“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008, a new flight plan?

It will be an interesting day. Post them as you get them.


  1. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Pundits

    Reading the hyperventilation about John McCain’s proposal to put off the first presidential debate until the bill to address the financial crisis is solved, both pro and con, leads me to a stark conclusion: This presidential campaign has driven the political class in the United States to the brink of psychosis.

    Calm down a little and you can see that, no matter what McCain intended by his “suspension” of his campaign, what he is doing is relatively modest. He’s not going to have rallies for a few days and he’s not going to run television commercials, and he’s proposing that a debate scheduled a year ago before anyone could have imagined we would be in the midst of a political-legislative-fiscal earthquake be postponed — not cancelled but postponed.

    The only people on earth who are actually damaged by such a postponement are the staff of Ole Miss, where it is to take place, and the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sat around for months trying to pick just the right dates. Otherwise, could it possibly matter that the first debate might take place not on September 26 but on October 2? And that the vice-presidential debate might have to move from October 2 to, say, October 7? And that the October 7 debate be moved to October 22? (Yes, there might be a baseball playoff game on October 22. So?)

    Honestly, what exactly is the big deal? Presidential campaigns have never, ever been conducted in the way they are being conducted right now. They didn’t run at an open sprint without stopping for months and years on end. They used to have lulls even after the conventions.
    But rather than the length of the campaign affording us a certain degree of perspective, it has instead intensified the parochialism and narrow focus of the pundit class. Yesterday, Mike Allen of Politico declared, using evidence of a single poll outside the margin of error and a bunch of polls showing a tiny lead, that Barack Obama had broken the race wide open.

    Dem Cheerleaders in Disguise

  2. Kevin James expects CNN will provide Obama w/all the questions prior to the debate.

    Such Villainy never crossed my mind, but why not?

  3. Buffett's time bomb goes off on Wall Street
    When the credit default market began back in the mid-1990s, the transactions were simpler, more transparent affairs. Not all the sellers were insurance companies like AIG -- most were not. But the protection buyer usually knew the protection seller.

    As it grew -- according to the industry's trade group, the credit default market grew to $46 trillion by the first half of 2007 from $631 billion in 2000 -- all that changed.

  4. The story at MSNBC was that by rescheduling the Maverick/Obama debate, the Palin/Biden debate gets cancelled.
    Which is the motivating factor, as Mrs Palin is proving not ready for pprime time.

    Still no Palin Press Conference and her one on one with Couric has been spun as a disaster. They say that Team Maverick will not even let her speak to fund raisers, now.

    Time will tell.

    Maverick has promised a bi-partisan solution, by Monday, to the debt crisis, which if he sticks to the House GOP posititon, will not happen.
    Failed leadership is how that will be percieved and broadcast, by GE, SONY and Mickey Mouse.

  5. As to Maverick's moves not making much sense, duece, welcome to the World of McCain.

    He is not who you think he is, never has been.

  6. The Dems could pass it whenever they choose, w/o any Pub support.

    ...but they don't.

    Not with calls coming in 100 to 1 against it.

  7. John Shadegg (R - AZ) will be on Bennet Show shortly, hosted by Ishtook.

  8. Bush league cheap shot to let Barry speak for the Dems.

    (then whine about distractions caused by McCain)


  9. How would Obama, Wright and Ayers solve the problem?

    that is the question

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. So if credit collapses..

    we get a crunch....

    china? gets a crush....

    price of oil?

    15 dollars a barrel

    america in deep recession

    the world? deep depression

    sounds like a plan.....

    screw china, russia & opec...

    screw chinese money sitting in accounts overseas..

    devalue the dollar....

    american exports rise...

    china falls....

  12. Two pf the three are not in the mix, wi"o".

    It is Dodd, Frank and Obama.

    At least try to get the players names right.

