Thursday, January 15, 2009

BDS Bull

Joe Scarborough writes a weekly column that is published in the local mullet wrapper. Yesterday's column was titled "History will treat Bush kindly." Morning Joe writes:

"This past week proves once and for all that some of America's most elite journalists are infected with the dreaded disease "Bush Derangement Syndrome."

Sadly, BDS has swept through the Washington press corps and caused even the most elite reporters' minds to melt into a boiling stew of bile, intent on beating the president's legacy to a pulp.

Their over-the-top arguments only make me want to defend him that much more.

So today I will write about the single issue on which liberals have claimed George W. Bush's presidency will be judged: Iraq.

Twenty years from now, historians will not rate the president for the mistakes made in 2003. They will place him in the history books based on how Iraq and the Middle East play out.

While we can't predict the future in that chaotic region, we can look at the last two years as a guide.

After Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, George Bush took a tragic situation in Iraq and turned it around. . .

Foreign policy experts tell me daily that Iraq is not Barack Obama's greatest challenge anymore. It is Afghanistan.

And liberals? They just try to change the subject.

We shouldn't let them.

Instead, we should focus on what George W. Bush did right as a lesson to future presidents.

Mr. Bush's greatest insight was understanding Americans should not settle for ties in wars. Our failures in Korea and Vietnam haunted U.S. policy makers for years. And allowing terrorists to run American troops out of Iraq would have empowered al-Qaida and brought about horrific consequences.

So while his generals were begging him to retreat, Bush fought back.

Bob Woodward's latest work on the Iraq War unwittingly paints the president as a courageous leader who stood alone and saved Iraq from failure."

My reply:

"$10+ T national debt, $1.2 T deficit this year, 2.6 M jobs lost in the last year swelling the ranks of the unemployed to more than 11 million people, failing economy, mortgage crisis, incompetent leadership, overstretched military, an unnecessary and disastrous war, politicized government, torture as government policy, Chinese ascension, Russian resurgence, oil addiction (did I miss anything) - it’s not reality, it’s all my imagination, here called the Bush Derangement Syndrome.

It is true that Bush saved Iraq from ‘failure,’ but he was responsible for that ‘failure.’ Would a man who set a house on fire be praised for putting the fire out? I think not.

Bush's record as a student, a military man, a businessman and the so-called ‘leader’ (I thought he was the Decider) of the free world is one of constant failure."

I wonder how Joe might vote in the poll. Email and ask him.

Bush's Place in History - an Example of What Not to Do

After spending hundreds of hours with key Bushies, reviewing thousands of pages of documents and notes, interviewing Bush for nearly 11 hours, writing four books totaling 1,727 pages, all amounting to a very long case study in presidential decision-making, Bob Woodward describes "10 lessons that Obama and his team should take away from the Bush experience." Read Washington Post, 10 Take Aways From the Bush Years.

In other words, Woodward has concluded that Bush is unintelligent (#3) and incurious (#4), doesn't think long term (#9), is passive (#1), thinks he is always right (#5) so he doesn't broker decent (#6) and doesn't want to hear bad news (#2), hides things (#10) and lies to the public (#7), and is delusional (#8). Pretty much sums up the man and his presidency don't you think.

How will history judge George W. Bush's presidency? I think I know how Woodward might vote in the poll. Did you vote yet?

Again I Say, The Bailout is Not Working

Let me say again what I said in early October:

The bailout doesn't seem to be working. The problem isn’t just $1 trillion in subprime loans, the problem is $62trillion in credit default swap (CDS) liability for collateral debt obligations (CDOs) that no one can unravel or value (or even understand).

What is a CDO or CDS? Imagine taking paper debt like mortgages, subprime mortgages, car loans, credit cards loans, and pretty much anything you can imagine. Now combine and mix the paper in a blender, spiking it with worthless rhetorical hyperbole that derivatives are the new paradigm of investments. Then pour the mixture in a pyramid of champagne glasses, to represent the varying levels of return (and risk), with the higher the glass, the lower the return and risk. That represents the CDOs. Now as you sell the mess, insure against the risk of the CDOs decreasing in value with CDSs. Presto, $1 trillion of bad loans is transmuted into $62 trillion in faux wealth. An alchemist would be proud.

That I think is a fair metaphor for the problem, and because of the scope of the problem the Feds don't know what to do. The 1929 depression offers a valuable lesson. A recent article in Time, Are Paulson and Bernanke Running Out of Options? states that:

"After the 1929 collapse, which at its worst left a quarter of the workforce jobless, the U.S. instituted safeguards to ensure liquidity, confidence and trust in the U.S. financial system. There were four pillars: insuring the bank deposits of everyday Americans, allowing access to government funds in case of a panic, providing a regime for the orderly failure of badly run companies and limiting how much credit could be leveraged off a particular asset."

The government should do the same now, defend depository institutions and provide a regime for the orderly failure of badly run non-depository financial institutions and insurance companies. In the process the government and the public will have to make some tough choices and learn to live within a budget.

What do you think?

P.S. Somebody should pay me for this, I prefer gold until further notice.

Palin the Whiner

Apparently Republi-cons are still trying to figure out how Barack Obama got elected, and still whining about it.

Will interviews like this help Palin in the 2012 campaign?

BTW, Obama got elected because he got more popular (and electoral) votes than the other candidates, unlike Bush in 2000, which may explain the confusion. Republi-cons are waiting for the Supreme Court to invalid the election. Maybe they should hold their breath and wait.

Bush Should Just Leave Quietly

Ever wondered why Bush took 77 vacations but held only 47 press conferences. After watching this, with commentary by Jon Stewart, you'll know why.

Maybe he should have just skipped this last press conference and left quietly.

UPDATE: He refuses to leave quietly. Apparently tonight, in prime time, he'll bid us adieu.

But will anybody watch?