Open Thread

Red is Blue and the Whitehouse Black

Left is right; Keynes is King; Banks are poor and your average worker is….well…poorer. And in the midst of it two candidates vie for what has become the poisoned chalice that is the Presidency of the United States.

Look at what’s happening in the world right now. Today’s Crikey headline summed it up well: “Everywhere you look: Carnage!” They’re talking about the world economy – the response to the Bail Out has been less that bullish with the stock markets in the USA, Europe, Japan, Russia – hell let’s just say everywhere – heading south today.

Carnage could just as easily describe John McCain’s campaign. The two are linked like Siamese twins – and one of them has died. Actually, it’s more like Siamese triplets….the Bush Government, the world economy and the McCain campaign. One has died, one is dying and the third is stumbling around carrying the dead weight. That’s what happens with the conjoined – you just can’t get away from your siblings. So there’s Macca dragging around a corpse (Bush) and a near corpse (the economy). We won’t mention those other albatrosses (oh yes we will) – the wars he says could last a hundred years or his VP pick from hell.

And as the world around him panicswhat does the Siamese Triplet do? I said it earlier – to counter this threat McCain will start seriously addressing the issues of concern to the electorate, thus re-establishing his credibility and restoring confidence in his ability to govern with wisdom and compassion. NAH! Chucking mud is easier. So while Grandpa and Minnie indulge in shadow mud wrestling, the markets take yet another dive and the people’s confidence in McCains ability to lead plummets. McCain’s answer? More mud! Even if it’s old mud – Ayers, Rezko & Wright. Some’s gotta stick, right?? Yep John – but it’s stickin’ to you!”

Over at Time Online Mike Murphy wrote

“Palin should drop the braying attacks on Obama’s aging hippie bomber pals and start connecting to her cherished hockey moms on the one issue they are actually worried about; a quickly slowing economy. Chuck the hacky and ineffective negative ads and switch to man on the street spots with real people voicing their real doubts about Obama; too weak to stand up to Washington’s mighty special interest cartel or the newly empowered Democratic bosses of the Congress and Senate, too liberal to know how to fix the economy, too inexperienced to handle a dangerous world. On Tuesday, McCain should look into the camera and connect to the 80 million scared and worried Americans who will be watching him.”

RCP’s Jay Cost disagrees. He thinks McCain’s only option is to keep throwing the mud. “One party’s vicious smear is the other’s vital truth. That’s just the way it is” he opines today.

Jay is wrong. A panicked America isn’t listening. They want comfort, they want assurance and they want answers. McCain isn’t giving any of it it so they’re dropping the old guy like a stone. Look at the numbers! The map is a mass of blue. Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico. Commenting on today’s polls 538’s Nate Silver says:

“Are John McCain’s negative attacks succeeding in eating into some of Barack Obama’s support? They certainly aren’t yet. In fact, Barack Obama has had perhaps his strongest individual polling day of the year…You can read these numbers as well as I can. Obama leads by 6 in North Carolina? 12 in Virginia? 7 in Florida? 3 in Missouri? Obviously, I am cherrypicking some of the more pro-Obama results here … but the point is, there are a lot of favourable results these days for Barack Obama.”

So if McCain looks tired and burdened going into the next debate. Sympathise. He’s carrying a lot of baggage. If he’s looking blue, it’s just the reflection of what’s going on all around him.

671 replies on “Red is Blue and the Whitehouse Black”

Ferny Grover – apologies – when you mentioned submitting a post I though you were talking about a new post here. In fact it’s Gaffhook who’s getting stripped tonight.

Sorry about that!


