Saturday, November 29, 2008

PROFILE OF THE CRIMINALLY STUPID ... AIG

AIG, which received $60 billion in taxpayer funded bailout money, for making incredibly stupid business decisions, has now decided that it will give "retention" bonuses to 130 managers as "cash rewards." Included in these cash awards is a $3 million bonus to the head of AIG retirement services, Jay Wintrob.

This announcement came 1 day after AIG said it would not give annual bonuses to executives. Nicholas Ashooh, spokesman for AIG, explained: “We’ve said they aren’t eligible for annual bonuses, and they’re not ... What we’re talking about are retention agreements ..."

How can you disagree with logic like this?

I think I'll play this game with all my creditors. "Hey, I'm not going bankrupt ... I'm just not going to pay you anymore."

- Mark

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SIN CITI ... AND THE CRIMINALY STUPID

I had lunch this afternoon with a friend. A very conservative friend. We rarely agree on anything, and are polar opposites when it comes to politics and religion. I still remember a heated "exchange" we had in a restaurant, only to stop long enough to see the people seated around us staring, with one of them finally blurting out: "Go on ... this is better than Cross Fire."

Today we agreed on several things (and no one was staring). We agreed on what needs to be done to fix the economy. But we were especially in tune when it comes to this: there should be punishment and accountability for the big players who contributed to the economic mess we're in.

In a flash of serendipity, when I came home today I found this article, "Sin Citi", which called for exactly the same thing. The rationale for punishing financial stupidity was simple.

Homeowners who made ... bad judgments, by taking on mortgages that they could not afford, are being thrown out on the street. Thousands of Citi employees will be gracing the unemployment lines this holiday season, not because of anything they did but because the people who run their company are, and were, incompetent.
The author of "Sin Citi" is arguing that homeowners and Citigroup employees - those at the bottom of this financial food chain - shouldn't be the only ones held to account here. This is especially the case since homeowners simply took what was offered, while Citigroup employees did their jobs. Someone had to set the game up. And they need to be held to account.

While the "Sin Citi" piece makes a good argument for going after those who helped create the conditions for the market's collapse, this article from Michael Lewis - author of Liar's Poker - explains how we got into this mess by pointing out just how clueless Wall Street Bankers really are. But Lewis' article also tells us something else. There may not be any legal wrongdoing for us to pursue. Incredibly, most of what Wall Street did was legal.

OK. New Christmas wish. Is there any way we can punish the criminally stupid? Just asking.

- Mark

P.S. If you want to understand the individual logic that got us into this market mess you need to read Liar's Poker. Not only is it informative, but it's the funniest book on market players there is. Lewis is a very good writer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AN INTERESTING STORY ...

I was teaching graduate courses in Mexico in 1993 when I ran across the Spanish-language translation of Benjamin J. Cohen's book, In Whose Interest? International Banking and American Foreign Policy (1986). I had read the English language version of his book a few years earlier, and was happy to see it in Spanish. I used it in one of my graduate courses in Queretaro, Mexico.

I mention this because in his book Benjamin Cohen discussed how bankers understood that if they were big enough and overplayed their hand that they would be bailed out by their governments. My favorite chapter was "So What's New?", which explained how banks and nation-states have historically played a silly game of "Who Needs Money Now?", only to lend and bailout each other when appropriate.

The moral of the story is that what we are seeing with Citigroup and the financial sector in America today is NOT new. Banks know that they will be bailed out if their problems are big enough. This kind of stuff has been happening literally for thousands of years. Moral of the Story: The $3-4 trillion that's been committed by the U.S. government so far is just the beginning (Worse, these dynamics constitute the real Graveyard of Empires).

I share this story because I want to emphasize that what's happening now is not new. This stuff happens for a reason. I'll be commenting on this later.

***************************

Note: When I invited Dr. Cohen to CSUB to discuss his work I complimented him on the Spanish language version of his book. The translation was first class. He replied, "I didn't authorize a Spanish language version." I laughed (nervously) and told him that it was translated in Cuba (the Cuba-Mexico connection is another story). The communists - especially during the Cold War - were always interested in how the state props up capital in capitalist societies. There's an ugly lesson in this for all of us today.

- Mark

RICHARD A. CLARKE, DIRECTOR OF CIA?

From a policy perspective, I'm completely in favor of this: Richard A. Clarke for Director of CIA.


Author of Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, former counterterrorism czar, Clarke was perhaps the only guy in Washington D.C. who knew what was happening on 9/11.