    They will socialize Wall Street, at Mr Bush's request

  13. As they say at the WSJ

    Republican leadership aides said as few as 30 to 40 of the 199 House Republicans could end up supporting the Bush package.

    If Democrats are forced to move forward on their own, the party's demands on the White House are sure to go up. Proposals that once seemed off the table -- such as a plan to give bankruptcy judges authority to adjust mortgage terms -- would likely gain new life. The prospects would also likely rise for Democratic proposals to stimulate the economy, such as new spending on roads and bridges and extended federal benefits for the unemployed.

  14. desert rat said...
    Twp pf the three are not in the mix, wi"o".

    It is Dodd, Frank and Obama.

    At ;east get the players names rigt.

    They will socialize Wall Street, at Mr Bush's request.


    you are correct...

    this is all Frank, Rangel, Reid, Dodd, Pelosi's doing...

    The DEM's (MY PARtY) have been IN CHARGE for 2 solid years and have done nothing

    Freddie and Fannie are NOT NEW BAD issues....

    we all have KNOWN about cheap chinese money backed crap loans

    Obama wants MORE loans to "disadvantaged" not tightening of credit policy (that's where the ayers and wright come in)

    Obama, Ayers and Wright want redistribution of wealth with no penalty to the "lower" classes...

    I want market correction to all

    TO all those that made millions without DOING anything whose values were created by slight of hand... up yours...

    TO all of those that thought investment is a easy way to make money? up yours....

    TO OPEC who enjoy CURRENT tightness of supply and absurd pricing? up yours...

    maybe a global correction is a good thing...

    China? implosion of unemployement, pollution and crime

    Russia? starve and beg to buy our food

    Arab world? DRINK your crude.

    America? tough 5 years, recession, and in the end, we will be fine...

  15. Shadegg on Energy in 5 minutes.
    Barney Franks wants 100 Million for ACORN in the deal.

    Too bad we don't have a professional Press to get the truth out.

  16. My contribution is that the Northeast, and in particular, Massachusetts, sends the worst of the worst to Congress, O Lord, where many of the good universities are supposed to be the worst of the worst come from the Northeast, year after year, decade after decade. I had a couple guys from Boston look at apartments once, they seemed normal. Maybe they were just escapees, some of the best, like the first immigrants from the old world.

    Gerry "I'm not a practicing homosexual, I'm good at it" Studds, bugger of boy pages

  17. At least their gay boy politicos are honest about who they are, bob.

    You and Idaho have been voting "Gay" for years and didn't even know it.

    That is a much worse member to send to DC, one who is not even honest with themselves, or their constituents

  18. Yesterdays news, 'Rat.
    He'll be gone but Barney gets blow jobs by the MSM, instead of reporting on his betrayal of US Taxpayers.
    ...and lies about the present situation.

  19. MSM's favorite spokesman for this Crisis:
    Barney the Fag, Franks.

  20. I, at least, knew it, or at least suspected it, cause Nick the Bartender told me so years ago, and Craig was a republican who voted ok on most issues, excepting immigration, where he left some to be desired, was 'rock solid' on the 2nd Amendment, and, he didn't bugger 17 year old pages (that we know of) but got his sex anonymously and discretely in airport rest rooms, like a responsible gay does. :)

    Is McGambler's Bet Paying Off? The Odds Are Better Than You Think

  21. Those two crooks, most responsible for the Mortgage mess, get all the MSM face time as "experts."


  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. WiO puts some real lipstick on a depression type pig. Makes it sound almost worth it. Maybe wouldn't be so bad. Maybe that pig should be allowed to fly.

  24. Honesty and integrity are yesterday's news, aye.

    Perhaps so.

    So, the House Republicans are in open revolt against Mr Bush. The Senate GOPers would go along, to get along, few are up for reelection.

    Maverick disrupts the proceedings, but does not announce his own position. He sits on none of the committees dealing with the issue.

    Well and good, since I am with the House Republicans on this.

