Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Can a central bank lose money? Unfortunately, yes, it can. Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden points us to just one example across the Pacific. 

Japan's central bank just reported an operating loss of ¥183.4 billion and a net loss of ¥232.9 billion ($2.83 billion) for the first half of the 2012 fiscal year. This is ¥96 billion more than it lost in the same period last year. Incredible. 

I know what you all are thinking. Aren't central banks supposed to have just one, very simple, job? Yes, and it's tied to protecting the integrity of the currency.

So how did the Bank of Japan lose so much money? Good question. Part of the reason for the size of the Bank of Japan's losses is pretty simple. The size of the banks balance sheet (assets/liabilities) has been growing for some time, and now stands at well over ¥155 trillion ($1.89 trillion) ... 

It makes sense that if you have a big balance sheet losses might be large too. But the real problem isn't the size of it's asset base. It's quality. It's what's in those assets. Simply put, the Bank of Japan has been purchasing risky assets to help stabilize markets. 

Sound familiar? 

More specifically, over the past few years the Bank of Japan bought large amounts of toxic financial crap created by incompetent market players in real estate and "exchange" markets (called REIT and ETF markets). You know, just like our central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been doing the past four years. 

Some of you might be saying, "But aren't central banks supposed to be in the business of protecting the integrity of the currency, and nothing else?" On this you would be absolutely correct. 

Unfortunately central banks like the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve have become glorified ATMs for some of the world's largest financial institutions. In return for their failed market instruments (and other toxic crap) large financial institutions get to belly up to the ATM central bank bar and pull out fresh cash reserves. 

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, "That's alright, the central bankers know what they're doing. They've been watching the numbers." Think again ... and this is especially the case when it comes to the recent history of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Here's Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) during his first term grilling Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He's asking what happened to half a trillion dollars that the Federal Reserve created for Europe (1:20) ... 

As if not knowing what happened to half a trillion dollars wasn't enough here's Alan Grayson questioning the Federal Reserve's Inspector General about trillions (much of it in credits) that suddenly appeared on the Federal Reserve's books. As you will see (3:14), the Inspector General has no clue about the trillions in credit that's been extended by the Federal Reserve ... 

Long story short, central banks can lose money. Lots of it. The Bank of Japan is doing it. So is the Federal Reserve. Our problem is that the vast majority of the general public (in Japan and the U.S.) has no real idea how any of this works, so the private sector continues to pass their toxic crap off to central banks in exchange for fresh cash

This is just one reason why our real threat isn't with the "welfare queen" sucking chump change off the system in the Bronx. It's the financial kingpins on Wall Street, sucking trillions off the system in Manhattan, who are burning down the house.

- Mark 

P.S. If you're wondering what the Federal Reserve's balance sheet looks like since it began extending credit and making massive purchases of toxic assets take a look at this ... 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CONFIRMATION BIAS (and why Fox News is a joke)

Another indicator that Fox News viewers are inclined to watch Fox News so that they can hear what they want to hear is what happened on election night three weeks ago. Check out what happened to Fox News' viewership from 10 pm (EST) to midnight, right after President Obamas reelection was announced ...

As you can see, viewership remained steady on the other cable networks right after President Obama was declared the winner. But viewership dropped like a rock for Fox News.

Because Fox News viewers were fed a steady dose of "Mitt's going to win because the polls are skewed" nonsense it should come as no surprise that they might be disappointed after the election was called for President Obama.

The reasoning is simple. Fox News viewers are so used to getting what they want from Fox News' brand of junk journalism that many of them really have no interest in dealing with reality. They were lied to, but it didn't matter. They wanted to believe Mitt Romney was going to be elected president.

So, like the spouse that is lied to on a regular basis, they bought the lies Fox peddled because it kept the illusion that is their world alive.

To be sure, a rumor making the rounds is that Fox News actually believed that Mitt Romney was going to win because Karl Roves had prepared to fix the election (but was stopped by "anonymous"). So Fox News was not really misleading their viewers (at least about what Fox News expected to happen).

Whatever the case, none of this should be news to anyone outside of the Fox bubble. Fox News viewers are regularly ridiculed for being the least informed viewers in America, on a number of topics.

It's no secret that, compared to other cable networks, a higher number of Fox viewers believe many things that simply are not true ... President Obama is not a citizen ... President Obama is a Muslim ... weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq ... most scientists can't agree on climate change ... "death panels" will make Obamacare life or death decisions ... President Obama is to blame for the budget mess ... etc.