Richard A. Clarke is so respected that when his book came out, where he essentially said the Bush administration didn't know what the hell they were doing in the War on Terror, the republican-led Congress did nothing. Even Karl Rove and his slime machine goons from the right left him alone. He knew too much.

Anyone who has has read his book understands why he would be a good pick.

- Mark

IN THEIR WORLD ...

With Hannity, FOX News, Dick Morris, and Bill "O" the Clown going nuts over Obama's election this piece captures what the Far Right sees.


- Mark

Monday, November 24, 2008

$7.7 TRILLION?

OK, as predicted, it looks like Citigroup is getting in on the bailout magic carpet ride. Curiously, there are no real strings attached ... you know, like the one's that are being asked of Detroit's automakers (why don't we force Citigroup to renegotiate it's ARM contracts and/or homes that are upside down in value?).

But this isn't the story of the day. Neither are the appointments of Barack Obama's economic team - which is a stellar group.

The real story is how much the bailout of the our nation's financial institutions is projected to cost the American taxpayer. On my program this past Saturday, I said that we could forget about the $800 billion price tag that was approved by Congress. With previous commitments (over $1 trillion), and emerging FDIC promises ($1.2 trillion), the bailout price tag is really going to cost between $2-3 trillion, minimum.

Bloomberg.com is also reporting that $2-3 trillion might just be floor. But they're also giving us a number to chew on: $7.7 trillion. That's a lot of cash we're going to have to borrow. I hope the Chinese still like us.

Here's something to think about, and a question.

We called it the Great Crash when markets collapsed 33% in 1929. By the early 1930s, because of President Hoover's bumbling, we would call it the Great Depression. Since the beginning of the year U.S. markets are down 38%. If we compare the market today to its peak in October of 2007 U.S. market are down 43%.

So, what do we call this economic mess?

- Mark

Sunday, November 23, 2008

WHY OBAMA'S TAX PLAN IS NECESSARY

More evidence that the private sector doesn't always do the right thing ...

It turns out that the executives at Citigroup didn't want to say anything about their risky mortgage related loans because executives and managers were making too much money in fees and bonuses. This is from the NY Times.

But many Citigroup insiders say the bank’s risk managers never investigated deeply enough. Because of longstanding ties that clouded their judgment, the very people charged with overseeing deal makers eager to increase short-term earnings — and executives’ multimillion-dollar bonuses — failed to rein them in, these insiders say.
Keep in mind that these are people who make 6 figures or more every year.

Today, Citigroup is faced with $65 billion in losses, and will be experiencing additional write-downs and other charges for future losses. Because of executive mismanagement and stupid decision-making the company is currently worth just $20.5 billion, down from $244 billion two years ago. About 75,000 jobs are gone or set to disappear.

Obama's plan to increase taxes on those making $250,000 or more per year can't come soon enough. These idiots don't deserve what they "earned".

- Mark

Saturday, November 22, 2008

45 YEARS AGO TODAY ...

Forty five years ago today, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I didn't mention it on today's program but I think it's important to post something.


I was two years old, and didn't know anything. But we all learned that one person can make a difference.

- Mark

"IT'S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN"

It appears that Citigroup is now in talks with the federal government. With Citigroup shares selling at $3.87 (from a high of $35.29) the company is looking for a way to stabilize it's position in a turbulent market.

Problems abound because Citigroup has already taken a bite at the bailout apple, securing $25 billion from the feds in October. And let's not forget the $7.5 billion injection (payable at 11%) from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (a Sovereign Wealth Fund) that was made last year.

I'm picking up on this story because not only is Citigroup scrambling for solutions this weekend, but I want to point out that this isn't the first time Citigroup has found itself in such dire straits with other financial institutions. As I pointed out in an earlier post, what was then called Citibank found itself in a terrible mess in 1982 when it - along with 9 other U.S. banks - was over exposed to developing countries around the world.

How exposed, you ask?

By 1982 America's 9 largest banks had loaned out more than 350% of total capital on hand (capital is essentially what you have left after you pay off all your debts). Citibank was one of those banks. When one of their clients (Mexico) said, "We're broke and can't pay you" Citibank had a decision to make. They could act like a free market player, and take their lumps for making terrible investment decisions, or they could go to the federal government and ask for help. They went for help. The "free market" oriented Reagan administration obliged.

As I write these words Citigroup is in talks with the federal government, trying to figure out how to save itself. I could be wrong, but I doubt they'll get the Detroit Treatment. Citigroup is simply "too big to fail."

