Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in

Hey... you hear that?

What is that? What's that sound?

Oh... right... the the disintegration of The Leveraged American Capitalist System.

Wow. I knew it'd be quick, but not that quick.

So we've got Fannie & Freddie a distant memory. Lehman, welp apparently the US Government doesn't like the Jews as much as they pretend.

And then flip-flopping back to bailing out AIG.

Anyone else? Seriously. Stuff is going down the shitter so fast & furious, it's hard to remember. Oh right... Bear Stearns got this party started.

So now we've got what amounts to a bailout of Capitalism itself. They are going to throw $1 trillion at this thing. I think they said it's only $700 Billion... but that doesn't count Fannie Mac, which is probably going to be a few hundred billion for the pair, at least.

Yeah, this bailout, as expected, doesn't keep a single person in their home or anything else (not that I am for such inanity), but is a straight up dumptrucking of cash right into the pockets of hundreds & thousands of multi-million & billionaires. That's it.

Bush team, Congress negotiate $700B bailout

The government must bail out the financial system "because if we don't, it will have a tremendous impact on American consumers, homeowners, taxpayers and the rest," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in San Francisco.

Yeah, "the rest". What the fuck is this, Gilligan's Island? The Rest, my ass. This thing is a huge printing press operation for the pure benefit of Paulson's chums.

I mean, this is AmeriKKKa, isn't Bad Stuff supposed to fail? Aren't bad ideas supposed to go down the crapper? We leveraged up at a rate untold in human history... aren't there supposed to be consequences?

Yeah, well don't worry, there will be. I think I've said this before, This fucker is Too Big For Any Organization On This Planet to save, even the US Government. The Cruel Irony of the siutation is we are doing EXACTLY what we told the fuckin Jap's NOT to do, when their property bubble dragged them into a mudpit, one they are essentially still in.

I guess I'll say it again, like I'm a fucking broken record here: This will be so much worse than we thought possible.

But all is no lost. Well, except for Randy Sebastian.

Renaissance Homes faces bankruptcy
by Jeff Manning and Ryan Frank, The Oregonian
Friday September 19, 2008, 9:32 PM


Sebastian promises his company will survive. Though he's learned to never again trust a market boom, he still believes in the Northwest and he still loves building homes.

Anyone else see the irony in this? He'll never trust a market boom again? OK, but he will STILL keep building homes.

Hey, RANDY: You might want to THINK for about 2 fucking seconds about building homes after The Biggest RE Bust Ever Recorded Since The Earth Was A Coalescing Gravity Well of Interplanetary Dust. See, it's a BUST. It's going to be about 63 trillion times harder than it was during the boom.

Renaissance Homes saw its new housing starts decline from 305 in 2006 to 198 the following year. Through June, the company was on pace to build just 32 homes in 2008.

Randy Sebastian, all I can say is that if the cross-armed homo-erotic flesh-eating AIDS doesn't get this motherfucker, his utter stupidity surely will. What a dumbass.

Wow, went through Forum Meadows today, yet another indicator that Valley builders should never set foot on Cent OR soil again, for fear of their financial lives. Forum Meadows, now that it's in receivership, is awash in For Sale signs that were not there just a few weeks ago.

Yeah, see when your in Chap 11, all the game-playing bullshit, like holding back 80% Dark Matter, is blown away cuz the banks want their fucking money. This fucker has TONS of shit for sale.

And ordinarily this is Exactly the Situation that would have me come running. Blood in the Water. But I ain't even thinking about buying. Not even close. 2 reasons.

First, we are still, even after the large price hit we've taken, WILDLY OVERPRICED. My God, I drive by places everyday, where I can see the owners are clueless about what is going on. These houses are 100% too high. Everywhere.

Shame on your cohorts, marge. They need to wake these people up, and simply refuse to take ridiculous listings. They are throwing their OWN MONEY AWAY, as well.

As usual, Cent OR is lagging as far behind as it is physically possible, while still being in the same country. We hit $396K medians one month, about 2 years back. We'll drop 60+% from there. Minimum.

Second reason I ain't buying: The STD's PUKED forth, primarily on the East side, are shitholes. Those things are crap-shit-shacks, and they will begin disintegrating over the next 3-5 years.

These things were barfed out in huge quantities by people who were looking for nothing else but to sell it to someone who had no intention of ever occupying these hovels, and get loaned money by banks who didn't care a wit about whether home buyers had income or not.

In short, the East side, and much of the North & South are littered with deteriorating crappers, that are JUST LIKE MOBILE HOMES: They will actually GO DOWN in value over time.

Mobile homes are like cars, they are worth the most while still on the dealer lot, they lose 15-20% of their value the day they are sold, and they lose about 20%/yr forever after. Sometimes they go NEGATIVE, as they have to be towed away, torched, or used as Army target practice to make way for yet another crap shack. That makes up most of what has been built here in the past 5 years.

Yeah, this is The Big One. It's a testament to the severity of the problem, that we're getting about a 98% reduction in the number of comments regarding Sarah Palin's titties.

Hey, I even came back for a short post! But I'm not sure I'm a good one for chronicling the Implosion of AmeriKKKa. Shit, I wanted to WARN people it was coming. I think they know. Well, mostly. Bend is the absolute last .000001% of the US population that is beer-bonging the Kool-Aid, and a LOT of people here still have their heads planted firmly up their asses.

But they are starting to think. They are starting to read beyond Cascade Business Buttbangers, whose Editor is shown here busting ass with some nunchucks:
The Incredible Hulce! Hi-ya!

Yeah, it is people like this that should serve as a guiding light to our economic problems.

But what the fuck is this?

Good Riddance

Well, Paul-doh is doing me a favor and pulling the plug on his BB2 plog.

It had gotten more and more frustrating to me. I didn't mind the language, or the buster bluster, or the right wing loonies...but I never knew who I was talking to. Constant shifting of names, or no names, or even identity theft.

It was like talking to a hall of mirrors. Pretty useless.

I wouldn't go near the BB3 blog if you pulled a gun on me.

So...that stuff is gone.

Good Riddance.

et tu, Dunc? I mean, damn. Not going near a blog unless you KNOW the identities? Really? I guess that's it for you then. This whole thing is pretty damned anonymousey.

Anyway, I promised myself I'd keep this short, hell I wasn't going to write these anymore, right? But it's hard to resist at least acknowledging that The Greatest World Power Ever is starting to economically disintegrate. And it IS DISINTEGRATING. We won't be out of this thing for 20 years. Don't think so? Look at the Japs.

