Friday, October 1, 2010

Last Call

Steve M. notes Rick Sanchez, formerly of CNN, was done in by his insecurities talking about Jon Stewart.

Sanchez's anger against Stewart is class-based, and, again, he focuses on speech, among other issues:

Anybody who's different than you are, anybody who's not form your frame of reference; anybody who doesn't look and sound exactly like the people that you sound [like] and grew up with. (Emphasis added.)

After Sanchez said this, the host of the show said that Stewart should understand ethnic prejudice because he's Jewish. Sanchez scoffed at that notion, and lashed out in a way that could destroy his career:

Very powerless people… [snickers] He's such a minority, I mean, you know [sarcastically]… Please, what are you kidding? ... I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they -- the people in this country who are Jewish -- are an oppressed minority? Yeah. [sarcastically]

The notion that Stewart singles out Sanchez's gaffes is nuts, because Stewart attacks the button-nosed Botoxed blonds of Fox (male and female) far more than he attacks Sanchez. If Sanchez thinks he's singled out for especially poor treatment, it's clearly because this insecurity eats away at him and distorts his reading of reality. If he thinks he's singled out by Stewart, he should talk to Megyn Kelly or Steve Doocy, whom Stewart absolutely hammers once or twice a week. But none of that justifies Sanchez's anti-Semitism in any way.

No, it doesn't.  Nothing does.   But what amazes me is that this story unfolded in 24 hours and Sanchez is fired.  Wingers are having a field day, since Sanchez worked for CNN he was a liberal, so that means Sanchez is proof that liberals are always the real racists and anti-semites, etc.

Meanwhile, CNN continues to employ Douchebag Douchebagson Erick Erickson and MSNBC continues to employ Pat Buchanan, both who have said a lot worse things while actually employed by these networks...and actually on these networks themselves.  Sanchez made these comments on a Sirius XM radio interview.

The same people who are waving goodbye gleefully at Sanchez continually excuse Pat Buchanan and Erick Erickson.  There's a bit of a double standard there.   I'm not defending Sanchez, he most certainly deserved to get hammered for that.  But if that's the bar for being dismissed from a network, then a healthy chunk of the people employed by cable news need to be looking for new work.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter, Part 5

The NY Times has picked up on the Ginormous Foreclosure Nightmare and things continue to move at a rapid pace as the entire industry is heading into the abyss.

“Maybe this is like shock therapy,” said the economist Karl E. Case. “Maybe this will actually get the lenders to the table and encourage them to work out deals that are to the benefit of everybody.”

While such a happy ending is possible, the near term is more likely to produce paralysis and confusion.
As more defaulting homeowners become aware of the lenders’ problems, they are expected to hire lawyers and challenge the proceedings against them. And if completed foreclosures were not properly done, families who bought the troubled homes could be vulnerable to claims by the former owners.

Apparently alarmed about such a possibility, one of the major title insurance companies, Old Republic National Title, has sent a bulletin to agents saying that “until further notice” it would not insure title to properties foreclosed upon by GMAC Mortgage, the country’s fourth-largest home lender and one of the two big lenders at the center of the current controversy.

GMAC declined to comment, and Old Republic representatives did not return calls. 

With no insurance underwriting of GMAC/Ally's foreclosures, the game's up for real now.  If insurance companies won't touch foreclosures now, then they will not move forward.  JPMorgan Chase is also knee deep in this mess.  And now, Bank of America is checking its foreclosures too while Wells Fargo is trying to sweep everything they can under the rug before the light on Florida's foreclosure farms reaches the West Coast.  That's pretty much the entire mortgage industry right there in those four banks, folks.

The only properties selling now are short sales and foreclosure sales.  With no foreclosure sales now that just leaves short sales and even those will begin to dry up as everyone in the business will want to triple check the title deed.

That means home sales will grind to a halt across the country.  The Tyler Durden prophecy is starting to look like a very real outcome, folks.  No foreclosures.  Potentially hundreds of thousands of lawsuits.  Mass obliteration of the housing market as values wither because there are no sales.  The mortgage banks get slaughtered in the markets because nobody knows who owns what in real estate.

Game over.  Starting to look potentially catastrophic, folks.  This one could very well be the trigger of the next financial crisis.