As Yogi Berra might say, "It's Deja Vu all over again."

- Mark

AMERICAN TAXPAYER ... BEND OVER

After providing record bailout funds for our nation's financial institutions they still can't find it in themselves to lend to each other. Apparently they still don't trust one another.

Enter the taxpayer ... again.

Yesterday the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - the institution created during the Great Depression to provide confidence by saving the deposits of the little guy (you and me) - ruled that they will now guarantee loans made between financial institutions. That's right. Banks that don't want to take market risks and lend to each other, because they don't trust their institutional colleagues, now have access to bailout funds AND will get the American taxpayer to insure the loans they make to other institutions.

This is akin to borrowing money from a rich relative and then having them pony up more money when your "investement" goes bad (which is pretty much the story of George W. Bush's investment life).

Estimated Cost to the American Taxpayer: $500 billion to $1.4 trillion. Nice.

Now, to be sure, the money isn't being pumped out immediately. The banks who borrow money have to collapse first. But don't worry. If the Savings & Loan debacle from the 1980s is any indicator of what lurks around the corner this should be no problem. This graph (from Calculatedrisk.blogspot.com) shows what we can expect when an FDIC government guarantee like this is made (click on the graph if you can't read it).


What's important for me to note here is that 1980 was the year that Congress raised the FDIC insurance limit from $40,000 to $100,000 for our nation's financial institutions. Then, in 1982, Congress said S&Ls could essentially invest and make loans wherever the S&Ls wanted. This was like saying, "Go out and have a few drinks with your friends, we just raised your bar tab limit ... which we'll go ahead and pay if you can't." These dynamics help explain the surge in bank failures in the late 1980s.

Today, most of the the drinking's been done, and we're getting ready to tally the tab. But "W" is still at the bar, buying his friends more coctails and paying for their cab rides home. More bank failures are around the corner. Can you guess who's picking up the tab?

- Mark

Friday, November 21, 2008

HERE'S WHAT WE DO WITH DETROIT ...

If we're going to bailout the Big Three automakers - and I think we should - here's what we should do.

1. Don't allow the EXECUTIVES currently in charge to draft a proposal on what they're going to do. They don't deserve a second chance to make a bigger mess of things.

2. Strip the OWNERS of their "investment." They either allowed this mess to occur, or bought into it along the way. Why reward their lack of foresight? And besides, put together the Big Three are only worth about $10 billion because of collapsed stock prices. If we're going to put in $25 billion into this industry, I say we own them.

3. Immediately invite a star like STEVE JOBS to take over the companies, and give him/them a sweetheart deal in 3-5 years if their making progress. Give these guys 3-5 years and something like a $50 billion line of credit/bridge loan to make things work. People like Jobs know how to run a business (Can you imagine the first "i Car" line?).
So, you're probably asking why do we bailout these companies? Well, we don't. What we're doing is what Mitt Romney suggested a few days ago: a managed bankruptcy.


This means forcing the current executives out, telling the shareholders and bondholders "you lost your investment" (so you get nothing for making a stupid investment), renegotiating union contracts (everyone gets a stinger in this one), and investing billions more in "Green Auto" technology. Oh, and the industry has to pay us back and keep a lid on executive salaries for the next 5-7 years.

Here's how we structure executive pay.

What we say is that no auto executive below the superstar(s) gets a salary that goes above Toyota's or Honda's average executive pay - until we start outselling them. Here's why ... Just last year top U.S. auto executives were paying themselves between $12-20 million each. In 2006 Toyota's top 37 executives earned $21.6 million, combined! Honda's top 21 executives earned a relatively paltry $11.1 million. I think you see part of the problem here. Oh, and did I mention that U.S. auto executives received their big payouts despite losses and layoffs?

As for the UAW and labor, they need to make concessions - and make some demands too. Unfortunately absenteeism in the auto industry has been running about 3 times higher as other industries. This has to change.

But this doesn't mean that the auto industry gets what it wants vis-a-vis labor simply by saying "Look at what the Asians pay their autoworkers ..." or "Look at what Japan's paying U.S. auto workers in this country ... it's about $10 dollars an hour less." The issues aren't that simple.

For example, Japanese firms operating in the U.S. pay regular bonuses (up to $8,000 per year) to their U.S. workforce. This helps keep employees happy, and unions at bay. They do this because they want to stay competitive with unions, not out of the goodness of their heart. This crisis can't be used as an excuse to bust up unions.

