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October 10, 2008


Who cares about Sarah Palin?

For McCain to win this election (which he still can on a very long shot) the furor over the stock market will have to calm down so that popular attention can focus on Barack Obama. For all of the deluge of media that has engulfed the American people, they can only keep one subject on their mind. All media has only one focus at a time. And, if you are in the spotlight, you are almost certain to self-destruct.

Follow this election cycle. Between the summer of 2007 and the end of February of 2008, all focus was on Hillary Clinton’s ups and downs. And Obama defeated her decisively. Then in March and April of 2008, Obama was in the focus and Rev Wright and the surrounding controversy propelled Hillary to victory. Then during the summer of 2008, all eyes were on Obama and he gained. In September, McCain was on the griddle. At first his selection of Sarah Palin let him move ahead. But then his “suspension” of his campaign and subsequent complicity in the bailout package cost him his lead and moved Obama to an advantage just short of double digits.

Now the attention should logically shift to Obama. He is way ahead and McCain is nowhere to be seen. Few give McCain any chance and the debate is over whether the race is over already. This is, of course, the ideal environment for a McCain surge. All attention would normally focus on the Democrat. But it isn’t. Every American checks the market before they check the polls. The ongoing anxiety over the stock market is not only giving more and more people reason to hate the Republicans of Wall Street (as if Democrats had nothing to do with it) and their allies in Washington, but it is keeping us from focusing on Obama.

If ever the market stabilizes, Americans will be fascinated by the Ayers-Obama ties and the relationship between Farrakhan and the Democratic nominee. The increasing evidence that ACORN is committing voter fraud, registering people over and over again in anticipation of stuffing the ballot box on election day. As ACORN gets raided by the FBI, it will hurt Obama. He was general counsel to its Illinois affiliate and Obama channeled millions to the radical group when he got control over the money William Ayers got from the Annenberg Foundation.

All of these ties are damning for Obama and will reinforce the doubts that Rev. Wright first put in our minds. They will lead people to question Obama’s values and his fitness for the presidency. A man whose spiritual advisor is Rev Wright, whose financial backer is Rezco, and whose first major employer was William Ayers might not be a good choice for president. But for these associations to loom large enough in our consciousness to impact our vote, the market has to settle down so we can hear the campaign over its din.

However, there is only a slim chance this economic meltdown will abate although I predict a temporary bottom on Monday or Tuesday after another massive selloff. The hedge-fund sellers still have more of their dirty work to do. This may provide a brief respite, if you could call it that. It will be like bleeding from several bullet wounds, but at least the shooting will have stopped for awile as the enemy reloads.

This is the beginning of a new world of economic contraction. The standard of living will fall for most and drastically for many. On a positive note, there will be far fewer carbon emissions as a result of ths reduced economic activity, far more than would ever have been accomplished by "green" measures, solar, hybrid cars or fewer farting cattle. Air will be a little cleaner, but the glaciers will still continue melting because this climate change is cyclical and only exacerbated by human pollution.

In a depression, inflation is not the issue although prices in cetain sectors will reamin high (people have to eat). Money will be relatively safe in treasuries for the time being and the puny interest is not a bad tradeoff because inflation will be nipped in the bud. Some reserves should be kept in gold, not for profit, but as a hedge against total collapse of the system. Gold has never been without value and although you can't eat it, it will be suitable as a trade item for goods you will need or to start a new life in Ecuador, for example.

Tax-free municipal bonds look attractive under Obama, but now that he will not be able to enact his programs (we're broke) such as higher capital gains taxes to fund entitlements, their advantage is less appealing. However, in the short run they are a fairly safe place to park some funds.

There is some hope that this is not 1929 revisited and some stocks are beaten down to rediculous levels. Equities such as KFT, HNZ, KO, MO, MRK, NUE, FCX, KMP, BP, DUK, ED, JNJ and KBR are all valued near cash and are on my list to buy Monday if the markets gap down on opening in a spectacular cascade. I would initiate some long positions in that event and load up some more on Tuesday, but primarily I would be on the sidelines in cash with any money I need for the next five years or so. Selected stocks at the levels we'll see next week are worth a try, but not with the grocery money.