And Gaffy – don’t even think about replying to this comment!

paddy, GK is always worth a read and a listen (RN 7pm est Sunday evenings). His “palling around with” Robert Altman for the Prarie Home Companion movie was inspired Americana.
As the markets of Mammon tumbled in slomo this week, I remembered the song the beautiful black lady sang in the movie:
“Why……do…..we work…….so hard…. to buy things….we don’t even need?”.
And old Chuck dying in his dressing room tickled pink because he was on a promise from the tea-lady…….and Woody Harrelson with Michael J. Craig as the risque cowboy larrikin duet. All the while the angel of death dressed in a stunning white trench coat roamed the set, at one stage asking Garrison Keillor to explain the penguin joke of his that she was listening to on her car radio moments prior to her demise. Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep as the maudlin singing sisters, and boy, what a great band!

From the opening scene of a prarie home silhouetted against a Minnesota dawn with the sountrack defining the aural landscape as the dial was slowly turned along the AM radio band……..I was transported there in an instant!
Yeah, Garrison Keillor is orright by me too:)

Wiseacre Al Franken likes the way his polling is shaping up in MN.

Ferny Grover
Stop it Ferny.
Vacuousness in a big girls blouse indeed.

Just gave me a shocking vision of the good Dr being played by Magda Szubanski

Yes indeed Ecky it was a fabulous film.
A fitting sendoff for Robert Altman and loads of fun to watch.
Also fun to think of Al Franken actually getting up in the senate!!
Whatever next. Jon Stewart for congress?
Or, even better. Steven Colbert for whitehouse press secretary?

KR….90% off…..i think the chances are about 50:50 at the moment. i was thinking that it might help if the banks were nationalised in the Atlantic economies. But I think this would just bankrupt the various governments involved. The banking system needs quite a few trillion…maybe 15 trill would be enough…to be properly recaptialised. No-one has this kind of money. So a conventional re-capitalisation is not going to work.

I think a beter solution would be for governments to create special commercial finance funds, to be administered by central banks. Private banks could be appointed agents of the central banks. Not too many banks would qualify for this role, but those that did would be able to lodge marketable securities as collateral with the central bank and in return receive “commercial/retail” funds for use in the real economy. These funds could be provided at low rates to the agent banks and offered at market rates to businesses/ individuals. This will keep the real economy going and maintain a core of profitable, adequately capitalised private banks in business.

At least this would keep the real economy going while the market and the regulators figure out who is going to fail/merge/survive. They can also work through the whole selection of debt-for-equity swaps and capital reconstructions.

If things like this are not done within a few weeks, we will all be wishing we’d panicked a lot sooner.

Hello again from New York.

The world’s gone crazy. I won’t be doing much shopping here in NY – that’s not such a bad thing.
All discussion is about the market free falls. But then I was lucky enough to go to one of the top NY restaurants last night, where there was no sign of any financial crisis. The restaurant was full. It was a pretty surreal thing to do on such a momentous day – we were celebrating someone’s promotion.
Politics is dominated by disgruntled McCain supporters, entreating him to go for Obama – to use Reverend Wright and William Ayers to discredit him. I was amazed at one guy who stood up and questioned how could Obama be where he was? How could the socialists take over the country? What are these people thinking – that there can be nothing but Republicans governments for ever? That Republicans are entitled to be running the country? The core Republican base just do not understand how anyone could be voting for Obama. Amazing.
Bye for now.

I just had lunch with a Hilary supporter. Man, it was hard to hold my tongue.

She said she hadn’t previously been very politically engaged. She said she didn’t like any previous presidents – she just supported Hillary. Her father was a Libertarian, and her mother was voting for Obama this time – so she came from a mixed political background.

She was undecided whether to vote for Obama or McCain – though it sounded to me like she would vote for McCain. She basically despised Obama – she thought he was arrogant and condescending, and offered no substance. When I commented that McCain had had a terrible campaign, she disagreed and thought he was doing well considering the financial situation. But I think the thing that was most telling for me was that she was pretty complimentary of Palin. This is an intelligent woman who has reached the top of her profession. When I commented that the Couric interviews had been really embarrassing for Palin and the Republican – she replied that the reason the interview went badly was that Couric disliked Palin. My sense was that she was so resentful that Obama beat Hillary in the primaries, that she would never vote for him. I didn’t see any evidence of a fair evaluation of the respective candidates.

