Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sarah Palin snubs 'our North Korean allies' to speak in South Korea -- She will appear with other has-beens and ex-somebodies

It looks as though Sarah Palin is running for the money, not the presidency. From AFP:
SEOUL — US conservative politician Sarah Palin will visit South Korea for the first time to speak at a Seoul forum in October, the organisers said Thursday.

Maeil Business Newspaper said the former vice presidential candidate would make a keynote opening speech at the forum organised by the paper from October 11 to 13.

Palin will speak about the US economic crisis, policies to tackle fiscal woes and her country's role in the world at a time when its superpower status is diminishing, the paper said in a news report.

"She also plans to meet with South Korea's next presidential contenders and major politicians during the forum," it said without elaborating.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown and Larry Summers, ex-director of US President Barack Obama's National Economic Council, will also speak at the event, it said.

Former Alaska governor Palin, a darling of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement, made headlines in November last year with a verbal gaffe on Korea.

"Obviously we've got to stand with our North Korean allies," she said on a radio show when intending to refer to longtime US ally South Korea.
What qualifies her to speak about economics? Didn't she get a 'D' in economics? Of course, all she needs to know about economics is whether her speaking fee is larger than what it will cost to pay someone to write the speech for her.

Update: ABC News has "Sarah Palin to Speak in South Korea in October," which makes this observation:
... Oct. 11 is the same day Republican presidential contenders are set to debate in New Hampshire; Palin has previously said that the end of September would be her “drop dead” timeline to jump into the 2012 race. Considering the 13 hour time difference and 14 hour flight between Manchester, N.H., and Seoul, South Korea, Palin could conceivably do both, but as Politico’s Ben Smith noted, “it’s not exactly the kind of scheduling that screams candidacy.”

Confusion Reigns in Sarah Palin's Tea Party -- Iowa appearance 'on hold', 'unconfirmed' -- Person close to Palin cites 'continual lying' by Tea Party

Sarah Palin was once known as the Tea Party Queen, but confusion has usurped her throne. Christine O'Donnel has been uninvited to appear at a Tea Party event with Sarah Palin, AGAIN! From ABC News:
The back and forth between Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin, and the tea party group putting on Saturday’s rally in Indianola, IA has resulted in O’Donnell being disinvited…again.

Originally, O’Donnell was invited to speak Monday by Tea Party of America. On Tuesday the invitation was rescinded. By Tuesday evening, though, it was back on. O’Donnell tweeted that she “humbly re-accepted the re-invitation” to speak, according to her Twitter account. Now it is back off.

Tea Party of America Founder Ken Crow said he called Christine O’Donnell’s Chief of Staff Mark Moran earlier today to break the news that the Delaware tea party darling was not going to be speaking. ...

... When asked if Gov. Palin’s people asked that O’Donnell be disinvited again before Palin re-confirmed her attendance, Crow answered, “That is private (information) between O’Donnell’s staff and the Tea Party of America.”

Earlier today, multiple media outlets reported that Palin’s event was on hold, but Crow told ABC News Wednesday morning that “we made mistakes and now we are fixing them.” It seems that the back and forth with O’Donnell is one of the things the Tea Party of America had to fix before the event could go on as scheduled. ...
Sarah Palin had been scheduled to appear for some time, but once it was announced that O'Donnell was scheduled to appear at the same event, everything went helter-skelter. Some fickle Tea Partiers, who had enthusiastically supported O'Donnell's bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware last year, protested O'Donnell's invitation. Sarah Palin endorsed O'Donnell's bid for the senate seat.

Earlier, this morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Palin had cancelled-out of the event, but in this, their later corrected story, it is said that her appearance is "on hold" or "no longer confirmed:"
Sarah Palin’s Saturday appearance at a tea party rally in Indianola, Iowa, is on hold, a person close to the former Alaska governor told The Wall Street Journal.

The person said Ms. Palin’s appearance was “no longer confirmed” and cited “continual lying” from event organizers at Tea Party of America, including a recent mixup over whether former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware would also speak.

