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Post Debate Thread

So, who won?  What was the most important issue that came up?  Who had the best answer?  Use this thread to go over the results of the second Presidential debate.

And join us at Conflucians Say at 10:30PM EST for commentary, recapping and snark.

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Presidential Debate Live Blog II

I’m out of popcorn but there’s plenty of debate left.  Follow along with us with our live thread.

We recommend watching the debate on C-Span  listen to our post debate commentary on Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio at 10:30PM EST.

Let ‘er rip!

Presidential Debate Live Blog

Get your popcorn and your cocktail and point your satellite to C-Span for the second of three Presidential debates between Barack Obama and John McCain.  This is a town hall format, moderated by Tom Brokaw at Belmont College in Nashville, TN.

For those of you who want to watch Conflucian style, here are the rules.  Set your DVR to record and turn the sound off.  Pay attention to body language.  Then rewind and watch it with the sound on.  Notice any difference?

We recommend C-Span for debate coverage that is unfiltered.  But if you want to hear what WE think about what happened, tune in tonight at 10:30PM EST for Conflucians Say.  We’ll give you the very best in Conflucian political analysis, commentary and snark. 

Government Of, By and For the One Percent

All Ur Moneez R Belong 2 Me

All Ur Moneez R Belong 2 Me

Friday I wrote about how I hated Reagan with a white-hot passion. Today, I would like to explain why, in further detail.

Remember Reagan’s “Nine Most Terrifying Words“?

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

He then added,

“Unless you’re in the wealthiest One Percent of America. In that case, call me anytime!”

Well, that’s what he should have said. Because that was at the heart of Reagonomics, sometimes called “trickle-down” economics, sometimes called “voodoo” economics, and more recently called “put your head between your legs and kiss prosperity goodbye” economics. And George Bush practices it, religiously, and without Reagan’s late-term realization that he had to raise taxes or destroy the economy altogether. In Bush’s world, the elite One Percent are, indeed, his base.

We’ve been told so many conflicting things about the credit crunch that has been panicking the stock market and the business world. One thing everyone agrees on is that it started with bad mortgage debt. But how did the debt get so bad in the first place? Why did so many banks make such risky loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back? And why where they able to bundle the debts together and swap them among different entities, effectively making it impossible to tell who owns what piece of the bad debt at any given time?

Well, as we know, it was Bill Clinton’s fault. (Isn’t everything?) He relaxed the regulations in the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. That was the root of all evil.

One policy Clinton said he doesn’t regret is his repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, which, for the first time since the Depression, allowed commercial banks to engage in investment banking activities. Clinton said the commercial banks were an important moderating force on the risk-taking of the big investment firms that collapsed this week. “In the case of the current crisis, I believe the bill I signed allowed Bank of America to take over Merrill Lynch,” he said.

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Tuesday: Des Moines Clairvoyant

Yesterday, we who have 401Ks and other investments took another plunge on the Wall Street Roller Coaster.  The vibrations are starting to resonate in other markets as well.  Soon, there will be harmonic oscillations all over the world, reinforcing each other, all swinging and rippling together.

To those of us many more years from retirement, the spectacle is like watching a horror flick at a theater.  It looks really big up there on the screen but even though we are scared, we know that when the movie is over, our heart rates will return to normal after some time and we can forget all about it.  To those of us getting close to retirement or who are retired with savings in investments, it’s like being *IN* the movie itself.

The New York Times is finally facing up to what’s coming:

The Fed’s move was barely noticed. Now there’s talk of another intervention by the Federal Reserve to help thaw the frozen credit markets by buying up short-term commercial debt.

“What I am worried about with all these bailouts,” said the great Wall Street historian Ron Chernow, “is whether they are going to eventually tax the resources of the federal government. The numbers are already getting very, very large. What is especially scary and unsettling is that even actions of this magnitude have not seemed to restore confidence. Each time, you thought that would be the one to stop the contagion. It hasn’t happened.”

This panic is taking place in such a compressed time frame that it is just astonishing. Mr. Chernow pointed out that while the stock market crash of 1929 took place over three brutal trading days in October 1929, it took nearly three years to reach bottom. By then, stocks had lost a shocking 89 percent of their value.

This crisis, by contrast, seems to be moving at hyper-speed — one day it is Lehman Brothers, the next A.I.G., the day after that Washington Mutual. This crisis doesn’t wear you down over time. It hits you over the head with a two-by-four. On a daily basis.

Ahhh, yes, this is the curse of the internet age.  Everything happens at hyperspeed.  That also means that the data modelers can get a better fix on what is actually going on.  It’s just that it’s happening in real time and not in simulation. It will take a skillful politician who understands the parameters and relationships between the economy and government to help us navigate our way out of this mess.

Last December, the Des Moines Register gave its endorsement to Hillary Clinton.  It was a serious and sobering endorsement.  The editorial board acknowledged that they liked Obama’s inspirational delivery.  But they respected Hillary’s depth of knowledge and, looking ahead, they saw that the times we are living in now will require a president who is an insider who understands the synergism between market and government policy.

You will not be able to find this endorsement anywhere on the web.  It appears that it has been scrubbed, like someone wanted to erase the record of what the Des Moines Register said about Hillary.  Even DailyKos removed the crucial part of the endorsement while leaving the honorable mention to Obama.  One of the most complete diaries on the subject was written by our friend Alegre. Many of the bits and pieces that Alegre cites can be found elsewhere on the web though never the complete endorsement.  And I think that is because there was one section of the endorsement where the Des Moines Register was clairvoyant.  It is this missing section that was ignored during most of the primary when Barack Obama hurled accusations of racism at Bill and Hillary Clinton.  It was the part that was neglected when the RBC members gave us a teachable moment about race over gender.  It was the thing that Nancy Pelosi conveniently ignored in her zeal to bang the gavel at the convention.

The endorsement said that the country was at a crucial period of its evolution and that the times required a president like FDR more than it needed the sunny optimism and experimentation of JFK.  I can only find one comment from DailyKos, my own, dated 12/16/07, that refers to the missing section:

… by comparing Clinton with FDR and Obama with JFK.  The endorsement was determined by the state of the nation, not the personalities of the candidates.
We are in for some hard times, my friends.  We have no idea what the coffers are going to look like when the Bushies leave.  We don’t know how many booby traps they are going to leave in the various executive branch departments.  We have an pretty good idea of the state of foreign affairs but the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined.
Our country is at an inflection point like it was during the Great Depression and WWII.
It is not the end of a stable moderately conservative administration like Eisenhower’s.  We are not following in the wake of the Happy Days era.  There isn’t unlimited optimism and great improvements in infrastructure.
That is why Hillary is the obvious choice.  It is a no-brainer when you think about it.

The scrubbers seem to not want anyone to remember that portion of the endorsement.  The damn Cassandras of the Des Moines Register have been silenced.  Let’s just forget about them.  The Obama campaign and the DNC have been wildly successful.  Because now we are stuck with the young, inexperienced JFK when the older, wiser guiding hand of the FDR is benched.

We’re on our own.