Open Thread

A Bumpy Couple of Days on the Campaign Trail

Jesse Jackson lobbed some criticism at Barack Obama resulting in the The New York Times citing the incident as ‘a real generational shift in power and leadership underway within African-American politics‘. In effect, Jesse’s criticism seems to be strengthening Obama’s position in that he is not being embraced by the hard line black political core. While the Jackson/Obama drama had all of the ingredients for a two-day news cycle, John McCain managed to take the talking points when he switched the identity of football teams when recounting his experience during torture in Vietnam, and in doing so raising some interesting questions in the media. On top of this his top economic advisor and National Co-Chair refers to Americans as a bunch of whiners for complaining about an economy that is only in a mental recession. But that’s only scratching the surface of John’s bad week.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow provides a summation of the week that was.

In parallel, the planned Obama speech at the Brandenburg Gate is getting only background attention in the US homeland, and a lot more attention over in Germany. First of all we heard the news that the Bush Administration were throwing a wet blanket on the idea, and since then we have seen a number of differing opinions across Germany’s media reflecting a fight between their respective right and left wings of government.

In the meantime VP speculation has been ripe over at the TPM with news about Hagel and Reed joining Obama on the upcoming Iraq visit, and rumors that Hillary Clinton was under consideration for vice president (although apparently Bill may be a problem).

You have to admit, this is almost as good as The West Wing, Season 7.

332 replies on “A Bumpy Couple of Days on the Campaign Trail”

Morning megan!

A Wall Street Journal article takes us into the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae drama. The article presents much of the same things we were talking about yesterday, but goes into more detail around the relationship between the US Government and these two private companies.

The two stockholder-owned, government-sponsored companies, whose operations are vital to the functioning of the U.S. housing market, faced a severe crisis of confidence after a week in which their stocks each lost nearly half their value. On Friday, Freddie Mac finished the day at $7.75 a share, and Fannie Mae at $10.25.

Hi Megan. Thanks for the post. It makes me think the FISA bill should be renamed the STASI law.

G’day, Gang,

Team Kid would do well to hold heavy fire on the mendacious old warmonger and presumptive nominee till Johnny Bomb-Bomb officially nails the nomination at the GOPper convention in Minnesota, which goes down a week after Obi’s crowning by the Dems in Colorado. Dem poo-bahs would want Obama to run against McCain because while beating him in November is not a lay down misere, it’s a very good bet. The last thing Obama wants to do is vivisect McCain now to the extent that the GOPper “brainstrust” are forced to resort to the audacity of desperation and nominate a “compromise candidate” at their St. Paul convention. It would be a GOP gamble sure, but better than an almost certain loss.

“Would you trust a President who’d rat on his wife and then lie about it to boost his political standing”, or similar, in a 30 second Primetime TV add on high rotation is not going to endear McCain to the majority of American voting women is it? Especially in view of the obvious “terrorist jabbing” trust that exists between Michelle and Barry.,0,6546861.story?page=1

It’s a pity things have to become so ugly in American politics, but the way Fox and Co, went after Obama trying to smear him as a madrassa educated Muslim while McCain remained silent about the attack (ie tacitly approved it) just reinforces the way politics is played Sep-side where everything is fair game.
How can America ever thank you enough, Lee Atwater, and your fecal spawn, Turd Blossom?
Thanks for breaking me out of the spam can, Catrina.

The news just keeps getting better and better, can anyone see a sunami coming?

Florida’s Democratic Party has registered more than six times as many new voters this year as the state GOP has, elections officials said.

Democrats registered 106,508 new voters from January through May, while the Republican Party picked up just 16,686 new voters during the same period, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Saturday.

Ecky, Megan, Blindopt, re McCain’s ‘viagra moment’:

Apart from being one of the most painful political moments, poor old Macca was really squirming because he knew he HAD in fact voted for insurers to not cover contraception but had allowed Viagra.

This was the point of the interviewer’s questions, and she kept at him relentlessly until all he could do was lie and say he could not recall his voting record.

It was little to do with his personal attitudes.

Ten points to the journo for nailing him.

Once again, the ugly Republican pandering to the religious right catches up with them.

As an aside, I watched (again) the great segment where Jon Stewart showed Wolf Blitzer aksing Dick Cheney about his gay daughter’s pregnancy, and it is another fine example of the deep hypocrisy of a party which uses minorities for political bashings, until of course it touches their own families.


Ecky, re: trolls (from previous thread)

Yep, gotta say that piece covers the ground, and nails one departed troll quite nicely. Early on I could smell the aggro and the need for attention but what I found the most offensive was the way he singled out those he thought vulnerable and sensitive and dumped on them. Really ugly behaviour in my opinion, and utterly beyond me why WB thought it acceptable.

