Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Class at NoBullU on WEBY Until December

Usually on Fridays you can listen to me, the voice of wisdom and reason in a wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- no political insanity, no conservative hypocrisy, no liberal foolishness -- just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

But the next show will not be until Friday, December 5, 2008. Until then, read my wit and wisdom here, and continue the discussion and debate by posting a comment or two.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Republi-cons Lose Hope of Comeback in 2012

Are you a Republi-cons that had hoped Obama would turn out to be some radical leftist, terrorist loving, Muslim secret agent. If so, bad news, Obama is surrounding himself with people that are open-minded individuals who are persuadable by evidence, admired professionals, not excessively partisan, not ideological, with practical creativity. Read The New York Times, The Insider’s Crusade.

He'll need them to clean up the mess the Republi-cons have created.

Leveraged Beyond Imagination

What's going on in the economy? It is deleveraging. We were living in a house made of credit cards and it was not very structurally sound.

Here is a fuller explanation. I am not sure of the original source, but you might find it informative.

"Former FED chief Paul Volcker hits the nail on the head when he says “There has been leveraging in the economy beyond imagination, and nobody was saying we need to do something.

When he says “leveraging beyond imagination” he means it. In fact, there is really no way to adequately describe it, since the investment vehicles designed to conceal the extent of the leveraging are so complex. Even trying to describe it simplistically can be a chore, but I’ll try:

The bankers, who make loans to people by issuing them “credit” are allowed to count the debt they hold as assets on their balance sheets. Then they are allowed to use those “assets” (i.e., the money owed to them) to make even more loans.

This would be the equivalent of you lending someone $1,000. So you put that thousand dollars on your balance sheets as an asset, and you give someone else a loan of $800 from the $1,000 you are owed, by issuing them a spendable credit.

Then you put that $800 on your balance sheets as an asset, since it is owed to you, and lend someone else $600 on the $800 you are owned, by issuing them a spendable credit.

Then you put that $600 on your balance sheets as an asset, since it is owed to you, and lend someone else $400 on the $600 you are owed, by issuing them a spendable credit.

Then you put that $400 on your balance sheets as an asset, since it is owed to you, and lend someone $300 on the $400 you are owned, by issuing them a spendable credit.

That’s called leveraging debt. (I know that’s a simplistic example, but it will do for the sake of this commentary.)

Now, you only started out with a single $1,000 loan. That’s all of the money you had. But suddenly you have $3,100 in “assets” on your balance sheets even though in reality there is only the original $1,000 you lent out. The rest is simply credits you’ve issued to others, that are “owed” to you.

That’s what former FED chairman Paul Volcker refers to in the below article as “credit alchemy” – the art of making money out of thin air by granting loans based on previous loans, based on previous loans, based on previous loans, ad infinitum.

In reality there is nothing backing up those loans but the “promises to pay” of each of the previous debtors. Of course, to keep the debt pyramid going, you have to make more and more loans, which by definition means you have to make riskier and riskier loans.

But wait. There’s more. If you were a bank, people probably invested in your stock. After all, you were a genius. You were able to turn $1,000 into $3,100 – at least on your balance sheet. And as investors saw what a great businessman you were and how you were able to operate so “profitably,” they invested more and more money in your bank by purchasing its stock. This gave you even more money to loan out, on the same leveraged basis you used in the first place. So your balance sheet continued to swell. Now, instead of $3,000 it’s $30,000. Or $300,000. Or $300 million. Or $300 billion. You get the idea. It continues to grow as you continue to use the money coming in from the purchase of your stock to make even more new loans and then to leverage that debt by using it to make even more new loans. Thus, the “assets” on your balance sheet continue to grow. Everyone begins to believe it can never end. You have figured out the key to infinite wealth. But those assets are not real. They are bloated figures based upon the fact that you have leveraged $1,000 into tens of thousands of dollars, then hundreds of thousands of dollars, then millions of dollars, then tens of millions of dollars and finally billions of dollars. Every cent on your now bloated balance sheet was predicated upon your amazing ability to leverage that original debt into more and more debt, then convince investors to throw more money at you, all of which you are able to leverage and then show on your balance sheet as “assets.”