And if you think NOW is bad? Fuck, it is going to get SO MUCH WORSE. They're trying to push that the losses will be capped at $1 trillion. Bullshit. These things ALWAYS go worse than anyone thought, because the losses are being instituted by a pack of incredible fucking liars. Remember the Iraq "War" was going to cost $80-100 billion? Yeah, that fucker will run us $1 trillion when all is said & done. Minimum.

This thing has a price tag today of a trillion. Expect several times that, maybe $5-10 trillion. Folks, $10 trillion is A LOT OF MONEY. That spells DEPRESSION for this country. I was never real confident of gov't stats, but if we even spend $1 trill on this thing, and we DO NOT go into a near-depression, you will be assured that they are 100% LIES.

We can't LOSE $1 trillion & NOT be in a severe recession, or near-depression. Not possible.

We are looking at Modern Unregulated Finances' 9/11. The S&L crisis was a lot of small planes running into low profile targets. Hundreds failed, mainly in the South. Texas has only recently recovered because of War-ge Bush.

Todays implosion is FAR more DIRE. We have fuel filled disasters hitting 150 story tall behemoths of finance. These fuckers have manufactured derivatives with a notional value many, MANY times the Worlds GDP. There won't be nearly the number of failures we had in the early 90's... there will be 9/11-style failures of the Largest Behemoths Ever.

This is only the beginning.

Whoops... just found this at The Oregonian! Hey! Maybe we're just making the Front Page Bigtime...

Bloggers speculate on developers' deaths in Bend

Bloggers in Bend speculated for weeks this summer about the deaths of three developers including Jay Audia, whose Edge Development Group purchased 38 acres out of foreclosure in January. Last week, the site was empty and still.

As mortgage defaults in Deschutes County soared to levels more often seen in the cratering markets of California, Arizona and Florida, a handful of bloggers raged at the greed that had spoiled their desert paradise, leaving it broke and broken.

Then three Bend developers died this summer, and the bloggers soon spun theories about what would drive men to such desperate measures. Or maybe, the bloggers wondered, the mob was involved. The city at the foot of Mount Bachelor had a bad case of the jitters.

At the end of a dizzying week -- crushing news for financial giants Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG amid grave concerns that Wall Street's woes are far from over -- the Bend case shows how easily the Internet can intensify anxiety in worrisome times.

"The Internet speeds up the process of everything," said Michael Rabby, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Portland. "People don't get the chance to reflect. And that aspect of it can really change everything. Because the Internet seems more democratic, people are trusting it more. Sometimes they should. Sometimes they shouldn't."

"Thrown under the bus"

The Bend bloggers who speculated on the developers' deaths did not respond to The Oregonian's requests for interviews. On the Internet, they identified themselves by screen names. Among their favorite targets was Bend's daily newspaper, The Bulletin, which the bloggers said merely carried water for the real-estate sharpies.

"They do not want you to hear any bad news about the RE market, and they are willing to manipulate local media to do it," wrote a blogger by the screen name IHateToBurstYourBubble.

The bloggers chewed over their worries with verbose essays land-mined with f-bombs and served up with many hints at sinister behavior. IHateToBurstYourBubble: "You will always be thrown under the bus in Bend, if it means someone can sell a house to someone, even if you are screwed in the process."

Blog posts led to links, which led to more blog posts that led to comments on other blog posts, on and on in a whisper campaign rendered loud and clear with the global megaphone of the Internet.

Still, it was all just talk until the deaths. At first, the bloggers were cheeky. Then they were scared. Then they pointed to accomplices: the mainstream media.

"Closures and Drug Busts and Suicides, Oh My!" ran a headline for a July 26 blog post. Two weeks later: "Bank Mob Hits Claim Lives of Bend Developers." A week after that: "Bend Media is Responsible for Bend Developer Suicide Crisis."

"People have started dying over real estate in Bend," someone named BilboBend wrote Aug. 10, "and you shouldn't just accept the word of the local media, who essentially won't even acknowledge that a death has even occurred."

The thing about conspiracy theories is that underneath the embroidery and the ravings, there can be a kernel of truth.

First, the undisputed facts: Douglas Sokol, 57, a Sisters developer, died June 24 after falling from a height. Lynn McDonald, 58, a former emergency-room physician who had invested in a huge development called The Shire, disappeared July 6 and was found the next day in the Deschutes River. Jay Audia, 48, of Bend, who had recently purchased a 38-acre tract out of foreclosure, shot himself in the head July 19 at his home.

None of their families could be reached for comment.

Investigating the deaths fell to Dr. Chris Hatlestad, Deschutes County's medical examiner. For Hatlestad, the Internet is there-be-dragons territory: "I don't do blogging."

So he wasn't aware of the energetic speculation about the three deaths at the blogs bendbubble2 and bendbubble3: "It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old could have planned it. McDonald's story just doesn't add up at all."

The bloggers offered no evidence or witnesses for their theories of foul play.

Yet Hatlestad found Audia's death to be clearly a suicide. He called the cause of Sokol's death "undetermined" and said he probably would mark McDonald's the same way. Though he did not rule out suicide, Hatlestad said, there was not enough evidence, so he was perplexed when he learned of the bloggers' speculations.

"I don't know where the heck somebody would get that kind of information," he said. "In my experience and understanding of the world, which I don't claim to have any special privilege of, when times are tough and there's plenty of fear to go around, people will continue to add fuel to the fire."

A kernel of truth

Yet the bloggers' ruminations about a suicide cluster also had an element of truth: Studies as long ago as 1987 and as recent as the mid-1990s show that suicides do increase in troubled economic times.

Emile Durkheim, the 19th-century French thinker considered the father of sociology, concluded in his landmark study that people who fall the farthest in income during bad times develop a high risk for suicide.

Research since then, however, has revealed that no single factor "causes" suicide. Having a suddenly thinner wallet by itself does not drain the last of someone's hope. Other factors working alone or in combination -- alcohol and drug abuse, legal trouble, divorce and mental illness among them -- usually drive suicides.

In the past year, for example, at least five people elsewhere in the nation who worked in the real estate sector committed suicide. At first, the deaths defied explanation. But after the funerals, it turned out that, in each case, law enforcement was closing in.

Separately, a Lake Oswego real estate broker who specialized in lakefront properties apparently was struggling with the downturn and killed himself July 23. As in the Bend cases, there's no hint that authorities had been interested in his business dealings.

In Bend, even with the tough times, the medical examiner said he has not seen an uptick in suicides in Deschutes County. In fact, Lt. Kevin Dizney, head of the sheriff's detective division, said that aside from metal thefts, "I haven't seen the state of the economy having any direct effect on crime, period."