Ms. Palin is known for last-minute schedule changes that whipsaw supporters and media across the country. But the latest decision is puzzling. Ms. Palin’s speech at the rally was viewed as her most high-profile appearance of the summer, fueling speculation she was indeed plotting to run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Attendees were reportedly traveling from across the U.S. to attend the rally in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first nominating contest next year.

The former governor will now appear at a Friday event in Des Moines sponsored by the group Conservatives4Palin. It is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. at The Machine Shed Restaurant, though the location will probably have to be changed, the person close to Ms. Palin said. Ms. Palin is still scheduled to appear at a Tea Party Express tour stop Monday in New Hampshire.

Ms. Palin may still hold an event Saturday, the person said, though she has no firm plans. It’s also possible she could still attend the Indianola tea party rally, the person said.

The former governor’s team decided to back out Tuesday night after rally organizers re-invited Ms. O’Donnell to speak on stage. Organizers had booked Ms. O’Donnell, who lost her 2010 bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Delaware, to speak but quickly withdrew the invitation in an effort to avoid controversy.

A Tea Party of America leader told Ms. Palin’s aides that the former governor told him to re-invite Ms. O’Donnell, which is not true, the person said, adding that there were also issues over fund-raising and logistical changes that were not approved by Ms. Palin’s team.

Whether Palin will appear may not be known until Saturday. Who could have known that a person close to Palin would say that Tea Partiers are continual liars?

Update: Real Clear Politics has a story saying that Palin will appear at the event, after all:
After a dizzying day that saw members of her inner circle threaten to pull Sarah Palin's participation in a rally Saturday in Indianola, Iowa, a source close to Palin confirmed to RCP that the former Alaska governor will in fact attend the Tea Party of America event, as scheduled.

"We had some long discussions with the organizers; we talked about our concerns and worked them out, and they stepped up their game today," the Palin source said. ...
Update: From "New Questions, and Old, Surround Palin’s Iowa Trip:" "As of early Wednesday afternoon, the appearance in Iowa appeared to be back on, though Ms. Palin’s advisers cautioned that she could still take a pass if the organizers continue to change the terms of her appearance." It's interesting that Palin is trying to blame the organizers for anything that has gone wrong and might yet go wrong. If Tea Party of America is as flaky as "Ms. Palin's advisers" imply, why did Palin ever agree to participate in their event? Was she desperate for an Iowa appearance? Was the speaking fee right? A poorly advised, indecisive candidate, and one who plans poorly, isn't what voters will be looking for during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Update: People are beginning to ask the question, "Palin 2012: Crafty or Chaotic?" which is an ABC News story about the situation. My money's on chaotic -- disorganized.

Update: Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times writes, in "Palin the procrastinator":
Sarah Palin is giving indecision a bad name.

Not only can't she decide whether to run for president, this week she even waffled over whether to keep a date to speak at a "tea party" rally in Iowa on Sunday, a Sarah-palooza her devotees have been organizing for weeks. ...
Sarah Palin: The Procrastinating President. It has a nice ring to it, but do we need an indecisive procrastinator? For what?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Michele Bachmann on the Causes of Natural Disasters -- WTF?

The Chicago Tribune's headline to a story about this video is "VIDEO: Bachmann jokes hurricane a message from God."

Apparently, the writer thought, "She must be joking!" But, later, another headline asked, "Michele Bachmann ties God to quake, hurricane. Was she kidding?"

Then, finally, a damage control story appeared, titled "Candidate Bachmann brushes off hurricane joke." So, how can we ever know whether Bachmann is serious or joking? Her candidacy may be in its last throes.

It's not difficult to imagine a young Miss Bachmann, when asked to write about the causes of the Civil War, handing in a paper that simply said, "The war was God's punishment for slavery." Would she have passed? Would her teacher have challenged her? Would anyone tell her she could believe that if she liked, but would need to explain how an abolitionist died in the war while a slaveholder survived?