Stay tuned.  This may be one hell of an October surprise.

And We're Living Here In Harrisburg

The capital of the Keystone State may be the key stone that collapses the municipal bond market.

Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson asked Pennsylvania to determine the city to be in municipal financial distress so it would qualify for help and oversight under the state’s Act 47 program.

The city “stands on the precipice of full-blown financial crisis as a looming cash shortfall threatens its ability to pay vendors and meet payroll,” a statement from the mayor’s office said.

Things get interesting from here.  In a very, very bad way.
Folks, as bad as 2010 has been through the first nine months of the year, 2011 is shaping up to be absolutely horrific.  Imagine January has the Republicans in charge, wanting to cut the country off at the knees right when it needs help the most.

Fun, huh?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Dick Morris, former Democratic campaign maestro who is wrong about everything, is predicting that the Democrats will lose the House and Senate in the worst midterm bloodbath in history.

Bob Shrum, former Democratic campaign maestro who is wrong about everything, is predicting that the Democrats will heroically hold the House and the Senate.

Both of these men are complete idiots.  I fear they may have just destroyed the space-time continuum as a result.

Militia Mission Creep

When people ask me "Are you worried about terrorists attacking America?" I reply "Not foreign ones, no."

Camouflaged and silent, the assault team inched toward a walled stone compound for more than five hours, belly-crawling the last 200 yards. The target was an old state prison in eastern Ohio, and every handpicked member of Red Team 2 knew what was at stake: The year is 2014, and a new breed of neo-Islamic terrorism is rampant in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio ... The current White House Administration is pro-Muslim and has ordered a stand-down against Islamic groups. The mission: Destroy the terrorist command post — or die trying. The fighters must go in "sterile" — without name tags or other identifying insignia — as a deniable covert force. "Anyone who is caught or captured cannot expect extraction," the briefing officer said.

At nightfall the raiders launched their attack. Short, sharp bursts from their M-16s cut down the perimeter guards. Once past the rear gate, the raiders fanned out and emptied clip after clip in a barrage of diversionary fire. As defenders rushed to repel the small team, the main assault force struck from the opposite flank. Red Team 1 burst through a chain-link fence, enveloping the defense in lethal cross fire. The shooting was over in minutes. Thick grenade smoke bloomed over the command post. The defenders were routed, headquarters ablaze.

This August weekend of grueling mock combat, which left some of the men prostrate and bloody-booted, capped a yearlong training regimen of the Ohio Defense Force, a private militia that claims 300 active members statewide. The fighters shot blanks, the better to learn to maneuver in squads, but they buy live ammunition in bulk. Their training — no game, they stress — expends thousands of rounds a year from a bring-your-own armory of deer rifles, assault weapons and, when the owner turns up, a belt-fed M-60 machine gun. The militia trains for ambushes, sniper missions, close-quarters battle and other infantry staples.

These guys are real.  They're out there now in places like Ohio and Utah and Vermont and Montana, training for the use of violence.  To some, it's a game.  To many, it's deadly serious.  Nearly all of them distrust the government, looking to band together in case of "the collapse." 

And they don't like Obama.  No sir.

Obama's ascendancy unhinged the radical right, offering a unified target to competing camps of racial, nativist and religious animus. Even Patriots who had no truck with white supremacy found that they could amplify their antigovernment message by "constructing Obama as an alien, not of this country, insufficiently American," according to Michael Waltman, an authority on hate speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Perennial features of extreme-right scare lore — including imagined schemes to declare martial law, abolish private ownership of guns and force dissidents into FEMA concentration camps — became more potent with Obama as the Commander in Chief.

Threats against Obama's life brought him Secret Service protection in May 2007, by far the earliest on record for a presidential candidate. At least four alleged assassination plots between June and December — by militiamen in Pennsylvania, white supremacists in Denver, skinheads in Tennessee and an active-duty Marine lance corporal at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune — led to arrests and criminal charges before Obama was even sworn in.

"We call it somewhat of a perfect storm," says a high-ranking FBI official who declined to speak on the record because of the political sensitivities of the subject. With an economy in free fall and rising anger about illegal immigration, Obama became "a rallying point" for dormant extremists after the 2008 election who "weren't willing to act before but now are susceptible to being recruited and radicalized." 

