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A few days ago the Idiot Decider ‘decided’ that the economy was, well, “uncertain”:

It is uncertain, there’s no question about it. Wall Street got drunk, it got drunk, (it’s one of the reasons I asked you to turn off your TV cameras.) It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up, and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments.

Bush at Pete Olson’s fundraiser, July 18th 2008

But who was mostly responsible for letting this fandango of ‘fancy financial instruments’ go into a wild frenzy?

Who else, but the Maestro, the Mr Magoo of Central Bankers? (“Bubble? I can’t see any bubble”). None other than the long time Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, a man who once famously assured the anxious souls in Washington that there was no need to worry, derivatives were just spreading the risk globally. This was, assured the Maestro, a good thing.

Working to a grand design, to give the US continual dominance in world markets by serving the interest of the “Money Trust” (the cabal of bankers who own the Federal Reserve), perhaps nobody had more influence on what is happening today in world markets, and for a concise summary, let’s see what F. William Engdahl wrote in January this year:

This is the true significance of the crisis today unfolding in US and global capital markets. Greenspan’s 18 year tenure can be described as rolling the financial markets from successive crises into ever larger ones, to accomplish the over-riding objectives of the Money Trust guiding the Greenspan agenda. Unanswered at this juncture is whether Greenspan’s securitization revolution was a “bridge too far,” spelling the end of the dollar and of dollar financial institutions’ global dominance for decades or more to come.

Greenspan’s adamant rejection of every attempt by Congress to impose some minimal regulation on OTC derivatives trading between banks; on margin requirements on buying stock on borrowed money; his repeated support for securitization of sub-prime low quality high-risk mortgage lending; his relentless decade-long push to weaken and finally repeal Glass-Steagall restrictions on banks owning investment banks and insurance companies; his support for the Bush radical tax cuts which exploded federal deficits after 2001; his support for the privatization of the Social Security Trust Fund in order to funnel those trillions of dollars cash flow into his cronies in Wall Street finance—all this was a well-planned execution of what some today call the securitization revolution, the creation of a world of New Finance where risk would be detached from banks and spread across the globe to the point no one could identify where real risk lay.

Ironic, when you consider that the Idiot Decider now thinks all these ‘fancy financial instruments’ may have something to do with the catastrophic state of their financial and credit markets, isn’t it?

Not only was Alan Greenspan allowing the pumping of Agent Orange by all and sundry, dispersing it far and wide with no checks on its usage, he was all the while singing its praises, even in the face of many who expressed their well founded concerns to him. Some years later, there are scorched earth losses hitting the US banks and investment houses and a lot of very sick borrowers who are pretty sure where they contracted their diseases. (Not to mention investors worldwide who are taking a severe haircut on vast tranches of this toxic subprime muck and anything else which has the label US mortgage in the fine print.)

Today, another 8,000 US householders got foreclosure notices. Yesterday there were 8,000 and tomorrow 8,000, and the day after that another lot. Pretty soon that adds up to millions and the cost to families and entire neighbourhoods is immeasurable. It’s estimated the final tally will be around 6.5 million foreclosures, but if this market really collapses, it could go much higher.

Currently there are worrying signs that the next level up from subprime, the Alt-A market, is starting to crack too. And this does not include the possible tens of millions of homes which will be ‘underwater’, with the value sinking under the level of debt being carried. People are now posting in their keys to the bank and simply walking away figuring it’s the cheaper way out. Throw the credit cards onto the bonfire as well.

“What bubble? I don’t see any bubble,” was always Greenspan’s answer.
Voters on the whole don’t know the details, but look at the polls that ask them about which way their country is headed. They point in one direction, and the mood is decidedly, well, un-American. The can-do nation is watching itself bobbing around in the can, and it’s not a national mood that sits well with them. They don’t do pessimism comfortably (they aren’t French or Russians, after all), but they’re not averse to revenge. Come November, they’ll unleash this, and it won’t be to vote for McSame…same policies, same incompetence, and same lies.

