Watering Hole – Monday August 8, 2011 – Crises of Capitalism

This video is a little more than 11 minutes in length.  It’s an interesting perspective.  Last week was bad news week.  Can it get any worse?

This is our Open Thread today.  My apologies for not having much more to say at this point.  Perhaps you have something to add to the conversation so Speak Up!


286 thoughts on “Watering Hole – Monday August 8, 2011 – Crises of Capitalism

    • I see on Fox’s page, amid their plethora of gloom and doom headlines, they’ve been running this headline: ” S&P Chief: U.S. Must Curb Spending.”

      While true the S&P Chief said that, he also said we must get past bipartisan bickering, and we must also raise tax revenues.

      Funny that Fox didn’t choose to use either of those in the headline.

      To be fair, the article itself does mention the need for additional revenues, but it’s buried in the middle. (Where no one is likely to see it.)

  1. Quote of the Day:

    “When John Boehner at the height of the debt ceiling crisis answered [Obama] on the national media he simply did not tell the truth. He said that the president would not compromise, would not take yes for an answer, and wanted it all his own way.

    But he cannot have forgotten that he had negotiated Obama into far more cuts than Obama and his caucus had wanted, thought wise or even palatable in return for a modest increase in revenue to be achieved by closing egregious and unfair loopholes in personal and corporate taxes. This is the same compromise recommended by the “Gang of Six,” which included the extremely conservative and admirably patriotic Senator Tom Coburn, by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson group, and by Republican economists like Martin Feldstein.

    It was the Speaker who, Arafat-like, walked away from that deal because he concluded he lacked the skill or the muscle or the spine to sell it to his own caucus. Let it be said that this compromise included recalculating the cost of living formula for social security—a change every responsible economist recommends—but the equally rigid Nancy Pelosi rejected,” – Charles Fried, Ronald Reagan’s solicitor-general.

    • Thanks badmoodman. Interesting to see, Obama was willing to compromise even at the cost of alienating the base. Boehner not so much. Democracy as I understand it never gets you 100%. 70% your way is great for you, 50% each way would be perfect, but sometimes the other gets the 70%. The art is to make it so that over the years you’re nearing 50% again, to and fro. 98% is shit. Boehner owns the downgrade and karma has his ass. See link below.

  2. I’m still trying to figure out why the President was leading on this. Where was Nancy?

  3. I have an idea how the US can raise a lot of money quickly AND get rid of some foreign debt at the same without raising taxes and via an extremely painless route. Sell off Texas, Oklahoma, and the deep south to the highest bidder. Heck, Texas alone might pay off what we owe to China, right? Not sure anyone would really want Oklahoma, so maybe that’d have to be part of the Texas package — maybe the “Tejasistan” package. It could work, no?

      • That could work. If we could pull it off in Berlin, Tejas should be a snap. How about swapping out Austin for, say, Boner’s Ohio District?

    • I would settle for secession. It would get a bunch of deadbeats off the rolls and remove a large number of under-educated, over-inflated loudmouths from Congress so we could get back to serious government.

      • Maybe if Rick Perry throws his ten-gallon hat into the ring. I’ve heard he has a ‘prayer’ (or three).

      • No no no, we can’t do that. My dad says Texas is a huge job creator and has absolutely fantastic schools.


        • Texas… don’t get me started.

          I just got back from a coast to coast road trip and the only place in the USA more backwards than Texas is Oklahoma, which just so happens to boarder Texas.

          Texans are not “friendly”.
          They are only “friendly” when you are worshipping their Christian sky fairy and putting a Jackson in the collection plate..
          Otherwise, they downright nasty and xenophobic.

          • My experience has been that they are so sweet and sugary to your face, but will show their true feelings behind your back. Of course, I lived in the South 30 years ago, so maybe they’ve dispensed with the formalities…

          • I used to say if I was in Mobile and needed to go to Texas, I’d drive around Louisiana. Now I’d just say, why does anyone need to go to Texas?

    • I grew up in Texas. I am the product of Texas public schools which were very good back then before Reagan got rid of the civics classes and they actually taught about things like unions and their value, even though Texas is a “right to work” state.

      Rush Limbaugh came on the air in 1987 to stoke the white male anger. Back then you could only hear him on the weekends. I quit listening very quickly after his misogyny got tiresome.

      Texas has always been a little conservative, but we used to value giving our neighbors a hand. Living in a place like Texas was always hard, and the value of helping out your neighbor was important.

      I left the state in 1990. I haven’t looked back. I didn’t want my children growing up in a place where a woman’s worth was based on the size of her boobs and height of her hair instead of the size of her brain. I do not regret my decision. I still have family who lives there, but what can one do? My mother watches Fox and I will not discuss politics with her because she is misinformed and will not be swayed by the truth.

      She thinks Texas is solvent even though I have told her that Pery has increased the state deficit from $13 billion to $37 billion since he took office. She doesn’t believe me.


  4. Speaking of Perry:

    The Houston Chronicle: Fee meant for poor used to aid GOP Cause

    The participants at the prayer vigil organized by Gov. Rick Perry were treated to arctic blasts of the stuff Saturday, with Reliant Stadium’s 12,000 tons of air-conditioning keeping temperatures nippy. But as historic temperatures scorch Texas for the third straight month with triple-digit misery, $650 million collected from Texas electricity consumers to assist poor elderly and disabled citizens with their utility bills sits idly in a state bank account.

    Instead of serving its intended humanitarian purpose, the state’s $650 million System Benefit Fund now serves a political one — permitting Perry and other Republican leaders to keep their “no new taxes” pledge.

    In February, the Perry-appointed Public Utility Commission voted to reduce aid distributed from the fund, allowing its corpus to grow ever bigger. The fund, a big positive entry in the state comptroller’s ledger of the state’s fiscal condition, is now an essential tool in “balancing” the state’s budget.

    • In February, the Perry-appointed Public Utility Commission voted to reduce aid distributed from the fund, allowing its corpus to grow ever bigger.

      This is what I don’t get about these Conservative Governors…. why isn’t this malfeasance or misappropriations of funds?

