Morning Report 8/31/12

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1406.8 9.7 0.69%
Eurostoxx Index 2438.5 34.7 1.44%
Oil (WTI) 95.29 0.7 0.71%
LIBOR 0.418 -0.003 -0.59%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 81.21 -0.486 -0.59%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.65% 0.02%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 192.1 -1.0  

Markets are shrugging off a lousy NAPM Milwaukee report ahead of The Bernank’s speech, which is scheduled for 10:00am EST.  Given this is the last day of the month before a long weekend, there will probably be a flurry of activity during the speech and then the Street will be on the LIE by noon. Bonds and MBS are down slightly

While the general feeling is that Bernake will not say anything earth-shattering (he prefers to announce policy during FOMC statements) people are looking for clues regarding further QE.  Numerous sources have indicated that trading desks are long bonds going into the speech, so there is room for disappointment, or a “buy the rumor, sell the fact” reaction. The next FOMC meeting is in 3 weeks, and that should be the end of anything major out of the Fed until after the election.

Jim Grant has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post discussing the gold standard. FWIW I think the latest political re-consideration of the gold standard is more of a political attempt to keep Libertarians in the tent. He does make a good point that the dual mandate is probably asking the Fed to do too much.  As he puts it: “Positively out of bounds for the chariman of the Federal Reserve is the admission that he is in the wrong line of work.  The institution he leads was created to conduct a central banking business. But Congress and he have steered it into the central planning business. In so doing, the Fed has exchanged a job it could do for one it can’t.” And let’s be honest – the Fed sets prices (interest rates) the same way the Communist Bureaus of the USSR used to set the price of gasoline.

As I was driving into work this morning, Meredith Whitney and James Bullard (St Louis Fed Head) were debating ZIRP. Bullard made a comment (and I am paraphrasing) “Some people think the Fed kept interest rates too low for too long in the early 00s – that’s been sort of an ongoing debate.  The people who disagree would point to the fact that inflation didn’t shoot up. The problem with the policy came in other ways with the financial crisis which no one could see coming. I do worry about people reaching for yield and taking too much risk”  No mention of the housing bubble.  No mention of the stock market bubble.  And Bullard is a supposed inflation hawk.  The Fed thinks it has nothing to do with creating asset bubbles. 

Stephen Roach (ex-Morgan Stanley, now at Yale) makes this exact point when he says that Bernake should not be re-appointed. Meredith Whitney (same link as above) made the point that ZIRP has made it extremely difficult for banks to make money in their traditional business (lending) so they are taking more proprietary bets (either directly or indirectly through over / underweighting different asset classes).  Not to mention that it is annihilating pension funds (the next crisis on the horizon) and retirees are cutting back consumption because of meager earnings on their assets. Contrary to the belief in Washington, there are unintended consequences that are working against what they want to achieve (more lending, more spending, less risk). ZIRP is not “free.” 

If Romney wins, it is possible we could get a break from the Greenspan / Bernake Fed, which may well be the final nail in the 30 year Treasury Bull Market’s coffin. If that happens, in a couple of years, the financial press will learn another buzzword they don’t understand – convexity risk. Which some mortgage REITs aren’t hedging.

116 Responses

  1. Ben says

    “just kidding!”

    Thank you for coming, please don’t forget to tip the wait staff.

    Like

  2. I can’t be the only one wondering today why the podium and the teleprompter didn’t tell Eastwood to stop attacking their buddy the chair.

    Bullying should never be met with silence.

    Like

  3. ” Meredith Whitney (same link as above) made the point that ZIRP has made it extremely difficult for banks to make money in their traditional business (lending) so they are taking more proprietary bets (either directly or indirectly through over / underweighting different asset classes). Not to mention that it is annihilating pension funds (the next crisis on the horizon) and retirees are cutting back consumption because of meager earnings on their assets.”

    It’s like they did a mashup of me and jnc. Ah the lonely life of a speechwriter.

    Like

  4. The chair is mulling 4 offers of a reality tv series today and one to do porn.

    Like

  5. Romney’s tax rate of approx 14% is clearly the work of a rank amateur. The pros go for 0%.

    “Buffett ups remaining gift to his kids’ charities

    By JOSH FUNK, AP Business Writer – 18 hours ago

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett is celebrating his 82nd birthday by giving each of his three children a big present: about $600 million worth of his company’s stock for their charitable foundations.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jxtJL92LGhUD8WD8jRzSShuZAU0g?docId=000988eb61a941999634afd6c0b3c601

    I think we should all start our own foundations. And I really don’t want to hear any more commentary from Buffett about how other people aren’t paying enough in taxes.

    Flat Tax. No deductions or exemptions. Everybody pays.

    (I should make that a bumper sticker)

    Like

  6. Samsung wins another battle. It’s East vs. West!

    Samsung stock up ~2% on the news. AAPL relatively unfazed.

    Like

  7. banned:

    The chair is mulling 4 offers of a reality tv series today and one to do porn.

    Heck, the chair already has its own Twitter hash tag account (@InvisibleObama).

    Like

  8. scott:

    why is Romney a warmonger?

    How about the fact that he wants to build either 15 or 17 Navy ships a year, to what end nobody is sure. Perhaps he thinks the Battle of Jutland was indecisive.

