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I've been really encouraged to see Obama hit the ground running and, for instance, announce the coming repeal of tons of Bush (de)regulatory decisions.

But things are happening so fast on the financial side that even such rapid action may not be sufficient to limit the damage currently being done by the Busgh administration in its dying days.

Consider the following appalling stories from this week-end:

First, this item reported in the WaPo (and also diaried by skosb) about yet another present made to banks:

A Quiet Windfall For U.S. Banks
With Attention on Bailout Debate, Treasury Made Change to Tax Policy

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

Then this new plan for AIG announced in the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Throws New Lifeline to AIG, Scrapping Original Rescue Deal

The U.S. government reached a deal Sunday night to scrap its original $123 billion bailout of American International Group Inc. and replace it with a new $150 billion package, according to people familiar with the matter.

(...) the arrangement stands to considerably ease terms on the faltering insurer

which is described as follows on naked capitalism:

AIG should have no rights at this point. Zero. Zip. Nada. The government already on the hook for an open-ended liability. Yet the Fed is treating AIG as a party that has rights and is negotiating with them, as opposed to dictating terms. This is staggering.

(...)

not only was the initial AIG de facto bankruptcy a case of looting, the government has now decided to aid and abet AIG management in further looting.

But wait, this is not over. paul94611 linked to the following articles earlier this morning:

Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Identify Bank Loans

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

(...)

Total Fed lending topped $2 trillion for the first time last week and has risen by 140 percent, or $1.172 trillion, in the seven weeks since Fed governors relaxed the collateral standards on Sept. 14. The difference includes a $788 billion increase in loans to banks through the Fed and $474 billion in other lending, mostly through the central bank's purchase of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds.

So, there you go:

  • the $700 billion bailout;
  • an additional $140 billion in tax breaks for banks;
  • $150 billion for AIG, on much sweeter terms than they were paying for the earlier $85 billion bailout (with a whoopping 5% drop in the interest rate they have to pay, for instance);
  • lest we forget, the $29 billion guarantee to JPMorgan for Bear Stearns assets (but that's almost small change now);
  • and $1,200 billion new liabilities on the Fed's (ie ultimately the taxpayers') balance sheet, backed by mostly junk paper;

But maybe this explains things:

Bear Stearns Risk Manager to Guard New Henhouse

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Let’s say you were the chief risk officer of the former Bear Stearns Cos. in the two years preceding the bank’s collapse in March.

And let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the postmortems revealed Bear to have had too much risk and too little management of it. The only way JPMorgan Chase & Co. would agree to acquire Bear was with a $29 billion sweetener from the Federal Reserve for some of the less-palatable assets.

Following the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan, you would expect said chief risk officer to:

a) Retire quietly to his country home;

b) Open a "consulting" business, allowing him to deduct the costs of a home office at the country home;

c) Land a plum job offer from another Wall Street bank;

d) Land a job as a bank supervisor at the Federal Reserve.

If you picked a, b or c, you would be incorrect. The correct answer is d.

Michael Alix, chief risk officer at Bear Stearns from 2006 until its demise in March, was named senior vice president in the Bank Supervision Group of the New York Fed on Oct. 31.

It’s not unusual for Wall Street to reward its own, offering rogue traders -- the ones who escape criminal prosecution -- new jobs at different firms. But the Fed? At a time when its balance sheet is exploding with increasingly risky assets?

Lack of accountability seems to be the hallmark of the outgoing administration, this is sadly not news. But right now that painful fact is bringing about a transfer of wealth of close to $2 trillion from the taxpayers to the financial world which needs to be stopped before it's all gone.

The tax rule seems reversible, as might be the terms of the AIG loans (given who now owns AIG). The Fed's behavior and its disclosure behavior should be reviewed urgently.

I hope Obama and his team are on the case right now.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:12 AM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar - 10 November (659+ / 0-)
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  •  Congress needs to push back. (14+ / 0-)

    But it appears that the administration continues to play the fear card effectively, using it to curb Congress.  So to get Congress to push back, WE NEED TO PUSH BACK!!

  •  Nah, don't think he can (10+ / 0-)

    it's already too late on the issue of these bail outs. Now that bailings out are seen as a good idea, I think his hands are rather tied seeing how many MORE are going to happen even before he takes office. Not only did the pigs eat at the trough, they ate the damned thing.

    I think they better come in w/ ideas for reorganizing and smart regulations in hand because he's going to inherit THIS problem too. Poor sap...he got the booby prize here.

  •  It's shameful that Congress (23+ / 0-)

    rolled over without a whimper and continues to do so for Paulson and the Fed but, sadly, not unexpected. Before he is inaugurated Obama has no authority over the continued looting. I suppose he could threaten to publicly expose it after he takes office but for that to be effective one has to assume these people have some sense of integrity. So far, there is no evidence of that.

    McCain says overturn Roe v. Wade.

    by peraspera on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:27:04 AM PST

  •  This is only one field... (10+ / 0-)

    oil under Utah's natural treasures, wolves and bears, whales and regulations...

    The only tool Obama has today is the "light of day." I have no doubt that they are not only researching executive orders but "leaking" them to the press and letting people know that where they go beyond the law there will be consequences.

    Whether the damage done in the next 70 days can be ameliorated remains to be seen. Pardons are the least of our problems.

  •  AIG (21+ / 0-)

    In addition to the $85 billion loan on Sept. 16, AIG got two government credit lines totaling $58.7 billion last month to cover losses, including $37.8 billion for securities lending.

    Now, the two-year, $85 billion loan AIG received on Sept. 16 will be changed to $60 billion that must be repaid in five years, the person said. AIG will pay interest of 3 percent, rather than the original 8.5 percent, plus the London interbank offered rate, on amounts the firm borrows.

    On amounts AIG doesn't draw down, it will pay interest of 0.75 percent, as opposed to 8.5 percent under the earlier agreement, the person said. AIG investors had complained the rates were so high that they almost guaranteed the company wouldn't have a chance to recover.

    AIG gets another $40 billion from the Treasury's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, the person said. In exchange for the cash, the government receives preferred shares that pay 10 percent annual interest.

    The U.S. stake in AIG, measured by its common stock, would remain at 79.9 percent.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/...

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:31:33 AM PST

  •  Congress needs to revoke Paulsons authority (25+ / 0-)

    for AIG and let them go under and take that money and save the real jobs of the auto industry  and make them retool for fuel efficient cars

  •  It all sounds like Socialism to me. (7+ / 0-)

    National Socialism.

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:38:01 AM PST

  •  Jerome, what do you think about this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    escapee, greenearth, 4Freedom

       RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.

       Triggered by the financial crisis the past two months, the hearings reportedly were meant to stem losses incurred by many workers and retirees whose 401(k) and IRA balances have been shrinking rapidly.

       The testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.

    I realize the source location is small and possibly odd.  I'm not familiar with it.  If it's true I wonder why big media isn't reporting it.

    It worries me quite a bit.

    •  Agree, Obama's choices for transition (0+ / 0-)

      are not good for dealing with this problem. Surely even he knows that.

      Yes, they're mega donors, but they're destroying our economy and future.  A little tough love for the big donors is definitely called for.

  •  They were gamed, just as they were played ... (32+ / 0-)

    for fools pre-Iraq, and have been played for fools every step of the way.

    The Bush Kleptocracy will go down in history as an infamous period in US government, but there's really little to be done now.

    The MilDef industries have gotten their.
    The medical lobbies are laughing loudly.
    The energy industry can't believe they got away with their preposterous profits.
    Industrial de-regulation has further increased company coffers, while endangering public health and worker safety.
    The financial industries are now laughing, having gotten their way upstream and downstream.
    Accountability is out the window, and the looting continues, with the superclass taking their at the expense of the public good and the public will.

    In other times, a prescription for revolution. Today: what's on TV tonight?

    "I don't do quagmires, and my boss doesn't do nuance."

    by SteinL on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:49:30 AM PST

    •  Or raise their taxes to an obscene amount (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      escapee, greenearth, saildude

      after the fact?

    •  To be fair... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina

      ...credit card companies don't do that because they are trying to soak you for money. They're doing it because you did something that causes them to consider you a serious statistical default risk, so they raise your rate so you are forced to take a balance transfer from another CC company, go away, and leave their balance sheet alone.

      •  Yeah right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, James Kresnik

        just like health insurance companies deny care to those who dare to get sick and impact their balance sheet.

        •  The difference is... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          saildude

          ...that no one needs or "deserves" a credit card. No one is obligated to loan anyone else money. You want it, you accept the terms of the agreement.

          •  Loan sharking is illegal. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            saildude

            No one "deserves" the tender mercies of the mob.  Loan sharks aren't obligated to loan anyone any money.  You want it, you accept the broken legs.

            My point is that there is nothing wrong with regulating the terms of those agreements to insure that they don't cross the line into abuse.

            Baz

            •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

              My point is that there is nothing wrong with regulating the terms of those agreements to insure that they don't cross the line into abuse.

              Fine, but know that the consequences of whatever action you take will be reduced credit available to everyone, and it will start with the most marginal borrowers (e.g. the ones who need it most). If credit card companies don't statistically think they will make a profit by lending to particular people, they won't, and those people will just go without.

              I mean, would you loan to someone with multiple delinquencies on their credit record at 8%?

              •  At this point... (0+ / 0-)

                ..what we are discussing is what are and are not reasonable rates.  Reasonable is defined as the line between risk management and reasonable rates of return, and armed robbery.

                I doubt that I would loan to someone with multiple delinquencies at 8%...but it might matter what caused those delinquencies.  And I'd hope to be able to steer that person towards some credit counseling and other support services to get his situation under control.

                I actually think that the risk/rate equation only makes sense from a fairly myopic pov.  If someone is not paying on time at 10%, but is paying...will raising their rate to 29.9% make them a better payer or a worse one in the long run. After a certain number of years, a rate like that isn't finance, it's farming.

                •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                  ..what we are discussing is what are and are not reasonable rates.  Reasonable is defined as the line between risk management and reasonable rates of return, and armed robbery.

                  Credit card companies go out and force people to take loans at gunpoint?

                  I doubt that I would loan to someone with multiple delinquencies at 8%...but it might matter what caused those delinquencies.  And I'd hope to be able to steer that person towards some credit counseling and other support services to get his situation under control.

                  This is the credit card company's job?

                  If someone is not paying on time at 10%, but is paying...will raising their rate to 29.9% make them a better payer or a worse one in the long run. After a certain number of years, a rate like that isn't finance, it's farming.

                  Credit card companies are very intelligent and they know that failure to pay on time means you are very likely to default. Raising your interest rate to 30% will force you to either prepay the loan out of your own funds if at all possible or simply balance transfer to another credit card company so the company can be rid of you. They aren't trying to make 30% from you long-term, they are trying to get rid of you so you don't default and lose them all their money.

                  •  I'm talking policy. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk

                    Not "the credit company's job"  Regulaton and consumer protection.  

                    Whatever the top allowable rate is, there will be a top rate.  Why isn't it 40%  505  90% ? Since private companies have no obligation to do anything but follow the law, I must conclude that as yet we have not for whatever reason allowed those rates, or they would be charging them.

                    Why shouldn't we change the law to remove any top rate?  Your arguments in favor of the status quo apply equally well to any of the higher rates I mention.

                    All your arguments for the curre

                    •  cut myself off...sorry (0+ / 0-)

                      All your arguments for the current top rate apply equally well to those higher rates.

                      The companies are profitmaking enterprises. They have no morals or restraint other than the law.

                      That's our job (collectively, as a government).  I persoally think that top rates that are high enough to keep a fairly large number of people in permanent debt are too high and represent a burden on society not a benefit.  If fixing that problem results in fewer people getting loans, I think that's okay...but perhaps everyone in that situation asking for a loan is not simply a free rider but has a problem that needs solving in some other way.

                      Thanks for the discussion.

                      Baz

                    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bmcphail

                      Why shouldn't we change the law to remove any top rate?  Your arguments in favor of the status quo apply equally well to any of the higher rates I mention.

                      Undoubtedly. However, you have to acknowledge that lowering the maximum rate is simply going to increasingly deny credit by government fiat to those who (arguably) need it most. As a small-L libertarian, I think government interventions in the economy need to be well-justified, and it's not clear to me that the government telling otherwise qualified people that they cannot have access to credit that they would otherwise qualify for in the free market is a good idea at all.

                      If fixing that problem results in fewer people getting loans, I think that's okay...but perhaps everyone in that situation asking for a loan is not simply a free rider but has a problem that needs solving in some other way.

                      This is undoubtedly true, and if you're using this kind of argument to justify, for example, single-payer health insurance, I can't help but agree. I also appreciate that you recognize that putting restraints on interest rates will deny certain people credit by government fiat.

                      Now, I'm not necessarily arguing that this is bad in all circumstances. In some cases the free market really doesn't work, and one might argue that a system that allows eternal debt slavery (as you point out) needs some curbs put on it. Some amount of nanny-state protecting-people-from-themselves might be necessary. I might be persuaded that this is the case by proper data. Or, maybe simply being lassaiz faire about consumer credit and simply structuring bankruptcy courts the right way is a good way to go.

                      There are a number of possible ways to go about this, I just think the discussion here is excessively simplified about "big bad credit card companies" charging excessive rates for consumer credit. It's not clear to me that there's a problem here that requires government intervention, or that the present situation isn't fine as it is. The solution might be something as simple as a mandatory personal finance class in high school.

                      •  I think we are more or less on the same page. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sparhawk

                        I have more of an activist attitude about regulation than I think you do, but agree it has to be done carefully.  And I agree about demonizing credit card companies...they are profitmaking enterprises and in our system are not expected to be anything else. They will act according to their nature.  Might as well blame a wolf for being a wolf.  It's up to us, together, to hammer out a set of rules of the road that are reasonable, minimize unnecessary suffering, and don't unnecessarily hamper the ability of businesses to stay in business.

                        I do have to say that I'm definitely not a libertarian.  I feel that I have sufficient reason to believe that in order for markets to be healthy, they can't be totally free but need a framework of rules.  Monopoly isn't a game without rules.

