What's a capitalist to do?

AIG's Joe Cassano - An American Tragedy

By Numerian

What’s a capitalist to do when he loses $500 billion and almost single-handedly destroys the global economy? In Japan you would bow deeply in public and express the deepest possible remorse and shame, that is if you already had not committed seppuku. In America, where the Ayn Rand ethos of objectivism reigns supreme, you weasel your way out of any explanation or regret, while riding off in the sunset with your undeserved fortune.

A Snapshot Of America

Financial Crisis Tracker
Sourcewatch has developed a great widget to keep a running tally on what some call "The Great Recession".

Below is their explanation of where the numbers come from and just in case you are shocked by that 4.71 TRILLION DOLLARS number in the Wall Street bailout section in there. (4.71 trillion dollars number is taken from at the time I wrote this post)

From Sourcewatch:

The Financial Crisis Tracker gives a monthly snapshot of housing foreclosures, unemployment rates and the total cost of the Wall Street bailout. The Tracker is presented in the form of a widget that can be downloaded to your webpage.

The Foreclosure number is generated monthly by RealtyTrac, a private data source used by newspapers across America. The RealtyTrac data is released in the second week of the month for the previous month.

The Unemployment number is generated by the U.S. Department of Labor and released on the first Friday of the month for the previous month. The larger DOL data set is rich with information about unemployment and underemployment in the U.S. economy.

The Wall Street Bailout number is our original calculation of the total bailout expenditures to date. Our calculation was peer-reviewed by economists at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C. Our table tallying all government bailout programs can be accessed here.

The Hoi Poloi v Goldman Sachs

Numerian (Feb 15)  Posted by Michael Collins with permission of the author

Ask yourself who knows how much has really been borrowed by various governments around the world?

Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial
elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out
as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central
banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has
unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of
Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.

The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions
the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too
quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on
the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various
Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well
beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget
deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s
budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.

The sheer level of these deficits – the highest in the European
community – has spooked international investors and the ratings
agencies like Moody’s, which have dropped the Greek sovereign credit
rating and threatened further demotions if nothing is done. This, along
with the prospect of default on their government debt, has thrown
Greece into a crisis and into the hands of the EU commissioners and
finance officials who are contemplating a bailout.

Elizabeth Warren pursues Oversight, through TARP Maze

originally posted 2009-04-12 21:29:02 -0500, bumped by carol

Elizabeth Warren was appointed chair of a newly created Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which is charged with keeping tabs on the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector - including Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Warren however, has had some "Trouble" getting straight forward answers ... as she explained to the Boston Globe:

Keeping tabs on the bailout

By Elizabeth Warren -- April 12, 2009

    Elizabeth Warren: There's a major problem and a minor problem. The minor problem is documentation. I've spent four weeks now looking for someone who can give me the details of the stress test so that we can do an independent evaluation of whether the stress test is any good.

    We get: "someone will call [you] right back." Only the call doesn't come. The major problem is ...

Let them eat French Toast

I have a question.   It emerged after reading the two paragraphs below while waiting for French Toast "delux" in a diner.  There was nothing else to do but read the Washington Post  (Apr. 4, 2009)

"The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials.

"Administration officials have concluded that this approach is vital for persuading firms to participate in programs funded by the $700 billion financial rescue package."

So here's my question, when did it become necessary to persuade people to accept a bailout?

The Republican Rape of America

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-02-14 20:04:25 -0500. -- GH


The Republican Rape of America

The Republican Party has demonstrated repeatedly that they are lousy at governance but there are none better when it comes to marketing their philosophy–and they should be, because they have but one philosophy–to divide and conquer. It would be inaccurate to call them racist, however, because they don't care any more about poor and middle class White people than they do minorities, but neither do they have any qualms about using racism and division to advance their interests.

Ironically, conservative Republicans have taken the Democratic Party's primary strength and used it against both the Democratic Party, and the American people as a whole. First they took the Democratic Party's penchant for being concerned with the plight of America and coin phrases like "bleeding heart liberals" and "tax and spend Democrats." Then they played on middle class frustration by tying civil rights, welfare, and crime into one neat bundle, and then attributed all of America's problems to the Democrat Party's tendency to be compassionate, or what they call, "bleeding heart liberals."

Why Geithner Sucks

In the corporatist scumbag selling out the American taxpayer kind of way:

The New York Times reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “prevailed” against several top Obama aides in “opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions” in the debate on the bailout. Geithner successfully blocked “more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid” and replacing top bank executives and wiping out “shareholders at institutions receiving aid.”

There has to be more oversight. Those failed, incompetent and corrupt executive banking windbags stealing our money, right now, should be replaced. And the banks should be nationalized.

I am guessing it is going to get worse than this before the elites in this country start paying attention:

Wearing bright yellow hats and t-shirts with pictures of sharks and the words "Stop Loan Sharks," protesters had already targeted the home of John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley, at 6 Club Road, Rye, N.Y. earlier in the day.

At Frey's house, 10 Glenville Road, Greenwich, they chanted slogans such as "Fix our loans, save our homes." They placed furniture on the lawn to symbolize the dislocation felt by people who have had their homes foreclosed upon and been evicted, their belongings tossed outside by state marshals.

"We did it to make them feel what it must be like for someone to have their home foreclosed upon," NACA mortgage counselor Carmen Orta said.

Called the "Predators Tour" these actions were the start of NACA's "accountability campaign," an aggressive, confrontational protest aimed at several top executives of companies that refuse to allow NACA to renegotiate the terms of loans on behalf of members, according to NACA CEO Bruce Marks.

