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Monday, September 22, 2008

September surprise: an economic crisis

For the gaming tables to be closed and the money paid out, the losers must be bailed out -- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, A.I.G. and who knows what to come? This is the only way to solve the problem of how companies that already have paid out their revenue to their managers and stockholders instead of putting it in reserves are to collect their winnings from insolvent debtors and insurance companies. These losers also have paid out their income to their financial managers and insiders (along with the usual patriotic contributions to the political candidates on the key committees in charge of deciding the nation's financial structuring).

This has to be orchestrated well in advance. It is necessary to buy politicians and give them a plausible cover story (or at least a well-crafted set of poll-tested euphemisms) to explain to voters just why it was in the public interest to bail out gamblers. Good rhetoric is needed to explain why the government should let them go into a casino and let them keep all their winnings while using public funds to make good on the losses of their counterparties.

What happened on September 18-19 took years of preparation, capped by a faux ideology crafted by public-relations think tanks to be broadcast under emergency conditions to panic Congress -- and voters -- right before the presidential election. This seems to be our September election surprise. Under staged crisis conditions, Pres. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson are now calling for the country to come together in a War on Defaulting Homeowners. This is said to be the only hope to "save the system." (What system is this? Not industrial capitalism, or even banking as we know it.) The largest transformation of America's financial system since the Great Depression has been compressed into just two weeks, starting with the doubling of America's national debt on September 7 with the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (My computer's spellchecker will not permit me to use the euphemism "conservatorship" that Mr. Paulson applied to bailing out the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fraudsters.)

Economic theory used to explain that profits and interest were a return for calculated risk. But today, the name of the game is capital gains and computerized gambling on the direction of interest rates, foreign currencies and stock prices -- and when bad bets are made, bailouts are the calculated economic return for campaign contributions. But this is not supposed to be the time to talk of such things. "We must act now to protect our nation's economic health from serious risk," intoned Pres. Bush on September 19. What he meant was that the White House must make the Republican Party's largest group of campaign contributors whole-- Wall Street, that is -- by bailing out their bad gambles. "There will be ample opportunity to debate the origins of this problem. Now is the time to solve it." In other words, don't make this an election issue. "In our nation's history there have been moments that require us to come together across party lines to address major challenges. This is such a moment." Right before the presidential election! The same guff was heard earlier on Friday morning from Sec. Paulson: "Our economic health requires that we work together for prompt, bipartisan action." The broadcasters said that half a trillion dollars was discussed for this day's maneuverings.

Though a bit of a rant, the whole thing is definitely worth reading.

Oh, and we American taxpayers are going to bail out the foreign banks, too.

Comments (27)

Contact Your Senator Today!

It's time to contact your senator. Here is contact information for Senators of the 110th Congress.

Phone or Email your Senators today. Tell them in your own words

* Urge your senator to Filibuster any bailout legislation.
* Emphatically state you do not want a bailout of any kind for anyone.
* No Dictatorial power for Paulson or Bernanke
* Taxpayers should not have to bail out banks making bad loans
* Tell them that "The Fed" and Paulson are "systemic risk".

Email AND Phone Senators Shelby, Bunning, Kyle, Ensign, Hagel

Whether Senator Shelby is your Senator or not, flood him with calls and emails asking for a filibuster and to stop the insanity. Senators Shelby, Bunning, Ensign, and Kyle might be sympathetic to the cause, based on past statements. I am taking a stab at Hagel.

Ask For A Filibuster

Please email and phone the following. Specifically ask for a filibuster and tell them to vote no to any bailout.

Tell them that anyone who votes for this bailout will never get your vote again.

Shelby, Richard C.- (R - AL)
(202) 224-5744

Bunning, Jim- (R - KY)
(202) 224-4343
Web Form:

Kyl, Jon- (R - AZ)
(202) 224-4521
Web Form:

Ensign, John- (R - NV)
Washington D.C. Office
119 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6244
Fax: (202) 228-2193
Web Form:

Hagel, Chuck (R - NE)
(202) 224-4224
Web Form:

Please email and phone both of your senators as well.

Once Is Not Enough

I want to emphasize that once is not enough. Here is what to do.

