Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bush In Mouth Disease

Aren't you proud to call this man the President of the United States? Watch this and you will realize why he is a worldwide joke.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto Assassinated

The world just became a whole lot more dangerous.
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday outside a large gathering of her supporters where a suicide bomber also killed at least 14, doctors and a spokesman for her party said.

While Bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.

President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.
Where was the security? Why was anyone allowed to get so close in a place where suicide bombings are common? I have written extensively on my view that Pakistan is the most dangerous nation on earth. Today's events just prove my point.

The United States is in bed with a dictator in Pakistan. The same dictator that has made deals with the Taliban to keep them from trying to topple him. Was it these deals that led to the assassination of Bhutto? Who stands the most to gain by having her out of the way? At first glance it would have to be Musharraf.

We should all be paying close attention to this situation or we may find our military dying in yet another country.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home Prices Post Record Drop

Hey don't worry, the fools who caused this mess all walked away with millions while the average homeowner has been clobbered.
Home prices fell 6.7 percent in October, compared with a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city home-price index, a record drop as housing markets continued to deteriorate.

It was the largest drop in more than 16 years and marked the 10th consecutive month of price depreciation and 23 months of decelerating returns.

"No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim," said Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets in a release.

Case-Shiller's 20-city index fell 6.1 percent. Shiller noted that 11 of the markets in the 20-city index posted a record fall.

Some economists are beginning to lower their expectations for housing markets, predicting a longer and deeper price slump than they had previously forecast.

Several factors are hurting markets: Inventories are high with an 11-month supply of homes already for sale; a spike in foreclosures has added to the supply; and there are many vacant homes on the market, which tend to have very motivated sellers, depressing prices more quickly.
This is the result of deregulation and greed. Unfortunately greed will always be present which is why we need more oversight not less. This idea that industry will police itself is insane and the proof as they say is in the pudding.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bush To Travel To Repair US Image

I thought this was some sort of joke.
President George W. Bush's diplomatic passport will acquire a slew of new country stamps during his final year in office as he tries to rebuild the U.S.'s international standing and create a foreign-policy legacy beyond Iraq.

The president plans trips to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, which would make 2008 his busiest year abroad. While his major domestic initiatives may get stalled by a Democratic majority in Congress and the gridlock caused by election-year politics, he still has an opportunity to exert his influence overseas.

``When it comes to foreign policy, he's not a lame duck; he can do a lot,'' said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who served as director of policy planning at the State Department until June 2003.

Bush, 61, came into the White House promising a humble foreign policy and eschewing nation-building and foreign entanglements. That changed after the Sept. 11 attacks, when he adopted a style supporters hail as visionary and critics call cowboy diplomacy.

While the president will strive to strengthen alliances, it won't come at the expense of continuing to prosecute the war on terror, said Jim Jeffrey, the deputy White House national security adviser.

``We want to be well-perceived in the world,'' Jeffrey said in an interview. ``But more importantly, we want to formulate policies that will protect the American people.''
This moron thinks anyone will take him seriously? He is one of the most hated men in the world today. Who would listen to a word that comes out of his lying mouth? If he really wants to repair our imagine in the world he should retire and go read "My Pet Goat" for the remainder of his miserable life. That is a better outcome than the hundreds of thousands that are dead as a result of his lies.

Bush as a diplomat is like Amy Winehouse as a drug counselor.

Americans Fall Behind in Credit Card Payments

The Economy is fine, it really really is. The President told me so.
Americans are falling behind on their credit card payments at an alarming rate, sending delinquencies and defaults surging by double-digit percentages in the last year and prompting warnings of worse to come.

An Associated Press analysis of financial data from the country's largest card issuers also found that the greatest rise was among accounts more than 90 days in arrears.

Experts say these signs of the deterioration of finances of many households are partly a byproduct of the subprime mortgage crisis and could spell more trouble ahead for an already sputtering economy.

"Debt eventually leaks into other areas, whether it starts with the mortgage and goes to the credit card or vice versa," said Cliff Tan, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and an expert on credit risk. "We're starting to see leaks now."

The value of credit card accounts at least 30 days late jumped 26 percent to $17.3 billion in October from a year earlier at 17 large credit card trusts examined by the AP. That represented more than 4 percent of the total outstanding principal balances owed to the trusts on credit cards that were issued by banks such as Bank of America and Capital One and for retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

At the same time, defaults — when lenders essentially give up hope of ever being repaid and write off the debt — rose 18 percent to almost $961 million in October, according to filings made by the trusts with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Serious delinquencies also are up sharply: Some of the nation's biggest lenders — including Advanta, GE Money Bank and HSBC — reported increases of 50 percent or more in the value of accounts that were at least 90 days delinquent when compared with the same period a year ago.
With the new bankruptcy laws, getting out from under the crushing debt will become even more elusive.

This is once again the result of bad economic policy. How can you sustain economic growth when so much of this nation is swimming in debt? The simple answer is that you can not and this will ripple through the entire economy.

The United States has become that family everyone knows that drives the big car and lives in the big house but actually has nothing. It is all borrowed or leased. We are now the world's biggest debtor nation. Our middle class is actually the working poor with a credit line.

We are in for a world of pain now that the smoke has cleared.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Greedy Insurance Co. Denies Treatment - Girl Dies

This is what happens when we allow insurance companies to dictate medical decisions.
A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.

Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

"She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this," she said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA Healthcare on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant.
It is time to stop for-profit insurance companies from making any medical decisions. People are dying so that insurance company executives can earn their million dollar salaries.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

US Foreclosure Filings Up 68 Pct in Nov.

The housing market just continues to decline.
U.S. homeowners increasingly failed to keep up with their home loan payments in November, as the number of foreclosure filings surged 68 percent nationwide compared with the same month a year ago, according to a mortgage research company.

In all, 201,950 foreclosure filings were reported last month, compared with 120,334 in November 2006, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said Wednesday.
I predict the housing market and subsequent economic decline will be the number one issue in the 2008 Presidential campaign and that can only spell doom for the Republican nominee.

It is hard to run on failed economic policies and even harder when you still beleive in the same policies that got us into this mess.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bush Says Economy Is Sound

Once again Bush can not see what is right in front of his face.
President Bush worked to reassure Americans on Monday about the economy but said "there's definitely some storm clouds and concern" because of the nation's credit crunch and mortgage problems.

"But the underpinning is good," Bush told business and community leaders at a gathering of Rotary Club members.

"We've had a pretty good economic run," the president said in a speech intended to show he is aware of the public's edgy mood these days. Consumer confidence has eroded as turmoil in the housing and credit market have battered the economy.

Bush tried to position himself as an advocate for working families by taking aim at his favorite target: the Democratic Congress.

"The Congress cannot take economic vitality for granted," Bush said.

"The most negative thing Congress can do in the face of economic uncertainty is to raise taxes on the American people," Bush said.
The one trick pony of tax breaks is all this fool has. It is his economic policies that have pushed our national debt to over $9 trillion dollars and forced the federal reserve into a juggling act to keep us out of a severe recession.

He neglected to tell this crowd that lower interest rates and a falling dollar are a prescription for disaster. How can you finance your debt and ask those that finance it to accept so little return if not a loss on their money. That is the economic legacy of this moron. The chickens are about to come to roost and its going to get very ugly.

Lieberman Endorses McCain

I hate to say I told you so but....
Sen. Joe Lieberman is crossing party lines and endorsing Republican Sen. John McCain for president.

"Being a Republican is important. Being a Democrat is important. But you know what's more important than that? The interest and well-being of the United States of America," the Democrat-turned Independent said in announcing his decision Monday morning in New Hampshire.

"Let's put the United States first again, and John McCain is the man as president who will help us do that," he said.

Lieberman, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2000, said the next president needs to "break through the reflexive partisanship that is poisoning our politics today and stopping us from getting anything done in Washington."
This is what the Democratic Senators, who helped this war mongering ass keep his seat after he lost his primary, get for their troubles. This is also a slap in the face to Connecticut Democrats who he told he wanted to see a Democratic President in 2008.