      How can they vote to reduce payouts of pensions to teachers and firefighters?

  5. Quote of the Day II:

    I will tell you ladies and gentlemen, I detest and despise everything the left stands for. How anybody can endorse and embrace an ideology that has killed a billion people in the last century is beyond me,” – Tea Party Nation CEO Judson Phillips.

    • I’m guessing it’s too much to hope that he provided some evidence to back up his ridiculous statement…?

      • Well, see, “the left” includes Hitler, FDR, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh, whereas on the right are Reagan, Amurka, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, the Swiss, and a couple of islands in the Caribbean with really cool banks.

        Just “do the math” would be his suggestion, I’m guessing.

  6. Steve Benen thinks the GOP owns the economy:

    “Especially over the last couple of days, the underlying Republican pitch in response to economic anxiety and recession fears is, “See? It’s time to try things our way.”

    What goes largely overlooked is the fact that we already are trying things their way. Whether Republicans want to admit it or not, the economy is advancing exactly as they want it to. The private sector is being left to its own devices; the public sector is shedding jobs and scrapping investments; and the only permitted topic of conversation is about debt reduction.”


  7. .

    S&P Seen Surrendering to Tea Party Costing U.S. Taxpayer

    Standard & Poor’s, the rating company that downgraded the debt of the United States to AA+ from AAA for the first time, now finds itself assailed by investors led by billionaire Warren Buffett for making a political decision that has more to do with Tea Party politics than the financial stability of the U.S.

    • The power of free market capitalism.

      Like tea party politics isn’t driving US financial stability into the shitter.

    • This one really tells me the state of affairs in the world economy. One agency recognizes that the US holding everyone hostage for political reasons is a clear indicator that it might not be as good a credit risk and giving everyone else a chance to finally admit this and the big money types rally round to shut them up.

      Face it, S&P made a financial decision based on political instability.

  8. Krugman fisks S&P today:

    “America’s large budget deficit is, after all, primarily the result of the economic slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis. And S.& P., along with its sister rating agencies, played a major role in causing that crisis, by giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed assets that have since turned into toxic waste.

    Nor did the bad judgment stop there. Notoriously, S.& P. gave Lehman Brothers, whose collapse triggered a global panic, an A rating right up to the month of its demise. And how did the rating agency react after this A-rated firm went bankrupt? By issuing a report denying that it had done anything wrong.”


  9. Matt Steinglass discovers an article by Tea Party leader Judson Phillips(again!) that defends military spending on the grounds that it “stimulates the economy.” Steinglass is stunned:

    “What’s amazing here, obviously, is that Mr Phillips is justifying building aircraft carriers because government spending creates jobs and stimulates the economy. And he’s right about that! But it seems that there are no other things the government spends money on, apart from defence, that Mr Phillips believes can stimulate the economy.

    He appears to believe that while government spending on aircraft carriers leads to workers getting hired, spending their paychecks, and helping the recovery, government spending on highways, high-speed rail, education, and health care does not. Meanwhile, Mr Phillips also believes, as he argued in a Washington Post op-ed last week, that the government shouldn’t borrow any more money, because that’s leading us to economic ruin, like Greece. And he believes that the government shouldn’t raise taxes, because that kills jobs. So where is the money supposed to come from? We’re left with one possibility: Mr Phillips believes that we should build more aircraft carriers to stimulate the economy, and fund it by cutting other government spending programs.”


    • By having an economy based on making things that go BOMB, maybe little Judson will one day be able to give up his bed-wetting habit.

    • The biggest fallacy about military spending is while it generates jobs to make war materials, they produce a product that has no basic benefit or return to Americans. Build an aircraft carrier and the military gets to use it as a base to blow things up. Build a bridge or a highway or a waste treatment plant and Americans benefit.

      War stuff is disposable. Infrastructure stuff is usable.

      • Leon Panetta gave a speech today sounding exactly like a Bush administration doosh. “Blah, blah, blah, our Navy Seals other troops fight to make us safe from al Qaeda, blah, blah, blah.”

        The fact is if we didn’t have so many gung ho war mongering zealots in this country al Qaeda wouldn’t have bothered us in the first place. To them no amount of money is too much to waste on making war and any money spent on anythging else like health care or education takes away from their cause.

        Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to stand up and tell these people that they’re going to have to find a different way to make a living because the general population gets nothing back from this craziness.

    • state Sen. Kris Jordan (R-UH ROH)

      Anthony Weiner tweeted pictures, a maelstrom followed and he resigned in disgrace. False equivalency, anyone?

  10. From TP:

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who appeared at The Response prayer rally this weekend, tried to limit an LGBT equality rally at the Kansas State Capitol by preventing the Kansas Equality Coalition from holding any flagpoles or even tiny flags, deeming them “dangerous weapons.” (This was despite the fact that the Knights of Columbus had not only flags but swords at an anti-choice event at the capitol in January.) The group found a way to outsmart the pole restriction by bringing in the biggest flags they could find — without poles:

    • .
      The repiggies are not resourceful thus believe no one is…
      way to go flag wavers (without poles).

  11. The GOoPers really are whiny little bitches. I just heard a radio ad for the Wisconsin GOP recall race. I’ll paraphrase the bullet points.

    1. When union thugs took over the capitol the Democrats left town.
    2. The unions and their Democrat (sic) allies are attacking Wisconsin democracy.
    3. The unions think they can keep the GOP from finishing the job they started.
    4. The unions think they can run Wisconsin for their own benefit.

    Does anyone else see a pattern?

    • The GOP propaganda machine is impressive. Exhorting citizens of the UNITED states to hate and fear the UNION of labor. Be afraid of SOCIALISM in a SOCIETY dedicated to the general welfare of it’s citizens.

      Masterful. No wonder they had to make us stupid and uneducated first.

  12. So the S&P downgraded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae today.
    Why the heck haven’t they downgraded Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, or any of the other big Wall Street banks/firms that were involved in all that crap Credit Default Swap stuff that brought the economy down? They are continuing to make more and more money on this stuff instead of going to prison!

