Archive for ‘PROTECTION MONEY’

November 25, 2011

Poor Caused Meltdown???

Every flimflam needs a mark. For the subprime mortgage scam there were millions of suckers. You’ve heard of them, the ones that are born every minute.

You know the kind, the ill-informed poor people and the uninitiated who reside closer to the middle.

Right wing extremists – a term that now encompasses the vast majority of people who used to call themselves conservatives – blamed first Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the meltdown.

And why shouldn’t they blame Fannie and Freddie.. After all the government forced these institutions to back mortgages to poor people who they knew couldn’t repay them. Yes, the big money boys of Fannie and Freddie were threatened with torture if they didn’t obey. Some CEOs were even sent to Gitmo and waterboarded because they didn’t submit. And since nobody likes having toothpicks stuck under their fingernails, the CEOs finally surrendered and, even though they resisted furiously, they were compelled by government to accept hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses.  Can you believe that!  

Actually I just made that stuff up.  But the rest is true.

So when that rubbish didn’t seem to stick, well, there was always the Community Reinvestment Act. Blaming the CRA was sheer balderdash, but hey, any port in a storm, right.

Unfortunately, that excuse didn’t gain traction either so let’s see, there’s gotta be something else we can dump this mess on, right, righties. Think hard now. Oh yeah, that’s right. Poor people. Let’s blame poor people.

So desperate were the righties to blame anyone or anything for the economic meltdown that they even blamed poor people. Anyone would do. Anything to avoid blaming their cocktail party buddies – those who are really at fault, the Wall Street jailbirds (also known as CEOs, bankers and mortgage originators).

So they blame Fannie and Freddie who never issued a mortgage, subprime or otherwise. Both of which, in case you didn’t know, were privately operated, profit making institutions whose CEOs scarfed up untold millions in salaries and bonuses.

Then there was the Community Reinvestment Act. Passed during the Carter administration, it sought to eliminate the racist bank practice of redlining. A common exercise, redlining drew boundaries around poorer neighborhoods, mostly populated by African Americans, and placed a lending stranglehold on there areas. It mattered little that someone who qualified for a loan was denied. They were routinely blackballed simply because they happened to live a a poor neighborhood.

Funny thing. Fannie, Freddie and the CMA worked beautifully for decades.

So the righties continues their search. They had to find some excuse to absolve their Wall Street buddies from committing the crime of the ages. (I refer to these Wall Street hoods who scammed the nation and most of the industrialized world as jailbirds not because they ever served even a nanosecond behind bars where they truly belong. But because they escaped jail time only due to the vast amounts of protection money they lavish upon Congress and the White House. And of course that scratch buys them legislation that not only keeps them out of jail. It gets them bailed out with taxpayer money. That “get out of jail card free” card serves both purposes and they carry it in their wallets for future use).

Here’s what really happened. Mortgage originators issued paper to anyone and everyone. Didn’t matter. All they wanted was to collect the fees and commissions. They then sold off the mortgages, which collectively, amounted to many millions of pieces of paper and trillions of dollars in borrowed money.

Now the mortgages that were sold were low interest, short term agreements known as Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Typically, rates and therefore payments balloon in a few years.

Not to worry though. And this is the beauty of the scam When the ARM matures, the mark returns to the issuer to refinance the mortgage. Same low ARM and payment. But this time the house has appreciated in value, as we know all property does, so the mark is now richer and the refi is a breeze. The issuer collects more fees and commissions and sells the junk once again to an investor.

The statement “here’s your check. Go pick out a house and call me in the morning” wasn’t too far from the reality.

The Wall Street jailbirds then packaged the mortgages into securitized bundles (secured by the houses the money bought), sold the bundles and called them Collateralized Debt Obligations.

American International Group

The huge insurance company must share the blame for the meltdown. Image via Wikipedia

However, the jailbirds, also known as investment bankers, went one step further. They insured all the junk mortgages they did not sell and called the insurance policies Credit Default Swaps. Goldman Sachs insured its CDOs with AIG, a huge CDS policy issuer.

AIG quickly went bankrupt when this bank created housing bubble burst and couldn’t payoff on the insurance policies it issued. Not to worry boys and girls. The government, courtesy of the taxpayer, shoveled some more cash, this time in AIG’s direction and soon the insurance company was able to make good on its debts and paid up what it owed Goldman Sachs (and many other companies). In effect the government rescued Goldman a second time from even greater losses.

The AIG default was partly due to inadequate reserves it was no longer required tokeep on hand because the deregulated market place allowed all rules to lapse.

Here’s some of the trash that the Wall Street jailbirds left behind for the taxpayer to clean up after. Gone are Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bear Sterns, Washington Mutual, Countrywide Financial and a whole host of other less notables. And let’s not forget the toxic assets gobbled up by the trillions by the Federal Reserve Bank, the layoffs, the destroyed pensions, the unemployment crisis and the entire world deficit problem.