Of course I was never restrained in calling his bluff, from way back on his cheap innuendo that I’d ‘plagiarised’ an essay on Tom Wolfe (for gawd’s sake! LOL) to his fictitious claim that I’d called him a ‘paedophile’! (He made it up so to be the ‘aggrieved’ party of course)

But what I noticed was that he had no shame, and no amount of catching him out embarrassed nor deterred him from his appalling behaviour.

That made me realise how desperately needy the poor bastard was. He just had to put people down and goad them into responding, or his day was not complete. It was addiction for a damaged ego and some really deeeeeep insecurity.

We’ll never now the details, and I for one am happy to leave it at that! LOL

This is well worth a browse. The US Senate is effectively legislating to socialise a significant part of the private housing market. They really must be terrified of the alternative.

Bush must hate this. He is actually going to have to do something in the pubic interest for once; furthermore, the initiative has come from a bi-partisan effort in Congress. The best he can be seen to do is go along with it.

Abramoff’s Shadow Looms Over Florida Rep. Feeney.

Republican Rep. Tom Feeney is being haunted by Jack Abramoff – once a highflying king of the Washington influence-selling industry and now the resident of a minimum-security prison.

Feeney busted the Abramoff ghost two years ago, easily winning a third term even though his Scotland golf trip with the disgraced superlobbyist was then much fresher news. Voters accepted Feeney’s explanation that the Abramoff junket was a mistake and he took every step possible to clear it up once he learned, after the fact, that the lobbyist had secretly paid the travel expenses.

The trolls are weird, for sure. They deserve a new word: “typopath” (noun), origin, a person characterized by emotional instability when typing, especially when publishing remarks on a blog, lack of sound judgement, perverse, compulsively argumentative and insulting, amoral, asocial, inability to learn; may or may not have grammatic trauma or syntactical distress.

8 blindoptimist

It’s too little too late, as they say. 400k homes is a fraction of the expected foreclosures, and as for regulatory improvements…well the problem is that without pumping more ‘printed’ money into the system, the housing market will totally cease up.

Rock and a hard place really.

It’s all been one gigantic Ponzi scheme, and they either: let it collapse, which is politically and socially abhorrent, or, they keep pumping the funny money, and hope like hell another asset bubble comes along to take its place. (This is the Greenspan method: blow another bubble to mop up the last one! LOL).

But this one is so huge that doesn’t seem likely or even possible at this stage. No wonder there’s sheer panic in the financial markets, as this is truly unchartered territory.

Hi Ecky and Kirri – (and all other delightfully civil Bludgers currently gracing this site),
re that trolling comments – I have to say I am v. relieved that the nastiness is gone – I was seriously starting to think about withdrawing all together, not because I was personally upset but it was just getting ugly and then I couldn’t resist hitting back – which wasn’t really OK either.
So in the end we all get dragged in to the sludge at the bottom ,and we had already lost a number of intersting contributiors (eg Asanque, Mayo Feral and a number of others).
As for the issue raised by Spam Inbox (hmmm) on the previous thread, while perhaps valid ignores the fact that we have all been talking to each other for quite some time now, and I absolutely trust the respect shown for each other’s privacy ( apart from Guess Who’s relentless attempts to identify me prior to the last election….).
So personally I have no concern that Catrina, Chris B or whoever gets involved inadministering the site would breach that trust.
And if you’re concerned- don’t post here.

Poll: Missouri voters leaning toward Obama.

A poll of 800 voters in Missouri indicates presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may win the electoral swing-state.

The poll by the Maryland polling firm Research 2000 indicates a majority of voters feel the Illinois senator will deal with the country’s domestic problems better than his likely electoral rival, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its Web site Saturday.

I agree KR, it doesn’t sound like much. But one way or another US Government agencies are becoming lenders of last resort (and often first choice) to the US housing market. Private capital has mostly fled the park, which I guess is the only prudent thing to do in the circmstances. The Government has to stabilize the market or risk a financial apocalypse. By assuming this level of responsibility, the US is opening itself to very large contingent liabilities. They really have to follow through with deep fiscal reform and strengthening the Federal Reserve as a matter of urgency. I read something on RCP this week which suggests the losses in the housing market are less – markedly less – than the losses in the commercial lending market. The authorities should be preparing for this too and figuring out ways to keep the system operating when the next quake hits.

Blindopt, you’ll enjoy this scathing comment on the shenanigans going down with Fannie and Freddie:

…and he’s right, this was ALWAYS a rigged game for Wall Street but now that the brown stuff has seriously impacted the fan, it needs some very ‘tough love’ to nationalise these two and be done with it.