                        Thanks,

                        Baz

              •  ...and I agree about the consequences.. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                There would be "less credit for everyone" starting with the least qualified...

                To go back to my loan shark example, if the only loans they can get are from a loan shark, who are we to cut them off?  Perhaps loan sharks (or exhorbitant legit rates) represent a societal ill that we are better off without.

                I, for one, think that it's a specious argument.  I suspect that if limited to. ..oh... 25%...20%... 18%...15%..the credit card companies would find ways to make money.  

          •  Are you trying to insinuate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            that we actually have to read 12 pages of fine print AND know what it means in order to function in a society that runs on credit? Jeez, you're no fun.

            Seriously though, the banking industry knows what it is doing with the unreadable statements,clauses and "gotcha" terms they use to "extend" credit. If they were on the up and up they wouldn't need to hide behind lawyer speak.

            This too will add to our coming woes, this "crisis" is just waiting it's turn in line. They keep digging the hole deeper along with those holding the credit cards.

            How much of our economy is being propped up by this borrowing and what are the consequences when it too collapses?

            Scary stuff.

      •  Fine... (0+ / 0-)

        Raise it from 8-10% to 12-15%

        29.9% is usury, plain and simple.  They don't do it to be responsible, they do it because they CAN.

        Baz

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)

          Raise it from 8-10% to 12-15%

          29.9% is usury, plain and simple.  They don't do it to be responsible, they do it because they CAN.

          So you say. Again, credit card companies have armies of math PhDs working on this stuff. Consider default rates. Who takes loans at 12% if they don't absolutely have to? The answer is: someone who doesn't have a lot of money and needs a loan, which means that the person is likely to default.

          If CC companies don't think they can make a profit with a 12-15% APR on consumer credit, they simply won't lend with that money and will buy T-bills or make some other profitable investment. Again, at 15% APR it only takes 1 in 6 people to default to reduce the credit card company's profits to zero on the ventured capital. High interest rates are the only way to compensate for that risk and make it profitable. If these aren't available, the CC company will take its ball and go home.

          •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

            I'll only make two observations:

            1. The "math PhD.s" are doing all their figgerin' based on a top rate.  If the top rate were 1005, that would be the basis of their equations. It's up to government to decide what's reasonable and what's abusive and, yes, if the credit companies don't think they can make money under those conditions, they'll start selling insurance.  That's okay.  I think they'll find a way to stay in business and any genuine societal need will find a way to be filled.
            1. One in 6 seems like a cancerous default rate.  Are we actually there?  If those are knowledgeable numbers, then we are in a depression.
            •  Sorry... (0+ / 0-)
              1. So I do say....do you think that all the statisticians of the credit card companies arrived at that 29.99 by means of some esoteric equation? I am ignorant of the actual law, but common sense tells me that they arrived at 29.99 because of a statuatory limit.  Optimization equations are NOT the source of that number, but opportunistic equations (ha) are.

              Thanks,

              Baz

            •  Re (0+ / 0-)

              One in 6 seems like a cancerous default rate.  Are we actually there?  If those are knowledgeable numbers, then we are in a depression.

              No, it's obnoxiously high, I think actual numbers are mostly in the single-digit percents.

              Ah, found some stats:

              The August charge-off rate - which measures the amount of balances written off as uncollectable as an annualized percentage of total loans outstanding - surged 48 percent to 6.82 percent, compared with 4.61 percent during the same month a year ago, Moody's said in a report. It was the 20th consecutive year-over-year increase in the charge-off rate.

              The charge-off rate was 6.36 percent in July.

              From here: http://www.syracuse.com/...

              It's hard to say exactly how they calculate this number, but I think my general point stands.

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                At 6.8% default rate, they need to charge 11% just to make the 4.2% profit they'd get from an FDIC-insured bank account. (This assumes that their discount fee more or less covers their administrative expenses, no idea if this is valid or not).

                To make this a worthwhile business enterprise? I'd say they'd need to charge 15% on average for it to be worth even going in to work in the morning.

                •  Quibbling but.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  that assumes that all loans are defaulted at the beginning of the term of payment and that the defaults are total losses.  I'll grant that the general picture is as you say, but I'd like to know what the average number of months of on-time payment is for defaults.  That'd give you a better chance to calculate what's really going on.

                  I'm not any sort of financial type but seems to me that the default rate and the profit margin on interest received are somewhat apples and oranges.  Related but not so obviously.

                  The general point is taken.

                  Baz

  •  I think GOP strategy is to bankrupt US Govt (27+ / 0-)

    before they leave so that Obama has less off a chance as President to effect change.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:59:21 AM PST

  •  Bush gives Negroponte right to waive SEC rules (20+ / 0-)

    President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John D. Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from certain accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.

    http://www.businessweek.com/...

    Maybe this "loan" is a clandestine way to repair the majors' balance sheet at the bottom of the market.

  •  Can Congress act? (10+ / 0-)

    At least they are supposedly on the job now, and Obama at least has a vote in the Senate.

  •  Thanks for reporting this.... (15+ / 0-)

    but you missed the most important quote in the WaPo article... the very end.

    "It's just like after September 11. Back then no one wanted to be seen as not patriotic, and now no one wants to be seen as not doing all they can to save the financial system," said Lee A. Sheppard, a tax attorney who is a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Analysts. "We're left now with congressional Democrats that have spines like overcooked spaghetti. So who is going to stop the Treasury secretary from doing whatever he wants?"

    History repeats itself... we've learned nothing in the last 7 years, absolutely nothing. And if, God forbid, there were another national crisis before January 20, George W. Bush and his minions would just take whatever they wanted for a THIRD time.

    This Internet post was made possible by Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain.

    by Ivey476 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:09:16 AM PST

  •  BUT WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING!!! (13+ / 0-)

    Way to go:  you gave away the keys to the Treasury with no controls, and no way to reign in Treasury.

    These felons never should have been given a dime of our money.  The new team would have been in place 70 days from now.

    I could see action, but never what the felons demanded.  But hey, we got rid of Lieberman.  Right?

  •  It's like the FED sat around... (12+ / 0-)

    to figure out who the WORST person for the job was and quickly snatch him up.

    Criminal negligence.

    Holy Crap, We Won?!?!?

    by weelzup on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:11:36 AM PST

  •  They are nothing... (11+ / 0-)

    if not consistent in their contempt for the American people, our history, and the constitution.  Here at DKos we sometimes joke about 'the stoopidity' that is celebrated in the USA.  They, however, attack us for saying things like that while they perform the most un-American activities knowing that the electorate really is too stupid or too powerless to do anything about it. Where the hell is our Democratic representation?!?

    You would think we could just ride out the last few months, but shit like this leaves me concerned...  

    "Now if people got problems and they got problems with people oh yeah I know what it is to be there." - DW

    by ScantronPresident on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:14:14 AM PST

  •  "Looting" is a lovely frame. (18+ / 0-)

    In the aftermath of a financial hurricane, the bankers are in Wall Street, loading up shopping carts full of cash.

    "Obama's gonna be president, and there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it. How's that feel?" - Fishgrease

    by roxtar on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:15:03 AM PST

  •  Chimpeach. (5+ / 0-)

    Send Joe Lieberman to Iraq!

    by ccmask on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:17:58 AM PST

  •  There is something fundamentally irrational (6+ / 0-)

    about taxes being levied on business profits.  Not only does it create an incentive for business to either hide profits or lose money, but, since public expenditures increase when business falters, our tax revenues go down just when more are needed.

    Tax rates should be based on the cost of necessary services, not on individual and corporate "ability" to pay.  Otherwise, those who consider taxes to be punitive actually have reason for their position.

    "Fees for services" is actually a rational concept, as long as we keep in mind that most of the services we need to provide as a society aren't desired by the direct recipients.  

    Incarceration is perhaps the best example since the vast majority of the prison population do not want to be locked up.  Society determines that they need it and we all pay for that "service" to be provided.

    Perhaps we need to redefine "progressive tax system" to mean that more people get more service for the money that's paid in as a result of waste avoidance and economies of scale.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:22:47 AM PST

    •  Taxation is about acquiring money. (6+ / 0-)

      Wealthy people have the money.

      Who to tax?

      •  See mine, just below. - nt - (0+ / 0-)

        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:47:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If it were only about acquiring money, (5+ / 0-)

        we could just print it.

        What it's actually about is citizens contributing a fair share of their effort to the community as a whole.  In the early days of the American experiment, citizens were tasked with certain duties, including an annual number of days of personal labor.  Nowadays, we mediate all our transactions and labor via money.  Consequently, there's more money in circulation and the public sector claims a share.
        The question is what's a fair share.  If an individual values his/her time at a thousand dollars an hour and the community expects every able bodied citizen to contribute forty hours, then a payment of forty thousand dollars would be considered adequate, while someone who assigns no monetary value to his/her time would be fair in donating forty hours to some eleemosynary endeavor.

        BTW, citizenship is evidenced by an assumption of civic obligations--to vote, to sit on juries, to formulate laws, to contribute money in taxes or labor for nothing.  Where our conservative friends have gone wrong is in thinking that citizenship is some sort of boon.  Citizenship is actually sort of like marriage; an acceptance of and commitment to greater responsibilities and obligations.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:40:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's "irrational" if one believes . . . (8+ / 0-)

      .
      . . . in the following hypothetical (or something like it):

       1.  Small Business "A" provides a service/manufactures a product for profit.

       2.  "A"'s owners/officers note that it'll clear, say, $249,000.00, in profits for FY 2008.

       3.  "A"'s owners project that, macro-economic conditions notwithstanding, it stands to make $350,000.00 in FY 2009.

       3.  "A"'s owners/officers fear that their marginal tax rate will increase if it makes over $250K in FY 2009 and Obama's tax plan is passed:  i.e., that it would pay the same amount of taxes on the first $250,000.00, and a slightly higher rate (what was being paid during the '90s, before the Bush tax cuts) on that next/additional $101,000.00 than it would right now.  

       4.  "A"'s owners/officers decides it just won't do anything to make an additional $101,000.00 in FY 09 because it doesn't want to pay that higher rate, that it feels disincentivized to do anything further to increase its profit.

      Now we all know that for all the bitching and kvetching that such a business might do about that, it would NEVER say, "Well, we just won't do anything to increase our profits because our marginal rate might go up few %."  That would be truly irrational.

       Now, I made this hypothetical with a smallish business.  Think about it in terms of Exxon, say.

       bg
      __________________

      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:47:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps. But, there seem to be many more (4+ / 0-)

        ways in which failure is not only rewarded, but planned for.  Bankruptcy has become a standard operating procedure--a way for managers to take out profits in the form of inflated salaries and bonuses and stick suppliers with losses.

        In theory it makes sense to exempt investments in capital improvements from being taxed as profits.  But, that hasn't kept most enterprise from dissipating its profits and trying to finance improvements by borrowing from someone else.  You'd think that at some point a mature capitalist enterprise would be able to finance its own expansion and renewal.  The demise of American industry has been accompanied by a fixation on dividing and re-combining the parts, perhaps because making deals has turned out to be more fun that making widgets.  

        There is no evidence to demonstrate that the last enterprise standing is going to be the best, only the most vicious.  In the political arena, McCain is a good example of how that works.  While the contestants he bested were not stellar, it's hard to imagine that any of them would have been as nasty.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:23:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Perhaps", you write. Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

          .
          And there is no "but".

          bg
          ________________

          "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

          by BenGoshi on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:32:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It really depends on prejudice. What does an (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, Jbeaudill, James Kresnik

            entrepreur expect to accomplish--to provide a service or useful product or to engage in a legal stratagem to accumulate money.  The latter seems to be increasingly popular because many people have become convinced that the accumulation of money is a sign of social superiority--a condition that's increasingly important to people who, for whatever reason, feel inferior.

            It used to be quite common for people to derive satisfaction from the knowledge that a task had been well done.  They didn't need to be externally rewarded.  Virtue is its own reward, and all that.

            I suspect that a self-satisfied society is not desirable to some people because the members of such a society are hard to control.  Self-directed individuals are difficult to reward or punish.  

            I think we can conclude from recent events that the singular difference between liberals and conservatives lies in the distinction between consent and control.  In a controlled society, taxes are extracted.  In a consensual society, taxes are contributed or given.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:56:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  "Fees for services" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw

      is a business concept, which is why it is considered "rational" by those who consider the accumulation of wealth to be the primary purpose of human existence.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:33:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seems rational to me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, happymisanthropy, BYw

      "Fees for services" is actually a rational concept, as long as we keep in mind that most of the services we need to provide as a society aren't desired by the direct recipients.  

      Sure, meaning that "necessary services" are in the eye of the recepient, who is perfectly willing to say that he (or his business) doesn't need national defense, highways, education or police protection.  Free riders have been the problem of the provision of government services since government for the people was invented.

      Moreover, even if you skip by the "ability to pay", which, by the way, shouldn't be in quotes, the fact is that income is a pretty good indicator of the value that someone receives from government.  The direct beneficiaries of police protection are people who own lots of stuff, teh direct beneficiaries of highways and rail are people who own cars and buy stuff and have jobs to commute to, etc etc.  It's the people who have who have a stake, the people who don't have who don't.  

      Moreover, the pain dealth to Bill Gates in paying a billion bucks in taxes is, what, loss of the ability to create a third hundred acre house?  Whereas the loss to the working man of a thousand bucks is a down payment on sending kids to college or decent health care.  Equal pain means Gates pays more.

    •  there is something fundamentally irrational (5+ / 0-)

      repeating supply side economic policy after it has repeatedly driven the economy off of a cliff each time it has been tried.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:52:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Correct - Shift from Income Tax to Protecting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard

      Resources.

      When income tax was conceived, humans were scarce and resources plentiful.  

      The reverse is clearly true now.

      Therefore, we must shift from taxing income to using our tax system to protect resources.

      There are two ways to do this.  The first, to start Taxing Resource Use / Degradation, is obvious, but scares people.  