This man cares about no one but himself and to those Connecticut Democrats who though he was decent and honorable and voted to allow him to keep his seat, the joke is on you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush Screws Nations Children Again

This man truly is a nasty piece of dirt.
President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.

In a statement notifying Congress of his decision, Bush said the bill was unacceptable because — like the first one — it allows adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes.

"This bill does not put poor children first, and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction," Bush's statement said. "Ultimately, our nation's goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage."
There is always enough money for war and tax cuts but expanded childrens health programs are unaffordable. Has this fool ever priced health care? A family of four making $75,000 and living in NY could not afford private health care.

This man makes me sick to my stomach. January 2009 can not come soon enough.

Democrats Cave Again

It really is time for a third political party.
Democratic lawmakers and staffers privately say they're closing in on a broad budget deal that would give President Bush as much as $70 billion in new war funding.

The deal would lack a key provision Democrats had attached to previous funding bills calling for most U.S. troops to come home from Iraq by the end of 2008, which would be a significant legislative victory for Bush.

Democrats admit such a move would be highly controversial within their own party. Coming just weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, vowed the White House would not get another dollar in war money this year, it would further antagonize the liberal base of the party, which has become frustrated with the congressional leadership's failure to push back on Bush's Iraq policy.
I don't understand why the Democrats constantly cave into this fool. His approval rating is 28% while the Democratically controlled Congress is even less. Don't they realize it is so low because they are seen as useless wimps.

It is time for a third party in this country. One that represents the good of the middle and lower classes. It is really sad to say that the best party for the future of this country right now is the Democrats. What does that say for the Republicans and the political process in this country when our best hope is a party of scared fools who can't stand up to the most unpopular and worthless President we have had in our history?

Monday, December 10, 2007

UBS To Write Down Another $10 Billion

If you think the subprime mess is over, think again.
Swiss banking giant UBS AG said Monday it will write off a further $10 billion on losses in the U.S. subprime lending market and will raise capital by selling shares to Singapore and an unnamed investor in the Middle East.
This is basically the same scenario as Citibank which also sought funds from the Middle East. The worldwide financial system is becoming more and more dependent on funds from the most volatile area in the world where human rights take a back seat to fundamentalists.

It is funds from this area of the world that finance most of the terrorist groups now growing worldwide. Is it really smart to sell off our financial systems to these same people?

This is what happens when greed and stupidity meet in the financial marketplace. The subprime mortgage debacle now has national security implications. This is all the result of a lack of oversight. The Bush administration thought industry should police itself. We all see how that has worked out.

I have a friend who was recently employed at UBS but was terminated as a result of these huge losses. That is the human cost of this greed and arrogance but those at the top will walk out with millions while those like my friend will struggle to make ends meet.

That is current day America. It is time for a real change and it can not happen without citizen participation. I predict the economy will become the number one issue in the 2008 election as the pain and suffering around this subprime disater grows.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is This Compassionate Conservatism?

I guess this is what they mean by compassionate conservatism.
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

Confidential Arkansas state government records, including letters from these women, obtained by the Huffington Post and revealed publicly for the first time, directly contradict the version of events now being put forward by Huckabee.
Isn't lying a big sin? Can it really be that hatred of the Clintons led to the release of a very dangerous man who raped and murdered again?

When will Americans realize that the religious right are nothing but a bunch of freaks who never practice what they preach. It is quite clear by this report that that the "aw shucks" Huckabee isn't qualified to be dog catcher let alone President of the United States.

The Republican clown car gets more ridiculous by the day.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

U.S. Government Debt Soars

By the time you have read this headline our national debt has expanded by about 1 million dollars.
Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day -- or nearly $1 million a minute.

What's that mean to you?

It means almost $30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant in the United States.

Even if you've escaped the recent housing and credit crunches and are coping with rising fuel prices, you may still be headed for economic misery, along with the rest of the country. That's because the government is fast straining resources needed to meet interest payments on the national debt, which stands at a mind-numbing $9.13 trillion.
What happens when we can no longer even pay the interest on the national debt? It will mean the end of social programs and will usher in a period when the United States will economically be a third world nation. Who is responsible for this? Lets take a look at the facts.

Ronald Reagan inherited a national debt of around 1 trillion dollars. The national debt is now over 9 trillion and should reach 10 trillion by the time George W. Bush leaves office. The only President during this time frame that balanced the budget was President Clinton so a vast majority of the debt can be blamed on just three Presidents - Reagan and the Bushes with George W. Bush accounting for 40% of the total national debt.

When you hear numbers like this you realize just how badly the middle class is screwed but if you think this was an accident then think again. This is a conservatives dream to make the government small enough to drown in a bathtub. This will be the end of social security, medicare, medicaid and all other social programs that they hate so much. The practical effect on the country will be a society of haves and have nots with a vast majority being the have nots.

If you think this can not happen here then research Argentina when nearly overnight a vast majority of their population was plunged into poverty. If you think this can never happen here then you are sadly mistaken.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Jobless Claims Spike

The good economic news just keeps coming.
The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits last week jumped sharply, suggesting that the labor market is softening as national economic activity slows.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 23,000 to 352,000. It was the highest level since Feb. 10.

The report surprised economists. They were forecasting claims to hold steady around 330,000.
The Republican must be losing sleep at night over these economic reports. What better for the Democratic nominee in 2008 then a little recession to give you extra votes. The Republicans have presided over economic policies that have hurt the average American while the wealthy gained an even bigger piece of the pie.

Its time to hold our elected officials of both parties accountable for the financial mess we find ourselves in as a nation. We must elect officials dedicated to the people not the corporations but that will never happen until we have public financing of all campaigns. That is the key to sane politics.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Home Prices Plunge

New home prices plunge but buying still lags.
The biggest plunge in new home prices in 37 years was not enough to revive October sales, according to the government's latest reading on the battered housing and home building markets.

The sales pace for October was well short of economists' forecasts. The Census Bureau's latest report also sharply cut back on its earlier estimates for sales in August and September, when a meltdown in mortgage markets kept many potential buyers from getting the financing they needed.

Also depressing sales and prices was a record 191,000 completed new homes on the market that have not yet been sold.
This report tells you that home prices have a lot more to fall. Even with the steepest price drop in 37 years, people are still not buying. Where is the bottom in this market and how much of the economy will it take down with it?

Consumer debt is at an all time high and the affordability index at an all time low. Together this is a toxic mix for the housing market. Fear will keep even those who can afford a home on the sidelines while this all shakes out. The economic worries for 2008 seem to grow by the day.

Next year should be so much fun.

The Republican Debate: My Observations

The "You Tube" debate was more interesting for what it did not touch on then what it did. The questions seemed tailored for a neanderthal crowd but hardly touched on issues that are truly relevant to middle class Americans.

Where were the questions on health care? Where were the questions on the outsourcing of jobs? What about the fact that Americans are working longer and harder but are still falling further and further behind? The reason those questions were not asked should be clear to all. Those are not Republican issues. They simply could care less about the economic health of the middle or lower classes. We simply are not their base. You might ask why then do so many middle class Americans get tricked into voting for Republicans and against their own best interests. The answer is simple, they rely on prejudice and fear and it works all too often.

Gays, Guns and God are what propels these people. It always amazes me that those who claim to have God in their lives can be so hateful. They seem consumed with hatred and fear. Is that the way you want to live your life? In large part the middle class has been responsible for their own destruction when they voted based on hatred and fear.

Will the middle class be fooled again in 2008? The Republicans are already trying to use fear and hatred to garner votes and it was evident in last nights debate. We must hate gays, Muslims and of course the brown undocumented workers. We must fear the terrorists who want to "follow us home". This is their platform and they are sticking to it. Not one of those on that stage last night are fit to serve as President of the United States. Most are not fit to serve as the local dog catcher.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Middle Class Feels The Squeeze

As I was reading this article it reminded me of exactly why I started this site.
Middle-class households in America have to work harder than ever to maintain their standard of living, according to a report released Wednesday.

Sixty nine percent of middle-class households are at risk of losing their standard of living in the long term, says Demos, an advocacy group for lower and middle-class Americans.

