the strikes, but says they will carry on regardless.//snip//

8. diane - 27 September 2008

Re Pakistan…I guess “war” need not be declared or discussed anymore? I mean where’s that point at which it’s labeled a “war” (actually a one sided slaughter), when you’re dropping bombs on sovereign nations? I mean if Pakistan dropped even one bomb in my neighborhood, I’d certainly understand it to be a declaration of war.

9. baypraire - 27 September 2008

Iris DeMint

We got preachers dealing in politics and diamond mines
and their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ’s disciples
but they don’t look like Jesus to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got politicians running races on corporate cash
Now don’t tell me they don’t turn around and kiss them peoples’ ass
You may call me old-fashioned
but that don’t fit my picture of a true democracy
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got CEO’s making two hundred times the workers’ pay
but they’ll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
and If you don’t like it, mister, they’ll ship your job
to some third-world country ‘cross the sea
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let’s blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got high-school kids running ’round in Calvin Klein and Guess
who cannot pass a sixth-grade reading test
but if you ask them, they can tell you
the name of every crotch on mTV
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We kill for oil, then we throw a party when we win
Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin
but he’s standing up for what he believes in
and that seems pretty damned American to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let’s blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

While we sit gloating in our greatness
justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea
Living in the wasteland of the free

10. diane - 27 September 2008


well that about sums it up Bay….

11. ms_xeno - 27 September 2008


Sorry I’ve been scarce lately, everyone. Long story short: Old job went bye-bye. New job one week old. [crosses fingers]

Carry on.

Oh, and our rescue/guest cat (the black one) is now healthy and happy and back w/his owner. There’s your happy ending for the weekend. 😉

12. baypraire - 27 September 2008

ms x is back! i was worried. missed you.

sorry to hear about job related crapola. new job is positive news, yes?

happy cats happy endings.

good to have you back.

and yeah 10. about sums it up. wasteland.

13. baypraire - 27 September 2008

one sunburst whiteguard telecaster, one too many mornings

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

hi ms x!

15. marisacat - 27 September 2008

hey hey ms x!

That has to be a record for finding a new job… congratulations… 😉

16. baypraire - 27 September 2008
17. liberalcatnip - 27 September 2008

Politico e-mail: House, Senate negotiators reach tentative agreement with Bush administration on financial rescue plan.

18. liberalcatnip - 27 September 2008

Hi ms x! Cheesecake for you!

19. ms_xeno - 27 September 2008

Hey, thanks people. 🙂

Unfortunately, Mcat, the new one’s only temporary. But in a sense they all are, I guess.

The she-cats are very happy that the interloper has been sent back to his old home, BTW.

20. marisacat - 27 September 2008

ms x… and good news on Steve 2 I see!

21. liberalcatnip - 27 September 2008


WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators and Bush administration officials said late Saturday that they were on the verge of an agreement on a $700 billion rescue plan for the nation’s financial system that could win enough votes to pass in a high-stakes election year.

The bill, perhaps to be voted on by the House as soon as Sunday, includes pay limits for executives whose firms seek help, aides said. And it requires the government to use its new role as owner of distressed mortgage-backed securities to make more aggressive efforts to prevent home foreclosures. In some cases, the government would receive an equity stake in companies that seek aid, allowing taxpayers to profit should the rescue plan work and the private firms flourish in the months and years ahead.

The White House also agreed to strict oversight of the program by a Congressional panel and conflict-of-interest rules for firms hired by the Treasury to help run the program. As they approached a final deal, both sides appeared to have given up a number of contentious proposals, including a change in the bankruptcy laws sought by some Democrats to give judges the authority to modify the terms of first mortgages and a temporary suspension of mark-to-market accounting rules sought by some Republicans. Details of the provisions were still being finalized.

Among the last items being negotiated was the provision by House Republicans for an alternative that gives the Treasury authority to issue government insurance for troubled mortgage-backed assets as a way of reducing the amount of taxpayer money spent up front on the rescue effort. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. has expressed little interest in that plan.

22. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 September 2008

19 – the new one’s only temporary.

well, life is temporary, but if you live in the endless moment then that is okay.

23. liberalcatnip - 27 September 2008

22. Your moment of zen. 🙂

24. baypraire - 27 September 2008

one slope shouldered dread, a gibson j-45, one thousand miles behind

25. baypraire - 27 September 2008

nite everybody!!!!!

an isn’t a champagne and loritab elixir highball a wunnerfulllllLLLLLL?