      There is another method that is much more palatable in the near term and has all kinds of desirable results.  It is to offer tax credits to businesses who invest in resource protection.  

      Resource protection is achieved by creating Renewable Energy production (wind turbines, solar panels, ...) and by investing in Energy Efficiency Improvements which reduce energy consumption.

      Collectively these are called RE/EEI.  

      Currently production tax credits for renewable energy are quite limited in terms of who has access to them.  The limits should be removed.

      The positive economic growth that would occur if tax credits were made widely available, would be outstanding and would move us off of coal (and even oil to the extent that we add electric cars to the mix), very quickly.

  •  Obama Should Announce . . . (6+ / 0-)

    .
    . . . that his will be an Administration that works overtime to uphold and enforce the Rule of Law.  That that not only means doing things right "from Day 1", but reviewing the goings-on of government officials whose offices are currently in charge of managing and distributing $Billions to ailing financial institutions.

    Something like that.  Or he doesn't even need to say it:  just enough of his friends and colleagues and prospective Cabinet members, etc. do so.

    This is called a "shot across the bow".  Preventative medicine.  A legal prophylactic. A deterrent.

    It will not stop the looting cold, but it may slow it down some.

    bg
    ________________

    "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

    by BenGoshi on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:26:53 AM PST

  •  We are being FUCKED. (10+ / 0-)

    Why can't we stop it??

    Why do WE have to always get fucked by the Rich????

    To the guillotines!

    •  BIG TIME!!! (4+ / 0-)

      They are stealing as much as they can on their way out.  And that is criminal!

      If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

      by Mz Kleen on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:13:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As Bill Maher Says... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenearth, Jbeaudill

      "I'm pissed off.. because more people are not pissed off!"

      we can't stop it because:

      1.) we don't really do anything tangible to stop
      it.

      2.) we overly depend on "representatives" (Congress)
      to stop it when in fact they are enablers. many in the Congress are millionaire businessmen/lawyers who see this happening with wink and a nod because their $$ interests (and the $$ interests of their financial supporters) are being protected.

      if you've not done so already, read Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. read the book and you'll see the U.S. was set up by/for the wealthy elite-- with nominal benefits to non property/wealth holders-- for the purpose of maintaining an orderly society and thus a positive climate for business to occur.

      certain politicians are/were more honest about this fact than others-- I believe Grover Cleveland said,

      the business of America is business.

      "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

      by Superpole on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:37:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe I got confused during all the excitement... (7+ / 0-)

    ... but didn't Obama vote in favor of this looting?

    If my recollection is correct, what makes you think he's interested in stopping it?

    Or, if he now regrets that vote as an act of expediency or poor judgment, wouldn't reversing himself so quickly prove disproportionately expensive in terms of political capital?

  •  WTF is going on? (5+ / 0-)

    That's what I was thinking when I read the headline this morning. Is this freaken groundhog day? I'm sick of seeing bailout after bailout. Enough already.

    "There are some things I don't understand. I don't understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11." - Next POTUS Obama

    by Cleopatra on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:38:47 AM PST

  •  The Administration Bleeds the Purse Dry (7+ / 0-)

    as their days in office countdown to zero.

    Effectively hamstringing the incoming Obama Administration in ways we can only imagine. Meanwhile the existing watchdogs, Dodd and Frank to name just two, fresh off a new mandate, do little or even nothing.

    This madness has to stop and stop now else there will be much harder times ahead than need be the case. Money for any infrastructure stimulus will be constrained - or simply vanished down a black hole. Every billion needlessly dropped into the hands of these merchants of debt is another 10,000 high paying jobs down the tubes.

    Here, accountability starts with the hard job of actually counting - and that means the Democratic leadership on the Finance Committees must step up to the plate and demand transparency.

  •  One more thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mz Kleen, LynneK

    Obama can technically do nothing in the position he's in, at least outwardly. He's got to take the Oath of Office 1st.

  •  am I conspiracy nut... (14+ / 0-)

    ...to see all of this as a quiet, deliberate, parting declaration of war by this administration on America?

    How convenient is the timing of a massive financial collapse right before the president enters his lame-duck period?  A period where partisan executive decions are historically made, therby giving cover to these decions?

    The Fed refusing disclosure of who and what are money are going to?  2 TRILLION dollars?  Was the economic impact of 9/11 2 TRILLION dollars?

    If ever the American experiment demanded a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, now is the time.  Bush, his administration, and everyoneon Wall St. connected to this must be hauled before Congress on January 21, 2009 and made to answer for these crimes.

    Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three.
    P.S. I am not a crackpot.
    -Abe Simpson

    by fromer on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:47:07 AM PST

    •  Does anyone read the Cunning Realist? (6+ / 0-)

      I do. And I will never forget his inaugural post where he discusses the privatization of Social Security. This was in 2005:

      Make no mistake about it: This executive wants private accounts that invest in the stock market and his stock in particular. He sees private accounts as transferring risk from him to the public--risk, he surely knows, that is already being transferred through instruments such as IRA's, 401K's, and the explosion of mutual funds over the past decade. He's profited handsomely from that transfer of risk. From a corporate perspective he wants that transfer to continue, and from a personal one he needs it to continue to support his lifestyle.

      One other short anecdote: This week I also spoke to a former co-worker of mine, who works at one of the largest investment banks in the world. We had a brief conversation about the private accounts issue. Predictably, there was no beating around the bush here; executives of investment banks and brokerages are known for direct, often crass language. He said: *"I want that dumb public money coming across my desk."* It's debatable whether that money would come across HIS desk as well as how much the financial industry in general would benefit from private accounts, but his expectation is clear. And just like my friend at the technology company, my former co-worker is employed by what is considered a "blue chip" company, which would presumably fall under the rubric of "safe" equities in which a private account program would invest.

      Dumb public money. One way or another WS was going to get it. Even if it means taking down the whole global economy with it.

      Roubini is on CNBC right now. What are the chances of him getting a slot in Obama's administration in some way shape or form?

      I love my new President.

      by donailin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:01:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the outrageous single sentence that (11+ / 0-)

    needs to made front page and top story in every news program and print paper:

    "Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return."

    Americans just voted to know exactly the opposite.  And that vote came on the heels of Americans' being put through the wringer, when in September the GOP led this country through a huge national drama predicated on the notion that the American people would, from here on out, be given to know, through congress, where the banks were sending taxpayer money for the "bailout."  

    The government promised the American people that there would be "transparency."  Paulson, representing this administration, promised America this.  And now that promise is being willfully, shamelessly, outrageously broken-- with impunity.

    President Obama does need to know about this.  This cannot stand without not just correction, but punishment.  I am SEETHING with anger.  I do not want my government, any more, to be treating me like I'd damn well  better like it when it fucks me over.  And a majority of Americans don't either.

  •  Not a crumb left in Whoville (9+ / 0-)

    Of course, plundering national resources has been this administration's MO all along.  Sadly, this mad dash to leave the Treasury as bare as Whoville was assured when impeachment was taken "off the table."  In no danger of being held accountable, Bush and his fellow Grinches were emboldened to strip the Treasury of funds that might aid the nation's recovery under the new administration. That won't likely be the end of it, either. Much of that money will likely be funneled back to Republicans who engineered the giveaway, to be used to undermine Obama's efforts to resuscitate the comatose government Bush leaves behind.

  •  Bonuses and Dividends (10+ / 0-)

    Don't forget about this.

    The Associated Press
    Friday, October 31, 2008; 5:19 PM

    WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House Financial Service Committee accused financial institutions on Friday of "distorting" the government's $700 billion economic bailout plan by using funds for bonuses, dividends and acquisitions.

    Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said such uses of the funds are a "violation of the terms of the act."

    Frank joins a growing chorus of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are criticizing the Bush administration over management of the bailout plan.

    Nine banks have received a $125 billion stock investment from the Treasury Department. The law contains some relatively weak limits on compensation, but does not prohibit recipients of Treasury investments from paying dividends to investors, making acquisitions or awarding bonuses.

    Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said the capital infusion's purpose is to persuade banks to do more lending. Frank said the money should be used for "relending and for no other purpose."
    The White House defended the plan on Thursday, noting the Treasury investment will lead to more lending and pay dividends to the government.

    The White House defended the plan on Thursday, noting the Treasury investment will lead to more lending and pay dividends to the government.

    Full article can be found at:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

  •  oh happy monday morning. (8+ / 0-)

    it's really hard not to say 'i told you so'.
    did anybody, maybe, possibly, see this coming?
    give the fox the keys to the henhouse and then leave him alone, unsupervised, to guard it.
    brilliant.

    "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." - Upton Sinclair

    by kathleen518 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 04:57:16 AM PST

  •  It's already too late. (10+ / 0-)

    The deeds are done and cannot be unraveled until Jan 20, 2009.  In the meantime we can blame Congress for not getting an ironclad guarantee of transparency.  Specifically those that worked on the Congressional deal, like Barney Frank for example, and several other Democrats.

    We have to raise a really big stink about this and put unbelievable pressure on our elected Congress critters by phone, email and impromptu visits to their home offices and their Capitol Hill offices.

    It's time to take a serious look at those Dems that have failed us time and time again over the last couple of years, especially since we took over the Congress, and look for good people to run against them in their next primaries.  We have to get more progressive and more responsible people in Congress to overturn a lot of this crap and be much better watchdogs than quite a few of the current Critters in there.

    It's time to replace the ones who have been in office longer than 20 years, because most of those have become too entrenched on Capitol Hill.  Time for more new blood!

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Mz Kleen on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:08:47 AM PST

  •  the Piggy Bank has been raided (3+ / 0-)

    this current administration should be
    placed in stocks, should be working the
    new public works road gang while having their
    brand new KBR/Halliburton detention quarters
    populated with supermax prisoners,
    or just parachute 'em into Iraq, afghanistan,
    or pakistan.

    Thanks, but No Thanks to McKing...oh and HOPE is Where the Heart is

    by demnomore on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:09:37 AM PST

  •  As they say, "Elections Matter" and in the case (3+ / 0-)

    of George Bush, "Competence Matters" as in the single most incompetent buffoon to hold the presidency is a gift horse to those who would commit crimes right under his nose.

    Obama is going to have to totally an absolutely clean house and get a team of dozens assigned at the justice department to start criminla investigations...

    What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

    by laughingriver on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:12:13 AM PST

    •  Republican dittoheads don't understand competence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antoinette from NYC

      Its as simple as that.

      The GOP of today has been taken over by the target group of Nixon's Southern Strategy.

      -- Wallace Democrats

      -- Dumb White People.

      -- The Angry White Males.

      -- Dittoheads.

      Really, anybody think that McCain is competent to understand and respond to the issues that face a President of the United States ???

      He's not a Huckabee or a Romney. Both those guys are competent managers, proved over a decade or more. McCain has never managed anything, other than floating along as an Admiral's son in the Navy.

      McCain's words indicate little but superficial exposure to the problems of the day.

      McCain's the perfect candidate for stoopid-moran rightie voters. If they could get their hands on an ex-NASCAR champion, Katie bar the door !!

      HE BIN DRIVIN' 200 M.P.H. -- HE BIN TESTID !!

      BTW: long as we've got Obama around, the Democratic Party will be self-regulating.

      Eventually, we'll need to get back to a balanced two-party system.

      Droogie is as Droogie does....

      by vets74 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:35:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  he is very competent at his intended goal... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old wobbly, James Kresnik

      and that is to destroy the federal government and turn it all over to his cronies in business.

      that's been his goal and he has been very very good at accomplishing that mission, while making us all think he was just bad at governing.

      he isn't stupid, and he is doing exactly what he intended.  

      Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. - Euripides

      by Wanda517 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:08:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have to say, given his track record... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jbeaudill

        before the White House, I seriously doubt its on purpose, he's been a total disaster everywhere he's gone, this ain't nothing new for GW.

        Its his puppet-masters that did it on purpose, they just needed a total idiot at the helm to accomplish it...

        What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

        by laughingriver on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:32:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "DEBT TAX." Let's get the terminology right. (8+ / 0-)

    Cash and debt impact our balance sheet, pretty much the same.

    The basic lie of Reagan and Bush deficit hawks is that Debt Tax doesn't hit the balance sheet. Its not real.

    "Deficits don't matter" -- the smarmy politicized fantasy out of the Reagan White House.

    DEBT TAX.

    Its exactly the same as Cash Tax. If anything, more insidious.

    Do imagine trying to do this $1,200,000,000,000 bailout giveaway, if they'd had to extract the money from peoples' bank accounts ???

    Liquidity was and is the problem. But why a Looters' Holiday bailout ???

    Paulson's schemes, in whatever version, had to be done half-secretly. People don't know what this is costing them.

    Honestly, an instant nationalization of the worst of the banks would have been the only option, if people got the bill for it up front. Nobody got the bill. Instead.......

    We got a DEBT TAX half-hidden bailout.

    Same lack-of-principle applies for Iraq, as for Vietnam all the way back and for the damned Bush tax cuts.

    Droogie is as Droogie does....

    by vets74 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:17:56 AM PST

  •  disagree about the tax law change (0+ / 0-)

    It would be nice if the article actually explained something about section 382 or the general law regarding companies with tax losses.  

    Section 382 is punitive -- it basically says that tax losses that would be available if a company continued as an independent going concern can only be used in a very limited fashion if that company is taken over.  This creates a windfall for the government, because those losses were real economic losses that should result in tax deductions, but the deductions are effectively lost merely because the company was taken over.  

    If the main reason for the takeover was the acquisition of the tax losses, there are other tax provisions that prevent use of those losses -- including section 269, which disallows use of losses if a company is acquired principally to access tax benefits.  

    As a policy matter, section 382 doesn't make much sense, and the relaxation of it in this context -- to not penalize acquisitions when consolidation is needed to save failing financial institutions like Wachovia, is quite reasonable.