    But it will crater Maverick as a potential leader of a bi-partisan America.
    He will be portrayed as the cause of the coming Monday meltdown. Which the Wall Streeters will provide, on cue.

  25. Please, it is hard enough to listen to what comes out of Barney Franks mouth, without having to consider the hard things that enter it, come what may.

  26. McCain needs to get a deal done. And, if he does, maybe it really can be said,

    "He the man that fought for you, and saved the Republic."

    A compromise deal, that's viewed as getting the taxpayer off the hook a bit.

  27. I can't allow a misspelling in a post about Nick the Bartender.

    Nick the Bartender knew everything, may the devil treat him kindly.

    Had the best painting signed by OJ Simpson, too, hanging there in the bar. Showing Simpson running right up the center, one hand out pushing tacklers away. "To Nick, and my friends at the Nobby" OJ Simpson

    Always dressed well when bartending too, and made a hell of a strong drink, famous for miles around.

  28. Comcast sucks.

    I wake up this morning to witness the system working. WAMU bought out by JP Morgan. No $700 Billion of My money, necessary.

    Hang in there Pubs. This deal is a fucking Wall Street Bailout, scam.

  29. Partisan presidential politics seemed to trample what had been exceedingly delicate Congressional negotiations over the $700 billion bailout package.
    Ny Times
    Couldn't come up with a bigger mischaracterization if you tried:
    It wasn't even a law.
    Just a Blank Check for Paulson to do as he pleased w/700 billion.

  30. Bloomberg:

    Paulson Plan Aimed at Helping `Poorly Run' Banks, Allison Says

    By David Mildenberg

    Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposed $700 billion bank rescue aims to help ``poorly run'' companies and the primary beneficiaries would be Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, said BB&T Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Allison in a critique of the plan.

    Treasury ``is totally dominated by Wall Street investment bankers'' and ``cannot be relied on to objectively assess'' the impact of government policy on the financial industry, Allison wrote in a Sept. 23 letter to Congress. The letter was verified by Bob Denham, a spokesman for BB&T, North Carolina's third- largest bank.

    Allison, 60, said Congress should ``hear from well-run financial institutions'' as lawmakers consider the plan, which seeks to ease the credit crunch by buying troubled mortgage- related assets. Under Allison, Winston-Salem, North Carolina- based BB&T avoided the subprime mortgage market, whose collapse led to the credit crisis. BB&T has risen 26 percent this year, the best showing in the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

    The BB&T chief's rebuke to the Paulson plan may be unique among U.S. regional banks. While lenders such as New Jersey's Hudson City Bancorp and Minnesota's U.S. Bancorp also have said they kept lending standards intact and avoided making highly leveraged loans, few have publicly opposed the bailout plan.

    The American Bankers Association, the industry's trade group, has urged members to lobby against ``rash actions'' including bankruptcy reform and new regulations that will hurt community banks. Members of the Washington-based group have taken various positions on the Treasury plan, both pro and con, spokesman Peter Garuccio said. He wasn't aware of any letters from members similar to Allison's. Spokespersons at U.S. Bancorp and Hudson City didn't immediately return calls today.

    `No Panic'

    Paulson, the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke are working on a package that would be acceptable to Congress. President George W. Bush, in a national address last night, said the rescue plan is crucial to stabilize U.S. financial markets. Allison questioned the need for the bailout.

    ``There is no panic on Main Street and in sound financial institutions,'' Allison wrote. ``The problems are in high-risk financial institutions and on Wall Street.''

    Treasury spokeswoman Jennifer Zuccarelli declined yesterday to respond to Allison's letter, other than referring to comments Paulson made to Congress. Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag and Morgan Stanley's Mark Lake declined to comment.

    Bernanke disclaimed allegiance to Wall Street in congressional testimony on Sept. 23 when he said the U.S. faces ``grave threats'' to its financial stability.

