Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Section 2. This Act shall apply to all individuals who perpetrate identity theft and those individuals who are the victims of identity theft.
Section 3. For the purposes of this Act, "identity theft" is defined as the use of an identity of another person for the purposes of (i) fraudulent impersonation; (ii) to purchase items in the victim's name; (iii) to hire or pay for any other services in the victim's name; (iv) any use of any credit card or other financial instrument in the victim's name; (v) entering into contracts using the victim's name with intent to defraud the other party and/or the victim.
Section 4. It shall be an affirmative defense under the laws of these United States or any State or other jurisdiction within to the charge of murder, manslaughter or the attempt thereof, that the victim of any such violent crime perpetrated an act of identity theft upon the individual charged with such violent crime. This affirmative defense shall be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Proof of such affirmative defense shall be a total and absolute bar to any conviction.
Section 5. Upon the proof required in Section 4 hereof, all other related charges, including but not limited to charges of illegal weapons possession, discharge of weapons, shall be dismissed with prejudice.
Section 6. Any person who kills an identity thief pursuant to the terms and conditions of this act shall be given a ticker-tape parade and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch of the season at a major league baseball game.
Section 7. This Act shall take effect immediately.
The other thing is that Bush has gone to the well of "ohmigawd, things are dire, give us the authority and trust us" once too many times. When Bush wails about a dire situation, the national reaction is to shrug and say "yeah, well, what else you got, Chimpy?"
The economic bailout went down to crash, in large part, because Bush is also just phoning it in these days; he just doesn't seem to give a shit. He is watching the calendar tick down as much as the liberals are.
I'll bet that the cops who attacked and beat the civil rights protesters at the Edmund Pettus Bridge wish that they had thought to sell t-shirts. Maybe the Chicago cops wish they had sold t-shirts after their 1968 "police riot."
Representative John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, became emotional as he urged his party to muster the will to approve the package. After his members overwhelmingly voted against it, he tried to shift the blame to a partisan speech delivered on the floor just before the vote by Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker.Translation: "Republicans voted against the bill to save the nation's economy because Nancy Pelosi was mean to us and called us names."
That's what we have come to in this nation. Republicans, by their own words, threw the country under the bus because Nancy Pelosi was not nice to them.
Advice to Republicans: Grow the fuck up. This is not junior high school, this is serious shit, and you've let the economic spiral continue because you didn't like a speech? Your idea of leadership is to trash the economy because somebody said something to you that you found disagreeable? You are beyond pathetic at this point.
Ask yourself what the reaction would be if the word was that a Muslim had sprayed something like that inside a church or a synagogue. You would be hearing it everywhere, the Wingnuts would be sending out a gazillion e-mails, Rush "Oxycotin" Limpballs would be ranting about it during his daily hate-fest.
Of course, the cops don't see it as a hate crime. Big surprise, Inspector Clouseau.
As C&L noted, this would seem to be linked to a propaganda DVD that is being distributed by allies of John McCain.
So instead, let's go back to 2004 and revisit the stealing of the election by the Republicans. Or skip to the present day and how they're planning to steal this one.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Ample “no” votes came from both sides of the aisle, but Democratic leaders managed to persuade more than 60 percent of their members to back the measure, while more than two-thirds of Republicans balked at spending so much taxpayer money just before the Nov. 4 elections.Just bullshit.
Every day, young Americans go out from behind the wire in Afghanistan and Iraq. They go and risk their bodies and their lives because it is what their duty demands of them.
Virtually every one of those 228 congressmen who voted down the bailout did so, not for ideological reasons, not because they had a better idea, but because they were afraid to risk their jobs. It was their duty to do what is required to stop the financial collapse of this nation and, yes, possibly of the industrialized world. They failed, miserably.
They are cowards and most of those cowards are Republicans.
I will hazard a guess that when just what they have done sinks into the 228 congressmen who voted "no," that we will see another vote within a day, maybe two. Then it will pass.
Good deal for the Feds, since Wachovia was not long for this Earth in the first place. Citigroup presumably paid a very small fraction of what Wachovia was once worth. This won't draw any cash from the FDIC insurance fund.
As far as competition goes in the banking sector, it pretty much sucks, now. There are very few big banks left. The last time I checked, the FDIC's "deathwatch list" was reputedly to have over 100 banks on the list.