    •  Define "windfall" in a tax context here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenearth

      As the article points out, the rule change - in effect since 1986 - creates a windfall situation for the banks using TARP money to begin with in acquisitions.
      Claiming that the rule is a windfall situation for the Gov't when it is in fact TAX POLICY for a specific reason to discourage tax shelters for corporate raiders is dishonest.
      You'd have us believe the whole bailout is a plot to create windfall profits for the taxpayer at the expense of a free market needing no interference from our clueless regulators.

  •  Joe the plumber,Is this socialism or crime?n/t (0+ / 0-)

    perhaps we could get him back on the teevee to explain,Bush style.

  •  As an avid reader of your work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Jerome a Paris

    All I can say is thank you.
    Once more I learn from your example.

  •  Holy cow! Jerome, meet edscan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floja Roja, vets74

    Because that's sure an edscan title!  (And message, give or take a little.)  This election is only the beginning of cleaning up the mess.

    "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:27:06 AM PST

  •  its going to be way too late (0+ / 0-)

    the lame duck period pretty much sucks, but it is what it is.   Obama still has to walk a fine line between laying out his proposals and interfering.  He can send messages behind the scenes, but these crooks are going to get theirs while they can.  

    He can be frank with Bush today, but I really don't think he's going to push too hard, it will just make them steal more as quickly as possible.

    Congress needs to come back in session so Chris Dodd and Barney Frank can start agitating publicly about broken promises and accountability.  Pelosi and Reid need to get going.

    Its only fake money afterall, according to most, we're already so deep there's no digging out.  Paulson just needs to make sure he's on the pardon list too.

    •  Obama doesn't get a pass (7+ / 0-)

      He used his megaphone, arguably the largest one in the world, to help sell this thing.  We can say we will blame Congress, but Obama is part of Congress.

      Sadly, we can't blame this one on the Republicans.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:09:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's a difference (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, Jbeaudill

        between giving him a pass on responsibility for supporting a bailout and his act as a Senator in voting for it and saying that he can now stop this thing.   He can't just because he was elected, end the looting.

        The long term questions, whether a bailout was necessary, whether better terms could have been gotten if Obama had pushed Dodd, Reid and Pelosi, etc. more before the election, that will settle out more accurately when more information about the inside game is known.

        I am not convinced that 'just say no' was a good option.  I may be wrong to have doubts about 'just say no' as an alternative.

        But I live in a small town, with small businesses and they were and still are feeling a crunch, credit, employment, etc.  When I saw what the international community was also doing, I would say 'just say no' really wasn't an option.

        Who held the balance of power and why, that I am not so sure about.

        •  He can't stop it, but he can frame it. (5+ / 0-)

          He's got the strongest bully pulpit on the planet right now, and with something of this magnitude, he should be using it.

          Frame it as the theft that it is.

          It is fraud, plain old, naked fraud. It is robbing the citizens.

          He's got to speak on this, otherwise it'll go down as a Democratic failure.

          McCain/Palin '08 - Government Sucks and We'll Prove It!

          by k9disc on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:00:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He won't (11+ / 0-)

            I feel pretty certain of that.  This is all about politics, and for Obama to admit to the world that the outgoing regime is robbing the Treasury and destroying the country, with the permission of a Congress with a Democratic majority, and that he urged that Congress to support it with his world's largest megaphone, would be an embarrassment to him and to the Democrats.

            One of the most tragic aspects of this is that there were many people trying their hardest to warn against this, to encourage looking at other options, and offering other plans, but yet again, the 2008 election and political expediency trumped everything else.  Or was it complicity?

            This bailout plan was full of holes from the start.  Roubini even posted a taped recording of "Treasury boys" conferencing with Wall St. analysts, describing how they could get around it.  But the Democrats chose not to listen.  Foolish?  Complicit?  You have to wonder.

            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

            by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:15:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  There were a lot of other options (7+ / 0-)

          other than "just say no".  The Democrats refused to consider them.  Obama specifically said there wasn't enough time to consider other options.  

          But the truth of the matter is that there were plenty of economists, hundreds if I remember right, warning against this and offering other plans, or ideas for making it more airtight.

          This is, and always was, all about politics for Obama.

          As this article says,

          Barack Obama speaks, and the world listens – more intently, at this point, than it does to the actual president of the United States. President-elect Obama can inspire and alarm, calm markets or add to jitters. And with the nation in economic crisis, he seems keenly aware of that.

          Obama has made clear that addressing the economy is his top priority. In his first press conference since the election, he urged Congress to pass an economic stimulus package, and if it failed (or if President Bush failed to sign it), he would push for that as soon as he took office.

          But he is avoiding doing anything now, either as a sitting senator or as president-elect, that would give him ownership of decisions made between now and Inauguration Day. Obama will not attend the G-20 meeting on Nov. 15, a summit of world leaders to be convened in Washington for crisis economic talks.

          he is more concerned about politics than about stopping the Bush administration from looting the Treasury.

          In fact, his economic advisors are, IMHO, very questionable.  I have read that his advisers are considering whether they agree with the Treasury's current "capital injections" to banks that are stable and are simply using the taxpayers' money for competitive reasons, and to buy up other banks to become larger and more powerful.

          Consider one of his top picks for Sec. Treasury, Summers, and that will tell you all you need to know.  Just ask Jim Hightower:

          But repealing Glass-Steagall was only step one for this free-market holy roller. In literally the dead of night, just before Congress's Christmas break in 2000, Chairman Gramm snuck a short provision into an 11,000-page appropriations bill. The item, which only a few lobbyists and lawmakers knew had been inserted, became law when the larger bill was signed by then-President Bill Clinton. Gramm's little legislative sticky note decreed that a relatively new, exotic, and inherently risky form of investments called "derivatives" were not to be regulated--or even monitored--by the government.

          It should be noted here that Democrats were also butt-deep in the dereg orthodoxy. Such Wall Street sycophants as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had drunk deeply from the holy cup of derivatives deregulation, and Clinton's top economic advisors Robert Rubin (formerly with Goldman Sachs and now with Citigroup) and Lawrence Summers (also a veteran of Wall Street) were in harness with the Republicans on this effort.
          http://axisoflogic.com/...

          or read this faint praise in the Financial Times, keeping in mind that this article was an argument in favor of appointing Summers:

          On the first point, it is true that Mr Summers was an advocate of globalisation and free market economics but those remain good things. His role in supporting financial deregulation was less vital than that of Alan Greenspan and there is no particular evidence that he egged Wall Street on to make a fool of itself.
          http://blogs.ft.com/...

          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

          by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:06:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the bully pulpit (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joanneleon, Jbeaudill

            works for a reason, credibility.   You only get more of that when you act in ways that reinforce your credibility.   He has to build concensus before he can effect change through public opinion alone.   He gets undercut if he tries to assume too much power before he's sworn in.  Its not just avoidance for blame for decisions, it blame for usurpation of power.

            I think too many people aren't realistic enough to understand the limits to even Obama's power and influence.  And just because a reporter in the Christian Science Monitor says it, doesn't make it true.

            He speaks to Bush today.  He may speak later about certain issues after telling Bush where he stands. Obama isn't going to threaten to fire or prosecute people.  He may refer back to his demand for transparency, say the act requires it and that as soon as he is president, there will be investigation and accountability.  That's about as far as he can go.  That will have an effect.   And he will time it to maximize that effectiveness, probably after letting the public egged on by leaks and surrogates, build up a head of righteous indignation.  He has proven to do most of what most people would want him to do, but in ways that have been ultimately more effective than the 'what Obama must do right now' stuff posted here.

            As for oh no the sky is falling it might be Summers, two of the most popular left leaning economists quoted at this blog, Stiglitz and Roubini have said they are happy with the economic team and the names floated so far as treasury secretary.   I am not going to be displeased if Stiglitz and Roubini are satisfied of Obama's direction.

            •  Can we agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

              on the obvious points based on our comments?  On the overall problem with the bailout, I think we do agree.

              I've been leery about his economic advisers for months now, so even Roubini's approval is not likely to assuage those doubts (though I am really surprised at his being happy with them and will read further and take his point of view into consideration).  

              As for what Obama can and can't do, and his reasons for the same, I'll give some thought to your comments about building consensus and avoiding appearance of usurpation.  To date, Obama has not shown any sign of trying to avoid the appearance of having an abundance of unofficial power on the national stage.  I would like to cite couple of things on that, in closing.  

              First, on the economic problems and bailout problems in particular:  Everyone knows he is the one who is going to have to deal with the fallout of the economic crisis, so I really don't think it would appear to be a usurpation of power to speak out strongly on this now.

              Second, the Obama team has just announced that they are reviewing executive orders that should be promptly overturned.  There are other signs that Obama is not concerned about the appearance of taking on too much power, in fact, the opposite seems to be the case.  I'm really happy about that.  Now if he could only address the abuse of the bailout plan, other huge loans from the Fed, and the Treasury's lack of transparency, I and many others would be a lot more comfortable and heaving sighs of relief.

              President-elect Barack Obama is poised to move swiftly to reverse actions that President Bush took using executive authority, and his transition team is reviewing limits on stem-cell research and the expansion of oil and gas drilling, among other issues, members of the team said Sunday.

              While Obama prepared to make his first post-election visit to the White House today, his advisers were compiling a list of policies that could be reversed by the executive powers of the new president. The assessment is under way, aides said, but a full list of policies to be overturned will not be announced by Obama until he confers with new members of his cabinet.

              ...

              On Sunday, in a sign that the presidential campaign had definitively ended and that the fast-forming administration was suddenly the focal point, the faces of Obama's new team appeared across the spectrum of Sunday talk shows, a changing of the guard more than two months before he officially assumes power.
              http://www.mercurynews.com/...

              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

              by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:32:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  as you consider my remarks (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joanneleon, Jbeaudill

                also consider an announcement of what his administration will address after January 20, 2009 is different than demanding that Bush's government respond to his desires before that date.  Which takes me back to my original rather limited point, by the time Obama assumes actual power to force a change in policy, the money will be gone.

                As for Obama usurping power now, allowing a statement of future action is generally considered permissable, but he's balanced his 'plans' with statements, made several times at this press conference, 'there is only one president at a time'.

  •  The foxes are guarding the hen houses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, vets74

    They now have about 2.5 months to totally loot the place. They intend to dig the deepest hole they can, stuff their wallets full of cash and hand it over to Barack Obama and say, "Now you fix it!"

    Man is not a rational animal. Man is a rationalization animal.

    by Pacific Blue on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:31:55 AM PST

  •  Why not let them go under? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Jbeaudill, vets74, abraxas

    These banks and insurance companies have made bad decisions. They have incurred obligations that they can't meet and have taken compensations and profits that were unjustified. They hold debt also. The goal for recovery should not be to restore things as they were, since that will lead to the same results but to create something new that is sane and stable. Let them go under. Those who invested directly or indirectly will lose wealth. The truth is that that is a good thing, as long as the useful purpose of that institution in the economy is replaced. The second goal is to reduce debt and I would suggest that the principle amount of mortgages held or indirectly held by these institutions should be reduced as the assets of these companies are sold off. I would also suggest that the corporate veil should be pierced for these companies, in that the principles should be liable for some of the loss of the investors as they did not make the investor fully aware of their really risky behavior.

    •  "Go Under" == get taken over by government. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Wizard, Losty

      Regulators seize them.

      Lock, stock and barrel.

      I've got friends who do it for a career. From the government side.

      Time was, damn near every bank and S&L in Texas failed. 3,000 institutions got eaten, whole.

      This ain't the first boom/bust cycle, accompanied by moral sludge.

      Booms lead to blindness..........

      Droogie is as Droogie does....

      by vets74 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:41:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As the President ELECT said: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    We've only got one president at a time and that is Bush. You may not like it (I sure as hell don't), but the government is extremely stable and  Bush will be out on January 20th at noon and not a moment before.

    There are a number of things Obama can do on day one (I can imagine a stack of executive orders countermanding earlier executive orders between the ceremony and the parade), but the rest will take time. Transitions are always dangerous that way.

    This isn't like England where the Secret Service breaks into the PM-elect's house and packs everything and ships it to Downing street while the votes are being counted (leaving the old PM homeless). Which is probably good.

    •  All Of This Was, And Is, Controlled By Congress (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, k9disc, Jim P, 4Freedom, washunate

      Please stop this, 'President Obama will make everything better' nonsense, it borders on religion and plainly speaking it sounds idiotic.

      A Democratic Congress not only passed the shit legislation which has made all of this possible, but Reid, Pelosi, Frank, and Dodd stood up in front of the media told us all what a great plan it was, and told the sheeple that they would provide 'strong oversight' and 'transparency' as part of the program --- President Obama voted for it -- and as of yet there has been essentially zero oversight or transparency.

      Beyond this President Obama has already signaled that he knows which way the wind blows as he has appointed one of the biggest DLC corporatists in the Democratic party and a member of the board of the now melted down Freddie Mac as his Chief Of Staff.

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:51:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Congress was out of business. (0+ / 0-)

        The House was adjourned, the Senate was doing a two minute dance to keep Bush from making recess appointments.

        The entire House was running for reelection and only now are they coming back to work. Of course, they could have refused to pass it a second time, and the dow would be down to around 3000 or so. Things are bad enough now as it is.

        There is hope.

        •  Re (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k9disc

          Of course, they could have refused to pass it a second time, and the dow would be down to around 3000 or so.

          When the Dow gets down that low anyway, as it likely will soon, will you agree that the bailout was a terrible idea?

          This was kind of like the Iraq war vote, a good way to see who's on our side and who isn't.

          I voted for Obama, too, but I have little hope and no evidence that he plans to do anything about this problem. He is almost literally going to continue the Bush/Bernanke/Paulson playbook on this crisis, except with more unemployment assistance (maybe) and it'll have a new spiffy name.

          I hope I'm wrong.

    •  He can frame it as the grand theft country that (0+ / 0-)

      it most assuredly is.

      "One president at a time," MY ASS!!!

      "Shut up and watch me bring it all down and blame it on you!"

      He might not be able to do anything about executive policy, but he sure as hell can frame it through his bully pulpit.

      O's the man right now.