And the rising costs of health care, housing, and education are forcing middle-class families to work harder to maintain that standard, said Jennifer Wheary, the report's co-author in an interview with

"The way that they have stayed secure is by tightening belts," said Wheary. "People now have to work more hours to be at that same level."
Where is the family values crowd as parents are forced to work longer and longer hours just to maintain the lifestyle they currently enjoy? When will people finally realize that it is this unholy alliance between big business and the religious right called the modern Republican party that is destroying the middle class?
The Demos report is designed to measure the financial health of the American middle class by measuring certain key variables.

If their main source of income dries up, only 13 percent of middle class households can live off their assets for nine months, after reducing basic living expenses by one quarter, estimates Demos.

52 percent have no net financial assets at all after debt (excluding home equity), and live paycheck to paycheck.
When you live paycheck to paycheck are you really middle class or are you actually the working poor? I would argue that the working poor is a much more accurate description.

I remember my childhood when almost all the mothers on my middle class street in Yonkers, NY were stay at home moms. That is a pipe dream for the families of today. The question now becomes how do we fix this before the middle class is gone and we have a nation of just rich and poor. The answers to that question are complex but the first two solutions I think are absolutely necessary are the public financing of campaigns and universal health care. Unfortunately I think you will never get the second solution until you institute the first.

The political process in this nation has been completely corrupted by big money. Our Presidential race has become about fund raising not ideas and our media is owned by just a handful of big corporations whose main goal is profit not the truthful dissemination of information.

It will take a middle class movement to reverse this trend but who will have the time when work consumes more and more of your day. Maybe that's the goal. There is a reason that the poor do not vote in the same numbers as the rich. They are normally consumed with what they think are more important priorities. As the middle class is more and more consumed with the problems of making ends meet they too will find voting not as big a priority and the destruction of the middle class will be complete. It is time to fight back.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Home Prices Take A Steep Drop

Third-quarter home prices dropped 1.7% from prior quarter, largest drop in 21-year history.

The housing bubble has officially burst and its not pretty. With numbers like this the foreclosure rate can only climb as people realize their home is worth less than they currently owe.
Home prices have fallen steadily since July 2006, but plunged even more steeply in the third quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by S&P Case/Shiller.

According to the Case/Shiller index, which covers 20 local markets and a national average, third-quarter home prices dropped 1.7 percent from the second quarter.

The housing market could possibly get a lot worse, according to Yale economist and index co-founder, Robert Shiller. He was asked at a press conference following the release of the latest index data whether housing price increases, which had far outstripped income gains, could revert back to more normal ratios.

Shiller said, "You're talking about [home-price] declines of 50 percent, in real terms. That's not out of the question."
Did you just read that? A 50% decline is not out of the question. Can you really relate all of this to the subprime debacle? I think that is a good part of it but it is also that wages have been stagnant for years while home prices have climbed out of the reach of most Americans. First time home buyers were faced with mortgage payments totally more than 50% of gross income. How can any family sustain those types of payments for long? This is the result of greed and stupidity in the Bush era.

How can consumers not reign in spending when every one of their assets is in decline? Unless we are dealing with a totally new psychology when it comes to spending then a recession is nearly guaranteed.

The housing cycle is very important to the business cycle, according to Shiller. Most economic recessions are preceded by housing declines and residential construction is an important leading indicator for the economy. The weakness in the housing market is causing him to wonder whether the nation could slip into recession.
It seems the time has come to pay the piper and the bill will be staggering.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Markets Get Hammered Again

Is there anyone who still thinks we are not headed for recession?
Stocks tumbled and bonds rallied Monday on revived worries about the threat of the credit and mortgage market crisis on the broad economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 240 points, or 1.8 percent, according to early tallies. The S&P 500 index lost 2.3 percent and fell into negative territory for the year. The Nasdaq composite fell 2.1 percent.
The American people are feeling much less financially stable lately and with good reason. All their major investments are worth less and seem to moving in the wrong direction. The wealth factor is a strong determinant of whether or not to spend and with the wealth factor declining for nearly everyone, recession becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

This is the result of horrible economic policy coming home to roost. It is time to get the grown ups back into government. I feel sorry for the next President. The mess being left behind will be monumental.

Citigroup Will Soon Shed Jobs

Once again the middle class will pay for the mistakes of those making millions.
Citigroup Inc., bracing for big credit-related losses in the fourth quarter, is looking to lower costs -- which could mean another round of job cuts at the nation's largest bank.

"We are engaged in a planning process in anticipation of our new CEO, and our business heads are planning ways in which we can be more efficient and cost-effective to position our businesses in line with economic realities," said Citi spokeswoman Shannon Bell.

She was responding to a report on CNBC that "massive" layoffs were planned.
Do you think these workers will be afforded severance packages like the executives that have driven Citigroup into the ground? The Citigroup example is just another in a long line that says failure at the upper levels of big business are meaningless to those that caused the failure.

Every day we hear more and more about the subprime crisis and its announced that those at the top are "Resigning". With every announcement comes word of their multi-million dollar golden parachute and word of layoffs.

Where can I get a job that would pay me millions to screw up? What do we tell the children? Do we tell them that the rules are different for those at the top? What kind of a message are we sending when incompetence is rewarded and those who worked hard and played by the rules are penalized for the actions of those multi-millionaires at the top? Isn't it time that we demand equal treatment for all?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Federal Reserve Sees Economy Slowing in 2008

The Federal Reserve seems behind the times. The economy has already slowed for most normal people.
The Federal Reserve said that the decision to cut a key interest rate last month was a "close call," according to minutes from that meeting released Tuesday.

But in a new economic outlook, the central bank also lowered its growth target for the economy in 2008, raising hopes that the Fed will cut rates again when it meets in December.

The Fed indicated in an addendum to its minutes that it now expects the economy to grow at about a 1.8 percent to 2.5 percent rate next year, down from a forecast in June of 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent growth.

"I am surprised that their forecast for next year is as low as it is," said David Resler, chief economist of Nomura Securities International Inc. "The forecast is considerably weaker than it had been and that is the most significant development in this report."
Why is anyone surprised at this forecast. I am surprised it calls for any growth at all. It means the White House has influenced this report and does not want to forecast a recession as that would torpedo the hopes of Republican candidates nationwide.

A recession is already in place in many areas of the country such as Ohio and Michigan. The subprime crisis is threatening the economy of Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona and oil is at an all time high. We are witnessing an economic perfect storm which will lead to a recession. The Federal Reserve can call it slow growth but the average American is worse off now than they were in 2000 and hopefully that fact will lead to the decimating of the Republican party in 2008 and a return to sane fiscal policy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The House of Cards Continues To Fall

The stock market continues its downward slide.

When I read the business section I keep picturing a house oif cards that is slowly falling. That is what the economy seems like. The bad news just keeps coming.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 218 points, falling below 13,000 for only the second time since the summer. The S&P 500 index lost nearly 1.8 percent. The Nasdaq composite declined almost 1.7 percent.

Small cap stocks were hit harder with the Russell 2000 falling 2.5 percent.

Treasury prices rose, lowering the corresponding yields. Oil prices rose. Gold prices declined.

Goldman Sachs downgraded Citigroup to "sell" from "neutral" Monday and said the bank will likely have to take $15 billion in writedowns over the next two quarters due to bets on risky debt. Citigroup shares fell 5.9 percent.

Goldman also cut its price target on Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and others in the sector.

The comments sent the overall market lower, as investors were reminded that the breadth of the credit market fallout is not really known and could be a lot worse than has been expected.
This is the result of a lack of regulation. It is the hallmark of the Bush administration. They believe that industry will police itself. That is what gave us the ponzi scheme called the subprime crisis and now the lack of oversight will lead to recession.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Consumer Spending's In Trouble

Is it still possible to avoid a recession if two thirds of the economy just stops spending?

Consumer spending accounts for two thirds of the economy and there is ample evidence that discretionary spending is grinding to a halt. Why should that be a surprise with foreclosures at an all time high, oil prices at an all time high, consumer debt at an all time high and consumer confidence in the toilet. It would be surprise if people kept spending under these conditions.
The guessing game ended this week - consumer spending is slowing down as J.C. Penney became the latest retailer to confirm the trend.