She also had no idea that Obama was so ahead in state polling – all she knew were the national results, which to her put the race really close.

I know this is just one Hillary supporter, but I was left with the impression there was nothing Obama could do to win this vote. This person could not get past resentment from the results of the primaries.

Hi Katie Lou-
hope you are enjoying NY despite the fact that you have to engage with actual Repug voters and worse, ABO’s who hate him because…well, it’s anyone’s guess, but you got to wonder if he was a tad lighter whether they may be slighly less repulsed by him.
Maybe he should talk to Michael Jackson’s beautician 😈

seems obvious really – if you can’t get the voters to not support Obama then you incirte enough hatred that some True Believer NRA member does the deed to save them all from socialism. So fcking dangerous to allow and even encourage the mob-hatred. And I would expect no less from scum like McCain and Palin.

paddy@608 –
not that I would try and take anything away from Obi here,(love the Nosrtobamus line :wink:) but serioulsy did anyone believe for one minute that the Reugs wouldn’t use every dirty tactic in the book?
Even Hillary couldn’t resist, and she’s on the same side FFS.

True about the repubs Jen. But back when Hilary was playing dog whistle games, there were lots on right who were easily convinced that Obi couldn’t possibly win.
I mean, a black guy? Get real!
Now it’s getting harder by the day for them to deny the apocalypse.

KL’s post makes me feel a bit better actually.
If the right are STILL in denial, maybe he’s safer than I think.

But every time I see one of those Obama rallies in the open air with tens of thousands of people, it makes me desperately nervous.
God knows, the secret service must be sh*tting bricks every time he goes out on the stump to make a speech.
I know I am.

Katielou at 612, it AMAZES me that a Hillary supporter can vote for McCain even if the economy wasnt in the toilet, GWB on the nose, Palin an embarassment, McCain erratic etc etc, its just voting for the OTHER SIDE- like a Costello supporter voting for Rudd last election. I just dont get it


Shades of Jackie Kelly and the rodent.

”It’s a little suspicious and at least grossly incompetent,” the voter said. “If I crossed out the name and wrote in the right spelling my ballot would be invalid.”

The kid’s going to need a landslide.
Then again, it looks like he’ll get one. 🙂


LOL, Colbert as Whitehouse Press Sec.! Maybe he could job share with Helen Thomas to give it some gravitas and experience! LOL

(His performance at the President’s media dinner was a tour de force of comedic genius and an expression of monumental cojones)

bloody binned again!

Catrina, what’s going on? I’ve NEVER been binned before yesterday, and since then, about three or four times????????????

Can you kick the thing in the guts and get it back to normal please?

paddy -I’m with you .
And there is no way McCain and Palin don’t know the potential ramifications of allowing this hate mongering to gain momentum. Next thing Sarah will be popping a set of antlers on Obi’s head and driving him into the woods.

BlindOp, it’s an incredible rout, and now the liquidations are going crazy as hedge funds and others desperately try to raise cash, and it’s SELL SELL SELL at any price. Who cares about valuations? Who cares if stocks are oversold, they must get some cash to stay afloat. So it’s all shouting fire in the theatre and a rush for the exits.

LIBOR came off a tad last night, but it’s still not in anything like normal zones, and the credit jam is still there. Maybe something like your plan is needed, but this system is, until then, constipated and showing little sign of relief.

Alan Kohler in today’s business spectator,

The Bush Administration, along with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed chairman Tim Geithner, made a decision not to save Lehman because the markets had to be taught a moral hazard lesson. The lesson was learnt, but the pupil died.

Now Morgan Stanley is fighting for survival, along with General Motors and Ford, not to mention Iceland.

Let’s just hope the G20 can stitch something together over the weekend.