We could conceivably wind up with just two or three big banks and maybe a handful of local banks in each market area, which would be a banking oligarchy. That is not good for anybody and if there is any doubt that the free market is still alive, it would drive a stake through its corpse.
But if Republicans, in large numbers, do not vote for the bill in the House, it should not go anywhere. Let us see if the "country first" slogan is anything more than advertising bullshit.
The Democrats cannot let the Republicans bombast on this issue for the next 50 years.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
So it would seem that our much-vaunted "no-fly list" has the ability to catch terrorists who are only as smart as George W. Bush. It will miss out on any who have the sense and the tradecraft to take another name.
Feel safer, yet?
(H/T to Stupid Security)
Sarah Palin is a novelty act. That one is wearing thin as it becomes clear that she has come to a World Series game with the skills of a T-Ball champion.
The "I'm suspending my campaign" bit was a novelty act that ground to a halt in under 24 hours.
And now, from the Brits, comes word that the McCain Campaign is getting their shotguns ready so they can frog-march little Levi Johnston to the alter to marry Bristol Palin before the election.
Is there any depth that they will not plumb in their desperate attempts to distract everyone from the fact that McCain's platform is nothing more than "Bush, the Sequel?"
(And what the hell is wrong with John McCain's eyes as of late?)
First off, there is a rule of business (and life) that the financial gurus neglected to follow, and this is it:
Second is a bit more personal. Some time ago, I was involved in a new small business. It wasn't any of those "I need 400 tons of plaster and two tickets to Tokyo" businesses that you see in those moronic AmEx ads for their small business credit cards, it was a local business. I'm not going to go into any details, just that you know the rule that "half of all new businesses fail in the first five years?" We fell into that half.
One of those Wall Street fucktards responsible for the current collapse probably gets paid more between his first coffee at work and his lunchtime than we all lost when that business failed. What we lost was probably chump change to one of those putzim (not to us, though).
We were not "to big to fail." It was our money, our time and our risk.
What bothers me is that those Wall Street thieves were not playing with their own money (like we were), they were playing with everyone else's money. And some of them made out extremely well; the guy who was the president of WaMu for all of 18 days walked away with just shy of a million bucks for each day on the job. (Nice work if you can get it.)
Those guys get us to bail them out of the consequences of their own folly. They are the Mothers of All Welfare Queens. Compared to what those guys are grabbing, the "welfare queens" of the 1980s that Reagan and the Wingnuts used to rail about seem almost quaint.
It may be necessary for the good of the country. But don't expect me to like it. And don't expect me to feel anything other than a fine disregard for the greedy fucks that brought this about with their "mortgage-based securities" and "collateral debt obligations" and "credit swaps" and all of the other financial legerdemain, for the ideologues who blinded themselves to the reality of human greed and for the politicians who made it their life's work to strip away all regulations of the financial industry.
Remember that little war in Afghanistan, the one that Bush was so proud that he "won?" It's not going so well. In fact, it is going so badly that there is a new National Intelligence Estimate that calls the situation in Afghanistan "grim." (H/T to C&L)
Of course, that NIE officially won't see the light of day.
There were two ways that war could have worked out. One would have been a massive punitive raid, pull out, wait to see whoever got power and then backed them with the provisio that they no longer hosted al Qaeda. The second would be to go all in, with enough troops to guarantee security and then to rebuild the country, an endeavor that would have taken a decade, at least, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Even that might not have been enough, for the U.S. did not have the hundreds of thousands of soldiers it would have taken to fully occupy the country. Even the Soviet Union couldn't do that, and they were just next-door.
The Bush Administration chose a middle course, neither guaranteeing security nor providing enough aid to make a real difference. Less than 18 months after the Taliban fled, the President of Afghanistan had to go to Washington to plead with the Bush Administration and the Congress that they not forget about Afghanistan.
Without enough forces on the ground to guarantee security, the Taliban came back.
Without enough forces on the ground to keep the Taliban out, the undermanned ground forces had to resort to air power, to dropping large bombs on villages, with the all-too-predictable outcome of "collateral damage," which is mil-speak for "killing lots of civilians." Killing civilians is a losing strategy in a counter-insurgency campaign, unless you are willing to kill almost all of them (which we are not).
I, for one, do not see how Bush's Afghan Adventure can end in a good way at this point. We do not have the troops, whether our own or allied, to pour into there. We do not have the money to do a serious rebuilding of the nation, not when we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year in Iraq and now to bail out those greedy fucks in the financial sector. even if we were to send in the troops and development aid necessary, too many people now despise the U.S. because of the over-reliance on air power to attack the Taliban guerrillas.