And this movement is getting worse as the economy does.   These few are the people I'm really, really worried about causing violence in our country.

They've done it before.  We choose not to remember much about it unless you live in Oklahoma City.

It's Probably Full Of Ur-Quan With Dalek Slaves Riding Borg

Astronomers are excited about a planet discovered in the Gliese 581 system, some 20 light-years from here, that may be the most Earth-like planet discovered yet.  Scientists believe there's a pretty good chance there's the ability to support life there, from the readings.

"Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it," Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, told Discovery News.

The discovery caps an 11-year effort to tease out information from instruments on ground-based telescopes that measure minute variations in starlight caused by the gravitational tugs of orbiting planets.

Planet G -- the sixth member in Gliese 581's family -- orbits right in the middle of that system's habitable region, where temperatures would be suitable for liquid water to pool on the planet's surface.

"This is really the first 'Goldilocks' planet, the first planet that is roughly the right size and just at the right distance to have liquid water on the surface," astronomer Paul Butler, with the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.

I've seen this movie.  120 years from now the first colony ship that heads there gets eaten/assimilated/copied/lost in time/zombified/mindwiped/sacrificed to very old, very dark gods, and we have to nuke the place from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.  Look at the kinds of monsters growing on this planet we're all on now.

Berserker Moderates

CNN's Joe Foreman has an interesting article on the moderate backlash to the tea Party backlash to the liberal backlash to the Bush years:  the rise of the "Militant Middle".

Which brings us to the Tea Party. Despite all the headlines about their impact on the upcoming midterms, I have a theory that out in the political heartland, the trashing by the Tea Partiers may be preparing the battlefield for a much more profound second wave of disaffected, independent voters, who could make the Tea Party look like, well, a tea party.

I've always called them the Militant Middle, and Gary Butts is a founding member. "It's about time the moderates stood up and said, 'Hey, we're in the majority here!'"

He is with, based in Irvine, California, and he says the Militant Middle started growing and coalescing around a broad slogan of "Throw the bums out" long before the Tea Party even started brewing -- and now it's reached a boiling point.

He's not alone. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart stirred the waters with his call for a Million Moderate March on Washington the day before Halloween to "restore sanity."

Stewart tells his devoted audience, "We live in troubled times with real people facing very real problems; problems that have real if imperfect solutions that I believe 70 to 80 percent of our population could agree to try and could ultimately live with. Unfortunately the conversation and process is controlled by the other 15 to 20 percent."

The problem with this is that any "centrist" movement like this always becomes co-opted by the conservative tendencies of the Village.  It would be nice if Americans stood up for fiscally conservative, socially liberal policies, but what happens is it becomes fiscally conservative, socially conservative instead because that's what the Village wants.

The real problem was never the Tea Party.  The real problem is the corporate media that empowers it and ignores the moderates as much as they do progressives.  If you want to take control of the process from the 15 or 20 percent, as Jon Stewart says, you have to take the real control away from the 0.1% that is the Village first.

Gold Rush, Part 16

Gold still up to a record high at $1,317, dollar still down to a six-month low against the euro.  The Japanese yen currency intervention by the Bank of Japan has lasted for two weeks and change, and the yen is now back to the same level it was at and continues to fall.

Stocks meanwhile just came off the best September in decades in the ultimate Dead Cat Bounce.  Just the threat of Helicopter Ben's Magic Printing Press is now driving the markets.  QE2 is now all but assured.

When will Ben pull the trigger?  When he does, the world changes forever.

Unholier Than Thou

Digby has an excellent reader on Bryan Fischer, the latest subterranean scuzzbag talk-radio lout Christian Dominionist to be dug up by the Tea Party in an attempt to sound the dog whistle on Obama.  This guy is turning into the new go to religious loudmouth for the winger right.  Here's a sample of his teachings:

The Scriptures clearly instruct wives, "Submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). The word "submit" is comprised of two Greek words, one of which means "under" and the other of which means "to set" or "to arrange." So a wife is instructed to arrange herself, put herself, set herself, under the leadership of her husband in the home.

