The Bailout Nobody Wants, Except the Middle-Class

After a stunning defeat—well actually not so stunning given the public’s pervasive anger at Bu$hCo and Wall Street—congressional leaders might want to consider the one form of bailout that would make their constituents happy: Take that $700B and give it to homeowners, especially to the homeowners that are facing foreclosure.

If mortgage-backed securities are the problem, then why not recapitalize the market segment by shoring up the assets that underly those securities. Keeping families in their homes would stabilize prices, keep billions of dollars of equity from being flushed down the crapper, and improve local tax bases by keeping the property taxes flowing. Home owners that didn’t need help could be rewarded for their caution with tax credits. A great solution right? The market crisis is avoided, and almost everybody wins..except:

Banks and Investment Houses… The ones heavily leveraged in mortgage-backed securities, would have to bide their time. Returns wouldn’t be realized for years, and these firms already have decided that they want to be forgiven for their folly right now.

Bu$hCo and the GOP… Who won’t be able to take credit if the idea comes from Congress, is passed by Congress, and doesn’t show results until well into the next administration.

And this is why this idea will never, ever come to pass. Democrats don’t have the balls or the votes to override the inevitable Bush veto. And he will veto because, if there is anything we’ve learned from watching Bu$hCo during this ‘so-called’ crisis, it’s that the solution has nothing to do with restoring the health of the economy and less to do with helping ‘Main Street America’.

No…Bu$hCo is trying to fundamentally change the relationship of government to Wall Street. The bailout is about providing ‘indemnification of last resort’ to the people who are really pulling Bu$hCo’s strings, and giving them a tool that they can use to fleece the American people whenever they feel that their profits aren’t sufficient.

Republicans attack Vetting – Process denies blame for Palin, endorses Obama

The honeymoon is over between Republicans and Vetting.

Once widely relied upon as a management tool in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Vetting has experienced a slump in popularity since it approved the selection of Sarah Palin to be the Republican vice presidential nominee.

“The post-convention bounce is over, Palin has revealed herself as inarticulate on the issues, and the Republican faithful wants answers,” said GOP official Pilate Hindenberg, who spoke to Wiseline Institute on condition of anonymity.

Hindenberg said people like Palin less the more they find out regarding her truthfulness, lack of executive, economic and foreign policy experience, and management of Alaska state government. “Republicans are wondering what happened, how Palin passed the Vetting process. They want to point the finger of blame at someone, and that someone is Vetting,” Hindenberg said.

Last Wednesday columnist George Will became the most prominent conservative to attack Vetting, likening the selection of Palin to Bill Buckner’s error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

McCain supporters are particularly incensed that Vetting formally endorsed Barack Obama on Friday night, following the Democratic nominee’s first debate with John Sidney McCain III, held at the University of Mississippi.

GOP strategist and Fox News analyst Karl Rove, interviewing himself yesterday, accused Vetting of giving Palin a pass in order to give Obama an advantage. “Vetting’s endorsement of Obama serves as an indictment — Vetting is unfairly biased against incompetence and mediocrity,” Rove said to himself.

For its part, Vetting says it is not to blame. “You guys are the ones who created Palin. A broken company produces bad products. I’m just a protocol.”

“If you think about it, Sarah Palin is the ultimate end-product of the neoconservative movement of the past 35-ish years. While she therefore is not the most qualified to be vice president, she is the best qualified Republican. I did my job.”

Vetting said it is not worried about becoming a thing of the past, asking, “What are you going to do, NOT vet people anymore? With Regence University still churning out graduates?”

“I don’t think so,” Vetting said.

Sarah Palin’s Action Weather®

Sunny today, partly cloudy with chance of showers tomorrow, Putin looming on Wednesday.

The Fix Is In

So Senate Democrats believe they have a compromise on the bailout plan. But as negotiations dragged on…and on, Treasury officials started talking to the press about how dire the situation really was, how if an agreement wasn’t reached, the United States could see a drop in the Dow Jones of 3000 to 4000 points—economic upheaval on the scale of the Great Depression.

Ironically, or perhaps conveniently, initial negotiations with the White House were a dismal failure, last minute demands from Republicans delaying an agreement for an extra week.

And therein is the problem: The American people are being set up.

Anyone want to take bets on how this goes down? On Monday a massive market selloff begins, while at the same time House and Senate Republicans torpedo final passage of the bailout. That will delay the bill for at least 2 days, while some supposedly important but more likely inconsequential details are dealt with. Then magically, on Wednesday or Thursday, after we’ve seen the Dow loose 15% to 20% of it’s value, the bailout is passed. The market recovers somewhat, all due to the bailout, right?