Then you come up with a great idea: You’ll take advantage of some new laws that have been passed, and begin packaging up all of those loans you’ve issued into “securities” (now there’s an oxymoron for you) and sell them to investors around the world, promising “safe” returns on their investments. After all, if you’re making 6% on the loans you made, you can now promise investors a nice safe” 3% or even 4% on their investment and still rake in 2% or 3% at no risk to yourself. In short, you’ve sold your risk off to others. And as the schmucks (er…ah…I mean investors) buy more and more of your packaged “securities,” believing them to be a safe, easy way to make 3% or 4% on their money, you rake in even moremoney with which to leverage even more loans, with each leveraged loan adding even more phantom “value” to your balance sheet.

But as you make loan upon loan upon loan, you have to reach further into the bottom of the barrel for people to lend to. In other words, you have to relax your lending standards in order to bring in new herds of people wanting to borrow money from you. Then you repeat the process: You package those loans up as “securities” and sell them off to investors through the large investment funds that average people like you and me buy into with our 401k and IRA monies.

This is what essentially happened. The money-changers said packaging and selling the highly leveraged loans – now numbering in the trillions of dollars -- as “securities” would further “spread the risk” and make the investments even safer. Large mutual funds and other types of investment funds began purchasing these “securities” on behalf of investors, as average men and women poured money into these funds through their 401ks and IRAs. But in reality it merely concealed the risk, skillfully transferring it from the Wall Street bankers to the average “Joe” investor. Most investors never realized the “securities” they had invested in through their 401ks, IRAs, or in their mutual fund investment programs, were in reality a pyramid of largely unrepayable debt.

But then a curious thing happened: Some of the riskier debtors began defaulting on their loans. And when the risky debtors started defaulting on their loans, a series of ominous events began to transpire:

- As the defaults began to grow, investors got nervous and gradually stopped investing in the bank’s stock, as the true value of bank’s balance sheet slowly began to drop with each new defaulted loan. This gradually began to dry up the new supply of money needed by the banks to continue making loans and leveraging them.

- The large funds and their investors stopped purchasing the packaged debt-based “securities” being offered by the banks. After all, as more people defaulted on their loans, the value of these “securities” began to drop. Th e large Wall Street funds that had purchased these “securities” began to lose money for their investors. And as their investors reacted by beginning to pull out of the funds, the funds simply stopped buying up the bad debt disguised as “securities.” This further dried up the new supply of money needed by the banks to continue making loans.

- Even relatively good debtors, now unable to extend or refinance their loans because the banks no longer had such huge pools of money to lend, began defaulting on their loans. So good loans as well as risky loans began to go bad. And since these loans were interconnected to all of the other loans through the process of leverage, the whole system began to “unwind” or “deleverage.”

- The bank’s bloated balance sheet suddenly began to deflate like an Aero Bed with a bad leak. Seemingly overnight, our hypothetical bank loses two-thirds of its supposed “value.” In reality, what happened is that the true value of the bank is suddenly exposed. People begin to see that the “emperor has no clothes.” Everything that had appeared to be “assets” on the bank’s balance sheet was in reality unrepayable debt.

- The average “Joe” begins to see the value of his 401k or IRA plunge, losing as much as half, or two-thirds, or even three-fourths of its value, depending largely upon the extent of its involvement in the debt-based “securities” packaged by the banks and sold to the bi g funds on Wall Street, or in investments leveraged off of those debt-based securities by the funds themselves.

Hence, we have witnessed not only banks going under as their bloated balance sheets crashed back to earth due to the loan defaults, but also the stock market plummeting and taking everyone’s 401ks and IRAs and mutual fund investments down with it.

The problem is this: Once this process starts it is hard to stop. After all, at this point literally trillions of dollars are involved in this unwinding debt pyramid. And because investors from around the world purchased those debt-based “securities” (chiefly the large investment funds that average workers invest their retirement funds through), the entire global financial system is being affected.

And the untold story is that many of these large global investment funds used their investments in those debt-based securities as “assets” with which to leverage even more investments. So you have highly leveraged investments that were based upon other investments made up of highly leveraged debt. Oy, vey!

