Free Speech Isn’t Free

The price is you’ve got to listen to some real idiots. I am all for free speech, but some people need to shut up. #1 Joe the Plumber. A white working class, unlicensed, uninformed, tax-dodging, obama tax plan benefiting, rich-conservative ass kissing, sammy davis junior referencing, McCain-Palin supporting, Israeli foreign policy promoting, lying wannabe plumber. Dude, just shut up! Really! Read a book or a blog or something. Pick up a newspaper. Listen sometimes. Take a break from making conclusions. You are not very good at it. 

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Ari Melber

Are you like me? Do you throw the remote at the tv because you are disgusted by all the news shows that allow Republican hacks to tell a bunch of lies with a straight face while the host and the Democratic hack let’s them get away with it? Well, save yourself a tv. I’ve got the solution:Ari Melber. This guy is great! I’ve seen this guy verbally rip 3 new Republican hack buttholes tonight. The priceless parts of these clips is the defeated look on each of his opponents faces when they realized that they were owned. I love it. Love it! Enjoy!

 

Ari Melber vs Amanda Carter

Ari Melber vs Joe Watkins

Ari Melber vs Brad Blakeman

Those Lazy Americans

John McCain is losing it. I don’t think he even knows what he is talking about. I know this video is old, but in these last 30 days with the economy headed over a cliff I want to remind people just how Out of Touch McCain is. Here he is claiming that Americans would refuse to pick lettuce for $50/hr. That’s $100,000/yr John. Not everyone can get on the marry-a-rich-blond-heiress economic plan. Jeez!

Rich Lowry

Everyone is doing a Lowery post and I can’t resist this: So Here’s Lowery’s reaction to Palin’s performance at the Vice Presidential debates last Thursday:

I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.

Ok, besides the fact that “Hey, I think she just winked at me.”  is the quintessential line of every rockstar groupie that ever existed, this all goes to show that all that mocking of celebrity the McCain campaign and the far-right were doing about Obama was for one reason and one reason only. The were jealous. Plain and simple. They hated that everyone loved Obama and that Obama had so much charisma. So, they went out and got someone with charisma. Hint: It aint John McCain. McCain has about as much charmisma as a head of cauliflower.

Sarah Palin’s got charisma. I’ll give them that. But, its more of a I-can’t-believe-she-just-got-away-with-the-load-bs-she-just-told-with-a-straight-face kind of charisma. Obama’s charisma comes from his message: Government’s priorities need to change from valuing lobbyists interests over the people’s interest. The only way to change that is not only to elect Obama, but also stay involved and continue to pay attention. At the core of Obama’s message is a real sense of grassroots, community activism. That empowers its followers, regardless of Obama’s actual results as president. His oratory is beautiful. But its real power is that it cuts through the cynicism, apathy, and hopelessness – none of which have ever inspired anyone to do anything worthwhile.  Palin just wants to be president so she can pat herself on the back.

Grab Head, Bang Against Wall, Repeat

According to Yves Smith, the bailout plan is not going to work:

By way of background, banks had created off balance sheet entities called structured investment vehicles (SIVs) which contained subprime (and sometimes other) assets, funded by commercial paper and short-term debt. Like a regular bank, the economics worked because the assets were of longer maturity (3-5 years) than the funding sources, and short term money is generally cheaper than long-term funding.

Then the subprime crisis hit, lenders became very leery of funding subprime related assets, and the SIVs looked pretty certain, as it indeed played out, to produce losses. The banks had assumed they could simply let the SIVs fail, but were told in no uncertain terms by the debt investors that There Would Be Consequences if the SIVs went bust. Suddenly an off balance sheet exposure was not off balance sheet at all.

Hank Paulson attempted to ride to the rescue with an idea, the so called Master Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, that we said virtually from the get-go would not work. He wanted to set up a vehicle, to be managed by a third party that would buy the junky SIV holdings, which included risky real estate assets and murky stuff like collateralized debt obligations, and be funded by private investors. The problem was that there was no price which would solve the basic conundrum: investors were not willing to pay above market prices, and the banks were unwilling to sell at market. Paulson & Co. wasted nearly two months trying to breathe life into this stillborn idea, then abandoned the effort. 

For the non-financial types the gist of this is: banks set up independent businesses that invested in long term assets paying high interests rates with money that they borrowed at low interests and pocketed the difference.  Think of it as writing a 0% interest check from you’re credit card company for $10,000 and investing it in the stock market. If you’re stocks go up say 10%, you sell you position for $11000, pay off the $10000 loan from the credit card company, and pocket $1000. You just made yourself money using other people’s money. As long as your stock goes up you’re smart. But if it goes down instead of making money, you have to pay out of your own pocket.

For a bank, that scenario plays out like as follows: When this separate company is profitable, it has its own balance sheet – read: check book. Its parent adds the profits to its balance sheet and therefore looks sound. But, when the separate company is not profitable, the parent intended to just let the separate company file for bankruptcy. That way the parent would not have to pay for its losses, keep those losses off its balance sheet, and continue to look sound. However, in this case they were forced to not let these separate companies go bankrupt, and therefore, pay for the losses. 

Enter Paulson, his bright idea is to buy the long term investments purchased by these separate companies at a higher price than any other buyer is willing to pay so the separate company does not show a loss at all and the parent company does not have to claim a loss on its balance, thus making the parent’s financial sitution look better than it is.

Apparently, this did not work a year ago, when the crisis was not as deep as it is now. But we are going to try it again anyway. Can anyone  guess what the result will be?

Some Things Never Change

Lol! Nominated Best Cover of the Year!

Just One Last Screw Up

The Center For American Progress has a good piece on Bush/Paulson’s bailout plan. It calls it Neither Fair Nor Effective. The gist:

Unless U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s first stab at a $700 billion rescue of the global financial system is revised to incorporate restructuring troubled mortgages, it will be neither fair nor effective. Paulson’s draft legislation attempts to rescue the balance sheets of Wall Street but does almost nothing for homeowners on Main Street. That’s a fundamental flaw. The U.S. housing market won’t recover without restructuring of underlying mortgages that are troubled. Global credit markets will not respond to this exceedingly expensive plan unless we get our fundamentals right. Moreover, taxpayers will be saddled with increasingly worthless paper as many of the underlying mortgages fail.