:::snickering ‘n sillystereo::

26. liberalcatnip - 27 September 2008

6. The Tina Fey/Palin interview w/ Katie Couric bit this week is brutal.

Naw. The moose killer can handle it and probably field dress it too.

27. marisacat - 28 September 2008

Supposedly there is a plan. Sort of… LOL

[S]ome lawmakers have made clear that they will not vote for the bailout plan under virtually any terms. “I didn’t want to be in the negotiations because I object to the basic principles of this,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee, who would normally be his party’s point man.

Pressed about his role, Mr. Shelby replied, “My position is ‘No.’ ”

Officials, including Mr. Bush, stepped up efforts to sell the plan to the American public, which, according to opinion polls, is deeply skeptical./snip/

All I have seen is Democratic leadership acting as well trained minions for Bush. A hell of a lot of shit should be hitting the fan over the near future. BTW, Dorgon says the cost per US citizen is over 12K.

Should work out really well.

28. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmm I think we are supposed to hug Toto close, be thankful we are back in Kansas… They gave up A Saturday night! Really! They did!

“This is Saturday night,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) “You have the secretary of Treasury. You have congressional leaders. You have committee chairmen of all the committees of jurisdiction. And we are here. There’s a reason we’re here — because there’s a great feeling of responsibility to get a package as quickly as we can while doing it as well as we can.”

29. marisacat - 28 September 2008

closing graf from ObRama statement:

“One final point. If elected President, I will order a thorough review of this plan to make sure that it fully lives up to the principles I’ve laid out. And I will also move quickly to upgrade our financial regulations for the 21st century, establishing new rules of the road and tougher oversight to ensure that the American taxpayers are never again forced to put their money and their futures at risk because of bad decisions in Washington and on Wall Street.”

30. Intermittent Bystander - 28 September 2008

Santa’s giddy little helpers twirl the pom-poms on their stocking caps as they scurry ’round the clock to prep the sleigh. On Monday, Papa Grinch must fly deliveries to all the Wall Street girls and boys!

31. Intermittent Bystander - 28 September 2008

Like a litter of eager puppies joyfully swarming a team of truncheon-bearing home invaders.

Rub our bellies first! See? We’re greeting you at the door!

(Stocking-capped version gone to mod, I think.)

ms_x – I had pictured you making lots of art with Monopoly money and Zimbabwean second dollar bills. Sorry to hear of job upheaval, but good work on the somersault landing!

32. Intermittent Bystander - 28 September 2008

Just tuned into This Week to see Robert Reich telling Newt Gingrich that Newt’s turning into a liberal Democrat before his very eyes. Investment in education, energy, etc. . . .

Lots of chuckles to go around.

33. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmm mmm

[T]he American taxpayers own Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, dozens of parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, pastureland, government complexes and historic sites. And now, for all intents and purposes, the American people are the major stakeholders in a little townhouse at 14746 Barksdale St. in Dale City.

The titular owner is Fannie Mae, which the U.S. government effectively subsumed this month, though the legal machinations are still ongoing. With the Treasury backing Fannie Mae, taxpayers have a huge interest in the fate of the mortgage giant’s assets. They include the 1,296-square-foot, two-level, three-bedroom, 1 1/2 -bath house on Barksdale.

The most recent owner, Phyllis High Jones, refinanced the house through Countrywide Home Loans in 2006, taking out a $208,000 mortgage that would gradually inflate to $226,000. That same year, Fannie Mae bought the loan from Countrywide. Then the housing market collapsed in Prince William County. Jones defaulted this year. The townhouse went up for auction, but there were no takers. Fannie Mae had no choice but to become the buyer of record — sale price $226,000.

This summer, Fannie Mae tried to sell the townhouse for $149,000. Still no reasonable offers.

The price has now been lowered to $69,900.//snip//

34. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmm that was the Democratic blither when Katrina happened, “the liberal message has won out”.

It trailed thru Dkos like a viral cancer. And a lie.

I’ve read Gingrich’s dribble these past days. Top line is fine, he opposes. The rest, 80% of his blither, is utter shit.

Then again Reich maintains that NAFTA had no effect on US jobs. To this day. Not much of liberal he.

35. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmmm Another snip from the Wapo link in 33:

Carlos Labiosa, the resident manager of the neighborhood association, said that there are 185 homes in the neighborhood, and that maybe 50 or 60 have gone through foreclosure. But it is still a nice place to live, he said. The streets are clean. The homeowners pay a semi-retired person to pick up litter. The biggest problem has been the county’s recent crackdown on immigrants, he said. Many were here legally, and they still left.