    Smart People

    ``I don't have those interests or those connections,'' he said. ``My interest is solely for the strength and the recovery of the U.S. economy.''

    ``This bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative -- a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund everyday needs and economic expansion,'' Paulson said.

    ``The Treasury has a number of smart individuals, including Hank Paulson,'' Allison wrote. ``However, Treasury is totally dominated by Wall Street investment bankers. They do not have knowledge of the commercial banking industry.''

    Goldman and Morgan Stanley, both based in New York, said this week they are converting to bank holding companies. Morgan Stanley has taken $15.7 billion of writedowns and losses on mortgage-related securities and other types of loans since the credit crunch started last year. Goldman's tally stands at about $4.9 billion.

    Allison's Alternative

    Allison is retiring in December after 19 years leading BB&T, the 14th-biggest U.S. commercial bank, with assets of $136.5 billion. BB&T avoided subprime lending, option adjustable-rate mortgages and complex debt securities that have slammed Wachovia Corp., Washington Mutual Inc. and other lenders.

    Still, BB&T more than tripled the money it set aside for loan losses in the second quarter, mainly because of loans to builders and developers in Georgia, Florida and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

    Rather than buying distressed assets, the U.S. government could offer a ``significant'' tax credit for home purchases, or even purchase vacant lots or houses under construction, Allison said. The market should be allowed to eliminate ``irrational competitors,'' he said.

    ``There were a number of poorly managed institutions and poorly made financial decisions during the real estate boom,'' Allison wrote. ``It is important that any rules post-`rescue' punish the poorly run institutions and not punish the well-run companies.''

    He said the mortgage crisis was caused primarily by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The government-chartered companies, which own or guarantee more than 40 percent of the $12 trillion of U.S. home loans, ``distorted normal market-risk mechanisms,'' and were abetted by a Federal Reserve that made the wrong decisions on interest rates, Allison wrote.

  31. These wall street scum are talking like there's no money left in the world except what uncle sugar can borrow. Bullshit. It's all a matter of price. They just don't want to sell their worthless shit for what it's worth. Fuck'em

  32. They say "BAnks have money, but will never lend again." Bullshit!

    Banks make their money by lending. They'll lend again. Maybe they just won't give money to a bunch of crazed, drunken money destroyers intent on burning money on bizarre bullshit.

    I'm convinced; We DO NOT need this.

  33. wretchard said...

    Sounds to me that the Democrats might have already ‘caught the truck’ on this one - but just don’t have the balls to do with it what they want without some ‘bi-partisan’ cover.

    This is just like one of those stories where the characters are paralyzed in indecision between greed and fear. An acquaintance of mine from the old days related how, after they had robbed something or other, they all repaired to their hideout to divvy up the loot. These were petty, no account crooks who had made a “big” score. One guy kept disappearing into the bathroom and the rest of the gang were curious about that. Finally they snuck up on on the bathroom when he did one of his disappearing acts the gang peered in through the chinks to see what he was up to. They guy in the bathroom just kept looking at the bag with his share of the loot, his eyes bugging out. It had a hypnotic effect on him. It was like a drug.

    Money in the vicinity of lowlife is like blood to a shark or meat to wolves. They just can’t help circling around it. It’s almost like a sickness. So when Kathryn Jean Lopez reports that even ACORN was trying to peel off a slice, I was not surprised. It was all in character, nothing unusual there.

    This is what Lindsey Graham said on Greta’s show:
    And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

    Man, if the nickel and dime grifters are this upfront, what are the big timers up to? And who do you think ACORN’s ex-lawyer is? Wouldn’t you know.

  34. Imagine this scenario--

    The nation is listlessly watching the lone Obama answering questions at the 'debate' when--

    News Flash!

    Washington D.C.

    Senator McCain emerges victorious from the White House, agreement in hand, and announces a deal that saves the nation, and the taxpayers too!