The tendency to embrace only what you want to see or hear is called confirmation bias. Fox News understands this and does their level best to feed their audience what they want to hear. In the process it makes them money, and supports Roger Ailes' political agenda.

At the end of the day, one thing is clear: Fox News is a joke.

- Mark 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Some Thanksgiving funnies ...

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- Mark

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Check out the maps below ...

Then we have the Wall Street Journal's 24/7 article, which outlines the most and least educated states which Fox Business highlighted after the presidential election ...

Now check out which states send in the most federal tax dollars and which states receive the most from the federal government ...

Now take a look at which states have the most residents who either do not pay or do not file federal taxes (a.k.a. Romney's "47 percenters") ...

Given all of this, it seems odd that poorest and least educated states also have some of the loudest and most frustrated post-election citizens who "patriotically" want to secede from the union because President Obama was re-elected ...

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

- Mark

Monday, November 19, 2012


Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are blaming black America and other mooches for their losing the election ... Our GOP-led Congress just spent four years rejecting virtually everything President Obama offered in an effort to pin George W. Bush's economy on him ... Republican members of Congress - who effectively ignored the 12 times diplomatic missions were attacked when President Bush was in office - are prepared to politicize the terrorist attack in Libya by having Watergate-like investigations for no other reason than to embarrass the president.

While early Republican comments suggest some cooperation with our newly re-elected president is in our future, actions and guarded remarks suggest otherwise. In this hostile and divided political environment it's difficult to argue that America is preparing to experience another "American Century" like the one it experienced in the 20th century.

In an effort to explain the American political divide Germany's Der Spiegel published "Divided States of America: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation" before the 2012 presidential election. It's an excellent piece, especially if you want a balanced outside view of what's happening to America's political system.

Is America the greatest country in the world? According to Der Spiegel, because of the divided and confrontational nature of America's political system today, America can no longer claim to be the greatest country in the world. Not even close.

While it might be a long read for some this scene from "The Newsroom" captures many of the points made in Der Spiegel's written piece.

- Mark

Saturday, November 17, 2012


With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan cluelessly claiming that they lost the 2012 election because of President Obama's gifts and urban voter turnout, these just go together ...

- Mark


The demise of Hostess is a long and complex story, as Fortune's "Hostess is bankrupt ... again" makes clear. If you don't have the time to read the entire piece this about sums it up ...

The real story behind the Hostess mess can be summarized with the following:

1) While the Hostess brand is still viable many products are tired and out of step.
2) Bain Capital-style investment and management techniques are now driving this show.
3) Bankruptcy law, tax deduction games, and "capital loss" and "carry forward" tax law make it clear that the hedge funds will win.

The last point here is key. The hedge funds are at the top of the liquidation, bankruptcy, and tax food chain. While the Fortune article doesn't mention it the players behind the hedge funds also know that they have PBGC - corporate America's pension safety net (PBGC is really a corporate dump) - plus years of favorable legislation and favorable tax laws at their back.

This means the hedge funds can make money even if bankruptcy is declared and losses are filed.

People can talk all they want about pensions and unions, but not only have concessions been made (and further concessions promised) but current tax law means the hedge funds can drive pensions into the ground, declare bankruptcy if they don't get additional concessions, and still win financially.

Whatever bankruptcy and restructuring emerges from the Hostess case one thing is clear. This is a classic case of wealth extraction, where years of favorable legislation and the tax code subsidize our market players.

- Mark

P.S. On the lighter side ...

Friday, November 16, 2012


So my students in my PS 101 class don't look like this during finals week ...

... below I am providing a set of links to some of the topics that I have discussed in lecture. These links should not be interpreted as providing all the information needed for each of the questions asked in the final. They are simply links to topics that are not in the book or are issues students have asked about during class and office hours. 

Questions for the mid-terms are listed below. 



Liberal Republic / Liberal Revolution. Look here under "Three Intertwined Developments" for the historical forces and intellectual roots behind our political and economic system. Then use them to help explain the Liberal Revolution, and how they provide the base for the ideas behind our Constitution.

Federal Imperative / California: Creating access points and dispersing power lies at the heart of the federal principle in America. This post on fiscal federalism outlines how the U.S. works to achieve these goals by shifting and redistributing wealth. As part of our larger discussion on California in the federal system we discussed budget issues and the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis, which is discussed here.

Civil Liberties / Civil Rights: The long march to equality under the law involved challenging stereotypes that were supported by junk science and confronting issues tied to blacks, women, and labor, among other issues. Some of the issues that we discussed in class can be found here, in last 2/3 of this post.


