Category Archives: economy

Feelin’ Groovy Open Thread

Hey, everyone. Did you know that the depression, which no one admitted we were in, is over, and the recession, which some people said never began, is ending?

I do not claim to be an economist, but I do try to use common sense. What this type of rhetoric reflects, in my view, is the extreme disconnect between the real economy and the stock market.

Many Americans have been fooled into thinking that the stock market IS the economy. If we pretend that’s true, then by that criterion, we’re in a depression. Remember 14,000, folks? The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached that milestone in July, 2007. Yesterday, the DJIA was at…7978.08. Last time I checked, 8,000 was a lot less than 14,000.

But it gets even more unbelievable. Adjust your rose-colored glasses and your Xanax dosage, people.

Jim Cramer is now saying that the recession started 18 months ago. That would be (counts fingers, toeses, noses) October of 2007. Any guesses as to what the Dow Jones Industrial Average was like back then?

Would you be surprised to know that it was at the same record-breaking height it had reached in July?

So if we were in a recession when the DJIA was at 14,000, what are we in when it’s at 8,000?

Does the word “depression” spring to mind? I know it does for me.

Jim Cramer is trying to have it both ways. By his logic, the depression is over because the stock market is rising. But he also says that when the stock market was approximately 43% higher 18 months ago, we were in a recession. So, Mr. Cramer, does the stock market reflect economic reality, or not?

The way I see it, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is simply a reflection of how the Powers That Be (the super-rich and mega-corporations) feel about certain sectors of the economy, most of which have very little to do with the lives of ordinary Americans like you and me.

Our Corporate Overlords may be feelin’ groovy because the G20 resulted in gonzo bucks for the IMF. But as for us 99-percenters, I’m with this guy, who, commenting on Yahoo, responded to Mr. Cramer’s rosy prediction thusly:

Hello Jim,

1. tell the 2 counties in my area, whose unemployment rate is 19% and 14% respectively, the depression is over.

2. Tell your neighbor Dave Cote from Honeywell I have email evidence in which his minions have ORDERED American project managers to refrain from issuing purchase orders to American manuafacturer’s and to issue purchase orders to the Indians and Chinese.

3. Tell the local owners of 2 mega malls the depression is over as they enter Chapter 11.

4. Tell the UAW the depression is over as GM declares bankruptcy and dumps their fat labor contracts and pension obligations.

5. The depression is over for a select group: the finanicla fraudsters, who, for a brief moment in time, actually feared prosecution for their deliberate fraud and fleecing.

6. When you see Mr. Cote, tell him I want my hedge clippers back.

Jim Cramer can declare whatever he wants, but it won’t put the food back on our tables, the jobs back in our companies, or the people back in their homes.

That, my friends, is the REAL economy.

There’s a war post coming soon, but in the meantime, this is an open thread. How are you feelin’ this morning?


Drama at the G20

Protesters at the G20

Protesters at the G20

Well, it’s the first day of the G20 Summit in Great Britain. My teevee this morning showed me a picture of Our Girl sitting right next to President Obama in one of his morning meetings.  My suggestion to Barack?

Step 1: Replace your TelePrompTer with an earpiece.
Step 2: Have Hillary speak into it.
Step 3: Repeat everything she says.

My guess is, the press would find that you’d suddenly “recovered” your “natural speaking ability.” Cough! Cough!

As shown in the picture above, there are thousands of protesters who are just as mad as we are in America about the widening gap between rich and poor, and the horrible mess the global corporate overlords have made of their country. And French President Sarkozy is threatening to walk if they don’t do what he wants and start strictly regulating international transactions.

Should be an interesting day.

This is an open thread – tawk amongst yuhselves!

No More Taxation Without Representation

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

Well, my sistren and brethren, after a month of “Hope and “Change,” are you feeling sufficiently represented by your new “progressive” government?

In my case, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Hell, no!”

Legislatively, the Obama Administration has failed to impress. The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed, but without the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s only good for punishing employers after they have already been paying women less based on their sex. To make a real change in the daily lives of women and their families, we needed the tougher regulations the Paycheck Fairness Act would have imposed. As for the fabled stimulus package, when the President wanted to garner Republican votes, how did he reach across the aisle? By cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which helps poor women gain access to birth control. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was furious at this betrayal, stating in an interview that cutting the funding actually increased the size of the stimulus bill by $700 million.

Pelosi on Planned Parenthood provisions of stimulus

And of course, not one Republican vote was gained by this tactic.

In the category of gender equity in his Cabinet, President Obama gets an “F.” He could not even bring himself to do any better than George W. Bush. 

