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Presto chango! 12 November 2008

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland, WAR!.
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People in Japan continue to weather the economic storm, as share prices fall amid concerns over the weak global economy. [AFP via BBC – Day in Pictures – November 12]

Nevertheless…BBC headline

Paulson says US bail-out working

it is one of the standard BBC round up pieces… and certainly if Paulson is lecturing us – and seems to be off his bony knees before Madame Speaker… then it should be a headline. Seems, as well, he is nixing the Detroit bail out.

Somebody, whoever it may be, does not agree:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Bailout Plan Revamp Sends Dow Down More Than 400 Points [4:08 p.m. ET]

For more, go to abcnews.go.com?CMP=EMC-1396

All I know is we are in a hole and still digging in deeper… At least it feels that way.  Hole, tunnel, daylight, oncoming train… I cannot tell the difference anymore.

Closer to home… Calistoga Bottling laid off 80 workers in a town of roughly 5000.  The initial story on the lay offs was very depressing… workers there as long as 26 years lost their jobs… and that number, 80, is most of the work force.  75%.  A local news crew went thru and filmed closed shops and papered over windows, in the heart of the wine and spa region. Locals worried at the extended down turn, and worried that winter is coming.   Calistoga is a long established spa area with volcanic mud baths and mineral rich waters, I would guess that Calistoga bottled water goes back at least 80 years… over the past thirty years it had gone from a small town retreat and resort area to effusively charming, shall we say.  Small, older hotels on the main drag (of which it has one and a few side streets – you can walk thru town in a few minutes) were bought and rehabbed… old time spas from the 30s were bought and rehabbed.  Restaurants and a wine bar or two proliferated.  Not now.

Reading a little further, part of the problem is Nestle.  Or, more precisely, Nestle Waters North America. They had bought the bottling plant, which I had not known….  Nestle has been making moves on water resources in Northern California (video of a California Connected show, but the comments tell the story too), for some years now. Swarm a small town with big money bonhomie, I certainly get whiffs of bribery, pillars of the town are bought or resist… factions fight back, and so it goes. Water privatisation, in a quick take.  We’re not alone, we all know the game is global.  And in Nestle’s game Northern California, Washington, Maine, Florida, Canada – as well as others are under assault.  The good thing, there is frontal assault in return, on Nestle.

Too often, Nestle’s able to cast decisions about its bottling plants in pro-jobs vs anti-growth terms, overlooking the simple fact that small towns can typically do a lot better than an economic development model where the profits are pipelined back to a foreign multinational.

Sadly, many towns are abdicating control of their precious water resources in return for some property tax revenues and a handful of jobs that even Nestle admits are salaried at levels no higher than the prevailing wages in the area.

In simplest terms, sustainable, high-quality rural economic development isn’t about attracting big businesses, which take an area’s resources and the profits and ship them elsewhere – leaving behind a lot of infrastructure costs and a handful of jobs (which isn’t true in the case of loading stations or water extraction points).

My own guess, the acquisition of water rights, rights to “run off” or ”extra water” (lordy, talk about missing the point) rights to aquifers is the reality. That would be the 100 + year plan…  Bottling plants of whatever size, whether plans to build or buying out existing companies and thus offering to be a good neighbor and “provide jobs” (sounds just like the prison guard lobby! And the California Department of Prisons too!), is a short to mid term ruse. The 20 year plan, or until a handy bust following boom comes along.  Which ever comes first.  A con.

Just a wild crazy guess… water diversion, a game as old as the hills here…

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1. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

and while they buy up life itself, they’ll keep the rubes entertained with sick “game” shows:

One of three set-ups just shot in Arizona features the cops luring a criminal to a movie set with the promise of making him an extra and paying him a couple hundred dollars. An elaborate film set is staged and filming begins on a faux movie. The set-up continues as the director then gets mad at the lead actor, fires him and replaces him with the law-breaking extra.

The scene escalates with the fake director introducing the mark to a supposed studio mogul and continuing to create this dream-comes-true sequence. Finally, all the participants are revealed as officers of the law, and the criminal is apprehended (before signing waivers to let the footage be used in the show).

and of course:

Fox is working with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on this show, which is no surprise.