What's critical to understand here is that there is no verse in the Bible that instructs a husband to see to it that his wife submits to him. This is a matter between a wife and her Lord, not between a wife and her husband. It is not her husband who is asking her to submit, it is God. It is a matter of reverence for Christ rather than for her husband that prompts her to voluntarily arrange herself under her husband's leadership.

It is a gift that she gives to her husband, not a right that he demands. She demonstrates her reverence for Christ by not challenging her husband's leadership in their home but by supporting him and working with him to help him succeed in shaping and directing the life of their marriage and family.

How does a husband submit himself to his wife? As Webster reminds us, husbands are told to "love your wives, as Christ love the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). That is, he submits himself to his wife by refusing to use his headship simply as an excuse to get his own way, or as a cloak for his own selfishness. He submits himself to his wife by making a determination to use the authority God has given him in his home to give his wife and children what they need rather than to get what he wants.

Marriage is not and can never be a democracy. Somebody has to have the tie-breaking vote when the poll reveals a one-to-one tie. In a Christian marriage, the husband is the tie breaker. The way it is designed to work is that a wife willingly defers to her husband on those rare occasions when they cannot agree on a course of action, and the husband makes the decision that his conscience tells him is best, not for himself, but for her, their marriage, and their home.

If a husband believes before God that the best decision in a given situation is different than the one his wife prefers, he does not order her to follow him, he asks her. The decision is then up to her. He's not forcing her to do anything. He leaves the issue squarely where it belongs, between her and her God.

If you have a problem with a Christian view of marriage, fine. Don't become a Christian then. Nobody is going to make you, again unlike Islam where the choice is convert or die. But if you do decide to follow Christ, his instructions regarding marriage are clear.

And that's fine for a personal belief between a husband and wife, as all faith should be that:  personal.  I'd never buy into any of this myself, but that's my choice as well.  It's when these tenets are espoused by politicians as the preferred religion of the land that this starts to become a problem.  It's when you believe that the politicians running the country should and need to be guided by beliefs like this that I have a problem with.  You get this kind of thing into national politics and the laws I have to follow as an American, and then we have issues.

Do read Digby's article, there's a lot more on Fischer's odious beliefs on Islam, gays, and the occasional but necessary practice of stoning women.

Replacing Rahmbo

Ezra Klein has an excellent round-up of everything you'd might want to know about the man replacing Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief Of Throwing Things Staff:  Pete Rouse.

Emanuel was a gift from the Gods of Journalistic Color. He was witty and profane. He liked talking to the press, and his friends and foes liked talking about him to the press. He had an outsized personality and a Washington legend that could be used to explain both his achievements and his shortcomings. The man who is replacing him, Pete Rouse, doesn't.

Rouse, who used to be known as the '101st senator,' was Tom Daschle's former chief of staff. When Daschle unexpectedly lost his 2004 reelection race, Obama snapped him up. Rouse went from being chief of staff for the most powerful Democrat in the Senate to being chief of staff for the body's most junior member. It turned out to be a good decision.

Quiet and retiring, Rouse doesn't make a point of going on the Sunday shows or talking to reporters. Remember that no-drama thing you used to hear about the Obama team? That's Rouse. He's like a black hole for drama. But that means few in Washington know much about him.

The reality is if Rahm was the Don of the White House, then Rouse was the Consigliere, the guy who actually fixed all the problems that Rahm and Larry Summers would cause with the rest of the White House Staff.  Rahmbo was the lightning rod for the administration, but Rouse was the fixer behind the scenes.  In his own words:

"The deputy chiefs of staff report to me, one for policy and one for operations, who run the place from day to day...I fix problems. There’s a number of us who fix problems - execution, anticipate things. I know a lot of the senators, Rahm knows the House very well. The thing about both the campaign and the office here, it’s very collaborative. You have a loosely enforced hierarchy where people are responsible for certain things, but people get along very well and there’s no turf. People help each other and not compete with each other. That’s the Obama style, and that was the Daschle style too when he was leader."

Rahm got both the glory and and brickbats as Chief of Swearing Staff.   Rouse got all the work done.  Now Rouse has to handle it all.  We'll see what he can do for Obama as the face of the White House now.


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