Hatlestad said he wouldn't rule out an increase in suicides, but, "suicide occurs as an impulsive act almost all the time. People have chronic ongoing stresses in a variety of flavors and sizes, and financial is a big one. At what point does somebody decide, this is too much? It's not often very predictable."

Filling information voids

The blogging phenomenon -- thousands more people "publishing" on the Internet -- does pressure news organizations to respond, but it's a tough call. In the wake of the three Bend deaths, the bloggers hammered The Bulletin for sitting on a huge story.

Not surprisingly, given the medium, the bloggers' theories about the deaths spread, prompting a small posting about The Shire and McDonald's death on The Wall Street Journal's Web site on Aug. 14. The Oregonian ran a column Aug. 18 mentioning the deaths in the context of suicide prevention.

The following week, The Bulletin published a column by Editor John Costa in which he wrote that the bloggers did stir up the talk in town. But when his reporters tracked down what had happened to the three developers, the bloggers' theories didn't hold water.

In an interview last week, Costa said, "I don't think there's anything unusual with people filling information voids. People will fill in a motivation that they can see and that conforms to their master narrative to what's going on in the country. In this day, what's different is that you can take that unfounded and speculative information, and you can spread it around the world.

"Then you have the next question. ... Even if it isn't true, if there's a general belief out there, what is the journalist's obligation? Do we chase the same mirage? It's a very legitimate question. I don't have an absolute answer."

Just so you know, Portlandians, this fucking town is Bank-Mob Run. These fuckers killed themselves for reasons probably VERY SIMILAR to why that Buena Vista contractor was arrested: This ain't CIVIL anymore. Ain't a misdemeanor to lose money around here anymore, it's CRIMINAL. Your ass will SERVE TIME. Either that, or they will find you & shoot you. Or throw you over Benham Falls.

You don't fucking kill yourself over money, you kill yourself over someone whacking your wife & kids, or the idea that your ass is going to JAIL. People are losing BILLIONS in this One-Horse Shithole & they aren't just going to go to the courthouse & file liens & shit to get their money. These fuckers KILL PEOPLE... or make them kill themselves.

Yeah, this is a real fucking paradise. Best NOT amble through town if you're behind on your mortgage payments. Or ever. You can get caught in the crossfire.

Yeah, our "theories don't hold water" cuz Costa is a RE cocksucker that doesn't want to get fucking shot. The theory that he is doing this for his innate LOVE of the RE industry, is about as valid as the idea that he is just one of the rabble, and will get his ass shot otherwise.

Folks, if you are getting close to a point where you are going to be in arrears on your rent or mortgage or business loan, you best do a fucking midnight run. Pack it up & go. Run Lola, RUN!

No one wants to see anyone else dying.

421 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 421   Newer›   Newest»
IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Funny, I thought that Anne Saker email stuff was a hoax. Not sure I would've answered.

Anonimity = Life, in this weird fucking place.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

"It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old could have planned it. McDonald's story just doesn't add up at all."

I thought I said that!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

What I find funny as shit, is that this itty bitty little blog makes front page news in Portland... and Costa plays SECOND FIDDLE.

Sweet.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Costa said, "I don't think there's anything unusual with people filling information voids. People will fill in a motivation that they can see and that conforms to their master narrative to what's going on in the country. In this day, what's different is that you can take that unfounded and speculative information, and you can spread it around the world.

Ummmmm, what? "Master narrative"? What the fuck is that?

Costa, you smelly fucking CUNT, if anyone has a MASTER NARRATIVE, it's you & that PATHETIC RAG you run.

Among their favorite targets was Bend's daily newspaper, The Bulletin, which the bloggers said merely carried water for the real-estate sharpies.

Folks, if you're just stumbling across this WHITEY-PARADISE Blog, realize that The Bend Bulletin is the Ned Beatty, squealing ass pig of local RE. We didn't just make this shit up, the Bulletin SITS ON LAND GIVEN TO IT BY Brooks Resources, far & away the largest developer in Cent OR.

The Bulletin has retractable teeth for sucking Mike Hollern's Monsters of RE Cock. There has never, and WILL NEVER be a single disparaging word said against RE in this shithole, cuz the local media is 100% beholden to RE interests.

Anonymous said...

"It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old could have planned it. McDonald's story just doesn't add up at all."

I thought I said that!

*

You did Homer. Even Duncan 2-3 weeks ago said that the whole thing was 100% created by bilbo, the whole suicide rumor. Of course Dunc is 100% full of shit and makes stuff up to suit him.

Yes, this woman Anne Saker sent bilbo a dozen emails in the past month begging for a tele interview, and face-to-face.

Bilbo begged one of you cunts to be bilbo and respond to big-zero.

Note the Oregonian is NOT your friend. The Oregonian is one of the MOST evil newspapers in the USA. In bendbubble.blogspot.com I wrote 2 or 3 full posts just on the history of the BIG-ZERO. Never fucking talk to these people. They'll destroy you every time, and mis-quote you 100% of the time.

They have an agenda. The agenda was to 'out' the bloggers. I demanded the BP 'PUSSY' for a month to work with this woman and tell her he was 'bilbo', but she knew better, him being the dumb fucking pussy, that can't got for a second with out says 'bewert'.

All this shit is getting too fucking weird and too fucking DUMB.

In the last 2-3 weeks, we have definitely found who has shit for brains around here.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

People will fill in a motivation that they can see...

Yeah, folks, I might not comment much more today cuz I have to fill a mitivation I can see.

Uh huh. This incomprehensible fucker actually runs our local newspaper. Nice.

In this day, what's different is that you can take that unfounded and speculative information, and you can spread it around the world.

Or just around Cent OR, the way the Bulletin does, every fucking day. "In this day".... WTF? This motherfucker is living in the 1950's.

"Oh shit, I am receiving a telephonic Morse Code incoming transmission! My stock portfolio is DOWN! Confederated Slave Holdings, DOWN! AHHHH! Wiemar Arayan Feedlots, DOWN! Oh no! Kunta Kinte, spin up the vitriola, go warm up my velocipede, and turn on ''Roots`` on the RCA to calm my jangled nerves..."

Yeah Costa, this BLOGGING THING is some cutting edge shit.

Anonymous said...

Folks, if you're just stumbling across this WHITEY-PARADISE Blog, realize that The Bend Bulletin is the Ned Beatty, squealing ass pig of local RE. We didn't just make this shit up, the Bulletin SITS ON LAND GIVEN TO IT BY Brooks Resources, far & away the largest developer in Cent OR.