      He should be talking about this and framing it as the wholesale theft and destruction of this country.

      This should be the final nail in the Conservatives' coffin.

      It's a travesty that he's not.

      one president at a time, MY ASS!!!

      McCain/Palin '08 - Government Sucks and We'll Prove It!

      by k9disc on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:06:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  AIG's money is going somewhere (5+ / 0-)

    and that's into someone's pocket. Like the assholes who bet on credit default swaps.

    The US government is hemorrhaging cash to Phil Graham's buddies.

    I think, by Jan 20, "bipartisan" is gonna be a dirty word.

  •  A new day has dawned on the Imperfect Union.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...and, psst, the rest of the world: the glorious era of monetary feudalism. Only I can understand they want to take as much cash as possible and run as far away as they can with it, but who do they think will later have any money to buy any of their crap to keep the system going? So they don't care evidently, maybe because the help will just keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Or will they start cannibalizing each other? The chance is big: the wars of the international financial lords. I'm starting to believe in conspiracies because they seem to be the only rational explanations for all this nasty, greedy, deceitful behavior as the U.S. government turns a blind eye. Swindle and theft.

    •  Party in the Cayman Islands! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, Losty

      At this point, it's all about who has the biggest yacht and the newest Gulfstream jet - it's a game to them, seeing just how much more they can steal before before the citizens get over their fascination/admiration/worship of sociopathic rich monsters like Trump. Look at just the rich Hollywood pigs you know about who have moved overseas - Clooney, Brad & Angela, Madonna, Paltrow, Revolta - think about those Century 21 ads on TV pimping out Italian villas. The bankers have no intention of remaining in the United States, watching their ostensible "fellow citizens" starve and cannibalize each other.

      "Diversify your portfolio" is code for get out now. There are enclaves all over the world - Monaco, Dubai, the Caymans, Portugal - full of American soon-to-be-ex-patriots, living a fantastic life and defying everything your TV movies ever taught you about "karma." It's good to be rich....

      "An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide." - Arnold Toynbee

      by David Mason on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:14:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it's about power. (0+ / 0-)

        Lose money gain marketshare.

        They are going to break it now before we can come after them.

        They will own the land, the government, the media, the powers of production and will have a monopoly on state military power.

        It could be enslavement.

        It's either enslave us or lose their power.

        What do you think they're going to pick?

        McCain/Palin '08 - Government Sucks and We'll Prove It!

        by k9disc on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:09:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Barney Frank to the rescue? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Jim P, Jbeaudill, junta0201

    The Bailout: More Changes, More Questions
    s it too soon to wonder whether the government's $700 billion financial rescue program has gone off track? The U.S. Treasury has taken a lot of flack in the past few weeks for shifting the focus of the plan from buying distressed assets off banks' balance sheets to direct capital injections into financial institutions that may or may not need it, Meanwhile, critics say there are no indications that lending has increased, which was the original objective of the whole plan.

    Indeed, some financial institutions that have received government money seem to be using the capital for other purposes, such as acquisitions of other banks, while the methods used in the rescue-and the purpose behind it-seem to be changing every week. And that has made even some of the legislation's original champions take notice.

    Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, went so far as to say on Oct. 31 that any use of the cash from the rescue plan by banks for acquisitions, executive bonuses, or other purposes besides lending is "a violation of the terms of the act."

    So they know it's going on, yet we hear almost nothing about it in the news.  Congress is on recess, supposedly until January (which is an outrage).  

    If they know there are problems, Congress should be back in Washington right now doing that oversight they promised.

    And we the people ought to be shouting from the rooftops to bring them back to do something, though we shouldn't need to.

    Hey Barney, where are you now?  Gad, I am so angry with that man for all his grandstanding and self-congratulatory nonsense when it was clear from the start that this is a swimdle.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:45:42 AM PST

    •  Forgot the link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      betson08

      Here is the link for the excerpt above:
      http://www.businessweek.com/...

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:46:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When Bloomberg files a FIA lawsuit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Jbeaudill

      against the FED you know somethings gone terribly wrong.

      But lawmakers worried about discussing their concerns publicly. The staff of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, had asked that the entire conference call be kept secret, according to a person with knowledge of the call.

      "We're all nervous about saying that this was illegal because of our fears about the marketplace," said one congressional aide, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. "To the extent we want to try to publicly stop this, we're going to be gumming up some important deals."

      The nervous nellies are out in force ready to hand over the keys over the latest shock and awe.

      •  Whoa (0+ / 0-)

        where did that excerpt come from?  Is that referring to the tax law change the executive branch snuck in?

        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

        by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:59:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  WAPO article originally linked by Jerome. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, Jbeaudill

          A Quiet Windfall...

          Read the whole article.  A most damning piece of journalism I've read lately.
          I'm sure a lot of the press will be picking up on this story in next few days. Try this quote the article ends on:

          "It's just like after September 11. Back then no one wanted to be seen as not patriotic, and now no one wants to be seen as not doing all they can to save the financial system," said Lee A. Sheppard, a tax attorney who is a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Analysts. "We're left now with congressional Democrats that have spines like overcooked spaghetti. So who is going to stop the Treasury secretary from doing whatever he wants?"

          Nothing like a bunch of sniveling, spineless Democrats to make for good copy.

          •  Yes, I read some of that article (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jbeaudill

            but didn't finish it.  

            "It was a shock to most of the tax law community. It was one of those things where it pops up on your screen and your jaw drops," said Candace A. Ridgway, a partner at Jones Day, a law firm that represents banks that could benefit from the notice. "I've been in tax law for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this."

            More than a dozen tax lawyers interviewed for this story -- including several representing banks that stand to reap billions from the change -- said the Treasury had no authority to issue the notice.

            Several other tax lawyers, all of whom represent banks, said the change was legal. Like DeSouza, they said the legal authority came from Section 382 itself, which says the secretary can write regulations to "carry out the purposes of this section."

            Section 382 of the tax code was created by Congress in 1986 to end what it considered an abuse of the tax system: companies sheltering their profits from taxation by acquiring shell companies whose only real value was the losses on their books. The firms would then use the acquired company's losses to offset their gains and avoid paying taxes.

            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

            by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 11:48:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Kevin Phillips, emphatic: couldn't agree more (9+ / 0-)

    Transcript of the current Bill Moyers Journal program as Moyers interviews Phillips.

    Strongly recommend everyone read this transcript. I was going to highlight the key points, but you'd have to highlight the whole interview. Later on in the interview (not quoted here) Phillips mentions an odd coalition that might form in opposition to the bailout.

    A sample:

    BILL MOYERS: There's an argument apparently going on within Obama's inner circle even as we speak. Some of his advisors say it would be politically and economically disastrous if those billions of taxpayer dollars in the bailout were just to sit in the vaults of the bank. On the other hand, the Wall Street and the corporate types, according to the press this morning, are pushing back. They say leaving the money in the banks would help stabilize them and prevent a further crisis in the credit market. What do you think?

    KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, I think basically that's the most screaming set of self-interested analyses that I can remember. When this thing was passed, they basically had people on television saying that if this bailout doesn't go through, you're not going to be able to get money out of your ATMs, all sorts of dire things were going to happen. And now it turns out that, well, maybe they weren't expected to spend that money after all. Maybe that was all a great camouflage outfit.

    Because what they want to do with the money and seemingly it's okay by a lot of the people involved is use it for bonuses, for dividends, for sitting around so they feel comfortable, for mergers. It's mind boggling. They created a panic psychology, which has taken a lot of people's 401(k)'s and savings accounts and pension opportunities and pointed them right toward the toilet. And now they got their bailout, scaring everybody to death, and what do they want to do with it? Nothing.

    •  The story has changed entirely (8+ / 0-)

      In September and October we were told the world would end if we didn't do this "economic rescue".  But now the story has changed entirely.

      Some banks are using it to be be "competitive"

      "I thought at first that I didn’t want the government to be an owner in our bank, but it’s nonvoting stock," Randall L. Fewel, president and CEO of Inland Northwest Bank, says of the preferred shares that the government would buy. Such stock would give the government no power in a bank’s decision-making processes, Fewel says.

      "The more I look at this Capital Purchase Plan of the government’s, the more it looks attractive," says Fewel. "It’s cheap capital. Why not take some capital now on our balance sheet while we can? It could let us make more loans next year and position ourselves better for the future. If we don’t take it and everybody else does, and we have to be in a slow-growth mode compared with everybody else, we could fall behind."
      http://www.spokanejournal.com/...

      or to buy up other banks to become larger and more powerful

      Your $3 trillion bailout
      ...Cash injections: With financial institutions desperate for liquidity, the Treasury has sent out about $250 billion worth of checks to banks. In turn, the government will get an equity stake in the banks in the form of senior preferred shares.

      Regulators hope that the capital injections will spur lenders to dole out loans to consumers and businesses in need of credit. But some of the biggest, most stable banks got the biggest checks. For instance, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) led the pack with $25 billion in federal funding. Smaller banks are getting far less, and,some banks are using their loans to purchase smaller banks.
      http://money.cnn.com/...

      and the Treasury has decided not to disclose the names of the banks getting the money until the transactions are completed.  Originally, Treasury said this would be completely transparent, but they changed their minds.

      On October 23:

      The source said some of those banks' infusions will be "announced shortly" and that it could come as soon as Friday.

      The Treasury on Monday began taking applications from U.S. banks interested in tapping into the remaining $125 billion in a government equity infusion program.

      The government also on Monday provided more details about the program, saying that once it decides to approve an application, it will announce the investment within 48 hours. Treasury will not disclose banks that withdraw or are turned down.
      http://www.reuters.com/...

      On November 6:

      Brookly McLaughlin, a Department of Treasury spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., says that Treasury will disclose the names of banks that receive capital as soon as the institutions’ applications have been approved and the transactions have closed. Thus far, that has happened with more than 50 banks, she says.
      http://www.spokanejournal.com/...

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:24:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Today Bush meets Velvet Hammer Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m3, Jim P

    it may prove to be the first of many painful experiences for Bush.

    If Bush was dealing with impeachment matters for the next 2 months, Obama would have more influence earlier and Bush could do less damage.

    That this is not being attended to is making me seriously doubt that Democrats are any different from Republicans.

  •  Yes, the looting continues and Congress (8+ / 0-)
    is letting it happen.  A financial coup d'etat.

    Note that we are also still hearing all about the banks needing help but very little about Americans who are unemployed, running out of unemployment money, and/or are being foreclosed upon, or driven from rentals after the landlord goes under.

    Congress does nothing for Americans, but allows the looting to continue.  

    We have Pelosi and Reid to thank for this, as again, they have stepped aside to let the Bushies have their way.  

    Perhaps the looting will have been so complete by Jan 20, that Obama will only see empty vaults and then we will all be 'in the box.'  

  •  But watch all the bitching and moaning on CNBC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m3, cotterperson, greenearth

    They're all convinced that giving tax reductions to the middle class, or loans to the Big Three automakers, are "socialism."

    "Getting elected is the only true moral imperative that politicians believe in." -- Anon

    by zackamac on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:01:49 AM PST

  •  As always, thank you Jerome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Jbeaudill

    In May 2006, Tim Geithner had some ideas about the exorcism that must follow the dilution and recall of faulty financial products that must now occur.

    If the world's central banks will follow suit, we may have a new and clear playing field. Geithner is the man for the Treasury job, imo. He's young enough that he could travel a lot and do it well, and he's as knowledgeable as they come. Have you read his speech?

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:02:58 AM PST

  •  Recently read Naomi Klein's article (12+ / 0-)

    in Rollingstone, the New Trough
    excerpt:

    And the folks at Morgan Stanley? They're planning to pay themselves $10.7 billion this year, much of it in bonuses — almost exactly the amount they are receiving in the first phase of the bailout. "You can imagine the devilish grins on the faces of Morgan Stanley employees," writes Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Weil. "Not only did we, the taxpayers, save their company...we funded their 2008 bonus pool."

  •  Answer, No. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:10:59 AM PST

  •  Bush tricks us again... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    as per NYT this morning bushco and Paulson slipped a dagger between our ribs with a quiet, and illegal repeal of a tax on banks which gives them a 100 billion tax loop.  Maybe its good, maybe not;  but it was enacted by congress and needs to be overturned by the same branch.  Criminals to the end, the cabal just wont play well with others.

    Homer on George W Bush: "Few sons are like their fathers, most are worst, few better." ---The Odyssey

    by moondancing on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:11:57 AM PST

  •  The real problem is NOT lack of liquidity (4+ / 0-)

    It is lack of TRANSPARENCY and TRUST.

    Only the Bush Administration could respond to such a crisis in a manner that would ordinarily have fixed the liquidity problems, but only by worsening the lack of trust, thereby worsening the whole situation.

    It's as if the US govt's reaction to finding out that the vault had been raided and thieves were making off with half the treasury is to stop the thieves in their tracks... and give them the other half, in order to prevent them from stealing it too.

    -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:27:45 AM PST

  •  New Bank Tax January 20, 2009 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, cotterperson

    Bush can do this because Congress gave him the same blank check it gave him for Iraq in 2003 (and so many other times this whole decade). Of course I do mean the Democratic Congress this time, which is 95%+ the same Democrats who gave him the other blank checks when they were in the 50%-1 minority.

    The new 111th Congress starting early January is somewhat different Democrats than before, especially the 57+ seat Senate majority (which will be over 25% different with its substantially expanded size, and 2 members moved to the White House). The Senate has more control over all this banking operation, including confirmation of Executive officers and state government banking regulation liased with those government's reps to the Federal government, the senators.

    And of course we supposedly have the "guardian of the middle class", Obama, in charge, with "the senator from MBNA" in the awesomely powerful Cheney Death Star.

    In the evening of January 20, 2009, after the inauguration but before the ball, Obama and the Democratic Congress can tax these banks as many $TRILLIONS as they want. They can reach down the rabbit holes these handouts are being shoved as far as they need, dragging the money back from the bankers, from the people they're giving the money to, and so on in the "trickle up" handout network. These banks, and their biggest corporate clients (like all the car corps, and many others) will remain dependent on government financing and control, so the Democratic government will have unprecedented control to call all the shots.