That’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office, of course.

2. marisacat - 12 November 2008

Can’t something natural claim Arpaio? he’s been around long enough. As long as he lives that town will vote him in.

3. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

He’s an evil fuck, he really is. If there were such a thing as previous lives, that asshole would have been a slave dealer.

4. marisacat - 12 November 2008

Local news showing overhead shots of “4000” protesters outside a Mormon Temple in NYC…

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008
6. marisacat - 12 November 2008

HA! Yewknitty is at hand. I agree with Reason and with Instapundit. Plus, Biden si a big Drug War warrior as well. All thru the election Ob was all over the map on MJ and other aspects of Drug War issues.

In this, as in so many things, it’s hard to figure out what his real position is, and how he’ll act once in office. Plus, Rahm Emanuel’s drug-warrior record.

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

The most telling part of this is the last paragraph:

Obama win triggers run on guns

One expert sees a darker motive driving some post-election gun purchasers.

“Why are white people buying assault weapons?” said Ben Agger, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who wrote a book about the Virginia Tech slayings. “I almost hate to say it, but there is a deep-seated fear of the armed black man, because Obama now commands the military and other instruments of the justice system. They are afraid Obama will exact retribution for the very deep-seated legacy of slavery.”

There has also got to be a deep-seated knowledge that white society DESERVES it.

8. marisacat - 12 November 2008

LA County has joined in San Francisco’s lawsuit challenging Prop 8 too, just heard.

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

Speaking of gay marriage:

Same-Sex Connecticut Couples Begin Tying Knot

In 2004, the couple, along with seven others, sued Connecticut for the right to marry. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled Connecticut could not ban gay marriage, saying it was unconstitutional.

White balloons and vases of red roses stood next to the doors of City Hall as the Levine-Rittermans walked among a crowd of several dozen cheering people.

Inside the clerk’s office, they filled out a pink marriage license application. Barb Levine-Ritterman read out loud as she filled out the newly drafted state form.

“It has ‘bride/groom/spouse,'” she said. After checking “spouse,” the couple received their long-awaited license. They are planning a May wedding.

Attorney Bennett Klein of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders argued for the plaintiffs in the case. He told the crowd that it was a joyous day for the state, but he urged them to think about gay couples elsewhere.

“We also think about the heartbreaking vote in California, even as we know that a justice movement is not won or lost by one case or one vote. Today, Connecticut sends a message of hope and inspiration to lesbian and gay people throughout this country who simply want to be treated as equal citizens by their government,” Klein said.

Same-sex couples from around the country will be able to marry in Connecticut since the state has no residency requirement. It’s up to a couple’s home state to decide whether to recognize the marriage as valid.

There could be some interesting court battles that come about due to that last little bolded paragraph.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008
11. marisacat - 12 November 2008

Now they are calling it radical empiricism. Way too cute.

[B]ut he found out early on that he couldn’t run a presidential campaign without Democratic insiders playing integral roles. He turned to symbolism (no lobbyist donations) over substance (staying in the public financing system). And then he picked Joe Biden. And now he’s turning to people who know how power flows in Washington. It’s more evidence that Obama’s modus operandi is pragmatism — (radical empiricism, some call it). The secret is that Obama intends use very pragmatic, temperamentally conservative means to achieve radical — not in the Bill Ayers sense but in the huge, big, transformative sense — changes in how Washington works and how it relates to Americans.::snip::

12. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

He’ll also reverse male-pattern baldness, lift and separate AND make julienned fries! Ron Popiel will be one of his closest advisors.

Meanwhile: Bailout Price Tag: $3.5T So Far, But ‘Real’ Cost May Be Much Higher

Tallying up the “true” cost of the bailout is difficult, and won’t be known for months if not years. But considering $3.5 trillion is about 25% of the U.S. economy ($13.8 trillion in 2007) and the U.S. deficit may hit $1 trillion in fiscal 2009, hyperinflation and/or sharply higher interest rates seem likely outcomes down the road.

At the very least, the possibility of the U.S. losing its vaunted Aaa credit rating — which determines the Treasury’s borrowing costs — cannot be discounted.

