This is really a housing bubble consequences post, but really they all are… With a 3.9% GDP report, the dollar at a record low, oil pushing $95 and various “regular people” costs rising at double-digit rates our Fed cut interest rates today. They are trying to put off the inevitable reckoning.
Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Which Comes First: The Cart or the Horse?
The fuse is now lit. The structural imbalances worldwide have never been greater and the fuel at the end of the fuse is enormous. In addition, amount at risk increases every day.
The interesting thing is that no one knows how long the fuse is. For some inexplicable reason everyone acts as if they can get out before the stick ignites. It’s simply not possible.
My wife is British, so we look at exchange rates. And we look at the price of oil. And food. We’re losing a percent or so of our buying power each week.
What happens when you let a few big corproations control all the media outlets?
DownWithTyranny! CLEAR CHANNEL, REPUBLICAN PROPAGANDA NETWORK, OUT TO KILL SPRINGSTEEN’S MAGIC?,
Republican radio network Clear Channel, a monopoly in many cities and a dominant player in most of the rest, isn’t interested. Is it because Springsteen has been an outspoken campaigner for Democrats and progressives? Clear Channel has taken a political stand with its programming in the past. Just think back to their boycott of the Dixie Chicks. Oh, no… not way back, just back to when they released their most recent album. Despite being one of the top 10 best-selling American albums of the year– across all genres and demographics– radio studiously ignored it. There were maybe half a dozen country stations that even played it at all. What Clear Channel did to the Dixie Chicks is a watertight case for the need to break the media companies up into a thousand pieces. (John Sununu disagrees; he’s pro-censorship.) I spoke with an old friend who heads a record company and preferred to speak off the record.
“When you have artists like the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen who have overtly spoken out against this Administration, they are taken to task in spite the clear and undeniable indications from the marketplace that people want to hear their music. What seems to be happening– if sales are any kind of a barometer of what the marketplace is– is that these politically-connected radio networks like Clear Channel are not looking to succeed as radio stations as much as pushing forward some political agenda.
The 13-month-long decline in home prices in 20 major U.S. cities accelerated in August, with prices dropping a record 0.7% in the month, according to the Case-Shiller price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s Corp.
Prices were down 4.4% in the past year, the fastest decline in the seven-year history of the 20-city index. In the original 10-city index, prices have fallen 5% in the past year, the biggest decline since 1991.
“The fall in home prices is showing no real signs of a slowdown or turnaround,” said Robert Shiller, co-creator of the index and chief economist for MacroMarkets, in a release.
… Millions of homeowners who took out adjustable-rate loans in 2005 and 2006 face sharply higher mortgage payments this year and next, with foreclosures having already soared as the result of payment resets.
… Prices could fall much further. In a separate report, analysts at Goldman Sachs figured that prices in California are about 35% to 40% overvalued, compared with past relationships between home prices and income growth. The median sales price of a home in California was $589,000 in August, Goldman said, but should be around $375,000, they said.
Key line: “Prices could fall much further.”
A friend’s elderly mother received a scam letter, and I started looking into it. The trail led to a discovery that the Romney campaign is receiving Moonie money.
The scam letter is from the American Federation of Senior Citizens (AFSC). Tracing them down, it turns out it is a scam run by the Moonies.
The head of AFSC is Gary Jarmin. Jarmin is a member of the secretive, right-wing Council for National Policy. He words (or worked) as Government Liason of the Washington Times, a Moonie outfit. He’s also the guy who booked the room in the Senate Office Building which Moon was crowned Messiah, if you remember that event.
The address of ASFC, 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, according to Raw Story, is also the address of a number of other Moonie outfits,
Christian Voice 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-1421
Jar-Mon Consultants (Global Dominion Communications Inc.) 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4904
US Cuba Foundation 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4904
American Christian Cause 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 715-6523 (703) 548-1840
Pacific Asia Foundation 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4906
AFSC uses a PR firm, Global Dominion Communications, also used by Christian Voice.
So I started looking into these groups a bit, and guess what I found?
More orgs at 208 N. Patrick:
MORAL GOVERNMENT FOUNDATION TRUST ENDOWMENT FUND
Americans for Faith and Freedom
The Seniors Center
A list of contributions to the Romney campaign shows Global Communications giving the max – $2300.
More research discovers that the Romney website proudly announces that Gary Jarmin is a “Romney For President National Faith And Values Steering Committee Vice-Chair”. Jarmin is listed there as President of the American Service Council.
The Christian Voice website declares, “Christian Voice is a program of American Service Council, Inc.” (208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314) and the ASC website lists:
Special Programs of ASC
* Americans for Faith and Freedom
* The Seniors Center
* Citizen’s Voter Drive
* National Council of Survivors
* Christian Voice
Now, I don’t have time to trace this further — I haven’t even traced the donations of these other Moonie fronts — but the way the Moonie organization works I bet with just a little work we’d find many, many more connections between the Romney (and other Republican candidates) organization and the Moonies. If you are reading this and have some time, see what you find and let us know in the comments here. Is Romney taking more Moonie money? Is he working with other Moonie fronts? Are the other Republican candidates?