Afghanistan should have signs by border: "Abandon All Hope, All Armies That Enter Here." That country has been the grave of imperial armies for many centuries. As far as I know, the last foreign general who was able to conquer and hold Afghanistan was Ghengis Khan. Since then, Afghanistan apparently has been ruled by various groups or clans of local origin and those foreign nations that were foolish enough to send armed troops rued that decision.
The result in Afghanistan is a clear rebuke to the Bush Administration's feeling that they were immune from the forces of history. They are not and as a result, we are reliving the experiences of the British and the Russians.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I'm sure his movie career will be hashed over and over for the next couple of days. I just want to mention all of the good he did over the last quarter-century, since he started the "Newman's Own" company. The company has donated something on the order of 250 million dollars to charitable causes since it was founded.
That's not chump change.
You have to wonder sometimes how these people are able to walk through the rain without drowning.
This is a Savannah cat, which is a cross between a Serval and a domestic cat, named Moxie. Moxie weighs about 22lbs and is a lean cat. I think the owner said that Moxie is an F2, which means that it is 25% Serval. Moxie does some advertising work for ads where the agencies want a large cat in the shoot, but don't want to deal with a wild animal. A cat like this is worth about ten thousand dollars.
Moxie was just lying there, letting everyone who passed by pet and scratch it. Its purr (I didn't ask the cat's gender) sounded like a cross between a hum and a growl.
Itches must be scratched, you know.
George has recently gone back to sleeping on this husk pillow. He really has to curl up in a ball to fit on it, but that doesn't seem to faze him.
In that they discussed and approved of the use of torture, that statement is an admission against interest. Rice may have just bought herself a ticket to the defendant's table in a war crimes trial. She might be advised to restrict her foreign travel once she surrenders her diplomatic passport in January.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Breaking News from Big Eddie:All of us good Communists here in the Universe that we call "Reality" are pleased to welcome the arrival of the McCain Campaign. They are the first Republicans to visit Reality in the last 14 years.
McCain Camp insiders say Palin "clueless"
Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as "disastrous." One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."
This is just too good, really. It's interesting to watch implosions of this magnitude. The Obama Campaign ought to say: "Fuck you guys, the VP debate goes on as scheduled" and if she doesn't show up, Joe Biden can be photographed next to a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Palin. Only the cardboard would probably do better at a debate.
Care to bet that Twig Palin gets really sick in the next week or so and Sarah just has to withdraw from the ticket "for the good of the campaign?"
(H/Tto Balloon Juice)
UPDATE: And then there is this:
(H/T to HuffPo)
Is she even thinking in English? Borat was more coherent.
UPDATE II: And this.
We need to take heads and mount them on pikes along Wall Street as a warning to the next ten generations of bankers and brokers that irrational greed comes at too high a price.
If you remember this post, then you might be interested to know that the FBI has arrested the preacher involved. Seems he was transporting minors across state lines for "sexual activity."
You may now resume worrying about what kind of job you'll be doing when you are 85 years old.
So is JP Morgan Chase now the next one to go belly-up, since the Bush Administration has been selling them all of these failed banks?
UPDATE: You should read Krugman's column today on the bailout.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The only reason they are doing whatever they can to muck with the bailout proposals is to give the maximum political advantage to John McCain. The Republicans in Congress do not care about you or me or the nation. They are a thousand percent playing political games. They are not Americans, they are Republicans. They are not patriots, they are partisan politicians.
The Democrats should walk away until the Republicans are ready to deal.
And if this country goes down the tubes, blame a Republican.
(Photo from Dr. Zaius)
So why are they balking now?
What she'll have to say about Lindsey Lohan ought to be good.
This is all good, by the way, as it advances the cause and it sticks daggers into the Fascist Right.
Well, we are now doing just that.
The story makes no sense, as it says that the Afghan and American troops were a "mile and a half" away from the border when the exchange of fire with the Pakistani troops took place. They were exchanging small-arms fire at a range of 3,000 yards?
They might as well have been waving their dicks at each other. Or we are not being told what really happened.
And now, socialism, at least for the rich (you poor saps who make less than a few million a year still get to drown without hindrance).
So I am going to follow the lead of John Cole on this and take the title of "comrade."