    Or perhaps that he wants to spend a floor of 4% of GDP on defense each year, despite the fact that we already have 47% of the world’s TOTAL defense budget.

    Now how long do you think the American people will be wiling to go for insanity like that unless he starts a war to justify it?

    Like

    • banned:

      OK..that answers one question. But what about this at risk thing? Again, are you saying that anyone who has the authority/responsibility to put the armed forces at risk should himself be a part of those forces?

      And who was the last president who was not a “warmonger”?

      Like

  9. jnc:

    but the average American pays 26% dontcha know! ( I picked up the accent watchng the Hutterites last night on Nat Geo.)

    Like

  10. Banned – It’s a Keynesian stimulus program that Republicans will support.

    Regardless the point will soon be moot anyway with drone warfare. With regards to Romney’s actual likely options on Iran, they are the same as Obama’s, i.e. bombing just like Libya. No one is putting boots on the ground in Iran and Obama is just as likely to order military strikes, if you take him at his word.

    “Obama pledges to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon
    March 04, 2012|By Tom Cohen, CNN”

    http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-04/politics/politics_obama-aipac_1_nuclear-weapon-weapons-grade-uranium-obama-pledges?_s=PM:POLITICS

    You may not like this, but neither of them is making a case for containment/deterrence and both are stating that an Iranian nuclear bomb is unacceptable and military force is on the table. To believe otherwise requires one to assume that President Obama is flat out lying about his intentions, which is a fair argument.

    Like

  11. scott:

    I actually said the same thing about Clinton. I don’t think anybody has to serve in the military, however it’s another thing to send other people to their deaths when you yourself refused to serve, AND then top it off by bragging in every speech about how tough YOU are and how you will make all the other nations submit to you. It’s like the fake tough guys saying “hold me back” and waiting until there people around to do it.

    When one generation doesn’t serve, that’s pretty much the norm these days, but when nobody in your family has EVER served throughout WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s pretty unique in American history and ilustrates more than timing in my opinion.

    Even Clinton’s father and Obama’s grandfather served. Hell even Ron Paul served as a doctor and he’s the one who brought up the “useless foreign wars’ in the GOP primary.

    That’s my opinion

    Like

    • banned:

      That’s my opinion

      That’s great, but of course it still doesn’t answer my questions. I can only ask so many times, so I guess I have to assume you really don’t want to answer me.

      I don’t think anybody has to serve in the military, however it’s another thing to send other people to their deaths when you yourself refused to serve,

      Since the possibility of having to send people to their deaths is a part of the job of the president, again, it sounds to me like you are saying that only those who have served should be president.

      But I doubt very much that this is what actually drives your contempt. The reason I say that is that currently we have an all volunteer army, which means those “other people” you speak of are choosing to put themselves in harms way, or at the very least choosing to subject themselves to the judgment of the people who can put them in harms way. And yet last night you advocated a draft, which would forcibly subject even more people to being put in harm’s way. So your concern for “other people” being sent to their deaths rings rather hollow to me.

      …AND then top it off by bragging in every speech about how tough YOU are and how you will make all the other nations submit to you.

      Of course Romney wasn’t doing this when you made your comment last night. He was simply honoring those who have died serving the country. So this doesn’t make your comment any more sensible to me. But I can at least understand the contempt that might derive from the above framing. If one thinks the US is a bully in the world, it makes sense to object to US leaders (not just Romeny) talking about being “tough” and “strong” because it indicates little more than a desire to beat up on the weak. Of course, such contempt comes not from a concern for US servicemen and women, but rather a concern for what those servicemen and women might do to others in the world.

      It’s like the fake tough guys saying “hold me back” and waiting until there people around to do it.

      There was nothing in Romney’s speech last night that I know of that could reasonably be characterized in those terms, least of all the part which prompted your ridicule, which was of course the subject of my questions.

      Like

  12. The contrast between the legal action against the ex-SEAL and the DoJ’s investigation into classified leaks from the White House should prove telling:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/author-of-book-on-bin-laden-raid-could-face-legal-action/2012/08/30/ddf81b32-f305-11e1-8b5e-add8e2fb7c95_story.html

    Like

  13. “Even Clinton’s father and Obama’s grandfather served.”

    Romney, Clinton and Obama have the exact same amount of military experience prior to the Presidency.

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  14. Was FDR a warmonger? What if the candidate never served in combat? Is that disqualifying? What if they were, say, in the field artillery, combat yes, but front lines? Not so sure? Do bomber pilots (or crew) count? I mean 30000 feet right? That’s really at the level of a warmonger, no? If not, why not?

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  15. Troll, an even better test would be do drone pilots count.

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  16. The pisser for me is that I too find Romney and his family’s lack of service intolerable and find Obama’s lack equally disqualifying. If I added sanctimoniousness I could sound like you.

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  17. Once one starts invoking a candidate’s grandfather’s service, I consider the argument to no longer be serious, but rather opportunistic. Better to focus on policy at that point.