“They were afraid. ‘I’m going to get in trouble with the county. County doesn’t want Hispanics; I’m going to leave,’ ” he said. “They were legal, and they left — because of intolerance, hatred, division.”

The president of the homeowners association, Nick, who declined to give his last name, has been here since 1972, one of the few who stuck it out all these decades.

“It sucks. It’s the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” he said. //snip//

Something else the 111th won’t be dealing with…

36. Intermittent Bystander - 28 September 2008

Great DeMent lyrics upthread!

From Eliza Gilkyson’s latest, Beautiful World, The Party’s Over.

the party’s over, we had us a time
everybody got loaded, everybody looked fine
we emptied the coffers of water and wine
the party’s over
we had a good time
we danced on the tables midnight til dawn
til all the time was up and the good stuff gone
the house is a shambles, broken glass in the streets
guttering candles, blood on the sheets
we burned all the kindling, passed the bottle around
watched the last coals dwindling
and the ice melting down
we danced on the tables…
the party’s over, we had a blast
brought in the lawyers to cover our ass
left a note for the children to clean up the mess
the party’s over
it was a big success!
we danced on the tables…

37. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Of course:

The administration had initially requested virtually unfettered authority to operate the bailout program. But as they moved toward clinching a deal, both sides appeared to have given up a number of contentious proposals, including a change in the bankruptcy laws sought by some Democrats to give judges the authority to modify the terms of first mortgages.

Congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. emerged from behind closed doors to announce the tentative agreement at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, after two days of marathon meetings.

“We have made great progress toward a deal, which will work and be effective in the marketplace,” Mr. Paulson said at a news conference in Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

38. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

I swear, debtor’s prisons and a new writer named “Dickens” have got to be right around the corner.

Father leaves nine children at Nebraska hospital [fixed the link –Mcat]

Parents are abandoning teenagers at Nebraska hospitals, in a case of a well intentioned law inspiring unintended results.

Over the last two weeks, moms or dads have dropped off seven teens at hospitals in the Cornhusker state, indicating they didn’t want to care for them any more.

“They were tired of their parenting role,” according to Todd Landry of Nebraska’s Department of Human and Human Services, quoted in USA Today.

Under a newly implemented law, Nebraska is the only state in the nation to allow parents to leave children of any age at hospitals and request they be taken care of, USA Today notes. So-called “safe haven laws” in other states were designed to protect babies and infants from parental abandonment.

The most eye-popping case in Nebraska occurred Wednesday, when a 34-year-old father deposited nine children ages 1 to 17 at Creighton University Medical Center — and then walked away.

The mother died a year and a half ago after a cerebral hemorrhage. The father, Gary Staton, told KETV-TV, a local station, “I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone. What was I going to do? We raised them together. I didn’t think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn’t take care of them.”

The Omaha World-Herald reported that the man had a “history of unemployment, eviction notices and unpaid bills – and a psychologist’s determination that he lacked common sense.”

The children’s grandmother told the World-Herald other family members planned to take care of the children, but the paper said their destination was still uncertain.

In USA Today, Landry said the children were “struggling to varying degrees with what’s happened to them.”

Time to open up some big orphanages.

39. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

oops, Father leaves nine children at Nebraska hospital

fixed the link for the piece above.

40. marisacat - 28 September 2008

And people should nto be shocked at what is coming. “You should never abandon your children” and “You should always care for your parents” willbe falling apart, more than it has.

When my mother was ill, an elderly man was abandoned in a parking lot, somewhere S of here, either SoCal or SW USA, can’t remember… the police and elder abuse athorities marveled, he was clean, his night clothing was clean, clean blanket, not very dehydrated and there he was. They marveled. I didn’t … people hit a wall. And if you are nto fully eligible for the government programs, and tattered as they are, they do exist, you are more and more on your own.

41. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Poetry Bailout Will Restore Confidence of Readers

Illiquid poetry assets are choking off the flow of imagination that is so vital to our literature. When the literary system works as it should, poetry and poetry assets flow to and from readers and writers to create a productive part of the cultural field. As toxic poetry assets block the system, the poisoning of literary markets has the potential to damage our cultural institutions irreparably.

As we know, lax composition practices since the advent of modernism led to irresponsible poets and irresponsible readers. Simply put, too many poets composed works they could not justify. We are seeing the impact on poetry, with a massive loss of confidence on the part of readers. What began as a subprime poetry problem on essentially unregulated poetry websites has spread to other, more stable, literary magazines and presses and contributed to excess poetry inventories that have pushed down the value of responsible poems.