"I'm losing this campaign, so I'm asking that we all stop campaigning."
UPDATE: From Jack & Jill, it's not a good idea to piss off David Letterman.
No real surprise to any of this.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So all of those pronouncements over the last two years, including as late as a week or so ago, about how the "economy is strong" and "it's just a little adjustment" were lies? Lies told in the hope that everything would settle out on its own accord?
With the proceedings carried live on nationwide television, members of the committee repeatedly asked why the White House waited so long before revealing the scope of the problem. [Secretary] Paulson said he warned Bush in a meeting around the time he became Treasury secretary in July 2006.
"When I got down here, after about several months on the job, I was shocked, absolutely shocked, to find it wasn't deregulation or too much regulation or too little regulation, it was a just flawed regulatory structure," said Paulson, the former head of Goldman Sachs, one of Wall Street's most powerful investment firms. "It was built for a different model, for a different financial system. The financial system changed. The regulatory system didn't change. And so that clearly has to be corrected."
I am sorry, but no. We have seen too many times in the past that the Bush Administration rushes to Congress to demand extraordinary powers in order to deal with some "crisis." They stampeded things such as the first law on military commissions, the Iraq War resolution, the creation of the Department of
I do not trust the Administration on any of this, not the terms of the bailout, not the need for one, and certainly not the need to give such extraordinary powers to the Secretary of the Treasury.
And neither should Congress trust them. They are all fools if they do.
On another note, what is left for Bush to fuck up? He's done what he can to despoil the environment, he's wrecked our military, he's trashed our international standing and now, in the last year of his second term, he has destroyed our economy.
He's supposedly addressing the nation tonight. I will not watch, for I can think of nothing that gives me less confidence in a bad situation than hearing Bush talk about it.
Somewhere, out of sight of the press, John Edwards has to be smiling. All of the Wingnuts who have chortled and cheered at the news of Edwards's infidelity now get to be hoisted on their own petards.
John McCain has working on his campaign the very smear-mongers who destroyed his own campaign eight years ago. I have no doubt, none at all, that the McCain campaign would make full and bloody use of a story like this if it pertained to Joe Biden. You need only look at the lies and smears coming out of the McCain campaign as it stands now to know that for a certainty.
The Republicans have called the tune in this campaign and the last few, especially the loathsome "Swift-boating" of John Kerry.
So let them now dance to the music.
(H/T to Americablog)
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson
1) Total transparency. No secret deals. Every buyout deal, with all of the gritty details, gets posted on the Internet.
2) Rigorous oversight. An oversight board, exercising control-by-negation, oversees everything. Congress has to be involved in this.
3) A piece of the action. Treasury will buy those toxic securities from the banks at the price the banks set, but the banks will then have to give the Treasury stock in the bank equal to the percentage of those toxic assets. If the bank says that it has assets of $50 billion and $20 billion are toxic, then the Treasury gets 40% of the stock in the bank, and by "stock," I mean all classes of stock: Common, preferred, whatever they have. The Treasury then will try to sell the toxic shit and, whatever they get for it, that much of the stock will be given back to the bank.
4) Cap the pay. Those fuckers were greedily stupid enough to get into this mess, they do not get to reap the rewards of their foolishness.
5) Obama and McCain must both sign onto the plan. If not, no deal. Neither one of them gets to spend six weeks running against the bailout. If they won't put a lid on their personal ambitions long enough to do what needs to be done, then the world can go down the fucking tubes and they can bear the blame for it.
Todd Palin owns a Piper Supercub, N8194D. There are photos of it around the Internet, including this one on Fox News' website.
Note that it is on floats. That means it is a "seaplane."
According to the Federal Aviation Regulations, the "pilot in command" of an airplane has to hold
"the appropriate category, class and type rating, if appropriate, for the conduct of the flight." FAR 1.1.
Categories and classes are found in FAR 61.5. "Categories" are: Airplane, rotorcraft, glider, and so on. Under the category of "airplane" are four classes: single-engine land, single-engine sea, multiengine land and multiengine sea.
Aircraft registrations and pilot registrations are in public-access databases. If you were to go to one of them, such as the one at landings.com, you would find that Todd Palin has a license to fly single engine landplanes.
Unless every time that Todd Palin has a flight instructor with him every time he is flying that airplane on floats,he is breaking Federal law.