    • If the S&P downgraded Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc, then they’d be shown up as the complicit lap dogs they really are — after having rated all the Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc financial packages as AAA, even though they knew those packages were total crap.

    • You’re lucky you don;t live in New York, where the media thinks we want to hear his opinions. We know he’s a clown and should never be taken seriously as a politician. Besides, he’s had more than the maximum number of marriages to be considered “family values” material by the GOP’s own standards. Then again, the GOP is always willing to waive its standards when applied to themselves.

  13. Fox is lining up their “Opinion” pieces to defend Republicans and bash the administration. Here’s one by Peter Morici.

    The administration treated the S&P downgrade like it does all other bad economic news—it sought to blame others, circumstances and the messenger. The Tea Party, bad luck like the Japanese earthquake and the competence of the S&P staff—who used CBO numbers to assess the future of the U.S. debt burden—were all cited by the president’s surrogates in interviews and the Sunday talk show circuit.

    Communications in the White House are such a closed loop that the administration does not even recognize help when it gets it from critics. The S&P report gave the president ammunition to push for higher taxes—ill-advised as that might be.

    Let’s see. So it’s only the president who engages in the blame game. Not the author of this piece.

    And ill-advised to raise taxes? It’s only ill-advised among the irrational ideologue crowd. Many (if not most) non-partisan economists (and quite a few partisan ones, on all sides of the aisle) say we need more revenue. Even S&P’s own report said we need to raise more revenue.

    • There is a reason for that, zxbe. When a Democrat explains factors in any event they are really pointing the blame finger. When Republicans do it, they are pontificating and showing the masses the TRUTH.

  14. I really despise Andrea Mitchell. She accuses Richard Trumka AFL-CIO of citing a report that has a liberal bias. Of course I’ve never seen her do that to some right wing nut. Also, her husband was on NBC this weekend and nobody accused him of having a conservative bias.

    • Also, her husband was on NBC this weekend and nobody accused him of having a conservative bias.

      That’s because the “librul” media bends over backwards to give the impression that they aren’t librul… if that means giving conservatives a free pass then, so be it.

      • Rachel Maddow didn;t give Alex Costellanos a free pass. She called him on some of the bullshit he was trying to spread. David gregory was willing to let it go so he could move onto another point the right wing could lie about.

        Speaking of Sunday’s MTP, Austan Goolsbee brought up an excellent reason why the S&P was wrong. Our debt is inthe form of T-bills, and those T-bills are guaranteed to be good. He said that if there isn’t enough cash, we simply print more money.

        Nobody says we have to pay our debts without printing more money. It’s our ability to pay our debts that is guaranteed, not the value of the dollar. Sure, we could print more money and the value of the dollar goes down, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pay our debts. S&P was wrong.

        • Rachel was great and yeah, she mentioned over and over that the Sand P was specifically targeting the GOP.

    • Yup; what irks me the most is that she is intellectually so damned lazy, gets paid millions for being so, and yet is treated like some kind of expert and ‘grand-dame’. , whose perspective is worth some attention (on her shows and others)

      • And if the script stops running she can’t improvise one word to fill up the dead space. She should have been retired years ago.

  15. I was sort of surprised at the number of lefties on the talk shows Sunday. Considering Rachel’s performance, I can see why they don’t invite her more. They might actually have to do their job.

  16. Looks like the banks are trying to “stimulate the economy”. We are getting lots of credit card offers, almost daily, especially from Bank of America.

  17. Damn, after a great weekend stocks are plunging again, and the bull is out.
    Hope y’all are fairing better.

  18. I am still boycotting MSNBC until I learn they’ve fired Pat Buchanan. I called and left a message with them that “until I hear Pat Buchanan is out of a job, you’ll be out of a viewer.” I am wondering if it is worth it to make an exception for Rachel.

    • .
      You can watch on C-SPAN.

      Unfortunately I received a phone call not to far into the speech…
      he said something about tweaking MediCare that I missed …
      anyone know what that was?
      (the phone rang just then)

        • It’s not real-time live, but it’s the next best thing — and it’s the whole program, even though it’s chopped into segments.

    • May I ask where I gave the impression that it was the president’s speech I was interested in? I was spekaing of boycotting MSNBC in general terms, not as a reason I would miss Obama’s speech. I’m at work now anyway.

      On Zooey’s advice, I will watch Rachel starting tomorrow night (for her coverage of the Wisconsin elections). Monday night is SyFy night with “Eureka”, “Warehouse 13” and “Alphas”. No time for Keith or Rachel. Sorry.

      But I still insist on MSNBC firing Pat Buchanan or explaining why they won’t, or I don’t watch another minute of any other program on that channel, including Lawrence.

          • Indeed. My friends and I started a Eureka lunch after the show started so we can gab about the show. We love the characters and the acting. And the show overall has great locations/sets/effects. And have you noticed how many extras they have in each episode? Seems like hundreds sometimes.

            Highly recommended. 🙂

  19. Time for a little humor. Or so I hope. I talked to my Uncle Luigi this past weekend over a bottle or 7 of Chianti. At 112, he don’t track so very good but every now and then he focuses. I asked him what he thought of our current economic situation and he said…

    “Dose companies, dey got de right idea. You know, kid, de only diffrence between the old days of Capone and Genovesse is dey got a better front. You got a Eyetalian name, you’re a crook. You got a name for some fancy schmancy company and you’re golden.

    Ah, back in de old days when someone had to, ya know, not be around anymore we had to find a building ta plant de remains in. Today, dey just die and da cops hear national security and da goombah wit 47 bullet holes in him committed suicide.

    And da pertection racket, dey got it down to a fine art. Like that statue of David, you know, dat guy wit no package? Dey got regler businesses payin and dey don’t even know it? How sweet is dat?

    Buyin politicians? It’s legit dese days! Madonna, da money Al spent in Chi just to get some local cover. Today, pfft, just hand it over to dem crooked politicians. Dey’ll bury it faster than Hoffa.

    I tell ya, kid, I was born 100 years to late.”

  20. Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) isn’t bored enough. He thinks we aren’t either. This is actually a very interesting read and hypothesis; that lack of boredom is actually hampering us creatively.

