Saturday, September 20, 2008


Okay, this is not our usual topic, but I just picked up the morning paper, and we have to say something about this. I'll just use the first paragraph of the top story on page A1.
The Bush administration yesterday proposed a historic $500 billion bailout of financial firms that would let the government rather than the cold judgment of the marketplace decide the winners and losers from the crisis that has shaken the U.S. economy for the past year. Historic Market Bailout Set in Motion

We have had eight years of letting the rich have their way, giving the corporations and the profit-seekers everything they wanted. The rhetorical theme is that "the market" will find equilibrium and everybody will prosper. No, that doesn't happen. The rich get richer and the poor get screwed, that's what happens. That's why we need a government in the first place, not so we can drown it in the bathtub but so that somebody will protect the freedom, the rights, and the dreams of the ordinary person. Nobody has been minding the store, the greedy ones have been able to do whatever they want, and guess who's going to pay for it.

Five. Hundred. Billion. Dollars.

Never mind the hundreds of billions going to Our Wonderful War against the country of Iraq, which depending on the November election results might go on for another hundred years.

There is a picture here on the front page of The Post of Our President boldly striding back into the White House with Our Other Leaders in suits behind him after telling the cameras that America is an economic disaster and that conservative principles have resulted in devastation and the failure of our economy. Why did this happen?

Update from Politico -- as you'd expect, the price is going up:
Congressional leaders said after meeting Thursday evening with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that as much as $1 trillion could be needed to avoid an imminent meltdown of the U.S. financial system. Paulson plan could cost $1 trillion


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why did this happen?"

Glad you asked, Jim.

It's because most people in Washington ignored the warnings of John McCain, who has been considered an outsider in the inner corridors of elite power brokers in the government while most other Senators acted in a manner similar to Obama.

Here's the Washington Post on it:

"In 2006, he (Obama) pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole," Mr. McCain warned at the time."

September 20, 2008 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a correction:

"Why did this happen?"

Glad you asked, Jim.

It's because most people in Washington ignored the warnings of John McCain, who has been considered an outsider in the inner corridors of elite power brokers in the government while most other Senators acted in a manner similar to Obama.

Here's the Washington Post on it:

"In 2006, he (McCain) pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole," Mr. McCain warned at the time."

September 20, 2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when John McCain used to tell the truth, he admitted he didn't know anything about economics.

September 20, 2008 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the mortgage melt down and the bad debt caused a lot of this problem. The bad debt by the no docs loans, given out with little regulation, to guess what ... poor people.

I had experience with one of these loans. We were selling a townhouse and couple that purchased it got completely taken by the mortgage broker. We were trying to help, explaining origination fees and discount points and what to watch out for, but this poor couple just kept getting taken.

I heard Dick Morris suggest that on the failed loans they go back and take the commissions away from the brokers that wrote the loans.

I like that idea, there are some real sharks out there.

September 20, 2008 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

different anon-

what really caused this mess is that the economy expanded too fast and real estate values exploded

loans were given out based on those high values which eventually plummetted

those loans are now worthless and financial institutions were all invested in them

it's kind of unchartered territory but you think and try to guess what we should have done differently

try to depress real estate? try to keep interest rates high so not as many people can afford homes? try to reduce our rate of economic growth?

everyone keeps talking regulation vs deregulation but that's kind of simplistic

one thing we should agree on: capitalism is superior to regulation but will always necessitate government intervention at times to reboot the system

one role of a president is to discern when this reboot is necessary

luckily, a Democrat wasn't president when this happened

the President:

""Our system of free enterprise rests on the conviction that the federal government should interfere in the marketplace only when necessary," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden. "Given the precarious state of today's financial markets, and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people, government intervention is not only warranted -- it is essential."