From Civil Liberties to Civil Rights: The long march to equality involved issues tied to blacks, women, labor laws, the influence of junk science (which justified social stereotypes), etc. It's all discussed here in the last 2/3 of this post."

* Courts and/or American Presidency: Here's the link to help with the FISA courts.

The Presidency: Do we have an emerging American Caesar? This op-ed review several issues tied to the American presidency that we discussed in class. These two  posts discuss signing statements.

Congress: Why is it that many members of Congress appear overwhelmed and uninformed? Why do they appear to talk at each other instead of with each other? Apart from issues tied to redistricting and campaign costs, this post on the Bell Experiment ties into our lecture on post-industrialandia and semi-democracy in America.

* Political Parties: Here's a link I have used in previous class lectures to help explain the evolution of political parties in America.

The links listed above address all of the questions that will be in Part I of the Final Exam.


Economic Policy Making: This link helps us understand how market actually work in America, and why economic policy making is so important. The following links discuss the role of  fiscal policy and regulatory policy in America. This post discusses how America's redistributes wealth (i.e. fiscal federalism), while this post discusses how America has consistently worked to bailout and subsidize the market.

* Social Security: For the question on social security, apart from your notes you might want to look at this, this, and this. For a discussion on COLAs (cost of living allowances), "hedonics," and our efforts to "save" social security see this (under "Boskin Commission").

Good luck, and work hard.
- Mark

Questions from Exam #1 ...

In class we discussed the historical forces and intellectual roots behind our political and economic system. Discuss these forces. Specifically, how does the political and economic system of our liberal republic contrast with feudal patterns of governance and economic production? How do the Articles of Confederation and the Federalist Papers (#10 and #51) help us understand our Constitution and the type of government we have today? If someone were to ask you what a “liberal republic” is, using the United States as an example, how would you respond? Finally, did America create a genuine democracy after 1776, or did democracy in America arrive later? Explain.

2. the Federal imperative in america (and California)
Two parts ... Part I: In class I argued that history and a keen understanding of the human condition helped shape the Founders decision to create a federal system of government. Discuss these developments and explain how they help us understand the roots of the American Constitution and our federal system? Where do the Federalist Papers fit here? How do Marbury v. Madison (1803) and McCulloch v. Maryland help (1819) us understand the pecking order behind our Federal-State relations? How does our discussion on wealth redistribution help us understand the federal principle? Part II: From the readings, and our class discussion, explain how California’s political system differs from the federal government. Specifically, what can states do that the federal government can not? Why did the Founders create these differences? As well, we reviewed the political and economic factors behind the recall of Governor Davis. Explain the dynamics behind the recall of Governor Davis. Was the recall necessary? Explain.

3. From Civil Liberties to Civil Rights
Two parts … Part I: What are the fundamental differences between Civil Liberties (CL) and Civil Rights (CR). What does the Bill of Rights tell us about our history and the concerns of the Founders of this nation? In your view, was the Bill of Rights necessary? Explain. Part II: Drawing from the text and lecture, outline the long march toward Civil Rights in the United States. Why were women so instrumental to the Civil Rights movement? Drawing from lecture, and from our discussion on “Junk Scholars/Junk Science” explain why the Civil Rights movement in the 19th century experienced an entirely different outcome than the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century. Did the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century accomplish its goals, or is it an on-going work in progress in America? Explain.

Questions from Exam #2 ...

1. The Courts
A two part question. Part I: In class and from the readings we learned about the history behind our national judiciary system. Why do we have a court system? Drawing from the text, how does habeus corpus and judicial review help shape America’s political and legal systems? What’s the difference between criminal and civil law, and how does this distinction help us understand our legal system? With reference to the Constitution and the Judiciary Act, explain the history and structure of America’s national judicial system. How does the FISA court system fit into our legal system? Part II: How does the “strict constructionist / original intent” vs. “judicial activism” debate help us (or not help us) understand the Supreme Court and our system of justice? Does the documentary Super Chief: The Life and Legacy of Earl Warren help us understand this debate? How so? In your view, what personal experiences contributed to the decisions Earl Warren made while he was Chief Justice? Between the strict constructionist and judicial activist positions, which perspective best represents how judges should act while on the bench? Explain.