Welcome to the Socialist Union of the USA! LOL

Obama Seeks to Register 151,000 Voters in 86 Days.

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (D) announced today that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is launching an effort to register 151,000 new voters in Virginia before the Oct. 6 registration deadline.

To meet the goal, Obama supporters would have to register about 1,755 new voters each day between now and Oct. 6. “If we do that, we’ll not only win an election, we’ll change a country,” Wilder said.

The effort, called Can You Best Barack, is designed to get Virginians to register more voters then the 150,000 residents Obama helped to register as a community organizer in Chicago in the early 1990s.

The People’s Flag is Deepest Red in Washington, KR… it’s almost enough to give an old leftie an insurrection….

21 Chris B

It’s the Barack Blitz!

Poor old Macca, can’t even use a computer while his opponent’s team are wired and flush enough to outspend and outflank him on his own turf.

It’s impressive.

Catrina, EC, KR, Jen and everyone
re: The road to surfdom troll piece that EC referred to…..
was really interesting, but probably could have gone for another 1000 words, at least. I don’t know that I have much to add to it myself, but I think it would be extremely healthy for us, as a “community” of sorts, to broaden the discussion quite a bit – If, for no other reason than to organically foster a concensus on standards for this forum.
That “Road to Surfdom” article identified possible reasons /motives for trolling, but it might be more helpful for us to look at its specific forms – ie: abusive or degrading language directed at a fellow poster or deliberate and stubborn refusal to concede a factual error etc etc.
The more we have an open exchange on what we do and don’t find acceptable, the better we’re able to deal with trolling.
Is this making sense?

Blindopt, just to show how ALL of this was well forseeable:

Nouriel Roubini | Jul 11, 2008

Two years ago in July and August of 2006 this author first presented here his analysis of why the U.S. would experience its worst housing recession of the last 50 years, why home prices would fall at least 20%, why the collapse of mortgages would start with the “subprime” ones (a term that at that time was unknown to 99.9% of the public including most investors) and how this housing bust would lead to a severe banking crisis and a credit crunch that would tip the U.S. economy in a recession by 2007. My timing of the recession call was off by six months – as the recession started at the end of 2007 rather than mid-2007 as then predicted – but all the other predictions turned out to be correct.

At that time this author also predicted that this housing bust and mortgage bust would lead to a bust of the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) in the mortgage market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Predicting the insolvency of Fannie & Freddie was the obvious logical implication of the prediction of the worst housing recession in decades. So no wonder that this week headlines are all about Fannie and Freddie being insolvent and the systemic consequences of such insolvency.

Let me now elaborate on those insolvency predictions, discuss what happens next…

…which is why I found Gruffy’s silly nonsense so amusing! LOL

This was ALWAYS coming, and the subprime meltdown was only the first shock.

It shows just how accurate Das’s description is: “Regulatory Debauchery”….say it ALL really.

Now, in this atmosphere of colossal financial failure, how will
Republicans offer any credible economic policies? How do you face an electorate with this ruinous collapse of the financial system?


Coz the voters will be hunting them down for lynching!

Optimist @ 24
I think it should be possible for offensive and/or abusive bloggers to be suspended or expelled, though I’m not sure what mechanism would be applied to decide who should get a red card. I’m hesitant about asking more of the admin….I’d be happy to vote though…

24 Optimist

It’s interesting Oppy how in our new home (hugs to Catrina!), we’ve not yet had any abuse, and this could be self-policing. In one sense we were just ‘renters’ at WB’s blog, and had few rights collectively. The ‘benign dictator’ ruled, and although it thoroughly mystified quite a few of us, his rulings were decrees.

Here is fundamentally diffferent, as we are all tenants in common, and have some stake in the smooth functioning and civil behaviour. If, as Catrina wants to do, we extend the Admin rights to a few more people, then we’ll get a committee structure to regulate such stuff, and it should get resolved by common agreement.

I’d bet we are MUCH better at this collectively, but of course, as I used to say when I lived on the NSW north coast many years back: “you can lead a hippy to happiness but you cannot make him think”. In other words, the warm innerglow was the easy bit, but the hard decisions are not always forthcoming in loose collectives.

But I’d like to think we can.


I agree about the abusive ones. I’m also interested to see if we can generally agree to collectively calling out people on certain behaviours – it often seems as though one poster will get caught up with a troll while others continue on a different discussion. I’m thinking that when we see someone getting baited or stuck in an argument that appears to be designed to go in circles, everyone chimes in on it where possible.
I’m not suggesting that there’ll always be agreement on principles or points of view, merely that we can agree when there is a deliberate refusal to concede an established fact or a clearly identified case of goalpost shifting etc. I suppose I’m talking about the intellectual dishonesty that can characterise a lot of trolling; something that goes beyond a reasoned and passionate defence of one’s viewpoint.