Alaska Panel Finds Palin Abused Power in Firing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled her reputation as a reformer on John McCain’s Republican ticket.

Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.

Huffington Post: Palin “Unlawfully Abused Her Authority”

#633. Let’s hope more Americans realise the choice before them is between FAKE change (McCain/Palin) and AUTHENTIC change (Obama/Biden). McCain/Palin actually stand for nothing except a pale imitation of what Obama stands for… it’s a complete joke.

McCain Campaign Now Attacks Michelle Obama Over Ayers

The McCain campaign is now broadening their attack on Obama’s past association with William Ayers to include Michelle Obama — even though McCain has repeatedly said spouses should be off limits during the campaign.

The attack? Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife and fellow former Weatherman, went to work in 1984 for the major Chicago-based national law firm of Sidley & Austin, and three years later, Michelle joined the mega-firm as well.

That’s the entire attack. We wish we were joking. But we aren’t.

The firm’s Chicago office currently employs more than 500 lawyers.

Murtagh didn’t even bother alleging that the two even knew each other, instead suggesting that they might have. If so, he said, the Obamas have known the two longer than suspected.

McCain Campaign Attacks Michelle Obama

jen Says:

It’s not predictable Jen, as too many funds are liquidating to stay afloat and so there’s no fundamentals being employed here. My hunch is we’re about done, and I expect next week to be flat. I may be wrong however. Remember, for every seller there is a buyer, so there’s a lot of people punting that this panic is a great buying opportunity if you’re in for the long haul. On fundamentals I’d say that’s right, but short term…who can predict this raging bear?

Recent hot releases:)
Chris at 623
Kirri at 627
G’day, Gang.

E-Day minus 24 and all’s well with Team Kid. For them it is the best of times as surging poll numbers confirm Obi’s ascendency. For the gutted GOPpers it is the worst of times as a bleak cold dawn of irrelevance greets them. All their clocks are striking thirteen:) ( ta Charles and George)

KatieLou, your vignettes of Gotham are a joy to read and your diplomacy (corporate survival?) skills a source of wonder to Harlequin hip-shooters and recidivist court jesters alike.

Found your following observation most instructive:

She(KL’s executive dining companion in NYC) also had no idea that Obama was so ahead in state polling – all she knew were the national results, which to her put the race really close.

This suggests that because of her all-consuming corporate focus, the lady’s political “info” most likely comes from Fox/MSM grabs and the hive-mind of her social mileau. Despite their obvious intelligence, the consent of these folk is as easily manufactured as say, that of the paysanos on a Fatima hillside in 1917. “The owners of America” as recently deceased brilliant New Yorker, George Carlin, called them, rely on the continual distractedness of such true believers in The American Dream in order to successfully keep pulling their Rort of Rorts.

Great stuff, KL, hope you get time to dispatch us some more.

Andrew, be amazed no more, mon ami.

The CNN link didn’t come up live so here is part of the report.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) — Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin abused her power as Alaska’s governor by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator’s report concluded Friday.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is under investigation for the firing of her public safety commissioner.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is under investigation for the firing of her public safety commissioner.

“Gov. Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda,” the report states.

Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten from the state police force was “likely a contributing factor” to Monegan’s July dismissal, but Palin had the authority as governor to fire him, the report by former Anchorage prosecutor Stephen Branchflower states.

However, it states that her efforts to get Wooten fired broke a state ethics law that bars public officials from pursuing personal interest through official action.

Monegan has said he was fired in July after refusing pressure to sack Wooten, who had gone through an acrimonious divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister.

Palin and her husband, Todd, have consistently denied wrongdoing, describing Wooten as a “rogue trooper” who had threatened their family — allegations Branchflower discounted.

“I conclude that such claims of fear were not bona fide and were offered to provide cover for the Palins’ real motivation: to get Trooper Wooten fired for personal family reasons,” Branchflower wrote.