"We're in a very difficult selling environment," J.C. Penney CEO Myron Ullman told analysts Thursday in a conference call to discuss the company's third-quarter results.

"We came out of September expecting a strong start for early fall. That didn't happen. This is the first time that we're seeing a real change in consumer sentiment," Ullman said.

Penney isn't the only one to be disappointed. Earlier this week, Home Depot and Wal-Mart both signaled their concern about a spending slowdown in the months ahead and into 2008. Penney's rival Macy's cut its fourth-quarter same-store sales estimate Wednesday.
The smell of recession is in the air and there will be even more economic pain ahead for the lower and middle classes. Maybe if we are real lucky, those at the top will allow a bit more to trickle down. George H.W. Bush was correct when he called it Voodoo economics, too bad his moronic son didn't have the same sense.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Foreclosures Still Going Strong

With reports like this you have to wonder where the bottom is in this housing market?
Three states, California, Florida and Ohio, continue to dominate new foreclosure filings, as most of the nation saw increases in the third quarter, according to a new survey.

During the period ended Sept. 30, 77 out of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas reported rises in delinquencies compared with the previous three months, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosure properties.

The three most affected states reveal the two main causes of mortgage payment problems: economic weakness, as exemplified by Ohio, and speculative excess that led to high home prices and unaffordable mortgages, as represented by California and Florida.
With states like Ohio and Michigan firmly entrenched at the top of the foreclosure lists you begin to realize that its as much economic weakness as it is the subprime mortgage mess. Our manufacturing base is gone and reports like this solidify that fact.
In the past few months, the foreclosure story has become a tale of two regions. Some of the hardest-hit states have traditionally been in the Midwest, where plant closings and job losses have hit the economy there hard.

The other region is the Sun Belt, which is showing even more significant foreclosure growth as out-sized price increases in the first half of the decade led to virtually unchecked real estate speculation.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 7.2 million households have subprime mortgages, and more than 14 percent of those are in default. It projects that one of every five of those loans issued in 2005 and 2006 will end in foreclosure, with 2.2 million families losing their homes.
This report only makes my prediction of a recession stronger. The Federal Reserve will do all it can to ward off recession until at least the next administration takes office. I feel sorry for the next President. The mess they are inheriting will be monumental.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Suffering Of Children in Iraq Continues

What did these children do to deserve this? What happened to the Republican sloganof "The sanctity of life"?

Reading this story made me so sad for the children of Iraq many of whom have no hope and no future. After reading this story, who with a heart will be able to remain silent as the devastation of Iraq continues? What crime did these children commit other than being born in a country with United States oil under their sand?

The plight of these children is a war crime and Bush and Cheney are no better than the despotic leaders they rail against. While their cronies get rich the children of Iraq are left to suffer and die and then we wonder why they hate us. If impeachment is off the table then those at the table need to be replaced. How can we as a nation tell our future generations that we did nothing to stop a despotic moron and his henchmen and expect them to understand. Doing nothing means admitting that this great experiment called American democracy has failed and the reason for its failure is apathy.
The head of Iraq's main humanitarian group said an 18-year-old approached him with a baby suffering from leukemia. The desperate mother said she'd do "anything" for treatment for her child -- and then offered herself up for sex.

Said Ismail Hakki breaks down in tears as he recalls that story. Leukemia can be treatable to a degree in much of the world, but not in Iraq. The baby died two months later.

"It shook me like hell," said Hakki, the president of the Iraqi Red Crescent. "All my life I've been a surgeon. I've seen blood; I've seen death. That never shook me -- none whatsoever. But when I see the suffering of those people, that really shook me."

The plight of Iraq's children is nearing epidemic proportions, he said, with mothers and fathers abandoning their children "because they're becoming a liability." The parents don't do it out of convenience, they do it out of desperation.
Can any of us even imagine the situation of this mother? Can you imagine watching your child slowly die and there is nothing you can do and no one available to help. This is hell on earth.
Hakki says Red Crescent has the monumental task of treating and feeding more than 1.6 million children under the age of 12 who have become homeless in their own country. That's roughly 70 percent of the estimated 2.3 million Iraqis who are homeless inside Iraq.
1.6 million children in Iraq is roughly 8% of the total population. If the same percentage of US children were homeless that would be 24 million homeless children. Can we ever imagine a day when that would happen?

We must all remember that this is being done in our names. The death and destruction must stop. The Iraqi children need peace and stability. They need to be educated, fed and loved. What we want for our own children we must demand for them. Doing anything less is criminal.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Investors Agree: Anything But The Dollar

Do you still believe we are the envy of the world? Our dollar is like poison around the world.

This is what happens when you elect fools whose only goal is to enrich their friends. How can we possibly finance our huge debt if no one wants dollar denominated assets? The answer is that we can not unless we raise interest rates to attract more investment. If we do that then we will kill what is left of our economy. Its a catch 22 brought to you by the economic policies of the Bush administration. What more proof do you need to understand that he has destroyed both our good name around the world and our economic future.
In financial market jargon, a "flight to quality" when times are uncertain used to be synonymous with "buy dollars." Not anymore.

Currency traders gave the U.S. dollar a thorough pounding Wednesday and pushed the value of the euro to $1.47, the highest on record. The Swiss franc rose to a 12-year high against the dollar, and the pound climbed to the value it reached 26 years ago.

In short, markets appeared firmly in the grip of a mood that seemed to scream for any investment other than the dollar, a reflection of a broad lack of confidence in a U.S. economy that could not seem to put the subprime mortgage crisis behind it. Unusually, powerful new Chinese investors appeared to endorse the idea that the U.S. currency was bound to fade as a result.
This is what happens when you borrow as muich as we have from foreign governments. You are now at their mercy and China could kill us without ever dropping a bomb.
An unprecedented public badmouthing by the Chinese government - a colossal dollar investor by virtue of its $1.43 trillion in currency reserves, most of which are presumed to be denominated in dollars - helped drive the U.S. currency lower Wednesday.

"In terms of the structure of our foreign exchange reserves, we should take advantage of the appreciation of strong currencies to offset the depreciation of weak currencies," Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the National People's Congress, said in Beijing on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
We are witnessing the death of the American middle class and the American way of life unless we act quickly to take back our government from these thugs. Time is running out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bush Finally Calls Musharraf

Bush finally talks to Musharraf.For four days after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, President Bush refused to directly contact Musharraf. Reuters reports that Bush has finally made the call:

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he had spoken to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and urged him to both hold elections and give up his military post.

"My message was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon and you need to take off your uniform. You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time," Bush said at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "I had a very frank discussion with him," Bush said.

Its nice that this fool finally got involved in the Pakistan crisis. I thought he would wait until the nukes were firmly in Osama's hands. Worst President Ever.

The Markets Get Hammered Again

A weak dollar, soaring oil prices and the credit mess create another huge selloff on Wall Street.
Credit market fears once again sent stocks reeling, as the Dow industrials plunged 361 points Wednesday, marking one of its biggest point declines of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial average finished 361 points, or 2.65 percent, lower - its fifth biggest point decline so far this year.

Stocks tumbled Wednesday, with the Dow industrials finishing 360 points lower amid renewed credit market fears.

Wednesday's selloff also marks the second 300-plus point decline for the Dow in less than a week as the 30-stock index tumbled 362 points late last week.
I still think we are headed for a recession. I believe parts of the United States are already in recession. Will a deep recession in the United States bring economic problems throughout the globe? What can the Federal Reserve do to stop a recession or lessen its depth? The only good news that can come from a recession is that finally the American people will be forced to face the fact that this administration and their criminal cronies have dug us in to a hole so deep that it will be hard to dig our way out. Hopefully after the next election the Republican party will have an equally hard time digging themselves out of the hole that the American people will put them in.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pakistan - The Most Dangerous Nation On Earth

While this administration brings us closer to war with Iran our buddy Musharraf moves closer to a dictatorship.