Now admittedly, it is hard to fly an airplane without breaking one of the FAA's regulations; the FAA sets things up to be so convoluted that if they want to ding you for something, they will. There are a shit-ton of airplanes in Alaska and probably the majority of them are flown illegally anyway. I'll bet that most of the privately-owned bush airplanes in Alaska haven't had an annual inspection (FAR 91.409) since the Johnson Administration.
But flying without the right category and class ratings on one's certificate is one of the Big Bozo No-Nos of aviation.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In those four weeks, Palin has been so ready that she has not held a single news conference. She has given one interview to Charlie Gibson. (The "interview" she gave to Sean Hannity only happened because he agreed to shine her shoes during the commercial breaks.)
Palin is not ready for anything, let alone the vice presidency. She is a combination of the know-nothing ignorance of George Bush, the secrecy of Dick Cheney, and the cronyistic arrogance of both men.
If you think this country is on the right track, then sure, vote for McCain-Palin. But if you think the country is on the wrong track, if you thing things are not going well and you are still goving to vote for those two, I respectfuly suggest you need to get your neck bolts re-torqued.
There are 50,000 Irish men and women who are in this country illegally at this time, who are hard-working people, who want to become citizens. And I want to assure you that we will enact comprehensive immigration reform, after they do certain things, obviously, give them a path to citizenship in this country as part of an overall immigration reform package.Not that this is new; immigration outrage has always been directed at the "other people," whether Jews, Asians or Hispanics. I'm just surprised that McCain would speak that sentiment aloud in an approving manner.
Barney Frank has the correct view. Why should we cough up a trillion bucks to bail those guys out if they are going to use that as a way to profit at our expense?
Second, it seems to me that Secretary Paulson was one of the guys who was not only asleep at the switch, he was one of the guys who most benefited from the free-for-all that went on in the financial markets. Why he should be the guy to fix it is beyond me. Any steps taken to rein in abuses would hurt his peeps, the very people he will have to go back to rubbing elbows with in 2009. So you know that's not going to happen.
If the fat cats are not willing to take their own hit in exchange for us bailing them out of the consequences of their own greed, then fuck them.
"[President Hu] said China is ready to work with the U.S. side to intensify dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and properly handle issues concerning mutual interests and of major concern, particularly the Taiwan question, in a bid to push forward the sustained and steady development of the Sino-U.S. constructive and cooperative ties."Translation: Bush agreed that the US will not interfere with how China resolves the Taiwan issue. The Chinese will probably be polite to Bush and wait until next year, so the Republicans can blame the Democrats for not stopping the Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
(H/T to Fixer and b at Moon of Alabama)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Do not wait. Do not dawdle. Call right the fuck now. If you do not know the phone numbers for your senators or your congressman (or who they are), click on the links in this sentence.
This is the proposed act:
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY
TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS
Section 1. Short Title.
This Act may be cited as ____________________.
Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.
(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:
(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;
(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;
(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;
(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and
(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.
Sec. 3. Considerations.
In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--
(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and
(2) protecting the taxpayer.
Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.
Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.
Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.
(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.
(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.
(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.
Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.
The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time
Sec. 7. Funding.
For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.
Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.
The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.
Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.
Sec. 11. Credit Reform.
The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.
Sec. 12. Definitions.
For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.
(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.
(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.
If you think she is correct, then you may want to consider buying gold and rifles. And when I saw "gold," I do not mean "investing in a commodities house," I mean the stuff you can bury in your cellar.
As for me, I am not going to make those sort of preparations.
I saw a full-grown one at a cat show recently. That cat was over 20lbs, solid muscle, and was letting everyone who wanted to pet him.
I'll post a couple photos later.
$30,000 a month for five years. Do the math.
I'm sorry, but hell no. No fucking way. There has to be accountability to Congress and to us. This is still a democracy; we should not give one man that much money to spend any which way he feels is a good idea.
Today is September 22nd. In four months, there will be a new Treasury Secretary. If John McCain wins, that man likely will be Phil Gramm, a man who is wholly in the pocket of UBS Investment Bank, the man who called America "a nation of whiners." Does anyone think that he will give a flying fuck about anyone other than his banking buddies?
Somebody needs to be able to hold the Treasury Secretary accountable. That "someone" is Congress.
Congress needs to do its job.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, and you just know that that pack of goniffs will figure out a way to seriously enrich themselves at our expense. The people in invested in those operations, of course, will be screwed. The worker bees in those entities will be royally rogered. But the fuckers at the top have arranged for platinum/gold parachutes and they will go home with seven and eight figure "retirements."