2. Congress … How it (Really) Works
In the course text, there is a discussion of “how a bill becomes law.” Very briefly (no more than one page) discuss the textbook version of how a bill becomes. In class we discussed how, in spite of how a bill is supposed to become law, why Congress does not or can not do the work of the people. Specifically, I asked whether Congress can really represent the will of the people when both the members of Congress and “the people” are so distracted and overwhelmed with the challenges of every day life that policy discussions and political debate are distorted. The end result is that semi-democracy and hyper-democracy have become hallmarks of American politics and how Congress actually works. Explain what this means. Has the promises of democracy in America been altered in the process? How so? Finally, drawing from your in class experience with redistricting explain how the process of redistricting impacts democracy in America.  Does redistricting strengthen or cheapen the democratic experience in America? Explain. Finally, when we contrast what modern politicians say and what you have learned in class about the U.S. Congress, does the United States have the best democracy in America? Explain.

3. The Presidency
In class we discussed the formal and informal powers of the president. What are these powers? How do they help us understand the office of the president? Drawing from lecture and the readings, who were some of the early “powerful” presidents and what factors contributed to them being able to stand out as powerful presidents? Discuss the historical factors that helped transform the power of the executive branch over time. Specifically, how did the Civil War, industrialization, the Depression, and WWII affect the office of the president? Finally, from Watergate through 9/11 we have seen the power of the presidency increase in many ways. How have the powers of the executive branch evolved from the last quarter of the 20th century into the beginning of the 21st century? Are we seeing the creation of an “American Caesar”? Explain.

A two part question. Part I: In 1922 Walter Lippmann argued that research in public opinion was far too limited, especially given its importance to politics in America. Drawing from early attempts at gauging public opinion, why did Walter Lippmann make this assertion? How does the Literary Digest experience help us understand why early attempts at monitoring public opinion didn’t always measure up? How does the Literary Digest experience, and George Gallup, help understand the importance of conducting scientific polls? What type of polls do we have, and how can we be sure of their integrity? Part II: What constitutes the media today, and how does it differ from 60 years ago? Does the media shape public opinion? How so? Are we better off with so many sources of news today? Explain. Did the Stephen Colbert clip we played in class help you understand the role the role of  polls in modern American politics? How so? In your view, is the media biased, or do we have only a few biased sources? Explain.

After briefly discussing what Federalist #10 said about “factions” discuss how the logic behind factions applies to political parties today. In the text the evolution of political parties is discussed. After discussing what parties do in America, explain the early ideological roots of the republican and democratic parties? How did party politics evolve from the late 18th century through the Civil War and New Deal Coalition? What led to the break up of the New Deal Coalition and the rise of the Reagan Revolution? How does the Modern Era compare to the Golden Age of party politics? Which social groups in America today tend to identify with each major party and why? Finally, what role do third parties play in American politics?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I've written about this many times. With America's richest class preparing to send their political oompa loompas out to make their tax case (again) it, apparently, needs to be repeated. 

Repealing the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of wage earners in America is a no brainer. Courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (via Mother Jones), here's why: 

* WHO'S AFFECTED? Only 1.9% of small businesses are in the two top brackets that would be affected by repealing the Bush tax cuts.  
* WHO'S "REALLY" AFFECTED? About half of that 1.9% aren't really small business owners at all. They're high-income investors who get part of their income from investments in small businesses. So we're down to about 1% of small businesses that would be affected. 
* HOW MUCH ARE THEY REALLY AFFECTED? The top brackets are just that: brackets. When the top rate goes up, it doesn't affect your entire income, just the portion in the top bracket. So if the top rate goes back up from 35% to 39.6%, it only affects the portion of income above approximately $400,000. A small business owner making $500,000 would see an increase of about $5,000. This is a fairly modest amount for someone making a half million dollars, and anything higher than that is hardly a "small" business to begin with.

Here's the interesting point. Moving the tax rate for the highest wage earners up to 39.6% only brings the rates up what they were under President Clinton, when we started running budget surpluses. After Ronald Reagan's first term tax rates on America's top wage earners was still at 50%, which doesn't come close to the 70% rate they were at under President Nixon and the 91% rate they were at under Dwight Eisenhower.  

What do we have to show after more than 30 years of cutting taxes for the rich? Record bailouts and a massive increase in our national debt. 