I do not make many posts i am more a serial lurker but, with regards to the Troll post at RTS and the remarks made here, the comments in the Morgan 59-41 PB thread numbers 80 to 100 are a classic example of Karl Rove’s pup.

Thats the cross between the E nglish S etter and the J apanese Spitz.

Obviously the Spitz part of the breed is well entrenched.

He/she has hopped in to Gary Bruce seeing he hasn’t got you guys feed him/her.

Optimist- I do think the discussion is important as we are in a situation where we can in fact really hurt or upset someone even inadvertantly. When it’s deliberate it’s not OK.
However, my own experience last year that I referred to above was heartening. Lots of peole (including those I had fierce disagreements with over politics) came out in support of me. WB didn’t actually have to do anthing as the Offender got a right bollocking.
He then of course cried Victim and huffed off for a while – only to return at a later date. But he didn’t try that on again. (He moved on to other shit!)
My point being that there was as sense from the majority about what was over the line without it needing to be spelled out.
Common decency basically.
As for the insults etc- most of them are qute entertaining (Finns and GG both make me laugh), and if the occasional line is crssed it can be seen as a minor stuff up. It’s the consistent abuse`that I personally find unacceptable. A bit of sledging is usually good fun! But that’s my opinion – someone else may find it unacceptable.

Gaffhook- you obviously get the picture . And guess who the protagonist is!

Progressive- noticed that GG and Finns are moving into the Oz thread. The Amigos ride !

bugger, bugger, bugger!

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in “Monetarists warn of crunch across Atlantic economies” in the Telegraph points to a troubling development: a fall over last few months in M1 and M2 in the US, UK and EU.

Many have criticized the Fed for “printing money” of late. But the evidence suggests otherwise. First, all of the cash injections that the central bank has undertaken via its alphabet soup of new lending facilities have been met with roughly equal withdrawals though open market operations. Thus the new facilities themselves have not led to monetary expansion.

Second, critics like to point to the Fed’s negative real interest rates as lax monetary policy. In the dot-bomb environment, which was not a credit crisis, that charge is accurate, and that policy helped create our current mess.

But we now have credit contraction. Deleveraging is deflationary. Somewhat loose monetary policy is appropriate. Unlike 2002, banks or securities firms are not going out to create new debt, which is the mechanism by which low interest rates lead to inflation or asset bubbles. Mortgage lending has become dependent on the Federal government via Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA (and the future of that support is now in question). Consumer credit of all sorts is being reined in. Dow Chemical had to go to Warren Buffett to borrow to acquire Rohm & Haas because it could not get funding from banks. Our credit intermediation system is barely functioning.

And oil is now playing a role that is weirdly parallel to gold in 1931. England abandoned the gold standard, which was tantamount to a devaluation. The US stayed on it at that juncture and raised interest rates even though the economy was very fragile. Countries that stayed on the gold standard in 1931 on average suffered a 15% fall in real GDP in 1932.


Talk about understatement:

Recent market volatility, problems with US rating agencies and a lack of transparency in off-balance sheet structured products have raised concerns that US financial markets may not be the “gold standard” that they were previously believed.

…you can say that again! LOL

It’s a very polite piece which basically rings the warning bell that all the so-called ‘benefits’ of holding US debt have nearly evaporated: lousy returns, appalling regulation, moral hazard, being just a few of the dissuading factors.

North American Peso (NAP) here we come!

How About Those… Steelers?

Terrible Towels are waving at half-staff today. It was only Wednesday when Senator John McCain was talking about how Pittsburgh’s beloved Steelers helped him get through his years in a North Vietnamese prison.

“When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the physical pressures that were on me, I named the starting lineup — defensive line — of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron-mates,” he told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, a city filled with the white, working-class voters who could be up for grabs in November (many of whom also happen to be diehard football fans).

34 blindoptimist

I read that yesterday and was almost going to bring it up, except that the implications are so complex and almost unfathomable for non-specialists. (BTW Naked Capitalism is an excellent blog, one of my favourites)

It’s what’s been happening for a while: a bipolar effect of inflation (commodites) and deflation (assets).

Which is why European CB are putting rates up, while Bernanke is terrified to do so, despite the under-reporting of their inflation.

As you said the other day, Japan in the 90’s might not be far away, if this thing goes feral.

We are truly in interesting times!

McCain hoped for a better week.

This was supposed to be the week John McCain unveiled his new campaign, more disciplined and acutely focused on the economy. The goal proved elusive: The presumptive Republican nominee spent the week cleaning up after controversial statements by himself and his surrogates, and trying to counter any impression that he overlooks the pain of struggling Americans.