Finally, you can top off this unholy witches brew of leverage with the use of the futures markets which allowed banks and investment funds to leverage their “assets” even further by betting on the future value of investments. With all of that, and more, you have “leverage beyond imagination” as former Fed chairman Volcker puts it.

That’s why many analysts now say the “unwinding” of these investments is unstoppable, no matter how much money the governments of the world throw at the problem. After all, they are simply adding to the problem by using brand new debt-based “promises to pay” (ultimately backed by the already beleaguered taxpayer) to stop the unwinding of older debt-based “promises to pay.” It’s kind of like throwing buckets of water on a drowning man, hoping it will somehow help keep him afloat.

How will it all end? Badly I’m afraid. While everything is de-leveraging now, causing a deflation in the prices of oil, stocks, commodities, real estate, and the value of what were once trillions of dollars worth of assets, we know from Amos chapter 8 that it is all going to end in inflation. In other words, higher and higher prices for smaller and smaller portions, with the poor going into economic bondage to the system. But out of it all, we will most certainly see a new global economic system emerge. And Biblically, that means we are now very close to the events that kick off the end of this old flesh earth age."

Kinda scary isn't it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Taxpayers are Chumps Cont.

Told ya so, in October, I said taxpayers were chumps for bailing out corporate America, especially AIG. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland agrees, watch him on YouTube question Neel Kashkari, the interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability and read Washington Post, Treasury's Bailouts Are Getting Us Chumped.

We bailout corporate America and they use the money to pay for private jets, swanky retreats, dividends, and bonuses. The latest, AIG will pay employees $503 million in deferred compensation. We are a nation of chumps thanks to the Republi-cons.

If you ask me, it is just icing on the cake of the Republi-con legacy as another chapter of the unholy alliance ends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Should the Republi-cons Give Up on God?

Remember Kathleen Parker, the heretic who wrote the article in the National Review asking The Great Palin to bow out of the election. Now she suggests that the Republi-cons give up on God! Read Washington Post, Giving Up on God.

But she does not understand that without God there would be no unholy alliance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pardon the Mess

I discussed the pardon issue recently. Now there is speculation that Bush could issue preemptive pardons in the final days of his administration. Read Daily Telegraph, George W Bush could pardon spies involved in torture, ABCNews, Record Numbers Seeking Bush Pardons, and Newsweek, Pardon Me? Don’t Bet On It.

Would blanket amnesty for those who carried out Bush's policy of torture be seen as a tacit admission of guilt?

Let Them Go Bankrupt, Cont.

Should the the future of the American economy depend on politically powerful capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state or a process of creative destruction with safety nets so workers can survive the dynamic changes? Read The New York Times, Bailout to Nowhere.

Economics Professor at Harvard University Endorses My Idea of Preemptive Reorganization

An economics professor at Harvard University endorses my idea of preemptive reorganization. Read Washington Post, A Chapter For Detroit To Open.

I should get paid for this, gold preferred until further notice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gross Abuse of Power and Lies

Was the corruption prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat, in 2006, politically motivated by Bush-appointed officials at the Justice Department who had close ties to Karl Rove? And did the Department of Justice lie about it? Read Time, More Allegations of Misconduct in Alabama Governor Case.

Reminds me of communism, where state officials abused government power for political purposes.

Perhaps that is why the color red symbolizes the Republi-con Party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Slump Worse Than the Depression?

Former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead foresees a slump deeper than the Great Depression and a growing deficit threatens the credit of the United States itself. Read Reuters, Whitehead sees slump worse than Depression. His solution, higher taxes to pay for the "trillion dollar problems" facing the United States, including social security, expanding health insurance, rebuilding infrastructure and increased spending on green energy.

Otherwise the nation's credit rating could be downgraded, which could lead to inflation, or even hyperinflation. (Think Zimbabwe.)

No one wants to admit "the painful truth that their country is hurtling toward a debt-induced economic disaster."

Just Angry Old White Men For the GOP

As the GOP ponders its future, whether to focus on angry old white men or form a new winning coalition, parties leader might consider An English Lesson, from The New York Times.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do You Like Your Planet Hot or Cold

Is humanity sitting on a ticking time bomb? Is global warming a crisis?