This is just more of our insane foreign policy coming home to roost. Am I the only one who doesn't understand how we can invade the country of one dictator but financial support others? I have been writing since the inception of this blog my belief that Pakistan is the world's most dangerous nation. This weeks events prove me right.
Musharraf imposed emergency rule in Pakistan on Saturday, saying the suspension of his country's constitution was made necessary by the growing threat of terrorism and out-of-control judicial activism.

By imposing a state of emergency, Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution and put elections that had been scheduled for January on indefinite hold. Press freedoms have been curbed and independent television stations taken off the air.

Bush said Monday he recognized the threat Musharraf faces from extremists, citing past attempts on Musharraf's life, but said the emergency measures "undermine democracy.
Bush telling others how they are undermining democracy while he institutes the most undemocratic measures here at home is laughable.

Our foreign policy has been a disaster under this administration and the situation in Pakistan is just the latest example. Pakistan is a nuclear armed nation on the verge of violent civil strife and our resources are so stretched that all we can do is sit by and hope for the best. That is foreign policy Bush style. He is the worst President ever.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Foreclosures Just Keep On Rising

Foreclosure filings rise with more on the horizon as interest rates jump on a record number of adjustable mortgages.
Foreclosure filings climbed during the third quarter of 2007 with no relief in sight, according to a report released Thursday.

The report by RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosure properties, showed the number of filings rose 30 percent from the previous quarter and nearly doubled from a year earlier.

"Given the number of loans due to reset through the middle of 2008, and the continuing weakness in home sales, we would expect foreclosure activity to remain high and even increase over the next year in many markets," James J. Saccacio, chief executive of RealtyTrac said in a statement.

More than 635,000 foreclosure filings were reported nationwide - one for every 196 households. The filings include everything from default notices to auction sale notices to actual bank repossessions.

"August and September were the two highest monthly foreclosure filing totals we've seen since we began issuing our report in January 2005," said Saccacio.
There is not much to add to such a bleak housing picture except that the housing situation and the coming recession is the worst possible news for the Republican party. They have driven the economy into the ground and the American people are finally waking up and realizing that. They will be severely punished at the ballot box in 2008 and it could not happen to a nicer bunch of fools.

Consumer Spending Lowest in Three Months

Can you smell the recession? Gee what a surprise!!! The American consumer is tapped out? Could it be the $915 billion in credit card debt? Could it be the end of easy credit for homeowners? Could it be the wealth effect now that homeowners are looking at declining values? This is trickle down economics when the trickle has almost completely stopped.
American consumers, battered by a steep downturn in housing and a severe credit crunch, slowed spending growth in September to the weakest performance in three months.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that consumer spending rose by 0.3 percent in September, slightly lower than the 0.4 percent increase that analysts had been expecting. Incomes grew by 0.4 percent, matching the August gain, and in line with analysts' forecasts.

Economists are worried that consumers, the main support for the economy, may cut back on their visits to the malls in coming months as they struggle with the housing slowdown, tighter credit and now record-high oil prices.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut a key interest rate for the second time in six weeks in an effort to make sure the economy does not tumble into a recession.

The news about inflation from the consumer spending report was good. Prices paid by consumers on the Fed's preferred inflation gauge rose a moderate 0.2 percent in September, excluding food and energy.

This measure is up 1.8 percent over the past 12 months, inside the Fed's comfort zone of increases in core inflation of between 1 percent and 2 percent.
How are we supposed to take the inflation numbers seriously? Food and energy are excluded and with oil now topping $95.00 per barrel the average consumer will see real inflation no matter what this government report shows. In the real world food and energy are two very large components of daily life.

The average consumer is suffering and its time that government reports reflect that!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Americans Owe $915 Billion in Credit Card Debt

Americans have record credit-card debt and banks are starting to sweat an uptick in default rates, reports Fortune's Peter Gumbel. Why some fear this could be the next subprime.

Do you still beleive there is an American midle class or has that been replaced by the working poor using credit to live a middle class lifestyle? This is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
This past summer's subprime meltdown involved about $900 billion in now-suspect securitized debt, reckless lending, and consumers who buckled under the weight of loans they couldn't afford. Now another link in the consumer debt chain - credit cards - is starting to show signs of strain. And the fear that the $915 billion in U.S. credit card debt (an uncannily similar figure) may blow up has major financial institutions like Citigroup, American Express, and Bank of America strapping on their Kevlar vests.

Last month, as banks reported their worst quarterly results since 2001, concerns about rising credit card delinquencies began to make their way onto earnings announcements alongside mentions of subprime woes.

Dennis Moroney, an analyst at TowerGroup, expects credit card delinquencies will rise as consumers, who have until now used home-equity lines of credit to pay off their cards, start ratcheting up higher card debt. When housing prices were rising, it was easy for consumers to tap the escalating values of their homes to keep borrowing. With the home-equity spigot turned off, over-leveraged consumers may have trouble keeping up with payments.

The doomsday scenario would play out something like this: Just like CDOs and other asset-backed securities, credit card debt is sliced, diced, and sold off again as packages of securities. Rising delinquencies would hurt not only the banks involved but the securities backed by the credit card receivables. Those securities would decline in value as consumers defaulted, leading to bank losses as well as portfolio losses in the hedge funds, institutions, and pensions that own the securities. If the damage is widespread enough, it could wreak havoc on the economy much as the subprime crisis has done.
This is the result of trickle down economics. Much like only a trickle of water will eventually make you die of thirst, the voodoo economics of the Republican party have killed the American middle class.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Interest Rate Cut Will Mean Higher Oil Prices

How a Fed rate cut raises oil prices.Everyone only sees the bright side of an interest rate cut but a rate cut will most likely mean even higher oil prices.
If the Fed cuts rates, it will probably push oil prices higher," said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank.

There are a couple of reasons lower interest rates usually cause higher oil prices. The first is lower interest rates are designed to spur economic growth by making money for investment cheaper to borrow. Stronger economic growth usually entails using more energy, so traders bid up oil prices on the expectation of higher demand.

Second, lower interest rates usually cause the dollar to fall, as they make dollar-denominated investments like Treasurys less attractive for foreign investors.

Oil, like many other commodities, is priced in dollars worldwide. If the dollar falls, oil producing nations, like those in OPEC, need a higher price per barrel to maintain a the same level of revenue. While oil producing countries don't set the price of oil in the market, they do have control over production and are less likely to increase it when faced with the declining dollar. Also, foreign consumers have less incentive to reduce demand if oil is, relatively, getting cheaper for them.
Those who keep telling you that a falling dollar is good for our economy are only presenting half of the story. It is theoretically good for our trade imbalance and causes more visitors to come to our shores. Our trade imbalance, although better has not seen the narrowing you would expect from the historically low dollar and a report was recently issued that said tourism was actually down. Still think the falling dollar is good news?

Remember that a falling dollar will eventually cause interest rates to spike or we will not be able to finance our ever growing debt. The Federal Reserve is putting a band aid on a gun shot wound and eventually the blood will come rushing out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Foreclosure Nightmare - A Real Story

This is the story of someone facing a mortgage foreclosure, someone who is trying desperately to work with the mortgage company to work out payment. The problem is the mortgage company is unwilling to bend at all. Let me give you the details.

My sister purchased a home in Spring Hill FL a few years back before her husband decided to get a drug problem and skip out on her and the children. This was her second marriage. Her first husband was killed by a co-worker some years back. Through two marriages she has 7 children. I know that is just insane and it is no ones problem but her own that she was so irresponsible to keep having children that she simply could not afford. That fact means very little in terms of this discussion. She has been making her mortgage payments every month but had not paid her taxes which she believed were part of her payments but her contract called for her to pay the taxes directly. This put her behind two payments. She was not aware of this fact until after the first year of non tax payment. The mortgage company paid the taxes and she had her payment increased to cover the tax escrow. They included the first years unpaid tax as well as escrowing for the second year. She began making the higher payments by taking on a second job but has been unable to get caught up. Each month she is late they continue to pile on late charges and they threaten her daily with foreclosure. Today she asked me to talk to them. I agreed to help her out financially to get her caught up. My conversation with Chase Mortgage Services was less than productive. In fact it was down right frustrating and disheartening.