McCain seemed to call Social Security a “disgrace,” was struck wordless on video when asked whether insurance companies should have to pay for birth control and, perhaps most damagingly, had to deny his own advisor’s assertion that, when it comes to the economy, America has become “a nation of whiners.”,0,5948913.story

The $5 trillion mess.

They own or guarantee $5 trillion worth of mortgages­ – nearly half of all the country’s outstanding home loan debt-and they’re crashing. Big time.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are struggling with an investor loss of confidence so great that, while they’re unlikely to go under, they could conceivably see their ability to function impaired. That would wreak yet more havoc on an already wrecked housing market- making loans tougher to come by and possibly pushing hundreds of billions of dollars in cost onto U.S. taxpayers.

In followup to a bunch of comments up above on policy stuff …

I think you can separate the role of admin into two distinct roles.

a) First and foremost we have the role of facilitating the smooth runnings of things (including things like spam management, support for the registration of users in the roles of Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber, and mundane things like making backups, and god forbid – restoration in the event of a significant failure);

b) Secondly, there is the role of enacting community interest, for example the addition or removal of links in the sidebar, the modification of the rights of particular user identities (including escalation or deescalation).

However, as jen pointed out – in the ESJ scenario the community pulled together and as KR noted, that was in an environment with a single authority. With what we have created here, I believe that we all have a lot more responsibility and that we will be more than the sum of our parts, and through that, the roles of the administrators as the machinery for the execution of community intent could be more transparent.

I think Gaffhook’s example of ESJ over on Pollbludger (AU) is typical of behavior that justifies a ‘minority report’ – i.e. instead of Gary Bruce responding to ESJ in kind, what if Gary simply posted a comment to a ‘Minority Report’ page. Given n minority reports against a particular user, admins have something to act on. In effect, admins could consult amongst themselves and potentially take action they deem appropriate and proportional to the community opinion.

Into this I would also like to note that we can leverage the roles of Editor to great advantage. An editor has the ability to publish, modify and/or remove content of any user. However, an Editor cannot play with the techo machinery such as configuration setting, style and layout etc. Given a three or four editors, empowered to replace the content of offensive comments with alternative test such as [content removed …], a good deal of issues could be nipped in the bud without admin intervention. But I should note that I’ve only just started digging into the technical possibilities available to us, and I’d like pull together a separate post sometime soon detailing the things we could do (but after I’ve had some time to do some experimentation).

I guess this is just an outline of some of the possible technical and social tools we have available – and to be sure we have a way to go to understand how to use these tools as instruments to help ourselves to build, develop, and maintain this community in the style that we want and appreciate.

*hugs to all*

ChrisB @38
McCain is clearly inept. This campaign should be a massive landslide given the pooor quality of the Repugs candidate and the impact of such gross mismamagement starting to hit the voters.

It’s just spam filterI think Jen, they chuck Ecky’s cartoon URL into the moderation bin apparently.

“Will the Bretton Woods 2 (BW2) Regime Collapse Like the Original Bretton Woods Regime Did? The Coming End Game of BW2 by Nouriel Roubini, July 6, 2008:
Will the Bretton Wood 2 Regime of fixed and/or heavily managed exchange rates in many emerging market economies collapse in the same way as the Bretton Woods 1
regime (the “dollar standard” regime that ruled after 1945 in the global economy) collapsed in the early 1970s? ”

Whither the global forex system? And whither the 60-year-long boom in international trade and investment? Ozlings (great word, KR) should worry.

Are we on the cusp of a replay of the 1930’s or the 1970’s? Or is this completely new territory?

I have to say, the politics of the US elections seem to have an other-worldlly quality to them. Tax cuts, new spending programs….lapel pins, viagra, the names of football teams, religious observances….talk about the lowest common denominator…

Kirri @44
That is such a clear picture of the utterly fcking disgraceful episode that Bush and co has dragged us into. The only light on the horizon that our faint hope of war trials is starting to gain some traction.
My guess is the whistleblowers and those that have been gagged and intimdated throughout this admin’s time will start to emerge with increasing desire for revenge. And the Bush Boys don’t have the same hold over the media outlets (god bless the internet) so they can’t cover it up/spin it as well as they once could.
I reckon there is going to be a annhialation of the Neocons. Let’s hope the fallout reaches our shores.

46 blindoptimist

It’s not just the financial markets that are panicked Blindopt! Economists are in a frenzy trying to decipher what is going on, and there’s very little clarity.

One thing is certain, the old regime is dead, of that no one is in any doubt. A return to endless credit and asset inflation is OFF the menu.

But just how asset deflation will fit with commodity inflation (with the severe credit contraction) is beyond anyone’s crystal ball. But the agitation is palpable amongst the practitioners of the Dismal Science.