One of his top economic advisers was more blunt in a subsequent briefing for reporters. "The consequences of inaction here were crystal clear and were far worse, far more severe, than any concerns about the consequences of the action," said Keith Hennessey, director of the National Economic Council. "This president has always been averse to government intervention in markets, and he only has wanted to do that when it's been necessary. It is clearly necessary now, as those markets are not functioning properly.""

September 20, 2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fasten ypur seatbelts, TTFers

it's a big night on the telly

tonight, at 9, on FOX News Channel, Greta van Susteren hosts a special, "Joe Biden: A Personal Look"

should be riveting

set your Tivo now

September 20, 2008 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Why did this happen? Because this always happens when the GOP is running things, that is, the income gap always widens when the GOP is in charge and the economy always grows faster when Democrats run the country.

Here, I'll let Professor Blinder relate the facts to you as he did in the New York Times last month:

August 31, 2008
Economic View
Would Obama’s Plan Be Faster, Fairer, Stronger?

CLEARLY, there are major differences between the economic policies of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. Mr. McCain wants more tax cuts for the rich; Mr. Obama wants tax cuts for the poor and middle class. The two men also disagree on health care, energy and many other topics.

Such differences are hardly surprising. Democrats and Republicans have followed different approaches to the economy for as long as there have been Democrats and Republicans. Longer, actually. Remember Hamilton versus Jefferson?

Many Americans know that there are characteristic policy differences between the two parties. But few are aware of two important facts about the post-World War II era, both of which are brilliantly delineated in a new book, “Unequal Democracy,” by Larry M. Bartels, a professor of political science at Princeton. Understanding them might help voters see what could be at stake, economically speaking, in November.

I call the first fact the Great Partisan Growth Divide. Simply put, the United States economy has grown faster, on average, under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.

The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.

Such a large historical gap in economic performance between the two parties is rather surprising, because presidents have limited leverage over the nation’s economy. Most economists will tell you that Federal Reserve policy and oil prices, to name just two influences, are far more powerful than fiscal policy. Furthermore, as those mutual fund prospectuses constantly warn us, past results are no guarantee of future performance. But statistical regularities, like facts, are stubborn things. You bet against them at your peril.

The second big historical fact, which might be called the Great Partisan Inequality Divide, is the focus of Professor Bartels’s work.

It is well known that income inequality in the United States has been on the rise for about 30 years now — an unsettling development that has finally touched the public consciousness. But Professor Bartels unearths a stunning statistical regularity: Over the entire 60-year period, income inequality trended substantially upward under Republican presidents but slightly downward under Democrats, thus accounting for the widening income gaps over all. And the bad news for America’s poor is that Republicans have won five of the seven elections going back to 1980.

The Great Partisan Inequality Divide is not limited to the poor. To get a more granular look, Professor Bartels studied the postwar history of income gains at five different places in the income distribution.

The 20th percentile is the income level at which 20 percent of all families have less income and 80 percent have more. It is thus a plausible dividing line between the poor and the nonpoor. Similarly, the 40th percentile is the income level at which 40 percent of the families are poorer and 60 percent are richer. And similarly for the 60th, 80th, and 95th percentiles. The 95th percentile is the best dividing line between the rich and the nonrich that the data permitted Professor Bartels to study. (That dividing line, by the way, is well below the $5 million threshold John McCain has jokingly used for defining the rich. It’s closer to $180,000.)

The accompanying table, which is adapted from the book, tells a remarkably consistent story. It shows that when Democrats were in the White House, lower-income families experienced slightly faster income growth than higher-income families — which means that incomes were equalizing. In stark contrast, it also shows much faster income growth for the better-off when Republicans were in the White House — thus widening the gap in income.

The table also shows that families at the 95th percentile fared almost as well under Republican presidents as under Democrats (1.90 percent growth per year, versus 2.12 percent), giving them little stake, economically, in election outcomes. But the stakes were enormous for the less well-to-do. Families at the 20th percentile fared much worse under Republicans than under Democrats (0.43 percent versus 2.64 percent). Eight years of growth at an annual rate of 0.43 percent increases a family’s income by just 3.5 percent, while eight years of growth at 2.64 percent raises it by 23.2 percent.

