Monday, September 15, 2008

Stop The Madness!

Fibromyalgia sucks ass. I've been in the midst of a big flare-up of this disease in the last week or two, hence the scarcity of posts around here. In the meantime, while I've been away everything's gone straight to hell.

Yesterday, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Lehman Brothers! A 158-year-old investment banking giant, with assets of over $658 billion, a firm in continuous operation since before the Civil War, is kaput, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the same time, Merrill Lynch, "Mother Merrill", the brokerage firm that was famed for being "bullish on America", a financial services firm with $1.8 trillion-with-a-"T" in client assets, was sold to Bank of America for $50 billion, a far cry from their market cap of nearly $150 billion at the beginning of 2007. Then, for the cherry on top of this shitstorm, insurer AIG is on the ropes. The insurance titan was temporarily saved by a last-minute loan from the state of New York to the tune of $20 billion, followed tonight by an $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve. AIG's debt ratings were cut late Monday, and the situation is still perilous for the company. The Dow responded to all this chaos yesterday with the worst day since 9/11, dropping more than 500 points at the close. Then today, after the Federal Reserve declined to cut the Fed funds rate, the market, no doubt boyed by bargain-hunters, closed up 141 points. Everywhere, people are asking: where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

And oh, yeah, Gulf Coast residents had a little thing last week called Hurricane Gustav to keep their minds off their dwindling portfolios and retirement funds. Needing a new roof, furniture, and vehicles, or a whole new town, is just the thing to make you realize what really matters in this life.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin did her first interview with the MSM. ABC's Charles Gibson actually did a decent job of interviewing Palin, during which we discovered that A) Palin can indeed memorize long spiels of neocon bullshit, B) Palin cannot think on her feet, and C) Palin doesn't know shit from shinola about foreign policy, much less energy policy, domestic policy, the Constitution, transparency in government, evolution, ecology, feminism, and truthfulness, and D) even the MSM is getting wise to the lies coming from the McCain-Palin campaign.

For two weeks, we've been held captive by the Sarah Palin phenomenon, the "pitbull with lipstick", watching her spout obvious lies and arrant nonsense, while John McCain today said that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong." McCain also claims responsibility for this economy, the invention of the Blackberry, and the discovery of fire.

The best result of all this is that the Obama campaign came out fighting today, at long last. Finally hitting his stride, Obama ridiculed McCain's idea of a 9/11 Commission on the economy, calling it "the oldest Washington stunt in the book." About time! Obama's needed to go on the offensive for weeks now, and finally, with this dire economic news, he's taking the opening and running with it.

For the life of me, I can't understand why the polls are showing this to be a tight race. Except, for the issue of race itself. I cannot see any other major reason why Obama isn't far ahead of McCain other than that. To that, this Tim Wise post, by way of Ta-Nehisi Coates:

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college and the fact that she lives close to Russia--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

This madness has to stop. Unlike Coates, I can't ignore Obama's poor showing in Appalachia, or the tightening of the race here in Minnesota. I think the Bradley Effect is going to be a big surprise to a lot of the pollsters and politicos in November. I don't think it's going to be as big a drag on Obama's results as it might seem, but I do think it'll be apparent. On the other hand, I also think that a lot of the Gen Xers and Millennials aren't being polled. In short, it's going to be a narrow win for Obama, but a win nonetheless.

Why am I so certain? Because, when it comes down to it, I think that things are bad enough economically, internationally, and frankly, spiritually, that an Obama win will happen. But it's going to be a long, long walk to see the dawn.

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