As well, by pointing us towards autoworker pay in Asia the U.S. auto industry is conveniently ignoring how Germany has been producing high quality cars at a profit while paying higher wages than the U.S. What separates the U.S. and German automakers? A long history of quality, image, and marketing (How does "style become substance"? Who signed off on that crappy ad campaign?).

There's more ... much more. But the point is, a managed bankruptcy that provides new leadership and money, while imposing costs on dumb investors, poor executive performance, and poorly incentivized labor contracts could go a long way in keeping millions of "down stream" workers employed, while staving off what could turn into a full blown depression in our current market environment.

- Mark

SERIOUSLY, JUST LEAVE

Here's Paul Krugman on what we're facing with President Bush and a Congress full of Know Nothing Republican Ideologues bent on destroying Detroit (who fear unions now instead of Catholic immigrants) ...

There is, however, another and more disturbing parallel between 2008 and 1932 — namely, the emergence of a power vacuum at the height of the crisis. The interregnum of 1932-1933, the long stretch between the election and the actual transfer of power, was disastrous for the U.S. economy, at least in part because the outgoing administration had no credibility, the incoming administration had no authority and the ideological chasm between the two sides was too great to allow concerted action. And the same thing is happening now ...
After noting that "a lot" can go wrong in the two months before President-elect Obama takes the oath of office Krugman tells us,

... nothing is happening on the policy front that is remotely commensurate with the scale of the economic crisis. And it’s scary to think how much more can go wrong before Inauguration Day.
It might be unprecedented, but since they've run our country like a second-rate monarchical dictatorship perhaps President Bush and Cheney could do us all a favor and abdicate.

Seriously, just leave.

- Mark

BILL MAHER'S "NEW RULE(S)" ...

New Rule: Stop saying that we've overcome racism just because we've found a qualified black man and elected him president. Everybody knows we won't have true equality until we elect a dumb, unqualified black man.


New Rule: When you say you're not comparing someone to Hitler, you're comparing them to Hitler. This week, a Georgia congressman said, "I'm not comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there's the potential of going down that road." Well, Congressman, I'm not comparing your head to a butt-plug, but it does seem to spend a lot of time up your ass.

New Rule: Stop calling it "Scotch" tape. I ate a whole roll; I didn't even get tipsy.

New Rule: Hank Paulson must drop the $700 billion in bailout money from a plane and let everyone scramble for it on the ground. Sure, it'll be chaos, but at least this way we have a chance of getting our money back.

And, finally, New Rule: The rest of the world can go back to being completely jealous of America. Yes...our majority white country just freely elected a black president; something no other democracy has ever done. Take that, Canada! Where's your Nubian warrior president? Your head of state is a boring white dude named Stephen Harper. And mine is a kick-ass black ninja named Barack Hussein Obama!

- Mark

Monday, November 17, 2008

SEPARATED AT BIRTH? BAGHDAD BOB and ...

Remember that lovable goofball "Baghdad Bob"? He was Saddam Hussein's last Minister of Propaganda, telling the world that the infidels (the Americans) weren't in Baghdad and that Iraq under Saddam Hussein's leadership was going to win war. We all know how that turned out. Well, get ready for an American parade of Baghdad Bob(s). Only this time these guys are clueless as to what's happened to financial markets, and what role they played in the market meltdown.

First up is former senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), who was the financial world's deregulator extraordinare. Gramm had as much to do with deregulating markets and propping up the dangerous derivative (bets) and swap ("insurance") markets as anyone else. His Washington deals helped swell derivative markets from roughly $900 billion in 2000 to $62 trillion in 2007. But it was all an illusion.


Gramm's claim today is that deregulation played no role in speculation, the subsequent financial boom, and the 2008 market collapse. The real villains according to Gramm? The "predatory borrowers" who bought homes they couldn't afford.

Somehow "clueless" doesn't seem to capture the world Gramm lives.

- Mark

Here's the 60 Minutes story that explains Phil Gramm's role in building up and exploding the derivatives market.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON CRACK ...

I've been watching with amusement as one republican after another steps forward to oppose any kind of bailout for Detroit's auto makers. Their argument is a simple one: "They made bad products and bad decisions ... let them go under."

Let me make this clear. These guys are idiots.

Here's a short list of bailouts that republicans in Congress supported during Ronald Reagan's "free market" revolution and beyond:

* Mexico in 1982.

* Continental Illinois in 1984.

* The Discount Window intervention to save floundering banks in the late 1980s.

* Market support after the October 1987 crash.

* The Savings & Loan debacle of 1989-1992.