Or will greenhouse gases stave off a long, big chill? Read The New York Times, Dot Earth: Will the Next Ice Age Be Permanent?

Confused yet?

UPDATE: Read The New York Times, Dot Earth: More On Whether a Big Chill Is Nigh.

No More Bailouts Until . . .

Now everyone wants a generous bailout. Companies are being chartered as banks. When will it end.

Before anymore government money is handed out, establish a clear and transparent process -- call it preemptive reorganization. And make it tough to discourage future thoughts of government bailouts.

Any company that wants a government bailout should be forced to reorganize like a company in bankruptcy and all executives and directors should be fired.

There should be no auto industry bailout until Congress reads this article, The New York Times, How to Fix a Flat. And if the U.S. auto industry wants a bailout, the Michigan governor and congressional delegation should also be forced to resign.

Any other ideas?

Dems Thank FOXNews

Did Obama win because FOXNews and talk radio, a constant source of right-wing fantasies, promote obsessions that are not the issues that are important to American voters? Read Washington Post, You Report, We Marginalize. The column, written as a letter to Roger Ailes, President, Fox News, states in part:

"The election has left the Republican Party reeling, its base shrunk to those Southern, Plains and Mountain West states where rural cultures still predominate. The party's smarter strategists are arguing that the worldviews of the social conservatives and free-market extremists who dominate the GOP are either irrelevant or ridiculous to voters in the middle of the political spectrum. "We can't be obsessed with issues that are not the issues that are important to American voters," Jim Greer, chairman of the Florida GOP, told the New York Times.

But Fox has won its viewership precisely by promoting such obsessions.

During the campaign just completed, you guys focused on Barack Obama's allegedly Muslim and alien roots and socialist ideology; meanwhile, in the real world, unemployment rose, foreclosures soared and Wall Street went flooey. Over the past eight years, you beat drums for such causes as state intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. You demonized undocumented immigrants (okay, CNN's Lou Dobbs gave you a run for your money on that one). You fed the Republican base with a steady diet of bile -- and now that bilious base is the biggest impediment to the Republicans' repositioning themselves so that they can win elections again. . .

You're not alone in reinforcing those beliefs that marginalize the Republican right, of course. You've got plenty of help from Rush and all the little Limbaughs who dominate talk radio. But together with your allies, you haul truckloads of troglodyte garbage to your flock. . .

And rather than present these voters with a picture of a complex, changing world, you guys at Fox serve chiefly to reinforce their fears, to paint people who hold different viewpoints as alien and threatening.

In that sense, your work remains dangerous and disintegrative to the nation. But it is also, more narrowly, tactically, for now, a great gift to liberals and Democrats. You ensure the ongoing Palinization and marginalization -- electorally, the terms are synonymous -- of the Republican Party.

And to think that you're doing all this not on the Democratic National Committee's dime but on Rupert Murdoch's."

It is an interesting theory, and if true, the Dems don't need the fairness doctrine.

What do you think?

The Future of the Republi-con Party

Is it a battle between 'Traditionalists' (who rally behind Rusty, Sheeeephish and Diva and say that they will cut government, cut taxes, and restrict immigration) and 'Reformers' (who "propose new policies to address inequality and middle-class economic anxiety")? Read what one conservative thinks, The New York Times, Darkness at Dusk.

In the short term it doesn't look very promising for the GOP.

Barack's House

Barack's House, a parody of Brick House by The Commodores.

I thought it was cute. I hope nobody thinks otherwise.

Run Baby Run

Who should be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012?

One polls says Republicans want Palin in 2012.

Vote in the NoBullU poll.

Let Them Go Bankrupt

The bailout is running out of money. I explained over a month ago why the bailout won't work and suggested a solution that would be less expensive for taxpayers. Here is an update.