Whatever it is, like in some corny B-grade horror flick, we never quite get to glimpse the beast, just track its approach with the thumping soundtrack and then see its victims left in its wake.

It feels very much like that moment, eh?

‘….talk about the lowest common denominator…’
they got the politicians they deserved last time.
Hopefuly the new voters will rise above the sludge and crap and demand more than that has passed for political debate.

48 jen

Bush is an appalling travesty of a president, but far worse is the cabal of Cheney’s Neocons. These guys need a bit of waterboarding in public if anyone does! LOL

It’s the final fling of an aberrant philosophy in my opinion, and the US will be forced to changed direction.

I wish Obama well, but it’s a colossal undertaking to turn this disaster around. On so many fronts Bush has led them into the tarpits, and the next administration will be severely hampered by a severe recession (or god forbid, worse), failing wars, and a pile of debt that’s simply unimaginable.

KR @ 37……

The process of credit contraction seems irrevocable now, KR. Once commenced, the withdrawal of credit must provoke a collapse in asset values, which threatens the capitalisation of both borrowers and lenders alike, and demands further reductions in credit….and so on. At the same time, the return of inflation and absolutely abysmal standing of the US Government mean that in America even cash is not really a safe haven. It is easy to imagine a run on the USD: the liquidation and repatriation of foreign-held assets and all the disruption that would ensue. Deeply troubling stuff….But no-one seems to think it possible. Complacent? or Sage?

I totally agree Kirri-
in Obama’s quietest moments he must be scared to death of what he is taking on.

jen @ 50….I hope you’re right. Lawd knows that America is crying out for good leadership….not only America either…but here at pollbludger we have the leadership of the wise (KR), the efficient (Cat) and the good (jen)….we cannot fail:)


Law Professor Jonathan Turley, on MSNBC last night :

I never thought I would say this, but I think it might, in fact, be time for the United States to be held internationally to a tribunal. I never thought, in my lifetime, that I would say that, that we have become like Serbia, where an international tribunal has to come to force us to apply the rule of law. I never imagined that a Congress, a Democratic-led Congress would refuse to take actions, even with the preeminent institution of the Red Cross saying, this is clearly torture and torture is a war crime. They are still refusing to take meaningful action.

So, we’ve come to this ignoble moment where we could be forced into a tribunal and forced to face the rule of law that we’ve refused to apply to ourselves.

Blindy – “good”?? Moi?
That’s so lovely ( and quite unusual I might add!) but I agree with the sentiment. Perhaps we are the vanguard of the new approach to blogging. I noticed on WB’s site Finns is declaring that we will all end up suing each other as we’ll have no leadership and therefore it will all turn to shit.
Such little faith!

52 blindoptimist

Of course Bernanke is trying desperately to re-inflate with interest rates WELL below inflation (in properly accounted fashion!) but it’s a high risk strategy in the end.

I can’t see how the USD will not get trashed further.

Gold/silver and collectibles, it’s the only way out of the collapse of fiat currencies that are based on nothing but promises. (And the US promises are getting more devalued by the day).

But this will only work until global interest rates surge to overtake inflation, as at some point they absolutely MUST, and this will KILL commodities stone motherless dead in the process. Global recession is well on the cards if this all transpires, but considering the massive bubble in non-productive housing in almost every economy, I can’t see it not being the ultimate solution.

Without a huge write-down we cannot get past this, and it’s going to cause some very serious pain, but it’s the price we pay for the idiots like Greenspan NOT taking away the punchbowl when the party got well and truly out of control.

Greenspan will be the MOST reviled man in US modern history (with idiot Bush a close second), before the next decade is finished.

Thanks for that Greenwald article Kirri.
It lifts my spirits to think that there is strating to be high level and increasingly viocal calls for soem kind of legal action to be taken.
In think oit is the only way to purge the stink of corruption and immorality that this past regime has left us all wearing. Damn them to hell – the call fro war crimes rials will et louder adn more global I reckon. Look at Downer, Ruddock et al, and especially John W Howard who all conspired with this stinking mess.
Bring it on!!

We are all very well-adapted bludgers round here, jen, I’m sure. In fact, the good-natured interaction here says a lot about the value of free speech as well as our own amiable styles.

Unusual? How so? I think it is a fitting description…

56 jen

I should put it on the record Jen that Finns is not someone whose opinion can be taken seriously on anything. I just stopped even reading his codswallop. Talk about childish rubbish. Doodling dross hardly even disguised to mean anything. He simply teamed up with Gruffy because he was attracted to the big ‘tough guy’s’ image, but he had nothing to contribute of his own.