That’s just sad.

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Stories to Watch in 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I’m finally, FINALLY off to see my relatives tomorrow, and I’ll be gone for a few days. But here are some developing stories that I know I’ll be following with interest:


What is Pooty-Poot up to? Tensions are building in Ukraine after they refuse the Orwellian “discount” Russia offered them for their natural gas.

The Israel-Hamas war. What will happen? What is the solution? Can Hillary, as SOS, do anything about it?


The economy. Will Obama follow through with his promises to adopt more Rooseveltian economic policies? Or will he allow the Senate Republicans to block or ruin everything, using the fact that the Democrats don’t have a filibuster-proof majority as an excuse? Will we be able to dig ourselves out of this mess in four years?

Blagojevich and the Chicago Machine. How many people will Blago take down with him? Will the Burris nomination stand? Can the Dems suddenly object to an AA with years and years of experience, when they spent almost two years pushing an AA with none, and screaming “racist!” at anyone who questioned his qualifications to be President?

And…Who will be under the bus with us in 2009? Will Caroline Kennedy be next? Find out on January 14, 2009, in our next Blog Talk Radio show, “The View From Under The Bus!”

Happy New Year everyone!

Bush and Obama: Perfect Together

Hooray! We’ve finally gotten our Unity Pony, guys and gals. Only problem is, it’s Obama who is unifying with Bush – and the dynamic duo wants a lot more of your…CHANGE.

The Unity Pony Takes Your Change

The Unity Pony Takes Your Change

The federal government has decided to spend $800 billion more on purchasing mortgage assets and securitizing the frozen credit markets. Yes, that brings the total up to $1.5 trillion, officially. Golly gee, can I be a greedy bank, insurance company, financial institution, mortgage lender or credit card company too? All I have to do is get “too big to fail,” and voila! I can steal from the Treasury with both hands and laugh all the way to the bank, as my employees who put their 401(k)’s in my company lose their jobs and their financial futures. Wow, screwing millions of people to the wall is FUN!!!

But I digress. Barack Obama keeps saying there is only “one President at a time,” but in reality, he and Bush are acting as a team.  How sweet!

WASHINGTON — America has never seen anything quite like this: The president and president-elect acting like co-presidents, consulting and cooperating on the day’s biggest crises.

“It’s pretty unusual,” said George Edwards, a presidential expert at Texas A&M University, in College Station.

What Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer calls “the split-screen presidency” is the result of several historic forces converging this fall:

  • The 24-7 nature of the global economy, which demands timely reaction.  
  • Incoming and outgoing presidents who have personal and political reasons to show that they can manage a crisis.  
  • A president-elect, Barack Obama, who “believes in strong government and wants to get things under way immediately,” said William Leuchtenburg, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor who’s written extensively about the presidency.  
  • A lame-duck president, George W. Bush, who’s leaving office voluntarily. “Bush was not defeated. That makes for an easier relationship,” Leutchtenburg said.

Well, thank Gawd we didn’t elect McSame because, um…

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Thursday: Potpourri



There’s so much going on today, I couldn’t pick just one topic. So, here’s what’s banging around in my brain:

Feminism: Dead? And if so, what next for women?

The incredible Dr. Violet Socks has a very interesting discussion going on about feminism and where it goes from here. I personally would like to adopt the framing “Pro-Woman” to replace the restrictive language of “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” There are plenty of people who do not want abortions, but who have no interest in preventing other women from getting them. They do not fit either category, and I have been reading many of their comments online about how they have felt excluded from the feminist movement. This is unfair and unnecessary, and should we adopt the words “pro-woman” to describe ourselves in the future, perhaps a more inclusive version of feminism could be promulgated.

Daschle as HHS Secretary?

This selection makes me nervous. Daschle’s record on reproductive issues is poor. He only received a 50% rating from NARAL, and even anti-contraception jackoffs like Joe “Short Ride” Lieberman have scored consistently higher than that – sometimes receiving a rating of 100%, as in 2007.

Why is this so important? Because of the actions of the current HHS Secretary, in service of Teh Deciderer. Not Your Sweetie has the details:

A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that enforces job-discrimination laws.

It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and drugstores from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” financed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now just think about this for a second. You are a health professional. It is your job to dispense birth control, work on stem cell research, perform abortions. Yet you decide your “conscience” prevents you from doing your job. Does your boss have the right to fire you? Why, no. And what about the woman who wants the abortion or birth control? Shit out of luck.