*

The essential issue here HOME-BOY is that this is where having someone like me here that has been in Oregon 40+ years, and knows where all the skeletons at the BIG-ZERO ( OREGONIAN ) are buried, ... I repeat the 'OREGONIAN' is not your friend.

If 'bloggers' say that the BULL carry's water for Real-Estate. Then remember that the BIG-ZERO carry's water for the US KKKLEPTOCRACY at the MOST national level.

'KKR' the most evil junk-bond firm on the planet did an LBO on the BIG-ZERO some 20+ years ago, 90% of their ad's coming from Fred-Meyer the most evil fucking big-shop in the NW.

On a scale of 1-10 of 'EVIL' the BULL is a zero, where the BIG-ZERO is a '9'.

If any of you ever get a call or email from the BIG-ZERO, beware, unless your the pussy, who loves to drop his own name. These people don't care about the PUSSY, cuz they don't need to CUT&PASTE from the daily-kos. The BIG-ZERO is about intimidation & control.

Newhouse Corp which owns the BIG-ZERO is one of the most evil companys in the USA. They make 'Chandler-BULL' ORG look like candy-strippers.

The good news is the BIG-ZERO is going down, the employees are trying to buy it out, the collapse of 'ad dollars' ( craigslist ) is killing them. Perhaps in 5-10 years journalism may once again happen at the BIG-ZERO 30+ year ago there used to be two majors in PDX, but the BIG-ZERO bought out the comp years ago.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Costa, this BLOGGING THING is some cutting edge shit.

*

Don't worry HOLLERN has the HBM,BP,&Dunc on the payroll to 'fix' these blogs.

I was hoping the Wall Street Journal would do a story about Bend's suicides at least their factual, and fun.

HBM is seeing the 4th-estate in Bend implode, and thus wants to destroy the blogs.

BP is just a fucking idiot. Enough Said.

Dunc is going down, and hard and is desperate to suck HOLLERN cock and get a bailout like Wall Street.

This week I sent DUNC a one page detailed report on exactly how to fix his biz, and stay in biz until 2014. He didn't post it, I sent it to his site. What I wrote was 100% hard-core biz survival. I'm sure he didn't post it cuz, well if he were to implement any of it, it just wouldn't look good.

So there I do care about Dunc, but for 2+ years I have kicked him in the ass. Quit being a fucking renter, and get your own building, quit paying rent. In the next 1-2 years, they're going to be giving away downtown property, if Dunc misses this one, he's fucked.

Anonymous said...

"It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old could have planned it. McDonald's story just doesn't add up at all."

I thought I said that!

*

That whole fucking repetition is quite mysterious, I mean Dunc promotes that view that 'bilbo' is the boss of bend bloggers, and is the mother source. Anne lefts shit from homer, and infers the same. HBM as well. Been around too long, not to know when you 'HEAR' an orchestra, to look for a conductor.

Like I said last week to the PUSSY.

Dunc, HBM, and BP are all fucking worthless shits. They all write shit all over the place, but NEVER a fucking thing about the guy who gave the BULL the $10M land they're sitting on.

Since day-one that BP showed up I said he was an agent-provocateur. Nobody is this fucking DUMB, but BP works 24/7 to post stupid fucking shit. It all elevates the noise.

Like the typical 'SORE' week by HBM, its all noise. When does the FUCKING SORE ever write about the guy that gave the BULL its land?? NADA, NEVER, ...

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

hbm says:

“Randy Sebastian, the company's CEO and founder, who appears in many of its ads, vowed that Renaissance will survive its brush with insolvency. It has worked out tentative financing arrangements with five banks,” The Oregonian said.

But Sebastian has sung that tune before. In March 2007 KeyBank started foreclosure proceedings against Aspen Landing LLC, a holding company for Renaissance Homes, saying it was owed $13.1 million on Renaissance Ridge. In May, Sebastian said he had lined up new financing and was able to pay the debt and avoid foreclosure.

In recent months, The Bulletin’s “News of Record” section has reported a number of civil suits against Renaissance by suppliers and subcontractors. However, Bend’s local paper has not yet reported on the impending bankruptcy.

In early August, in a story headlined “3 builders, though hard-hit, remain optimistic,” The Bulletin quoted Sebastian as saying his company was “muscling through” the downtown, although it had been forced to lay off half of its staff and its home sales had dropped by one-third.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

However, Bend’s local paper has not yet reported on the impending bankruptcy...

Nice jab :-)

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

They all write shit all over the place, but NEVER a fucking thing about the guy who gave the BULL the $10M land they're sitting on.

Hollern is one chameleon-like fucker: Type 'brooks resources bend oregon' into google, and then look for 'Hollern' using your browser find function (Ctrl-F, usually), and you will hit a goose egg.

This fucker is The Wizard of Oz.

Anonymous said...

Think Global, Act Local

How much will the bailout cost? 2, 4 Trillion? The problem is mark-to-market, I think it was 'Clinton' that permitted 'fair value accounting' a few years ago.

Today of the $12 Trillion on the books for collateralized RE debt, most of it is still 'fair valued' at purchase. HOMEBOY did you see today that the DUMBYA-BAILOUT bill, will make it impossible to SUE the government, the new bail-out is EXEMPT from court oversight!!!!!

Given that right now we're down conservative at 30%, maybe 50%, that 6 Trillion that will have be used to BUY the bad, and replace it with cash to wall-street.

Then there is BEND, SDC deferrals to HOLLERN, over a billion dollars, and today he pays ZERO-SDC,... same privatize profit, socialize 'expense'. Where have we seen this before? Hitler. National Socialism, NAZISM.

How fucking long have we been bitching about this in Bend? Years.

What DUMBYA & CO. are doing today, is exactly what rePUG's have been doing in Bend for the past ten years.

Socializing costs ( expenses ), and privatizing income.

It wasn't enough that HOLLERN&CO were tax-exempt, and paid virtually NO SDC's, now its zero. Tomorrow they'll want a credit.

The local & national is a kletocracy, both exactly the same, and ran by the same people.

I cannot stress enough that LBO junk-bond 'fair value' BOND king of the WORLD is KKR, that owns the fucking BIG-ZERO ( OREGONIAN ).