The sources of such large differences make for a slightly complicated story. In the early part of the period — say, the pre-Reagan years — the Great Partisan Growth Divide accounted for most of the Great Partisan Inequality divide, because the poor do relatively better in a high-growth economy.

Beginning with the Reagan presidency, however, growth differences are smaller and tax and transfer policies have played a larger role. We know, for example, that Republicans have typically favored large tax cuts for upper-income groups while Democrats have opposed them. In addition, Democrats have been more willing to raise the minimum wage, and Republicans have been more hostile toward unions.

The two Great Partisan Divides combine to suggest that, if history is a guide, an Obama victory in November would lead to faster economic growth with less inequality, while a McCain victory would lead to slower economic growth with more inequality. Which part of the Obama menu don’t you like?

Alan S. Blinder is a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He has advised many Democratic politicians.

September 20, 2008 1:24 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Estimates are already over $1 trillion.

September 20, 2008 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because this always happens when the GOP is running things,"

They almost always are. That's because the economy has boomed since Reagan began the Republican era. Clinton was basically a moderate Republican after the first two years. That's when he drastically reduced welfare and started the push towrd a balanced budget. He had to do what Newt Gingrich told him too.

"that is, the income gap always widens when the GOP is in charge"

Actually when all types of income are considered, this isn't true. Things like earned income credit aren't thrown into these analyses.

"and the economy always grows faster when Democrats run the country."

This is such a whopper, we won't dignify it with a response.

September 20, 2008 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats."

Good throwing John Kennedy in the mix. He reduced taxes on rich investors in order to boost economic growth. Sounds like a Republican. And Harry Truman presided over the inevitable boom from winning the war and being the only victor whose infrastructure was not demolished.

And, yes, Bill Clinton was a moderate Republican after the public slapped his hands with the Gingrich revolution. And happened to be around during the internet revolution. (although, granted, his VP did invent the internet)

September 20, 2008 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how's that for dignity?

September 20, 2008 1:50 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

I am not always a fan of Paul Krugman, but he passed on this bit of information on what John McCain wrote just recently. The links to the document may be found that the link below.

September 19, 2008, 7:24 pm
McCain on banking and health

OK, a correspondent directs me to John McCain’s article, Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American, in the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. You might want to be seated before reading this.
Here’s what McCain has to say about the wonders of market-based health reform:

"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!

PS (from Fishback, not Krugman: The problem was not just Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae -- witness the collapse of Bear, Sternes, Lehman Brothers, and AIG. Of course, McCain's campaign manager was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae. Still, lots of Democrats were inclined to give Fannie Mae the benefit of all doubts -- much to their discredit. The issue going forward is whose basic economic vision is more likely to enable us to avoid such debacles in the future: One who is constantly attacking the whole idea of regulation or one who understands (as did FDR) that for capitalism to prosper and not devour itself, the federal government needs to be a wise referee. Obama clearly understands that balance. McCain does not.

September 20, 2008 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The issue going forward is whose basic economic vision is more likely to enable us to avoid such debacles in the future:"

I agree.

"One who is constantly attacking the whole idea of regulation or one who understands (as did FDR) that for capitalism to prosper and not devour itself, the federal government needs to be a wise referee."

Regulator and referee aren't synomous, David. Capitalism is, granted, not the natural state all will return to if left untended. It does need a certain amount of societal tinkering.

Over-regulation, however, negates the benefits of capitalism and since the time of FDR, too often we have over-regulated.

As for now, what do you think more regulation would have accomplished?

The central problem is the over-valuation of real estate used for collateral in a handful of states, mostly California and Florida.

What regulatory system to propose that would prevent this from happening again?

Perhaps there is one and perhaps it would be prudent but it doesn't follow that we need just more general regulation.