Obama set the national discourse with one word: ‘change’. And that word is getting amplified on so many levels, none more spectacular than his candidacy itself. A candidate who so defied the pundits’ paradigm of US politics that it almost universally took them by surprise. (It sure took Hillary Clinton by surprise!). How much change can he implement after nearly a generation of ‘regulatory debauchery’ is open to question, but maybe the voters will not be reading the fine print nor the arcane details, they’ll be going with their gut reaction, an aversion to what has gotten them into this mess.

Trillions of dollars of householders’ wealth is being torched in the bonfire of the inanities, and while none of this ‘had to be’, it was definitely ‘allowed’ to be.

If all of this financial meltdown wasn’t enough ballast for the good ship McCain, he’s still desperate to tell his story, and clutches the albatross he calls the ‘surge’, imploring anyone still listening, and tries to convince them it’s working. (He decided that telling voters the economy had made progress under Bush was not going to sail in the face of the shocking reality.) But it’s too late now because the voters hardly care anymore, they just want out, and so does Obama, and so does al Maliki, and nearly all the Iraqis who aren’t dead yet, or haven’t left the country (or what’s left of it). It’s a dead albatross, but it’s nearly the only thing he has, and he’ll go on wearing its bedraggled corpse until November, for all the good it will do him.

The death of the US dollar hegemony? Even the death of Reaganism?

Uncertain? Well, it’s quite possibly both.

But one thing IS for certain: that’s a very dead albatross that old guy is wearing.

“Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”)

For those with a Monty Python bent (and those terms go together so well!), perhaps they could try a variation on the famous Dead Parrot Sketch, with McCain as the storekeeper and the irate voter demanding a refund for his now very defunct albatross. Perhaps the bird was called Serge, and the confusion begins right there… over to you!

428 Responses to “The Rhyme of the Ancient Aviator or, The Dead Albatross Sketch”

  1. 401

    Golly Gee Willikers, ain’t that just too bad about the nice gentleman Senator from Alaska. Must be some kinda cruel hoax or something.


    For Teddy “Fingers” Stevens who’s had a bit of bad luck lately, options regarding his ongoing freedom have diminished rather remarkably. Surely help will be on the way soon. Did anybody else notice the earth-shaking stampede of GOPper stalwarts rallying to “Fingers’” De-Fence?:mrgreen:







  2. 402
    Chris B says:

    My Least Favorite Argument

    Obviously, I have a lot of nits to pick when it comes to campaign coverage, but my single least favorite brand of analysis is what I term “Match Game Arguments”: No candidate has ever [blank]. Given various intersections of geography, demography and history, there are literally thousands of plausible-sounding permutations that can be conceived to rule out any prospective candidate.


  3. 403
    Chris B says:

    Economist/YouGov poll also shows Obama up by 7, up from 3 points last week, and representing the largest lead he has held in this poll since February 12.


  4. 404
    Chris B says:

    Obama on Offense in Florida

    Here’s something interesting: a tally of campaign ad spending over the past seven weeks, as tallied by TNS Media Intelligence and reported by the New York Times.


  5. 405
  6. 406
    megan says:


    I’m still on my shiny new ‘L’s!! :)

    Sorry to disappoint you,old frog…mon ami.

    Happy to help with the licking of stamps, running

    errands ,making the tea, filing, anything I can do to help

    behind the scenes of the great ship ‘Pobus’ ………

    But public speaking/writing is up there with parachuting-

    am terrified of heights!

  7. 407

    Megan, no pressure, just a friendly nudge.
    Should you change your mind about writing a PoBUS thread, suggest you choose a topic that you feel strongly about. Write the title down in a notebook and add bullet points as they drift across or bound into consciousness. Then one day in a flash of inspiration your post will “write itself”. And we’ll all enjoy reading it, I’m sure:)





  8. 408

    Right across the electoral board for the Dems, Teddy “Fingers” Stevens is the gift that just keeps on giving. Even to Americans, especially Independent registered voters, Senator Steven’s “multiple dishonesties” are ………..a bridge too far.:neutral:

    “The list of vulnerable Republicans this cycle who have taken from Stevens includes, but is not limited to:
    John Sununu
    Norm Coleman
    John Cornyn
    Mitch McConnell
    Elizabeth Dole
    Susan Collins
    Gordon Smith
    Pat Roberts
    James Inhofe”


    Breaking events might even nuzzle a 60/40 Senate split back into play.