I told them I was willing to help her get caught up and asked how much they had piled on in late charges. The late charges were close to $500.00. Since her pay periods are such that she can only pay at the end of each month late charges are assessed every month. I asked if they could change the due date so she could avoid all the late charges, that was refused. I asked if they could waive the late charges so that she would be able to get caught up more easily, that was refused. At that point I asked what I could do to get this matter resolved. I was told the only way to avoid her being sent to foreclosure was to pay $1200 immediately or it would progress to the next level. That would mean legal fees and additional charges and for sure this would lead to foreclosure. I offered to pay half of that immediately and then $500.00 monthly until the account was caught up. That would be in addition to the monthly payment that she has been making every single month. My offer was refused. I told them that the house would never be sold since there are foreclosures all over the area that she lives. I asked why they would want another foreclosed property on their books when they were receiving payments every month. My sister, in prior conversations with Chase Mortgage Services said that she would make up the entire balance with her tax refund that she would receive in February. Now remember she was making a monthly payment at the higher rate this whole time. In my discussions with Chase it was revealed that they were also charging her for homeowners insurance which she pays herself on a monthly basis and it is one bill that she is not behind on. This was an obvious Chase mistake and I pointed that out. Again I was told it didn't matter that they needed a payment of $1200 now or they would start foreclosure proceedings. We went to them willing to do what was necessary to get this mortgage caught up. All we asked was that they meet us half way. I told them my sister was a single mother with seven children and that meant nothing to them. The prospect of a homeless family fell on deaf ears.

My sister has two jobs and one doesn't provide health care and the second job the employee costs of the plan are too high and therefore unaffordable. She is one of the 47 million uninsured. Her children would benefit from SCHIP but she was recently told that she earned too much to have them qualify. Her children would have been covered under the bill vetoed by that moronic fool we call President Bush. Her story is certainly not unique. It is a story shared by millions while those at the top continue to gain an ever larger percentage of the pie. When will this madness stop? We are a country will a shrinking middle class an ever expanding deficit. We spend more on defense than all the nations of the world combined yet are losing two wars simultaneously.

If anyone knows of any legal recourse we have to stave off foreclosure that would not involve heavy legal fees please let me know. This situation has left me so angry I could spit nails. Here you have someone who is saying I am not avoiding paying what I owe I just need some flexibility to allow me to get the payments caught up and the flexibility is not there. Hell human decency doesn't even seem to be there on the part of Chase Mortgage Services. This situation seems like a perfect campaign issue for any of the Democratic hopefuls especially John Edwards who has made poverty a major focus of his campaign. If any member of the campaign staff happens to see this we would welcome the opportunity to take this story national. This is the type of situation that can happen to almost anyone struggling to make ends meet.

This incident has made me want to turn this site into a movement. My sister is one of tens of millions of working poor who are being destroyed by the corporate culture that permeates every part of our government. I want to build Save The Middle Class into a not for profit aimed at helping the middle and lower classes stand up to the systematic elimination that has been happening to them since the early 1980's.

It is time to make our voices heard loud and clear. It is time that we say enough is enough and demand fundamental changes to our political process. It is time for us to say that we will no longer sit by and watch as everything we have worked for is gobbled up by the wealthiest among us. We will not exist solely to service the rich and be grateful for the scraps they wish to throw our way. We will not let the working poor replace the middle class in this country which is happening at an alarming rate. We must demand that our Presidential hopefuls pay more than lip service to the plight of the middle and lower classes. It is an issue that can be agreed upon by both liberals and conservatives. It is an issue where mutual cooperation could be achieved. Please recommend this story so that we can start the process of saving the middle class and taking back our country.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mortgage Meltdown More Costly Than The Savings and Loan Debacle of the 90's

Reports Suggest Broader Losses From Mortgages
Every time economists and Wall Street executives think they have acknowledged the full extent of the losses from the meltdown in real estate mortgages, more bad news turns up.

Merrill Lynch said yesterday that it would take a charge for mortgage-related securities on its books that is $3 billion more than the $5 billion it expected just two weeks ago. And a report from the National Association of Realtors showed that sales of existing homes in September fell twice as much as economists had expected, to their lowest level in nearly 10 years.
Ask yourself a question - what are the similarities of these two events? With both it was trusted financial institutions conducting shady business with the customer holding the bag. Will we need to bail out the financial institutions this time as well?
At this juncture, economists say the troubles in the mortgage market could, all told, cost financial firms and investors up to $400 billion.

That is far more than the roughly $240 billion cost, adjusted for inflation, of the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s, according to estimates of the combined financial toll of that crisis on both the federal government and private sector. The loss in total real estate wealth is expected to range from $2 trillion to $4 trillion, depending on how far home prices fall, according to several economists.
With numbers like this do you still think we can avoid a recession? This is what happens with a lack of regulation oh and of course a Republican administration that beleivves in letting industry police itself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Home Builders: Worst Is Yet To Come

The battered markets for real estate and home building still have farther to fall, according to a range of economists who spoke Wednesday at a forecast conference sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders.
The economists agreed that the problems with home finance markets will continue to hit housing into next year, and that even when there is a recovery, it will be a slow process that will see weakness continue into 2009.

While most said they believed the overall U.S. economy can weather the housing downturn, several saw significant risk of a recession. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's, said that large areas of the country will fall into recession, if they haven't done so already.

The economists also admitted to being surprised by how bad the housing downturn has become, and all said that making forecasts of a recovery is difficult due to the problems in the credit markets.

"This time, we just don't know how it's going to pan out because the securities markets have become so much more important," said David Seiders, chief economist with the builder's trade group.
The economists were surprised at how bad it is? What world are they living in? The savings rate is negative, personal debt is at an all time high and home affordability at an all time low. Subprime loans were the perfect teaser to keep the housing market sizzling. The problem is too much sizzle usually leads to a burn. The housing market could be charred beyond recognition.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Iraq War's Creeping Costs

The Iraq war may be funded largely with Uncle Sam's borrowed cash, but don't think American consumers will escape without taking a hit in the wallet.
The nation has spent $415 billion in Iraq and another $190 billion since 2001 fighting the "war on terror," which includes the fighting in Afghanistan, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, Congress' nonpartisan research arm.

That number could grow substantially. The CBO estimated in August that the total could hit $1 trillion by 2013 and that's if nearly two-thirds of the 210,000 troops now deployed are brought home.

On Wednesday, CBO Director Peter Orszag is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill and is expected to say that those numbers have been revised higher.

In addition, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said recently that a long-term "Korea-like" presence in Iraq could end up costing $2.5 trillion, or enough to cover half the estimated shortfall in Social Security due to retiring baby boomers.
Remember this war when they tell us that they need to cut social security benefits. Instead of caring for our own citizens we wasted trillions of dollars on war and countless lives to satisfy this vindictive and stupid President. If you still support this man then you are truly stupid.

Monday, October 22, 2007

George W. Bush's Job Approval Rating Drops to 25%

What do Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have in common?
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to 25% as nearly seven in ten Americans say the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. This matches the lowest approval rating for Bush recorded by the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 25% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 67% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 23% approve and 67% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 26% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 67% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 25% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 67% disapprove.

Approval among Republicans has dropped back to 67%. In September, 80% of Republicans approved of the way Bush was handling his job. In August, 66% of Republicans approved of the way Bush was handling his job.

The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed October 18 through 21, 2007. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Overall, 25% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 67% disapprove, and 8% are undecided.
Who are the 25% who still agree with this moronic fool? You have to wonder about their sanity or their intellect. Republican still support this fool by large numbers. What does that tell you about Republicans? Is it simply not admintting that you made a mistake or do they really feel everything is going so well? I would love to have a conversation with someone that supports this fool and see if I can understand what they are so supportive of.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gas Prices Continue To Rise

Prices up a nickel in past two weeks according to national survey and are up 60 cents from the same time a year ago; more increases expected.
Gas prices rose a nickel during the past two weeks, to an average of $2.80 per gallon of self-serve regular, a national survey said Sunday.