"Obama clearly understands that balance. McCain does not."

This is clearly untrue. I've posted several statements from McCain in the last decade which contradict your statement.

September 20, 2008 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York Times

Truthiness Stages a Comeback
Published: September 20, 2008

NOT until 2004 could the 9/11 commission at last reveal the title of the intelligence briefing President Bush ignored on Aug. 6, 2001, in Crawford: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” No wonder John McCain called for a new “9/11 commission” to “get to the bottom” of 9/14, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off another kind of blood bath in Lower Manhattan. Put a slo-mo Beltway panel in charge, and Election Day will be ancient history before we get to the bottom of just how little he and the president did to defend America against a devastating new threat on their watch.

For better or worse, the candidacy of Barack Obama, a senator-come-lately, must be evaluated on his judgment, ideas and potential to lead. McCain, by contrast, has been chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, where he claims to have overseen “every part of our economy.” He didn’t, thank heavens, but he does have a long and relevant economic record that begins with the Keating Five scandal of 1989 and extends to this campaign, where his fiscal policies bear the fingerprints of Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. It’s not the résumé that a presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the main thrust of the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic malpractice.

McCain has largely pulled it off so far, under the guidance of Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé. A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness. All campaigns, Obama’s included, engage in false attacks. But McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it.

When a McCain spokesman told Politico a week ago that “we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say” about the campaign’s incessant fictions, he was channeling a famous Bush dictum of 2003: “Somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter.” In Bush’s case, the lies lobbed over the heads of the press were to sell the war in Iraq. That propaganda blitz, devised by a secret White House Iraq Group that included Rove, was a triumph. In mere months, Americans came to believe that Saddam Hussein had aided the 9/11 attacks and even that Iraqis were among the hijackers. A largely cowed press failed to set the record straight.

Just as the Bushies once flogged uranium from Africa, so Palin ceaselessly repeats her discredited claim that she said “no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. Nothing is too small or sacred for the McCain campaign to lie about. It was even caught (by The Christian Science Monitor) peddling an imaginary encounter between Cindy McCain and Mother Teresa when McCain was adopting her daughter in Bangladesh.

If you doubt that the big lies are sticking, look at the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. Half of voters now believe in the daily McCain refrain that Obama will raise their taxes. In fact, Obama proposes raising taxes only on the 1.9 percent of households that make more than $250,000 a year and cutting them for nearly everyone else.

You know the press is impotent at unmasking this truthiness when the hardest-hitting interrogation McCain has yet faced on television came on “The View.” Barbara Walters and Joy Behar called him on several falsehoods, including his endlessly repeated fantasy that Palin opposed earmarks for Alaska. Behar used the word “lies” to his face. The McCains are so used to deference from “the filter” that Cindy McCain later complained that “The View” picked “our bones clean.” In our news culture, Behar, a stand-up comic by profession, looms as the new Edward R. Murrow.

Network news, with its dwindling handful of investigative reporters, has barely mentioned, let alone advanced, major new print revelations about Cindy McCain’s drug-addiction history (in The Washington Post) and the rampant cronyism and secrecy in Palin’s governance of Alaska (in last Sunday’s New York Times). At least the networks repeatedly fact-check the low-hanging fruit among the countless Palin lies, but John McCain’s past usually remains off limits.

That’s strange since the indisputable historical antecedent for our current crisis is the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal of the go-go 1980s. When Charles Keating’s bank went belly up because of risky, unregulated investments, it wiped out its depositors’ savings and cost taxpayers more than $3 billion. More than 1,000 other S.&L. institutions capsized nationwide.

It was ugly for the McCains. He had received more than $100,000 in Keating campaign contributions, and both McCains had repeatedly hopped on Keating’s corporate jet. Cindy McCain and her beer-magnate father had invested nearly $360,000 in a Keating shopping center a year before her husband joined four senators in inappropriate meetings with regulators charged with S.&L. oversight.

