Archive Page 2

26
Sep
08

No Bailout, No Way

As many as 80% of Americans are against the Paulson bailout of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (his former employer.)

The emails and calls to congresscritters’ offices is running at better than 90% against.

The heedless McCain is positioning himself as a ‘maverick’ again allegedly pushing to ‘get things done’,  even though by all accounts he’s just sitting in the meetings, saying nothing.

At least Obama had the sense to put a millimeter or two from Hank Paulson’s plea, on bended knee, to please save him and the rest of the oligarchs from the consequences of their own greed.

A contingent of Republicans in the House, however, is heeding Ron Paul’s sound advice, and is opposing the giveaway. Good for them.

I have no illusions – this monstrous theft is going to pass in some form.  But we should all remember who was with us, and who was against us.

24
Sep
08

On the Topic of Class Warfare

In case you know someone who is a class warfare advocate or believes that somehow the rich are immune from market forces and simply get richer through osmosis, send them this (from Forbes):

The biggest loser [of the Forbes 400 list] this year was casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, whose fortune has fallen $13 billion in the past 12 months–$1.5 million per hour–as shares of his Las Vegas Sands (nyse: LVS – news – people ) have dropped 75% from their all-time highs last October.

Normally, to “lose” that much money that quickly, one would have to work for Halliburton.

24
Sep
08

Hurricane Ike, And Federal Help

Road Humps Indeed

Road Humps Indeed

A note from a friend, Houston, TX area resident Phil Schawe (SHAHvee) had this to say about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike;

Fortunately, I am pretty much done with that bastard IKE.

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern. Except for gigantic piles of tree debris lined up and down the street, things are pretty much back to normal today. Much luckier than the folks nearer the coast; keep in mind I  live over FIFTY miles inland.

On the bright side, it is AMAZING how neighbors pulled together to help each other out in times of need; truly a silver lining to IKE’s destruction. I got power yesterday after 8-1/2 days without.  Also got power at my office, but no phone or internet there yet.

I spent last Monday & Tuesday at a FEMA P.O.D. site helping hand out food, water & ice. A gigantic bureaucratic clusterf**k if ever I saw one. TSA and FEMA guys were complete tools and didn’t have a clue what to do; fortunately the volunteers that were there just basically took over and handled distribution.

Too bad we distributed stuff too fast for FEMA. We repeatedly ran out of supplies and they could never tell us when we’d be re-supplied. We sat there after everything ran out on Tuesday, and everyone cheered when a truck pulled up the street.

That is, until we saw it carried two brand new fork lifts to help unload the trucks THAT WEREN’T THERE. Oh, and nobody knew how to OPERATE the fork lifts either. Seems like the ONE guy we already had on a forklift and who was doing a wonderful job wasn’t deemed adequate.

And the ultimate comment;

The day after IKE a guy in a big ol’ van somehow made it down our
street to deliver . . . .

a package with a printer cartridge.

The van?

FEDERAL EXPRESS

(PHOTO: Phil’s amazing Flickr set )

24
Sep
08

Hank Paulson’s Taxpayer Takedown Strategy

(CLIP: Leroy Smith Shows How To Set Up An Opponent For A Takedown.)

My local Ron Paul Meetup (yes, it’s still around) has been loosely organizing a letter-writing and phone campaign against the absolutely unconscionable, immoral, illegal, undemocratic bank-bailout bill  that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (R, Goldman-Sachs) dragged up the steps of the Capitol the other day.

One writer suggested this emphasis, I thought it good enough to use, initially;

“I am writing to strongly discourage you from supporting the Treasury Secretary Paulson’s “bank bailout” proposal. This bill will ensure the indentured servitude of Americans for generations to come as it will become increasingly certain that the US will never be able to service is debt obligations. Why should I as an honest and responsible citizen be required to bailout the willfully negligent behavior of executives in the financial industry?

Moreover, I find Section 8 of the proposal particularly disturbing:

Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

This bill in effect makes Secretary Paulson a “Financial Dictator” subject to no Congressional oversight and no judicial oversight. He is immune from any future prosecution with respect to his appropriations of bailout funds.”

Later I remembered what my old wrestling coach taught me about executing a takedown, that the most effective setup is often one where you use your opponent’s own reaction to help you execute the move, so I wrote this;

This bill must be defeated, not modified.

This is a classic setup, a case of action – reaction – action.