* Intervention to save the Bank of New England and Citibank.

* The 1994-1995 Mexico rescue.

* The Asian Currency rescue in the late 1990s.

* The Fed-organized LTCM bailout.
… and the list goes on. In virtually every case we were told by the Chicken Little's in the financial world that the bailouts and subsidies were necessary or else "prosperity in our time" would be endangered ... and markets would collapse. Ooops.

In the more immediate period, taxpayer bailouts started with financial aid to Bear Stearns, Countrywide Financial, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and A.I.G. In all cases, it's clear that after 1981 the nation's financial sector has not been bound by traditional notions of market discipline (which republicans now crow about when referencing Detroit's automakers). Then came the Mother of All Bailout Proposals on September 19, 2008: The Bush administration’s $700 billion dollar bailout proposal for financial markets, which was reworked into something even bigger.

And republicans want to talk about market forces and market discipline now? Like I said, these guys are idiots.

Look, we're now at the beginning of the worst financial crisis to hit this nation since the Great Depression. Thank you George W. Bush. What's needed is not more of the same mentality that got us into this messs. Republicans take a seat on the bench, please.

The NY Times' Bob Hebert explains why we shouldn't turn our back on Detroit's automakers.

It’s easy to demonize the American auto industry. It has behaved with the foresight of a crack addict for years. But even when people set their own houses on fire, we still dial 9-1-1, hoping to save lives, salvage what we can and protect the rest of the neighborhood.
If we look at the list of bailouts for the financial sector since the early 1980s it's clear that Detroit wasn't the only one on crack. The financial sector has been free basing the stuff for years.

What's needed today is a comprehensive approach that puts the failed Reagan Revolution ideas out to pasture. This means we need to start with more money and more regulation. We did this after World War II.

But what we really need is a domestic Marshal Plan that acknowledges the limitations of markets, while rewarding innovation. Most republicans don't have the vision to understand what this means. Their ideological blinders cloud their view.

I'll have more to say about this in today's program.

- Mark

Friday, November 14, 2008

ONE OF THE GREATEST TRANSFERS OF WEALTH IN HUMAN HISTORY ...



Since the market collapse and the subsequent bailout approved by our increasingly "surprised" and clueless Congress we have seen the following bailout developments:



1. No transparency in the process

2. Financial institutions using taxpayer money to pay off shareholders.

3. Financial institutions using taxpayer money to purchase failing institutions at fire sale prices.

4. Financial institutions using the financial mess to change the rules and increase their write-offs (which taxpayers pay for).

5. AIG partying it up in luxury hotels on our dime.
For added measure, we also get former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan acknowledging he didn't understand how greedy people could do stupid things that would harm the market.

The result? After seeing wealth concentration in America increase to pre-Depression levels during the Bush administration, we are currently watching as one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history occurs right under our nose. Worse, the money is going to people who created the mess, and are already wealthy.

No one knows what to do, as Paul Krugman points out here. I'll be discussing this on tomorrow's program.

- Mark

WHAT TO DO WITH JOE LIEBERMAN

I made my feelings on Joe Lieberman known during last week's program. I say the Dems should boot him from his committee chair positions. Rachel Maddow explains the logic ...



- Mark

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UNEMPLOYMENT TO HIT 9% ...

From Market Watch ...

The U.S. recession is likely to be as long and severe as the downturns in 1973-75 and 1981-82, economists at Wachovia said Wednesday ... The unemployment rate is expected to peak in late 2010 at 9% ...
We'll be discussing this on Saturday.

- Mark

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PIRATE ECONOMICS & MARKET SOCIALISM

Imagine getting behind on your bills. Then imagine taking on debt through your credit cards to make up the difference. Now imagine how life would be if you could write-off that debt at the end of the year. What a sweet deal, right?


Well, guess what? This is exactly what the Bush administration's Treasury Department is allowing Corporate America's largest financial institutions to do, as they acquire collapsing financial institutions (with taxpayer funded bailout money, no less). Because of a simple five-sentence note that was added to Sec. 382 of the tax code (on Sept. 30th) it looks like the American taxpayer will fork over an additional $140 billion to Corporate America. Here's what was changed:

Section 382 of the tax code was created by Congress in 1986 to end what it considered an abuse of the tax system: companies sheltering their profits from taxation by acquiring shell companies whose only real value was the losses on their books. The firms would then use the acquired company's losses to offset their gains and avoid paying taxes.
While the financial world was fixed on the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice, which attracted almost no public attention, effectively repealing "no write-off" provision of Sec. 382. And did I mention that the financial institutions are using bailout funds to purchase distressed firms?