This is the type of hypocritical bullshit that pisses me off in the extreme. If you don’t want to do your job, YOU’RE FIRED. Someone else who has a modicum of integrity and decency can be hired in your place. You can feel free to have your religious beliefs, but you do NOT have the right to destroy peoples’ lives because of them. The fact that I would even have to make this case in the 21st Fucking Century is simply appalling.

No, the sole purpose of this 13th-century HHS Rule is to further remove womens’ rights to control their own reproductive organs and health. And so help me Gawd, the second Mr. Daschle takes office, we should do a coordinated action to ask him to overturn this rule IMMEDIATELY. (Before you trolls jump all over me (whoops! too late!), Barack Obama has signed a letter, written by Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray, opposing this rule. Ostensibly, he is against it. But will his actions mirror his words?)

This is the point of no return for me. If Daschle does not overturn that rule, then it will be clear that he was put into that seat in order to further the Bush jihad against womens’ rights. I dearly hope that will not turn out to be the case.

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Alan Greenspan, Oy Vey

Another Unity Ambassador
Another Unity Ambassador

My goodness, it was stinky in here for a while, eh? The mindset of the trollies never ceases to amaze me. Oh well.

If you ask me (and some other people, like Paul Krugman), a very large reason why we are in this horrible crisis today is because of Alan Greenspan. He was Chairman of the Federal Reserve for eighteen and a half years, during which time he never veered from his objective of taking money from the working class and handing it over to the rich. (So consistent!) For kindly throwing cash into their pockets with his unwavering fealty to supply-side economics, Greenspan was constantly venerated by most members of the Beltway media. He was even lauded for pushing the now-reviled ARMs down American throats. But now that it’s too late and the crisis is showing no signs of abating, some journalists are actually journalizing about Greenspan and his legacy.

…For more than a decade, the former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has fiercely objected whenever derivatives have come under scrutiny in Congress or on Wall Street. “What we have found over the years in the marketplace is that derivatives have been an extraordinarily useful vehicle to transfer risk from those who shouldn’t be taking it to those who are willing to and are capable of doing so,” Mr. Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee in 2003. “We think it would be a mistake” to more deeply regulate the contracts, he added.

Today, with the world caught in an economic tempest that Mr. Greenspan recently described as “the type of wrenching financial crisis that comes along only once in a century,” his faith in derivatives remains unshaken.

The problem is not that the contracts failed, he says. Rather, the people using them got greedy. A lack of integrity spawned the crisis, he argued in a speech a week ago at Georgetown University, intimating that those peddling derivatives were not as reliable as “the pharmacist who fills the prescription ordered by our physician.”

But others hold a starkly different view of how global markets unwound, and the role that Mr. Greenspan played in setting up this unrest.

“Clearly, derivatives are a centerpiece of the crisis, and he was the leading proponent of the deregulation of derivatives,” said Frank Partnoy, a law professor at the University of San Diego and an expert on financial regulation.

The derivatives market is $531 trillion, up from $106 trillion in 2002 and a relative pittance just two decades ago. Theoretically intended to limit risk and ward off financial problems, the contracts instead have stoked uncertainty and actually spread risk amid doubts about how companies value them.

If Mr. Greenspan had acted differently during his tenure as Federal Reserve chairman from 1987 to 2006, many economists say, the current crisis might have been averted or muted.

Over the years, Mr. Greenspan helped enable an ambitious American experiment in letting market forces run free. Now, the nation is confronting the consequences.

My favorite part of this story is when Greenspan is shocked, SHOCKED! that people will let greed rule their actions when regulation is not strong enough. Because that NEVER happens…except EVERY FREAKING TIME FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE DEREGULATED!

What amazes me is that economics, which should be based on results, facts and figures, has become completely politicized. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we would ever, EVER give another thought to the remote possibility that “supply-side” economics work; that deregulation will, in some fantasy Randian fairyland, ever resist its abuse by human beings. And yes, that means Obama and McCain are both mostly wrong in my view. (What else is new?)

However, it really made my heart glad when Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics. It seems that at last, being reality-based when it comes to economics is being rewarded. (It probably helped that The Krug has been predicting this crash since 2005.) I really do hope that this signifies some sort of trend in the community.

Perhaps the next four years will see an explosion of financial innovation. For some really creative and interesting solutions as to how we can solve this crisis going forward, I highly recommend you spend a buck or two on this month’s Harper’s and read the six short pieces under the title, “How to Save Capitalism.” It’s amazing what we Americans can come up with, when we let ideology go and actually attempt to solve problems.

May we all survive the rocky road ahead, and come out stronger for the struggle.