  9. 409
    Spam Inbox says:

    Somehow I get the feeling that a dinosaur telling the political meteor that he’s not down to earth enough will come to the same conclusion as last time: high earth impact/ massive reptilian extinction.

    There it is!… the line of the week!

    Nice KR… I’m probably going to steal it, but well done anyway ;)

  10. 410
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    409 Spam Inbox


    You’re welcome Spamin, a good line should take on a life of its own.

    Definitely a dose of dead animal metaphors abounding eh?

    Dead Albatrosses, dead dinosaurs and I think I even had a drowned canary in a Starbucks muggacino somewhere back there too! LOL

  11. 411
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    408 Enemy Combatant

    Pigs with snouts in trough while the country is getting mauled by the banks and inflation will get a quick one way trip to the abattoir along with their sty mates (er, fellow Senators, I mean! LOL)

    (Hmm, more dead animal metaphors…is there a theme here???)

  12. 412
    gaffhook says:

    This article was written in November 2005 and maybe it could be taken with a few grains of NACL. Do not know if the bloke who wrote is still breathin.

    But even if a quater of it is true it is no wonder it’s a very strange world they live in master Jack


  13. 413

    …is there a theme here???)

    Yes Kirri, it’s a slaughterhose alright, a political splatterfest. Some of these scum are cuttin’-up real bad. It’s like a battle scene from Cormac McCathy’s Blood Meridan out there. Normal folk would just nod their heads and walk away clean and dignified, happy that others had done all the witnessin’ on their behalves——–but not us. We are bloggers! We simply have to know all the gory details. It’s a vocation, really, but once the scent of carnage hits our nostrils, we become driven by forces from deep within that once summonsed, will ne’er quit till sated.:twisted:

    Every week, cable television viewers sit transfixed as crab-fishing crews chop ice from riggings and hang on for dear life as house-sized waves buffet their decks. It can be as hard to change the channel from “Deadliest Catch” as it is to drive past a car crash without slowing down.
    And so it’s difficult to turn away from Alaska, where the political career of 84-year-old Ted Stevens is at sea and the legacy of 40 years in the U.S. Senate is being swamped by allegations that he used his position for personal gain.


  14. 414
    codger says:

    Kirri, Norwegian Blue Update…

    ‘Macquarie’s dead-parrot model’


    Or as Aunty put it…

    ‘Taxpayer costs on Airport Link jump to $267m’


    Not so much subprime as sublime. :)

  15. 415
    blindoptimist says:

    A significant deterioration in the US labour market, especially in relation to continuing claims, which recorded their largest in crease in 10 years…

    The Story up on the NASDAQ

    The US labour market continues to weaken, with increases in new unemployment claims and a very large increase in continuing claims being recorded. “…..continuing claims jumped by 185,000 to 3,282,000, the highest level since December 2003, suggesting it is taking much longer for the unemployed to find new work. The 185,000 weekly rise was the largest in over 10 years.”

  16. 416
    blindoptimist says:

    merci Catrina

  17. 417
    Catrina says:

    the power of editorial control


  18. 418
    blindoptimist says:

    you are a will-o-the-wisp at times, catrina…..now you see her, now you don’t….:)

  19. 419
    blindoptimist says:

    Catrina, the power behind the screen…..

  20. 420
    Catrina says:

    don’t blame me – blame Lateline

  21. 421
    blindoptimist says:

    Is it worth watching tonight?

  22. 422
  23. 423
    Catrina says:

    Tell you what – you could punch out our next post!


  24. 424
    blindoptimist says:

    As usual, lately……must get moving…..see you soon…:)

  25. 425
  26. 426
    blindoptimist says:

    I’ll give it some thought, cat..I think it’s the least I can do to help, really…but do I have anything to say?

  27. 427
    blindoptimist says:


  28. 428
    Catrina says:

    blindoptimist at 426

    Your making the rash assumption that I have anything to say!! However, I’m determined to send you on a soul searching guilt trip. Towards that end I’m closing this post and launching the next exciting episode in the Pollbludger 2008 US Edition …

    Referendum on Obama?