    For starters, you might see people acting more dogmatic than usual. If you don’t have the option of thinking creatively, the easiest path is to adopt the default position of your political party, religion or culture. Yup, we see that.

    You might see more movies that seem derivative or are sequels. Check.

    You might see more reality shows and fewer scripted shows. Right.

    You might see the best-seller lists dominated by fiction “factories” in which ghostwriters churn out familiar-feeling work under the brands of famous authors. Got it.

    You might see the economy flat-line for lack of industry-changing innovation. Uh-oh.

    You might see the headlines start to repeat, like the movie “Groundhog Day,” with nothing but the names changed. We’re there.

    You might find that bloggers are spending most of their energy writing about other bloggers. OK, maybe I do that. Shut up.

    You might find that people seem almost incapable of even understanding new ideas. Yes.

    To be fair, economics is to blame for some of the decrease in creativity. A movie studio can make more money with a sequel than a gamble on something creative. A similar dynamic is at work in every industry. And, to be fair, sometimes things seem to be getting worse when, in fact, you’re only noticing it more. It seems as if folks are more dogmatic than ever, but maybe the pundits are creating that illusion.

  21. Fox is going into full Tea Party defensive mode:

    In the wake of a bruising battle over the debt ceiling and now a first-ever credit downgrade, Democrats have launched a salvo of rhetorical attacks on the Tea Party and appear determined to blame the movement for everything from the debt crisis to the sputtering economy

    Republicans counter that Standard and Poor’s also cited the country’s failure to tackle its debt problem — something the Tea Party has urged Washington to do. They accuse Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner of lacking a plan to grow the economy, and suggested he resign over his role in the latest turn of events.

    Not until nearly the end of the article do they offer up a couple of sentences saying the Tea Party is accusing Democrats. Nor do they mention that Fox itself is blaming Democrats. Nor do they mention that S&P clearly mentioned that raising taxes is a necessary step that wasn’t done.

      • A Teabagger I know posted this on their Facebook page:

        Obama, just shut up. Really. Your term as president has been utterly lacking in any form of leadership. You were not qualified to be president and it has shown. Please, just go away. Your speech today did nothing save drive the market down even further. You are a bumbling village idiot and just need to go away so we can try and salvage something.

        Also, Obama, you can play the blame game as you always do, but you inherited a AAA rating. Congrats on being the first sitting president ever to lose that rating. November 2012 cannot truly come fast enough.

        You can’t reason with someone like this.

        • All that person really meant to say was “Boy, shut up,” but is apparently still thinking they are not a racist, so have to add a bunch of verbiage around the first sentence.

          • And of course if you were to rephrase his statement about Bush, something like this about 9/11:

            “Also, Bush, you can play the blame game as you always do, but you inherited a country that had never had a foreign terrorist attack on its soil. Congrats on being the first sitting president ever to have that happen.”

            Then they’d be all over us about how it was Clinton’s fault, etc.

  22. Does anyone have a link to the Presidents speech today?

    I missed the whole damn thing. Going to the store always takes longer than I think it will. *grump*

  23. There is a terrific New Yorker article about the “transformation” of Michele Bachmann, and her extremist fundamentalist beliefs. It’s a long article, but well worth reading, although I’ve had to devour it in digestible chunks — she’s not a fringe fundie, because she’s gone far beyond the fringe. (h/t LGF)

    Among the tidbits are these paragraphs, describing the author of one of Bachmann’s most highly recommended books, a biography of Robert E. Lee.

    Wilkins is the leading proponent of the theory that the South was an orthodox Christian nation unjustly attacked by the godless North. This revisionist take on the Civil War, known as the “theological war” thesis, had little resonance outside a small group of Southern historians until the mid-twentieth century, when Rushdoony and others began to popularize it in evangelical circles. In the book, Wilkins condemns “the radical abolitionists of New England” and writes that “most southerners strove to treat their slaves with respect and provide them with a sufficiency of goods for a comfortable, though—by modern standards—spare existence.”

    African slaves brought to America, he argues, were essentially lucky: “Africa, like any other pagan country, was permeated by the cruelty and barbarism typical of unbelieving cultures.” Echoing Eidsmoe, Wilkins also approvingly cites Lee’s insistence that abolition could not come until “the sanctifying effects of Christianity” had time “to work in the black race and fit its people for freedom.”

    • White folk have never been known to play with any folks of color. Depending how you look at it, the blacks could be said to have fared better than any Native American tribe. I think you would have to be a Republican to do so tho.

      • Some white folks apparently “played” with Polynesian folks way back when, right after ‘discovery’. Either that or syphilis can be transmitted by handshake or maybe back slapping, sharing breadfruit, something like that.

    • Typical racist slavery apologist.

      Yes, it was beneficial to the Africans to be violently ripped away from their families and everything they ever knew, and ship them off to be sold like livestock in a society permeated by the cruelty and barbarism typical of BELIEVING cultures.


      • That’s right – Christo-fascism, its as good today as it was in Nathan Bedford Forrest’s day:

        Stage 1. Pity that you haven’t been saved
        2. Scorn that you can’t seem to understand that you need to ‘right with Jesus’
        3. Exclusion: “No, you can’t play with Timmy today, Timmy’s Dad is going to Hell because he’s a Catholic/atheist/turban-headed sand jockey/you-name-it”
        4. Persecution – “You can’t build your mosque/planned parenthood clinic/pastafarian restaurant there – you ain’t right-with-Jesus”
        5. Elimination – “Crank up the ovens there Adolf, we’re doing the Lord’s work today”

    • Selling someone’s family is not really all that christian, now is it Michele?

      • Hey, as long as it’s a family that doesn’t look like hers and can’t speak the language, AND she asks forgiveness, it’s all good. Just ask her.


    • Did you see her fans are accusing a magazine (Newsweek?) of making her look crazy on the cover. That’s like making a sow look more piggy isn’t it?

    • When I was in college nearly fifty years ago, a roomie who detested religion said he hoped for only one thing: that he would live long enough to witness the final demise of all (god-based) religions everywhere. Frankly, this day his chances don’t look too good, all things considered.