This is a fight over how to solve what is, IMHO, the 2nd Great Depression.

And the haves are already uncomfortable at giving up the 3rd vacation palace, the corporate jets, corporate paid and government subsidized vacation junkets and cutting back on their nannies time to save a few bucks. Just imagine what will have to be done to get them to pay attention to little people all around them - for no other reason than the fact that it is the right thing to do?

More below the fold via Land of Enchantment...

Is Rush Limbaugh on Drugs Again, or Simply the World's Biggest Ego Trip?


Is Rush Limbaugh on Drugs Again, or Simply the World's Biggest Ego Trip?


Ultra Conservative Political shock jock, Rush Limbaugh, seems to have finally slipped off the reservation. It is hard to know whether he's back on drugs, or if the recent election returns have caused him to lose his mind all together.

Senate Rules Kill Bailout, Foil Democracy Rigged Game Stops Vote on Bill

Senate Rules Kill Bailout, Foil Democracy


Rigged Game Stops Vote on Bill


Michael Collins


(Wash. DC)  The Unites States Senate voted down a "cloture" resolution last night killing the automaker bailout before it was even considered.  Failure to gain approval for cloture opened the bill up to an anticipated filibuster.  General Motors, the largest U.S. manufacturer, is in terrible shape financially and may not survive the month.   

The company has 270,000 employees.

Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader, offered these stirring words:  "If there is no agreement that can be reached ... we have danced this tune long enough."  Dec. 12, 2008 Reid joined the majority of Republicans in opposing cloture.

Cloture resolutions require a 60% yes vote to pass.  A simple majority won't do.   The final Senate vote on cloture was 52 in favor, 35 opposed, with 12 not present.  The motion failed to meet the 60% standard by eight votes.  Even with those not present, the resolution would have likely failed.


(Originally posted 2008-12-04 16:38:35 -0500. Bumped by Carol because of new update)

With a 533 reported job loss in November, according to CNN Speaker Pelosi has indicated that she is now open to a proposal to take funds already earmarked for developing green technologies, as part of a bridge loan to bail out the Big Three. 

Congressman Paul Kanjorsi [Dem,-PA] is reported in Auto News to have a compromise proposal which he will be presenting to Congress next week.

Kanjorski was one of the first lawmakers to comment today as the Detroit 3 CEOs and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger testify for $34 billion in loans and credit lines before the House Financial Services Committee.

He said an interim package sufficient to get GM and Chrysler into the new administration of President-elect Barack Obama would give Congress time to build controls and safeguards into a larger loan package.

Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., said at the hearing today that he will propose that Congress approve an auto bridge loan of $25 billion equally split between Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Section 136 green energy innovation loan program

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ABC news reports that Pelosi and Reid have laid down the gauntlet to George Bush:

But in a letter Thursday night, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate told President Bush he must commit funds from either the TARP or the federal reserve or they will be unable to pass anything in Congress.

"Your decision to utilize the TARP funds, or to work with the Federal Reserve to make available assistance through its existing lending programs, or both, are essential to the Congress’ ability to address this critical economic situation in a timely manner, and would also eliminate the uncertainties inherent in the legislative process, " say Senate Makority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic committee chairmen in the letter.

IMO this is a very important move on their part, which I would assume has been made after consultation with the incoming Administration. As Krugman and others have been warning the intergnum period is very dangerous; however, even more dangerous would be for the Democrats to be panicked into caving in to Republican pressure to use the bailout as a pretence for more corporate giveaways (with the attendant percs to top management etc.)

A similar situation faced  FDR in 1933 in the last days of the lame-duck Hoover Administration. He refused to fall into the trap of endorsing Hoover's proposals for dealing with the worsening economic crisis even as panic was sweeping the country

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Why do "Free" Markets, cost SO much?

If Free Markets are the supposed Engine of Growth,

Why do they always seem to lead to a "money grab",
a greedy "land rush", with the Tax payer ALWAYS picking up the Bill?

Why do the Rich, always manage to get richer?

While those who "play by the rules", just manage to get "pink slips" and foreclosure notices?

And an endless pile of Bills?

Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?

Have you been working harder and harder, becoming more productive all the time, only to see your wages, fail to keep up with that ever increasing cost of living?

It's not your imagination ...

It's just the way our Economic System tilts ...


For example, check out these disturbing trends:

Real Median Household Income [Notice the Flat-line trend over the last 8 years.]

Nick Benton's Corner: Wall Street to Leesburg Pike

Nick Benton's commentaries are published here with his permission.

We have been featuring Benton's weekly editorials every week. This week there are several features by him in the News Press that report and discuss the current looming crisis. I think these are particularly important because they highlight an aspect of the crisis that tends to be overlooked right now but is already having an impact on "Main Street."

Editorial: Wall Street to Leesburg Pike
by Nicholas Benton

The impact of the meltdown on Wall Street on conditions on Falls Church's Broad Street, and Fairfax County's Leesburg Pike, is going to become unmistakable over the next period, and will impact government revenues, pension funds and the commercial market.

This is on top of how the housing market slide, associated with what set off the Wall Street debacle, has already impacted budgets and pocketbooks here.

Folks had better be prepared to batten down the hatches in ways not needed perhaps since the Great Depression. By all accounts, the region may have been able to avoid the kinds of natural disasters that have leveled New Orleans and Galveston in the recent period, but does have a massive financial tsunami rumbling its way, on its way most of the way around the globe.