The risks poets have taken have been too great; the aesthetic negligence has been profound. The age of decadence must come to an end with the imposition of oversight and regulation on poetry composition and publishing practices.

We are convinced that once we have removed these troubled and distressed poems from circulation, our cultural sector will stabilize and readers will regain confidence in American literature. We estimate that for the buyout to be successful, we will need to remove from circulation all poems written after 1904.

42. Intermittent Bystander - 28 September 2008

38 – I’m sure the faith-ba$ed organizations will be happy to provide.

(And if the megachurches won’t step up, there’s always eBay!)

43. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Thanks for the link bailout, Mcat!!!

Bush Might Be Right That ‘This Sucker Could Go Down’

There certainly was a deluge of conflicting opinions, posturing and polemicizing. There was hysteria on the right about the coming of communism which must have amused the Chinese, and anger on the left which expressed itself in protests that the Big Chief Democrats ignored as they compromised or cave their way to the table.

Missing in most of our media coverage which reported the drama as a sit-com while focusing on the political debate to be or not to be, was any sense of what’s really behind this — a debt we cannot manage or wish away.

We are bankrupt and this may be a going out of business sale, as foretold by the Iranian President who said the U.S. Empire is spent. Noted the Journal Inquirer.com:

… even if it can work — that is, prop up insolvent financial institutions — the Treasury’s proposal is still a proclamation of the collapse of the whole U.S. financial system. Even if some financial institutions are saved, the collapse will manifest itself in other ways, probably ways more damaging to the public. For who cares if Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley endure if the issuance of $700 billion more in government bonds drives interest rates way up, diverts credit from the private economy, devalues the already sinking dollar, and sends commodity prices soaring again?

Lordy, Ms. Claudy!

Across the pond where the Bank of England was joining other central bankers including the Fed in pumping more billions into money markets, the right wing magazine of Tory leanings, The Spectator ran a piece that said; “FACE IT, MARX IS HALF RIGHT ABOUT CAPITALISM.”

44. marisacat - 28 September 2008

when that quote of Bush’s hit the news, I loved it!

Right on target, from the prow of the Titanic.

45. NYCO - 28 September 2008

Relax, and watch this brilliant classic short animated film.

Le Paysagiste

The English title is Mindscape but it translates more closely to The Landscape Artist.

Not only was it animated via a very unusual technique (see the linked post), but it seems to me to be possibly the most realistic capture of the experience of dreaming ever put to film.

46. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

boy I hate Gingrich. What a blithering idiot that nutball is. Add to that the hysteria of Perlstein from the WaPo and Reich’s fundamental inability to drive a point home and I’m deeply sorry I turned this program on.

Oh, and don’t get me started on George Will (it’s the peoples’ fault).

47. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
48. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmm I watched Schmidt shut Axelrod down on MTP… it was weirdly satisfying. And I am really sick of Arnold’s goons (of which Schmidt is one)

I g back and forth, I have zero idea who will win. Sort of a puzzle game, somethng to do on hot or snowy days.

Interesting piece from Polman of Phil Inquirer… on the elder vote.

49. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Bluegrass Poll: McConnell in Trouble in Kentucky


I wouldn’t be sad to not see that weasel McConnell on the tube anymore. I know little to nothing about the donk, Bruce Lunsford.

50. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Banks love bailout, hate credit card curbs

As our friends in the financial sector were passing the hat among taxpayers last week for $700 billion in bailouts to cover their crappy mortgage investments, they were simultaneously condemning the House of Representatives’ passage of a “Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights,” which aims to crack down on some of the industry’s more troublesome practices.

The legislation — HR 5244 — would, among other things, end card issuers’ self-proclaimed right to change interest rates at any time. Instead, a 45-day notice would be required for any increase.

It also would give cardholders more time to pay by requiring issuers to mail bills at least 25 days before the due date, as opposed to the current 14 days.

Similar measures are being considered by the Federal Reserve, the National Assn. of Credit Unions and the Office of Thrift Supervision. But they wouldn’t carry the force of law and could be weakened by more industry-friendly regulators down the road. [snip]

“The timing of all this couldn’t be more glaring,” said Bill Hardekopf, chief exec of LowCards.com, a website that tracks credit card rates and trends. “While banks say they would be tanking without taxpayer money, here comes a bill that would help taxpayers, and the banks say it isn’t right.

“I’m amazed that there’s not more humility at a time like this.”

HUMILITY? You’ll get no more “humility” from them than you would get from a factory dairy farmer who was trying to stop animal rights activists from disconnecting their cows from the machines.