* Flood the senators with emails and phone calls.Tell them in no uncertain terms that if they vote for this bailout they will not get your vote, ever again.
* Send an email or call every day, preferably both.
* Put each message in your own words.
* Make the phone message sort and sweet.
* Use one of the following verbs: concerned, frightened, scared, afraid, mad rush to action
* Use one of the following themes: US dollar, unconstitutional, national debt, how do we pay for this?, printing money, lies, etc
* Vary each message so they do not all sound alike

Send this post to 5 or 10 of your friends and have them do the same. Do it now, while you are thinking about it.

Let's read what Newt Gingrich has to say as well.

OMG Newt doesn't like it???
The idea that Paulson, former aid to John Erlichman (remember him from the Nixon days?) should have unfettered access to now over a trillion dollars is just dumb!
and irresponsible.
This is a typical Bushie shoot from the hip gut reaction and we will all py big time if this comes to pass!

ps: I have called both Wyden and Smith and actually talked to a live human and just tried to call the phone #s above. ALL lines are busy so I guess the people are speaking or they have taken the phones off the hoooks.
On to the email!
Thanks for the info.

Now is the time for hyper-vigilance by all Americans. Some talking head on tv this weekend said that the Bushies used 9/11 to give us the Patriot Act and that they could very well use this crisis to screw us again.

I never was much of a conspiracy theory junkie, but Schrub & Co have changed that.

Eyes on the prize. We are about to be screwed folks.

Remember the "Teabag Rebellion" of a few years ago?

Scared the stuffing out of Congress.

Its time for another one.

This time, we demand, that starting with Obama and McCain, that every politician , incumbent or challenger, who ran for President or Senate or House nominations in the last 16 years and who took a campaign contribution from any one in the financial industry immediately donate directly to the federal treasury the full dollar amount of any such campaign contribution.

Obama has raised millions in the last three years from Freddie and Fanny executives. McCain has raised a lot, too, but not as much as Obama. And its not just Fanny and Freddy executives and lobbyists as donors.

Time for that money to leave the fingers of the candidates and the PACs and go into the Treasury.


The Patriot Act was written and ready to go before 9/11. Interesting, huh?

Now they want us to act quickly in an emergency again and turn over complete control of our treasury with no oversight by the courts or any agency. Oh, and the 700 billion is not a limit either. It could go as high as they want.

Remember after Katrina when Bush wanted federal control of the national guard in each state? Every time there's a problem, there's a power grab.

And to cover their own misdeeds, they'll say, "If our opponents stand in our way, everything might not turn out okay. So let's act quickly before it's too late. Just give us absolute power and trust us to do the right thing."

Haven't we seen this movie before?

Scott Burns column in the Statesman Urinal this morning ended with the following sentiment. Based on his readers comments to him, it is certain that this Presidential election will be the last one with two parties.

We have a party of the rich and a party for the poor. I hope to heck this new party will serve the needs of the middle class.

Obama has raised millions in the last three years from Freddie and Fanny executives. McCain has raised a lot, too, but not as much as Obama. And its not just Fanny and Freddy executives and lobbyists as donors.

Interesting. Got a citation for that claim about Obama? (And no, linking to something Bill O'Reilly said doesn't count.)

Sad. Scared. Tired. Frustrated. Angry. Why are those of us who were conservative with our money now once again getting screwed?...but beyond my wildest imagination. So because we bought a small house...bought used cars...went back to school to get a masters in education to help kids succeed...that now we have to bail out not only the large, greedy corporations, but now I have to bail out those idiots that purchased a home an arm morgate, when they knew good and well if the interest rate rose, they wouldn't be able to afford it. I am SO TIRED of spending my time, money and life to deal with individuals who have no concept that when you make a bad decision, there are consequences...

Anyone up for contributing to buying an island??

Those were strong words about the financial meltdown, even for the Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Preach on Laurelann. I have a sneaking suspicion the silent majority agrees with you.

But of course, trying to have someone explain (in layman's terms) the consequences to the average taxpayer of the bailout v. non-bailout options is impossible during the presidential election cycle.

Hudson's words really make sense. Have you noticed how they can be applied to Portland-especially his "...explain to voters just why it was in the public interest to bail out gamblers."

Sam Adams has used this same methodology to ask voters for $500 Million in taxes for roads-"It's for our children's safety." Or how PDC sells the taxpayers on the Old Town Lofts Shipwrack fiasco.