Should all evangelical Christians be condemned? Maybe not, considering an article by The New York Times' Nicholas D. Kristoff, "Evangelicals Without Blowhards," in which he writes that not all of them are blowhards. But what about Sarah Palin, who has belonged to an apocalyptic church? Rick Perry, who claims that some problems are "Acts of God?" Rick Santorum? Mitt Romney? Are all of them blowhards? Depending on which, if any, of these people win the Republican nomination, we should have an interesting national discussion about the role of religion in government. These candidates need to be challenged about their beliefs, especially about how their beliefs would affect their performance, if elected. It wasn't long ago that "God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers" appeared in the news (another story here).

The Washington Post's article, "Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy, religion and politics," by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, provides some insight into Sarah Palin's views on the separation of church and state. It is worth reading, because Ms Townsend writes of John Kennedy's statement about his catholicism, when some people doubted whether he could separate church and state, if elected. Sarah Palin's criticism of Kennedy's position is a clear indication that she believes church and state are inseperable. Palin needs to be asked, "Whose church should govern us?"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Isn't Todd Palin behind Sarah Palin's Candidacy Tease?

At the Iowa State Fair, Sarah Palin answered questions about when she might announce her intentions with regard to running for the republican presidential nomination:
Q: When is a good time? Do you have a timeline?

Palin: I have said that that August/September timeframe is important for logistical and legal reasons to jump in there, but…

Q: So by next month?

Palin: I think that just practically speaking that has to be kind of a drop dead time. Also, in fairness to supporters, who are standing on the timeline, and this is what I have told Todd over and over again, I don't want to be seen as or perceived as stringing people along, asking supporters, 'Oh don't just jump in there on someone else's bandwagon because I may jump in, so hold off a little bit.' That is not fair to them. After another month or two goes by, they need to know who it is that they can jump behind. Now more than ever, everybody has got to get involved in this 2012 election. They need to get out there and campaign for their chosen candidates, its all the more reason to hurry up and decide.

From this, I gather that Sarah and Todd Palin are discussing how long they can go before announcing the decision. Palin's concern for her fans argues for an announcement soon; Todd would string people along indefinitely. But Sarah is obviously conflicted in this, saying, "After another month or two goes by, they [her fans] need to know who it is that they can jump behind." But, then, she said, "Now more than ever, everybody has got to get involved in this 2012 election." But now is not "after a month or two goes by;" it is now.

If we've learned anything from this, it may be that Sarah Palin is indecisive, and that Todd Palin is, perhaps, her only advisor.

The transcript is from CNN's "Will Palin be in by Labor Day? 'I doubt it'" story, which was written in response to Karl Rove's speculation that Palin would announce her decision at an Iowa appearance on September 3.

After Karl Rove speculated, last Saturday, on Fox News, that Sarah Palin would make an announcement on September 3, Palin pushed-back over Rove's speculation. Then, Rove pushed-back by saying, "It is a sign of enormous thin skin if we speculate about her, she gets upset, and I suspect if we didn't speculate about her, she'd be upset and trying to find a way to get us to speculate about her."

Rove and Palin have sparred before. There is a round-by-round summary of their fight at The Washington Post's "Karl Rove: Not a Palin fan."

Update: Politico posted a "reality check" on Palin's possible candidacy. Her indecisiveness must be weighing on her supporters.

Update: The New York Daily News' "Sarah Palin, it's time to fish or cut bait: Stop teasing everyone about whether you'll run in 2012," written by a Republican, chastises Palin for her indecisiveness.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spying on the enemy -- UPDATE: Palin promised to announce her candidacy on 'Bob and Mark' show

Jennifer Rubin writes "Right Turn," a conservative column at The Washington Post. Rubin has a lot of contacts in the conservative world and, so, makes for interesting reading. More can be learned about what conservatives are up to by reading one of her columns than can be learned by watching Fox News for a month. It was from her column, "The myth of Palin's frontrunner status," that I learned that Sarah Palin's early champion, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, had become disillusioned with her.