  35. Trish,
    Be sure to check out my
    "All deliberate Speed"
    Link above.

  36. You're a flip flopper, Rufus :)

  37. Bloomberg:

    Hundreds of Economists Urge Congress Not to Rush on Rescue Plan

    By Matthew Benjamin

    Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- More than 150 prominent U.S. economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, urged Congress to hold off on passing a $700 billion financial market rescue plan until it can be studied more closely.

    In a letter yesterday to congressional leaders, 166 academic economists said they oppose Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan because it's a ``subsidy'' for business, it's ambiguous and it may have adverse market consequences in the long term. They also expressed alarm at the haste of lawmakers and the Bush administration to pass legislation.

    ``It doesn't seem to me that a lot decisions that we're going to have to live with for a long time have to be made by Friday,'' said Robert Lucas, a University of Chicago economist and 1995 Nobel Prize winner who signed the letter. ``The situation may get urgent, but it's not urgent right now. Right now it's a financial sector problem.''

    The economists who signed the letter represent various disciplines, including macroeconomics, microeconomics, behavioral and information economics, and game theory. They also span the political spectrum, from liberal to conservative to libertarian.

    Some lawmakers are already citing the letter as reason not to endorse the Paulson plan. Today Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, said he has ``five pages of the leading economists in America that wrote to me and the leadership saying the Paulson plan is a bad plan. It will not solve problems. It will create more problems.''

    `How Capitalism Works'

    The letter, initially conceived by economists at the University of Chicago, was signed by professors from dozens of American universities and several outside the U.S.

    David I. Levine, a professor of economics at University of California-Berkeley, says the current plan being discussed has the wrong structure.

    ``The structure is designed for the Treasury to be the first line of defense,'' said Levine, who studies organizations and incentives. ``A whole lot of people made money supposedly by putting their capital at risk, and those are supposed to be the first line of defense, that's how capitalism works.''

    Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University professor and self- described libertarian, objects to what he says is `` a stunningly broad, aggressive government intervention without appropriate precedents.''

    He advocates allowing the normal process of business failure and bankruptcy to run its course. ``It's just nothing like the calamity the administration is making it out to be,'' he said.

    Unprecedented Power

    Erik Brynjolfsson, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School, said his main objection ``is the breathtaking amount of unchecked discretion it gives to the Secretary of the Treasury. It is unprecedented in a modern democracy.''

    Advocates for a rescue plan this week point to a seizing up of credit markets, reflected in elevated inter-bank lending rates, as reason for action. Some economists are unconvinced.

    ``I suspect that part of what we're seeing in the freezing up of lending markets is strategic behavior on the part of big financial players who stand to benefit from the bailout,'' said David K. Levine, an economist at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies liquidity constraints and game theory.

    [Not sure about that last SWAG. At all.]

  38. I figured it was probably necessary until I started listening to Paulson at the hearings, Bob.

    The more I listened, the more I became convinced that this was nothing more than an affirmative action project for Wall Street Salemen/scam artists.

    This screaming, and thrashing around by the Najarians/Paulsons of the world would show a negative light on PCP-Crazed Bikers.

    A bunch of wall street scum are fighting for their sweet, cushy jobs. Nothing more, nothing less.

  39. My daughter is an economics (and French) major. Can happily chew your ear until four in the morning re macro and micro theory and attendant arcana. At the same time she concedes that all students of economics, if not all economists, are masochists. It's all about the grim pride of surviving the academic abuse. Not to mention the blithe but persistent condescension of the business majors.

  40. ``I suspect that part of what we're seeing in the freezing up of lending markets is strategic behavior on the part of big financial players who stand to benefit from the bailout,'' said David K. Levine, an economist at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies liquidity constraints and game theory.

    [Not sure about that last SWAG. At all.]

    I generally end up looking up about one word in every three Trishposts.

    SWAG--Scientific Wild Ass Guess

    The suggestion makes sense to me, from the game theory point of view.
    But, if true, and not much is at stake for the nation, then I flip-flop back with Rufus, screw the whole deal.