So why do I hate Chimpy and his fellow travelers, you might ask. It is because when Americans in general are hurting, they do nothing other than offer platitutudes. Extend unemployment for those who are having a very hard time finding a job that pays their bills? Oh no, they cried, that would cost too much. Health insurance for children? Horrors, that would add to the deficit.
Bail out Wall Street? Go to war in the Middle East on false pretenses? They are willing to whip out the Federal checkbook in order to do those things. Put a cap on how much those guys get paid? Jack up the top tax rates for the ultra-rich? Oh, no, that would be unfair. Fighter airplanes that cost a quarter of a billion dollars a pop? "How many you want," asks Bush. Better body armor for the soldiers? "Too costly," said Rumsfeld. The costly airplanes enrich Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, but only some pissant companies make any money off better body armor. Better educational benefits or higher pay for the troops? Costs too much. No-bid contracts for Blackwater and KBR? Pay them, no questions permitted, let alone asked.
I do not disagree that something has to be done to try and prevent the Great Depression- the Sequel ("with even longer breadlines!"). But it gripes my gizzard that nothing can be done along the way for Americans who are already living on the edge. It pisses me off that hundreds of billions can be found to help the masters of the universe who brought this disaster about, but there are not even crumbs for the working stiffs who are facing hard times.
Kanye West had it wrong when he said that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," but only because he understated it. George Bush doesn't care about people, period, not unless you make over $500,000 a year and that's probably a low figure.
John McCain and Sarah Palin are no better. All of those clowns will watch the lives and the prospects of those who take a paycheck to feed their families (and whose who dream of a paycheck) go down the shitter and they only laugh: "Pass the canapes and the champers, Muffy."
So damn George Walker Bush. Damn everyone who will not damn George Walker Bush. Damn everyone who doesn't wake up in the middle of the night to damn George Walker Bush.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It's a nice light machine, but there is one thing that is really sucky about it: It has the shortest cord on a vacuum cleaner that either she or I have ever seen. You have to unplug it each time you are done with a room and plug it into an outlet in each room. With Orecks or Eurekas or a Dirt-Devil, you can do a few rooms before you have to change outlets.
Not so with this Dyson. Clearly, it was designed by a man, and I do not mean that in a good way.
The HEGI is showing that the economy is really in the shitter.
(H/T, again, to Paul Krugman)
"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."
Yeah. We have seen in the last couple of weeks how well that idea has worked, thank you very much.
(H/T to Paul Krugman)
Friday, September 19, 2008
I have never heard of the cops charging the families of murder victims for the cost of gathering the evidence of the crime. When robberies or hate crimes occur, I have never heard of the cops charging the victims for their investigation.
But only in Wasilla did the cops think it was a good idea to penalize the victim for reporting a crime by making the victim pay for the cost of the investigation. And only when the crime was rape, mind you.
You have to ask yourself this question: "What sort of twisted psycho fuck would think that was a good idea?" But then you slap yourself on the side of the head and remember that the twisted fuck in question is running to be McCain's replacement when he dies in office.
I know a lot of men think that rape is funny. McCain has made jokes about it of the "when it's inevitable, lie back and enjoy it." (I've always wanted to grab a 2x4 and suggest to them that "when the beating is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.") But it takes a really twisted, perverted and sick woman to take that sort of view, to take the view that women should be discouraged from reporting rapes.
The name of that twisted, perverted and sick woman is: Sarah Palin.
Update: Now, this is a good idea.
We do not have the trusts, or the monopolies that existed back then. But we need to aggressively break up the large financial institutions into smaller entities. According to the end of this article, by the time this mess is over, JP Morgan, Citi and Bank of America will each come out of it with close to two trillion dollars in "assets" apiece. (I put the word "assets" in quotations for who the hell really knows for sure.)
They really are too big to fail. But if they were to fail, a two-trillion-dollar bank failure would wreck the economy.
Old joke, redone:
Q: What's the difference between the financial sector and the Girl Scouts?
A: The Girl Scouts have competent adult supervision.
The remedy is two-fold: First, go back to regulating the piss out of them. Let the banks make money, nothing wrong with that. But let's put the competent adult supervision back in. Federal and state regulators are paid by the governments, they have no reason (other than corruption) to turn a blind eye to these shenanigans.