Moody’s has already said it’s not in jeopardy of being lowered. But we really can’t put much stock in what Moody’s — or S&P or Fitch — say after the subprime debacle, can we? More importantly, the price of credit default swaps on U.S. government debt has been on the rise since the bailout train got rolling, as Barron’s reports.

Don’t worry, though … Teh One will radically empiricize permanent hard-ons and yard bird in every pot by His second term.

13. marisacat - 12 November 2008

hmm I drop in at the party mouthpieces, Ambinder seeks to explain things away, sometimes using psychological props even, LOL, and it is entertaining…

This may go on quite a while. Americans, too many, have a taste for pabulum with sugar… There is a lot fo fear out there tho. Who knows, maybe they spit it up at some point.

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

Americans, too many, have a taste for pabulum with sugar

Yup, as Chris Hedges puts it:

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.

15. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008
16. marisacat - 12 November 2008

damn… Begich is leading Stevens by 3 THREE votes.

Please god let the Democrats win the last three seats, by any manner possible. I don’t even care if there IS something fishy about the votes being found in MN…

LOL

17. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008

Speaking of fishy: Pelosi’s power reigns supreme

“The one option I am not exploring is continuing as the chairman” of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an exhausted Van Hollen (D-Md.) said the day after the election.

It sounded like a reasonable plan — until Speaker Nancy Pelosi got wind of it. Pelosi already had someone else in mind for the Democratic Caucus chairmanship that Van Hollen sought.

“Whatever Nancy wants, Nancy gets,” a Democratic lawmaker said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Indeed she does. Van Hollen backed down and took the job he didn’t want. Pelosi had all but decided her leadership lineup for the 111th Congress and wanted no power plays and no drama. Van Hollen re-upped as DCCC chairman. Pelosi ally John B. Larson (D-Conn.) was tapped to take over as Caucus chairman to replace outgoing chairman Rahm Emanuel, the new White House chief of staff. As a consolation, Van Hollen was appointed assistant to the speaker, making him a policy liaison to the Obama administration, something Pelosi knew would appeal to the wonkish Maryland lawmaker.

The maneuvering was vintage Pelosi.

Her role was completely behind the scenes; word leaked out about Van Hollen’s deal only when it was almost done. There were no threats and little public squabbling.

As Pelosi enters her third year as speaker, by any measure, she has become the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and is now preparing to wield her gavel in a way that few, if any, recent speakers could match. Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution, pales in comparison. Pelosi is being mentioned by observers in the same breath as the legendary Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill, although she has yet to assemble a legislative record to match theirs.

“I think you’d have to compare her to the great people we’ve seen in the past,” said former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who served as both majority and minority leader during his 28-year congressional career.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), no fan of Pelosi, said during a recent MSNBC appearance that she is “the most powerful speaker in a generation — she will be able to do anything she wants.”

From top to bottom, she is a controlling presence in the House — Pelosi forbids her staff to use the word “I” in speeches. Pelosi has called politics “a free hedge-clipping service,” meaning that any pols who seek too much attention will get their head handed to them.

I feel like I just walked through sewage.

18. Madman in the Marketplace - 12 November 2008
19. marisacat - 12 November 2008

she has yet to assemble a legislative record to match theirs.

well… Nancy is up now… 😉 last I saw she had 255 I think … and with a bit of luck they will get to 59 or 60… and with Lieberman clutched to their manly bosoms..even more!!

The sky is the limit!

20. marisacat - 12 November 2008

mark it down.

[N]obody can doubt that the Republican remnant in the Senate will obstruct as soon as that seems politically safe. Right-wing pundits, from Rush Limbaugh to the Wall Street Journal editorial page are already egging them on furiously.

But is there enough muscle behind that filibuster threat to block Obama’s mandate?

The short answer is no — and the new president’s own political arsenal should enable him to call the Republican bluff. ::snip::

It’s a piece by Joe Conason via RCP and, additionally, he looks at NINE… yes 9 senate seats he expects to fall. 6 of them seats up in two years and occupied by old or weak (in his opinion, one of them is Specter) or both, Republicans in states that went for Ob or, like MO, nearly went for Ob. obviously MO needs more fluoride in the water.