Here’s why: The right wants to imply something sinister out of Hillary Clinton accepting donations from people with Asian names. Maybe they’re just following the STF Rule.
(Obama supporters please read the last paragraph of this post.)
For decades the right has been trying to kill Social Security. They have spread the lie that it is a “ponzi scheme” that depends on workers paying in today to pay for current benefits. Barack Obama is running a new ad that reinforces that lie.
Here is the fact: For decades Social Security has been collecting MUCH MORE $$ than it has been paying out. This money is saved in a “trust fund.” This trust fund is large enough to cover any “shortfall” that occurs when the baby boomers retire.
But starting with Reagan, and especially under Bush, this trust fund was used to pay for the Republican tax cuts for the rich. (This is what Gore was talking about when he said this money should go in a “lockbox.”)
Now that the baby boomers are starting to retire Social Security will need to tap into this trust fund to pay their retirement. It’s their money but the money is not there — taken by the Republicans to pay for their tax cuts.
So what is fair? Cutting old people’s benefits to cover they money that was taken by the Republicans to give to the rich? Taking more from working people’s paychecks to ocver what the Republicans took? Or taxing the rich to cover the money that was given to the rich? Which is fair?
And, most of all, how is this Social Security’s problem? How is it Social Security’s problem that the conservatives owe Social Security all that money?
With that in mind, watch Obama’s commercial, in which he is talking about Social Security’s problem entirely in right-wing terms:
Obama is running ads reinforcing the right’s bamboozlement that Social Security is running out of money! The language in this ad implies that Social Security’s retirement payments are responsible for the shortfall, and does not say that the trust fund was taken to pay for Reagan and Bush’s tax cuts.
This language in this ad, if seen and heard by millions of people, could make it so much harder to fight back the next time the right tries to kill off the program by claiming it is insolvent.
I know that Senator Obama’s heart is in the right place and he has no intention of harming Social Security. But this ad is a mistake that could backfire. Please stop running this ad and please change the language. Instead of reinforcing the right’s lie that Social Security has a problem, let people know that the conservatives took their money from Social Security and gave it out as tax cuts to the rich and THAT is the problem!
Democratic hopeful John Edwards … in remarks at an event last weekend:
“The American people need a president who will be straight with them — who will be honest about the greatest challenges our government faces. And one of the most important of those is the looming Social Security crisis. …
WTF? Edwards using discredited right-wing language about a “looming Social Security crisis?”
The only, repeat, ONLY problem is that Reagan and now Bush have borrowed trillions from Social Security to give tax cuts to the rich and soon the government will have to find the money to start paying it back. That isn’t Social Security’s problem and old people shouldn’t have to suffer because of huge tax cuts given to the rich.
So what is Edwards talking about? I had been thinking Edwards was closest to me politically, but I think Dodd has moved up to that honored position.
Update – OK, that got me going. Speaking of right-wing language I decided to check on Edwards’ use of the term “tax relief.” (follow that link.) He uses the term.
Checking further …
So does Obama.
So does Hillary.
Sadly, so does Dodd. “Tax relief will also be offered for the construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of older buildings upon initial relocation or start-up.”
Several human rights organizations based in the United States and Europe have filed a complaint in a Paris court accusing former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of responsibility for torture.
The group, which includes the International Federation for Human Rights, the French League for Human Rights, and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, made the complaint late Thursday and unsuccessfully sought to confront Mr. Rumsfeld as he left a breakfast meeting in central Paris on Friday.
Jeanne Sulzer, one of the lawyers working on the issue for the human rights groups, said the complaint had been filed with a state prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, saying he would have the power to pursue the case because of Mr. Rumsfeld’s presence in France.
The Bush Administration has banned the Memorial Honor Detail flag-folding ceremony because the following section:
In the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Details at Words spoken in funeral flag-folding draw flap – Military Times.
Right–wingers are going nuts, some saying it’s part of a government “War on God“, but it’s the Bush admin doing the banning …
On this one I think the family’s wishes should be honored.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is pushing $25 million in earmarked federal funds for a British defense contractor that is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and suspected by American diplomats of a “longstanding, widespread pattern of bribery allegations.”
McConnell tucked money for three weapons projects for BAE Systems into the defense appropriations bill, which the Senate approved Oct. 3. The Defense Department failed to include the money in its own budget request, which required McConnell to intercede, said BAE spokeswoman Susan Lenover.
… McConnell has taken at least $53,000 in campaign donations from BAE’s political action committees and employees since his 2002 re-election. United Defense Industries, which BAE purchased two years ago, pledged $500,000 to a political-science foundation the senator created, the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.
What’s to say? It still is a Republican culture of corruption. They don’t even try to hide it. The fix is in at the Justice Department – all the prosecutors who were investigating Republican corruption were fired…
There is a way for Bush to convince the world that there really is a terrible threat from Iran and that we must deal with it.