If you wrestled in high school or college, you will, upon reflection realize that the Paulson proposal is in part a ‘set-up’ for a financial takedown.

They tie us up with the banking implosion.

Push us (and our representatives) with this unbelievably egregious proposal.

We (and our congresscritters) push back (“we want mortgage forgiveness, salary caps, blah, blah, blah”).

Paulson and Bush then drop down and “Fireman’s Carry” our asses up into the rafters, and down onto the mat – 4 points, and a pin to win.

We never ever see it coming.

Hank’s real goal is to ensure that the bad debt is bailed out at ‘face value‘, instead of at a steep market discount. This will cost further trillions of dollars (money that we do not have) and prevent market prices of the underlying assets from correcting for years, if ever. The bankers will escape completely unscathed, while the taxpayer watches his money rot.

This is why the proposal must not be modified, but defeated utterly.

If the banking system, and our fiat economy, is ready to collapse, then we must Let It Fall.

23
Sep
08

Things Are Looking Up

I just bought a new iPhone today and like a lot of other owners, one of the first things I did was check out the applications that are available for it. I opened iTunes and checked the list of top 10 freebies and noticed that Constitution for iPhone was on it. I think that the Revolution is starting to stick in the minds of a lot of people.

constitututiin_for_iphone

21
Sep
08

What I Saw At The Great Inflation

I’m on a mailing list for Guided By Voices, a 4-years-defunct band. What keeps it going, I think, are the people who make up the Postal Blowfish community – largely thoughtful, earnest folks.

I’m feeding an off-off-topic discussion (I didn’t start it, honest) about the current financial calamity, and the discussion turned to government-backed and subsidized mortgages;

David;

> But to scuttle the whole system would also keep people from buying houses
> who can repay the loans.  Put the crooks in jail, but leave the
> baby in the bathtub.

Dennis;

Yes, our first house loan was through fannie may. They put us through the credit check wringer and we had to take out mortgage insurance. We paid our way out of that and were able to refinance at a better rate and get the mortgage ins. dropped. These programs can work but people got too greedy and home buyers were fucked in those hot markets like vegas and arizona. A good friend of mine is sitting on a mortgage that is prob twice what the house will auction for in vegas.

My rejoinder;

One thought on this;

My parents, in 1964, purchased a house. A little run-down, not in the best neighborhood, but good enough. They paid $7000 for it. My dad was a pattern maker in a machine shop, my mom was, well, my mom (NOTE: No disrespect was intended to my mom, after raising 5 of us full-time she has gone on to two degrees and two entirely separate careers.)

My uncle financed the purchase, I think for 5 years at 5% simple interest. It was a duplex, and the upstairs rent paid back the mortgage in that time. I remember the day in first grade when my mom said I was getting my own room, after the renters had vacated (it was the same day I came down with the mumps, silver linings and all that.)

Fast forward 35 years to 1999. We have all moved out, except for my brother. My parents have moved, a couple of steps up the nice-neighborhood ladder (the old neighborhood, now home to numerous subsidized renters, has moved a couple steps down), and my brother, an industrial mechanic, buys the house from them at a heavily-discounted $84,000 or so, 12 times what they paid for it. Even with a healthy discount from market (this was before the boom), he had to get an FHA loan to make the deal.

What happened? There is simply no way that house in real terms was worth 12x what it sold for in 1964. The ‘magic’ of inflation, plus demand artificially stimulated by government-backed and / or subsidized mortgages, helped put a very modest home outside of the budget of a working person without help. It benefitted my parents very modestly. For the first time in 30 years, they had a mortgage. Their new crib consumed much more than the cash from the old home.

I’m not saying I have all the answers. But government interference in any market carries costs. Are they too high?

vini

16
Sep
08

Add Big Government to the List of the World’s Greatest Inventors

News travels fast since Al Gore invented the Internet so I’m not shocked to hear jokes already sprouting from the inference that John McCain helped invent the Blackberry.

“He didn’t have jurisdiction over financial markets, first and foremost,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said, before wandering into more politically perilous ground.

“But he did this,” he said, holding up what looked like a BlackBerry. “The telecommunications of the United States, the premier innovation of the past 15 years, comes right through the commerce committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create. And that’s what he did.”

Better living through Big Government. Maybe a Ron Paul presidency would have killed innovation altogether, huh?