Please god… anything to give the Democrats 66 and then seventy seats…

21. marisacat - 13 November 2008

They probably should bathe the pages in blood… but this site, which I had never fallen upon before is a hoot on our financial bloodbath. It’s a serious site… but just very breezy…

http://www.clusterstock.com/

22. bayprairie - 13 November 2008

Pelosi is being mentioned by observers in the same breath as the legendary Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill,

that’s laughable. pelosi will never be in the same league as rayburn. rayburn’s personal integrity was legendary. pelosi has none.

23. marisacat - 13 November 2008

The headlines in the UK are just awful.. Times Online

BT to slash 10,000 jobs after profits plunge
Miles Costello

BT today revealed plans to cut 10,000 jobs by the end of the year after pre-tax profits slumped by 11 per cent in the first six months of the year.

Today’s surprise cut by the former state-owned telecoms operator means almost 15,000 British jobs have been lost within the past three days, after Virgin Media, Yell and GlaxoSmithKline took the axe to staff.

Yesterday, it emerged that British unemployment hit an 11-year high of 1.82 million during the three months to September and is forecast to peak at 3.3 million by 2011.

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, finally acknowledged this week that the UK was heading for a full-blown recession, and signalled further interest rate cuts on top of the 1.5 per cent reduction last Thursday. ::snip::

24. marisacat - 13 November 2008

HA!

The stock market has lost about $1 trillion over the past three days, according to the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 index, which reflects the value of nearly all U.S. stocks.”

That would be the 10th, 11th and 12th…

****
Heresy from Pilger

[N]o serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obamamania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the “Mandela moment”. This is especially marked in Britain, where America’s divine right to “lead” is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush’s war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that “America has restored the world’s faith in its ideals”. These “ideals”, which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children. […]

25. NYCO - 13 November 2008

In other news, Obama is thinking about appointing an automobile industry czar.

Having lived through education czars, drug czars and (in New York) Upstate czars, I’m pretty sure that “czar” is Russian for “we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing.”

26. wu ming - 13 November 2008

that’s one of the advantages of living in yolo county. our aquifer water is so goddamn terrible tasting, nobody wants to steal it.

27. aemd - 13 November 2008

Great article on CDOs, CDSs and Wall Street by the guy who wrote Liar’s Poker. A very, very good read.

“By the spring of 2005, FrontPoint was fairly convinced that something was very screwed up not merely in a handful of companies but in the financial underpinnings of the entire U.S. mortgage market. In 2000, there had been $130 billion in subprime mortgage lending, with $55 billion of that repackaged as mortgage bonds. But in 2005, there was $625 billion in subprime mortgage loans, $507 billion of which found its way into mortgage bonds. Eisman couldn’t understand who was making all these loans or why. He had a from-the-ground-up understanding of both the U.S. housing market and Wall Street. But he’d spent his life in the stock market, and it was clear that the stock market was, in this story, largely irrelevant. “What most people don’t realize is that the fixed-income world dwarfs the equity world,” he says. “The equity world is like a fucking zit compared with the bond market.’ “

28. marisacat - 13 November 2008

NYCO

oh ffs… no czars. The whole thing has failed. Over and over.

***

aemd

Thanks for the reminder.. I was just reading excerpts of that article from Portfolio at a posting at clusterstock last night… reminds me to go read the whole…

***

wu ming

LOL full rights to lousy water….

29. marisacat - 13 November 2008

Cannot stand Josh Marshall… but “mark it down”.

On this he is right and to the point. What he does leave out, however, is that the Dem party plans from Hillary to Edwards (who also advocated wage garnishment as part of his plan) to Baucus to Wyden to Ob (who was never against mandates, not really) on offer are more about prohibitionist tendencies (you are not allowed to be uninsured) and punitive acts (must have insurance along the lines of MASS AND will penalise people, who may never be able to afford an insurance based SCHEME.

So tired fo the fuckers.

11.13.08 — 1:56PM // link | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (10)

Pure Physics

One quick thought on the health care debate.

Obviously, the unfolding financial crisis creates a serious, though far from unanswerable, question of funding. But I want to set that question aside for a moment to focus on the question of political capital. I just think this is very straight forward. ‘Political capital’ is an inherently, intentionally fuzzy concept. But to the extent we put any stock in it, realistically, no president will ever have more political capital to act on this issue.