The Branchflower report states Todd Palin used his wife’s office and its resources to press for Wooten’s removal, and the governor “failed to act” to stop it. But because Todd Palin is not a state employee, the report makes no finding regarding his conduct.

The bipartisan Legislative Council, which commissioned the investigation after Monegan was fired, unanimously adopted the 263-page public report after a marathon executive session Friday. About 1,000 more pages of documents compiled during the inquiry will remain confidential, the council’s chairman, state Sen. Kim Elton, said.

Rep. John Coghill, a Republican who criticized the handling of the investigation, said it was “well-done professionally.”

Now Intrade for McCain is under 23 and for Obama 77-78. Hard to make a buck on the Stock Exchange but other options open up?

Well KR, no-one has published the numbers, so there is no real way of knowing, but the falls in asset values have been so severe that there must be a very high probability that the global financial system is now broadly insolvent. In practical terms, because it is not possible to borrow money for anything more than a day or two at a time, very many debt-issuing institutions would probably fail the basic solvency test: can they meet their liabilities as they fall due. Even if they can raise money, they are paying a fortune for it and for the accompanying default risk premums.

In these circumstances, it is irrational and irresponsible for lenders to extend further credit to the already indebted/insolvent. So this is a pernicious cycle where illiquidity has lead to market paralysis which has led to price destruction and serial insolvencies.

I think you are too sanguine about Australia’a chances. Demand for commodities is collapsing, which will trigger a recession in business investment and contraction in incomes. At the same time, the domestic banking system is going to find it very difficult – even impossible – to roll-over their foreign debts or raise new foreign borrowings. This will inevitably lead to an economy-wide rationing of credit in Australia. Consumption and investment will have to correct to match the level of net domestic income and savings. We have even further to fall than the Americans in this respect. It follows that we should expect to see the AUD down at about USD 0.40 cents before long and maybe around Yen 30-35.

On the subject of the yen, imagine what yen appreciation is going to do the export-reliant Japanese economy. Unemployment is already rising while investment and household incomes have been falling in Japan. No wonder the Nikkei is dropping like a stone.

I think this country has a strong banking system, but it has been very reliant on foreign capital to finance investment as well as consumption. As deleveraging becomes the overwhelming economic theme, our dependence on foreign savings is going to have to be reversed. And this will hurt the real economy. It is unavoidable.

And Jen, where will it end? It is impossible to know. At the very least we have a few very tough years in front of us. At the worst, there will be a general economic collapse. It is perfectly safe to say, however, that there can be no going back to how things were. We have to move on.

Perhaps this is the strongest single argument for regime-change in America. (I think that is what the defeat of the Republicans will amount to. Clearly, KatieLou’s dinner companions also see it the same way, though from the opposite side of the gallery.)

EC – the cartoonists seem to benefiting from the GOP crash. Good to see some-one is. I have this image of the McCain truth bus driving rather erratically before ploughing into the high rise buildings containing Dow Jones and GOP head quarters.

Is California on the road to insolvency?

California Rating Threatened by Cash Crunch, S&P Says (Update2)
By Michael B. Marois

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — California’s credit rating may be lowered if the state isn’t able to borrow $4 billion it needs to pay monthly bills, Standard & Poor’s said.

The ratings provider said California’s ability to access the short-term credit market is “critical” given falling revenue and a widening budget deficit that may force lawmakers to cut spending from a budget that was passed just three weeks ago following a record-long stalemate. The state plans to sell $4 billion in short-term notes to help cover expenses until tax receipts come in later in the year.

Disruptions in global credit markets have sent interest rates soaring in the municipal bond market and prompted dozens of borrowers to scrap planned offerings as investors shunned the debt. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last week warned U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the state may need a loan if it can’t complete a deal in coming weeks.

“Without a successful infusion of cash over the next six to eight weeks,” S&P said, “the state may be required to defer spending by executive order, schedule a special session of the legislature and/or possibly slow payments to local units, including school districts.”