Pity that Gruffy was all hot air 90% of the time, but Finn was too thick to even understand that. Of course, this is just my opinion! LOL

What a coagulation of clowns they are.

Jen, I think there are many who share your outrage. It’s hard to swalllow, the self-appointed champion of ‘democracy’ and ‘human right’ wallowing in such depravity with a corrupt and dishonest administration lying about it for years.

It is truly horrifying how depraved they’ve become, and let’s hope the new administration makes some bold steps to hose out the abattoir that Bush and his minders have constructed.

Megan at 1: Tim Ferris has an excellent blog. How right Tim is about the Constitutional abuse by FISA with the complicity of the House, Senate, Bush, McBush, Obi and the profiteering tele-corporations . Totalitarian surveillance, of course, facilitates the rise of regimes like the “Democratic Republic of East Germany” so brilliantly captured in the recent German film, “The Lives of Others” which I commend to all. Aussie Anna Funder’s “Stasiland” isn’t a bad read either.
Particularly like Tim’s Comment Rules:
“Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. If you’re not, we’ll delete your stuff. Also, please use cursing artfully if you must, and put your URL in the “website” field and not in the comment box. Danke and have fun! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)”
Well worth consideration if we become subject to the pestilence of typopaths (nifty neologism there, love it, BoBo).

Yes, Oppy at 24, being prepared, before trolls get medieval on our collective asses is the strategically sound thing to do. Maybe this is one application where a “three strikes and yer out” policy is smart. LP floated the idea of a stoush gym before our November election but it didn’t work because of the “look at moey”, narcissistic nature of offenders.
Anyway, comments from jen at 15, 31; Oppy 24,29; Kirri 28 and Gaffy30 indicate that we, as a disparate mob of cyberspace misfits, are well positioned already to deal with any schmucks who would wiggle maggot-like upon our patch with malfeasance in their hearts!

Quite correct, Kirri at 25, “Regular Debauchery” is the hideous harbinger of moral turpitude
“Coz the voters will be hunting them down for lynching!”
Yep, Ben Sargent, (if one substitutes Energy for Fiscal/Monetary Policy) seems to capture the mood to which you allude rather well in the demeanour of congessman’s callers.
Thurs Jul 10 (check datebox)

(Been away from the set, got up to comment 39, will now check the remainder and get back.)

Will Kirri – that’s fairly cleart hen!
Have to say I smiled reading the Salon article where Greenwmald made reference to the technique of dismissing criticismof the neocons by accusing those doing so of “being on their High Horse”. Lost count of the number of times I copped that one.
Made me feel that I must be amongst good company!

blindy- those that know me would most likely not use “Good” as a way to describe me. In fact they would laugh. I like it though.

58-62…I am likewise repelled by this. The US once tried to at least kid itself and others that it stood for a higher standard of justice; that respect for individual rights did have meaning and that the rights of the state were limited by law. But these ideas have been sent into poverty and exile; run out of town, humiliated, bullied and rejected. The thieves and thugs that run America are not so qualitatively different from Mugabe. They just have a better address.

“…..those that know me would most likely not use “Good” as a way to describe me. In fact they would laugh. I like it though.”

I have to take you as I find you, Jen. And i’m glad you like it.:)

What’s really scary is how a similar thing was happening here (Detention Centres, Iraq, the AWB scandal , Dr Haneef the list goes on), and it happened right before our eyes and we were powerless to do anything.
Whatever comes out of the washup after the Repugs get their arses kicked is that our rights must be enshrined in such a way that no government of the day can just strip them away using ‘War’ as a reason. We’re at war with fcking everything according to this lot- Terror, Drugs, Crime, blaah blaah. In the end we are really at war with ourselves.

The Breakfast Club.

Do the people who run the National Prayer Breakfast also run the nation?

The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

This group, which goes by various names — Cornerstone, Fellowship Foundation or, more generically, “the Family” — is responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast, but it also functions as a religious, social and political network for generals and bureaucrats and politicians with surnames like Grassley, Inhofe, Colson, Brownback, Quayle, Pryor and Thune.

Kirri44; and jen48(xx2U2):
Crackerjack article by Frank Rich linked at #44. Sign of the times that Op-Eds like Frank’s can at last be published without fear or favour.

Will try the toonies from Yahoo one at a time, maybe that way they might be able to sneak past the Spam Nazi.
Sun July 13:;_ylt=Artes7f9VG.vT4Cj1OuvP0vd.sgF

From KR’s link at 74:
“Military force is essential in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban. But over time, in Pakistan and Afghanistan alike, the best tonic against militant fundamentalism will be education and economic opportunity.
So a lone Montanan(Bill Mortenson) staying at the cheapest guest houses has done more to advance U.S. interests in the region than the entire military and foreign policy apparatus of the Bush administration”

Unfortunately, BushCo/Necons/PNAC/WHIGs and all the other money sucking animals at the Federal trough don’t quite see things that way.