Oh, just one more thing, the huge executive bonuses the Wall Street jailbirds continue to pay themselves are nicely kept in tact.

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the righties still blame the victim for the crime.

http://goanimate.com/player/embed/03IWj3SNhdtg

November 20, 2011

The DC Folly Trolley

Some comedian recently said that he would believe corporations were people when Georgia and Texas began executing them. Good idea but fat chance.

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The DC Folly Trolley is filling rapidly with daft GOP candidates. Better buy a ticket and reserve your seat. The election is fast approaching and the Folly Trolley will depart on its journey across the nation in just a few weeks.

GOP Presidential Debate June 13, 2011 in New H...

From Flickr via Creative Commons License Share Alike in which we participate with attribution.

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The latest candidate to board is Newt Gingrich. Is he for real or just the latest GOP flavor of the month?  Only the pundits in Follyland, DC can tell us.

A pundit has said that Gingrich is a stupid man’s idea of what a smart man sounds like. Well that’s probably because he has a mouth as big as a whale’s blow hole.

A whale blowing air through its blow hole after surfacing.  The blow hole acts as a whale’s nostrils.  Photo from a brochure for Harmony Bed and Breakfast, Seward, AK.

Newt Gingrich has the gift of gab. He uses it to pull the wool over the eyes of people who support him. He’s been doing that for decades. No reason to stop now. For half the population istworks very well. Some, like the Fox newsers, even provide the wool.

If his advisers can keep him on script, Gingrich has a shot at the nomination. Scripts aren’t the Newtster’s strong point. So it’s a tough assignment; the man has a hair trigger mouth.

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If Newt wins the nomination does that mean his wife has to give back the Tiffany jewels he used to buy her off. Nah, Newt’s too decent a guy to demand something so cruel. But he has proposed putting 10 year old kids to work in the schools.

Gingrich's official portrait as Speaker

Image via Wikipedia

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Perhaps you’ve heard by now, reports of Newton Leroy’s suggestion to put kids to work in their schools. No wage mentioned of course but probably something in the neighborhood of fifty cents an hour. That sounds about right.

Think of the possibilities such a program would spawn:

  1. It would eliminate high wage labor. To a Repub like Newton Leroy that’s ten bucks an hour.
  2. Allow schools to fire unionized janitors and lunch room personnel. Another good way to get rid of labor unions right wingers find so contemptible.
  3. It would also eliminate benefits for workers that Newton’s kids wouldn’t receive.
  4. Newton’s kids would greatly increase profits in privatized schools.
  5. The program would greatly increase the incentive to privatize more schools.
  6. Newton’s kids would reduce the cost of education so the Newtser could reduce property taxes – you guessed it – for rich people.

And how would Newton’s kids benefit from this nineteenth century thinking. Well, since they would now become working people they would no longer qualify for the school lunch program. So after three hours of labor they could pay for their own damn lunch, right Newt.

And now that the kids are making some big bucks, privately contracted food vendors could charge even more for their junk food – some of which is perfectly disgusting by the way. But, hey, it is bought and sold in a free market so it can’t be all bad.

So Newton Leroy strikes again. His idea will surely ignite support in the right wing Repub base.

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The chairs of the super duper committee in Congress have admitted failure. But not so fast. They still have three days to figure out a way to screw working people.

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Tax cut and spend Republicans have conspired for years to find a means to destroy the social safety net. They found the means when they bought the presidency for George W. Bush.

The Repubs cut taxes and spent with unmatched fury during the Bush years and now hope to bring their conspiracy to fruition.

Austerity is nothing more than a sneak attack on the working class the right wing abhors and of course on the hated social safety net.

So the Repubs want to spend, spend, spend – taxpayers money on their pet projects, on the war entitlement complex and on welfare for their big donor interests, the corporations.

They are determined to enhance the protection money conduit that lavishes hundreds of millions of dollars in cold cash on them and then to provide the protection – through favorable legislation – that the money buys.

To complete their destructive program, the right wing must destroy Obama along with its plan to abolish the middle class.

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The real mystery in the right wing conspiracy is Barack Obama. His determination to assist right wing extremists in their war on Social Security and Medicare is incomprehensible. The man has been absolutely driven to cut these programs. Yet by doing so, he participates in the GOP plan to destroy his presidency. Go figure.

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Think of Obama’s approach to the social safety net as murder. Social scientists tell us that the first one is the most difficult. All subsequent murders become easier and easier to commit. Does Obama not realize that the first adjustment these plans – will be the hardest to achieve? That if he succeeds even in bringing about the tiniest change he will open the floodgates to ever more changes until finally the programs are destroyed? Or is destruction his goal as well?

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The four great ideas from Robert Reich represent good, common sense.

  1. No spending cuts until unemployment is down to 5%.
  2. A jobs program big enough to make a significant dent in unemployment.
  3. Raise taxes on the wealthy.
  4. Cut war entitlement spending and corporate welfare.

The right wing is aware of all of these ideas and knows well the success such a program will bring to the economy. However that is exactly the program they are hell bent on preventing.

Unfortunately the Backstabbers Wing of the Democratic party has joined with right wing Republicans to whittle away at the middle class and the covenant between the generations the social safety net represents.

The Republican governors of several states exposed the conspiracy for all to see: Tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts for the rest of us.

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Spending is indeed on the rise. However, much of the increase is the result of war related costs and corporate welfare and does next to nothing to reduce unemployment.

Most of the deficit can be traced back to the Bush tax cuts, the Bush recession (both of which resulted in the collapse of revenue) and the unfunded Bush wars.

Given their recent tax cut and spending history Republicans are guilty of spectacular hypocrisy and monumental chutzpah.

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One reason why voting in primary elections is so important: Since it is mainly the party faithful who vote in the primaries and they vote largely for, “safe”, established candidates, many other potential candidates are discouraged from entering the primary. However, large turnouts by progressives could change the landscape of general elections by placing liberals – still the messengers of the people – on the ballot.

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Regardless of the support Obama gives to the conservative movement, they will never return the favor. Refer to McConnell’s statement that his job is to make Obama a one term president.

The Senate minority leader may well succeed. He has sabotaged all programs that might benefit the economy and the blame for his nefarious scheme seems to accruing to Obama.

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If Obama’s policies favor conservatives it is because he needs their money. Every little bit helps if he is to become the first president to spend a billion dollars to purchase the office.

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Tax cut and spend conservatives are responsible for the largest portion of the deficit. The Bush tax cuts, the Bush recession and the unfunded Bush wars resulted in massive expenditures and plunging revenues. Eliminate the tax cuts, the recession and reduce war entitlement spending and the deficit is quickly reversed.

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Blue Dog Dems are not much better than a bunch of right wing Republicans. In fact they give the party of FDR a bad name.

Rahm was instrumental in creating the Backstabbers Wing of the Democratic party. Sure, they’re the lesser evil. But a slow, relentless evil nonetheless.

2010 was an opportunity to teach the right wing Democrats like Rahm a lesson. They never learn though because they don’t want to. They’re as much into the protection money race as the GOP. And they feel no guilt at helping their donors by voting for legislation that provides all the protection that special interests desire.

October 26, 2011

Are You Rich Yet?

Ronald Reagan brought you supply side economics.  Are you rich yet?

Bill Clinton reformed welfare.  Are you rich yet?

George Bush gave you two tax cuts.  Are you rich yet?

Alan Greenspan lowered the prime interest rate to near zero.  Are you rich yet?

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Gr...

After committing one of the most monumental screwups in world history, the Maestro is awarded a thingy by George Bush who hasn't yet received his thingy for all of his screwups. Image via Wikipedia*

Barack Obama extended the Bush tax cuts.  Are you rich yet?

Ben Bernanke purchased trillions of dollars of worthless CDOs from Wall Street banks.  Are you rich yet?

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...

Nice beard. Oh, yeah right. He's that Fed Chairman guy.

Obama gave you a payroll tax cut.  Are you rich yet?

Obama saved Wall Street for the sake of Main Street.  Are you rich yet?

All of the above actions enriched the richest 1% and saved them trillions of dollars in bank assets.  Are you rich yet?

Wall Street outlaws pay millions of dollars in protection money to the mobsters in DC we euphemistically refer to as Congress. And there’s a lot more scratch where that came from so long as the mobsters continue to play ball. There’s no indication the crooked game will ever end.

Alan Greenspan – Ayn Rand cultist, compulsive deregulationist and everybody’s favorite candidate for the mangled English prize –  committed a spectacularly monumental blunder by failing to recognize a housing bubble almost as big as his nose, until the damn thing burst in his face.  President Bush is seen awarding Alan the Baronial Medal of Stupidity, I mean the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  You actually get an award for being one of the central characters that caused the collapse of the global economy.*

*(Alan Greenspan was also honored with the Schmuckup Prize in Economics awarded by the Nobella Prize Committee in September 2009.

The Committee, whose hideout is located in Pasta Fagioli, a village nestled deep in the Italian Alps, grants awards from time to time to deserving individuals in the arts, sciences and government or just about anything else whenever it feels like it.

The Schmuckup Prize consists of a statuette known as the Little Schmuckie and is made of rusted metal stolen from an auto junk yard.  The Little Schmuckie is given to winners of the award while supplies last.  Unfortunately for Alan supplies ran out the day he was awarded the prize.