51. marisacat - 28 September 2008

speaking of state races, I think Coleman goes back in in MN… what a shame. And I am not a Franken fan. At all. From a distance, I don[‘t think he ran a great race..

52. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

how funny, I just got a Move On email from Franken begging for money:

It’s not enough to merely win this election. We’ve got to win big.

Great—I can tell from your nodding head that you agree. Now, let’s make it happen—by helping three champs win tight, crucial races: Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, and, ahem, Al Franken of Minnesota.

I’m not asking for $700 billion—just $10, $25, or whatever you can spare. Donate by clicking below:

Here’s why this is so important. When Republicans tried to privatize Social Security back in 2005, they ran both houses of Congress and the White House—but they lost. The same thing happened to us with health care reform in 1993.

Now, they were wrong on Social Security, and we were right on health care. But the fact is, big change—for better or worse—takes big majorities and big mandates.

In fact, in the last century, there have been just a couple of truly transformative elections: 1964, when a Democratic landslide paved the way for Medicare, and 1932, when a Democratic landslide opened the door for the New Deal (and enraged generations of right-wingers by creating Social Security in the first place).

That’s what we need in 2008: Not just a majority, but a landslide.

But who, you may be asking, are these three specific candidates? I’ll tell you, with help from my friends in the Bullet Point department:

– Jeff Merkley, running for the Senate in Oregon, led Habitat for Humanity in Oregon and then cracked down on predatory lenders, passed ethics reform, and cut taxes for working people in the State House.

– Larry Kissell, running in North Carolina’s 8th district, worked in textiles for 27 years and taught high school civics. In 2006, he ran for Congress against Republican Robin Hayes, one of the oil industry’s biggest cheerleaders—and lost by 329 votes. This year, the oil industry is gushing with cash for Hayes, but my money (and, I hope, your money) is on Kissell.

– Me. I’m running for Senate in my home state of Minnesota. It’s not just that six years of Norm Coleman in the Senate is already six years too much. I’m running because it’s time for change, and because change is going to take progressives—like Jeff, Larry, and myself—who are willing to stand up and fight.

And like usual, no real promises (beyond the vague “change” … like the “change” where we give billions to Wall Street?) but only grand recitations of the wonderful Donklephant past.

53. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
54. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

The Dilemma of Winning in 2008

If the best the next president can hope for is an incremental success, then in return, the party in power may ultimately be tarred. Whether fair or not, a Democratic victory could ultimately serve to prematurely discredit its agenda: Universal healthcare, green jobs, energy independence, and a more progressive tax code may come to seem like empty promises, rather than urgent goals. And it will make winning an re-election difficult. Meanwhile, the Republicans would be able to limp along and eventually run again in 2012 as rebels, chastened by Bush’s failure but hell bent on getting back to the issues. You don’t need a crystal ball to channel the argument: We told you this change thing wasn’t going to work. We told you it was empty rhetoric.

This dilemma is a little reminiscent of the transitional period between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. It was Carter who ran as a Washington outsider and change agent on the heels of the Nixon/Ford administrations. Though he promised a Washington overhaul, he was shackled by stagflation and soaring energy prices. Never mind that his prescriptions on energy may have been right. The prevailing view—that he was unfocused and ineffectual, so lacking in vision that he wore sweaters indoors, to lower energy costs—primed the nation for Reagan’s call to rebuild our national pride. And that turned into 12 years of Republican rule, which were disastrous for the environment. (A big reason why we don’t have more fuel-efficient cars now is the standard that Reagan set by rolling back fuel efficiency mandates, which had radically decreased our dependence on foreign oil under Carter.)

If the Democrats do win, it will be difficult to hold their coalition together in the face of so many structural problems. That poses a strange dilemma: I’m certain that, on November 4, I have to vote with the better candidate in the short run, but for now, it’s not a stretch to imagine that this will ultimately be self defeating, producing Republican successes in 2012 and beyond. History may well show that long-term, a Democratic agenda might be better served by another four years of clueless, Republican governance that burns their party to the ground.

55. marisacat - 28 September 2008

Whether fair or not, a Democratic victory could ultimately serve to prematurely discredit its agenda: Universal healthcare, green jobs, energy independence, and a more progressive tax code may come to seem like empty promises, rather than urgent goals. And it will make winning an re-election difficult.

Gore provided a drop dead quote for ads, while jsut out htere at some Green Expo or other. he said a green economy, as late in the game devised, is the answer to everything. Jobs, security, economy you name it. My jaw dropped open. Gore is attached to a big, wealhty, hardly a paragon of ethics, VC and PR firm out htere.