The examples in Portland our numerous and we do nothing about it like on the national level.

nonny's assertion about Obama is not well supported by the facts, Dave. (And his implication that McCain also received millions is also not supported.)

That said, looks like they each got more than double the median household income in related contributions, and there's plenty of blame to go around on this issue.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack were formed in the Clinton years as quasi-government corporations, staffed and led by Democrats who proceeded to rob them blind. Have you heard of any investigations into these guys who literally stole their bonus money, $10s of millions, by misstating earnings? Not a peep!

Meg said: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack were formed in the Clinton years as quasi-government corporations, staffed and led by Democrats who proceeded to rob them blind."

Meg, your timeline is a bit off. Fannie Mae was created in 1938 as a public agency. In 1968 it became a private company.

Freddie Mac was created in 1970. Whatever grievances you may have about Clinton, creating either one of these entities cannot be among them.

This is a valuable time. It's a chance to see the right-wing talking-machine with the car hood up. Both Rush and Drudge cite the same article that "proves" it was the Democrats who did this.

Set that against an earnest presidential plea not to look at this right now because
they'll be time for that later, you know, "once you've given us the money."

They didn't want to look at 9/11 either. They fought that as hard as they could. Now, they don't want us to look at this. Just give them the Patriot Act or the keys to the treasury, and hush.

Meanwhile, there's no mention of Phil Gramm's huge role, nor the fact that the GOP has been minding the store for these past years - almost 8 now. Just get the con through for 2 more months and there will be 4 more years to plunder America.


I can hear it now: "We'd love to provide the information you requested, but not until the relevant court cases have been settled" or, "It's a matter of national security so get lost."

And despite all these little facts, a certain percentage is going to latch onto the spin and hold it dear to their bosom.

Then, they're earnestly going to fight for the right to give their Republican heroes a trillion dollars to make us safe. So it's time for Rush and the gang to sell this pig, and the one thing they definitely don't want is any responsibility for getting us here.

But I keep hoping, that the duped of the world will one day wake up, and say, "Gee, I wonder if Rush is playing me for a fool? We have been in charge and Rush always brags about how superior we are as leaders...If we're so terrific being fiscal conservatives and everything, I wonder why things are so screwed up?"

This is getting tiring, the only way Congress does anything is thru the scare factor:
- Bank collapse
- Global warming
- Iraq
Otherwise, its witch hunt time and let problems like energy independence (already off the front page) just go to heck.

What I would give for a political body with an average IQ above 100.

Paulson just said on NBC Nightly news that he is convinced that not doing anything would hurt the People more than acting. That sounds like there was quite an internal debate - I mean it wasn't immediately obvious.

At least they didn't go with the line about helping Joe Six-pack. That worked when they were giving tax breaks to the rich, but nobody buys it anymore.

These people have earned our complete trust that they are lying their asses off.

I've seen stories that we were really close to the abyss. Reminds me of them saying how Iraq could hit us with the nukes in 45 minutes.

I see this as a systematic looting of America - just another way to run up the bill before the fall.

We can't even burn down the joint for the insurance money. First of all we own the insurance company and it's broke, too.

I'm not buying the connection between the public and saving these weasels at the top.
I think we're getting played here, and one hint is that any attempt to go after the bigshots is attacked by President Bush for hurting the overall effectiveness of the plan. That's clearly B.S. He's just spinning for his base as usual. Even the word "base" is spin. They're on the top and the numbers are staggering: "The top 0.1 percent now earn more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president. In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers or nurses." -Senator Bernie Sanders.

If anything, a huge hit now could help us survive by avoiding a fatal blow later.

What I think is driving this is fear: Our leaders are afraid that a meltdown would let us see what they've really been up too. They're looking out for us because we could be at the palace gates. I say it might be time for a real correction in this country.

Hey, the last great depression gave us the Greatest Generation. We could use another one of those when the Boomers get done.