So here's the short and sweet on this tax debate. 
With only a massive national debt, a collapsed economy, and laggard job creation numbers to show for a failed trickle down policy, the only people who should be supporting the GOP's tax cuts for the rich policies are (1) the rich and (2) the political oompa loompas of the GOP who actually believe that pushing the political agenda of America's richest class makes them part of America's economic elite. They are not. They are political oompa loompas (who the rich mostly see as a bunch of chumps doing their bidding).
Seriously, who besides the rich would want to stand up for the financial fortunes of a group of people who have gotten richer while the rest of America stands in a growing pile of debt that swirls around an economic black hole? 
Raising taxes on America's wealthiest class to 39.6% won't fix our entire budget mess but it's a start ... and a no brainer. 
- Mark 
( Kudos to Robin for the link)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

HOW AMERICA VOTED IN 2012 (and would've voted if we played by the rules of 1850)

Check out this cool interactive from the Washington Post. It explains which demographic groups voted for which presidential candidate. Final election results are here.

In the FYI category (from Politix) this is what the 2012 election results would have looked like without the 15th amendment (blacks right to vote, 1870), the 19th amendment (female right to vote, 1920), and the 24th amendment (poll tax abolished, 1964).

- Mark

P.S. And, yes, I understand President Obama would not be President under 1850 rules in 2008, but you get the point.

Monday, November 12, 2012


For Veterans Day I thought I'd re-post this piece. It shows our military in a light most don't associate with soldiers:

Happy Veterans Day.

- Mark

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It's God's will ...

President Obama was just declared the winner in Florida - making the final Electoral College count 332-206 - meaning what God really ordered up was a ass whuppin', right?

- Mark

Friday, November 9, 2012


President Obama thanks staffers Tuesday night, with a an emotional moment, explaining that their work on the campaign validates the importance of what his administration is trying to do ...

- Mark


In 2010 Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) became the prime target of the Republicans. Why? Primarily because he told the truth and called the GOP out on their health care hypocrisy. Specifically, he told America that the GOP health care policy response to Obamacare was, essentially, to "die quickly."

As a result of his blunt assessments and tough questioning of Federal Reserve officials Rep. Grayson became a GOP target in 2010, and was defeated by 18 points.

Lost in all the news about President Obama's victory on election night was that Alan Grayson was once again elected to the House of Representatives, with a 25 point margin (62.5% - 37.5%). This is a 43 point swing, the first time it's been done.

So you know, I've been following Alan Grayson for some time now (I also interviewed him when I had my radio program). Among my favorite Grayson moments was when he called out Federal Reserve Chair, Ben Bernanke, for creating half a trillion dollars and not knowing which financial institutions got the money.

Long story short, apart from President Obama's victory we also got Alan Grayson back on election night. This is good news for every American who's concerned about what's happening to our tax dollars and how the Federal Reserve is monitoring - or not monitoring - trillions of dollars in credits that's effectively created out of thin air.

So, yeah, this is more good news.

- Mark 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


This election graph, from the NY Times, outlines how various groups have shifted their level of support for Democrats (blue shade) and Republicans (red shade) over the past 8 years ...

(Click to enlarge)

- Mark

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I wrote the article below, which appeared in this mornings Bakersfield Californian. I added the photos to the blog post ...

It's the day after. Many believe that President Obama doesn’t deserve a second term. They don’t want to believe he won. But he did. Here’s why.

First, President Obama accomplished a great deal, even with an obstructionist Congress. Second, Mitt Romney was tethered to a movement born out of deception (and rage), which colored his entire campaign. Voters, as we will see by the end of the day, understand both of these points.

Let’s consider some of the accomplishments.

* The Stimulus Worked: After the stimulus was passed unemployment claims subsided while the economy added over  750,000 new private sector jobs (which easily surpasses President Bush’s first term). This has been the trend for over 30 months.
* Federal Spending Slows to a Crawl: Under President Obama growth in federal spending is at 1.4%, its slowest pace since the Eisenhower administration (and far better than the 7-8% under President Bush).
* Budget Deficits Stabilize: While critics like to claim that President Obama created record budget deficits the reality is the policies that brought us annual trillion dollar deficits are not his.
* Auto Industry Story: President Obama’s auto bailout saved over 1 million jobs in America. For all of their criticism over the bailout the Romney’s invested and profited from the program (in part by shipping union jobs overseas), which Romney’s campaign acknowledged. 

The real issue here, though, is how most Americans understand that President Obama’s accomplishments happened with a recalcitrant and obstructionist Congress hanging around his neck. Most Americans get it.

Those who don’t get it generally secure their news from the same source(s) (the usual suspects) and willfully ignore the following: The Republican Party always feared that President Bush’s failures would come back to haunt them. With Bush so close to our memories they figured the only way to defeat President Obama in 2012 was to hang President Bush’s legacy around his neck.