Wrong! The market will recover because, after Bu$hCo’s Treasury initiates a fake panic, institutional investors will see the opportunity to score by putting money back into equities. Over the next six months, Wall Street will fleece another $1T from anybody who got caught in the panic selling, and in addition will have the cushion of Paulson’s ‘get out of debt free card’ to fall back on.

The fix is in. We’d be better off if Congress simply called Bu$hCo’s bluff. They won’t, of course. They’ll be to busy padding their own portfolios at our expense.

The greatest advance in my lifetime

I read a great article many years ago as we were approaching the year 2000. In it the author asked a bunch of people born in the early 19th century what was the greatest advance in their lifetime. Their answers included things like electricity, indoor plumbing and broadcast television. It’s an interesting question, and one I’ve contemplated in all the years since.

For me it would have to be The Pill. I am a product of the feminist revolution in that I feel the ability to determine when and if you have children has fundamentally changed women’s lives. You wouldn’t have had working mothers in the 70’s if it hadn’t come along. And we would have missed out “the sexual revolution” of the 80’s. True it may have spared us things like guilt, STDs and AIDS, but those things taught us that sex carried with it responsibility. I find myself mystified by women who don’t believe in birth control. As late at the 1950’s if you look at family dynamics, there were 6 – 10 children per couple. Can you imagine having 10 children? I certainly can’t. The ability to determine my fertility allowed me to go to college, to pursue a career I loved, and to put off the decision to have children until my early thirties.

I’m curious to hear from you what you think was the biggest advance in your lifetime and why?

The American Socialist Dream

Anarchy and the American dream
This week WaPo ran a feature – KidsPost Election ’08 – on the economy. So what are they telling your kids:

What is an economy? It is a system that involves buying and selling goods and services. At the center of any economy is money.

Your children are being taught that corporate anarchy good – capitalism bad. In this ‘market economy’ model the corporates make their own rules, then create the rules the drones must adhere to as well.

Government of course support the ‘what is good for business’ approach, then slip in more rules and social restraints to make sure the drones meekly go along with the scheme without undue fuss.

The problem is, as we are now seeing, this corporate anarchy has no mechanism to constrain greed, in fact it encourages greed. But the corporate sector is sufficiently large and diverse that the open slather is bound to lead to conflicts. Conflicts which end in lots of zeroes.

It has been a great experiment, and I guess fitting that it should take place in the land of commerce and innovation. I guess the ordinary folk must be feeling a bit like battered guinea pigs, but at least we know what doesn’t work.

iNews Friday, 9-26-2008

From the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator

Headline: Aristocrat Who Favored Clinton Endorses McCain
Translation“The hemophiliac minor royalty of Europe are in solidarity with you, my redneck brethren,” Lady de Rothschild says

Headline: Fox host – Franken ‘writing’ McCain SNL skit can’t ‘possibly be legal’
TranslationDoocy attacks Franken for “using words”

Headline: Bush Urges Democrats to Act Quickly on Bailout Plan
Translation“We wouldn’t try to sneak anything by you in the middle of the night. Again.”

Headline: McCain Has 13 Cars
Translation“That’s only one, maybe two, cars per house,” McCain says

Headline: Dirty secret of the Paulson bailout – Section 8
TranslationAKA “The Klinger Clause”

Headline: Murray says bailout must include oversight
TranslationPaulson calls lack of oversight an oversight, and Section 8 “a typo”

Headline: McCain suspends campaign to work on Wall St plan
Translation“This has nothing to do with the Wall St lobbyists running my campaign, turn page”

Headline: John McCain seeks to postpone debate
TranslationMcCain challenges Obama to game of hide & seek – Palin already playing

Headline: David Letterman roasts John McCain for skipping out on ‘Late Show’
TranslationThought pissing off host of national TV show would reinforce ‘maverick’ cred

Headline: Bush warns ‘entire economy is in danger’
Translation“At this time I’d like to give out a toll-free number economists can call if they have any bright ideas”

Headline: Bush warns of fallout if rescue plan not approved
TranslationGovernment may seize another financial institution – Congress would reopen as ‘IndyFed Capitol’

Headline: Letterman keeps up assault on McCain
Translation Letterman suspends show to deal with IRS audit

Headline: Market rescue plan – ‘We’re going to get a package passed,’ says Bush
TranslationNostalgic, Bush again dons flightsuit to showcase package

iTry; an attempt by a Luddite to emulate an iPod playlist

Mr Kvatch knows full well that a fat fingered, short sighted individual has little chance of operating miniature devices effectively, but challenged for the hell of it:” …but I want to hear his top 25 anyway.
So, without an iPod device I pulled out my collection of shellac, vinyl and magnetic tape music, threw it on the floor and randomly chose 25. I also, just for the sake of reality – hummed, whistled or crooned a few bars from each.