Alan has also been nominated for Shit Eatingest Grin of the Decade.  We stand breathless awaiting the committees decision on the winner).

Related articles

October 16, 2011

Random Musings – 10/16/11

The Republican health care plan: Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

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Trickle down economics is a real Laffer  Trickle down doesn’t work.  The Randians had it wrong. They believed businessmen would act on behalf of the best interests of the businesses they were responsible for.  That idea has proven to be tragically false. The Randians ignored one aspect of human behavior that proved fatal to the misguided so-called philosophy.  Human beings will lie, cheat and steal to satisfy what is in some an insatiable greed.

Mike Wallace’s interview with Ayn Rand follows if you’re interested in viewing one of the failed philosophers rare TV appearances.  

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Can Republicans have more war and less spending? That’s exactly their goal. More war spending for the defense entitlement complex to gorge upon and then paying for it by destroying Social Security and Medicare. Unfortunately for the 99s, too many right wing Dems support the same program.

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Chris Dodd making some excuses.

Newt Gingrich said Barney Frank and Chris Dodd belong in jail. As usual the Newtster fell wide of the mark. Yes, they and the rest of the mob we call government in this country belong in jail for accepting protection money from Wall Street execs. However, it is those nefarious evil doers who deserve to be the real jailbirds in this nation.

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Used to be businesses paid protection money to the mob. Now they pay it to elected officials and not only get protection. They get to write the protection they get.

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Banks pay huge amounts of protection money to their government goombahs. And they get what they pay for. They stay out of jail where they so deservedly belong.

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Perry raises Cain. Since the governor’s demise in the polls the godfather’s dough is rising.

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It is a tragic legacy of the human experience that if something is there for the taking, someone will take it.

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Rick Santorum‘s comment about gays “showering with people” raises two questions: Who are gays to shower with if not people; and are they not themselves people.

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A girl I once new fired shot after shot from a sighted rifle and missed the target every time. I told her to make the target the mountain behind the piece of paper with all those silly circles. She got a perfect score.

Made her feel better though when I revealed that I once missed the broad side of a barn with a shotgun. I stumbled moving backward while clay shooting and accidentally pulled the trigger The shot landed about thirty feet in front on me and just to the right of the barn.

Fortunately no one was harmed. And on another positive note, nobody can ever again accuse me of not being able to hit the ground with a shotgun.

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After prenatal ends, pre-dead begins. And after that??? Post alive???

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It’s bad luck to let the flag touch the ground. It occurred to me that after January 20, 2001 thousands upon thousands must fallen out of the hands of flag pole attendants.

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We get to change our rulers every few years through elections. But elections don’t define democracy. Communist countries held elections for decades. Dictatorships routinely manipulated elections to cast an air of legitimacy over their existence. In some of those elections two candidates would oppose each other for minor offices. Both however belonged to the same party and held very similar views. And when they entered office after victory they followed the dictates of the ruling class.

Can a similar situation result in a two party system? If, after being elected, the members of both parties exhibit submissiveness to a monied ruling elite, can a claim to democracy be upheld? No, of course not. Elections do not define democracy.

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Professors, lawyers and politicians often claim we are a nation of laws. That statement is tripe. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we are anything at all, we are a nation whose elite spend billions of dollars a year on so called Philadelphia lawyers whose express purpose is to uncover methods to evade the law; who provide campaign boodle to officials at every level of government to manipulate the legislative process; and who through power, influence and money can simply ignore the law.

If the law is applied selectively, our nation can never claim to be a nation of laws.

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Too few Americans realize that many illegal immigrants were forced to leave their countries to avoid starvation for themselves and their families largely due to rigged trade agreements such as NAFTA. These arrangements gave American corporations privileged status over small businessmen and farmers. Millions were forced to flee their native countries because of economic conditions that favored the rich – that 1% we hear so much about and who benefited immensely from the rigged agreements that demolished large segments of working class businesses and the jobs they provided. What else is new?

October 15, 2011

Protection Money Pays Off

Protection money traveling through the pipeline from Wall Street to Follyland DC keeps execs from jailbird rank.

So you still think you’re not being jerked around by the banks and their government in Follyland, DC. If so, here’s something to chew on.

The Federales, i.e. the United States Government, gifted Wall Street jailbirds with $14.7 trillion in welfare payments. As the Reuters chart shows that charity to the big shots on the Street nearly equals the entire Federal debt and the entire output for the economy in 2010. Check out the comparison of money spent on the general welfare to the trillions in welfare frittered away on the banks.

The protection money the Street gives to its compares in Congress and the White House pays dividends in trillions:  They not only get to stay out of jail; they write their own laws!!!.  And these sums of payoff money that pay off Congress critters pale next to the pittance the mob gave to bad cops and dirty judges.

http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-johnston/2011/10/07/occupy-wall-street/.