See all this shits fits like a puzzle.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Letter of the Week: Wake Up and Smell the Jet Fuel

It’s time all the nay-sayers (Mr. Luke, the Source and airport neighbors, especially) woke up and smelled the jet fuel emanating from the Bend airport. Have any of you noticed how empty the ‘help wanted ads’ are in both the Bulletin and Craigslist. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the economy is stagnant here and we need revenue generating industries other than real estate, construction and tourism. Perhaps the Source should do what all credible newspapers do and investigate the fact that every business (not even counting Cessna) at the Bend airport are posting record profits, mostly off of out-of-towners and foreigners, and lining the wallets of the 1200 plus central Oregonians employed there. Cessna is the world’s leader in aviation and to have them here is an enormous asset to the central Oregon economy. Yes, it would cost millions for the improvements and another $400k a year to staff a control tower but it would definitely generate that alone in local wages and employ many more central Oregonians. The Bend airport already boasts more take-offs/landings than Redmond and to have a tower would only increase the safety for all involved. The county commissioners' and Bend city council's concerns over lost tax revenue for essential services are wholly justified, but, the simple equation remains the same whether or not the airport is funded: JOBS= TAX REVENUE. When is the last time the BAT or pricey art ridden round-a-bouts generated income for any of us. Kudo’s should be given to Commissioner Daly for seeing the writing on the wall.

Chef Dave Hatfield, Café 3456

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

the fact that every business (not even counting Cessna) at the Bend airport are posting record profits...

the "fact"? What's the source on this "fact"?

Last I heard, Cessna used to be called Columbia Air, an outfit that went 100% BROKE.

1200 plus central Oregonians employed there

At Cessna? In Bend? 1200?

Ummmm... I don't think so.

Dude, making up bullshit numbers to get your tower built, so you can sell an extra grilled cheese every week, ain't the way to go.

My God, this place is 100% inhabited by selfish, myopic dumbfucks.

"Hey, spend MILLIONS so my shitcan deli can sell more GRILLED FUCKING CHEESE!!!"

Anonymous said...

There are many problems with this proposition.

First of ALL Redmond is already a towered airport, and has cross-wind landing's.

Bend is a dinky little fucking runway, with no possibility of expansion, and surrounded by fucking homes.

This is ALL a crock of shit. If 'cessna' wanted a tower, they could move op's over to Redmond in a day, after all you need is a fucking empty shell that can be put up in a few hours.

The physical space of the Bend airport would have to CUBE in area to accomodate the cross-wind landings ( you must have perpendicular runways at least 10,000 feet at this elevation ). Right now Bend is a max'd out dinky 5,000 ft runway that goes N/S, and thus is ONLY good when the wind is coming from the North, and of NO use when wind is coming from East, or SW ( winter tropical storms ).

The whole fucking proposition is that ONLY CESSNA wants or needs a tower.

Personally this is a public works project for KNIFE-RIVER city-of-bend aka hap-taylor cronys.

A tower at Bend would not create one fucking job long term ( other than FEDERAL ATC employees to manage tower ).

Again there is no fucking point to all this, REDMOND is already a perpendicular runway of correct length, and was planned from years ago to be the regional airport.

The people who live by BEND airport, don't want to be living under LAX. This is all a crock of shit.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Socializing costs ( expenses ), and privatizing income.

It wasn't enough that HOLLERN&CO were tax-exempt, and paid virtually NO SDC's, now its zero. Tomorrow they'll want a credit.


Oregonian: Do a piece on this crazy shit. This town, a 100% COMPLETE INFRASTRUCTURE NIGHTMARE ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY, has actually waived SDC fees FOR LIFE for new homes. Passed by our 110% BOUGHT & PAID FOR RE WHOREHOUSE CITY COUNCILORS.

Yeah, the money that gets ROADS, SEWERS, and all that frivolous shit BUILT is now being 100% ABSORBED BY LOCAL TAXPAYERS, because what will solve our little SUPPLY-FUELED FIASCO, is actually BUILDING MORE HOMES. Right, we are in the supply glut of a lifetime, and BUILD MORE is going to get us out.

People, do not come here unless you like dealing with Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Wicked With and a bunch of crazy fucking midgets in The Wizard of Oz, ALL ON METH. You will blow through your 401K in no time & will be flat-backing for Hollern, while Bledsoe jerks off mule jiz straight into your mouth.

This town is a WHOREHOUSE for RE. And you be at LESS TAHN ZERO in no time, don't matter what you start with.

Anonymous said...

Hollern is one chameleon-like fucker:
This fucker is The Wizard of Oz.

*

DAMN STRAIGHT, he is the bastard behind the curtain controlling ALL in this fucking town.

He's the invisible man that controls Bend. He's got 100's of little SHELL LLC's that are all small enough to be under 50 and exempt from federal labor laws. He's the honey-pot for almost all the lawfirm's in Bend.

FYI, homer is right google 'brooks bend..' and ctl-f 'hollern' and you'll FIND, nada, nothing, persona-non-grata.

He's the biggest EMPLOYER in the 3 countys, yet he doesn't even show up on payroll lists, cuz each LLC is treated like a small business.

He's #1 recipient of BEND BAILOUT +2 BILLION dollars 1998-present, and we don't even know what kind of credits he'll get now that he pays an SDC of zero.

Wall-Street gets bail'd out, so does detroit, and so will hollern,...

YOU FOLK KNOW, that in effect DUMBYA will be buying ALL THIS STD shit of HOLLERNS at full ask price at 2006, all of it in prineville, madras, redmond, and Bend.

Putting DUMBYA in orifice was the BEST investment that the wizard-of-Bend ever made.

Anonymous said...

"City of Bend capitalist institutions like Brooks Resources [are] designed in large measure to socialize cost and risk and privatize profit, without a public voice"

Noam Chomsky

Anonymous said...

How long has buster been writing that Bend & USA-INC is a kleptocracy???

This one little short read is all you need to know, to understand what's going on.

***

The Market and the Terminator Machines
America's Own Kleptocracy

By MICHAEL HUDSON

Nobody expected industrial capitalism to end up like this. Nobody even saw it evolving in this direction. I’m afraid this failing is not unusual among futurists: The natural tendency is to think about how economies can best grow and evolve, not how it can be untracked. But an unforeseen road always seems to appear, and there goes society goes off on a tangent.

What a two weeks! On Sunday, September 7, the Treasury took on the $5.3 trillion mortgage exposure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose heads already had been removed for accounting fraud. On Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, when prospective Wall Street buyers couldn’t gain any sense of reality from its financial books. On Wednesday the Federal Reserve agreed to make good for at least $85 billion in the just-pretend “insured” winnings owed to financial gamblers who bet on computer-driven trades in junk mortgages and bought counter-party coverage from the A.I.G. (the American Insurance Group, whose head Maurice Greenberg already had been removed a few years back for accounting fraud). But it is Friday, September 19, that will go down as a turning point in American history. The White House committed at least half a trillion dollars more to re-inflate real estate prices in an attempt to support the market value junk mortgages – mortgages issued far beyond the ability of debtors to pay and far above the going market price of the collateral being pledged.