On August 15, in "Palin goes back to Alaska," Rubin wrote of Palin:
Sarah Palin has taken on a pathetic quality. She’s not in the presidential race and, as I’ve long predicted, won’t be. She nevertheless pines for the spotlight. So her “One Nation” tour bird-dogged Mitt Romney’s kick off in New Hampshire. She spent the last few days weaving in and out of Iowa to lunge for the media spotlight but only attracted a single camera crew. ...

... There has always been a streak of victimhood in Palin’s act. Burned by the media, she decided to make the “lamestream media” her target. It hardly matters whether it is an emotional fixation or a carefully designed strategy to egg on the often-aggrieved hard-core conservatives. Either way, in making that her central concern she has marginalized herself. ...
And, in "Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?" on August 19:
... It’s not like Sarah Palin ever goes away. She finished her “One Nation Tour” (which focused on early-primary contests for the convenience of the “lamestream media,” on which she is dependent for attention) and went back to Alaska. But she will be back soon in Iowa. ...

... The Republican presidential campaigns are buzzing with Palin rumors. She may be hiring advance people. She is trying to round up donors. But, as with all things Palin, it’s unclear whether this is simply one more effort to keep Palin on the national stage without her declaring her candidacy. ...

... And what if, in a flight of fancy, she decides there is some untapped demand for another Tea Party-friendly candidate in the GOP presidential primary? (Notice she was not even a write-in blip at the Ames straw poll.) To begin with, the Mitt Romney camp would break out the champagne. They are already counting on a subdivision of Tea Party and social conservative support between Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and a revived Rick Santorum. Throw Palin into the mix and Romney could well be the only candidate above 25 percent in the early-state contest. (In addition, the more less-than-sterling candidates in the debate the better — less time focused on him, more sniping among the crowd, and the benefit of comparison to lesser figures.) ...
"Sarah Palin has taken on a pathetic quality." Mitt Romney would enjoy, if Palin runs and participates in the debates, "the benefit of comparison to lesser figures." Ouch! That has to hurt. A liberal or moderate might find it difficult to criticise Palin more effectively than Jennifer Rubin does.

Palin will return to Iowa on September 3 to be the keynote speaker at a Tea Party "Restoring America" event. Yesterday, Karl Rove speculated that Palin would announce her candidacy in Iowa, but why did he cite a schedule that appeared to him to be campaign apearances? The only other thing on Palin's schedule is an appearance with Glenn Beck at a "Defending the Republic" event in Missouri on October 7. The titles of those events are interesting and appear to be designed to attract those with a sense of loss: the disillusioned and aggrieved, but that is a topic for another day.

Update: If Sarah Palin runs -- if she can be believed -- she will announce on Alaska's "Bob and Mark" show. From a CBS News story of last September:
... Palin didn't directly answer when Beck asked her if she would run for president, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Instead, she said she'd make any announcement on an Alaskan talk radio show.

"If there is going to be some big national announcement I'm going to do it where it's most worthy," Palin said. "I'm going to do something big, even bigger then Glenn Beck." Referring to the Alaska morning radio show, she said, "It's going to happen on the Bob and Mark show." ...
Does Sarah Palin have a good memory? Does she keep her word? No and no, if she's going to announce in Iowa. Oh! But wait a minute ... there may be work-arounds! Could Bob and Mark do their show from Iowa? Could Palin phone-in her announcement? Could Bob and Mark carry her announcement speech live? What did Sarah Palin mean by saying that she'd announce on the Bob and Mark show? Does anything less than an announcement, live, in Bob and Mark's studio, in Alaska, count as a promise kept?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Sarah Palin Could Win By Losing -- Updated with VIDEO

This morning Karl Rove seemed to say on "Fox News Saturday" that Sarah Palin will run for the Republican presidential nomination.

The only things I see on Palin's calendar are an appearance at a Tea Party event in Iowa and an appearance with Glenn Beck.

Whatever Rove thinks, a big reason for her to run is to stay in the news. She could either skip the debates or participate in them. She could go to the debates to debate or to show the other participants her middle finger. She would get a lot of free publicity, either way. Either way, her fans would be happy; happy fans contribute. Publicity keeps the speaking business going. As time goes by, all of the candidates are going to try to distinguish themselves by sniping at President Obama. The press is more likely to cover the remarks of declared candidates.