It is time to let these companies go bankrupt. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows companies to continue to operate while they reorganize, and it cost taxpayers nothing. Of course, Goldman Sachs, Treasury Secretary's former company and the source of his wealth, might lose $20-40 billion when AIG goes bankrupt. This explains why the government continues to prop up AIG. Japan tried to prop up sliding stock and real estate prices at the end of the "Japanese asset price bubble" of the late 1980s, and the effort resulted in a decade of stagnant economic growth. Bankruptcy is much quicker and cheaper for the taxpayers.

(The bailout was also used to make a tax change favorable to Fat Cat banks and the A.I.G.’s of the world, but that is a story for another post.)

Bankruptcy laws also should be amended to temporarily allow bankruptcy courts to reform the terms of loans secured by primary residences. This would reduce the number of foreclosures, again at no cost to the taxcpayers.

Let them go bankrupt.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spend Baby Spend

According to the newest winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the government should throw caution to the wind and spend a lot of money. Read The New York Times, Franklin Delano Obama?

This is the second time that Paul Krugman has recommended a major fiscal stimulus in the form of actual government spending.

Will the Dems be able overcome their reluctance (NOT) to spend government money?

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Remember the Seinfeld episode which reintroduced America to the Festivus 'holiday.' I'm reminded of the so-called holiday by a recent article in The New York Times, From Tiny Sect, a Weighty Issue for the Justices.

It seems that adherents of a 'religion' called Summum are demanding a Utah city, that displays a donated Ten Commandments monument, accept and display a monument, similar in size and nature to the one devoted to the Ten Commandments, inscribed with the sect's Seven Aphorisms.

What next, a Festivus pole next to the Christmas nativity scene.

Another Sweetheart Deal for Paulson's Former Company

A deal is a deal, except when your former boss happens to be the Secretary of Treasury, in which case normal rules that apply to you and me, such as repaying loans even if you regret the terms of the original agreement are waived for another sweetheart deal. Read Washington Post, Government Again Expands AIG Rescue Plan and The New York Times, A.I.G. Secures $150 Billion Assistance Package and U.S. Provides More Aid to Big Insurer.

You might remember that over a month ago I recognized the apparent conflict of interest in allowing Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to bailout his former firm Goldman Sachs. Paulson 'earned' over $650 million as CEO of Goldman Sachs, including stock options and the special treatment of AIG is designed to save Goldman Sachs 10s of billions of dollars. From an article in September:

"Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that had seemed immune to its rivals’ woes, was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to six people close to the insurer who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in Goldman’s side, several of these people said.

Days later, federal officials, who had let Lehman die and initially balked at tossing a lifeline to A.I.G., ended up bailing out the insurer for $85 billion."

Can you say conflict of interest. Don't forget that in the first draft Paulson demanded that Congress forbid judicial review of his decisions on use of the money in the bailout. Not only would his decisions have been beyond review but so would the actions of his pals in the banking world.

Good money is being wasted to save Paulson's former company.

This is nothing less than corrupt, but some people get special treatment. (Just ask former University of Alabama and famous NFL quarterback Kenny Stabler, who was acquited of DUI after an Alabama judge ruled that evidence that the former football star refused to take a breath test was inadmissible.)

Paulson should be removed from office, the money he 'earned' as CEO should be forfeited, and AIG should be forced into bankruptcy to save taxpayers further expense.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Class Today at No Bull U on WEBY

Listen to the voice of wisdom and reason in a wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- No political insanity, no conservative hypocrisy, no liberal foolishness -- Just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

NoBullU will be on air today, Friday, from 4:05 to 6 p.m. at 1330 AM WEBY and on line, courtesy of Cyber Smart Computers.

Today's topic: Election results and whatever else you want to discuss.

Tune in, call in, but only if you can handle the truth!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vote Again, This Time for 2012 GOP Candidate

Who should be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012?

Vote in the NoBullU poll.

No Future in Fear Anger and Hatred

The lesson for the GOP in this election should be that there is no future in fear, anger, and hatred. It proved an effective election strategy for a short time, but fear, anger, and hatred made a poor governing philosophy. If you want confirmation from a Republican, read Boot's Blasts, Why the GOP Lost, where he writes:

"What President Bush represented to a majority of people is a sneering, arrogant, chip-on-his-shoulder, my-way-or-the-highway face of this era’s conservatism; in fact, that also became the face of the United States around the world. And it was that face that voters rejected on Tuesday.

