Politics and Media Headlines 3/23/09
That didnt' take long (by Eric Boehlert at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
The unhinged Right, egged on by hate bloggers and AM talkers, let their true feelings out at an anti-Obama rally in Orlando.
Remember when we couldn’t nominate Hillary because she’d be attacked by the right, but Obama wouldn't be? I remain, as always, the bad guy for reminding the bots how wrong they were—about almost everything.—Caro
The Big Takeover (by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations…
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.
Obama: destroyer of the Left… (by J –SOM at Liberal Rapture)
Cannonfire hits at a point I have been throwing into posts - sometimes at random - for a year. Obama will destroy the Left. “The country thinks that Obama is some sort of lefty. He isn't one, but that's what people think. If his plan fails - and it will - all left-ish solutions (real left and faux left) will be discredited.”
New rescue effort called key to resuming lending (AP)
The Obama administration says it hopes a new bank rescue initiative will generate $500 billion in purchasing power to buy up toxic assets and get them off the books of the nation's banks.
But wasn’t the last rescue effort called the key to resuming lending? And the one before that? And the one before that?—Caro
Worthless Shit For Sale (by Susie at Suburban Guerrilla)
As far as I can tell from the description, Geithner’s plan is the following:
1) We have big honkin’ piles of worthless shit.
2) Rather than admit that, we will pay other people to buy the worthless shit - while pretending it isn’t worthless. (Because, as my nana used to say, the fishmonger doesn’t yell, “Rotten fish for sale!”)
3) To entice them, we will guarantee they will not lose any money while buying the worthless shit - or at least, none to speak of. So who’s taking the bath? Let me guess: We, the People.
Obama and the Altar of Greed (by David Michael Green at Counter Punch)
Barack Obama is dumber than a bag of hammers. I never thought I'd say that about the guy… But if you're willing to risk the entirety of a potentially great presidency on making sure that a handful of already wealthy sociopaths who got rich destroying the global economy are not denied massive taxpayer-funded bonuses to keep them in jobs they've already completely mishandled, despite the fact that many of them took the money and left the job anyhow -- if that's you, and you're the new president of the United States with a load of challenges and lots of public good will solidly behind you -- well, then, you're dumber than a bag of hammers.
Despair over financial policy (by Paul Krugman)
[I]t’s immediately obvious, if you think about it, that these funds will have skewed incentives. In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn’t, that’s someone else’s problem…
This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work. What an awful mess.
James K. Galbraith Reponds to Geithner’s Toxic Asset Plan (thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla)
If I’m right and the mortgages are largely trash, then the Geithner plan is a Rube Goldberg device for shifting inevitable losses from the banks to the Treasury, preserving the big banks and their incumbent management in all their dysfunctional glory. [Emphasis added.] The cost will be continued vast over-capacity in banking, and a consequent weakening of the remaining, smaller, better-managed banks who didn’t participate in the garbage-loan frenzy.
A piece of tape (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
Galbriath keeps repeating the phrase INDEPENDENT EXAMINATION OF THE LOAN TAPES… The term is a holdover from the days when computerized information was stored on tape. A "loan tape" offers a precis of the relevant data for each loan; if you're looking for signs of fraud, start with the tapes. Examining that data is the only way to determine how much each asset is truly worth. Otherwise, you are relying on the word of someone who may be a con artist. Geithner refuses to do that kind of investigation… Why does Geithner refuse to EXAMINE THE LOAN TAPES? Why does he refuse to do the necessary Sherlock Holmesing?
Because Holmes caught bad guys, and Timmy does not want to do that. Geithner is of the Street, and he wishes to protect his Street brethren. The Geithner solution encourages bankers to loot the system, because Uncle is paying the bills and no-one will hold the miscreants accountable for past or present misdeeds.
Of the Street, by the Street, and for the Street.—Caro
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