But Palin would be running against Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann for the extremist vote. That could make Mitt Romney happy, but would it ensure that Romney would be nominated? Probably not.

The Republicans used to award each state's delegates on a winner-take-all basis, but next year some states will award delegates on a proportional basis, like Democrats do. A candidate could win 15% of a state's delegates by winning 15% of the primary vote, in a state that awards delegates proportionately. It may take longer for a front-runner and the eventual nominee to emerge under this new system. The Republican convention could open with no candidate with enough delegates to win the nomination on the first vote.

Even if Palin only gets 10 to 20 percent of the delegates, she may be able to exert some influence at the convention. There are various committees her delegates could participate in and/or gum-up with their recalcitrance and refusal to negotiate. Yes, they might even hijack a committee and hold that committee's work product hostage, like they recently held the economy hostage during the negotiations over deficit/debt reduction. If the convention deadlocks, because no candidate has enough delegates to win the nomination, her influence could be even greater as the other candidates could be forced to negotiate with her for her endorsement.

Republicans in some large states, like New York, New Jersey and California will be holding primaries that award delegates proportionately. "Twenty-four states are winner-take-all, 11 are proportional, and eight either hold caucuses or have their own election that is an alternative form of a primary or a caucus."

So, Sarah Palin should run, wreak havoc, and pay me for this excellent advice.

Here are a two links about the process: "About the Primary - Caucus - Convention System" and "Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2012."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where's Sarah Palin's Bus? 12 Things to know about Rick Perry

Apparently, no one is following Sarah Palin's bus anymore. Since Iowa, Palin has only been mentioned in a story about her appearance at Ronald Reagan's birthplace. But Texas Governor Rick Perry is getting a lot of attention. Eileen Smith wrote -- before Perry announced his candidacy -- of several things people should know about Perry:
Perry's disdain for the media rivals that of Sarah Palin, as evidenced by his avoiding reporters, eschewing televised debates, and even refusing to meet with the state's editorial boards during the last gubernatorial election. Unfortunately for the governor, he's going to need the media if he wants to run on a national platform. And he's never seen anything like the Washington press corps.

As momentum builds behind Perry's potential run at the White House in 2012, the national press is sure to delve deeper into his record. As that process begins, here's a list of things Texans know about Rick Perry that the national political audience should know, too.
Smith's twelve thirteen things to know about Perry are:
Few Texans Would Vote for Him

He Supported Al Gore in '88

'Adios, MoFo'

Conspiracy Theory: He Backs Transnational Government

Sued Over HPV Vaccines


Border Cameras, Sanctuary Cities

He's Gotten More Religious

He Pals Around with Palin

He Didn't Blame BP for the Spill

He's Not Popular with W

Friends With Ted Nugent

A Nader Connection
It is surprising that Perry is not popular with Bush supporters. It has been said that Sarah Palin is George Bush in a skirt; that Rick Perry is George Bush on steroids.

The most alarming thing about Perry is his proclivity to treat human problems as "acts of God." That is an avoidance of responsibility (blame it on God) and an abdication of the responsiblity to act (let's solve the problem). There is nothing wrong with praying about the country's problems, but all those problems were created by humans and must be solved by them.

Another troublesome thing is his secessionist mentality. The Fourteenth amendment clearly states, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." The fourteenth amendment precludes secession, because secession by any state would render its citizens non-citizens of the United States. [emphasis added]

Smith's complete story in The Atlantic is "12 Things Texans Know About Gov. Rick Perry That You Should, Too." The story's byline states, "Eileen Smith is the editor of the satirical political blog In the Pink Texas, and a guest columnist at the Texas Observer. She lives in Austin."

The Texas Observer is running a cartoon, "Office of The Prophet." Instead of The Lone Star State, perhaps Texas should be called The Loon Star State.