President Reagan was just the opposite: a cheery disposition, a funny laugh and chuckle - and a pleasant demeanor all while trying to convince - not browbeat or threaten - others to change their minds.

If we, as conservatives, are to come back to power we will have to project a totally different face and persona.

The Republican Party will have to become a party of “smart” people who can reach out to the suburbs (where we were completely wiped out) and to educated people. And at the same time we need to keep our base of committed conservatives, too.

In fact, we have to get rid of this exuberant disdain for well-educated people and for education itself. G.W. Bush and Sarah Palin have reveled in their dislike for education, for well-educated people and for reading and for acquiring knowledge.

It used to be in this country that everyone worshiped education and wished to have a great education but somewhere along the way many on the Right have transposed their hatred (well-deserved, by the way) for the Leftism taught in our colleges and universities into hatred of the actual education itself. And that is a tragic mistake. Because only reading the Bible and nothing else isn’t enough to solve this nation’s multitude of problems. In fact, we need to ask God to help us all learn more and know how to learn more in order to keep up with the ongoing and exponentially expanding base of knowledge on all topics.

So we are going to need to change the face of the conservatism; less anger, more brains.

And we need to move on from the Bush Era. Please, no talk of Jebbie in 2012!

Let us first settle on the direction we need to move - and then find new candidates who can sell that message.

For those of you who think the country is doomed, you are wrong. Any time you believe that a majority of your fellow citizens are idiots, you don’t get the majesty of our nation. Obama’s election means something to these people. It is good that they have their chance to run our country. If they do well, we all do well. And if they can’t get a handle on our problems - and if we re-make ourselves into a smart party - then we can and will come back to power.

But first we have to earn our way back."

We will see if the GOP learns anything from this election.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tidbits About the 2008 Election

The election is over, and interesting tidbits of the campaigns are being published. From Newsweek, Hackers and Spending Sprees:

"The computer systems of both the Obama and McCain campaigns were victims of a sophisticated cyberattack by an unknown "foreign entity," prompting a federal investigation . . .

Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported . . .

The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied . . .

On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain's core group of advisers—Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmons—met to decide whether to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had "a pulse."

The Obama campaign's New Media experts created a computer program that would allow a "flusher"—the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day—to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. They dubbed it Project Houdini, because of the way names disappear off the list instantly once people are identified as they wait in line at their local polling station . . .

McCain also was reluctant to use Obama's incendiary pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as a campaign issue. The Republican had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military. McCain balked at an ad using images of children that suggested that Obama might not protect them from terrorism. Schmidt vetoed ads suggesting thatObama was soft on crime (no Willie Hortons). And before word even got to McCain, Schmidt and Salter scuttled a "celebrity" ad of Obama dancing with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres (the sight of a black man dancing with a lesbian was deemed too provocative).

Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary's name came up in veep discussions, and Obama's advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, "Are we sure?" He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good. McCain, on the other hand, was relieved to face Sen. Joe Biden as the veep choice, and not Hillary Clinton, whom the McCain camp had truly feared.

On the night she officially lost the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a long and friendly phone conversation with McCain. Clinton was actually on better terms with McCain than she was with Obama. Clinton and McCain had downed shots together on Senate junkets; they regarded each other as grizzled veterans of the political wars and shared a certain disdain for Obama as flashy and callow.

At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys' club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said."

Post Election Emotions

An interesting Press Release from Brandtrust, Inc.:


Chicago—Oct. 29, 2008—Voters envision an apocalyptic America filled with chaos, corruption and despair if the candidate whom they oppose is elected on Nov. 4. A study conducted in September by Brandtrust, a strategic research firm specializing in methodology designed to uncover emotional and psychological insights, revealed that committed party voters become highly emotionally charged, and they begin to speak of their survival in a very tribal and primal manner when asked to visualize what life would be like with the opposing party in office.

In the study—which was designed to better understand the underlying emotional drivers of party loyalty—voters commented that, “It’s more like a war,” “As soon as the energy leaves, there is a feeling of doomsday,” and “If you don’t win, hopefully you will survive. Hopefully you will move forward and make the best of it and that’s all you can do.”

