Archive for August, 2007
“Little Rock, AR – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has surged to third place in the Republican presidential contest in Iowa, leading potential candidate Fred Thompson in that state and New Hampshire , according to an American Research Group poll released today,” reports the estimable, well, we really don’t know who because the article is posted without a byline. So please forgive us, whoever wrote this. We really want to give you the credit that you deserve. The post is titled Poll: Huckabee Surges In Iowa, New Hampshire And South Carolina
Huckabee, who scored a stunning second-place in the Republican Party of Iowa straw poll on Aug. 11, received support from 14 percent of Iowans and 9 percent of New Hampshire Republicans in the new ARG poll. He had been at 1 percent in each state in July. Huckabee stands at 9 percent in South Carolina , up from 3 percent in July, and is tied with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for fourth place … more
That Huckabee is tied for fourth with Romney becomes significant only when you consider how little Huckabee has spent compared to how much Romney has spent.
- Romney failing in SC—we ask: given Romney’s massive spending, why?
- Romney spends “like drunken sailor” even as he gets less return for his every campaign dollar, and even as his personal investment portfolio tanks
- Gronke asks: “will Mitt Romney be the John Connally of our age?”
- Romney’s massive media expenditures less and less effective; more on Romney and the law of diminishing marginal returns on investment
- Cillizza: “[Romney] campaign has sought to downplay the extent of [Romney’s] personal donations”
- Boivie to Romney: “spend less money and keep quiet”
- etc., etc.
We ask: Has anyone at Camp Romney seen the handwriting on the wall yet? Or are all of you Romney parasites and hirelings content to allow Romney to gleefully spend himself into complete bankruptcy as long as you keep getting your perks, pay-offs, and pay envelops?
Does Romney have any real friends?
It’s sad when you think about it.
“Mitt Romney has driven home his support for American-made cars during his White House bid but the message is running on empty with his top staffers and even his five sons as they motor around in imports,” reports the estimable Dave Wedge of the Boston Herald in a story titled Mitt’s staff gung ho for imports.
The parking lot at Romney’s Commercial Street campaign headquarters could be mistaken for a high-end foreign car dealership as staffers drive Lexus SUVs, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Audis and Saabs, many adorned with Mitt Romney campaign stickers.
Among the Romney staffers’ with foreign-made vehicles:
- Campaign manager Beth Myers drives a $35,000 Lexus RX350;
- Former state GOP director Mark Rowe has a BMW 325i;
- Benjamin Godley, who also worked for Romney in the Bay State governor’s office, has a Mercedes-Benz CLK320;
- Adviser Ron Kaufman, a former strategist for President Bush, drives a $50,000 Mercedes S600.
- Romney himself drives a Ford Mustang and his wife has a 2005 Cadillac, but he has been a foreign car aficionado, despite being the son of a Detroit auto magnate. Records show Romney owned a 1985 BMW and a 1996 Saab Turbo 9000.
- One GOP insider said Romney treated the classic BMW – his favorite – “like his baby.”
Romney’s five sons appeared with their dad onstage in February when he announced his presidential bid in Dearborn, Mich., at the Henry Ford Museum, father of the American auto assembly line. But all of Romney’s boys are foreign car owners, and most have never owned an American vehicle, records show … more
Here is what really galls.
Here is what really rankles.
Romney insisted—yes, Romney insisted—rumour has it that he pounded the table and demanded—despite urgent protests from National Jewish Democratic Council—on launching his poorly organized, spectacularly expensive, yet largely ineffective campaign for the Republican nomination for the presidency at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan,
- [a museum] “named for America’s greatest anti-Semite,”
- [a museum] “named for a man revered by Adolf Hitler, who awarded [Ford] the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle,”
- [a museum] “named for the U.S. publisher of the ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ and ‘The International Jew: the World’s foremost problem.’
So Romney chooses Ford over the Jews, then he chooses BMW and SAAB over Ford!
Is this man loyal to anyone? We mean, anyone? Even Romney sycophant Justin Hart argues that Romney’s first and only priority is Romney. See:
Oh, well. It’s not like Romney will ever be president or anything. But what does it say about the GOP that one of their top candidates is Willard Milton Romney?