These billions of dollars were devoted to keeping a dream alive – the accounting fictions written down by companies that had entered an unreal world based on false accounting that nearly everyone in the financial sector knew to be fake. But they played along with buying and selling packaged mortgage junk because that was where the money was. Even after markets collapse, fund managers who steered clear were blamed for not playing the game while it was going. I have friends on Wall Street who were fired for not matching the returns that their compatriots were making. And the biggest returns were to be made in trading in the economy’s largest financial asset – mortgage debt. The mortgages packaged, owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie alone exceeded the entire U.S. national debt – the cumulative deficits run up by the American Government since the nation won the Revolutionary War!

This gives an idea of just how large the bailout has been – and where the government’s (or at least the Republicans’) priorities lie! Instead of waking up the economy to reality, the government has thrown all its resources to promote the unreal dream that debts can be paid – if not by the debtors themselves, then by the government – “taxpayers,” as the euphemism goes.

Overnight, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have radically changed the character of American capitalism. It is nothing less than a coup d’êtat for the class that FDR called “banksters.” What has happened in the past two weeks threatens to change the coming century – irreversibly, if they can get away with it. This is the largest and most inequitable transfer of wealth since the land giveaways to the railroad barons during the Civil War era.

Even so, there seems little sign that it even may end the free-market patter talk by financial insiders who have managed to avert public oversight by appointing non-regulators to the major regulatory agencies – and thus created the mess that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson now says threatens the bank deposits and jobs of all Americans. What he really means, of course, are simply the largest Republican campaign contributors (and to be fair, also the largest contributors to Democratic candidates on key financial committees).

A kleptocratic class has taken over the economy to replace industrial capitalism. Franklin Roosevelt’s term “banksters” says it all in a nutshell. The economy has been captured – by an alien power, but not the usual suspects. Not socialism, workers or “big government,” nor by industrial monopolists or even by the great banking families. Certainly not by Freemasons and Illuminati. (It would be wonderful if there were indeed some group operating with centuries of wisdom behind them, so at least someone at least had a plan.) Rather, the banksters have made a compact with an alien power –not Communists, Russians, Asians or Arabs. Not humans at all. The group’s cadre is a new breed of machine. It may sound like the Terminator movies, but computerized Machines have indeed taken over the world – at least, the White House’s world.

Here is how they did it. A.I.G. wrote insurance policies of all sorts of that people and businesses need: home and property insurance, livestock insurance, even aircraft leasing. These highly profitable businesses were not the problem. (They therefore will probably be sold off to pay the company’s bad gambles.) A.I.G.’s downfall came from the $450 billion – almost half a trillion – dollars it was on the hook for as a result of guaranteeing hedge-fund counterparty insurance. In other words, if two parties played the zero-sum game of betting against each other as to whether the dollar would rise or fall against sterling or the euro, or if they insured a mortgage portfolio of junk mortgages to make sure that they would get paid, they would pay a teeny tiny commission to A.I.G. for a policy promising to pay if, say, the $11 trillion U.S. mortgage market should “stumble” or if losers placing trillions of dollars in bets on foreign exchange derivatives, stock or bond derivatives should somehow find themselves in a position that so many Las Vegas patrons are in, and be unable to come up with the cash to cover their losses.

A.I.G. collected billions of dollars on such policies. And thanks to the fact that insurance companies are a Milton Friedman paradise – not regulated by the Federal Reserve or any other nation-wide agency, and hence able to get the proverbial free lunch without government oversight – writing such policies was done by computer printouts, and the company collected massive fees and commissions without putting in much capital of its own. This is what is called “self-regulation.” It is how the Invisible Hand is supposed to work.

It turned out, inevitably, that some of the financial institutions that made billion-dollar gambles – usually in the form of a thousand million-dollar gambles in the course of a few minutes or so, to be precise – couldn’t pay up. These gambles all occur in microseconds, at strokes of a keyboard almost without human interference. In that sense it is not unlike alien pod people taking over. But in this case they are robot-like machines, hence the analogy I drew above with the Terminators.

Their sudden rise to dominance is as unforeseen as an invasion from Mars. The nearest analogy is the invasion of the Harvard Boys, World Bank and U.S.A.I.D. to Russia and other post-Soviet economies after the Soviet Union was dissolved, pressing free-market giveaways to create national kleptocracies. It should be a worrying sign to Americans that these kleptocrats have become the Founding Fortunes of their respective countries. We should bear in mind Aristotle’s observation that democracy is the political stage immediately preceding oligarchy.

The financial machines that placed the trades that bankrupted A.I.G. were programmed by financial managers to act with the speed of light in conducting electronic trades often lasting only a few seconds each, millions of times a day. Only a machine could calculate mathematical probabilities factored in regarding the squiggles up and down of interest rates, exchange rates and stock and bonds prices – and prices for packaged mortgages. And the latter packages increasingly took the form of junk mortgages, pretending to be payable debts but in reality empty flak.

The machines employed by hedge funds in particular have given a new meaning to Casino Capitalism. That was long applied to speculators playing the stock market. It meant making cross bets, lose some and win some – and getting the government to bail out the non-payers. The twist in the past two weeks’ turmoil is that the winners cannot collect on their bets unless the government pays the debts that the losers are unable to cover with their own money.

One would have thought that this requires some degree of control over the government. The activity probably never should have been licensed. In fact, it never was licensed, and hence nor regulated. But there seemed to be a good reason: Investors in hedge funds had to sign a paper saying that they were rich enough to afford to lose their money on this financial gambling. Your average mom and pop investors were not permitted to participate. Despite the high rewards that millions of tiny trades generated, they were deemed too risky for the uninitiated lacking trust funds to play with.

A hedge fund does not make money by producing goods and services. It does not advance funds to buy real assets or even lend money. It borrows huge sums to leverage its bet with nearly free credit. Its managers are not industrial engineers but mathematicians who program computers to make cross-bets or “straddles” on which way interest rates, currency exchange rates, stock or bond prices may move – or the prices for packaged bank mortgages. The packaged loans may be sound or they may be junk. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is making money in a marketplace where most trades last only a few seconds. What creates the gains is the price fibrillation – volatility.