    But, then I think about the McCain/Palin ticket, and the possibility of Obama....and flip-flop back.

  41. Wretch's link above:

    For all his passion for civil rights, Obama did have a bit of experience working in a large firm with big corporate clients. In 1988, he was a summer associate at the big Chicago firm now known as Sidley Austin.
    Like most summer associates, he worked on research projects.

    It was there that he met Michelle Robinson, a young Harvard law graduate assigned as his mentor at the firm. They were married four years later.

    Neither Obama lingered in corporate law. She stayed with the firm for three years and moved on. She is now a vice president at the University of Chicago.

    "He was very engaging, approachable and human," recalls Patrick Jasperse, now a Justice Department trial attorney based in Washington.

    Obama's view of the law was shaped in part by his years before law school as a community organizer working with the poor in Chicago's housing projects.

    In his 1995 book, "Dreams From My Father," he said the law could sometimes be "a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power -- and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition."

    "I try to do my small part in reversing this tide," he wrote.

  42. In short, I don't care whether there's a crisis or not, if it makes McCain look good, and defeats Obama, I'm in.

    Cause I can't stand the thought of that guy.

  43. (Personally, I'd take the French over the the Econ. And that's saying something, given that French is The Devil's Language, designed to thwart all comers. Econ involves numbers and functions in such quantity and perplexity that it might as well be brain surgery for those of us that endeavored to sleep through every math class from about fourth grade onward.)

  44. Paul Begala calls Bush a 'high-functioning moron'

    "He's a high-functioning moron, and that's what Congress treats him as.
    Both parties."

  45. the happiest senior couple you'll find this side of a Geritol ad.

    77 and 52--got to admire them, but, it almost sounds like wife beating in a way.

    The negotiators ought to be bringing those failed and failing Vegas gambling houses into the bailout mix. You have any idea how many big projects have gone bust down there? A lot. They need a bailout too.

  46. I don't think it's a vital national necessity that you take a granite position this moment, bob, excepting whatever basic principles you wish not to see violated. Granted, violate it will. That's generally what's meant by "compromise," not to mention "crisis."

  47. My position is of utmost importance to the national survival. I say bail out the casinos, let the banks take it in the shorts.

    Every dollar lost at the casino circulates three times through the economy, creating jobs, optimism, prosperity, the can-do attitude, and the Protestant work ethic.

    With these house loans you can't even collect the monthly payment. What good is that?

  48. Economics--the gay(as in happy, care free) science.

  49. Besides, the vast majority that's going to vote on this doesn't know shit from Shinola.

  50. McCain sliding in polls--

    Daily Update

    McCain Only Ahead By One Now in Florida

    The race for Florida's Electoral College votes is closer now than it was just a few days ago. Consistent with a pattern found in national polls and in several other state polls, John McCain has lost ground in the Sunshine State, but support for Barack Obama hasn't increased.

    Ohio Now a Toss-up

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Ohio finds John McCain with 47% of the vote while Barack Obama picks up 46%. That's a slippage of three percentage points for McCain since Sunday night. In four previous surveys conducted over the past month, McCain has held an advantage ranging from three to seven points.

    Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote while John McCain earns 45%. This is Obama's biggest lead since his convention bounce peaked with a six-point advantage.

    Just 30% Think Government Should Bail Out The Markets

    Obama Takes Four-Point Lead in Pennsylvania

    North Carolina Senate: Hagan 48% Dole 45%

  51. Re Sandbagging:

    Cato Scholar Comments on Bush's Address on the Economy and Proposed Bailout

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    William A. Niskanen, chairman emeritus and distinguished senior economist:

    For the second time in six years, the Bush administration has asked Congress for nearly unlimited authority without an independent professional review of the evidence that led the administration to request such authority.