“A class action lawsuit filed last week in Houston federal court accuses officers of Stage Stores Inc. and a pair of venture capital groups with long ties to the company of manipulating its stock price to benefit from insider trading,” writes the estimable Monica Perin in a Houston Business Journal story titled Clothing retailer slapped with shareholder suit.
“Named in the shareholder suit are a collection of current and former Stage Stores officers and directors as well as Bain Capital Inc. and Acadia Partners, which have long been significant shareholders in Stage Stores and have had representatives on the company’s board of directors for years. Houston-based Stage Stores is the parent company of the Palais Royal, Bealls and Stage retail clothing stores” … more
We have but one theme here:
Willard Milton Romney.
We have but one message here:
Willard Milton Romney is not who he says he is; he is not what he says he is.
That’s it. Nothing follows. Nothing further.
So why do we care about class action suits against clothing retailers?
… Through his seven investment funds, Bain founder Mitt Romney had acquired 10.29 percent of Stage Store’s stock by January, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. And since that filing was made, both Bain and Acadia have acquired more stock, says Bob Aronson, Stage Stores’ director of investor relations … more
“Hundreds of millions in fraud, and who owned and Controlled BAIN when it occurred? Dear old Mitt [Romney],” writes Laser Haas of sunny Burbank CA in a topix news forum post—that he wrote poolside on his iPhone with but one thumb—titled Romney owned BAIN Stage Stores SanKaty when fraud was committed.
We blew the whistle of Fraud upon the Court by Officers of the Court and the the Dept of Justice employees responded by assisting the fraudulent parties while aggressively seeking to punish and deny the whistleblower standing under Article III refusals.
We endeavored strongly against the Motions Attorney of the 3rd Circuit stating to us that the Circuit refused to place the En Banc rehearing brief into the record. After a 3 week campaign to halt such injustice we are now to be lead to believe that 11 separate justices read the En Banc rehearing “pro se” brief and decided there is not merits. The corruption of the System is both rampant and propogative. We have proof the Dept of Justice management has lost its sense of honor and duty. In the Bankruptcy case of eToys 01-706 (DE 2001) we proved over 100 felony violations by the firm of Traub Bonacquist & Fox and Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnel. The US Trustee is charged by the Janet Reno Reform Act of 1994 to be the “policing” “watchdog” of public entity bankrupt estates to protect equity holders … more
What does any of this mean? How should we know?
Here is what we do know: Romney is in a free-fall, and not just personally or morally, but politically, financially, and perhaps even legally.
It is time to begin thinking post-Romney.
Meanwhile, Romney hirelings! Update your resumes. Then: Help yourselves to whatever computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, copiers, computer projectors, cell phones, iPhones, palm pilots, Blackberries, pagers, laptops, ergonomically correct desk chairs, memory sticks, cameras, label makers, flip charts, folding tables, coffee urns,—not everyone who labours for the Romney dynasty is a Mormon—coffee mugs and other coffee supplies, servers, routers, flat panel displays, audio bridges, DVD players and recorders, cables, hats, t-shirts, pamphlets, stickers, signs, and other Romney swag, pens, bottled water, laser pointers, envelops, stationary, file folders, hanging file folders, clip boards, paper clips, copy paper, legal pads, white board markers, etc., etc. that you want on your way out. Take it all, all that you can carry. Leave nothing.
Romney’s spectacularly expensive yet low-performance campaign began in random acts of fraud, waste, and abuse, so please do your part to allow it to end in one.
Let symmetry, at least, be Romney’s legacy.
Kevin Madden! Call your office. Justin Hart! Go pack sand, sir. Or: take an English class.
“Mr. Hart, in response to your post, I have chosen to address your points one at a time,” begins the estimable Tommy Oliver in a point-for-point rejoinder available here on our humble, anonymous, vanity web log.
P.S. Thank you, Mr. Oliver.
You made our day.
Romney himself: “I think [the Craig scandal] reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we’ll just forgive and forget,” as quoted by the tiresome Charles Mitchell of the canting and priggish Evangelicals for Mitt in a post titled On Standards and Setting an Example.
Oh, we could not agree more.
Romney “continues to disappoint” us, again and again.
So: We will certainly—and in all cases—hold Romney to the same evaluative standard despite that he sometimes “speak[s] a good game”—at least when he is not fatly contradicting himself.