      Me, I settled instead on the wisdom of Voltaire, who wrote, “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘ Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” Still works even today (it’s fair to substitute ‘Republicans’ for ‘my enemies’ and v.v.). In fact, if one looks at the bagger movement and/or the list of Republican presidential wannabes, the pace is picking up speed even as we speak.

    • Gummitch, I read that this afternoon at work(don’t tell my boss). I developed a vision of a theocracy iran style in the making and god squads chasing infidels..scary!

  24. Paul Krugman just wrote another post:
    Aaauuuggghhh! Market Commentary Edition

    Carnage in stock markets as I write — and all of the headlines I see attribute it to S&P’s downgrade.

    They really are trying to make my head explode, aren’t they?

    Once again: S&P declared that US debt is no longer a safe investment; yet investors are piling into US debt, not out of it, driving the 10-year interest rate below 2.4%. This amounts to a massive market rejection of S&P’s concerns.

    The “signature” of debt concerns should be stock and bond prices both falling; what we actually see is those prices moving in opposite directions. And that’s normally the signature of concerns about a weak economy and deflation risk (see Japan, decline of)……

    Read on.

    • Americans seem to think that that saying of Abraham Lincoln’s only applies to Americans. Those millions of other people around the world just sort of exist and can’t get the idea that a country that plays games with paying it’s debts is a shaky investment.

    • I;ve just rediscivered Krugman’s “The Great Unravelling” on my bookshelf. Adding to the bedside pile which includes a Kunstler and a Hartmann now (too much doom, too little time!

    • Dammit, Rick Perry, did you forget to pray for the stock market to ‘ascend unto heaven’ this weekend? What were you thinking dude?

  25. I do so love me some White Christian logic. How everything of any value in the world today has come from those roots. The reality is just the opposite. White European Christians have been responsible for repressing more knowledge than for encouraging it. FerCrissakes, the Catholic Church just recognized Galileo in my lifetime. The Christian religion has been absolutely terrified of any idea that can’t be fit into a 2,000 year old skull. (Note, not saying people 2k years ago couldn’t have understood the stuff, I was referring to the skull)

    The only thing more archaic than Christianity are the people who think it is contemporary.

    • Indeed. I’ve had a few opportunities to point out a little history to fundies. It makes them mad when one tells them that, while our Western European ancestors were wearing skins and living in caves and sod huts; the Indians, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and people of the Fertile Crescent were building grand cities with sewer service and running water. Then, assuming that they don’t flee the room rather than hear such blasphemy, I like to point out that it was Muslim scholars who preserved the wisdom of the ancient civilizations through the dark ages.

    • .
      [I’m excited – it’s coming to my hometown in Sept.]

      Islamic Science Rediscovered

      Did the Wright brothers soar in the sky first? Was Leonardo da Vinci the first to describe “machines of the future”?

      Centuries before Orville and Wilbur Wright took flight, Abbas ibn Farnas was soaring over the hilly Spanish countryside in a one-man glider – a thousand years before the famed Wright flight in North Carolina.

      “Al-Jazari busied himself laying the foundations of modern engineering and writing the Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206, where he described fifty mechanical devices along with instructions on how to build them, more than 200 years before Leonardo da Vinci became revered for his technological ingenuity.”

      Challenge your perspective.

  26. Speaking of Capitalism, how did we get bin Laden? Bribery got bin Laden, so claims RJ Hillhouse:

    “Forget the cover story of waterboarding-leads-to-courier-leads-to bin Laden…Sources in the intelligence community tell me that after years of trying and one bureaucratically insane near-miss in Yemen, the US government killed OBL because a Pakistani intelligence officer came forward to collect the approximately $25 million reward from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.”


  27. A 15 second video that tells all one needs to know about the teabaggers. They, literally, cheer for the idea of being responsible for the downgrade. As I keep saying; they would gladly see American cities in flames if it makes “that guy” in the White House look bad even if it’s only in their eyes.

  28. The arrogance of the Abrahamic religions is phenomenal. As to origins, I’m not sure how hard the first and last hold to the script but the idea that the planet and universe is some 6,000 years old is amazing. And for them to claim that every other religion on the planet with writings that date back as far as theirs are all bogus but theirs are somehow divinely inspired speaks more to modern political maneuvering and manipulation than divine intent.

    • I especially enjoy it when they are discussing evolution and/or global warming and claim that “all the arguments should be presented and the students should make up their own mind”. Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if their position was accepted and all students were required to take a comparative religions course so they could “make up their own minds”?

      • You mean like “God says it isn’t hot outside and the flood that squished your parent’s was God’s will?”

      • No no no, it’s not supposed to work that way!!

        I’d laugh at these idiot’s inability to think, but it just pisses me off.

    • Voltaire explained origins of western religions quite succinctly:

      “The first priest came into being when the first rogue met the first fool!”

  29. From TPM:

    Report: Rick Perry To Announce Presidential Run Saturday

    The wait is almost over. After weeks of hints and rumors, Texas Governor Rick Perry will reportedly announce a presidential run in South Carolina on Saturday.

    According to Politico, the speech at a RedState convention may not mark his formal entrance into the race but will make clear his intentions. He’ll head to New Hampshire later the same day for a house party with State Rep. Pamela Tucker. Perry’s backers are reportedly trying to secure an early wave of donations in anticipation of his announcement in order to quickly establish his credibility.

    • I was just about to post this. Jinx!

      Well, now the shame-stream media will have something shiny to draw their pitiful attention away to the economy, jobs, etc.

      My dad will be thrilled. *sigh*

    • I still say that anyone who hosts a tent revival meeting should be barred from elected office. Unlike the teabaggers who constantly screech about the Constitution I actually hold it against people who shit all over the 1st Amendment.

    • I’m also a little concerned that he will take primary votes away from Crazy Shelly. I really want her to stay in the race just long enough to lose her seat in the House.