    If the Democrats don't get our money back, after everything we've seen and now given them in landslide after landslide, then Democrats are the thieves, too. There can be no possible excuse. And if they are the getaway car for the Republican heist, they will have sealed the deal in destroying America, and the world as we knew it.

    Let's not just hope for the best. Let's demand Democrats tell us now that they will do this. And let's hear them tell the thieves, including Bush, that they will prosecute these thieves, throwing them in jail for life. Or else they're as full of lies as the Republicans they inherited the Earth from.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:35:35 AM PST

  •  If Obama doesn't try to stop it, he's in on it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, 4Freedom

    The same is true of Reid, Pelosi and the rest.

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Tracker

    This diary is what I needed. The second AIG bailout is being played down.

    I have a question for you - AIG has a healthcare division, we will more than likely give them another 40 billion, shouldn't that money insure every American ?
    We are paying for it.
    If they are to big to fail then they are to big.

  •  Banks deserve more skepticism (5+ / 0-)

    Don't you get the feeling that banks have far more power in this country than we even realize?  I guess it's been that way since the beginning, with the Bank of North America, the First and Second Banks of the United States, and then the cartel that we've had in place for nearly a hundred years, known as the Federal Reserve System.

    Financial Services consume 20% of GDP and are the single largest "industry" in the US.   I guess my point is that we who are supposedly skeptical observers of the American political scene can talk all day about corporations, neocons, interrogations, right-wing jurisprudence, etc., but when it comes to the most powerful and probably most destructive force in America today, our stinking behemoth banking sector, we not only don't know what to say but we really don't even know what's going on or how it all works.

    I have been trying to learn more about it lately, but I don't know where to start.  I'm reading "Bad Money" by Kevin Phillips, and also "The Creature from Jekyll Island," by G. Edward Griffin, which is a fascinating mix of intrigue, analysis, invective, and right-wing conspiracy theory.  But the part that really hits home is where he explains how the Banks have been positioned, from the very beginnning of the Fed system set up in 1913, to get lucrative bailouts from the taxpayer whenever they fuck up.  It's built into the system.

    Anyhow, what are you reading on this issue?

    It is striking to me that there are more skeptics of the US banking system among conservatives than among liberals.  We have no one like Ron Paul, and we show very little skepticism towards Democrats like Barney Frank who are tied to Wall Street at the hip.  

    As for Obama, I'm afraid he'll be too busy to learn economics on the fly.  He's got a narrowing coterie, and they're mostly bankers and Clinton hot shots.  He'll do what they say (wouldn't you?).  For that reason, I think it's all the more important that we continue to learn and talk about these issues.  

  •  QUADRILLION (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cathy Willey, lotlizard, 4Freedom

    It seems like only yesterday that the biggest numbers Americans had to hear on a daily basis was "billion", which most Americans couldn't grasp at all. These days we hear about TRILLIONS getting robbed from us every week or two. Few Americans would even know that a trillion is bigger than a billion. And almost none know what comes after. It's "QUADRILLION", a thousand trillions. We should start talking about quadrillions now, so Americans aren't completely lost when we have a thousand trillions stolen from us, that we owe to the banks that stole it.

    I guess Bush heard that joke:

    A Pentagon staffer told Bush "terrible news from Iraq today: militias killed a Brazilian in Falluja." Bush said "my god, that's terrible... How many in a brazillion again?"

    And started thinking to himself "I'm president... I should steal a brazillion dollars." And then set out robbing us into the poverty known only in slums of 1970s Rio de Janiero.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:42:03 AM PST

  •  Can Obama stop the looting before it's too late? (6+ / 0-)

    No. It's already too late.

  •  Those who thought that the Bush administration (7+ / 0-)

    could be trusted to administer the $700 bailout funds and wouldn't loot it - and more - have been seriously deluding themselves. I still don't understand why so many insisted that the bailout just had to be done so quickly, without any real safeguards to protect the funds from Bushco raiding. We're witnessing the inevitable.

    I've thought all along that since Bushco didn't succeed in plundering Social Security, they would find some other way(s) to continue their looting on their way out the door. My faint hope is that at least some of these crooks will end up in prison for life and that at least some of the money they've stolen (and are in the process of stealing) will be recovered. But I'm not holding my breath, especially about Congress taking any meaningful action. Will anything be left before Obama takes office? I doubt it, and again, what else could anyone have expected from these organized criminals?

  •  Here's what you do with AIG (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, Jbeaudill, wobbledon

    Bail them out, take shares in stock in exchange. Now you have a cash machine and the infrastructure to run your Universal Health Care initiative. Let AIG run the program, process the forms, etc as that is their business. Use their international arms to make profits to fund the program, since they are the largest or one of the largest insurers in the world. It's like buying a run down apartment building. You buy it, fix it up, and use the new income to pay you.

  •  Bushco wants to take down secular government (3+ / 0-)

    and install a theocracy of faith-based initiatives. It's called "Dominionism," or "Christian Reconstructionism."

  •  Obama/Bush meeting today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cathy Willey, ThompsonLazyBoy

    Do any of you think there's any chance that Obama could persuade Bush NOT to keep on with these last minute regulatory changes that Obama is sure to overturn in January?

    Maybe - if he appeals to reason?  (Why waste taxpayer resources and government time on something that won't work?)

    if he appeals to Bush's legacy?  (You know you already have won plaudits for your gracious speech on Wednesday, why not go out on a high note?)

    if he pleads?  (Man to man, Bush, I'm begging you not to do this.)

    if he bargains?  (I'll support that extra grant to SMU, where your 'presidential library' will be housed).

    if he threatens? (I'll make sure to expedite all document requests for information about your administration.)

    I think probably none of these would work, but a combination of flattery and the appeal to the legacy might have a chance.

  •  General Motors (4+ / 0-)

    should get a big pile of our hard-earned bucks - - why? They employ, directly and indirectly, 2 million Americans who MAKE THINGS.

    But there should be big, taut cables attached.

    Same with this Beltway-Wall Street Freakout. We shouldn't be GIVING the banks, insurers and investment houses anything. We should be USING THEM as instruments to juice the economy back up.

    Hope is, after all, the currency of popular politics, and a coin surprisingly hard to devalue. -- Fred Anderson, Crucible of War

    by ornerydad on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:07:25 AM PST

  •  Jerome, please address oil market speculation (0+ / 0-)

    Can you now renounce your position on speculation not having anything to do with the price of oil?  

    And please don't caveat your answer, if you reply here, to say that speculators were partially to blame for the doubling of oil prices from their current prices.

    You see, your answer goes to your credibility to be able to criticize Bush here (I generally agree with your assessment but this diary is somewhat stating the obvious).  

    The fact is, dropping demand hasn't gone down enough to blame for halving of the oil market:  speculators losing their shirts elsewhere and exiting the oil market does explain it.

    Therefore, the argument can definitively be made that fundamentals were not driving price but rather rampant speculation, something that needs to be addressed by President Obama.

    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Delirium

      The fact is, dropping demand hasn't gone down enough to blame for halving of the oil market.

      This is not a "fact", it is merely an assertion on your part.

      •  so you must be a speculator-denier as well? (0+ / 0-)

        you think speculators are blameless?

        as to your comment, i notice you didn't provide your "fact" to prove otherwise.

        with gdp relatively healthy Q2 and .3 Q3 not accounting for the halving of the oil market, where do you get your "facts."

        everything points to speculators causing the run-up in prices.  everything.

        and drop in auto consumption causing it?  hardly.

        •  I'm not saying anything (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Delirium

          You're the one who's asserting something: that demand destruction is inadequate to see the falling prices we've been seeing.

          Remember as well that the dollar has been rising, and that alone accounts for 20% of the price fall (so, even with everything exactly the same, you'd expect oil to be at $117 [off its peak of $147] just based on the dollar movement against the Euro alone).

          Oil has inelastic demand and is allocated by an auction-like market system. You live in a village with 99 people that produces enough food to feed 100. How much does food cost? Pretty cheap. Suddenly, two babies are born and now there are 101 people in the village. Food is massively expensive now, with a 2% demand increase!

          It works both ways, with incremental decreases in oil demand, the price can fall massively.

        •  A Relevant Definition Required Here (0+ / 0-)

          where do you get your "facts."

          Define 'fact'. We have been told it is a 'fact' that China's GDP was 9%.

          <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

          by superscalar on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 09:36:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone who'd read Shock Doctrine (17+ / 0-)

    could've seen this coming.  these people are unscrupulous to a degree that is quite, utterly breathtaking.

    They've been feeding at the trough of the AMerican public for 3 decades now. they've destroyed the economies of south america, south east asia, poland, russia, south africa and completely destroyed Iraq in a naked grab for land and power. And now that they're about to be turfed out, they're going to bleed the treasury dry before they go.

    Surely there's a way to stop them?

    but it has to be said - Lawrence Summers is NOT the right man to stop this.    

    Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could win. Obama won so that the whole world's children could fly.

    by Airmid on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:09:28 AM PST

    •  Summers would be another chicken (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, 3goldens, shaharazade

      raiding the henhouse.

      How can Obama even sleep knowing the amount of shit that's going to happen between now and Jan 20.

    •  Why isn't L.Summers NOT the man? (0+ / 0-)

      I just want to understand why you think that way...

      a man's character is his destiny!

      by Jaleh on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:41:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's a staunch advocate of the (0+ / 0-)

        Milton Friedman school of 'free market capitalism' that has destroyed the lives of millions and the economies of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, South America, Russia, China, east Asia - and lately the US. What these 'free marketeers' have done in Iraq is quite astonishingly foul.  I generally think the word 'evil' is inappropriate, but can't find anything else that would suit.

        read Shock Doctrine to understand more. It's one of the most profoundly disturbing pieces of investigative journalism - but it makes enormous sense and is a must-read for progressives.

        Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could win. Obama won so that the whole world's children could fly.

        by Airmid on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:27:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Stupid Parasites (0+ / 0-)

      Where are they going to go, when they have robbed everyone everywhere and there's no one left to loot from?

      Smart parasites are modest in their demands and stealthy in their ways, because otherwise either their hosts would get rid of them or they'd kill the hosts.

      Stupid parasites keep going until either the host kills them or they kill the host.

      Yes We Did! Yes We Will!

      by TheOtherMaven on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 09:21:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prosecute - - (0+ / 0-)

    Convict.
    Imprison.

    (And throw away the key.)

    PS - I've already called by Republican Senator who opposed the bailout and have asking for immediate bipartisan hearings demanding accountability and transparency.

  •  Looks like the AG appointment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cathy Willey, 4Freedom

    is going to be a lot more important that we imagined.

    The sky really IS falling!

  •  The Fed's collateral is secret because it sucks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, 3goldens, 4Freedom, Jbeaudill

    The Fed is violating its own rules in doing deals like the AIG SPV funding.

    They are keeping it secret because they fear that an investment bank or financial journalist will write a "FED looks insolvent" article and the credit worthiness of the United States of America will be called into question.

    How many trillions of our debt can the government assume?

    What did you do with the cash Joe?

    by roguetrader2000 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:25:06 AM PST

    •  That is what concerns me (0+ / 0-)

      and with the G20 meeting coming up on November 15 I keep getting this nagging fear that the U.S. is going to get told in no uncertain terms to go transparent NOW with respect to the actual financial status of the U.S. Treasury and Fed. Reserve System.  Let China, Japan, and whoever else we owe megabucks to figure out we can't pay what we owe and will likely default and then all hell really could break out!  I can't get over how irate this government would be if any other government stiffed them the way they may very possibly stiff other governments--they would be screaming like banshees--but apparently they're OK with defaulting (if necessary) on what they/we owe to other countries.  The central bankers of these other countries surely have a pretty good idea of just what the U.S. financial system actually looks like.  I would be ashamed to be at that up-coming G20 meeting.  (If anybody wants to talk me down from this dreadful nightmare scenario that keeps rolling through my head, I'm open to other ideas.)

  •  Enron 2.0 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cathy Willey, 3goldens, 4Freedom, Airmid

    The neocons learned their lessons well from the collapse of Enron. They modeled their looting after the plot of the villains in Die Hard. The plan was to steal the money then blow up the building to hide the theft. Well they've looted the country and destroyed the economy to hide the theft.

    It is possible to recover that loot and prosecute the thieves. It won't be easy, but if we can elect Obama president, anything, and I do mean anything, is possible.

    "Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long."

    by londubh on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:25:17 AM PST

  •  Easy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    theaten jail time, through back channels if necessary, but that's the ace in the hole. The banking industry is hardly going to go public with complaints that the new administration is sabre rattling, since most of the public, and all of Obama's supporters would be in favor of prosecuting bank profiteers.

  •  um... (4+ / 0-)

    Obama personally lobbied fellow Democrats to support the bailout. He has among his economic advisors and staff multiple Wall Street executives and Clinton folks who were at the heart of deregulation and corporate welfare and un-free trade acts. There has been virtually no organized resistance among the Democratic leadership (despite, uh, control of both the House and the Senate) to the massive amounts of taxpayer money handed out via the Fed and the Treasury to huge corporations over the past year or so.

    Obviously Obama opposes the excesses of the Bush Administration, he has talked specifically about the problems of deregulation, and he will be a much better president than either Bush or McCain. Toward the end of the campaign, he at least sounded more economically populist, actually using phrases like rewarding work.

    But the point those of us who are outraged about this stuff make is that it's not enough to only oppose the excesses. There isn't a middle ground. Things like the bailout don't accidentally lead to stuff like this. They are purposefully designed to hand out money to the people who least need a hand out. You either support that, or you don't. It's not like compromising on a restaurant or a movie. Either it's a touchdown, or it's not. Either it's a goal, or it's not. There's no half-touchdown in football or half-goal in soccer. Fellow Senators like Feingold and Sanders knew this. It's why they questioned whether their colleagues had even read the bill. It's why they offered amendments demanding that we pay for this with taxation instead of by raising the debt ceiling yet again.