Second, break up the big banks. Break them into much smaller pieces. A bank or brokerage house with assets of fifty billion or so is still plenty fucking large. But if it were to fail, it wouldn't bring the world's economy crashing down with it. A two-trillion-dollar bank failure would wreck global economy. And for a large project, the need to have multiple banks in play would also work to ensure that there were many eyes paying attention to what is going on.
The last thing we should do is listen to the cries of the bankers and their asswipe buddies in the GOP that "we've learned our lesson" and "we would never do anything like that again." That is bullshit, they have done it before.
The question is whether we will be fooled again.
You don't hear a word from the Republicans about it. Not a peep.
But when Bill Clinton was the president, man, did those same Republicans scream blue bloody murder at any hint of any Hillary's involvement. And you can bet your ass that if Hillary were president or vice president, that they would have their eyes peeled for any involvement by Bill.
So, is there a reason for this other than naked, rampant hypocrisy?
Eclipse Aviation's order book has just been slashed in half, as DayJet was by far their largest customer. So it is possible that was the harbinger of doom for Eclipse.
Or maybe not.
Given the Bush Administration's long track record in grossly understating projected costs (remember when the Iraq War would cost $60 billion, tops), we're probably into the trillion+ range.
None of the "masters of the universe" who brought this about are going to be living on the street. None of them will go to prison for bringing the economy of the United States to the brink of collapse.
Those fuckers all got incredibly rich and now we have to pick up the tab? We ought to be raising the top rate on income taxes for those who make more than a few million a year, from any source, to a scale so that they don't get to take home more than 100 times the average wage of the American worker.
If we do this, if we have to bail out all of the banks because they were all such greedy fucks as to make such moronic loans and then were so fraudulent as to bundle those loans and market them as "securities," then we should regulate the living shit out of them. Bankers should not be able to wipe their asses without following a procedure specified by Federal regulators.
Yes, I know, if we regulate the shit out of those people, we may "stifle innovation" and have "slower growth." So fucking what, we would not be now faced with having to pump enough of our money into the financial sector that the Iraq War costs are, by comparison, chump change. We are going to have to take on so much additional debt that it may be a minor miracle if Treasury Bonds manage to retain their AAA rating from Standard & Poors and the other rating organizations.
We have truly fucked over our future. This will result in the Federal deficit that existed when Bush came into office being more than doubled under his watch. Not all of it is Bush's fault, Greenspan has a large share of the culpability for this disaster, but much of it is, for Bush and the ideological idiots in his administration refused to do anything to regulate the financial institutions.
As a nation, we will not be able to invest in the future, for like any family who has maxed out their credit cards, we are going to be paying off our debt. No Mars mission. No extra money to fix roads or build high-speed rail systems. Just servicing our debt for the next fucking century, like the debt-ridden banana republic that the Republicans have reduced this nation to.
There are a lot of banks that stuck to sound principles and are not in danger. But many did not, they went after the fast money. And what gripes my ass the most, is that even though the banks and the mortgage brokers were busily turning cities like Cleveland into ghost towns, none of those guys will pay for what they have done. Oh, they may have lost some money, but you do not see the presidents of Countrywide, IndyMac, Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers being perp-walked. None of those guys are going to go to jail. Their biggest sacrifice may be that they have to give up flying NetJets and go back to flying on the airlines.
Poor babies. It is too bad that we cannot build some tumbrels, borrow some guillotines from French museums and start taking heads.
Because of the abuse of buying on margin in the 1920s, the Securities and Exchange Commission enacted rules to limit the amount of debt that a brokerage house could carry. In 2004, the SEC waived those rules for five brokerage houses: Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.
Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch are gone. Morgan Stanley is trying to find someone to buy it.
Nice minding of the store, capitalists.
The next question, which is not being asked by anyone other than one blogger, is this: If companies such as AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Bear Stearns (as well as GM and Ford) are "too big to fail," are they also "too big to exist?"
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Probably everyone outside of the Bush Administration saw this one coming a month ago. Which is why it is such a surprise to Chimpy and his team of lovable morons.
Second, Palin and the rest of the thugs in the GOP are doing their utmost to shut down the Troopergate investigation. So I think it is fair to ask this: What are they trying to hide? What are they so afraid will come out before Election Day that they are trying so hard to quash or stall this investigation?
Palin went from "hold me accountable" to "what, me accountable" in near record time.