    In making the case for the Iraq war resolution, according to Senator John D. Rockefeller, "the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed."

    As it turned out, of course, no "weapons of mass destruction" were ever discovered.

    The skeletal proposal for the Troubled Asset Relief Program states that "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency. The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this act without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts" – again without an independent professional review of the evidence that led the administration to request such extraordinary authority.

    In both cases, the administration requested urgent congressional approval of these measures when members of Congress were anxious to go home to run for reelection. And a final irony: the total direct cost of the Iraq war to date has been about $700 billion, the same amount that the administration has requested to buy bad mortgages.

  52. The polls as of this moment don't mean anything. nada, nothing. If McCain can roll this finacial rescue out and he gets Obama stammering in Oxford, it will be over.

    Obama should be plus 15 in the polls. Instead he is toe to toe with a 72 year old man and sweating.

  53. (All we lack now are Bill Kristol's smarmy assurances that the whole thing will pay for itself.)

  54. The battle at this point, as in the previous three elections, is over the sliver of independent voters, Republicans and Democrats already having "come to Jesus." It is the independents who are going to decide this.

  55. In a very small handful of states.

  56. McCain is working on the Rescue plan and Obama is prepping for a debate.

    Is he nuts?

  57. McCain should be tired by tonight.
    If he goes. Wonder how much stamina he's got.

    Article says a one man debate can't be held if McCain doesn't show--illegal campaign contribution.

  58. Boston Globe reports:

    Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in on the US presidential election today, noting that only one of the candidates supports restoring diplomatic contact with Iran.
    In response to a question from an American student about whether he supports Democratic nominee Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, Ahmadinejad did not explicitly name Obama but said: “The American government 28 years ago decided on its own to cut its ties with Iran . . .We do prefer to have relations, whereas one of the candidates in this election would prefer that.”

    Most voters don't seem to care much about foreign affairs these days. Still, being Mahoud Ahmadinejad's favorite presumably won't be viewed as a plus by most Americans.

  59. What if...

    What if McCain ends up "on the hook" - to a greater extent than Obama - for a plan that, whatever compromises/improvements it entails, is still opposed in the main by most Americans, diverting too sharply from the present mood?

    As it is, the Democratic majority will not act without some House Republican assent - though they certainly could - because they don't want any significant contingent to be *off* the hook.

    Just thinking about the ways in which perceived ownership of this could go bad.

  60. Insuring MBSs vs. Buying Them
    Stephen Spruiell

    I'm not sure about the central planks of the alternative plan House Republicans have put forward:

    * Rather than providing taxpayer funded purchases of frozen mortgage assets, we should adopt a mortgage insurance approach to solve the problem.

    * Currently the federal government insures approximately half of all mortgage backed securities. (MBS) We can insure the rest of current outstanding MBS; however, rather than taxpayers funding insurance, the holders of these assets should pay for it. Treasury Department can design a system to charge premiums to the holders of MBS to fully finance this insurance.

    Immediately, this strikes me as the kind of program that has the potential to become a permanent feature of the policy landscape as opposed to a temporary measure.
    These kinds of government insurance plans can be very hard to kill. Whatever its drawbacks, the Paulson plan — buy, hold, liquidate — would be easier to terminate.

    the alternative plan House Republicans have put forward:LINK

  61. Oh yea, it is a high risk political gamble. The question is, is it the right thing to do?

  62. Let me try to explain my comment of last night - that McCain is showing the same strategic acumen as Bush (dubya).

    Both men seem to wager on outcomes that they have little control over. In dubya's case what determines the level and deployment of US forces in Iraq is predicated upon benchmarks that the US has little control over - political progress, levels of violence ect. McCain has done something similar with his suspension of the campaign. He suspended his campaign in order to get this Bailout deal done in Washington. If the deal doesn't get done then what is he going to do? Either he flip flops and campaigns anyway or he doesn't campaign. If the deal gets done and it is unpopular (given the sentiment I've seen that is most likely) then he's tarred himself with the Bailout. His only hope, and this is a direct consequence of his shoddy decision is to hit the home run of being seen as pivotal in brokering a Bailout which saves the world. Good luck on that one buddy. This is an example of poor strategic thought.