This kind of transaction may make fortunes, but it is not “wealth creation” in the form that most people recognize. Before the Black-Scholes mathematical formula for calculating the value of hedge bets, this kind of put and call option was too costly to provide much profit to anyone except the brokerage houses. But the combination of powerful computers and the “innovation” of almost free credit and free access to the financial gambling tables has made possible a frenetic back-and-forth maneuvering.

So why has the Treasury found it necessary to enter this picture at all? Why should these gamblers be bailed out, if they had enough to lose without having to become public wards by going on welfare? Hedge fund trading was limited to the very rich, for investment banks and other institutional investors. But it became one of the easiest ways to make money, loaning funds at interest for people to pay out of their computer-driven cross-trades. And almost as fast as it was made, this revenue was paid out in commissions, salaries and annual bonuses reminiscent of America’s Gilded Age in the years prior to World War I – years before the income tax was introduced in 1913. The remarkable thing about all this money was that its recipients didn’t even have to pay normal income tax on it. The government let them call it “capital gains,” which meant that the money was taxed at only a fraction of the rate that incomes were taxed.

The pretense, of course, is that all this frenetic trading creates real “capital.” It certainly does not do so in the classical 19th-century concept of capital. The term has been decoupled from producing goods and services, hiring wage labor or from financing innovation. It is as much “capital” as the right to conduct a lottery and collect the winnings from the hopes of the losers. But then, casinos from Las Vegas to riverboats have become a major “growth industry,” muddying the language of capital, growth and wealth itself.

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.

Much of the blame should go to the Clinton Administration for leading the call to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, letting the banks merge with casinos. Or rather, the casinos have absorbed the banks. That is what has put the savings of Americans at risk.

But does this really mean that the only solution is to re-inflate the real estate market? The Paulson-Bernanke plan is to enable the banks to sell off the homes of five million home mortgage debtors faced with default or foreclosure this year! Homeowners with “exploding adjustable-rate mortgages” will lose their homes, but the Fed will pump enough credit into the mortgage-lending agencies to enable new buyers to go deeply enough into debt to take the junk mortgages off the hands of the gamblers who presently own them. Time for another financial and real estate bubble to bail out the junk mortgage lenders and packagers.

America has entered into a new war – a War to Save Computerized Derivative Traders. Like the Iraq war, it is based largely on fictions and entered into under seeming emergency conditions – to which the solution has little relation to the underlying cause of the problems. On financial security grounds the government is to make good on the collateralized debt obligations packaged (CDOs) that Warren Buffett has called “weapons of mass financial destruction.”

Hardly by surprise, this giveaway of public money is being handled by the same group that warned the country so piously about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Pres. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson have piously announced that this is no time for partisan disagreements over this shift of public policy to favor creditors rather than debtors. There is no time to make the biggest bailout in election history an election issue. Not an appropriate time to debate whether it is a good thing to re-inflate housing prices to a level that will continue to oblige new home buyers to go so deeply into debt that they must pay some 40 percent of their take-home pay on housing.

Remember when President Bush and Alan Greenspan informed the American people that there was no money left to pay Social Security (not to mention Medicare) because at some future date (a decade from now? 20 years? 40 years?) the system might run a deficit of what now seems to be merely a trivial trillion dollars spread over many, many years. The moral was that if we can’t figure out how to pay, let’s plow the program under right now.

Mr. Bush and Greenspan did have a helpful solution, of course. The Treasury could turn Social Security and medical insurance money over to Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and their brethren to invest at the “magic of compound interest.”

What would have happened to U.S. Social Security had this been done? Perhaps we should view the past two weeks’ events as having assigned to Wall Street gamblers all the money that has been set aside since the Greenspan Commission in 1983 shifted the tax burden onto FICA wage withholding. It is not retirees who are being rescued, but the Wall Street investors who signed papers saying that they could afford to lose their money. The Republican slogan this November should be “Gambling insurance, not health insurance.”

This is not how the much-vaunted Road to Serfdom was mapped out to be. Frederick Hayek and his Chicago Boys insisted that serfdom would come from government planning and regulation. This view turned upside down the classical and Progressive Era reformers who depicted government as acting as society’s brain, its steering mechanism to shape markets – and free them from income without playing a necessary role in production. The theory of democracy rested on the assumption that voters would act in their self-interest. Market reformers made a kindred happy assumption that consumers, savers and investors would promote economic growth by acting with full knowledge and understanding of the dynamics at work. But the Invisible Hand turned out to be accounting fraud, junk mortgage lending, insider dealing and a failure to relate the soaring debt overhead to the ability of debtors to pay – all of this mess seemingly legitimized by computerized trading models, and now blessed by the Treasury.

Anonymous said...

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.

*

It appears that Bend's PR&MARKETING machine is now working in WASH-DC.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Costa... geez, what a dumbass. We haven't had a developer suicide in our fucking lifetime, then we have 4 in the space of months, and this confused fucker is like,

"Who? What? Where? Oh, right... 4 guys died, but we don't use the word DIED, DEAD, SHOT, SUICIDE or any other word that might slowdown home sales. And sure, they MAY HAVE KILLED THEMSELVES, but really, it's probably a coincidence, or something. Everyone has their CONSPIRACY THEORIES about developer suicides, er ummmm, accidents, just like they have theories about The Tooth Fairy.

In summary: Developer Suicides = Tooth Fairy = Coincidence. Case Closed.

Now go buy a home, and make sure you sign up for the The Bend Bulletin's Surety (not associated with The Bend Bulletin) Special Homeowners Suicide Insurance which makes your home payments for 2 months in the case of your suicide because you fall into arrears on your payments. Families are finding this to be a great comfort, before they are forcibly evicted after 60 days. Sign up in the next 24 hrs, and we'll cover half your burial fees, by throwing your defaulted ass corpse into the toxic sinkhole just South of The Bulletins HQ!

It's A No Lose Deal!"

Anonymous said...

The REAL fucking question, is why? WHY did the big-zero do this story?? That is the question?

Why did HBM show up two weeks ago, move in, and then fall apart last week and exit? Buddy buddy,... for a few weeks.

Dunc had 1/2 dozen people visit his shop this week to see if he was 'ok', after getting psychologically tortured on this site. Poor Dunc, just didn't have the right stuff?

For a month anne beg's bilbo for a one-on-one, even the pussy, sends personal email to bilbo, begging him to 'talk with anne'.

What the fuck gives here?

This 'suicide' story is now 2+ months old, the it got picked up nationally in July/August, unless the WSJ picks it up as a human-interest story, its a dead story.

Seems like the real story to me, is those mean spirited blogger's in Bend. Hell even Ned Flanders says that this blog is a house of mirrors.