I loved this line: "McCain-Palin spokesman Ed O'Callaghan said Todd Palin no longer believes the Legislature's investigation is legitimate." Give me a fucking break. Who gives a flying fuck what Todd Palin thinks? He's just her goddman husband, he's not the holder of any official position other than being the First Asshole of Alaska.
What are they trying so hard to cover up? Was Palin observed eating the meat of roasted fetuses? What did she do that was so disgusting and so evil that they have to try and bury it so deep?
"Eager to show that he feels people’s pain, President Bush scuttled a political fundraising trip Thursday to tell the country his administration is working feverishly to calm turmoil in the financial markets."
It seems to me that whenever Bush shows "concern" and says that he is doing anything, things almost always go from "bad" to "a world of shit." I'd almost prefer that Heckuvajob Bushie just shut the fuck up, go about his vacations and fundraising trips and leave the serious work to the professionals.
Palin is learning from the GOP masters of deceit, delay and denial. What we are seeing is what a Palin Administration would look like: Cronyism, decisions based on ideology (a "fact-free" administration) and yet another cult of personality, where the only test is loyalty to the Dear Leader.
Zero accountability. Palin would, as president, be the worst of George Bush and Dick Cheney combined: Vicious, unwilling to obey the law, and aggressively both ignorant and arrogant.
This country hardly deserves that.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Pay particular attention to the man to the right of Chimpy: Alan Greenspan. More than anyone else, this current financial catastrophe, is directly due to Greenspan's complete unwillingness to regulate the financial industry.
This is not news. I blogged about this six months ago. Hell, eight months ago, and twice.
Now Michael Hirsh is weighing in and his judgment is the same: It was Greenspan's job to regulate the mortgage and banking industries. He failed.
Greenspan was not just negligent, he was criminally negligent. It would almost be tempting to conclude that Greenspan was an active saboteur of the American economy, for all the damage that his ideological reliance on the morally bankrupt philosophies of Ayn Rand have brought us. Greenspan and the other true believers of Randism thought that honor would trump avarice. He was so wrong, but he is not the one who is bearing the burden of his abject foolishness.
It was Greenspan's job to oversee the mortgage market and to regulate it. He not only was asleep at the switch, he turned his back on the approaching trains. There were warning signs as far back as eight years ago that the mortgage market was heading for a cliff and when the Federal Reserve was made aware of that, they did not do a fucking thing. That was Greenspan's doing. He made sure that no impediments, no regulation, no oversight was placed on the mortgage industry.
The other acolytes of deregulation, including Phil Gramm, John McCain, George W. Bush and the rest of that pack of drooling syphalitic hyenas all share some of the blame, true. But it was Alan Greenspan's job to mind the shop, to watch the store, to police the market. And in that regard, Greenspan had all of the skills and ability of his hero in law enforcement:
At this point, I will settle for Bush faithfully following the Constitution one day a year. It's sort of like Tom Lehrer's song about National Brotherhood Week.
(If you do not understand the reference in the title, read this.)
I say OK, but with one proviso: Whenever that is done, we shoot the CEO, CFO, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors and their predecessors going back two years. No trial, just grab them, stand them up against the side of a building on Wall Street and shoot them. Same rule would apply to a bank if the FDIC takes it over.
At the end of the day, all of these clowns are going home, maybe as not as incredibly rich as they once were, but none of these guys are suffering. For instance, the CEO of Bear Stearns walked away with $60 million. That's a lot less than the billion or so his shares were once worth, but sixty million smackeroos isn't exactly chump change. He won't exactly be living in a refrigerator carton under a highway bridge.
These fuckers are playing with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. It wasn't the worker bees at Lehman Brothers who flew the company into the side of a cliff, it was the "masters of the universe" running that company. None of those guys will be faced with having to live out of his car anytime soon, but tens of thousands of their employees have lost their jobs and may suffer that fate.
So let's have these guys, the "masters of the universe," truly have some skin in the game: Their own.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Just the sort of move that I would expect from a campaign that has devolved into a huge bucket of slime.
And here is how to tell if you are a fucking idiot.
UPDATE: And now the Alaskan Attorney General is doing a Gonzales/Mukasey and telling state employees not to honor the Troopergate subpoenas. That tells me that there really is something to the whole scandal and that Palin is as guilty as they come. Which is to say that she is truly qualified to be the vice president of another ethically sleazy Republican administration.