Obama clearly ran on the issue. He won by an overwhelming electoral majority and a decisive popular majority. He not only has sizable congressional majorities. He has ones that expanded for the second straight election and to some significant degree on his coattails.

None of this is to say that the big move on health care won’t always be an epic struggle. It will be incredibly hard. But realistically speaking congressional majorities do not get much larger and presidents don’t get much more powerful. So if we’re saying that he lacks the political capital, I think that is another way of saying that, in the normal course of political physics, there’s no amount of political capital that would be sufficient to make the Democrats take the plunge.

That may well be the case. But if it is, it would mean that the bi-annual ruckus about the uninsured is not so much policy advocacy as a sort of regular chumming of the political waters — with the real final act always just over the horizon. [baby boy josh gets a clue! –Mcat]

I don’t even say this as a matter of advocacy. I think it’s just straight political physics. And it’s something worth considering.

–Josh Marshall

30. marisacat - 13 November 2008

We are saved! The car crash is in reverse!

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Dow Closes Up More Than 550 Points, Reversing Earlier Losses [4:07 p.m. ET]

31. bayprairie - 13 November 2008

from the guardian

Drum rolls please

Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell has been found dead in a Portland hotel room at the age of 61. He was the last surviving member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and had recently been playing in a Jimi Hendrix cover band, weirdly (and perhaps sadly) ending up paying tribute to his own music.

Let’s remember all the great late players of our time, as well as those who keep on drumming their lives away: who is your favourite drummer, and why?…

32. NYCO - 13 November 2008

31. Unfortunately my favorite drummer, John Bonham, is very dead.

33. Madman in the Marketplace - 13 November 2008
34. bayprairie - 13 November 2008

lots of great 60s drummers. i’d have to list Al Jackson Jr as a fav.

35. Madman in the Marketplace - 13 November 2008
36. marisacat - 13 November 2008

Roubini in Forbes

HA!

On the news here they have a piece on falling stock prices. One women who set up accts for her g’children with Cisco stock. She bought at 70, a year ago it was at 30 and now it is 15.

Ouch. I missed what year she bought at 70.

37. Madman in the Marketplace - 13 November 2008

Anti-Gay, Anti-Family

But while Californians march and gay activists contemplate a national boycott of Utah — the Mormon Church largely bankrolled Proposition 8 — an even more ominous new law in Arkansas has drawn little notice.

That state’s Proposed Initiative Act No. 1, approved by nearly 57 percent of voters last week, bans people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children. While the measure bans both gay and straight members of cohabitating couples as foster or adoptive parents, the Arkansas Family Council wrote it expressly to thwart “the gay agenda.” Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

Social conservatives are threatening to roll out Arkansas-style adoption bans in other states. And the timing couldn’t be worse: in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises. But good times or bad, no movement that would turn away qualified parents and condemn children to a broken foster care system should be considered “pro-family.”

Most ominous, once “pro-family” groups start arguing that gay couples are unfit to raise children we might adopt, how long before they argue that we’re unfit to raise those we’ve already adopted? If lesbian couples are unfit to care for foster children, are they fit to care for their own biological children?

The loss in California last week was heartbreaking. But what may be coming next is terrifying.

38. marisacat - 13 November 2008

I saw that that passed… it is a frightening law…

In Mass after the law changed there, a Catholic services arm that engaged in adoptions but refused to allow gays to apply was shut down, as discriminatory. IIRC one reason was that they took state aid of some sort. Because I doubt you can dictate to entirely private adoption.

Well if a women was jailed somewhere or other (think Madman posted it a few days ago) for her minor daughter getting pregnant while living with the mother (and the ex husband filed the complaint) of course punitive [xtian or authoritarian] states that believe in the various prohibitions will go after gay and lesbian parents, if they can.

And they have a great arm to monitor the children, thru the public school system, which has already shown it self to be purely invasive in some case (how to treat or medicate certain “problem” children).

39. Madman in the Marketplace - 13 November 2008

it’s frightening how punitive this culture is, over almost everything.

40. marisacat - 13 November 2008

new thread..

LINK

……….. 8) …………


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