Big bucks for Gore and slobber and drool that drips down for the rest of it.

A long term, real, money in back of it, “green economy” would help. But I expect to see a choppy application of anything even approaching that… As I speak from the land of carbon credits. Gah.

56. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Texas Jury Acquits Man Who Forced Teens to Kneel in Front of Him and Fatally Shot One in the Back

A Laredo, Texas jury has acquitted a man who was accused of murdering a boy who broke into his home with other teens in search of snacks and sodas in July 2007. Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, shot Francisco Anguiano, 13, in the back after making him and his three friends kneel in front of him in his trailer after catching him in a break-in. For some, it is an example of the increasing carnage under the so-called Castle Doctrine or make-my-day laws.

It only took the Texas jury of eight men and four women three hours to acquit Gonzalez of a crime that prosecutors insisted was cold-blooded murder.

57. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
58. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Deconstructing the Human Habitat by James Howard Kunstler and Duncan Crary


DC: Speaking of children, probably the number-one reason why people say they choose the suburbs over the city is that they want to raise children there. As a child of the ‘burbs myself, I don’t think it’s a great place to raise kids, at least not teenagers. It can be a dehumanizing, psychologically brutal place to grow up. I wonder if you might go so far as to say that raising children in suburbia is a form of child abuse?

JHK: Obviously, it isn’t intentional. I would hasten to say that I think we overdo the whole abuse angle a lot. We’ve become hysterical puritans in that sense. But it may be a response to the fact that we’re inflicting a lot of damage on ourselves and find that we can’t stop. I mean, we can’t vacate our suburban environments because we’ve invested so much of our national wealth in them.

And they are indeed very punishing for the development of children. Between the age of five and, let’s say, fourteen, children need to develop personal sovereignty, to learn the management of their own body in time and space. That means learning to make decisions about things–like how to get home from school in time for dinner, or how to get from school to the clarinet lesson and then back home again on their own. This is something that the average eight or nine year-old can learn to do successfully. I did it in Manhattan when I was a kid, after I moved from the suburbs of Long Island. I got on a Lexington Avenue bus, went up twenty blocks from my grammar school, went to my music lesson, and got home by myself.

The way that our suburbs are designed now, kids as old as fifteen or sixteen have to be ferried around by the family chauffeur (usually mom). The upshot is they don’t develop any ability to manage themselves in time and space! And that’s a very fundamental thing. Kids between the age of about seven and fifteen also have to learn a whole set of social skills, like how to spend money, how to order food in a restaurant, and how to behave in a public place.

But the whole key to understanding the suburbs, I think, has to do with the impoverishment of the public places and the glorification of the private realm. We have more bathrooms per inhabitant in our houses of any nation in the world, but we have extremely poor public places in most of suburban America, which is most of the country.

For kids, most of the public places are the leftover scraps: the berms and the parking lots where respectful behavior isn’t demanded. You put them in these places nobody cares about–a berm between the Wal-Mart and the K-Mart–and they’re going to torture cats and make homemade tattoos and smoke bongs and drink aftershave. It ends up being an environment that doesn’t successfully prepare kids to be successful, caring adults.

59. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Biden actually said something smart:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden offered his endorsement today for expanding Midwestern passenger train service.

During a campaign speech in Cudahy, the Delaware senator singled out state Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi and said, “When we get elected, you’re going to have passenger rail coming through the Midwest like never before.”

Like his Republican predecessor, Terry Mulcahy, Busalacchi came into office as a highway backer but has built a national reputation as a passenger rail advocate. Since former Gov. Tommy G. Thompson’s administration, Wisconsin has been a leading supporter of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a multi-billion dollar plan to run fast, frequent trains across the region, including 110-mph service linking Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay to Chicago and the Twin Cities. But the plan has been stalled for several years because the federal government hasn’t committed to put up the lion’s share of the cash.

60. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

Blowback: Family Told Obama NOT To Wear Soldier Son’s Bracelet… Where is Media?

Radio host Glenn Moberg of the show “Route 51” asked Mr. Jopek, a man who believes in the efforts in Iraq and is not in favor of Obama’s positions on the war, what he and his ex-wife think of Obama continually using their son’s name on the campaign trail. (h/t D. Keith Howington of http://www.dehavelle.com)

Jopek began by saying that his ex-wife was taken aback, even upset, that Obama has made the death of her son a campaign issue. Jopek says his wife gave Obama the bracelet because “she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan’s name.” Jopek went on to say that “she wasn’t looking to turn it into a big media event” and “just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself.” Apparently, they were all shocked it became such a big deal.

61. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
62. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
63. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008


So this rescue plan is a huge and massive bailout of the shareholders and the unsecured creditors of the financial firms (not just banks but also other non bank financial institutions); with $700 billion of taxpayer money the pockets of reckless bankers and investors have been made fatter under the fake argument that bailing out Wall Street was necessary to rescue Main Street from a severe recession. Instead, the restoration of the financial health of distressed financial firms could have been achieved with a cheaper and better use of public money.

Indeed, the plan also does not address the need to recapitalize those financial institutions that are badly undercapitalized: this could have been achieved by using some of the $700 billion to inject public funds in ways other and more effective than a purchase of toxic assets: via public injections of preferred shares into these firms; via required matching injections of Tier 1 capital by current shareholders to make sure that such shareholders take first tier loss in the presence of public recapitalization; via suspension of dividends payments; via a conversion of some of the unsecured debt into equity (a debt for equity swap). All these actions would have implied a much lower fiscal costs for the government as they would have forced the shareholders and creditors of the banks to contribute to the recapitalization of the banks. So less than $700 billion of public money could have been spent if the private shareholders and creditors had been forced to contribute to the recapitalization; and whatever the size of the public contribution were to be its distribution between purchases of bad assets and more efficient and fair forms of recapitalization (preferred shares, common shares, sub debt) should have been different. For example if the private sector had done its fair matching share only $350 billion of public money could have been used; and of this $350 billion half could have taken the form of purchase of bad assets and the other half should have taken the form of injection of public capital in these financial institutions. So instead of purchasing – most likely at an excessive price – $700 billion of toxic assets the government could have achieved the same result – or a better result of recapitalizing the banks – by spending only $175 billion in the direct purchase of toxic assets. And even after the government will waste $700 billion buying toxic assets many banks that have not yet provisioned for such losses/writedowns will be even more undercapitalized than before. So this plan does not even achieve the basic objective of recapitalizing undercapitalized banks.

The Treasury plan also does not explicitly include an HOLC-style program to reduce across the board the debt burden of the distressed household sector; without such a component the debt overhang of the household sector will continue to depress consumption spending and will exacerbate the current economic recession.

Thus, the Treasury plan is a disgrace: a bailout of reckless bankers, lenders and investors that provides little direct debt relief to borrowers and financially stressed households and that will come at a very high cost to the US taxpayer. And the plan does nothing to resolve the severe stress in money markets and interbank markets that are now close to a systemic meltdown. It is pathetic that Congress did not consult any of the many professional economists that have presented – many on the RGE Monitor Finance blog forum – alternative plans that were more fair and efficient and less costly ways to resolve this crisis. This is again a case of privatizing the gains and socializing the losses; a bailout and socialism for the rich, the well-connected and Wall Street. And it is a scandal that even Congressional Democrats have fallen for this Treasury scam that does little to resolve the debt burden of millions of distressed home owners.

64. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

Obama claims stake in new Wall St deal

So quick and proud to claim ownership of such a massive swindle.

65. marisacat - 28 September 2008

sorry fro teh delay on rescuing the Roubini… I had some sort of problem getting the computer to turn on or fully load software.. (it kept telling me that something called lsass.exe could niot be found, hell if I know, LOL) about three hours ago.

But after using the restore CDs (thankfully only about 4 feet away on top of the TV in this room)I seem to be back. Minus anything saved on hardrive.


66. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

CNN Money has a copy of the bill.

67. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

65. Info on lsass.exe. That page has a free registry scan to look for possible related problems as well.

68. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
69. baypraire - 28 September 2008

if “she wasn’t looking to turn it into a big media event” she must need glasses, since she presented it to him in full view of the media at a campaign event.

Tracy Jopek was watching Obama’s speech Tuesday and had no idea he would mention her son. She said his speech hit just the right tone she was trying to send by giving him the bracelet.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was such an honor, such an honor,” she said, her voice breaking. “To know that he does know his name. It means a lot.”

the dude is her ex. the most macabre custody battle imaginable.

70. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

welcome back!

71. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

68. the most macabre custody battle imaginable.

Could be.

72. marisacat - 28 September 2008

the righties were on the story last night… or earlier… I guess. IMO, Mrs Jopek is out of luck. She handed over the bracelet. All of these constituent stories get mashed into the big sausage machine. From Ashley and her mustard and relish sandwiches to the memorial bracelet.

And it sounds like she is, or was, happy her son’s name was used in the debate.

But the righties are ready to take up her cause.