That's 60 cents more than prices at this time last year, but 38 cents below the all-time peak of $3.18 set on May 18, said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the "Lundberg Survey."

The increases reported in the survey, which was carried out Oct. 19 and Oct. 5, will likely continue, she predicted.

"This nickel is a drop in the bucket," she said.

Over the same two-week period, the price of crude oil went up the equivalent of 18 cents per gallon.

That hike is not fully reflected at the pump because refiners, marketers and retailers have not passed it along, she said.

"The margin squeeze alone for refiners, marketers and retailers is enough to tell us that gasoline prices will continue to rise," she said.
Did you know that the price of a barrel of oil has more than tripled since the start of the Iraq war and occupation? The saber rattling going on with Iran will only cause prices to rise even further and if we should attack Iran $5.00 per gallon will be common.

We are living through some very strange times and the pressure on the middle and lower classes will only continue to grow until we demand a change in course.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stocks Get Pummeled

Dow down almost 367 points, its third worst day of the year, on fears about credit and housing sector, earnings, record-high oil prices, slide in dollar, what the Fed will do next.
Stocks tumbled Friday as record-high oil prices, more problems in the bank sector and slower corporate earnings growth revived worries about an economic slowdown.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost around 367 points, seeing its third-biggest point loss of the year, its worst since the steep selloff in early August in the midst of the credit and mortgage market mess.

The decline Friday left the blue-chip indicator at its lowest point since Sept. 17, the day before the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in 4 years, triggering a rally that was cut short this week.

The S&P 500 index lost 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite gave up 2.7 percent.

Disappointing earnings from Caterpillar, Honeywell and others exacerbated concerns about weak third-quarter profits. Meanwhile, Wachovia became the latest financial services firm to reveal how the credit and mortgage market crisis had hit its profits.

Oil prices ended lower Friday, but not before hitting an all-time high of $90.07 a barrel in electronic trading. The dollar fell to a new record low against the euro and also slipped versus the yen. Treasury prices surged, as investors sought safety in the comparably safe haven of bonds.
The house of cards that is the United States economy seem ready to come tumbling down. The question I think isn't if we will go into a recession but how severe a recession we can expect?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dollar Hits New Low as Unemployment Claims Spike Upward

The euro reaches $1.4305 after U.S. jobless claims spike.
The dollar fell to a new record low against the euro on Thursday, with the 13-nation European currency breaking through the $1.43 mark for the first time after Washington reported a spike in jobless claims.

The euro rose to $1.4305 in early afternoon trading in Europe shortly after the U.S. Labor Department reported that applications for jobless benefits hit 337,000 last week - up 28,000 from the week before and the biggest one-week surge since claims jumped 42,000 the week of Feb. 10.

It settled back slightly, to $1.4290, but was still up more than a penny from the $1.4186 it bought in late New York trading on Wednesday and was higher than the previous record of $1.4282 set Oct. 1.

The jobless increase was four times the gain of 6,000 that economists had been expecting and was taken as a possible sign that the labor market is starting to weaken under the impact of a housing downturn and turmoil in credit markets.

Earlier this week, both Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that the housing crisis was likely to last longer than had been expected.
Of course the housing crisis will last longer. Who exactly will buy all these homes after foreclosure? Real wages are down for six years under this administration and the savings rate is negative for the first time since the great depression. With new underwriting standards on loans less people will qualify. This all adds up to a disaster in the making.

This is what happens when you kill the middle class.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Foreigners Dumped U.S. Assets in August

Foreign investors fled from U.S. assets in August as a meltdown in the U.S. subprime mortgage market triggered a global credit crunch, Treasury Department data showed on Tuesday.
Net sales of long-term securities such as bonds, notes and equities -- a more closely watched gauge of foreign demand -- hit $69.3 billion, also a record. The last time this measure turned negative was in August 1998, the month when Russia defaulted on its sovereign debt, sparking a global crisis.

Economists had expected net foreign purchases of long-term securities of $60 billion, according to a Reuters poll.

"Investors seem to be moving money outside of the U.S., which leads us to believe they are planning for a continual U.S. dollar decline," said Mark Meadows, currency strategist at Tempus Consulting in Washington.

"What they are saying," he added, "is they are not going to receive as much in return as it will cost them to hold dollars."

The net sales of $163 billion, which includes short-term securities such as Treasury bills, beat a prior record outflow of $42.3 billion in March 2001.

U.S. capital markets would have needed to attract nearly $58 billion of inflows in order to cover the August trade deficit.

"The diminished foreign appetite for long-term U.S. financial assets is alarming, and will weigh heavily on the dollar," said Tu Packard, chief economist at Moody's in West Chester, Penn.
What will happen if the United States can not attract foreign investors in order to cover the HUGE deficits run up by this administration? You can either print money to pay the bonds being redeemed which would lead to a further devaluing of the dollar or you would need to raise interest rates enough to make U.S. debt attractive again to foreigners. Either option will be bad for the U.S. economy.

This is what happens when you believe that deficits don't matter. Will Americans realize that this disastrous economic policy is actually the fault of this administration or will they blame it on the next administration. Only time will tell but I think people understand that the huge surpluses left by the Clinton administration were squandered by Bush as he presided over a huge redistribution of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the rich.

That is Republican economic policy in a nutshell. Give it all to the rich and the rest of us will be patient while we wait for "the trickle down effect". The Bush administration is a failure on absolutely every level.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Builders' Confidence At All-Time Low

Home builders see weakest buyer traffic in 23-year history of trade group survey, outlook for future remains at record low as well.
The nation's home builders' confidence in the battered market for new homes fell further in October, and a measure of their outlook remained at a record low level, according to the latest industry survey.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index showed the overall confidence measure sank to 18, the worst reading on record for the 23-year old monthly survey.

The trade group's statement said the problems included decreased availability of subprime mortgages, a glut of new homes available for sale and reports about declining home values.

The builders' expectations for the market six months from now came in with a reading of 26, matching the lowest reading on record that was set in September. And their view of current buyers' traffic fell to a record low reading of 15.

"Builders in the field are reporting that, while their special sales incentives are attracting interest among consumers, many potential buyers are either holding out for even better deals or hesitating due to concerns about negative and confusing media reports on home values," said NAHB President Brian Catalde.

The overall confidence reading reflects the eighth straight month in which that measure has declined. It has fallen sharply, and is down from a very strong reading of 74 only two years ago. A reading of 50 in any of the three measures indicates the number of positive responses from builders is equal to the number of negative responses.
The housing woes continue unabated with the worst still to come. The housing market correction will be very painful for millions but hopefully after the dust settles we will have a market that is both affordable and vibrant. This could not come at a worse time for the Republican party. What accomplishments can they point to over the past eight years? The rich got richer and the poor got poorer, not exactly a 30 second political commercial to sway the masses.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Real Rudy

The man who is trying to be the President of 9/11 has some explaining to do!! I am still baffled as to why this clown is even running for President let alone is a top contender for the Republican Party. He has become rich and powerful as a result of 9/11. The term blood money never had such a clear description.

Oil Tops $86.00 Per Barrel

Crude prices reach record high on worries about declining oil inventories, OPEC says production by non-member countries may fall; Turkey-Iraq tension.
Oil prices surged higher than $86 a barrel Monday for the first time after OPEC said crude production by non-member countries is likely falling even as global demand for oil is rising.

The price for light sweet crude settled at a record $86.13 a barrel, up $2.44 from Friday's $83.69.

Prices were also supported by concerns Turkish forces will pursue Kurdish rebels into Iraq, disrupting oil supplies, and by technical buying by investment funds.

Monday's intra-day high was $86.20 a barrel, breaking Friday's peak of $84.05.

Despite the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision last month to boost its production by 500,000 barrels per day beginning next month, the rest of the world will likely produce 110,000 fewer barrels of oil per day than expected in the fourth quarter, OPEC said in a report.

At the same time, fourth quarter demand for crude oil will grow by 100,000 barrels a day over last year, OPEC said.

