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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And he is quitting chewing gum until further notice

Remember how Bush couldn't come to the convention because he was too busy sitting home waiting for the hurricane to hit Louisiana? Now McCain can't debate Obama on Friday because he has to get back to D.C. for the bailout.

Comments (26)

Sounds like the old man can't multi-task or didn't do his homework for the debate. Next he'll want to postpone the election. Lame.

Maybe he has been ordered to help pass the bail-out by his lobbyist buddies....make that Phil Graham.

I think this is either a brilliant or completely desperate move by McCain (maybe both). It gets him off the campaign trail, where he doesn't exactly shine, and allows him to kind of look "presidential" by going to work on fixing the economy (does the picture of McCain and Bush getting together on the economy give anyone else the hives?). It also puts Obama in an awkard position...if he continues his campaign he looks selfish; if he suspends like McCain he shoots himself in the foot.

Last time I sold one: President Bush had to skip the convention because of a disaster: His presidency.

McCain has to skip the debate because of a disaster:
His campaign.

Hey, this would be a great chance for Sarah to fill in and show us how that would work.

Bock, bock, bock. Bock-Bock! Chicken noises, Flapping arms. If Obama does that he'll come out and debate.

Bill has a great idea. Why not a Vice-Presidential debate? I love it. Bring it on. And no teleprompters or discreetly hidden ear mikes allowed.

If Obama had done the same thing, everyone would have praised him for putting the interests of the country ahead of his own campaign.

And J. Hendricks - regarding your "old man" swipe at McCain and his inability to multi-task -- what if someone else had said your same words but replaced "old" with "African-American"? Thank you for contributing to the over-inspiring discourse on our country's troubles.

If Obama had done the same thing, everyone would have praised him for putting the interests of the country ahead of his own campaign.

I wonder what the country's reaction would be to an Obama rebuttal after the president's address tonight. Lord knows if it were President Kerry talking, candidate Romney would be screaming for equal time.

NW Portlander -- VP debate is scheduled for Oct 2nd....

God forbid a Senator actually do his job instead of perpetually campaigning.

This is silly, McCain can't handle two things at once. Isn't McCain suspending his campaign to go to DC to debate the merits of the bailout plan? What's another debate, I would think he would jump at any chance to show his leadership, especially after his campaign begged for lots of debates last summer.

I can't find a better summary of our situation than this:


Adieu, stage 1 collapse! by Dmitry Orlov

In February of this year, I wrote The Five Stages of Collapse, connecting each stage of collapse – financial, commercial, political, social and cultural – with a specific mental milestone, where faith in some aspect of our status quo is shattered in the face of dramatically altered circumstances. Here is what I had to say at the time about Stage 1: Financial Collapse:

Financial collapse, as we are currently observing it, consists of two parts. One is that a part of the general population is forced to move, no longer able to afford the house they bought based on inflated assessments, forged income numbers, and foolish expectations of endless asset inflation. Since, technically, they should never have been allowed to buy these houses, and were only able to do so because of financial and political malfeasance, this is actually a healthy development. The second part consists of men in expensive suits tossing bundles of suddenly worthless paper up in the air, ripping out their remaining hair, and (some of us might uncharitably hope) setting themselves on fire on the steps of the Federal Reserve. They, to express it in their own vernacular, "fucked up," and so this is also just as it should be.

The government response to this could be to offer some helpful homilies about "the wages of sin" and to open a few soup kitchens and flop houses in a variety of locations including Wall Street. The message would be: "You former debt addicts and gamblers, as you say, 'fucked up,' and so this will really hurt for a long time. We will never let you anywhere near big money again. Get yourselves over to the soup kitchen, and bring your own bowl, because we don't do dishes." This would result in a stable Stage 1 collapse - the Second Great Depression.

However, this is unlikely, because in the US the government happens to be debt addict and gambler number one. As individuals, we may have been as virtuous as we wished, but the government will have still run up exorbitant debts on our behalf. Every level of government, from local municipalities and authorities, which need the financial markets to finance their public works and public services, to the federal government, which relies on foreign investment to finance its endless wars, is addicted to public debt. They know they cannot stop borrowing, and so they will do anything they can to keep the game going for as long as possible.

About the only thing the government currently seems it fit to do is extend further credit to those in trouble, by setting interest rates at far below inflation, by accepting worthless bits of paper as collateral and by pumping money into insolvent financial institutions. This has the effect of diluting the dollar, further undermining its value, and will, in due course, lead to hyperinflation, which is bad enough in any economy, but is especially serious for one dominated by imports. As imports dry up and the associated parts of the economy shut down, we pass Stage 2: Commercial Collapse.

So far so good. In terms of mental milestones, we can tease apart financial collapse into a number of psychological levees that are being breached one by one. The first one to go was people's faith in home equity: that the value of their homes will serve as a nest egg to sustain them in retirement. What we have been witnessing for the past week or so is the demise of people's faith that their investment portfolio will sustain them. It is still easy to find investment advisers who will tell you to "go long on equities" because, you see, "eventually the economy will recover," but their reassuring words are starting to sound like a death rattle to all those whose retirement savings suddenly look laughably inadequate.

Eventually, faith in the magical, mystical properties of the US Dollar will be lost, but it seems very important to all concerned to make the process gradual. It seems safe to assume that in the limit, as time goes to infinity, the value of the US Dollar goes to zero:

limt→∞US$ = 0

It also seems safe to assume that it is negligible even for finite, foreseeable values of t. The problem is making it look like a continuous function. If the value of any given type of dollar-denominated garbage jumps to zero suddenly (because it cannot be sold at any price) then that produces a discontinuity: a rift in the fake financial space-time continuum.