After Congressional hearings, McCain was reprimanded for “poor judgment.” He had committed no crime and had not intervened to protect Keating from ruin. Yet he, like many deregulators in his party, was guilty of bankrupt policy-making before disaster struck. He was among the sponsors of a House resolution calling for the delay of regulations intended to deter risky investments just like those that brought down Lincoln and its ilk.

Ever since, McCain has publicly thrashed himself for his mistakes back then — and boasted of the lessons he learned. He embraced campaign finance reform to rebrand himself as a “maverick.” But whatever lessons he learned are now forgotten.

For all his fiery calls last week for a Wall Street crackdown, McCain opposed the very regulations that might have helped avert the current catastrophe. In 1999, he supported a law co-authored by Gramm (and ultimately signed by Bill Clinton) that revoked the New Deal reforms intended to prevent commercial banks, insurance companies and investment banks from mingling their businesses. Equally laughable is the McCain-Palin ticket’s born-again outrage over the greed of Wall Street C.E.O.’s. When McCain’s chief financial surrogate, Fiorina, was fired as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive after a 50 percent drop in shareholders’ value and 20,000 pink slips, she took home a package worth $42 million.

The McCain campaign canceled Fiorina’s television appearances last week after she inadvertently admitted that Palin was unqualified to run a corporation. But that doesn’t mean Fiorina is gone. Gramm, too, was ostentatiously exiled after he blamed the economic meltdown on our “nation of whiners” and “mental recession,” but he remains in the McCain loop.

The corporate jets, lobbyists and sleazes that gravitated around McCain in the Keating era have also reappeared in new incarnations. The Nation’s Web site recently unearthed a photo of the resolutely anticelebrity McCain being greeted by the con man Raffaello Follieri and his then girlfriend, the Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, as McCain celebrated his 70th birthday on Follieri’s rented yacht in Montenegro in August 2006. It’s the perfect bookend to the old pictures of McCain in a funny hat partying with Keating in the Bahamas.

Whatever blanks are yet to be filled in on Obama, we at least know his economic plans and the known quantities who are shaping them (Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Paul Volcker). McCain has reversed himself on every single economic issue this year, often within a 24-hour period, whether he’s judging the strength of the economy’s fundamentals or the wisdom of the government bailout of A.I.G. He once promised that he’d run every decision past Alan Greenspan — and even have him write a new tax code — but Greenspan has jumped ship rather than support McCain’s biggest flip-flop, his expansion of the Bush tax cuts. McCain’s official chief economic adviser is now Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who last week declared that McCain had “helped create” the BlackBerry.

But Holtz-Eakin’s most telling statement was about McCain’s economic plans — namely, that the details are irrelevant. “I don’t think it’s imperative at this moment to write down what the plan should be,” he said. “The real issue here is a leadership issue.” This, too, is a Rove-Bush replay. We want a tough guy who will “fix” things with his own two hands — let’s take out the S.E.C. chairman! — instead of wimpy Frenchified Democrats who just “talk.” The fine print of policy is superfluous if there’s a quick-draw decider in the White House.

The twin-pronged strategy of truculence and propaganda that sold Bush and his war could yet work for McCain. Even now his campaign has kept the “filter” from learning the very basics about his fitness to serve as president — his finances and his health. The McCain multihousehold’s multimillion-dollar mother lode is buried in Cindy McCain’s still-unreleased complete tax returns. John McCain’s full medical records, our sole index to the odds of an imminent Palin presidency, also remain locked away. The McCain campaign instead invited 20 chosen reporters to speed-read through 1,173 pages of medical history for a mere three hours on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. No photocopying was permitted.

This is the same tactic of selective document release that the Bush White House used to bamboozle Congress and the press about Saddam’s nonexistent W.M.D. As truthiness repeats itself, so may history, and not as farce.