Regardless of the issues raised or political arguments presented, voters—both republicans and democrats—are looking to the comfort and protection of their own party. In fact, when the scenario of the opposing party in power is presented to them, the sense of comfort and protection afforded by their group is erased, and they are left with a dire view of America.

“When the election is over and the proverbial day-after depression sets in for those who lost, it’s not merely a case of sour grapes. There are real underlying emotional and psychological dynamics at work,” said Daryl Travis, CEO and founder of Brandtrust. “For many party loyalists, their greatest fear has come to pass, and life will remain in a precarious state of limbo for four years.”

What does this mean for voters, political campaigns and even marketing and PR executives? The research conducted by Brandtrust presents a side of voters that is often overlooked in communication platforms. Even voters with the greatest awareness of the issues are responding to deep, non-conscious mental models of themselves, their party and their candidate.

As Travis explains, “The ‘issues,’ in many cases, don’t help voters make their decisions; they help them rationalize the decision they’ve already made on an emotional level.” While shouting platform policies is a requirement for any election, the little things, like relating to and understanding the voter on a more psychological level, may really help win elections.

Helps explain the emotional reaction of some.

Analyze the Election

For those of you who like to analyze the election, here is a good start:

The New York Times, Exit Polls, where you can compare voter demographics back to 1980, and
The New York Times, How the Map Changed From 2004, where you can see how voting at the county level changing between the 2004 and 2008 elections.

If you have any other suggestions, let me know.

Only 6%?

Think about it, Obama had nearly every advantage -- including youth, charisma, money, an economic meltdown, gobs of money, Iraq-mire, dissatisfaction with the incumbent, a confused opponent (someone please tell me, what was McCain's campaign theme), and did I say lots and lots of money -- yet he won only 52% of the national vote, defeating McCain by just 6%. The margin of victory in other recent elections:

  • 2004 - Bush 50.81 vs. Kerry 48.71
  • 2000 - Bush 49.97 vs. Gore 46.46
  • 1996 - Clinton 47.38 vs. Dole 41.02
  • 1992 - Clinton 40.18 vs. Bush 38.35

All things considered, it could/should have been much worse for the Republi-cons.

What do you think?

What Next for the Rogue Diva

What next for the rogue Diva. Read:

CNN, Analysis: Palin rocked campaign, for good and bad
Dallas Morning News, Palin faces questions, different landscape when she returns to Alaska
National Review Online, The Palin Effect

Should Palin run in 2012? Vote in the NoBullU poll.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liberals or Conservatives, Who Has the Sense of Humor

Do conservatives have more fun? Should liberals start describing themselves as humor-challenged? The answer(s) might surprise you. Read The New York Times, Basics | Obama and McCain Walk Into a Bar ... and Psychology Today, Who Enjoys Humor More: Conservatives or Liberals?

A Maverick Suggestion

For whomever wins the election, the first order of business should be to unite the country. The best way to do that would be to offer the office of the Vice President to the person who places second. Under the original terms of the Constitution, which did not foresee political parties, this was how the Vice President was selected. The members of the U.S. Electoral College voted only for office of president rather than for both president and vice president and each elector was allowed to vote for two people for the top office. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided that such a number was a majority of electors) would be president, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president.

We could use a little less party and a little more country if you asked me. Besides, will anyone really miss Biden or Palin.

Alright, fans of SNL will miss Palin, but I think we will see her again. Hopefully after she starts reading a few newspapers and has studied up on current events.

What do you think?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Final Polls and Predictions

The last polls and predictions:

Polly Vote: Obama by 6.0% with 353.72 electoral votes.
FiveThirtyEight: Obama by 6.1% with 348.6 electoral votes.
Princeton Election Consortium: Obama by 6.28% with 353 electoral votes.

Real Clear Politics: Obama by 7.6% with 338 electoral votes.