California, the biggest borrower in the municipal-bond market, has $51 billion in general-obligation debt outstanding. The state is rated A+ by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, the fifth-highest rankings, and a comparable A1 by Moody’s Investors Service.

At the very least, California will soon have to start running a balanced budget. This can only be bad for demand in the Ca economy, for employment, incomes, general economic activity for some time into the future….

Noocat Says:
October 11th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
#645 Maybe the end point will be a segue into an altered economic system. I personally like the sound of Economic Democracy:

sounds like fun for all, Noocat, though I’d be happy if we could just get political democracy working properly for the time being…

Obama at $1.13 on Centrebet, McCain $5.50. There’s a narrowing opportunity to back the big O.

What sort of coverage is the troopergate finding having in a MSM. I cant bear to check

BTW A bit suprised at the adverse finding. thought they’d say they didnt have enough info to make a finding

Noocat Says:
October 11th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
#645 Maybe the end point will be a segue into an altered economic system. I personally like the sound of Economic Democracy:
sounds like fun for all, Noocat…though I would be content if we could get political democracy to work properly for once…..

KR at 629

Catrina, what’s going on? I’ve NEVER been binned before yesterday, and since then, about three or four times????????????

The only options we have are to disable the spam detection system – its either on or off. For the moment turning it off would not be a problem because we haven’t been getting any spam since liberated ourselves – however, its just a matter of time before it arrives – so – everyone keep an eye out for dubious comments and post a note on the Editorial Policy page is you spot anything suspect and I’ll turn off the monster for the time being.

Well frankly Kirri , Blindy and others- there is obviously something dubious about you lot because I personally have never been binned… 😎
Well, not here anyway.

[sounds like fun for all, Noocat…though I would be content if we could get political democracy to work properly for once…..]

Good point, but you’ve got to admit that the current system is inherently unstable. When you take a step back, it just looks absurd, and that’s not even getting to the issue of unfairness. We can do better, surely. Or at least I like to imagine so… 🙂

I haven’t been binned either, but then again, I always avoid references to viagra, penis extensions, and sex toys.

BO 654 (those initials have come up elsewhere I think?). I guess the reason to argue for economic democracy is that political democracy doesn’t seem to work when a few people have all the say in the economy (and the mass media).

on economic democracy…there is a bloke called ricardo semler (i think) who democratized his family businesses (in brazil? argentina?) and is now a favourite for management studies……worked well….everybody happy, money coming, bewdiful products…..i would never argue against progress…

we have democracy in the kitchen at home too; a great system wherein i do nearly all the washing up and others get to decide how much washing up will be required…from each according to their ability…

#663. BO
[worked well….everybody happy, money coming, bewdiful products…..i would never argue against progress…]

The stumbling block as always is overcoming those who want to keep things the way they are because it means power for themselves. Then again if the world economy is shaken up enough, maybe some leverage will (hopefully) emerge…

AN Alaskan’s view of Palin…

“As for that frontierswoman shtick, take another look at that hairpiece-augmented beehive and those stiletto heels. Coming from a college-educated family, living in a half-million-dollar view home, basking in a net worth of $1.25 million, and having owned 40-some registered motorized vehicles in the past two decades (including 17 snowmobiles and a plane) hardly qualifies Palin and her clan as the quintessential Joe Six-Pack family unit — though the adulation from that quarter shows the Palins must be fulfilling some sort of role-model fantasy.

Palin can claim to know Alaska; the fact is, she’s seen only a minuscule fraction of it — and that doesn’t include Little Diomede Island, the one place in Alaska where you actually can see Russia. So she can ride an ATV and shoot guns. Set her down in the bush on her own and I bet we’d discover she’s about as adept at butchering a moose and building a fire at 40 below zero as she is at discussing Supreme Court decisions. And that mountain-woman act is only the tip of a hollow iceberg.


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