“ Anything invented before your fifteenth birthday is the order of nature. That’s how it should be. Anything invented between your 15th and 35th birthday is new and exciting, and you might get a career there. Anything invented after that day, however, is against nature and should be prohibited.
— Douglas Adams
“Phil Gramm was the great spokesman and leader of the view that market forces should drive the economy without regulation,” said James D. Cox, a corporate law scholar at Duke University. “The movement he helped to lead contributed mightily to our problems.”
In two recent interviews, Mr. Gramm described the current turmoil as “an incredible trauma,” but said he was proud of his record.
He blamed others for the crisis: Democrats who dropped barriers to borrowing in order to promote homeownership; what he once termed “predatory borrowers” who took out mortgages they could not afford; banks that took on too much risk; and large financial institutions that did not set aside enough capital to cover their bad bets.
But looser regulation played virtually no role, he argued, saying that is simply an emerging myth.
“There is this idea afloat that if you had more regulation you would have fewer mistakes,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence in our history or anybody else’s to substantiate it.” He added, “The markets have worked better than you might have thought.”
Yet it’s now clear that the phony account of the crisis — that it’s all due to Fannie, Freddie, and nasty liberals forcing poor Angelo Mozilo to make loans to Those People — is setting in as Republican orthodoxy, part of what you have to believe to be a respectable member of the party.
I think it’s time to start building gallows for these guys…
no on Wall Street, though… Union square is much better at holding a crowd…
So, the rumour was right: French soldiers trapped Usamah Bin-Ladin, but were not allowed by the Americans to arrest the apparent fugitive leader of Al-Qa`idah. A Bin-Ladin documentary just released by French documentary cinema examines this issue, an issue which has led to heated debate in the French media.
This French documentary shows how the Americans are interested in continuing the game, a bloody and expensive game whose victims are only the unprotected and local people of our dry and dusty country. It was last year that rumours spread about this report in Kabul, but it has not been taken seriously by the media. But watching this revealing French documentary changes the rumours into disturbing facts. “Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt”, produced by Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, two French filmmakers and reporters, assesses and confirms the claims of French soldiers that they could have killed Usamah within two operations, but the American forces prevented them. This film has not been broadcast publicly yet and is to be broadcast by Planet, a French network.
And now that Bush is almost gone:
Jihadists appear unsure how to handle the election of Barack Obama. Their messages since Obama’s election stress their uncertainty and confusion. Some Jihadists want to ignore Obama, others praise the American people, some threaten Obama to change Bush policies and still others want to convert him to Islam.
In sum, radical Muslims are divided on whether to take a more conciliatory role or use Obama’s election as an opportunity to exploit.
In a message to Obama, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, head of an Iraqi jihadist group, stated the United States must “return to your former state of neutrality, withdraw your troops, and return to your homelands.” Yet Al-Baghdadi also asked the members of the new administration to become Muslims. He promised to instruct them as needed.
He probably would not have asked that of John McCain.
Take a look at the cover for the Nov 17, 2008 American Conservative
If you want some more pictures to Remember W by…
The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington’s handling of the Wall Street bailout is not merely incompetent. It is borderline criminal.
In a moment of high panic in late September, the US Treasury unilaterally pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed–a change long sought by the industry. Despite the fact that this move will deprive the government of as much as $140 billion in tax revenue, lawmakers found out only after the fact. According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen tax attorneys agree that “Treasury had no authority to issue the [tax change] notice.”
Of equally dubious legality are the equity deals Treasury has negotiated with many of the country’s banks. According to Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of the legislation that enables the deals, “Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending–for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions, etc.–is a violation of the act.” Yet this is exactly how the funds are being used.
Then there is the nearly $2 trillion the Federal Reserve has handed out in emergency loans. Incredibly, the Fed will not reveal which corporations have received these loans or what it has accepted as collateral. Bloomberg News believes that this secrecy violates the law and has filed a federal suit demanding full disclosure.
Despite all of this potential lawlessness, the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. “There is only one president at a time,” we hear from Barack Obama. That’s true. But every sweetheart deal the lame-duck Bush administration makes threatens to hobble Obama’s ability to make good on his promise of change. To cite just one example, that $140 billion in missing tax revenue is almost the same sum as Obama’s renewable energy program. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.
Yes, there is only one president at a time, but that president needed the support of powerful Democrats, including Obama, to get the bailout passed. Now that it is clear that the Bush administration is violating the terms to which both parties agreed, the Democrats have not just the right but a grave responsibility to intervene forcefully.
I suspect that the real reason the Democrats are so far failing to act has less to do with presidential protocol than with fear: fear that the stock market, which has the temperament of an overindulged 2-year-old, will throw one of its world-shaking tantrums. Disclosing the truth about who is receiving federal loans, we are told, could cause the cranky market to bet against those banks. Question the legality of equity deals and the same thing will happen. Challenge the $140 billion tax giveaway and mergers could fall through. “None of us wants to be blamed for ruining these mergers and creating a new Great Depression,” explained one unnamed Congressional aide.
American International Group plans to pay out $503 million in deferred compensation to some of its top employees, saying it must tap the funds to keep valuable workers from exiting the troubled insurance giant.
What AIG is also saying, although not out loud, is that it considers their top talent too fucking stupid to understand that a bonus is impossible if the entire company is close to bankruptcy.
What AIG should be doing is warn all the other financial institutions that any employee leaving because they didn’t get their precious bonus is too egoistic and stupid to employ.