It is a frankly non-Evangelical who provides in our view the most intelligent and most compassionate rejoinder to Romney’s hatred and abuse of a friend. No, no, no, no, no, writes Lambert of Corrente in a post titled Shocker: Willard Mitt Romney screws the pooch on Craig response.
Romney is just so wrong on so many levels.
1. People do “disappoint.” That’s human nature, even if you’re not religious. (See, e.g., Romans 3:23).
2. People do “forgive and forget.” Not only do most world religions enjoin such behavior (I haven’t studied Mormonism), it’s empirically true. It’s reality based. People forgave Clinton on Monica. People forgave FDR on his adultery. People forgave Reagan’s divorce. And on and on and on.
If Clinton’s blow job and Bush’s destruction of the Constitution were weighed in a cosmic, karmic balance, which would sink the scales more heavily? Suppose an all-powerful God presented the choice of restoring Constitutional government at the prices of “forgiving and forgetting” Clinton’s blow job. What would you do? I know what I’d do, and if Romney would refuse to forgive and forget, he’s not fit to be president.
Or take Social Security. Suppose the same God gave the choice between preserving Social Security at the price of “forgiving and forgetting” FDR’s adultery. What would you do? I know what I’d do, and if Romney did differently, again, he’s not fit to be President.
These great issues of public policy, which affect, quite literally, the lives and the happiness of millions, trump the personal sexual peccadilloes of politicians.***** If Romney doesn’t understand that, he’s not fit to be President.
3. Romney’s notion of “disgusting” is bizarre (and seems more than a little defensive). What could be more disgusting than torture? What could be more disgusting than destroying the Fourth Amendment, and every other fucking amendment? What could be more disgusting than abolishing habeas corpus? What could be more disgusting than setting up as a dictator? What could be more disgusting than looting the country of billions? What would be more disgusting than timing a war to win a mid-term election? And on and on and on and on. If Romney equates those grossly disgusting public acts with the pathetic, private acts of a single individual, he’s unfit to the President.
4. Finally, Romney’s purity test plays into a subtle, vicious, and destructive meme that’s gradually propagating all over our discourse: The “leader” meme. This is the essentially European philosophy that, if only we had a Leader who was pure in heart—perhaps one who rode a white horse—that all our troubles would be over and there would be ponies for everyone. (This is why the Christian Embassy loons targeted “leaders” (read: bureaucrats) in the Pentagon.) Not so. Heed the words of Federalist 51 … [emphasis ours; more]
Update: Justin Hart offers an MS Powerpoint slide-like rebuttal by way of counterpoint to Tommy Oliver’s analysis of Romney’s treatment of Craig. In typical Romney style Hart’s rebuttal attempts more to slime Tommy Oliver than to acquit Milton Romney. We answer each of Hart’s rebuttals, each in its turn.
- Hart argues that Romney did not “flip-flop” on abortion as a “flip-flop” means—and we have no idea where Hart gets this odd definition—that you convert or have converted, and then you convert back again. (So a simple reversal on an issue or a policy is just a flip; to reverse yourself again is when a flip becomes a flip-flop, get it? Neither do we.) Only even according to Hart’s convenient redefinition on the term “flip-flop,” Romney still “flip-flopped.” See: Romney already flip-flopping, again, on the abortion issue -or- Kornacki: Not the first time Romney has changed public position on abortion.
- Hart argues that Romney’s need to appear consistent–to not look like he was “skirting the issue”—trumps the “sensitivities” of Craig’s family. Uh, um, OK, so we would tend to value someone who could set aside his or her own ego needs to shield others from calumny and abuse, rather than join the calumniators and abusers so as not to be seen to “skirt an issue,” but we will allow the argument to stand (even though it makes us uncomfortable). So we suppose that—to remain consistent—Romney would treat his own family with similar abuse and contempt should any of them ever err and stray from their way like a lost sheep. Actually, come to think of it, Romney has treated at least one family member with similar contempt. See: Romney lashes out at his father for indecision even as Romney himself vacillates wildly. So, alas, we are forced to concede this argument. Granted: For Romney, there is no higher priority than Romney—not father, not family, not the dignity of a friend, not anything—Romney’s ego needs trump everyone else’s.