A Los Angeles Times article, "Away from straw poll, Sarah Palin weighs her options," mentions that Palin is scheduled to appear September 3rd at a tea party rally in Iowa. Meanwhile, the bus must be going in circles, unless it turns-up in Waterloo, Iowa, tonight, where both Perry and Bachmann will appear at a fundraising dinner. What excuse could Palin use for showing up in Waterloo tonight? The bus ran out of gas? Its wheels are coming off?

Update: There has been a bus sighting in Springfield, Illinois. And, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post asks:
Despite her persistence as a hypothetical presidential contender in polls, could it be that Sarah Palin's moment is up? Has she (finally) exploited "McCain's Folly" to the greatest extent possible?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Texas Gov. Perry Steals Iowa Spotlight from Sarah Palin

There have been stories about Sarah Palin going to Iowa to steal the spotlight from actual candidates for the Republican nomination, but she, herself, has just been upstaged.

Sarah Palin said she was going to Iowa to eat junk food, but Texas governor Rick Perry is going to Iowa to campaign for the Republican nomination for President. It's probable that Perry is going to get more attention than Palin while they are both in Iowa, tomorrow.

How is Perry unlike Palin? He has completed two terms as Texas' governor, and, in his third term, he is now the longest serving governor of Texas. How many terms did Sarah Palin complete as Alaska's governor? In some other respects, they have much in common, so don't be surprised to see Palin endorse Perry.

An Austin, TX website has a story about Perry's announcement: "It's official, if familiar: Perry's in."

He (or she) who hesitates is lost.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nobel Prize Winning Economist says We Must Defeat and Marginalize Extremists

Paul Krugman of the N.Y. Times doesn't take the S&P downgrade seriously, (indeed, in today's secondary market, the 10-year note's rate is decreasing), but does say that America has big problems:
... These problems have very little to do with short-term or even medium-term budget arithmetic. The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its current deficit. It’s true that we’re building up debt, on which we’ll eventually have to pay interest. But if you actually do the math, instead of intoning big numbers in your best Dr. Evil voice, you discover that even very large deficits over the next few years will have remarkably little impact on U.S. fiscal sustainability.

No, what makes America look unreliable isn’t budget math, it’s politics. And please, let’s not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they’re caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands. [emphasis added]

The truth is that as far as the straight economics goes, America’s long-run fiscal problems shouldn’t be all that hard to fix. It’s true that an aging population and rising health care costs will, under current policies, push spending up faster than tax receipts. But the United States has far higher health costs than any other advanced country, and very low taxes by international standards. If we could move even part way toward international norms on both these fronts, our budget problems would be solved.

So why can’t we do that? Because we have a powerful political movement in this country that screamed “death panels” in the face of modest efforts to use Medicare funds more effectively, and preferred to risk financial catastrophe rather than agree to even a penny in additional revenues. [emphasis added]

The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

I shouldn't have to remind anyone of the name of the person who screamed 'death panels.'

Krugman's entire article is "Credibility, Chutzpah And Debt," which, by the way, contains the best definition of chutzpah I've ever read.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tea Party Terrorists Hijacked the Economy -- Assume the Crash Position

Today, David Axelrod, former White House advisor, called Standard & Poor's downgrade of long-term U.S. debt "essentially a Tea Party downgrade." On CBS' "Face the Nation," Axelrod said that the Tea Party was responsible for the failure to negotiate a $4 trillion dollar deal that may have satisfied S&P's credit analysts:
"We can debate the strength of the analysis that they [S&P] did, the history of S&P and so on," Axelrod told CBS' Bob Schieffer, of Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency that downgraded the U.S. market from AAA to AA+ on Friday. "They made an egregious analytical error here but theirs was largely a political analysis... They want to see the kind of solution that the president has been fighting for... that will be balanced, that will include revenues, that will deal with some of our long-term issues."

"For months, the president was saying, let's get together, let's compromise," Axelrod continued. "We thought we had such an arrangement with the Speaker of the House... then he went back to his caucus; he had to yield to the most strident voices in his party. They played brinksmanship with the full faith and credit of the United States. This was the result in that."