For those still in stocks and invested in their 401Ks. Hold steady and try not to panic. To late to sell now into a temporary bottom, and once sold, you have locked in your losses.

These are tough times coming. Good Luck to all.

I've been thinking about this Joe SixPack stuff.

Every time I go to the grocery store or 7-11 store, everyone is buying beer or soda, in 12 and 24 packs.

Who the hell is buying in a 6 pack, these days?

Six pack is so 20th century..........

Obama's ties to the disreputable are no different than McCain's. McCain even has a campaign manager who anybody should wonder about in these times where wall street has abused the public trust-- to say the least.

And Sarah Palin matters because McCain is an old man, who doesn't look good. Most who want Sarah Palin want her because they hope he will die in office. People better look long and hard at what they would get. This woman is clueless or worst with an ego like GW Bush's.

The people who constantly worry about Obama having a nutty pastor ignore that Sarah Palin got anointed and prayed into office by what amounts to a witch doctor. People see what they choose but in the times we are coming into, a guy like McCain who is erratic (and Obama might be using that word but it's the one that fits best), has a vicious temper (got a blog on that myself coming up) and inspires the worst in his followers, that's what you want more of for this country. Think long and hard because you might just get it and the country is ill equipped to deal with another disaster like Bush.

The realization has come over me.

Obama's in. Don't worry, democrats. Short of some immense tactical blunder on his part or scandal, it's over. The economy did it for him. That's why Palin is irrelevant..McCain's done.

It's not like McCain didn't have his chances, but he lacked the intellect, courage, vitality and dynamism to seize the advantage. All Obama had to do was sit and grin, keep his cool, and keep the rhetoric flowing.

Now we get to find out who Obama really is. I sincerely hope he turns out to be a great man. We need one.

I hope as you do, Condor, no matter who gets in, but I don't think it's a done deal. Each have their voters who will vote no matter what happens and in the middle appear to be about 20% that could be swung by any breeze. It might even come down to racism for some of them and they won't admit it.

I just hope that whatever comes back, that it's more farsighted than we have seen. Our country has been ill served by its leadership and that includes Nancy Pelosi and some of the left wing who care more about their own profits and powers than they do about this country and what is best for it. If it is Obama, he will have to stand against his own party on some things. It makes me sick who we often get for leaders but there are exceptions in both parties and we have to keep voting out the other kind until we get a Congress who really cares about this country

The short term impact of the third debate will be to help Barack Obama. But the long term implications may give John McCain a needed boost. Obama looked good, but McCain opened the tax-and-spend issue in a way that might prevail.

Obama took the worst that McCain could hand out and came out looking good. McCain was the more aggressive debater, but Obama looked like the better president. The constants of the debate remained. Obama is smoother, prettier, younger and more presidential. But McCain had a feisty appeal, a Trumanesque approach that may resonate in these times of anger and unrest.

Obama seemed to rise above the charges and show his reasonableness and his ability to inspire confidence. McCain was like a trial lawyer, hammering out his points, but Obama came across with dignity.

Finally, John McCain came out swinging. In his feisty, aggressive style, he scored key points on spending and taxes. Coherent in a way that he has not been in previous debates, McCain repeatedly turned Obama’s spending plans against the Democratic candidate. The continued invocation of Joe the Plumber brought a populist edge to the tax issue that it has lacked since Ronald Reagan.

Strategically, every debate is a chance to ratify the issues that will dominate the weeks that follow. McCain and Obama both made taxes and spending the key issues of the future. With Obama opposing a spending freeze and billing it as a hatchet as opposed to a scalpel, McCain was able to push the Democrat into an uncomfortable position.

McCain has now established the tax issue in a way he has not been able to do so far in the contest. Now he can widen the gap between the campaigns on this key issue. If the Republicans concentrate their campaign on the key issue of taxes and abandon the other lines of attack, they can use the lines developed in this debate to do better and better as Election Day nears.

There was no knockout in this debate. Obama emerged with class and charisma from a slugfest. He seemed to be the kind of man we want as president. But McCain was able to set up the tax issue in a way that could eventually close the gap, but not far enough for him to win.

Obama's a lock. Congratulations democrats and the Obama campaign. Well done.

As for me, more of my assets will be going out of the country and the remainder into domestic tax exempt instruments, treasuries, cash and trusts.

The thing that we aren't addressing is what do we do about this deficit the US has been running up? If taxes aren't the answer, what is? It's not those earmarks, some of which are for things like bridges, but even if they were all waste, it barely covers two months of the Iraq war.

On McCain for anyone who has yet to read this, it's worth your time. I don't know if the URL will all fit here, but it's Rolling Stone's Make Believe Maverick. It is worth your time to read whoever you support now: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain

Well, Obama proposes socking it to the corporations, the rich, increasing capital gains and the death tax. But will this work?

A person who earns $650,000 will see their taxes increase by $93,000, but the problem is they won't be earning 650,000 anymore because of the economy. The salesman sells fewer widgets.

Corporations will move operations offshore in response to higher corporate taxes, the rich will not be as rich so less money will come from them, and there will be no capital gains as current loses can be rolled over for years. Trusts will be formed to evade the death tax.

The answer is to get the economy rolling again somehow, tax everyone equally to encourage innovation and initiative, and get out the hatchet. Someone has to have the political guts to do this and cut the pork, earmarks and entiltlements(dream on Condor). Even many good, but non-essential programs, will have to go. Government will have to become lean and efficient pared down to its basic functions of defense and law and order. The population in general will have to live within their means. Stop printing money and stop using credit cards.

The party's over.

If you keep shooting heroin you die.

We may already be dead.

Will the Phoenix rise from the ashes?

a .04% increase in the net income of someone making $650,000 a year would be $26,000 as I calculate it but remember that is net income. People at that income level have a lot of ways to avoid taxes through deductions. They invest it in something that qualifies for capital gains. They can offset some by putting extra into IRAs, they get it in tax free vehicles which can have taxes paid later at different rates. Business income is structured and it can be controlled a lot of ways. That tax is on net income and business has always had ways to get that number down.

Now if these business owners want to go offshore to avoid taxes, I am taking it that they are not patriotic, that they don't care about our military, the infrastructure in this country where they made their money. All they care about is money and I think the feds can deal with that. Like if they like their money over there so much and have most of it there, maybe they can go too?

To me I believe in this country and think a reasonable (not confiscatory at any level) tax rate is a small price to pay for making it work, to seeing the people around me having a good life, not based on freebies but on respectable work, seeing the environment protected and I could go on. But I understand that money is everything to some people.

The wealthy used to have a sense of wanting to pay back through things like the Carnegie libraries, and some still do (thinking Warren Buffett and Bill Gates). You can live a darned good life if you are getting $650,000 a year in net income and to me if that's too much to pay that extra $25,000 in taxes, well hey do what you gotta do. Just remember nothing is free and running off to a foreign country might have its drawbacks also.

You know I think you are a good person, Condor. I have said it before and i believe there are people in this country who will vote for McCain who are good people. If he gets in, we'll see what he does (hoping he lives out his full term), he will have the responsibility for somehow getting this country back on track. It won't be fun for either one as president-- if they are resonsible. Obama will have the added difficulty of having to stand against the Nancy Pelosis in his party. I think he knows that.

We will have to keep an eye on them, whoever they are. I really really wish I didn't have to say that as I am so sick of politics that it's not funny. I would like to elect them and forget about them, but they won't all automatically do what is right. They are politicians! There has to be something in it for them-- a threat from the people to make them care more about our interests than the lobbyists. Like with Obama, in two years, a Republican Congress if he doesn't do the right thing as he has promised! There will be a lot who want payback for what they see as what the Republicans got. We can't think that way. It has to be what is best for the nation as a whole and that includes business. Obama is not John Edwards. He gets it that a healthy corporate life is important to a nation. Whoever wins, has to get us back on track, if anything can with this kind of debt hung around our necks :(

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