September 20, 2008 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that was a long time spent on a rather flimsy group of rants. Gee, how dreadful that the media hasn't printed a complete detail of Cindy McCain's drug addiction history.

I think I speak for all Americans when I say:

who gives a @$#^@$#?

Frank Rich, a pro-Obama culture columnist for the NY Times, spent years as the theater critic for the paper but now tries to sound intelligent on politics.

He comes off as a failed Richard Cohen wannabe.

I, for one, wasn't impressed.

September 21, 2008 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Golly gee, AH!

Frank Rich gets paid to write political commentary for the Pulitzer prize winning New York Times and you do what? Post Anonymous comments on the TTF blog in the middle of the night.

I, among many, am not impressed.

September 21, 2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Actually Richard Cohen is fairly bright as liberal columnists go, but Frank Rich has always struck me as a snide theater critic attempting to do political writing. He should leave it to those on the left and right that know this work better than he.

JFK was correct: success has many fathers while failure is an orphan. And with the political climate as it is now I am certain that there will be no shortage of those eager to lay all of this mess at the foot of Bush, Jr. Problem is this: could he have pulled this all off on his own (or perhaps with Cheney at his side)??? Or were there others, those that left the political Robert Rubin and others? How about those in Congress?...we do have a two party system the last time I checked...where were the Democrats, as well as the Republicans?

Finally, I think Congress in passing any sort of bailout ought to include a provision for seizure of the personal assets of those in executive decision making capacities at all of these financial institutions until such time it is determined what their role was in this mess.

September 21, 2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger Hazumu Osaragi said...

From the article: Bush Is Not Incompetent

One of the goals of Conservatives is to keep people from relying on the federal government. Under Bush, FEMA was reorganized to no longer be a first responder in major natural disasters, but to provide support for local agencies. This led to the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Now citizens, as well as local and state governments, have become distrustful of the federal government’s capacity to help ordinary citizens. Though Bush’s popularity may have suffered, enhancing the perception of federal government as inept turned out to be a conservative victory.

Conservatives also strive to get rid of protective agencies and social programs. The deficit Bush created through irresponsible tax cuts and a costly war in Iraq will require drastic budget cuts to remedy. Those cuts, conservatives know, won’t come from military spending, particularly when they raise the constant specter of war. Instead, the cuts will be from what Conservatives have begun to call “non-military, discretionary spending;” that is, the programs that contribute to the common good like the FDA, EPA, FCC, FEMA, OSHA and the NLRB. Yet another success for the conservative agenda.

Both Iraq and Katrina have enriched the coffers of the conservative corporate elite, thus further advancing the conservative agenda. Halliburton, Lockhead Martin and US oil companies have enjoyed huge profit margins in the last six years. Taking Iraq’s oil production off-line in the face of rising international demand meant prices would rise, making the oil inventories of Exxon and other firms that much more valuable, leading to record profits. The destruction wrought by Katrina and Iraq meant billions in reconstruction contracts. The war in Iraq (and the war in Afghanistan) meant billions in military equipment contracts. Was there any doubt where those contracts would go? Chalk up another success for Bush’s conservative agenda.

Bush also used Katrina as an opportunity to suspend the environmental and labor protection laws that Conservatives despise so much. In the wake of Katrina, environmental standards for oil refineries were temporarily suspended to increase production. Labor laws are being thwarted to drive down the cost of reconstruction efforts. So, amidst these “disasters,” Conservatives win again.

Where most Americans see failure in Iraq – George Miller recently called Iraq a “blunder of historic proportions” – conservative militarists are seeing many successes. Conservatives stress the importance of our military — our national pride and worth is expressed through its power and influence. Permanent bases are being constructed as planned in Iraq, and America has shown the rest of the world that we can and will preemptively strike with little provocation. They succeeded in a mobilization of our military forces based on ideological pretenses to impact foreign policy. The war has struck fear in other nations with a hostile show of American power. The conservatives have succeeded in strengthening what they perceive to be the locus of the national interest —military power.