Bill McDonald is at least 100% right here. We are being played again with fear mongering to give the executive branch unfettered powers to pick our pockets for their benefit and that of their rich friends. There should be no bailout of financial institutions and systems. Let the market unwind what it created without the benefit of regulation or government oversight. The government could provide liquidity as an equity investor of last resort in truly emergent situations; by taking control of banks and other entities, it could make sure that the looting and excessive pay are stopped.
A true economic rescue program needs to be structured for the benefit of people, not to protect systems or institutions and their CEO's -- except to the extent that saving them serves the interests of the people. A moratorium on foreclosures of owner-occupied homes could be put together to give some breathing time. If large sums of money are to be spent, they can be spent by the government on a crash program for alternative energy development; on infrastructure; and on health care for the uninsured. That would create quite a few jobs, and the out-of-work investment bankers can pour concrete for a while if they want. (It is beyond belief that we could not afford $7 billion for health care for millions of children, but overnight we can write a blank check for 150 times that amount for Wall Street.)
Barack Obama really needs to find his populist voice on economic issues. So far, he's a big disappointment in this area. And Rubin and Summers, his principal economic advisers, have become toxic because of their history in the Clinton administration. Obama should replace them, take a deep breath and stand up for principle here. Going along with the Bush-proposed bailout is just craven.

I still have a pitch fork and a scythe from my former farming days!
Let's go Bill! I'll storm the palace gates if you will.
I could probably come up with a couple of machetes too.

My Bailout Plan:

The federal government takes the 800 billion dollar bailout fund and divides it evenly amongst the individuals who filed income tax returns for 2007.

Your individual debt repayment stimulus credit would be reserved in an account held by the US Treasury and come along with the following restrictions:

1) It must be used to repay a legal debt secured by a note and incurred prior to September 11, 2008.
2) The debt can be one you personally owe, or a debt owed by any other citizen or US corporation.
3) The full amount of the credit must be consumed by debt repayment.

There would also be brief listing of priority debts that should be repaid first including past due mortgage amounts, child support, and back taxes. Some kind of incentive would flow to you if you repay a “priority debt.”

The individual accounting for the plan would require a brief section of the 2008 federal income tax instruction booklet- hopefully with comprehensive forms included. Among other things the booklet would include forms for recording the amount of each payment or partial payment to be made from your individual account along with the name and address of the intended receiver, and a copy of the note memorializing the debt.

Individuals not owing any debts (or less debt than their allotted credit) can decide whose debts to repay and would also receive an incentive for repaying “priority debts.”

That is all.

I love the talk that the govt is going to "make money" on this 700bn because its an investment.

Unforunately , its in securitized trusts containing mortgages (REMICs). I've spent about 20 hours in research and Continuing Legal Education dealing with foreclosure issues and I am just now starting to understand how these work. I doubt Congress has any idea was they are getting into because they are thinking about mortgages as they existed in 1950 -- they have NO IDEA what is going on or they'd know they are throwing good money after bad and they'll have no security whatsoever.

The govt is going to be left holding the bag; the 700bn is only the start and we'll never see that money again.

Wow, I just saw mention of the Business Plot on the Huffington Post. I thought only the fringe even knew about that. Bringing up Prescott polite society? A Wall Street coup? Funding certain European dictators that we're not even supposed to mention?

How did this family stay in American politics?

Oh well, if at first you don't succeed with your Wall Street coup, try, try again.

Incidentally, just talk of the bailout led to the biggest single day drop in the value of the dollar and a huge rise in oil prices. So we might be awaiting the trillion dollar bill but we've already lost a gigantic sum of money just today.

It's going to be interesting on the Hill tomorrow. I wonder if Paulson will have the nerve to say CEO salaries must not be touched because they are set by the free markets. Wouldn't that be classic?

I also want to revisit my sentence about the palace gates and stress that I think that's what they're afraid of. I'm certainly not calling for an overthrow. Making such a statement would be illegal.

"the 700bn is only the start and we'll never see that money again."

Again, they are using the 700B to buy debt ostensibly for resale later. This might be the next Chrysler (which did quite well) or Resolution Trust (not so much.) Blithely stating that $700B has vanished is not accurate.

Its a 700 billion credit line. In other words, if they lend 700 billion and lose 350 billion the line still resets to 700 billion. Rinse, lather, repeat. Its hilarious how such a simple concept is lost on the main stream media and mentally challenged american public.

I see this as a systematic looting of America - just another way to run up the bill before the fall. The looting already happened. They are now just trying to get you suckers to pay the bill.

Bill McDonald is at least 100% right here.
Its statements like this that make the whole situation high comedy. Americans are reaping what they sow.

Short the dollar, r2k, and long-term treasuries!
Bring down this pathetic nation!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Del Ri, Claret 2012
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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