I happen to agree with a couple of righties, that Obama appeared to fumble right abut then, sounds likely to me he had to look at the bracelet to get the name moving off his lips.

God. what is left to say about this race or the wars. What a fucking nightmare.

73. marisacat - 28 September 2008


and I am wrung out like a limp wet washcloth from the event. gah.

74. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

Why This Will Get Worse

The entire financial system is rotting underneath and no one really knows how bad it is. Banks are starting to see the bad assets they have–which is why they are not lending and credit is freezing up. Everyone wants to hoard cash. Very bad.

Add this thought: the holiday season beakons just down the road. I will wager that at least 1 or 2 major retailers will fail after the holidays because they can’t get access to credit to cover what will be a very bad holiday season. Why bad? Know anyone who has a lot of extra cash around who will spend large this year? How many people do you know who have entirely maxed out credit cards and whose home equity credit lines are done?

There still doesn’t appear to be a realization that to solve this we need:

1. A willingness to attack market fundamentalism at its core and obliterate it.

2. A massive tax increase on the richest Americans to recoup some of the public investment money we need.

3. After we do #2, we basically say, “the government will employ any person who can’t find a job, at a living wage, as part of a massive infrastructure plan we are now launching…and to let the “free market” freaks who are left try to stop us”.

4. Mass unionization to make sure people have real incomes.

NONE of that is going to happen, especially if anybody is waiting for the donks to do it.

75. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008
76. liberalcatnip - 28 September 2008

RBS will get ‘billions’ in US bail-out of economy

THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland is to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the planned $700 billion bail-out that comes courtesy of the American tax-payer if the US Congress gives the financial rescue package the go-ahead this weekend.

77. marisacat - 28 September 2008


thanks for the link…I am going to look it up… because ugh don’t want to go thru that again. So far, it seems as though a lot of bugs have disappeared with the “restore” process – which of course I kept expecting to fail, along with “lsass.exe”…


just downloading Firefox now to get reset up..

78. marisacat - 28 September 2008

3. After we do #2, we basically say, “the government will employ any person who can’t find a job, at a living wage, as part of a massive infrastructure plan we are now launching…and to let the “free market” freaks who are left try to stop us”.

Something along that line is critical. The whole system has cried out for some form of WPA on a broader scale, even.

Becasue I think the plan is to even further dismember and corrupt the work a day world.

79. marisacat - 28 September 2008

hmm I think the link is telling me I got a worm or virus.

80. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 September 2008

78 – yup, desperate people are easier to manipulate and coerce.

81. diane - 28 September 2008

Odd, and a first…guess that’s what I get for clowning wordpress in a comment yesterday, but I posted “good luck on your job” to ms xeno yesterday, right after ms. xeno first posted above, and it has yet to show.

When it first didn’t show up I thought to myself, well eventually it will.

That’s the first time that’s happened, posting something that doesn’t eventually appear. Now, I understand why people, always notify that a comment hasn’t appeared, I always thought they eventually showed up….

82. diane - 28 September 2008


Do you end up with a lot of comments that seem to go down some sort of vortex Marisa?

83. marisacat - 28 September 2008

no I don’t diane. They slip to Moderation if too many links (I have tried to reset the default to accept up to 8 links, it ignores me) or someone posts frequently in succession… I get an email indicating a comment went to Moderation, and in any case I see them right away on the ”back stage” comments page, as I leave it up almost all the time. On the back page comments already in the thread appear in white and any in moderation are on the same page in yellow.

About 3 to 4 or so comments per day fall to the Spam file. I don’t get an email about that, but I do see a Spam File counter on the “Comments” back page.

From time to time, when WP is having real hiccups, the occasional comment does get lost. I think by now it has happened to almost everyone… and it happens to me as well.

Hey it’s free… 8)

84. baypraire - 28 September 2008

good little partisans at the end of the email trees.

The Bailout

by BooMan
Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 04:58:52 PM EST
Based on Pelosi’s representations, I support the bailout bill.

of course you do!

85. diane - 28 September 2008

My jaw dropped open. Gore is attached to a big, wealhty, hardly a paragon of ethics, VC and PR firm out htere.

exactly…and thank you, for the sanity check marisa……….

86. diane - 28 September 2008


Well, glad to know that it’s happened to everyone..though I wish it hadn’t happened to me when I looked like the only one posting, who didn’t acknowledge someone…sigh…….

And, well call me a cynic, but is anything totally free?

Yeah I know, morose………….sigh…..but…but but..I wasn’t always this way…………..

87. marisacat - 28 September 2008

new thread………………


………… 8) …………….

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