September 21, 2008 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Is CRG continuing its street campaign against Transgender people?

I for one insist that they take down their prejudice-inciting website.


September 21, 2008 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The failure of large segments of the US economy has led to some startling Evolution on the part of some of Bush's advisors. Does anybody know if Phil Gramm still thinks this is a "mental recession?"

Better late than never doesn't cut it when it means we need a $700 billion bail out, in addition to bailing out AIG, Freddie and Fannie, etc. An ounce of prevention would have been much better. Bush's cut taxes set the stage for these massive failures. He wiped out the Clinton surpluses by spending money like a drunken frat boy. Remember the Hummer tax break? That was a twofer, Bush cut revenue to the government (drowned it in the bathtub) and made us more dependent on oil with those huge gas guzzlers. Bush mortgaged our future while he flipped off enviromentalists and plied his crony/campaign contributors in big oil with record-breaking profits.


Like Hoover before him with his Bonus Army, Bush has managed to produce ever growing tent cities from coast to coast. Under Bush, the rich continue to get richer while the poor continued to get poorer, and the pace of this earnings gap seems to be accelerating as the job market dries up.


It's time to throw out the GOP bums who got us into this mess just like we did the last time. Bush will rank right up there with Hoover in history's view.

Obama is the change we need to correct this disasterous GOP-led course.

September 21, 2008 4:29 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Oh, yes, Robert. Michelle Turner lied on WDCW with Chris Core this morning about there being "a chance" of getting it on the ballot. She hesitated, because she knew she was lying, but she lied anyway.

Core, of course, supports them, starting off the program by saying how successful CRC was in "toning down" the sex-ed curriculum, as he and she had discussed so often on the radio. And he ended by saying how much he favors referenda. Someone should ask him if he favors a referendum removing religion from the anti-discrimination statute.

September 21, 2008 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
What a Notmyshowerhead spokesperson lied? well, maybe Michelle will get a paper ballot and write it in. Chris Core-gee, shouldn't he have done some research and known it couldn't get on the ballot?
I've been enjoying Marc Fisher recently and his "polite" skewering of women who support Palin.

September 21, 2008 5:15 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

You can see Michelle and Chris here… select the “Michelle Turner – 3 of 4” video.

She talks about trying to get it back on the referendum at the end of the clip.


September 21, 2008 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The signatures are due this week so if any TTFers want to turn to the side of fairness, get 'em in.

Bea's "Enough" ramble would make a good comedy sketch on late night.

Although Obama hasn't been around long, he's part of the crowd that has accomplished this. He simply hasn't shown the backbone to buck the system that McCain has.

Oh, and what ever happened to media pretense of objectivity:

"Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken, a former cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live, participated in writing the opening sketch on last night's show, according to his campaign. Though initially denying that Franken had a hand in writing the sketch, campaign spokesperson Colleen Murray later admitted that Franken had helped develop the skit in consultation with Lorne Michaels, legendary producer of the show, and the show's head writer, Seth Myers. The sketch is a spoof of a John McCain campaign commercial recording session that depicts the Republican presidential nominee recording voice approvals for campaign commercials. The commercials feature a series of increasingly disingenuous and patently false assertions, yet each wins the approval of the fictional McCain."

September 21, 2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Plainly, this idiocy from Wyatt is emblematic of the anti-education animus of the right wing in Maryland. One must wonder how anyone can believe that there is some magical deadline for delivering signatures this week.

September 21, 2008 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One must wonder how anyone can believe that there is some magical deadline for delivering signatures this week."

Then, what's with the apoplectic reaction?

You guys sure seem worried about something.

September 21, 2008 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're worried about you Anon.

How stupid are you? Which lawyer advised you to turn in more petitions seven months after they were due? You didn't pay for that advice did you?

September 21, 2008 9:14 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...


I've treated stroke victims, so I know what "apoplexy" is. You clearly do not.

September 21, 2008 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


September 22, 2008 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"greatly excited or angered"

This is the dictionary definition of "apoplectic". Seems to fit TTF's reaction to the gathering of signatures that a court has said they need to get their referendum on the ballot. You see, then TTF will have to stop using their lie that CRG got all the signatures they possibly could have.

Obviously, the word is also used as a medical definition but Dana, as always, is trying to throw credentials around inappropriately, leading any perceptive person to wonder about why Dana isn't practicing.

As for the referendum, the best solution would be for a judge to invalidate 23-07 and throw it back to the Council to start the process over again.

This is no doubt what will happen.

How long until the next election?

September 22, 2008 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"greatly excited or angered"

This perfectly describes the CRW's reaction to the Maryland Court of Appeals' decision and now in their angered, greatly excited state, they are acting like fools. The deadline to turn in petition signatures for a referendum in November was February. You don't get a second bite on the apple.

September 22, 2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't get a second bite on the apple."

You should if the government decides to make the apple bigger.

Don't be so worried, Bea.

All of MC is on your side so the referendum won't pass anyway.



September 22, 2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Bill 23-07 is now law, AH.

It was approved by every member of the Montgomery County Council and signed by the County Executive, who, by the way, serves a population (932,131) bigger than the Governor of Alaska does (683,478). A petition drive was mounted, litigated, and lost and I am pleased as punch because now it is illegal here to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment, taxi and cable service. I couldn't be prouder to be a Montgomery County resident.

You're the one foaming at the mouth in a state of apoplexy about some fantasy of yours about having another 10 days to get petitions when they were due in February.

My side in that battle won just like we won the battle of the sex ed curriculum. Your side lost both times.

Boo hoo for you

September 22, 2008 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is illegal here to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment, taxi and cable service"


What are the penalties for violating this law?

Any cases yet?

Jim seems to think that the law forces employers to also not permit employees to voice any opposition this law. Is that right?

TTF keeps saying that CRG only got those signatures because that's all it could get. They say it has nothing to do with their reliance on the information provided by BOE.

Do you think demonstrating that the local government, that advocated for 23-07, provided false information to opponents of 23-07, which denied them a chance to challenge the law, will have no consequence?

September 22, 2008 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Do you think demonstrating that the local government, that advocated for 23-07, provided false information to opponents of 23-07...

Do you know the difference between the Montgomery County Council and the Montgomery County Board of Elections?

denied them a chance to challenge the law

Now you're getting it. 23-07 IS the law.

will have no consequence?

Bush/Cheney and Company deliberately and repeatedly provided false information (yellow cake, WMD, Chalabi is honest, Iraq has a nuclear program, etc.) to the American people in the lead up to their neocon inspired invasion of Iraq, with no legal consequence. The MCBOE getting the number of "registered" voters in MoCo wrong is nothing in comparison so no, I don't think there will be any consequence. I wouldn't mind, however, if they dismmissed Margaret Jurgensen, who approved pages of scribbles as valid signatures.

September 22, 2008 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The consequence may well be to throw the law out because proper procedures weren't followed.

Any other result allows the government to invalidate citizens' right to petition for referendum by simply giving out false information.

It's not that bad, Bea. The Council will just have to pass the bill again. Hopefully, they'll be smarter this time and include some reasonable restrictions.

Then, CRG will petition to veto the new bill.

Then, the citizens of MC will vote on and approve the bill in November 2010.


September 22, 2008 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The consequence may well be to throw the law out because proper procedures weren't followed.

Uh huh, and pigs -- whether wearing lipstick or not -- MAY fly.

eye roll

September 23, 2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Uh huh, and pigs -- whether wearing lipstick or not -- MAY fly"

Why not?

We got guys wearing dresses in the locker rooms here in MC.

At least in PG County you only see that in the stands at Fed Ex Field.

September 23, 2008 1:35 PM  

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