1. The Rooftop Singers – Walk Right In
2. Different Trains – Steve Reich
3. Dancing In The Street – Billy Thorpe
4. Goin’ Back To New Orleans – Dr. John w/ Neville Brothers, Al Hirt
5. Toccata and Fugue in D minor – Bach
6. Hold On I’m Coming – Eric Clapton & BB King
7. Yeh Yeh – Georgie Fame
8. Akhnaten – Philip Glass
9. Little Red Rooster – Howlin’ Wolf & Yardbirds
10. Papas Got A Brand New Bag – James Brown
11. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zepplin
12. Angelina Zooma Zooma – Louis Prima
13. Pretty Flamingo – Manfred Mann
14. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 Aria [Villa-Lobos] – Joan Baez
15. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash [WTF how did that get there?]
16. New World Symphony – Dvořák
17. Rio – Mike Nesmith
18. Sloth – Fairport Convention
19. Rolf Harris – Kevin Bloody Wilson
20. Boris the Spider – The Who
21. The Gymnopédies – Erik Satie
22. Blue In Green – Miles Davis
23. Crepuscule With Nellie – Thelonious Monk
24. The Real Thing – Russell Morris
25. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell.

The iPod of Doom Speaks

iPod of DoomRon Nasty hit me up with, “The Best of My iPod,” my favorite 25 tracks. But what Ron doesn’t know is that I am possessed by my iPod. Things are out of my hands. The iPod ‘o Doom knows all…what I like…what I need. It does the picking for me.

And what does Satan’s little MP3 player have for us today?

1. Pearl Jam – “Rats”, Vs.
2. This Mortal Coil – “Fyt”, It’ll End In Tears
3. T-Bone Burnett – “Humans From Earth”, ‘Until the End of the World’ – Soundtrack
4. Crowded House – “Black & White Boy”, Together Alone
5. Talking Heads – “Swamp”, Stop Making Sense
6. Garbage – “Queer”, Garbage
7. Prince & The NPG, “Gett Off”, Diamonds and Pearls
8. Icehouse, “Great Southern Land”, Primitive Man
9. The Offspring – “Come Out and Play”, Smash
10. The Crystal Method – “PHD”, Tweekend
11. Budderball – “She’s Dead”, The Great Pepper Shaker In The Sky
12. Depeche Mode – “Clean”, Violator
13. Nirvana – “Heart-shaped Box”, In Utero
14. John Lee Hooker – “Cry Before I Go”, Urban Blues
15. Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Little Sister”, Superstition
16. Santana – “Oye Como Va”, The Best of Santana
17. The Cars – “Heartbeat City”, Heartbeat City
18. XTC – “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”, Nonsuch
19. Peter Gabriel – “Of These, Hope”, Passion – Music for the ‘Last Temptation of Christ’
20. R.E.M. – “Bang and Blame”, Monster
21. Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Texas Flood”, Texas Flood
22. The B-52’s – “Is That You Mo-Dean?”, Good Stuff
23. Madonna – “Bedtime Story”, Bedtime Stories
24. The Folk Implosion – “Kingdom of Lies”, One Part Lullaby
25. Moby – “Inside”, Play

I don’t know if Cartledge has an iPod, but I want to hear his top 25 anyway.

Economics For 5 Year Olds

Why does Bush’s bailout defense speech read like he’s explaining the Wall Street meltdown to a 5 year old? Oh…wait. I get it. That’s how it was explained to him. Though, I have to say, the part that was most ridiculous was where he delivered his dire warnings about the R-word:

Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And, ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

I doubt that Bush is worried over much about us, the so-called ‘Non-wealthy Americans‘. Because the plain and simple fact is: WE’RE ALREADY SUFFERING IN A RECESSION YOU BLITHERING IDIOT! The market are down 28% year over year. Unemployment is skyrocketing—above 7% now in California and projected to go higher. Tent cities are springing up for the displaced. The only people not suffering are the f*ckos who created this mess, and I get the feeling that Americans are in a mood to spread the misery. Especially if it will teach Bush’s pals on Wall Street a lesson they won’t soon forget.

Bush’s speech was as hollow as his philosophy. The only recession he’s worried about is the one that will cause the value of his portfolio to go down, the one that will put the breaks on donations to GOP coffers. As Gary Hart once put it:

I know why you are conservatives — you favor private enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich.