Year End Observations – DOW Near 55% Of Year’s Starting Value, GM and Chrysler Near Extinction, Domocrats Take Full Control Of US Government

What a year it has been.  The least of it’s historical value is the election of a black president, although the pop-culture media would have us believe otherwise. Lest we forget, we also had the following major events occur in 2008:

  • US automakers GM, Ford & Chrysler finally make major ground in reducing labor costs to competitive levels by negotiating ground-breaking contracts with the United Auto Workers union.
  • Oil and Energy traders run the price of oil up from the $30-$40/barrel range to to an astronomical $147/barrel in July – nearly a %500 increase!
  • Gasoline prices rise accordingly, from well under $1.50/gallon to over $4.15/gallon national average
  • US Auto sales plummet accordingly sending General Motors and Chrysler to the bring of bankruptcy. Ford predicts less than a year of cash remains in their budget at year’s end.
  • Food prices rise, as well as other items which rely heavily on oil/petroleum/transportation
  • Record numbers of homeowners begin to sell their homes and/or default on their mortgages. Especially those with risky adjustable rate mortgages made during the Clinton administration’s low-income home-ownership push, which drove a respective record 6% rise in home-ownership (compare to only 1% during 8 years of Bush)
  • As a result of the sub-prime crisis, a glut of homes hit the real-estate market which drives prices down (supply exceeding demand) and the housing market "bubble" bursts
  • Government-sponsored mortgage-buying entities Fannie-MAE and Freddie-MAC (created to induce banks to mortgage such home-ownership by agreeing to buy them) succumb to the high number of bad mortgages and get taken over by government
  • Private brokerages and banks heavily-invested in risky mortgages and/or mortgage-backed securities begin to go under also – Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, AIG Insurance, Countrywide, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, GMAC, Fortis Bank, IndyMac etc
  • The US Treasury invests over $700 billion in "bail-out" funds (coming from where?) to steady the economy
  • The Bush Administration commits over $17 billion in additional "bail-out" funds for GM and Chrysler
  • The DOW Jones Industrial average plummets from a high of 13,494 to a low of 7,393 – a 45% drop – and hovers near 8,500 at year’s end
  • Democrats, riding the wave of economic weary and bush-weary voters, make major gains in US congress and win the presidency (has far little to do with truly favoring Democrat policy)
  • Russia shows signs of returning to autocratic rule under Vladimir Putin, as well as stepping up military maneuvers in staging the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practiced strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launched nuclear-capable missiles on foreign waters. Another exercise is carried out off the coast of Venezuela. An actual invasion by Russian forces into Georgia occurs over the disputed region of South Ossetia.
  • Fidel Castro resigns and passes control to his brother Raul Castro
  • United States Navy destroys a spy satellite containing toxic fuel by shooting it down with a missile launched from USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean (gives me hope for protection against rogue nation’s satellites, like IRAN who launched its own space program and rocket in 2008)
  • Two major disasters – 69k killed by earthquake in south-China and 133k killed by a cyclone in Burma/Myanmar
  • NASA craft lands on polar-region of Mars, another makes its first pass on Mercury, the proton beam is circulated for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and the highest-energy particle accelerator, located at CERN, near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border
  • Bill Gates steps down from day-to-day control of Microsoft
  • Íngrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages are rescued from FARC by Colombian security forces (Ingrid after 6.5 years of captivity)
  • The 2008 Summer Olympics take place in Beijing, China and Michael Phelps surpasses Mark Spitz in Olympic Gold Medals won at a single Olympics, with 8 gold medals
  • Pervez Musharraf resigns from the post of President of Pakistan under impeachment pressure from the coalition government, with the assassinated Benazir Bhutto’s husband assuming the role
  • Somali Pirates hijack German, Iranian, Saudi and Japanese cargo ships off the coast of Somalia holding them for ransom, and steadily start casting their net further into international waters
  • Hurricanes Hanna, Ike and Gustav make landfall in the US as category 2, with Gustav gaining the most attention as the media realizes it would likely hit Louisiana and thereby potentially helping Democrat political prospects in the current elections (as pundits had already effectively convinced many that the ills of Katrina were entirely the Bush-administration’s fault)
  • China becomes the third country to ever perform a "spacewalk" (after the US and Russia)
  • Charlton Heston, Jesse Helms, Heath Ledger, William F Buckley Jr., Paul Newman, Isaac Hayes, Bernie Mac, Tim Russert, Tony Snow, Michael Chrichton and Eartha Kitt pass away

Anyone who sincerely thought a black president was a near impossibility is honestly a dolt. Blacks have been elected and confirmed to every other post in American government, and the presidency is no exception. The problem has been all along that blacks seeking the presidency have largely been extreme left Democrats. While Barack is no different on that score, he benefits from a Bush-weary electorate, far better oratory skills and a genuine Clinton-esque campaign team that is well versed in taking advantage of gullible uninformed voters.

It has been a sincerely scary year.  The very politicians who drove much of the bad economics of the sub-prime crisis (creating Fannie-MAE and Freddie-MAC, pressuring for low-income risky mortgages, etc) have been awarded control of US Government as though they were the solution to the mess – not the underlying cause!

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