- Hart asks: is there “anything in Romney’s condemnation or broader examination of the trends and GOP failures that is untrue?” This is an odd question: truth is the wrong standard to apply in this case. Romney’s “condemnation” may be “true” in some trivial sense; but it also unseemly, inappropriate, and unwise. And just what is supposed to true in Romney’s condemnation? Does Romney generalize from Craig to the entire GOP or conservative base? Will he treat all of us as he treated Craig?
- Hart excuses Romney’s ignorance by claiming that only “leftist blogs” carried news of Craig’s weaknesses. This is an odd defense, and one frequently offered by Romney apologists: the Democrats accuse Romney of x or of flip-flopping on x! Hence, Romney must be conservative because he is being attacked by Democrats. Actually, rumours, innuendos etc. of Craig’s behavior go back to 1982, and are non-partisan in origin.
- Hart offers an odd counter-argument to Oliver’s point about the Litchfields and the Semblers. First, he defends the Litchfields and the Semblars as honourable people. He then concedes that wrong doing may have occurred at their dozens of teen reeducation camps!—uh, OK, I mean, but haven’t you just conceded the whole argument, Hart? Hart then asks if that should reflect badly on Romney; his answer: no. (Apparently Hart forgot his larger point.) Well, we would answer, of course not. That was never Oliver’s point. Oliver’s point was Romney’s strangely variable and always convenient estimations of guilt, innocence, or guilt-by-association. How is this different from Romney’s association with Craig? The parallel still stands. If you are useful to Romney, you are safe. But the moment you are not …
- Hart then asks if Oliver has ever met any member of Team Romney, because he cannot think of a better crowd. We beg to differ. Please see:
Here again is Hart’s rebuttal to Oliver’s analysis.
In an article for race42008.com titled aptly titled My Growing Concerns About Romney, the estimable and reflective Tommy Oliver argues:
Although I’ve been vocal in my opposition to the former governor from Massachusetts (at least when compared to my preferred candidate), I have been slow to publicly accuse him of pandering and flip-flopping in the past. Today, he went beyond the boundary, and crossed that line. Last night when I was posting on the Larry Craig affair, I even went back and changed my post because someone accused me of using the situation to attack Romney by linking to articles that connected him to Craig. I was, at the time, disturbed by the fact that Romney pulled the YouTube video of Craig endorsing him, but I was willing to let that slide. Today’s actions, I can not and will not let go without calling it for what it is … more
Directions for use:
- Go to race42008.com
- Read the entire post
- Praise its author with comments and trackbacks
- Send the link to at least 6 registered voters
- Post it to every tagging engine you can think of, e.g. DIGG, reddit, del.icio.us, FURL, stumbleupon.
- Offer a special blessing for the parents and children of Tommy Oliver
We echo Oliver’s analysis; see:
Also see Jonathan Martin’s analysis aptly titled Romney throws Craig under a bus.
The estimable Paul Curtis, commenting on Oliver’s analysis, likewise concludes:
This, to me, seems consistent with Romney’s approach to policy. Romney’s famous flip-flopping — “pulling a Mitt Romney” — is likewise the result of his political amorality, his willingness to say and to pretend to believe (or maybe even to believe he believes) virtually anything so long as it advances his career. You wonder if he has any moral center at all, because he’s running a campaign that verges on the sociopathic … more
We heartily concur.
In his interview on CNBC’s Kudlow & Company (which will air later this afternoon), Mitt Romney had some sharp words for Sen. Larry Craig, who had endorsed the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential campaign and was his Idaho chairman. “Once again, we’ve found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence. Very disappointing. He’s no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine… I’m sorry to see that he has fallen short,” reports NBC’s estimable Mark Murray in story titled Romney Links Craig with Bill Clinton.
Note the captious former governor’s bitter, angry cant, combined with his curt dismissal of what we were led to believe was a personal friend:
“He’s no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine… I’m sorry to see that he has fallen short.”
… as you can imagine … What does that mean, precisely?
Compare Romney’s rage with the deeply reasoned compassion of e.g. opinionjournal.com’s Toranto, who makes a larger point about the politics of hypocrisy:
The Craig conviction has, predictably enough, prompted mortification on the right and Schadenfreude on the left. The latter is an easy-to-understand partisan/ideological temptation, especially given the comical aspects of this story. It is physically impossible to keep a straight face while thinking about the “wide stance” defense.
That said, we’d like to step back and, without drawing any conclusions about Craig beyond what is on the public record, make a case more generally for liberal compassion toward closeted homosexual politicians who oppose gay rights.