    To me, the question 'will Obama stop the looting' assumes facts not in evidence, so to speak. It assumes Obama wasn't involved in the looting.

    The real question, I would propose, is will Obama stop listening to the looters and instead listen to other constituencies, those that support public policies that reward work instead of wealth? That's the question I have. Instead of inviting them to the table, will Obama ask the looters to step away from the table and allow others to sit down?

    I have full faith, hope, and confidence that we can do that. But to me, a fair reading of Senator Obama and candidate Obama suggests that his method of compromise, of governance, isn't to stop the looters, it's to incorporate them into his overall decision-making process, to give them a seat at the table.

    •  Did you read the whole article on WAPost? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cathy Willey, sockpuppet, 3goldens

      "No one in the Treasury informed the tax-writing committees of Congress about this move, which could reduce revenue by tens of billions of dollars. Legislators learned about the notice only days later.

      DeSouza, the Treasury spokesman, said Congress is not normally consulted about administrative guidance."

      Nobody knew about this...they snuck it in there...Congress did not make it public because they were afraid of the market meltdown...

      a man's character is his destiny!

      by Jaleh on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:48:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm talking about years of news (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens

        and this particular incident is a great example. The Treasury can get away with doing things like that precisely because the opposition party (ie, us) has created an atmosphere not just lacking in accountability, but actively condoning handing out taxpayer money to big companies. It's meaningless to get worked up about a particular excess or abuse when you're not opposing the general principles from which those abuses originate.

        The particulars may be particularly appalling, but the point is that the general concept is an expected outcome of our legislative environment, an environment that Democrats control and that Obama specifically has pushed through things like the FISA amendments and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and the lack of discussion in debates and on the campaign trail about ways of saving money (like drastically reducing the corporate welfare that goes to 'defense' and 'security' contractors or the massive financial assistance separate from the bailout bill given to financial firms or the effort by Paulson to encourage mergers of firms that are already 'too big to fail').

        Nobody knew about this...they snuck it in there...Congress did not make it public because they were afraid of the market meltdown...

        Of course nobody knew about this particular thing. What we've known for years is that the Bush Administration's key to power is lack of transparency and accountability. If we are unwilling or unable to confront that, we can hardly be surprised when the Administration does something that's lacking in transparency and accountability.

        •  So now there's a net-roots Opposition (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          washunate

          which can begin to achieve real change

          the start is to demand accountability from government - AND the media.

          Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could win. Obama won so that the whole world's children could fly.

          by Airmid on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:28:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans have proven (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    under the Bush White House that they are completely too incompetent to govern. They really have no business of any kind entering into either a national or an intenational political dialogue. I mean, what's the point?

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:29:30 AM PST

  •  I'm so fed up with all this crap. (13+ / 0-)

    It makes me want to cry. It comes down to this: I work my ass off to pay my rent and my bills. I was injured in June and cannot scrape together the money to pay my $250 deductible to the hospital. When do people like me (and I know there are more) get a hand up? Not a hand out, not a bail out, just a little slack for doing the best we can (which suddenly isn't good enough anymore).

    Frankly, right now I don't a rat's ass about the auto makers. And yeah, jail needs to be on the table for some of the clowns in this administration.

  •  Sneak attack! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, 4Freedom, Jbeaudill

    Another $105 to $140 billion charged to us!  The Treasury Department pulled a fast one while everyone was glued to the $700 billion bailout.  It struck down section 382 of the tax code which Republicans and economic conservatives hated since Congress passed it in 1986.  Section 382 stood in the way of large companies and banks who were evading taxes. This needed tax code 382 provision put a stop to profit-making companies acquiring shell companies with losses for the sole purpose of offsetting their real gains.  Now with 5 sentences placed under the radar, while everyone was fixated elsewhere, the Treasury Department conveniently pulled a fast one in the waning weeks of this administration.  

    Congress is angry and doing little because they are afraid to adversely affect recent bank mergers or to make our economic meltdown even worse.  No time for fear!  Bush’s Treasury Department shenanigans are blatant and illegal and must be counteracted.  Hard working families do not have such tax shelter tactics to use.

    Push for Voter-Owned Clean Elections: Be A Citizen Co-Sponsor

    by gildareed on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:40:01 AM PST

  •  Why is he bandying (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, 4Freedom, DorothyT

    around the Clinton/Reagan deregulating free market Chicago boys for Sec. of Treasury? Summers? Does not bode well for any substantive changes to the system.

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:44:26 AM PST

    •  Obviously You Have Not Been Paying Attention (5+ / 0-)

      Why is he bandying around the Clinton/Reagan deregulating free market Chicago boys for Sec. of Treasury

      Austan Goolsbee has been there since day one.

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:53:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Before the nominations and the election, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        superscalar, lotlizard, shaharazade

        I had written a bit on Goolsbee in a diary.

        According the the New York Times, for which he writes, "Austan Goolsbee is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. He is advising the campaign of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois for the Democratic presidential nomination."

        Goolsbee is another free trader. From the article cited above,  "60 to 70 percent of the (US) economy faces virtually no international competition." With 70 percent of our economy based on consumer purchasing, that begs the question as to the impact of international competition. Of course, America's 18.5 million government employees have little to fear from free trade; so do auto mechanics, dentists and many others. However when we are outsourcing everything from software engineering to auto parts manufacturing, the rest of us have reason for concern.

        Goolsbee is reported to have told Obama not to back a compulsory freeze on home mortgage foreclosures to help the struggling middle class in the current depression crisis, as demanded by former candidate John Edwards.

        wartoad on Obama's economic advisors

        by 4Freedom on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 09:19:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Transparency in government is key Obama policy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, mojo workin, Jbeaudill

    It was the Obama-Coburn Bill that created the "Government Spending Google" which allows citizens and media to look at all government spending, see who sponsored it and to see who received the money.

    USASpending.gov

  •  Take Obama's Words Seriously! (13+ / 0-)

    what did Obama say last Tuesday eve?

    "I NEED YOUR HELP".

    LOOK at the French model-- when the citizens of France are faced with gross corruption they take to the streets in protest; they close cities down.

    what do we do?

    little to nothing. at this point polite phone calls and letters (answered by equally polite form letters which are useless) to our respective congress people are more or less useless.

    as I have stated over and over again-- without DUMPING most long term "democratic" congress people and without more direct action/protest, NOTHING much will change.

    I guarantee it.

    "People and governments need the courage to do the right thing". Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

    by Superpole on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:47:06 AM PST

  •  What if (6+ / 0-)

    that money had been put into infrastructure, education, science and health care?
    Norquist must be ecstatic!  For thirty years the middle class has had their wealth transferred to the plutocracy; and now the plutocrats push the country into bankruptcy.
    Neofeudalism
    Do you think any of the plutocrats are thinking "Country First"?

  •  The looting was Obama's idea (0+ / 0-)

    And the investment banks are his biggest donors. Maybe Kossacks would know that if the mods didn't censor user comments.

  •  If I Call in My Loans (0+ / 0-)

    Um, just a question. I'm an American citizen. If I call in my loans to the government, will all these firms go belly up?

    And these people call themselves Republicans!

  •  Will the GOP continue it's overreach? (0+ / 0-)

    During Bush's lame duck tenure? I mean at this point the GOP has pretty much overreached to 2014, haven't they? Anything the DP and OBama do is pretty much reaching back in the right direction, isn't it?

    •  It's not overreach, it's crossing the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927

      finish line.

      They are going to reach their goal.

      Democrats pushed it. Bush, the Disgraceful, ran with it.

      Obama has not countered it.

      Free markets for all... rising tide lifts all boats...

      McCain/Palin '08 - Government Sucks and We'll Prove It!

      by k9disc on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:22:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Screwing You With a Smile (4+ / 0-)

    BTW, notice how cordial George Bush has been. That's his function as marionette: to dance and distract the public so that The Bandits can steal more.

    Obama needs to send in the very best troops to lock down this administration and grab the evidence as quickly as possible. Don't be distracted by the smile. No matter how sincere, the damage to the country is just as sincere.

  •  God help us. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, 3goldens, fhcec, Medievalista

    Bush Inc., is not only fucking us, but our children and their children.  The Wall St. bandits are getting paid, but there's never money for schools, public transportation, nor health care, no sir.  I'm outraged.

    "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -James Madison

    by JJC on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:14:11 AM PST

  •  Impeachment is an Imperative AND an Investment - (0+ / 0-)

    Impeachment is the only way to reverse this unbelievable theft.  

    Here's an impeachment petition linkfrom The Pen (People's Email Network).

  •  these fuckers should rot in jail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, Earth Ling

    the sooner the better

    It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

    by Statusquomustgo on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:23:41 AM PST

  •  I blame Congress (4+ / 0-)

    for passing the bailout in its current form for these executive abuses.  The bill was grounded on the assumption that the Secretary of the Treasury would act in good faith to stem the crisis.  Knowing all we do about the Bush administration, and given the initial reaction of Secretary Paulson to the crisis, it should have been clear from the beginning that such trust was undeserved.  But even without these warning signals, it was irresponsible for Congress to concentrate power into the hands of so few people without significant oversight or restraints.  Even the ability to make capital injections (the course of action favored by progressive economists) was only implicitly granted in the bill, and not surprisingly has been abused as a way of dropping off wheelbarrows of cash to corporate leaders.

    Yes, the Bush administration is running the ship of America ashore, but it would be naive not to distribute some blame to Congressional leaders who, while waiting for their turn at the helm, simply stare at the oncoming rocks.

    Politicians cannot be depended upon to act in the interests of the public in the absence of collective pressure.

    by Reframing the Debate on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:24:53 AM PST

  •  But Bush managed to take a break (6+ / 0-)

    in the looting agenda to cut off Medcaid funds to public hopitals for out-patient care for things like dental care for children., like that poor child teacherken told us about, the one who died of a rotten tooth.

    "Yes dear. Conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

    by tribalecho on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:25:18 AM PST

  •  Which (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, 3goldens, 4Freedom, Jbeaudill, wa ma

    of course does not count the bailout given the auto industry. They got $25B initially. Now they're back for more. Corporate Socialism is alive and well in the US.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:32:07 AM PST

  •  FUCK YOU PELOSI! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bellatrys, mediaprisoner

    Again, FUCK YOU PELOSI. This is what you get when you take impeachment off the table. You get a criminal president will all the time in the world to loot and rob the American public one more time instead of spending all of his time in meetings with lawyers trying to run out the clock on his presidency. Stupid, shortsighted toothless Democrats. I'm fucking sick of them!

    Now, people had lost their fear. From that moment I knew we would win. - Oscar Olivera

    by Josh Prophet on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:35:34 AM PST

  •  Who is questioning the Alix appointment? (0+ / 0-)

    Because anyone who is not should be voted out of office.

    Now, people had lost their fear. From that moment I knew we would win. - Oscar Olivera

    by Josh Prophet on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:39:31 AM PST

  •  Here's another from last week (0+ / 0-)

    This is absolutely the last thing the banks need to worry about right now.  A last push for Bush era ideology and lobbyist influence on the way out.

  •  Thank you Jerome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Kickemout

    For bringing righteous indignation back to dailykos.  We needed a hard dose of reality after the election, and the complicity of Obama and the Democratic leadership in creating this mess will help bring us back to a state of vigilance.

    Politicians cannot be depended upon to act in the interests of the public in the absence of collective pressure.

    by Reframing the Debate on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:43:10 AM PST

  •  Moral hazard only applies to,,,, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, New Deal democrat, 4Freedom

    working Americans it seems.

    •  Did you write "Moral Hazard"! Ha. (0+ / 0-)

      That is soooo 2007.
      Get with it.  The new word is "Capitulation" as in "ready, set, buy at the bottom and reap incredible bargins!"

      Greed is the word is the motion... or however that musical went.

  •  Fed Reserve has issued more credit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Jbeaudill, wobbledon

    in the last year than in the previous 95 years combined. At least according to a couple of minor blogs I've run across. Does anyone know if that is correct?

    The interesting thing is at least a couple of serious economists have, in the past weeks, predicted that the US will be defaulting on its debt by July '09 at the latest. One story. (Google "US treasury default 2009" for a bunch more.)

    Regardless, wouldn't real financial fixes start, at this point, with nationalizing the Federal Reserve? I'm not sure what proportion of US debt is to foreigners and what to the Fed, but that's got to lighten up some pressure.

    I understand the dollar is relatively stronger at the moment, but that's because so many people are liquidating into cash, and US cash is what people know.

    But how long will foreigners keep buying US treasuries to keep the US afloat?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:50:32 AM PST

  •  I was watching Forbes AKA Faux Business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Jbeaudill

    They were having a discussion round table about whether Obama will make a good CEO. Of course they were saying  his policies would be bad for business ie labor practices, regulation, health care and tax policies. One of the panelist made the remark " he better be a good CEO, he nationalized the banks. I practically screamed at the TV and none of the other panel members corrected her. slip of the tongue or future wingnut talking point ?

    Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

    by california keefer on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:55:29 AM PST

  •  Naomi Klein nails it with her last few articles (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    julifolo, 3goldens, fhcec, Jbeaudill, DorothyT

    "We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river" - Hunter S Thompson

    by GonzoLegend on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:59:44 AM PST

  •  $150B (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jbeaudill

    would probably save the world if we used it to green our society and economy, but instead we're using it to save AIG?  WTF?!?  

  •  Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jbeaudill

    needs to get America's priorities right...

  •  Who says Pelosi & Reid want him to stop it?! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens
  •  Wish Dems would start a fast-track Impeachment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mojo workin, Loose Fur, Medievalista

    with the latest charge being looting the treasury.  

  •  Jerome - you ask Can Obama stop the looting? (0+ / 0-)

    Can he? You don't make any suggestions. Do you have any? Does he even want to?
    All you've done is present the problem.

  •  Godfather IV--The White House Years (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, 3goldens, mojo workin

    Starring the organized criminals of the Bush Administration. What a great country! Where else could the Sopranos run the country into the ground while enriching themselves, and still have the support of almost half the population in the latest election?