  30. The Western world has been driven by a religion that requires, not asks, it’s believers to believe the exact opposite of what the book they read tells them. It has fomented discrimination, hate and torture in the name of a loving and forgiving god. It invaded the Holy Land, sending thousands to their death in various ways that seldom involved the swords of Islam. It persecuted thousands of Europeans in the name of heresy that usually just meant either having money or not agreeing. The last Inquisition supposedly ended in the 1850’s.

    And today they are building churches faster than mushrooms and hating a substantial portion of the very country that saved their sorry asses from the Inquisition. And trying to establish a theocracy in the name of someone who said they should give up their wealth to follow him.

    • Where is all this church building happening? It seems to have come to a halt in SE Pennsylvania. When I drive by some of these bible churches on Sunday, the parking lots are not as full as they used to be. Guess if one doesn’t have a job, then one can no longer support the church.

  31. Welcome to America! It is a culmination of over 70 years of directed effort to overcome the solidarity of WWII. In spite of the distractions of the 60’s, ably sidetracked by assassination, we are presently enjoying an America that has been desensitized by toy wars, video games and movies to the point where violence is sort of blase. Deficit? Fact of life since 1981 or so. Heroes? Degraded to the point where someone who goes to prison for sponsoring dogfights is making millions.

    American Dream? Sold off, went into credit default in response to an education system that sold profit and anything to get ahead over those old archaic dreams. When I was a kid, I had no problem going into the local bakery and buying a donut. Today, I have to go to a gas station and hope the mega corp who packaged the donut gave a rat’s ass about what was in it.

  32. Progress is being able to travel almost anywhere in the US and many parts of the world and still be able to eat the exact same food that is probably bad for you two blocks from home.

    • Being able to eat at McDonalds and KFC anywhere they go makes the fuckwits feel safe and warm. That way they don’t have to think too much about being 20 miles away from mommy and their piss-soaked beds.

      • It’s also part of the rush to embrace mediocrity. Smart people are scary, good food is scary. Hell, flavor is scary. Better to drink bland beer and eat tasteless burgers than to stop into the pho restaurant with all the funny-looking people inside.

        Every day I have more reasons to be grateful to be living in Portland, I’ll tell you.

    • “They say that’s progress, I say that’s cruel” – Peter Garrett

      “310 million and I can’t hear you at all!” – Peter Garrett

    • ‘Searching for the Real Sarah Palin’ — Why? Sounds about as fruitful a task as searching for the real Spaghetti Monster. And suppose there is a real one, so what? What am I missing here?

        • To me it doesn’t matter. I could care less, would be satisfied (grateful, actually) if she simply went the way of Harold Stassen in re media attention. Far as I’m concerned, I’d pay more attention to the task tracking down and squashing a sewer roach. More rewarding than wasting my time on that Alaska ditz.

  33. I’ve never seen the networks obsess so much over some flickering numbers as they change. They just rung the bell, and those applauding idiots at the stock exchange are happy it’s over, I guess.

  34. I’m about to get slammed by a mean looking thunderstorm in the next ten minutes.

  35. Question. Mostly for the males but ladies feel feel.

    Most of us are of an age. We grew up between 1950 and 1970, or so. From personal experience I can remember things I did that could easily be classified as rites of passages. (A dear friend called them ‘things you were lucky to survive’)

    I look at my son and I know way too much about his past and wonder, where did we go wrong? Where did we lose it? I’m not asking where high school hijinx became a felony because some of the things I did would now be classified that way. But where did the tolerance go? Where did the understanding and acceptance go?

  36. Fox’s current headlines on the web-page.

    -Dems’ Answer: Shoot the Messenger?
    -As Wall Street reels from the S&P’s downgrade of America’s debt, Democrats — including the Obama administration — are laying blame at the feet of the Tea Party.
    -POWER PLAY: Downgrade Doesn’t Matter Unless It’s the Tea Party’s Fault, White House Says
    -URGENT: Dow Plunges 600 Points
    -Obama Blames Political ‘Gridlock’ for Credit Downgrade
    -How the U.S. Can Get AAA Rating Back
    S&P Chief: U.S. Must Curb Spending

    • We shouldn’t phrase it as “blaming” the teabaggers for the downgrade, we should be giving them all the CREDIT.

    • Obama Blames Political ‘Gridlock’ for Credit Downgrade

      That’s true. Political gridlock is destroying our nation. Rush Limbaugh should be happy 🙂

  37. How the U.S. Can Get AAA Rating Back

    Shoot Teabaggers? How about we get them all on 72 hour holds?

      • This is a trick question, right? What do you get when you steep a teabagger in hot water.

        Reality says a clean teabagger, something of an oxymoron.

        Politically speaking you get angry little scut who is offended by clean water and liable to squeal any number of ridiculous claims.

    • Send a specified portion of the Congress to Guantanamo and leave them there forever. I’ll be happy to name names, and for a very small fee.

  38. What’s fun for some white boys in Mississippi? Going out to find a Black person and “kick the shit out of them.” Then, just for good measure, run the poor guy over with their big ole pickup truck.

    All witnessed and caught on video tape.

    Hello, teabaggers? This is what a sense of ENTITLEMENT looks like.

    • You mean someone has finally noticed that after two and a half years (only the last half where there was a 1 House majority, that little to no legislative moved through Congress due to minority obstruction? Couple of hundred House bills to Congress until 2011 then just a dozen? And none about jobs?

      Maybe Congress needs to fund a reality show about itself.

      • What really pissed me off is that no one in the “librul media” even dared to use the word “obstructionism” while Pelosi was Speaker. And that doesn’t even include all the appointees that have been held in confirmation limbo.

        I seem to recall that a guest of Thom Hartmann’s said that even if the Senate did nothing but debate confirmations they would run out of time to hear every case before the next election. And all of it’s due to a few teabaggers pouting because there’s a black guy in the White House. And the real kicker is that the GOoPers are going to have someone go and sit in the chamber by themselves during the recess so that Obama can’t make recess appointments.

        • The lack of appointees making it to confirmation isn’t the Teabaggers fault. McConnell set his store out years ago to block anything and everything. Zakaria mentioned the severe understaffing of the Treasury during the near-default due to GOP blocking of Obama’s financial staff.