Citing Robert Draper’s book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do, congressional candidate Terry Phillips pointed out during his only debate with Rep. Kevin McCarthy here in Bakersfield that the GOP pledged to sabotage the President at a Republican dinner on inauguration night.

The plan, according to Draper, was to “show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.” That night Newt Gingrich even suggested sabotaging the president would sow the electoral “seeds of 2012” (a claim Gingrich has not denied). From there the Party of No was born.

Incredibly enough, President Obama still got things done.

* Obamacare: Apart from covering 32 million Americans every reputable report shows that Obamacare cuts growth in health care costs, which is the primary driver behind our long-term fiscal problems.
* Rising Incomes: According to Forbes during President Obama’s first three years thirty one states have seen a rise in income levels.
* Size of Government: The number of federal government workers as a percentage of the population actually decreased under President Obama.
* NYSE: Look at the market before President Obama was inaugurated and now.

To be sure, during his debate with Phillips Rep. McCarthy tried to deny the roadblock strategy. He even claimed that the GOP was only proposing legislation as an alternative. But he backed off when Phillips asked if Draper was lying.

And the proof is in the congressional pudding. The record shows:

* Senate Games: Senate Republicans have consistently played games, which include record motions to cloture and filibuster. In plain English this means every major proposal now requires an unprecedented 60 vote majority in the Senate. This includes budgets.
* House Games: The House has regularly proposed poison pill tax cuts, deregulation, Wall Street favors, and politically charged legislation they know President Obama will never sign. 

Put another way, the GOP’s idea of working together has been to say no while getting the President to accept the same policies that gave us the market collapse of 2008. America sees through this.

Then we have Mitt Romney.

Romney’s strategy followed a deceptive theme, which congressional Republicans worked diligently to set up: President Obama didn’t clean up President Bush’s mess fast enough so Romney should be President - to implement the same policies that created this mess.

To be sure, Romney also shot himself in the foot by running away from his record, pushing Chrysler’s executives to effectively call him a liar, losing in Massachusetts, hiding tax records, insulting hosts during his Olympic timed trips, showing no respect for the working class, and generally appearing out of touch.

Most Americans saw both the accomplishments in the face of an obstructionist Congress. This is why a sitting president with a troubled economy and record deficits will win a second term by the end of today.

It's really that simple.

- Mark

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you like knowing what experts from distinct fields have to say about the elections, here are the two sites you should be watching today. One is for the quants, the other is for those inclined to believe in markets ...

For the serious math geeks here's the NY Times' FiveThirtyEight ...

For those of you who are inclined to believe in market fundamentals and the logic of the market, Intrade (The Prediction Market) is the site you want to be watching ...

At the moment both sites have President Obama winning the election, comfortably. For the record, Intrade correctly called President Obama's election in 2008 ...

- Mark


- Mark 

Friday, November 2, 2012


If you're wondering why a president with a spotty economy and record budget deficits is ahead in the polls, five days before a presidential election, we need look no further than who the Republican Party selected to be their standard bearer  ... 

Someone that the CEO of Chrysler has effectively called a liar ...

A candidate who games the tax code and doesn't pay his fair share, which almost makes Al Capone look like a petty tax cheat ...

A candidate whose sizable charitable contributions appear to be both self-serving and "mandatory" ...

Someone who supported the Vietnam War and the Vietnam draft but found other things to do during the war ...

A candidate whose personal and family history says more about selfishness and cowardice than service and patriotism...

A candidate and a running mate who have no problem staging events (including the purchase of $5,000 in aid props) in the hopes of getting people to believe they care ...

                                           Romney accepting "donated" foodstuffs that his campaign purchased.

                                            Paul Ryan washing dishes that were already washed.

A candidate whose spiritual "hometown" newspaper has chosen not to endorse him ...

A candidate who owns homes in four states, claims homie status in two (Massachusetts and Michigan), and was governor in one, but will not win the popular vote in any of those states ... 

A candidate whose vision for America is at odds with genuine leadership because it does not include creating opportunities for the working poor and others who get caught up in life's struggles ...

There's more. But you get the point. 

In addition to having to carry the toxic political water of a movement that derives it's energy from ignorance and rage, Mitt Romney has to carry his own political baggage. Trying to put lipstick on belligerence and selfishness makes Mitt Romney his own worst enemy. 

On November 7th Mitt Romney will not be president-elect.

- Mark