Are Americans whining or suffering over the economy?

Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm thinks we’ve “become a nation of whiners,” sending ourselves into “a mental recession.” Of course, this is the same politician who sponsored the law that allows commodities and futures trading to operate essentially free of regulation, which in my view led to the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Obama camp to keep going against book.

Unconventional strategy includes the targeting of GOP strongholds.

Conventional wisdom dictates, for instance, that Democratic presidential candidates have no real chance in a bundle of states across the South and the West. To win the White House, Democrats must focus on battlegrounds like Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Florida.

Following the conventional wisdom is not Plouffe’s style, though. His plan calls for Obama not only to hold every state that Sen. John F. Kerry won in 2004 and go all-out in the battleground states, but also to try to steal states that Republicans have carried for decades.

Chris @ 78
Plouffe certainly seems to have ambitions to match his candidate’s abilities. I wonder who found who? Did Obama find Plouffe, or was it the other way around? (A la W. Wing?)

jen @ 15 since i wasnt named as an interesting poster who left the old site, do i take it that i am uninteresting???!!!

the more I hear and see McCain, the more I am amazed by how competitive he is in the polls, and its no doubt partly due to the media’s handling of him- take the response to Obama’s bitter comments compared to McCain saying social security was a disgrace or his adviser saying Americans were whiney…

Andrew- welcome aboard! (i’m sure I said “and others”).
was it difficult to track this site down?
Anyway- glad you found us.
Will post something relevant tomrrow, but other stuff beckons.

Catrina, you say in your header:
“You have to admit, this is almost as good as The West Wing, Season 7.”

One noticable difference is that Senators Santos and Vinick possessed a trait rather rare in politicians. Integrity.

My week by Johnny Bomb-Bomb:

Another floater:

85 Enemy Combatant


It’s a rude shock suddenly finding the government reaching into your pocket to bail out Wall Street and bondholders from Japan and China, isn’t it? LOL

God, I cannot understand why McCain just doesn’t throw himself under a bus, coz come November the voters are going to hand him his ass.

Speaking of ass, this pole bludger’s got some:

…and is kinda funny in a not Roman Catholic sort of way. (We’re innundated with devotees of the Italian cult here in Sydders at the moment! LOL)

I spotted the headline to this article yesterday but didn’t get around to reading it until this evening …

Maybe, just maybe, a bunch of delegates to the Democratic Convention in Denver will change their minds at the last minute. Maybe there is an outside chance that between now and the last week of August a critical mass will decide that Barack Obama is not their guy — that, to the surprise of one and all, Hillary Rodham Clinton is to be the 2008 nominee after all.

That is the thinking behind a small but determined band of Hillary backers, some of whom have formed a 527 fundraising committee that has already run one $9,700 ad in the Chicago Tribune, and plans more in the weeks to come.

I guess it could add to the entertainment value at the Denver convention. But frankly this looks more like manufactured smoke than anything else.

Yesterday evening there was an video article over the MSNBC with the title “Iranian missile launch photo altered” and this evening I click on the link to view the content and the video seems to has gone missing.

Um, I can small a conspiracy theory coming on!

91 Catrina

Yeah, it looks like one of the launches failed, so they filled the hole with a copy of one of the other ones in the same shot! LOL

Cunning, huh????

It’s not a very interesting story and doesn’t warrant a conspiracy of its very own I’m afraid.

It was another case of ‘manufactured smoke’ by photoshop! LOL

I think Hillary will need more than that to fool anyone she’s going to be the nominee!

Imagine Chief Campaign Advisor shoots you in one foot (the Whining Americans and Mental Recession) and then you try to pull of a joke saying your going to send him off as Ambassador to Belarus, except that the joke does not really play well in terms of Foreign Relations, or humor (nobody laughs), or demographic – the pitch from McCain was in Michigan – a state where recession is very real. That sounds a lot like the sound of the cocking of the gun, while taking careful aim at your other foot, and the sound of the trigger tripping one more time.

95 Catrina

McCain’s all over the shop but the media still don’t pursue him.

It’s sad watching him trying to even keep up with Obama. Gotta say it’s fun though! LOL

Great video of Obama, KR (97). He is so good with the crowd – warm, relaxed, direct, clear….brilliant….

Mornin’ All, Brissy beckons today, time only for a quickie, will catch up this arvo:
Kirri, having so many scrutineers on hand for the Chilean pole bludger is good for democracy:)
“Let them eat Prozac!!”…….Phil Gramm.

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