The liberal view of homosexuality is based on two claims: an empirical one and a moral one. The empirical claim is that sexual orientation is inborn, a trait over which one has no control. The moral claim is that homosexuality is no better or worse than heterosexuality; that a gay relationship, like a traditional marriage, can be an expression of true love and a source of deep fulfillment. Out of these claims flows the conclusion that opposition to gay rights is akin to racism: an unwarranted prejudice against people for a trait over which they have no control.
For the sake of argument, suppose this liberal view is true. What does it imply about the closeted homosexual who takes antigay positions? To our mind, the implication is that he is a deeply tragic figure, an abject victim of society’s prejudices, which he has internalized and turned against himself. “Outing” him seems an act of gratuitous cruelty, not to mention hypocrisy if one also claims to believe in the right to privacy.
According to the Statesman, the blogger who “outed” Craig did so in order to “nail a hypocritical Republican foe of gay rights.” But there is nothing hypocritical about someone who is homosexual, believes homosexuality is wrong, and keeps his homosexuality under wraps. To the contrary, he is acting consistent with his beliefs. If he has furtive encounters in men’s rooms, that is an act of weakness, not hypocrisy.
Defenders of “outing” politicians argue that the cruelty is not gratuitous–that politicians are in a position of power, which they are using to harm gay citizens, and therefore their private lives are fair game. But if the politician in question is a mere legislator, his power consists only of the ability to cast one vote among hundreds. The actual amount of harm that he is able to inflict is minimal.
Anyway, most lawmakers who oppose gay-rights measures are not homosexual. To single out those who are for special vituperation is itself a form of antigay prejudice. Liberals pride themselves on their compassion, but often are unwilling to extend it to those with whose politics they disagree … more
Where is Romney’s compassion? Where is his humanity? Where is his concern for the dignity of his fallen friend? Has Romney never wrestled with a demon of his own?—if not, do we really want this man to be our president?
Did Romney not once defend and promote gay rights?
Priggish, canting, emotional brutality is a Romney signature. This is how Romney referred to the weaknesses of his own father:
These are Romney’s remarks on the departure of the long-suffering Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as reported by WaPo’s web log, THE TRAIL.
“I believe the Attorney General made the right decision to step aside,” Romney said in a statement. “The resignation is an opportunity for President Bush to renew the nation’s commitment to the law enforcement officers and personnel who are dedicated to enforcing the rule of law and protecting the American people from the threat of terrorism around the globe.”
Remarking on Gonzales, Imam Romney simply must issue his own evaluation; he strikes the school-marmish pose of moral arbiter. Compare Romney’s cant with the quiet dignity that Giuliani affords Gonzales (again: from THE TRAIL):
Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was more succint: “Judge Gonzales served his nation honorably and I wish him well in the next phase of his career.”
No judgement. No cant. Only the acknowledgment of a distinguished career of honourable service and a wish that the Judge prosper in the future.
Question: why does this admitted newcomer to conservative values—Romney—insist on lecturing, and passing judgment upon, the rest of us?
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) — who has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with an incident where he allegedly solicited a plainclothes police officer in a men’s restroom — is one of Mitt Romney’s top backers in the Senate. A clip of Craig praising Romney was until just moments ago available on Romney’s YouTube channel, but is now listed as “a private video” reports the estimable Jonathan Martin in a web log post titled Larry Craig’s pro-Romney video taken down.
FIG: Team Romney plotting the destruction of the GOP from within
Oh, but we have more.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho pleaded guilty this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after being arrested at the Minneapolis airport, writes the world-class Associated Press writer, Steve Karnowski in a story titled Idaho Senator Arrested in Airport.
A Hennepin County court docket showed Craig pleading guilty to the disorderly conduct charge Aug. 8, with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.
The court docket said the Republican senator paid $575 in fines and fees. He was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.
Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which first reported the case, said on its Web site Monday that Craig was arrested June 11 by a plainclothes officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the airport … more
And we have still more.
Kane and Murray of the Washington Post, in a story titled Idaho Senator Pleaded Guilty After Arrest In Restroom, quote the unlucky senator and slavish Romney courtier:
“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct,” Craig said. “I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously” … more
And finally we have “tittergrrrl” (She’s Pumpkinninny!!), who weighs in on this world historic development claiming that she is “sensing a pattern!“
The news that he’s closeted is apparently not shocking here in DC since rumors have swarmed about his love of the rooster for years. This may be changing in his home state of Idaho, however.