"The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade," he declared. "That clearly is on the backs of those who were willing to see the country default."
The death of the $4 trillion dollar deal is described in a N.Y. Times article, "Boehner Scales Back Deficit Talks, Citing Tax Increases." That article suggests that Speaker Boehner may have abandoned the $4 trillion negotiations on account of the intransigence of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, who is rumored to be short U.S. Treasuries, and, if he is, stands to profit from the downgrade as interest rates on U.S. bonds and notes go up.

Parties to the $4 trillion dollar negotiations knew that $4 trillion might have satisfied the rating agency. See Reuters' "S&P: Deficit cuts of $4 trillion a good start."

To understand why Republicans are afraid to increase revenues, see our post, "Never say never: How Republicans put themselves into a box," which has some information about Americans for Tax Reform and its leader, Grover Norquist. It was Norquist who once said, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Most Republicans have put Norquist's interests ahead of the nation's interests by signing his pledge on taxes.

Clive Crook, a senior editor at The Atlantic and a financial journalist, has written "Some Thoughts on the S&P Downgrade." Among other things, he writes about the absolute necessity of never negotiating with terrorists like those members of congress who have taken the economy hostage.

In a few hours we'll begin to see markets' view of the downgrade. Markets in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea open in a few hours, as do U.S. futures markets. Earlier today, the Tel Aviv market fell more than 6%.

Update: At 5:05 PM (Pacific), U.S. futures are down about 2%. Bloomberg's quotes on worldwide markets are here. There is a link to a story about Eric Cantor's trading in the comments.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bone-headed luddites like Sarah Palin are wrecking the economy

From The N.Y. Times:

WASHINGTON – Standard & Poor’s removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers on Friday night, citing concern about the rising burden of federal debt.

The rating on the country’s long-term debt was lowered one notch, from AAA to AA+, with a negative outlook.

The ratings agency had threatened the downgrade if the government did not act to reduce the federal debt by at least $4 trillion over the next decade. Earlier this week, Congress instead passed a plan to reduce the debt by at least $2.1 trillion. ...

Interestingly, there was a $4 trillion plan, but Speaker Boehner walked out of negotiations with President Obama, because that plan included revenue increases. It's uncertain whether that plan would have assuaged Standard & Poor's concerns, but it was a lot closer to their numbers.

There are two other major credit rating agencies: Moody's reaffirmed its AAA rating this week, and Fitch is reviewing its rating. It is unclear whether S&P's downgrade will make borrowing more costly. The other agencies may now follow S&P's lead.

Treasury auctions are scheduled for next week: An auction for 13-week and 26-week bills is scheduled for the 8th, so we may get a clue on Monday, but Monday's auctions are for short-term debt. 10-year notes and 30-year bonds are scheduled on the 10th and 11th, respectively. The auctions to watch are the 10-year and 30-year auctions.

A comparison of the Tea Party with terrorists may be in order: They didn't just hijack the plane, they're shooting the passengers. The credit downgrade will affect all of us.

Update: Reuters has a more detailed story, "United States loses AAA credit rating from S&P."

Update: Salon has "S&P to the U.S: Your credit is no good: Why the Tea Party-friendly Republicans of the U.S. House own this epic humiliation."

Update: The Huffington Post has, "S&P Downgrade: Tea Party Wins Battle, Loses War."

Update: The Times of India has "Shock waves in US after S&P downgrades its credit rating."

Roseanne Barr grabs Mama Grisly's Brass Ring -- To the White House, Roseannearchists!

From Slate's "Roseanne Barr Says She's Running for President:"

Last night, she [Roseanne Barr] proved that she wants a big stage for her political rantings, and she aimed a direct shot at Sarah Palin: She went on the Tonight Show and announced that she was running for president. In fact, Barr says that she said yes to a reality show because of Sarah Palin's reality show, and that she's running for President because Palin can, too. "I wanted to edge her out because I feel like she’s stealing my act anyway," Roseanne said, repeating something she told USA Today back in January.

A promise of NO TAXES!!! How will Sarah Palin and her Tea Partiers top that?