  •  Dean Baker on Larry Summers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jbeaudill

    from his weekly email newsletter. Summers is not only high drama and demeaning to women, he's not the financial genius the traditional media claim.

    I have nothing against Larry Summers, but I think there is some sense to having people evaluated based on their job performance.

    > Larry Summers thought the stock bubble was cool, ignored the housing bubble, was in favor of the over-valued dollar and gave warmly supported  financial deregulation.

    > This track record arguably make Summers one of the main villains in the current economic crisis. So why does the LA Times tell us that we need his wisdom to fix the situation?

    > I have no doubt that Summers is very bright, but his brilliance did not prevent him from supporting the policies that got us into this mess. Why do we think that his brilliance will lead him to choose the best policies to get us out of it?

    > --Dean Baker

    See the CEPR website for more on this....,.

  •  And it isn't limited to $$, there's natural (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    resources like Arches National Park that are being pillaged right now, too!

  •  AIG story is more complex (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DorothyT

    All the cash that is being pumped into AIG is (almost) directly finding its way to its counterparties as collateral on their CDS contracts.

    That can get to a cool $250 billion - just cash sitting in a custody account somewhere.  Until the prices on the RMBS rise - not home prices, but just the MBS - this cash ain't coming back. But on the flip side, it is not being burned through either.

    •  But do we (taxpayers) know the extent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, 3goldens, Jbeaudill

      of the problem with CDS.  At some point the concept of risk has to be accepted by the some people who want "free markets".

      RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

      by dennisk on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:07:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually we do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jbeaudill

        AIG has written about 630Bln in protection over the last couple of years.

        •  What is your source for that number? nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jbeaudill

          RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

          by dennisk on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:38:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  their 10Q (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jbeaudill

            Losses from CDS = 7bln. Spreads widened out by about 50bps, typical duration of 2. Ergo, they have 700bln notional.

            •  I agree that CDS have a duration. But I don't (0+ / 0-)

              think you can assume it is 2.  In fact I don't think you can get enough information from a 10Q to calculate a duration of a CDS.

              RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

              by dennisk on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 11:51:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no, but you can infer it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jbeaudill

                I did not say I got the CDS duration from the 10Q.

                CDS written on RMBS. If they are alt-a based, they will be really short duration, probably floaters.  If they are based on straight mortgages, WAM is about 4.5, duration between 2.5 and 3.

                Is it perfect?  Of course not.  But we can ballpark it pretty closely.

                But the point is, it is not a bottomless black hole and people with access to AIGFPs books probably know a whole lot more.

                But my broader point is still important:  the cash being pumped into AIG is not being burnt in operations (like GM or some of the Internet companies).  Therefore there is a reasonable expectation that they can probably be clawed back at some point.

    •  AIG deal breakdown: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, Jbeaudill, Cliss

      AIG Bailout Tracking:

      $85 Bn - September  14% interest/79.9% stake for the Treasury

      $38 Bn - October

      $123 total

      Revised Deal 11/10/08  Make the Treasury a long term investor at easier interest terms.

      $60 Bn - lower the original loan amount / increase the payment schedule to five years instead of the original two years at a lower interest rate.

      $40 Bn - use some of the $700 billion appropriated after the original bailout to buy preferred shares at 10% interest yield.  This will not change the 79.9% stake the Treasury originally claimed in the company.

      $30 Bn - more from the $700 billion to buy CDO's (corporate paper based) that AIG agreed to insure and which AIG has to put up collateral against.  Place it in a separate entity.
      AIG would be obligated to put up $5 billion of its own along with the $30 billion provided by the Treasury.  They'd buy at $.50 on the dollar ($70 billion worth) with this cash infusion.  The obligations would be taken off their books so they won't have to worry about collateral.

      $20 Bn - to buy up the mortgage backed securities it insured ( the really toxic stuff).

      $150 Billion total

      So this directly addresses the CDS issue as far as collateral goes.  It serves the original purposes of the $700 billion bailout strategy of corralling the toxic securities.  It places a value of those securities at .50 on the dollar which all things considered isn't a terrible price.  If this price is the benchmark it has a chance of stabilizing the outlook on losses across the industry and creates a firm bottom.

      •  You are wasting your time (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dauphin, Jbeaudill

        People here generally do not have the specialized knowledge required to make serious observations.  When those that do speak up, they are drowned out.

        If you are opposed to Bush, then, by definition, you must think that Bernanke is a charlatan who is out to take your money and give it to Wall Street.

        The tragedy is that it did not have to be this way.  People used to trust the government. Eight years of incessant lying has convinced a signiicant portion of the american public that their government really lies about everything.  Therefore even perfectly benign events are naturally viewed through the prism - are these guys telling the truth?

        •  I'm actually one of those who has developed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dauphin, Jbeaudill

          this disease.
          They have lied by omission on the tax code change of 382.  The agenda was clear years ago and they used the crisis in October to slip a huge give away for the bank lawyers and lobbyists.
          All in secret.
          So I trust no one, not even Obama, on doing what's right by the taxpayer.  The buck stops here on April 15 to save our hallowed financial titans and wise men of monied oracles, the Cap-i-tains of our Ship.  Women and children last.

          But in the AIG deal I understand that this is more of a flexible strategy on the fly of ever changing conditions than of lobbyists.  It's not a give away.  Just a deeper commitment towards solvency and protecting the investment.

  •  BushCo will loot it all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss

    Wait until they start dismantling the EPA and many of the environmental protections we take for granted...

    This bailout is disgusting, but not surprising.

    Thanks Jerome!

  •  Don't let them bet away with it... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    We should just take it back from them later. Make them pay it back!

  •  Lucy: "Oh, come on Charlie Brown just kick the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    football.  I promise I won't pull it away.  I promise.  Just kick it."  Running full speed...ZING Lucy pulls the football and Charlie Brown lands on his ass, AGAIN.

    When are we all going to stop kicking the damn football only for the bushies to yank it.  They are ALL criminals and despots.

    Conservatism = Fiscal responsiblity.  ha ha ha ha ha ha he he he he he he he he he he he he he ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha he he he he he

    "In this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people." President-elect Barack H. Obama, 11/04/08

    by winter outhouse on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:18:19 AM PST

  •  The rule for the future (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MackInTheBox, 3goldens, Jbeaudill, Cliss

    If the President (*any* President), says "we have to pass X in 24 hours or the world will blow up", be it about the financial markets, a war, Patriot Act, or what have you, the answer is "fine, let it blow up then".

    Legislation passed in haste is always a bad idea, always. The fact that idiots in Congress haven't learned this, including the Dems, is unfathomable to me. They cannot be this stupid, it must be that they are complicit. This is a disturbing thing to contemplate.

  •  Officers and Board members should be fired (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss

    No matter the bank, insurance company, auto company, whatever. If they need money from the fed they should be fired on the spot.

    Why are these people allowed to stay in office?

    Get rid of them and replace them with people who will do a better job.

    Ecosystems empowerment for the rural poor.

    by 1Eco on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:42:15 AM PST

  •  Been following this on The Big Picture (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, greenearth, Jbeaudill, dmnyct

    and Calculated Risk.  If you haven't already read Banana Republic Watch you may want to give this more than a glance.

    dress for dinner and be discreet.

    by moodyinsavannah on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:42:28 AM PST

  •  After having commented predictably on a couple of (0+ / 0-)

    "no bonus" diaries, I'm starting to see that discussion as a smoke screen for the bigger grift.

  •  Can Jermore... (0+ / 0-)

    Can Jerome take a hike and not be so condescending? Go worry about the French fascist PM you have in charge of your own country.

    Say Jerome where is the "Countdown to $200 oil" fear special that you used to run? Funny how that stopped!

    •  France chose the Right Foot to kick the can (0+ / 0-)

      down the road. America chose the Left Foot. Why don't we all, left and right fermez les bouches until we see where this so-called crisis winds up.

      As Rahm Emanuel said 'it's a crime to ignore a crisis' or something like that. it's either an opportunity for advancement and change or a way to get back at those who did better, even if in the doing you got trashed.

      C'est la Vie!

  •  VW Golf 2002: 40+ mph city miles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theran, 3goldens

    I've been sneering and smirking at GM and the American SUV makers and drivers of the bank-busting big ones since late 2001 when my VW Golf TDI diesel arrived. It's always gotten 40+ mpg in the city and I twice drove in the mtns. 700 miles on a single tank of gas. If my dog knew the crash was coming, the executive Fat Cats knew it, too. Give me a fucking break.

  •  It's too late to stop the looting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tanya, Cliss

    Obama, McCain, and legislators from both political parties made it totally legal with the bailout bill.  It's over.  It's too late.  

    Thanks Barney Frank, et. al.

  •  Criminal Prosecutions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tanya, Jbeaudill, Cliss, Terra Mystica

    When people talk about BushCo facing criminal prosecution, they tend to dismiss the possiblity because they tend to concentrate on the most clear-cut, well-known and egregious official crimes, those involving the American Gulag they set up.  It is, sadly, reasonable to doubt that they will be pursued for these crimes, at least at the outset, because the electorate is, sadly, quite forgiving of even the most egregious crimes that can even half-way plausibly be presented as having been done to make us all safer.

    However much the electorate may be willing to foregive sins done in the name of national security, no one, and I mean no one in the whole political spectrum, is going to be at all willing to foregive looting the Treasury as we go into another Depression.  No matter how much the new administration may fervently wish to avoid having to prosecute BushCo for anything, because it would distract from moving Obama's agenda forward, they will not be able to avoid simple accounting for money at the gigabuck and terabuck level.  And it would certainly seem that the old administration's books won't pass muster even if all graft and corruption below the gigabuck level is simply ignored.  

    Talk about "too big to fail" all you want, and maybe if you're incompetent at managing money, you do get some sort of free pass just by having lost a big enough amount of money that the economy can't afford to let your institution fail.  But the same principle does not apply to stealing money.  In fact, if you're caught stealing even a trifling megabuck or so, you're likley to lose your free pass for incompetence along with your "get out of jail free" card.

    Must credit gtomkins, folks, but feel free to spread the word that, while the prosecutions of BushCo probably won't end with good old-fashioned money corruption, they're going to start here.  The feet of clay of the Republican machine will prove to be filthy lucre, because everyone understands good old-fashioned graft and embezzlement.

    The presidency must be destroyed.

    by gtomkins on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 12:22:49 PM PST

  •  I must be in a warp of the time space continuum? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fernan47

    from utter euphoria to total disilluionment in one swift click of a mouse. Gosh, it's enough to drive one back to the arms of Christopher Hitchens.

    For all of you who love to hate him check out today's Slate. He's almost as amusing as this paean of pain from paris.

  •  i was feeling pretty good till i read this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soccergrandmom, Airmid

    now I am sick to my stomach, again.

    "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

    by fernan47 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:02:39 PM PST

  •  I don't think the Obama team cares. (0+ / 0-)

    Look at who is being offered up to head Treasury, and look at the advisory team--all Wall Street folks who aren't about to look out for citizens.  

    We're looking at more of the same---people who love NAFTA, free trade at the expense of workers in America, and if you've noticed, absolutely zero positions on unemployed Americans, but plenty about keeping Lie-berman, all the political junk that makes zero difference to Main Street.

    This is not impressive.

  •  This from Naomi Klein (0+ / 0-)

    The question now is whether Obama will have the courage to take the ideas that won him this election and turn them into policy. Or, alternately, whether he will use the financial crisis to rationalize a move to what pundits call "the middle" (if there is one thing this election has proved, it is that the real middle is far to the left of its previously advertised address). Predictably, Obama is already coming under enormous pressure to break his election promises, particularly those relating to raising taxes on the wealthy and imposing real environmental regulations on polluters. All day on the business networks, we hear that, in light of the economic crisis, corporations need lower taxes, and fewer regulations—in other words, more of the same.

    The new president’s only hope of resisting this campaign being waged by the elites is if the remarkable grassroots movement that carried him to victory can somehow stay energized, networked, mobilized—and most of all, critical. Now that the election has been won, this movement's new missions should be clear: loudly holding Obama to his campaign promises, and letting the Democrats know that there will be consequences for betrayal.(emphasis mine)

    rest of the article here

    Is it too late to keep the grassroots going?

    Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could win. Obama won so that the whole world's children could fly.

    by Airmid on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:57:20 PM PST

  •  and then this: (0+ / 0-)

    note - there is still time to stop the heist.

    Both these pieces argue that the $700-billion "rescue plan" should be regarded as the Bush Administration’s final heist. Not only does it transfer billions of dollars of public wealth into the hands of politically connected corporations (a Bush specialty), but it passes on such an enormous debt burden to the next administration that it will make real investments in green infrastructure and universal health care close to impossible. If this final looting is not stopped (and yes, there is still time), we can forget about Obama making good on the more progressive aspects of his campaign platform, let alone the hope that he will offer the country some kind of grand Green New Deal.

    sounds like a call to action to me, people...

    Rosa sat so that Martin could walk. Martin walked so that Obama could win. Obama won so that the whole world's children could fly.

    by Airmid on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 02:59:34 PM PST

  •  With a day that started with my daily (0+ / 0-)

    browse through cyberspace and ends with the evening cable news and photographs of the Elect First Family entering their new home I have gone from euphoria, to frustration and back to euphoria.

    As a true hybrid British/American past, present and future, like the words of that Neil Diamond song , I have often been lost between two shores.

    I spent election night flipping between the BBC, PBS, CNN and MSNBC. It was a fascinating cultural and sociological excercise.  But what I realised once again is that Europe, especially the UK still really don't get America.

    I still think from many of today's comments and the diary itself that the absolute historicity of this election and the difficulty of dealing with what are not just American problems, bur affect the entire planet have not been fully absorbed.  This has been a global meltdown not an American one of greedy capitalstic corruption. The entire world has been used a massive gambling casino from Hong Kong to Dubai.  

    The solutions will need to be found worldwide and that goes for europe's welfare states as well.

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