    Like

  18. This is great:

    “August 30, 2012, 7:12 pm
    The Attack Ad, Pompeii-Style
    By PHILIP FREEMAN

    Decorah, Iowa

    A.D. 79 was a rough year for Marcus Cerrinius Vatia. The up-and-coming young man was running for the important office of aedile, one of the two junior magistrates in the seaside town of Pompeii. A century earlier, the Roman orator Cicero had admired the generally honest and upright campaigns conducted in this provincial town on the Bay of Naples. Unlike in Rome itself, where corruption was rampant, any hardworking Pompeian man with enough money and friends might rise to the office of aedile — unless he was a member of an undesirable profession, a public executioner, for example, or an actor.

    If Vatia could clear the first hurdle and be elected aedile, perhaps in a few years he would be chosen as one of the duoviri (“two men”) who presided over the city. But even as an aedile, he would be guaranteed a place on the town council and special seats for life at the local gladiatorial shows. So as the smoking crater of Vesuvius loomed over Pompeii, Vatia tried to drum up support on the usual round of guild banquets, tavern meetings and dinners with wealthy citizens.

    But politics could be a dirty business, even in Pompeii. Sometime in the night, one of the professional political teams that painted signs around town whitewashed some old campaign ads from the previous year and replaced them with new graffiti, including “The petty thieves support Vatia for aedile” and “The late night drinkers all ask you to elect Marcus Cerrinius Vatia as aedile.” Poor Vatia had become a victim of negative campaign advertising.

    Since tradition in Pompeii kept ads from being blatantly defamatory, a favorite trick of local politicians was to plaster the tombs and walls of the town with fake endorsements for their opponents from unsuitable supporters — runaway slaves, gamblers and prostitutes. In Roman politics, where the appearance of honor and dignity was all important, even obviously false endorsements could bring shame and defeat to a struggling candidate.

    The almost 3,000 political inscriptions that survive from Pompeii tell us more about Roman elections than that they featured dirty tricks. Legitimate ads from individuals and groups covered the walls from the Temple of Venus to the Amphitheater, occasionally with warnings not to tamper with them (“If you spitefully deface this sign, may you become very ill”). Most are formulaic recommendations of a candidate as a vir bonus (“good man”) or, in the case of our Marcus Cerrinius Vatia, “deserving.” Other get-out-the-vote ads are more specific, like the graffiti for Gaius Julius Polybius, who “provides good bread”; for Marcus Casellius Marcellus, who “gives great games”; and for Bruttius Balbus, who “will preserve the treasury.”

    Most of these ads were sponsored by men, but a surprising number were paid for by women, who along with slaves were not allowed to vote. Pompeian women knew that although they couldn’t cast a ballot, they could still influence an election. Respectable women like Taedia Secunda endorsed her grandson Lucius Secundus for aedile. But even barmaids like Aegle and Zmyrina — their Greek names suggest they had once been slaves — appeared to have commissioned sign writers to post ads outside their tavern on the Street of Abundance.

    Group endorsements from professional guilds were also important. Surviving campaign inscriptions include ads from fruit vendors, mule drivers, goldsmiths, bakers, barbers, innkeepers, grape pickers and the chicken sellers, who “beg you” to elect “Epidius and Suettius as duoviri.” These various labor and business organizations wanted to make sure they had men in office who would keep their taxes low. Religious organizations also had their favorite candidates. Worshipers of the Egyptian goddess Isis urged passers-by “to elect Gnaeus Helvius Sabinus as aedile.”

    Whether Vatia won the election and was sworn in in July is unknown, but the next month Vesuvius exploded and buried the town of Pompeii and its politicians under countless tons of pumice and ash.

    Philip Freeman, a classics professor at Luther College, is the editor of “How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians.”

    http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/the-attack-ad-pompeii-style/?ref=opinion

    Like

  19. Regarding Romney, don’t tell me what a tough guy you are, show me.

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  20. my point regarding the family history is this.

    If I were a Republican commetator I would say there is somthing “un-American” about the Romney family if they were Democrats.

    You think if Obama had five adult sons that didn’t sign up even after 9/11 that the GOP wouldn’t make hay of that? Please!

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  21. If military service was your criteria, then there’s no basis for having voted for Obama over McCain.

    Like

  22. Worth noting:

    “Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes

    By Christina Bonnington and Spencer Ackerman
    August 30, 2012 |
    6:30 am |

    It seemed like a simple enough idea for an iPhone app: Send users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars. But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.”

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/drone-app/

    Like

  23. “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a mostly somber message on growth Friday, but offered no further central bank action to stimulate the moribund economy.

    In his much anticipated speech from the central bank summit in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke reiterated his position that the Fed’s Open Markets Committee stands at the ready to provide help but is not yet unleashing additional stimulus.”

    We’re up today because Bernanke is the best tease since Gypsy Rose Lee and Blaze Starr, in the heyday of burlesque.

    If you can make them think you’re showing skin, even when you’re not, you can’t make money in adult entertainment anymore but certainly at the Fed at least.

    Like

  24. jnc:

    Obama never left the country to avoid serving, unlike Romney and Clinton, in my mind a crucial difference.

    Like

  25. Your criteria keeps shifting to try and draw a distinction between Romney, Clinton and Obama. First it was the grandfather clause, now it’s fleeing the country to avoid serving.

    I believe your real issue is with their policies, not personal behavior and trying to somehow draw a distinction between them to argue that Romney is unfit to be President whereas Clinton and Obama were based around their military service or lack thereof for their grandfathers and/or children is spurious.

    Like

  26. jnc:

    an even better test would be do drone pilots count

    Yeah, ask a fighter pilot whether he thinks drone operators are combat pilots or not.

    Like

  27. jnc

    Please go back to my original post

    “I actually said the same thing about Clinton. I don’t think anybody has to serve in the military, however it’s another thing to send other people to their deaths when you yourself refused to serve,”

    No my criteria haven’t budged. Clinton and Romney were called to serve and refused, or more accurately left the country to avoid doing so. Obama is too young for the draft.

    As for family history, it’s hard to imagine that if the shoe was on the other foot a Romney surrogate liek John Sunnunu that as recently as last month called Obama un American wouldn’t be yelling this from the rooftops.

    Like

  28. Did you vote for Clinton and/or Obama? If so, then clearly their lack of military service wasn’t disqualifying. Under that standard, then it’s not disqualifying for Romney either.

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  29. And, I guess under Banned’s criteria, FDR was a warmonger and unworthy of respect.

    Like

  30. Another thing I find funny is how Fox loves the Reverend Wright and his “Goddman America” comment, despite the fact that Wright served 6 years in the miltary, more than all the people at Fox combined and more than Rove, Feith, Cheney, Perle, and all the war mongers in the Bush White House combined too.

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  31. except that FDR was too young for the Spanish American War and served as Under Secretary of the Navy during WW1

    Wanna try again?

    Like

  32. To me, the difference is that Clinton and Obama weren’t saber-rattling before they got elected (neither was GWB), but Romney is.

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  33. Banned, I hold you to a higher standard than Fox or John Sunnunu. If building 15 or 17 Navy ships a year is bad policy, then it’s bad policy regardless of whether McCain, Obama, Clinton or Romney advocates it.

    Down the path of selective outrage over military service based on political affliction lies Cao, Ruk and Fiona. I’d advise avoiding it.

    Also, part of the problem with the Battle of Jutland was that it was indecisive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland

    I’d recommend Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie for the best accounting of the subject.

    Like

  34. scott:

    If you think in all his foreign policy speeches that Romney isn’t presenting himself as a tough guy, then we have no common vocabulary in which to have a conversation.

    Like

    • banned:

      If you think in all his foreign policy speeches that Romney isn’t presenting himself as a tough guy, then we have no common vocabulary in which to have a conversation.

      If you think this is responsive in any way to either my questions or my most recent comments, then you are correct.

      Like

  35. “Michigoose, on August 31, 2012 at 10:36 am said:

    To me, the difference is that Clinton and Obama weren’t saber-rattling before they got elected (neither was GWB), but Romney is.”

    That probably applies to Clinton, but I’d argue that Obama’s comment about going after bin Laden in Pakistan regardless of their objections counts, and was in fact called out by Biden and Clinton at the time during the Democratic primaries.

    Like

  36. jnc:

    To the extent that it matters, no I never voted for clinton. HW in 1992 because I thought he had done pretty well, and Dole in 1996 even though I knew he would lose, because with his record of service to the country I thought he had a right not to be embarassed at the polls

    Call that weird if you like.

    Like

  37. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 10:37 am said:

    scott:

    If you think in all his foreign policy speeches that Romney isn’t presenting himself as a tough guy, then we have no common vocabulary in which to have a conversation.”

    Obama has done a fine job with the tough guy persona as well. See selective national security leaking to the NYT, etc. It’s hard to out hawk Obama, but Romney is giving it a go.

    Like

  38. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 10:40 am said:

    Call that weird if you like.”

    DINO

    Like

  39. jnc

    yes on the Jutland comment, i was being funny in the larger sense about Germany spending huge Romney-like amounts of money to build a surface navy to fight once and then retire, but history jokes like physics jokes often go unnoticed!

    Like

  40. jnc

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative as advertised.

    Dole would be a conservative Democrat today.

    Like

  41. jnc:

    Obama’s comment about going after bin Laden in Pakistan regardless of their objections counts

    Believe it or not, I took that as nothing more than unrealistic hyperbole at the time. . . boy, was I wrong!

    Like

  42. jnc

    I don’t disgree with your points about Obama but once again he never avoided service in the military when called upon

    Like

  43. “Michigoose, on August 31, 2012 at 10:47 am said:
    jnc:

    Obama’s comment about going after bin Laden in Pakistan regardless of their objections counts

    Believe it or not, I took that as nothing more than unrealistic hyperbole at the time. . . boy, was I wrong!”

    Unlike domestic policy, the President has tended to say what he means and mean what he says when it comes to foreign policy. That’s why I take his comments about Iran’s nuclear program and all options being on the table at face value.

    The reason we haven’t bombed Iran yet is because President Bush asked for and got a third option in terms of the Stuxnet virus. That coupled with the assassination program for Iranian nuclear scientists has bought the U.S. some time, but when push comes to shove, I actually believe Obama will follow through with military strikes.

    Like

  44. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 10:47 am said:

    jnc

    I don’t disgree with your points about Obama but once again he never avoided service in the military when called upon”

    I still say that you are better to stick with policy critiques. If 15 to 17 carriers is bad policy, it’s bad policy regardless of who advocates for it or their military background.

    Like

  45. scott

    Hit me again because I can’t pick out the questions you want answered.

    Like

    • banned:

      Hit me again because I can’t pick out the questions you want answered.

      OK. What did you mean when you said “warmongers should have something at risk”? What should they have at risk?

      And who was the last president who was not a “warmonger”.

      Like

  46. jnc

    Of course it is, but I brought that up in the context of Romney consistently attempting to portray himself as a tough guy regardless of the massive evidence to the contrary.

    Like

  47. Banned, I don’t have to try again, that was a political appointment. So, a warmonger he is under your criteria and unworthy of respect.

    Like

  48. jnc:

    Notice I said “at the time.” I agree with your assessment since he’s more of a known quantity now.

    Like

  49. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 10:54 am said: Edit Comment

    jnc

    Of course it is, but I brought that up in the context of Romney consistently attempting to portray himself as a tough guy regardless of the massive evidence to the contrary.”

    Would anything in Obama’s pre-Presidental background have lead you to believe that he would be as ruthless with prosecuting the War on Terror as he has been to date, including outsourcing torture, assassination of American citizens, and escalation of the drone strikes where any male of a certain age in a certain location is considered to be an assumed legitimate terrorist with no further identification necessary? Oh, don’t forget the (selective) crack down on leaks.

    There’s no difference between candidate Romney and candidate Obama when it comes to tough talk on the campaign trail coupled with the lack of previous military experience. I fully expect a President Romney to reel it back in and have the same (hypocritical) objections to certain rhetoric the moment he is sworn in.

    Like

  50. george:

    in other words, my answer caught you off guard so you’ll continue to argue with the empty chair of things that I did not say.

    Like

  51. “Michigoose, on August 31, 2012 at 10:59 am said:

    jnc:

    Notice I said “at the time.” I agree with your assessment since he’s more of a known quantity now.”

    Would you count Obama’s comments regarding Pakistan as “sabre rattling”?

    Like

  52. Hey, another warmonger was Eisenhower. Never served in combat. Pity.

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  53. Your right banned, I am arguing with an empty chair.

    Well said.

    So, now political appointments are considered service hunh?

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  54. “There’s no difference between candidate Romney and candidate Obama when it comes to tough talk on the campaign trail coupled with the lack of previous military experience.”

    There’s one difference on which we can never agree apparently, that Romney had his chance to BE a tough guy when his nation asked him to and ran away instead.

    For anyone for whom that does not matter, it’s perfectly fine. I’m not trying to convince any of you. All of you hold different opinions which I respect. You have all asked me to explain mine, which I have.

    Like

  55. george:

    since I never brought up combat in a single post, once again, enjoy the chair.

    Like

  56. Hey, Bush I was a warmonger too. Torpedo-Bomber my arse, like that’s putting yourself in harms way. And Carter, submariner, what combat avoiding chump! And he had the warmongering gall to send troops to invade Iran! How the hell was he not impeached?

    Like

  57. jnc:

    No, I didn’t consider it saber rattling at the time, as I said above.

    And now, by definition I guess, it isn’t saber rattling.

    Like

  58. george

    I would step in at this point, but I think you’ve got the chair on the ropes. go for the knockout before the bell rings

    Like

  59. Nope banned, pretty sure everybody thinks the chair’s been knocked out and now is babbling incoherently..

    Like

  60. Just so long as the chair didn’t fall backwards and break its neck.

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  61. george:

    If you think you’ve won something, I’m ok with that.

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  62. To slightly divert the thread, I believe that the Republicans won’t get much traction trying to out hawk Obama. They would be better served arguing that his embrace and extension of the Bush administration War on Terror polices proves that they were right in the first place, and President Obama’s previous attacks on Bush over civil liberties were politically motivated, opportunistic, hypocrisy.

    They can run an ad with several select quotes from Democrats over the “erosion of civil liberties” in 2008 contrasted with the Obama administrations embrace and extension of the exact same policies, and then close with this piece by former VP Cheney:

    ” He obviously has been through the fires of becoming President and having to make decisions and live with the consequences. And it’s different than being a candidate. When he was candidate he was all for closing Gitmo. He was very critical of what we’d done on the counterterrorism area to protect America from further attack and so forth. . . .

    I think he’s — in terms of a lot of the terrorism policies — the early talk, for example, about prosecuting people in the CIA who’ve been carrying out our policies — all of that’s fallen by the wayside. I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience.”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/01/18/cheney_72/

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  63. I’m afraid this will kill the chair, but what the hell. VP Biden, 5 deferments and then the Iraq vote. Sick, sick bastard.

    Like

  64. The next time I defend Biden on anything will be the first.

    Who exactly are you fighting with George?

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  65. “To slightly divert the thread, I believe that the Republicans won’t get much traction trying to out hawk Obama. They would be better served arguing that his embrace and extension of the Bush administration War on Terror polices proves that they were right in the first place, and President Obama’s previous attacks on Bush over civil liberties were politically motivated, opportunistic, hypocrisy.”

    Please do!

    The fact that the GOP hasn’t made such an argument is another sign of how badly run the Romney campaign is.

    Like

  66. “Michigoose, on August 31, 2012 at 11:14 am said:

    jnc:

    No, I didn’t consider it saber rattling at the time, as I said above.

    And now, by definition I guess, it isn’t saber rattling.”

    That’s fine, however under that view I’d argue that you can just as easily construe Romney’s comments on defense as “unrealistic hyperbole” as well. I’d argue the distinction is subjective based on whether or not you agree with the candidate.

    Like

  67. From Benen:

    “Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who is helping steer millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans, on Thursday told POLITICO he disagrees with the GOP’s stance on gay marriage and believes the U.S. needs to consider raising taxes to balance the budget.

    Koch, who is serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from New York, spoke to POLITICO after delivering brief remarks at a reception held in his honor by Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group he chairs and has helped fund.”

    So it must be the OTHER brother who is the devil then. The list of suspects continues to narrow.

    Like

  68. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 11:23 am said:

    The fact that the GOP hasn’t made such an argument is another sign of how badly run the Romney campaign is.”

    I’m still waiting for the ads with the stimulus unemployment chart and video of Obama’s promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. The only thing I can think of is that they are keeping those in reserve for the final push.

    Like

  69. I would guess that so far the most resonant appeal of the campaign for Romney has been the you didn’t build that one. The rest are just raw meat for the base.

    He really doesn’t seem to reach out too much or perhaps too effectively to those who are still on the fence, however small a group that might be.

    Like

  70. They should have placed their asses in uniform in the past when called on by their country. combat service itself is a roll of the dice.

    As jnc and i have been chatting about you can go either way on Obama as a warmonger. He certainly has done badly in Afghanistan, but you could argue that he never would have entered that conflict on his own.

    Bush definitely was, but the last one before that was Johnson.

    Reagan for all his bluster, was actually a pretty astute judge of where the line was except perhaps in 1983. I think HW was top notch in showing how if you think you have to do it, the way to go.

    Like

    • banned:

      They should have placed their asses in uniform in the past when called on by their country.

      OK…so past tense. So it isn’t that they “should” have something at risk like you said, but rather it is that they should have already placed themselves at risk at some point in the past. But how then does this square with your claim that “I don’t think anybody has to serve in the military”? You seem to be trying to have it both ways. This makes no sense.

      BTW, for the sake of clarity, I am assuming by “warmonger” you mean any president or presidential candidate who either a) uses rhetoric suggesting he is willing to use American military power to protect/advance American interests or b) actually does use American military power to protect/advance American interests.

      As jnc and i have been chatting about you can go either way on Obama as a warmonger.

      Actually I don’t see how anyone can sensibly go “either way” on Obama. He is plainly a “warmonger” in your usage, both thru his words and actions. Unless by “warmonger” you mean “anyone that banned would like to disparage”.

      Bush definitely was, but the last one before that was Johnson.

      This suggests that you think Clinton was the last president who was not a “warmonger”. But Clinton did indeed use American military power, many, many times. American airmen were used to control sovereign airspace over a foreign nation, Iraq, throughout his term in office. He deployed airmen in Bosnia for the same purpose. He committed ground troops in Macedonia, Haiti, and East Timor. He ordered air bombings of Iraq in 1998 and of Serbia in 1999.

      Why is he not a “warmonger”?

      Like

  71. A telling observation on the Plum Line:

    “Overall, this leaves the GOP in an unusual position for a major political party — remarkably diverse at its highest levels, but unable to make gains with the people those politicians are supposed to represent.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-gops-unusual-diversity-problem/2012/08/31/01e20bde-f37e-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_blog.html

    I’d argue that the idea that politicians who happen to be minorities “represent” those groups in some sort of racial parliament is one that the GOP rejects in principle.

    Like

    • I’d argue that the idea that politicians who happen to be minorities “represent” those groups in some sort of racial parliament is one that the GOP rejects in principle.

      Well put, and one of the places where Rs are more attractive than Ds, but many Ds don’t know it.

      I think the successful D new minority leaders are getting that point: BHO, Booker, lots of western chicanos. The people who think in terms of ethnic politics are the old Irish-Jewish-Italian-Polish Ds, like Biden, for example, and Axelrod. I actually suspect BHO might find that part of his website an embarrassment, the part where his campaign sells “Jews for Obama” tee-shirts, and the like.

      I also thought the first black POTUS would be R, because of this observation by JNC. I thought it would be Colin Powell.

      I also think the racial thinking in both parties gives us a situation where TX redistricts to cut D seats but in doing so cuts chicano representation putting us in violation of the VRA. What I am saying is that I believe the R racial thinking in TX is a subsidiary to its political thinking, as testified to by state officials, not vice versa. An oddity.

      Like

  72. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 11:45 am said:

    They should have placed their asses in uniform in the past when called on by their country. combat service itself is a roll of the dice.

    As jnc and i have been chatting about you can go either way on Obama as a warmonger. He certainly has done badly in Afghanistan, but you could argue that he never would have entered that conflict on his own.”

    You are arguing that an American President, regardless of party, would not have attacked Al-Queda and by extension the Taliban in Afghanistan following 9/11?

    I’d argue that such a President would have been impeached.

    Like

  73. banned:

    So it must be the OTHER brother who is the devil then. The list of suspects continues to narrow.

    Besides AfP and Cato, David Koch is a generous philanthropist, who has given >$200M for cancer research and funded things at the American Museum of Natural History, NPR, Lincoln Center. Charles is not nearly so generous and tends to focus on libertarian causes.

    I think both brothers had prostate cancer. David for sure.

    Like

  74. “You are arguing that an American President, regardless of party, would not have attacked Al-Queda and by extension the Taliban in Afghanistan following 9/11”

    My bad. not to go in initially as you and I have previously discussed, but to stay in for 11 years.

    Strictly poor wording on my part.

    Like

  75. jnc:

    “They added that Wall Street sentiment on Facebook is now much worse than advertiser sentiment.

    The brokerage cut its price target by $10 to $15, 60 percent below the price at which the company’s stock started trading on May 18.”

    sue and I had discussed the value before and I said that below 20 was probably fair, with mid-teens a buy. I’m still there pending the expiration of all the lockups and seeing what the float is at that time.

    I like Zuckerberg because I think he is unscrupulous like Gates, Jobs, etc a real pirate. Time will tell.

    Like

  76. excuse me, I ment to write the short as a percent of the float not the float.

    Like

  77. Worth noting:

    “August 30, 2012, 7:16 p.m. ET

    Emanuel for Property Rights
    The Chicago mayor squashes a plan to roil housing markets.

    Let us now praise Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has joined the Federal Housing Finance Agency in arguing that eminent domain to seize mortgages could retard a housing market recovery. ”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444508504577593004201838694.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

    Like

  78. 27% of the market cap is cash (10 B) which is right around MSFT territory and the forward PE is 28 but their float is to big obviously which will continue to be a problem

    Like

  79. He Who Shall Not Be Named has another post up. I thought this was pretty funny:

    “Republican politics used to be fun. Even I sort of got into it. When I was undercover working for George W. Bush in a campaign office in Orlando back in 2004, it was a much easier acting job than I expected it to be. You went into the campaign office, sat with the other volunteers, and talked about all the Hollywood actors you wished would keep their damned mouths shut. Any liberal who claims there isn’t lots of fun to be had making fun of liberals is a goddmaned liar. ”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/mitt-romney-paul-ryan-speeches-make-me-miss-george-bush-20120831

    Like

  80. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm said:

    27% of the market cap is cash (10 B) which is right around MSFT territory and the forward PE is 28 but their float is to big obviously which will continue to be a problem”

    No guts, no glory John – Make the call on when to buy and at what price.

    Like

  81. scott

    You asked my opinion which I gave to you in many different posts. Now you want to prove to whomever that my opinion is wrong, which of course is fine.

    For that purpose you will define what I mean for me. No matter what answer I give, you will tell me I mean something else or something additional. Then you will ask me to clarify further about the things that you wrote, not I (like Clinton). You can continue with this all day if you like but I’m not sure what the point is.

    Why not simply state that I am wrong and give your own opinion? (which I believe that you have already done)

    Like

    • banned:

      You asked my opinion which I gave to you in many different posts.

      Actually I asked you to clarify what you meant by a comment you made last night. It’s been like pulling teeth to get you to do so, although admittedly you have written many posts not clarifying it.

      Why not simply state that I am wrong and give your own opinion?

      It’s hard to tell someone they are wrong when you don’t know what the hell they are talking about or what point they are trying to make. But since you asked for an opinion, here’s one:

      I think ripping into a someone with smug and snide comments simply because he was praising people who have died serving the nation shows a distinct lack of style and class, and I think the cynic routine, while certainly well-crafted and occasionally even entertaining, is largely devoid of any real thought or content, as any attempt to pin down the source or meaning of the cynicism so often shows.

      Like

  82. jnc:

    Ok currently the short as a percent of the float is 18% in FB, by comparison Groupon is 22% and yelp is 21% On the other hand, Google is only 1.6%.

    So there is no way for a stock to make headway against those numbers except on a short squeeze around a financial event such as a takeover bid or a heavy beat.

    You have to separate out the business model from the stock price, which is why MSFT shareholders have been railing at the gods and sacrificiing sheep for years in an effort to determine why their business model works but their stock doesn’t.

    so I can’t give you a price to buy in generally other than I would value the company in the midteens, However if the shorts are solid against it, it could easily fall below 10, even if that would put the forward PE below 20.

    Like

  83. mark:

    It seems to me that you would have to show that telling interest groups what they don’t want to hear can be electorally succesfull first, an unproven strategy.

    Like

  84. The only way the strategy of telling interest groups what they don’t want to hear would work is if you gore everyone’s oxen at the same time. No favorites.

    Like

  85. Now next up, the Dems had better not wheel out it’s all star lineup of near dead and disabled politicians.

    Whatever you thought of the GOP, they brought some youth and intensity that you can’t match with Carl Levin and his brother, Charlie Rangel, Lautenberg, John Dingell, Harry Reid etc.

    If there was ever a time to introduce America to the next generation of Dems, this is it.

    Like

  86. They should have placed their asses in uniform in the past when called on by their country. combat service itself is a roll of the dice.