  39. nwmuse on August 8, 2011 at 10:01 am said:

    So the S&P downgraded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae today. Why the heck haven’t they downgraded Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, or any of the other big Wall Street banks/firms that were involved in all that crap Credit Default Swap stuff that brought the economy down?

    Because they are on Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and other big Wall Street banks/firms payrolls?

    Where were these credit rating agencies 4-5 years ago when all of those toxic assets were being sold as if they were gold? Oh wait, that’s right, these credit rating agencies gave the toxic assets triple A ratings.

  40. I’m thinking we are quickly approaching a nexus, an important one. And thanks to the R’s and Baggaratti it will be out of synch with the election cycle. They are pushing their agenda and hoping for just enough support that when it comes to 2012, their machine can swing things their way.

    The problem seems to be that the momentum is exceeding their plans. Wisconsin is leading the way, Ohio is getting on board and folks are getting a first class look at just what they want for America. Ryan’s plan is toast. The debt ceiling bit them in the ass. The Baggaratti are just so fricking much all over the map that I am sure the bright boys who thought bringing them in are buying suppositories like candy.

    It is starting to look more and more like they are going to be a victim of premature ejaculation, a common Republican problem.

    • It does seem that they are just assuming that all bad news will be blamed on President Obama. Despite the complicity of the “librul media” it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment but it’s a very long time till the election.

        • It’s hard to say how it will play out. I think we all appreciate the fact that he’s been a bit more direct and confrontational over the past few weeks but the “librul media” seems to be really trying to paint it as “partisanship” and “finger-pointing”.

          • I think his words speak for themselves and the “librul media” sounds like a bunch of noise. I’m not sure if people pay much attention to the media’s interpretation of any president’s press conference.

    • The baggaratti are so dumb that they don’t even realize that the downgrading of the credit rating of the USA directly affects any 401 K plan they have for retirement and will make them MORE dependent on Social Safety nets like Social Security and Medicare than ever.

  41. I sometimes think the Right is glad Obama was elected. While they really didn’t like a blackman in the WH I think they were terrified of Hilary.

    It will never happen but if Obama faced Hillary for the next election, America would have it’s first female President. I don’t like or trust Hillary but I think she can kick ass.

    • I wouldn’t rust Hillary farther than I could kick her up hill but I still think that Obama made a mistake by not leaving her in the Senate. I just don’t see her meekly accepting McConnell’s crap and she’s enough of an insider to know where bodies are buried..

      • I’m sure Hil would have an agenda. Not sure what it would be but I’m pretty sure anyone who got in the way would regret it. Of the Hil and Bill Show, I always figured the female was the more dangerous of the species.

          • pfft. There isn’t a Muslim politician worth anything that doesn’t respect Hillary. May not like her but I think they trust her.

  42. David Frum, not exactly a progressive dem, lays it out:

    The Downgrade Rally

    The bond market has reacted to the S&P downgrade of US debt with a big rally in US Treasuries. As I write, the US government can borrow money for 10 years at about 2.3% and for 2 years at under one quarter of a point. The market wants to buy, buy, buy US debt.

    What the market wants to sell are stocks: ie, claims on the future earnings of private-sector companies.

    In other words, the market is saying: We fear recession and deflation. The Washington consensus is that we need to fight debt and inflation. It’s utterly upside down, utterly perverse.

    • If the Fed raised the discount rate due to the downgrade, they would just have to lower it again to stimulate the economy. I think it’s stuck right where it is. It has been no help to improve the economy since back in the Bush days. They had it flatlined just trying to keep things afloat until the 2008 election.

      How can the interest on US debt go up with such demand right where it is now? S & P just looks stupider and stupider.

  43. I heard this one today:

    “In the wake of your party’s victory on the debt crisis, how would you describe the American people” ?

    Eric Cantor:
    “Collateral damage.”

  44. The whole, the economy is in the toilet, raise interest rates is unicorn stuff. Add in the Rich are going to save us with jobs, is right up there.

    Rich people are rich because they keep their money. They are not companies, in spite of CU. Rich people are not going to give more than they have to to get another tax break to benefit our economy.

    Face it, people, if you are going to believe in fairy tales, try the Brothers Grimm. At least they won’t promise to make you rich while they scare the pants off you.

    • I’m not sure about that…. I remember stories by Grimm about spinning straw into gold and if you just had a fairy Godmother, then she will send you to the ball and you will meet your rich handsome prince….

    • I thought that a lot of rich people *were* companies – its a lot easier to dodge tax as a sole-proprietorship company and many do.

  45. .

    The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is on vacation at a villa in Tuscany. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is on vacation in Los Angeles. The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is on vacation somewhere. The Home Secretary, Teresa May, was on vacation, until today. (She cut it short to fly back to the U.K.) Monday morning, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, returned from a vacation in Spain, to news that nearly two hundred people had been arrested, and thirty-five police officers injured, in riots in the London neighborhood of Tottenham Saturday night, and, on Sunday night, in Enfield, Walthamstow, and Brixton. If you wanted to nudge London, edgy already after the phone-hacking scandal and the ensuing shake-up at Scotland Yard, in the direction of anarchy, you couldn’t pick a better moment to do it than now.

      • Cause to start with was a shooting by police of a 16 year old. don’t know enough about it to comment, but the violence is now in many areas across the city and smells like simple copy-cat lawlessness – rioting for the sack of rioting.

  46. I wonder if Sarah Palin is gassing up the RV and setting out for South Carolina…. she’s got to make it by Saturday. 🙂

    • LL, if you talk to a serious Republican, Teabagger or otherwise and mention Hansel and Gretel I guarantee their eyes will glaze over and the only thing they will respond with is graham crackers. Maybe frosting.

  47. this is getting weird. It is becoming more and more obvious that the Right has no real comprehension of the things they are pushing. Particularly the Baggaratti.

    The Baggaratti want things to happen but they have no idea what will happen if their wishes do happen. And the Republicans are at a loss as to how to explain basic economics since they have no one in Congress who has a solid understanding of what it is.

    The Republican Congress is a victim of their, make them stupid campaign. The only members with a prayer of cognizant thought are so imbued in ideology, they can’t. No wonder Hatch and Graham and McCain are looking so stupid. LOL, they are the rocket scientists of the R’s!

    • They want what they want, and they want it NOW.

      They are petulant toddlers, who are simply unable to think through their actions. When the consequences come done on them (and the rest of us), they point to anyone else in the room and say, “It’s their fault!! Wahhhhh!!!”

  48. Can it be? Are we just one thin mint away from freedom? Can we tell the big bucks crowd, Free Wiilie! Can the people on the streets tell the people in the towers stay up there?

    Why should a few buildings in Manhattan define America? Or DC. Or anywhere. Why should anyone who thinks they have achieved some sort of pinnacle think they did it all by themselves?

    Nobody in DC or New York exists unless a whole bunch of Americans agree to support them.

    • .
      oh, now I’ve read it all –
      Please tell me these folk live on a different planet and are just visiting so we can escort them out of our galaxy.

      Abiding Truth Ministries, an anti-gay hate group. Drawing on decades of pseudo-scholarly research, the book claims that, rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler’s inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust

  49. .

    If, indeed he is gay – that part matters not, It’s the hypocrisy Marcus is practicing,
    Images of Wayne Newton come to mind when viewing photos of Mr BatShit Crazy.

  50. The Right is selling delusional crap. They are trying to tell us that the only way America can exist and thrive is if we follow their rules. The fact is the times we have done so has resulted in large deficits. While they disclaim responsibility for their action, facts remain. Exquisite propaganda doesn’t replace facts. Thirty years of disabling American education, does not replace facts.

    The efforts of the past 30 years has convinced many Americans that facts aren’t facts. While this may cause a small blip in reality, facts have a way of surfacing. Many societies have tried to supplant facts with force, none have survived.

  51. As a student of history, 2,000 years ago you could convince people that a crook was more dangerous than a fool.

    1,500 years ago you could convince a population that some sky fairy was way cool. (Happened in two religions)

    700 years ago a whole shitpot full of people died and this God thing didn’t change it. In fact, one of the best things that happened to humanity was born from it.

    300 years ago some goombah claimed to discover a new route to the Asia.

    200 years ago a bunch of people pissed at the religious and political repression out of Europe decided to form a new country and chuck the whole monarchy and religion thing.

    100 years ago a bunch of rich guys decided that being rich was better than going to heaven.

    2 years ago another bunch of people decided that a black guy in the White House was about the scariest thing ever.

    Did I mention that some 75 % of the planet either never noticed this shit or, if they did, didn’t care?

    • .
      There are so many clever people!
      That was great – no doubt the TeaBaggers would find it a compliment instead of the slap it is.

  52. If America was the final step, the pinnacle of human development, it would have already happened. As long as their are people who aren’t people, we haven’t reached the top.

  53. Appeals court rules Rumsfeld can be held liable for torture of U.S. civilians in Iraq

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Monday refused to dismiss a lawsuit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for creating policies that caused American civilians to be tortured by the U.S. military in Iraq.

    In a 2 to 1 decision, the court ruled that the lawsuit filed by Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, two American citizens who were allegedly tortured at a U.S. military prison in Iraq in 2006, provided adequate evidence that Rumsfeld was personally responsible for their treatment and that Rumsfeld was not entitled to qualified immunity.

    Reckon how long we have to wait before the Fascist Five dismiss this one?

      • But for that to work, one of the fascist five has to die or resign. Not sure that’s very likely for quite some time yet. Kennedy is the oldest at 75, but apparently isn’t interested in resigning until a Republican is in the Oval Office.

        Thomas? If he had any integrity he’d have already resigned for reasons of ethics violations, but he has no integrity so that’s out.

        One of them has to die, looks like. I have no favorite in that particular marathon. Any one of them would suffice.

  54. Since Standard and Poor’s sold AAA ratings for the obvious junk bonds being marketed before the financial crash, who is paying them for this bogus debt downgrading?

      • Somebody shorted something before the debt deal was completed. Buying the downgrade from S & P was the backup plan for them to get rich off the crash.

        • No, they were counting on the debt ceiling not being raised, and the markets tanking anyway. Then the deal was passed, so there had to be a new crisis, thus the downgrade.

    • The RNC, the Koch brothers, Lush Rimjob, Bible Spice (Wait. She doesn’t have to pay for anything anymore.), all the GOP presidential candidates, some old guy who yells at clouds, and all the Reichwhiners who would gladly see American cities in flames if it costs another point off of President Obama’s approval rating.

      The problem is that the people who are rich enough to pull it off will still be left with billions no matter what happens. They can afford to lose half their wealth if it brings them closer to a world they don’t have to share with old people, poor people, disabled people, minorities, or anyone else who annoys them in any way.

  55. October 15, 2002

    President Bush Hosts Conference on Minority Homeowners­hip

    “We are here in Washington­, D.C. to address problems. So I’ve set this goal for the country. We want 5.5 million more homeowners by 2010 — million more minority homeowners by 2010. (Applause.­) Five-and-a­-half million families by 2010 will own a home. That is our goal. It is a realistic goal. But it’s going to mean we’re going to have to work hard to achieve the goal, all of us.
    . . . And so what are the barriers that we can deal with here in Washington­? Well, probably the single barrier to first-time homeowners­hip is high down payments. People take a look at the down payment, they say that’s too high, I’m not buying. They may have the desire to buy, but they don’t have the wherewitha­l to handle the down payment . . . I’m proud to report that Fannie Mae has heard the call and, as I understand­, it’s about $440 billion over a period of time. They’ve used their influence to create that much capital available for the type of home buyer we’re talking about here.”

    • You mean it wasn’t Barney Frank who caused the financial crisis? Whoah!

      • FMae/FMac were privately owned until 2008 when the Government took it over AFTER the Housing bubble started popping.


    .. “We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color,” said Jeep Rice, a lead NOAA scientist at the Juneau lab. “So this is natural. It is not chemical pollution; it is not a man-made substance.”

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