This is what the current bailout plan is generally about. It is not about making anyone here happy: the fascists think that smells of socialism, the socialists think that it smells of fascism, and everyone (except for Bush, Paulson and Bernanke) agrees that it smells. Some people would like to see some heads roll, but as Robespierre discovered in the course of the French revolution, that just puts you knee-deep in headless aristocratic corpses, still with neither bread nor cake to feed to the peasants.

Speaking of peasants, everyone continues to repeat that the bailout is being financed by "the taxpayer," although it is unclear why our soon-to-be jobless and destitute taxpayer should be expected to cough up an extra trillion or more. The taxpayer may soon need a bailout too. If this mythical taxpayer actually tried to borrow her share of a trillion dollars against her future earnings, what sane person would want to give her that loan? Clearly, the gratuitous mention of the taxpayer is just a ruse designed to hide the rather obvious truth.

The bailout is actually going to be financed by foreign interests that hold US Dollar assets. Yes, the value of their holdings will go to zero, but they do not want this to happen suddenly. They wish to continue redeeming their US Dollar holdings for all manner of things of value, from capital equipment and intellectual property, which can be expatriated, to farmland and other means of production, which can be used in situ to grow food, mine ore, and so forth, which are then expatriated. There is some optimal function for this great unwinding, which will allow foreigners to expropriate the maximum amount of value in the minimum amount of time before their efforts to redeem their remaining US Dollar holdings stop paying for themselves in terms of the value of the available stuff.

As this process runs its course, the US will lose access to imports. Most significantly, it will find it more and more difficult to obtain the 2/3 of the transportation fuels that come from abroad, which are needed to keep the economy functioning. And that will bring on Phase 2: Commercial Collapse. That is probably what we are getting for Christmas this year, or shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, enjoy Stage 1. You will miss it once it's over.

George, now seems the time to cling to guns or religion.

If the debate is not postponed, the terrorists will have won.

Thank Larry . . . I'll take two on varying topics. I think the scheduled debate is on foreign policy. Let's schedule another one focusing on economics.

For the millions of Americans who are watching their 401ks and retirement dreams slip away during recent Wall St. plummets, this is welcome news. The current bailout plan isn't necessarily right, but something has to be done and it's going to take both Dems and Republicans.

Some Americans don't flipping care about a debate between McCain and Obama when they're watching their hard earned retirement spiral down the drain.

The whole things is a disaster, in the epic style of the Titanic. They're just rearranging the deck chairs to make us all feel better about our savings, retirement and jobs. If the mess that was created by the industry and allowed by our politicians isn't "fixed", it will hurt us in blatant, scary, immediate ways. If it IS "fixed", it is still us paying, just not directly out of the accounts we are all freaking out over, but in the form of more taxes. Woo hoo!

Either way, the diagnosis appears terminal. And personally, I don't care about the debates with everything else going on. Anyone who is breathing pretty much knows where each candidate stands and already has their mind set.

Off to reserve my deck chair....

"Hey, this would be a great chance for Sarah to fill in and show us how that would work."


I agree. If Sarah debated Obama, he would loose.

"God forbid a Senator actually do his job instead of perpetually campaigning."

Some furious spinning there.

McCain is crying "uncle," and calling for a time-out.

Maybe he should just drop his bid altogether if "actually doing his job" and "perpetually campaigning" are mutually exclusive.

This predictable-and-predicted financial meltdown is not such a disaster that McCain can't spare two hours for the crucial, long-scheduled first debate on a Friday night.

If he can't maybe he should just stick to being senator and forget about this whole "President" thing.

That would be the bad Disney movie ending, wouldn't it? A nation worries about Sarah's ability to step in during a crisis if McCain is elected, but the crisis happens during the campaign and McCain is called away to deal with it.

Sarah walks out by surprise in his place and proceeds to wow us all with her brilliance.

It would be daring - not unlike the decision to pick her in the first place.

Of course, if she was that brilliant she would already be all over the media, wowing us as she deftly answers the questions of the media. The fact that they appear to be hiding her, leads me to believe that they don't want us to know how well her mind works.

The ABC woman was right. It is sexist not letting her talk. Did women come all this way just to be stuck in "Operation: Sit There and Look Pretty"?

Martha, the word is lose.

Anderson Cooper just said McCain holds the record of current senators for most missed roll call votes. His last was April 9.

Obama is third, his last roll call vote was July 9.

In second place is Tim Johnson of South Dakota who has been recovering from a stroke.

"Sarah walks out by surprise in his place and proceeds to wow us all with her brilliance.

It would be daring - not unlike the decision to pick her in the first place.

Of course, if she was that brilliant she would already be all over the media, wowing us as she deftly answers the questions of the media. The fact that they appear to be hiding her, leads me to believe that they don't want us to know how well her mind works."


My October surprise is that Palin actually does well in the debates. And then the McPalin campaign releases her to do many interviews, solo, mano-a-womano, so to speak.

October Surprise? More like a shock to most people.

"Martha, the word is lose."

Thanks. Ah, yes, the word ... but the woman? Could it have been Freudian slip?


Johnny has to run back to Washington to participate in the bailout plan?

Is he on the Senate Banking Committee?

I think there are two reasons:

1. To allow Johnny to peddle some influence. That's what he did last time there was a financial crisis he "helped out" on. Of course, many forget that he was censured by the Senate for influence peddling and the savings & loans still collapsed. If you don't remember, just look up the Keating Five.

2. It's well known that McCain has surrounded himself with all kinds of high-falutin' corporate representatives in the higher reaches of his campaign. Well, lobbyists can't lobby too well when they're not in the lobby, but out on the hustings or trying to feel up Sarah. They need to concentrate so they can collect debts and influence the unsure. It's they who need to get back to DC.

Female trollette sightings, ever since Failin began.

Say, you don't suppose they're trying to 'salt the mine' ...

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