    I like Don Juan’s formulation of who is a warmonger and who isn’t. I’m willing to go half-Heinlein and say that any candidate for federal office (after all, only Congress can declare war) should have had military experience. Not necessarily a combat role, but something that familiarizes themselves with the military system.

    This would at least inoculate everybody against these quadrennial dick-measuring contests over who is braver. One of the most despicable political smears ever was how the Dubya campaign and its cronies managed to paint a decorated veteran as a coward. Perhaps the most brazen best defense is a strong offense maneuver in politcal history.

    For the record, I have never served but my father was a Vietnam era fighter pilot, my grandfather was Signal Corps under Patton and my father-in-law was a Green Beret with six tours of duty.

    Like

  87. “bannedagain5446, on August 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm said:

    Now next up, the Dems had better not wheel out it’s all star lineup of near dead and disabled politicians. ”

    They are apparently planning on running against Bush again.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/dem-convention-will-focus-on-bush-economics–but-not-on-bush-the-man/2012/08/31/9dbc4472-f39a-11e1-adc6-87dfa8eff430_blog.html

    Like

  88. banned:

    Here’s the list of speakers for the DNC.

    Like

  89. scott

    Ok, we’re good.

    Like

  90. Mike:

    Some names I don’t know, and a few head scratchers but overall lacking the oxygen bottle quality so that’s good

    Like

  91. Sandra Fluke will cuss at an empty chair representing Rush Limbaugh.

    We could do this all day …

    Tammy Duckworth will cuss at an empty chair representing Joe Walsh.

    Hey, how come all the AAPI speakers are women?

    Like

  92. Some names I don’t know, and a few head scratchers but overall lacking the oxygen bottle quality so that’s good

    John Lewis is pretty damn old. He is the last of the original MLK civil rights marchers.

    Like

  93. In the that’s funny department, found this from CNN in a convention summary:

    “It’s no surprise Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair raised a lot of eyebrows. Anyone having an unscripted conversation with an empty chair during a live broadcast on every major network would. It is Clint Eastwood, after all. What the Internet seemed most delighted by was that no one could decipher what Eastwood was actually saying.

    Transcripts revealed a text riddled with incomplete sentences. The best “summary” was posted on Comedy Central’s Indecision Tumblr and goes like this, “I was talking to Barack Obama the other day… Potato. Sneaker. Fish. Pizza. Algebra. Racecar.”

    I really did laugh out loud when I read that.

    Like

  94. “A prominent Catholic friar has apologized for saying that child victims of sex abuse may at times bear some of the responsibility for the attacks because they can seduce their assailants, and that first-time sex offenders should not receive jail time.

    “I did not intend to blame the victim,” the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said Thursday. “A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible.”

    As founder of the Trinity Retreat House, which operates “to provide spiritual direction and retreats for clergy,” Groeschel has worked with priests involved in abuse.

    His initial comments were published by the National Catholic Register, a conservative Christian publication, which also issued an apology.

    “Child sexual abuse is never excusable,” the newspaper said in a statement. “The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel’s comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/31/priest-apologizes-after-sex-abuse-comments-draw-ire/?hpt=hp_t3

    My two cents.

    The church has two separate problems one of which it would no doubt admit to and the other it doesn’t seem to get.

    For the obvious part, they confuse the their religous calling to forgive sinners with their duty to society in a postion of leadership to protect children.One thing or the other has to give in this partiuclar problem. I think they are coming around to that now.

    The other is that by age and lifestyle the church has completely removed itself from the everyday life of society. So their leadership is uncommonly old for any national institution, even a faith, primarily I would say because of celibacy. The lifestyle itself promotes either deep subterfuge by those who can’t meet the high bar or the promotion into central leadership of people who are odd ducks to be charitable who live in a world all their own.

    It’s sad, but it has a obvious path toward rehabilitation. Get rid of celibacy, which has no Biblical basis and see what happens.

    Like

  95. mark:

    We only have some 650-700 bases in the world outside Afghanistan. Not nearly enough.

    Like

  96. Worth a read, courtesy of Shrink on the Plum Line.

    “The Origins of the “Great Inflation”
    Posted on August 25, 2012 ”

    http://thefaintofheart.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/the-origins-of-the-great-inflation/

    Like

  97. It’s the end of the world:

    “At Cat Video Film Festival, Stars Purr for Close-Ups

    By MELENA RYZIK
    Published: August 31, 2012 ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/movies/at-cat-video-film-festival-stars-purr-for-close-ups.html?_r=1&hp

    Winning Video:

    Like

  98. Oh, jnc, how can you resist a cat who speaks French?!? That video was great. . . somehow I suspect that, no matter where they live, all cats really speak French.

    Like

  99. J,

    It always goes back to the Knowledge Problem when it comes to the concept of Central Planning.

    Like

  100. BTW, I’ve got a new post up for football Saturday. What schools should I add for you guys?

    Like

  101. Michi, not a big college f-ball guy. As an alum of Arizona, it’s the only way to make it through the season.

    Like

  102. McWing–same reason I don’t follow the NFL much (Lions, anyone? Plus the Seahawks. My pro teams don’t do all that well). I’ll add the Wildcats to the mix, though. . . I’m guessing they’ll beat Toledo today! 🙂

    Like

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