What’s sad is his voting record.
- Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
- Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.
- Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation.
- Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage.
- Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.
The Romney campaign has already started distancing themselves from him, as he was the state co-chair of his Presidential election committee.
Cue the trombone again!
Finally here’s an awesome discussion about it on Real Time I think this past weekend … more
Thank you, Willard Milton Romney and family, for bringing integrity, honour, and a profound sense of dignity to the GOP.
We have just one small question, Willard:
What the hell did we ever do to you, you knuckle-dragging, slack-jaw’d, cross-eye’d lack-wit!?
“Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned that the United States may be heading into recession as the biggest victim to date of the sub-prime mortgage debacle was humiliatingly sold for a token sum in Germany,” writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in a telegraph.co.uk story titled US could be heading for recession. (Duh.)
Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned that the United States may be heading into recession as the biggest victim to date of the sub-prime mortgage debacle was humiliatingly sold for a token sum in Germany.
Traders are braced for another week of turmoil after the near breakdown of America’s $2,200bn (£1,100bn) market for commercial paper.
“It would be far too premature to judge this crisis over,” Mr Summers said. “I would say the risks of recession are now greater than they’ve been any time since the period in the aftermath of 9/11″ … more
So what is Summers’?
He doesn’t offer one.
He just says what he thinks, and what he thinks is that the the US may be heading into a recession; further:
- “It would be far too premature to judge this crisis over,”
- “I would say the risks of recession are now greater than they’ve been any time since the period in the aftermath of 9/11.”
Summers may have offered evidence and reasoning to ground his claims. But if he did, Ambrose-Pritchard never reports it. Ambrose-Pritchard seems to have asked for a comment from Summers, and he got one. Summers himself is anfigure; his words carry weight. So you could say that an is implicit.
In another Ambrose-Pritchard article titled, accurately, Brace yourself for the insolvency crunch, Ambrose-Prichard describes some as trading as if the world has not changed, and he provides proofs in the form of examples (e.g. speculators renewing their leveraged bets etc.).
But the world has changed, Ambrose-Pritchard would like to say.
Regard what he offers as his evidence:
- Interest rates in Europe and Asia are that much higher now, with delayed effects starting to bite hard. Japan’s economy has stalled to 0.1pc growth in Q2;
- the euro-zone has slowed to 0.3pc;
- China’s refusal to import (by currency manipulation) makes it a drain on world demand.
- Above all, the credit bubble that perpetuated the rally of the last eighteen months beyond its natural life has definitively burst.
- Credit spreads on the iTraxx Crossover (a good barometer of corporate bonds) have ballooned 180 basis points since February.
- The cost of borrowing for most firms in Europe and North America has jumped from circa 6.5pc to 8.3pc, if they can get it. Many cannot.
- Germany’s Chamber of Industry told me yesterday that it had been flooded with distress calls from family Mittlestand firms unable to roll over credit lines.
- In Canada and Australia, junior mining finance has dried up almost entirely.
- Global junk bond issuance has been frozen for two months.
- Fresh sales of collateralized debt obligations – the CDOs of subprime notoriety: a $1 trillion sold last year – have all but stopped.
- Banks have yet to off-load $300bn of debt from leveraged buy-out deals, forcing them to keep the liabilities on their books. They are all snake-bitten now.
- The private equity buy-out premium – which pushed up the price/earnings ratio on the MSCI-600 of “median” stocks to a record high of 20 in May – has vanished.
- The P/E ratios on the DOW 30 big stocks are much lower – because they are too big even for the big cat predators, KKR and Carlysle – but they are not low, given the late stage of the cycle.
- In reality, an earnings bubble and ultra-cheap credit have flattered profits.
What does Evans-Pritchard conclude from all this? Contrary to any indications of normalcy, “the world has changed, dramatically.” What has left to be decided:
“Whether this means a protracted global downturn and a “profits recession” depends on how quickly the central banks choose to respond, and how far they are willing to go.”
So what does the one US presidential candidate with any expertise on this issue have to say?
Yet another instance of Romney non-leadership, Romney non-competence. Another Romney-opportunity squandered.
P.S. Please see: