Monday, September 15, 2008
"Reformers" McCain, Palin belly up to the bar to swap a few tall tales
Hurricane Ike Aftermath; Merrill Lynch Sold; Lehman Bros. Goes Belly Up
Sorry, nothing about music this time, either. Except to say that we seem to still be following the Pied Piper's merry tune as we march straight off a cliff.
More signs of the struggling economy. Some fresh evidence that Phil Gramm's "mental recession" may have legs in the real world that the rest of us- (those in the middle class or below, pulling in less than the $5M a year John McCain thinks rich people make), as opposed to the exclusive, platinum card world his brain trust of advisers- seem to occupy.
Unemployment: at 6.1%, the highest its been in six years. Even after they finagle the statistics to take out people that have been unemployed for more than 18 months, people that are no longer drawing unemployment benefits, (if they were ever eligible in the first place!) and temporary workers with no job security or benefits, this is still undeniably bad news. Our "robust" economy has hit a "downturn," a real "slowdown," all right- W said today that it's "painful," and "in a pinch." Strong words for the guy who still swears it's fundamentally sound! Well, he isn't worried about being on the unemployment line in January. He'll be busy clearing brush and building the George W. Bush Memorial Library in Crawford, TX. to house the last book he read, "The Pet Goat."
I understand it's autobiographical in nature.
And gas is right back up as high as it was Memorial Day, rising .50 overnight as Ike blew through the Gulf. The funny part about it is, the gas we're buying now was already bought and paid for in August. So we're paying the price for what they think it will cost after the admittedly less than expected damage to the offshore rigs that are offline. But don't complain about prices here- it's up $2 a gallon in Texas, because distribution is now limited. And oil is down about $50 a barrel from where it was in July. So how does this all become the consumer's problem? Don't you wish you were a fly on the wall during Mr. Cheney's "Energy Summit" (you remember- the one where he withheld all his documentation and defied subpoenas by first claiming Executive Privilege, and then argued that it was part of his "legislative discretion?")? Dollars to donuts that this little plan went into effect then, and they've been rolling in growing piles of cash ever since then, like school kids jumping in piles of fall leaves...only a lot greener.
The housing market and mortgage crisis: Figures suggest we may not have hit bottom yet. Sales of new homes were down another 6.1% last month, the lowest level in 17 years (when King George I was still on the throne!), values were down, and millions more homes empty, with foreclosures skyrocketing. But on that front, some new breakthroughs in low income housing: can you say "Hooverville?"
Then, the government has to bail out AIG to the tune of $85 Billion today. Or about the same amount as it takes to pay for seven months of the war in Iraq. Can't they just hold some bake sales and be done with it? Oh, that's right- WE'RE the ones paying for it. Just like with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So now we can rest easy, right? What do you mean, you didn't want to invest in an insurance company? What are you, unAmerican? Suck it up, whiners!
Conspicuous Failures on Wall Street: After the rampant speculation and backing of questionable deals led to the demise of Merrill Lynch before it was gobbled up by Bank of America (who in recent months has also consumed Fleet Bank, MBNA and Countrywide Mortgage), we've also seen JP Morgan/Chase Bank absorb another Wall St. luminary, Bear Stearns, and Goldman Sachs declare bankruptcy. The Dow fell over 500 points in one day, and is off almost 1,000 points just this week, the lowest it has been since 9/11. Investors are fleeing the markets with their tails between their legs.
The Bull Poops HERE. Watch your head!
Which somehow reminds me of this conversation.
Walter Brooke (as Mr. McGuire) to Dustin Hoffman (Benjamin Braddock)in The Graduate:
McGuire: "I want to say one word to you. Just one word."
Braddock: "Yes, sir?"
McGuire: "Are you listening?"
Braddock: "Yes, I am."
Braddock: "Just how do you mean that, sir?"
McGuire was right. Plastic is ubiquitous, and eternal. One look at Ms. Palin (and for that matter, Ms. McCain) and you can be confident we'll never run out of plastic, whether it's in the form of botox, silicone, or other cosmetic surgery enhancements, not so long as millionaires and movie stars abound and care more about appearance than substance. 'Cause everybody knows: beauty is only skin deep, while ugly goes to the bone! And those two look like they just walked out of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Nearly lifelike!
BUT WAIT- THERE'S LESS!
Then, there's the upcoming election. And ya know when Karl Rove says that your campaigning has "crossed the line" from being arguably true to plain, bald-faced out and out smears, distortions and LIES, he knows what he's talking about. And even Spin Doctor MC Rove, the Obfuscator General, the Duke of Disingenuousness, that Prince of Prevarication, shudders at the latest bilge strewn from the McCain/Palin camp. The "Straight Talk Express" has been permanently mothballed while the candidates instead choose to ride hell bent for victory atop the Mighty "Flying Bullshit Special" into electoral history, with claims and promises described by some critics as the "dirtiest, most dishonest campaign in history." And without Karl Rove at the helm, that is no small accomplishment!
In fact this week, even ultra-conservative pin-up boy George Will came out with a statement that McCain is unfit, and that Palin has no credibility (even though she can see Russia from the turret of the Governor's Castle!) While I hate to agree with Will on any subject besides baseball, this demonstrates that even the hardiest rats are grabbing life preservers and diving headlong into the drink as the GOP ship heads to a watery, and long-deserved, grave. RIP.
But let's be honest here, gang: I'm sure they can (and will) go lower. After all, there's still almost 2 months to go! The Swift Boats still have many black ops missions to run before they go back into hiding to await the 2010 elections! But finally the Dems seem to have learned (from the debacles that occurred in 2000 and 2004) to hit back. And hammer on issues, not personalities.
Will it work?
And what's next?
I don't even wanna think about it!
I just can't wait 'til it's over....