So, this is what we have ... You and I pay for a bailout. The idea behind the bailout is to kick-start consumer lending by providing banks with taxpayer money. Instead, banks sit on the money and/or look for good deals in the form of collapsing financial institutions. Taxpayer dollars are used to purchase these institutions. Then we pay for the losses these firms bring with them.

Now, what was it that the Republican Ticket called it when you take taxpayer money and shift it from one sector of the economy to another? Oh, yeah ... socialism.

If you want to read what this all means, check out Naomi Klein's excellent article, which describes President Bush's "final pillage" of the American taxpayer - the bailout of America's financial institutions.

- Mark

Saturday, November 8, 2008

UNEMPLOYMENT ... HIGHER THAN YOU THINK

Unemployment has just hit 6.5%, a 14 year high. It's probably much higher. Here's why.

First, the unemployment rate doesn’t begin to tell us about the number of Americans who have simply left the labor force. Keep in mind that to be counted as unemployed you actually have to be looking for a job. If you're depressed and not looking for work you're not counted. Today there are well over 6 million people who have left the workforce since March 2001. Only those still looking for work (like the guys lined up looking for work with the IRS in the picture below) are counted in the 6.5% rate today.


Further skewing the unemployment rate is the fact that America is chock full of “contingent” workers - temps, those who don’t expect their jobs to last more than a year, on-call workers, and independent contractors, among other categories. This group constitutes over 15% of America's labor force.

If we put the unemployed, the contigent employed, and the labor force "drop outs" together we're really looking at unemployment/underemployed rates that hover between a conservative 8 - 24% of our labor force. With rising consumer debt loads this is not good news.

At the end of the day, it won't take much to turn the gloomy looks of those looking for work in the picture above into the sad faces of those looking for food in the picture below ...


Absolutely no one - especially those in the republican party - should be surprised that Obama was handed a mandate by the American electorate.

- Mark

Thursday, November 6, 2008

REPUBLICAN BLOODLETTING BEGINS ...

From Dailykos ...

It looks like a long and ugly fight is around the corner if Sarah Palin decides she wants to become the republican standard bearer.



Sarah Palin didn't know that Africa is a continent ... or who the players in the North American Free Trade Agreement (the U.S., Mexico and Canada) were. These are important pieces of information, but the real issues here are (1) John McCain didn't vet Palin, (2) at this point the standards for standard bearer in the republican party are not very high, and (3) FOX News kept this information from the public to protect the McCain campaign.

If Sarah Palin wants to become the new face of the republican party there's going to be a fight. Mitt Romney and John Boehner will weigh in. Karl Rove too. Stay tuned. The political theater promises to be good.

- Mark

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WHAT IT MEANS ...

The U.S. Supreme Court will maintain its integrity.

American democracy and the rule of law are reborn.

The American ideal once again means something to the world.

There's more, but it appears that the 21st Century can become, like the previous one - an American Century ...


- Mark

Monday, November 3, 2008

PALIN LEARNS ABOUT FRANCE ... and Canada

(CNN) — Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell victim Saturday to Canadian pranksters who convinced her she was actually speaking by phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Palin spoke to Marc-Antoine Audette for about six minutes before the comedian identified himself, and she ended the call.




I don't know, but it seems to me that the "from my house I can see Belgium" comment should have been a give away. On the bright side Palin can now say her foreign policy experience includes speaking with Canadians.

- Mark

Saturday, November 1, 2008

UNITED STATES OF SOCIALIST REPUBLICANS

What was it that John McCain and Sarah Palin called it when they said Obama was going to shift money around from one sector of the economy to another? Oh, yeah ... socialism.

Well, guess what? It turns out that ...

U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission ...
So, let's see ... if the U.S. Treasury gets their money from the U.S. taxpayer, and then gives it to U.S. banks to redistribute to shareholders who allowed CEOs and CFOs to make stupid decisions ... hmmmm ... this means that .... ummmm ... that the Bush administration (which is backed by the republican party) is full of Stalinist Socialists?


Maybe we should ask Sarah "We-give-more-than-$3,000-to-Alaskans-each-year" Palin what this means ...

- Mark

THE "PITBULL TURNS"


PIT BULL TURNS ON McMAVERICK
NOW PALIN'S BUCKING HER OWN TICKET


I still haven't figured out how to post giant headlines, but the story is here.

- Mark