    Speaking of dubya did anyone see Jon Stewart last night on the Daily Show? His juxtaposition of Bush's speech stating his case for invading Iraq and his speech urging the passing of the Bailout are chillingly similar. Check it out, its the first segment of last nights show.

  63. Where the hell is the chaff button on this keyboard...
    * or should it be

  64. This 10 minute utube video does an outstanding job of explaining what happened with fannie and freddie--and all the players between.
    Its also a brilliant use of google search. As a search guy myself -- I'm impressed by the way these guys have searched and stitched together this story.

    Warning you do need to hit the pause button on utube because the info will start to pass quickly.
    Burning Down The House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?

  65. I have never watched the daily show. I doubt that I will start. However, Bush has been skewered on this site for his performance as President, IMHO, deservedly so.

    Harry Reid claims the Democrats have no responsibility in this problem. He claims that it is all about the Republicans.

    It comes down to who do you trust the least.

  66. Charles, you get a post for that one. Careful, you may end up on the board.

  67. The administration had a looooong time to ramp up for Iraq - and in political circumstances that could hardly be more different from today. For a lot of people, the costly outcome of that decision weighs upon their opinion of this bailout - but this is the far riskier political gambit, on a breathtakingly short time line.

    It seems the public would be more inclined to support an invasion of Wall Street than a rescue mission.

  68. If I were in McCain's shoes I'd want to keep a fair distance from the plan, while having many solemn-sounding things to say about the whole predicament. You betcha.

  69. Exactly so, and it cuts both ways:

    re: Letting leadership off the hook [Amy Holmes]

    Me thinks Pelosi is playing this out for as long as she can.

    Yesterday, Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D.,Ill. and self-described "Obama Mama") told me that the bailout is deeply opposed by the folks back home. Constituents are outraged that Congress is giving away $700 billion taxpayer dollars to greedy and incompentent Wall Street fat cats (okay, she didn't actually use the term "fat cats.") She told me in no uncertain terms that she believes that the banking system is genuinely on the brink, and legislators have no choice but to pass the bill and face an angry public and explain their vote. And it ain't gonna be pretty.

    So, one can reasonably presume that Pelosi knows all of this. She's wants it both ways. And for at least the next six hours, she'll get it. Duck the blame on a massivley unpopular bill by running for cover under the objections of the Republican minority. Claim frustration that her party's noble and principled efforts to do the necessary and difficult thing are being thwarted by small-minded Republicans. Don't let Democrats get the blame for an unpopular bill or for irresponsible inaction. She wants Republicans on the hook, one way or another.

    09/26 11:25 AM

  70. you mean McCain isn't the only one playing politics with the Bailout? Tell me it ain't so!!

  71. JPMorgan Beat Out 3 Other Bidders for WAMU!

    That's 3 other bidders to bid on the next tits-up bank.

    BTW, the Discount on those "Assets" wasn't all that large.

  72. McCain is on none of the Committees and is playing for space. He'll recieve ownership of a flawed plan, one that will not be neither clean nor popular.

    It can provide for all the "oversight" in the world, that will not matter.

    It's amnesty, all over again. There is no rational rebute.

    It will not be heard, no matter how often or loudly explained.

  73. If no plan is produced this afternoon, and it will not be, Maverick waits...

    What if another week goes by, does he still wait?

    To think the Republicans in the House will cave, says little of them. To think the Dems will go it alone, not all that likely.

    Will the Pubs in the Senate and Maverick pronounce a "Nonpartisan" Plan, at 1500 hrs EDT?

    If not Maverick looks the fool, for stiffing Haley Barbour and the Nation.

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