Obama 278, McCain 132, Toss Ups 128
No Toss Ups: Obama 338, McCain 200

Solid Obama Leaning Obama Solid McCain Leaning McCain Toss Up
StateObama (D)McCain (R)RCP AverageRCP Status20042000
Florida (27)49.047.2Obama +1.8 Toss UpBush +5.0Bush +0.1
North Carolina (15)48.048.4McCain +0.4 Toss UpBush +12.4Bush +12.8
Missouri (11)47.848.5McCain +0.7 Toss UpBush +7.2Bush +3.3
Indiana (11)46.447.8McCain +1.4 Toss UpBush +20.7Bush +15.7
Georgia (15)45.849.8McCain +4.0 Toss UpBush +16.6Bush +11.7
Montana (3)45.048.8McCain +3.8 Toss UpBush +20.5Bush +25.0
Arizona (10)45.849.3McCain +3.5 Toss UpBush +10.5Bush +6.3
Virginia (13)50.245.8Obama +4.4 Toss UpBush +8.2Bush +8.1
Ohio (20)48.846.3Obama +2.5 Toss UpBush +2.1Bush +3.5
Colorado (9)50.845.3Obama +5.5 LeaningBush +4.7Bush +8.4
Nevada (5)50.043.2Obama +6.8 LeaningBush +2.6Bush +3.5
Pennsylvania (21)51.043.7Obama +7.3 LeaningKerry +2.5Gore +4.2
New Mexico (5)50.343.0Obama +7.3 LeaningBush +0.7Gore +0.1
South Dakota (3)42.050.3McCain +8.3 LeaningBush +21.5Bush +22.7
West Virginia (5)42.451.4McCain +9.0 LeaningBush +12.9Bush +6.3
Arkansas (6)43.052.3McCain +9.3 LeaningBush +9.7Bush +5.4
Minnesota (10)51.641.8Obama +9.8 LeaningKerry +3.5Gore +2.4
New Hampshire (4)52.842.2Obama +10.6 SolidKerry +1.3Bush +1.3
South Carolina (8)43.053.0McCain +10.0 SolidBush +17.1Bush +15.9
Wisconsin (10)52.841.8Obama +11.0 SolidKerry +0.4Gore +0.2
Mississippi (6)39.350.7McCain +11.4 SolidBush +19.6Bush +16.9
Iowa (7)54.038.7Obama +15.3 SolidBush +0.7Gore +0.3
New Jersey (15)54.539.0Obama +15.5 SolidKerry +6.7Gore +15.8
Oregon (7)55.339.7Obama +15.6 SolidKerry +4.2Gore +0.5
Washington (11)53.740.7Obama +13.0 SolidKerry +8.2Gore +5.5
Michigan (17)52.539.5Obama +13.0 SolidKerry +3.4Gore +5.2
Maine (4)54.438.8Obama +15.6 SolidKerry +9.0Gore +5.1
Texas (34)40.553.5McCain +13.0 SolidBush +22.9Bush +21.3
California (55)58.734.3Obama +24.4 SolidKerry +9.9Gore +11.8
Massachusetts (12)57.035.7Obama +21.3 SolidKerry +25.1Gore +27.3
Kentucky (8)41.054.5McCain +13.5 SolidBush +19.9Bush +15.1
Alaska (3)40.756.0McCain +15.3 SolidBush +25.6Bush +30.9
Connecticut (7)55.336.0Obama +19.3 SolidKerry +10.3Gore +17.5
New York (31)62.032.3Obama +29.7 SolidKerry +18.3Gore +25.0
Tennessee (11)38.852.8McCain +14.0 SolidBush +14.3Bush +3.9
Alabama (9)33.556.8McCain +23.3 SolidBush +25.7Bush +14.9
Illinois (21)59.034.3Obama +24.7 SolidKerry +10.4Gore +12.0

Rasmussen Report: Obama by 6.0% with at least 313 electoral votes.

Key Swing States in the 2008 Elections

Colorado: Obama by 5.5%
Florida: Obama by 1.8%
Indiana: McCain by 1.4%
Missouri: McCain by 0.7%
Nevada: Obama by 6.8%
New Hampshire: Obama by 12.5%
North Carolina: Obama by 0.4%
Ohio: Obama by 2.5%
Pennsylvania: Obama by 7.3%
Virginia.: Obama by 4.4%

UPDATED November 4, 2008