The estimates add to sentiment that crude supplies are tight. Last week, the Energy Department reported that domestic crude inventories fell during the week ended Oct. 5 when they had been expected to rise. And the International Energy Agency concluded that oil inventories held by the world's largest industrialized countries have fallen below a five-year average.
The rise in oil prices will most surely make it even more likely that the U.S economy will tip into a recession. The housing collapse is being felt in many other industries and the rise in gas prices will also spill over into other industries. This double whammy will have a very damaging effect on the economy. It is time to spend money on alternate sources of energy not on invading countries that have the oil.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Banks Said To Be Prepping Up To $100B Fund

Reports: Citigroup, others working with Treasury Department on plan to protect against further securities collapses.
A consortium of the world's biggest banks, led by Citigroup, is working to create a fund to back up to $100 billion in shaky mortgage and other securities, according to published reports Sunday.

The fund, according to reports in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, would be used to buy securities at risk in the current credit crunch in an effort to avoid a broader economic problem. An agreement on the fund's framework could be announced as early as Monday, the Times reported, adding the talks were ongoing and could still result in no accord.

A major focus of the fund, according to the reports, is structured investment vehicles, or SIVs. The Times said the SIVs - which issue short-term notes to invest in longer-term securities with higher yields - have been tainted by the loss of confidence in subprime mortgages.

The Journal, citing Moody's, said there are about $400 billion in SIVs.

Besides Citigroup, the Times said Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase were involved in the discussions. The Journal said Britain's markets regulator has suggested that U.K. banks participate in the plan.

The Journal said Citigroup has about $100 billion invested in SIVs, while Britain's HSBC Holdings PLC has about $35 billion.

Both the Times and Journal see the fund as an echo of the 1998 plan to bailout the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management after it made a series of bad bets. The bailout was made to thwart an international financial crisis.
This is a sound idea to ward off any major economic collapse. It does make me realize that these large banks must understand that the threat of collapse is real or they would not be putting in 100 Billion dollars of their own funds to head off such a collapse.

The Bush administration has been one that believes that industry can police itself. With the subprime mess and the continued recalls of food and toys I hope we all realize that this belief is false.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ann Coulter Is A True Asshole

When will the media stop inviting this junk toting stick figure (thank you Stephanie Miller) on their programs? Watch this witch spout her nonsense while her adams apple jumps up and down. I thought only men had an adams apple? Since she is such a true Christian does that mean she is still a virgin?

Rich Getting Richer

Is this supposed to be a surprise?
The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

It said that while the IRS data goes back only to 1986, academic research suggests that the last time wealthy Americans had such a high percentage of the national income pie was in the 1920s.
Is history about to repeat itself? The 1920's was referred to as the roaring 20's and it was the era of the Robber Barons. This era ushered in the great depression. Whether we are seeing history repeat itself isn't clear but what is clear is that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer with the middle class being killed in the process.

Is this the type of society you want to live in? If you are not sure you should arrange a trip to Brazil and see what income inequality looks like in real time. It is time for the middle and lower classes to stand up and say enough is enough. The only way to fight back is to elect those that understand that a large and stable middle class is essential to protecting democracy. What we have right now is a government that is bordering on fascism. If you don't believe me then look at this list of the warning signs of fascism:

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute.

5. Domestic spying. Secret surveillance of and gathering dossiers on its own citizens.

6. A controlled mass media. Whether directly or indirectly, these regimes exercised power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite.

7. Obsession with national security. National security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless."

9. Power of corporations protected. The corporate structure was a way to not only ensure military production, but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal.

12. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism.

14. Fraudulent elections. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
If you can't see parallels to today's America then you simply are not paying attention.

Al Gore Wins The Nobel Peace Prize

Run Al Run.
Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to raise awareness about global warming.

In a statement, Gore said he was "deeply honored," adding that "the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

The former vice president said he would donate his half of the $1.5 million prize to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a U.S. organization he founded that aims to persuade people to cut emissions and reduce global warming.
Vice President Gore is our nations best hope of regaining our standing in the world and the Presidency offers him an outstanding ability to educate the world on the climate crisis but it appears he will not run.
A source involved in Gore's past political runs told CNN that he definitely has the ambition to use the peace prize as a springboard to run for president.

But he will not run, because he won't take on the political machine assembled by Sen. Hillary Clinton, said the source. If the senator from New York had faltered at all, Gore would take a serious look at entering the race, the source said. But Gore has calculated that Clinton is unstoppable, according to the source.

Gore repeatedly denied he has any plans to run again, but this week a group of grass-roots Democrats calling themselves "Draft Gore" took out a full-page ad in The New York Times in a bid to change his mind.
It is time for the American public to convince Vice President Gore to enter the race. I think the Democratic filed is very impressive but I would immediately do all that I could should Vice President Gore enter the race. Once again I must say "Run Al Run for the good of the entire world."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Retailers See Lower Sales

Consumers have started to batten down the hatches.
A slew of earnings warnings from retailers Thursday, on top of poor September sales numbers, added credence to concerns that consumers are feeling tapped out and that retailers are headed for a very difficult holiday period.

"We've had a whole bunch of retail warnings today. Retailers really struggled last month because of slow sales and also because of the warm weather drag, " said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics.

Other retailers also warned on their third quarter. Limited Brands, parent of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains, posted a 4 percent drop in its same store sales last month and warned that it now expects third quarter earnings of between flat to 4 cents a share, from its guidance of 4 cents a share.

Women's apparel chain Chico's said its September sales tumbled 8.3 percent, while teen seller American Eagle Outfitters reported a 2 percent decline in its same store sales.

American Eagle also warned that it expects third-quarter earnings to come in between 44 to 45 cents a share, compared to its previous forecast of 47 to 48 cents a share for the period.

Perkins said the weakness in last month's sales doesn't bode well for this year's holiday shopping season.

The November-December gift-buying months are crucial for retailers because the two-month period accounts for as much as 50 percent for merchants' annual profits and sales.
Two thirds of the economy is consumer spending. If that slows too much then a recession will occur. I have predicted a recession since I started this site and I stand by that prediction.

12,000 fewer jobless claims last week

The number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, a better showing than had been expected.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for jobless benefits dropped by 12,000 to 308,000 last week. Analysts had been expecting no change.

The four-week average for claims also dropped, falling by 3,000 to 310,250, indicating that the labor market is so far withstanding the adverse impacts of a severe slump in housing and a credit crunch which roiled financial markets in August.
How long can the economy withstand the turmoil in the housing market? My guess is soon you will see a real uptick in unemployment as the housing crisis spreads to other areas. What I really want to see is the type of jobs that are being created. Are they middle class jobs with middle class wages or are they service jobs at low wages and poor if any benefits?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UAW Strikes Chrysler

Thousands of Chrysler LLC autoworkers walked off the job Wednesday after the automaker and the United Auto Workers union failed to reach a tentative contract agreement before a union-imposed deadline.
It is the first UAW strike against Chrysler since 1997, when one plant was shut down for a month, and the first strike against Chrysler during contract talks since 1985. Negotiators stopped talking after the strike began, according to a person briefed on the talks who requested anonymity because the talks are private.

Bargaining between the UAW and the newly private automaker has been slowed by several major issues. The UAW's tentative contract with General Motors Corp. included job security pledges that it was likely to seek from Chrysler, while Chrysler wanted the same health care concessions that the union granted to GM and Ford Motor Co. in 2005. Also at issue was how much Chrysler would pay into a company-funded, UAW-run trust that would take on its roughly $18 billion in retiree health care debt. GM formed that trust as part of its tentative contract.
Our auto industry which was once the envy of the world is now in a very diminished position. One of the main reasons is the ever growing costs of health care. The auto industry supports universal health care because they realize that without it they will continue to operate at a serious disadvantage to foreign auto companies.

The middle class of America can not survive without both strong labor laws and universal health care. As the cost of health care continues to grow workers in all industries are paying an ever greater portion of the health care costs. In many industries the growth in health care costs for the employee has eclipsed the annual raise, which by any standard would mean a decrease in annual take home pay. How can the middle class survive under those circumstances?