( I always felt that most of the anonymous here, were different reflections of Ned. )

1.) When you hear & see an orchestra, look for a conductor.
2.) The BULL, SORE, & BIG-ZERO are NOT your friends.

Anonymous said...

Much of the blame should go to the Clinton Administration for leading the call to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, letting the banks merge with casinos. Or rather, the casinos have absorbed the banks. That is what has put the savings of Americans at risk.

*

CLINTON was the best rePUG, the PUG's ever had, now many times have I said that???

LavaBear said...

Ni hao ma?

Damn my tone is still off. Crazy ass language with the same fucking word meaning something completely different if you are tone deaf.

Duncan McGeary said...

I'm back.

For the moment. Sigh.

I claim special circumstances....

I posted all the messages to my blog, Bilbo, so I don't know what happened. It seemed like it was wonky for a few days -- stuck at the same date, showing messages when there weren't and not showing when there were.

Hopefully, it's back to normal.

Marge said...

Welcome back Kotter! (Dunc) Remember no swearing here is allowed :)

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

And you wonder why I'm quitting?

I'm back.

For the moment. Sigh.


It's like I'm putting people on the rack here!

Duncan McGeary said...

Just agreeing with you, dude.

Come on, you know you missed me.

We're sitting on the battlefield after all the carnage, covered in blood so we don't even know what side we were on. Looking at all the bodies and shaking our heads.

And Bilbo is running up and down the field, still waving his sword and screaming for blood. Bruce is watching him warily. HBM has his arms crossed, but his sword at hand. Tim is sitting on his horse, smirking. (How come he got a horse?) Quimby is laughing his head off. And Marge is saying, "Boys....boys...settle down!"

Anonymous said...

5 Failures of SEC Chairman Cox
by: Mark Sunshine posted on: September 21, 2008

Almost all paths of incompetence in the current crisis run through the office of the Chairman of the SEC, Chris Cox. McCain’s solution to fire Cox isn’t tough enough. Exile is better. Fortunately for Cox this isn’t the Stalinist Soviet Union or his fate could be a lot worse.

Cox’s failures are too numerous to count. However, I’ll give it a try. Below are what I think are his top 5 failings.

1.

Failure to enforce disclosure laws and regulations.

Disclosure rules and regulations protect investors by requiring companies to disclose everything that is needed for informed investment decisions. And, CEO’s and CFO’s are required to sign certifications that such disclosure is materially accurate, complete, and that their companies have adequate internal controls to ensure such accuracy and completeness.

Enforcement of disclosure rules and regulations has been a joke. CEO’s lie to shareholders with impunity and without fear of SEC enforcement. It is impossible to conclude that SEC filings for Freddie, Fannie, AIG, Lehman, or Bear Stearns complied with SEC rules and regulations.

However, instead of enforcement by the SEC, there is silence. While not all management actions are criminal, why hasn’t the SEC used its civil enforcement authority, i.e., assessing fines and penalties? How about protecting future investors by banning failed executives and boards of directors from serving in executive management at other public companies?
2.

Failure to enforce accounting standards.

When Cox states that the SEC doesn’t have regulatory authority over capital adequacy of financial services companies, he isn’t telling the truth. The SEC has regulatory authority over the financial statements of ALL publically traded companies in the U.S. which of course includes the financials. If Cox had required greater reserves and transparency of financial services companies it would have happened.

Every quarter all publically traded companies file reports with the SEC that are provided to shareholders and the SEC has review and comment authority. If the SEC deems financial disclosure inadequate, incomplete or opaque it has the authority to force the company to amend its filings. It also has authority to establish accounting standards for publically traded companies which means it can have different requirements than GAAP.

So when the AIG filed its last quarterly report and decided that it didn’t need to have loan loss reserves against defaulting mortgages and securities, the SEC had the ability to require additional loan loss reserves. When Freddie and Fannie decided to pretend that defaulted mortgage were good assets because it changed its accounting standards, the SEC could have just said “no”. When Lehman manufactured $2.4 billion of pre-tax income by pretending that it wasn’t going to repay its debts (one of the dumber aspects of mark to market accounting), the SEC should have protected investors with disclosure.
3.

Failure to supervise the rating agencies.

Cox wants everyone to believe that despite being the rating agency’s only regulator, the SEC has no oversight or enforcement authority and cannot influence their performance. Once again, the SEC’s statements are false. Cox assumes that no one will take the time to read the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006 which states that the SEC has the right to suspend or revoke the license of any of rating agency for a wide range of reasons. Rating agency regulation and reform is Cox’s responsibility.
4.

Failure to investigate and prevent market manipulation, i.e., naked short selling.

Free markets are supposed to be honest markets. The naked short selling issue isn’t new and the SEC’s knee jerk emergency response is an embarrassment. The ban on short selling of 799 stocks is very similar to Putin’s actions this week to manipulate the Russian stock market. I haven’t a clue whether or not the uptick rule works, but I know that enforcing rules on naked short selling shouldn’t have required destructive and ill thought out emergency orders. In the middle of the 1800’s the legendary financial scoundrel, Daniel Drew, understood naked short selling was bad (as he lost his fortune covering a short squeeze) when he said, “He who sells what isn’t his’n, Must buy it back or go to prison.” Too bad Cox never took economic history in school (or googled economic trivia).
5.

Failure to protect small investors.

It is no coincidence that according to the FT, stock ownership by individual investors is at an all time low. The average individual investor knows that their chances in the market aren’t good. And, the SEC doesn’t seem to care if the average guy is disenfranchised from the economic future of America. In addition to the above failures, Cox forgot that it was his job to make sure that brokers shouldn’t engage in deceptive sales practices (like in the sale of auction rate securities and the sale of Freddie and Fannie common and preferred stock to small investors because they were “guaranteed” by the government). Cox refuses to support private litigation by individual investors who were ripped off in the stock and bond market. If the SEC doesn’t protect the little guy, who will?

It is hard to think of how anyone could have done a worse job than Chris Cox (other than engaging in illegal conduct). But, if anyone can think of things that I have missed please feel free to tell everyone reading this blog by commenting. I doubt that my list is complete.

Anonymous said...

Yes, its all about (8), the clause that say's BUSH is exempt from court review.

***

Read It and Weep for the USA
by: Michael Shedlock posted on: September 21, 2008


The New York Times has the Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan. Given this is legislation, under fair use terms, here is the complete draft. My thoughts follow.

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

Weep For The Taxpayer

Notice that this bill raises the national debt. Notice that the bill is supposed to take into consideration "protecting the taxpayer".

The reality is this bill does not and cannot protect the taxpayer. Rather this bill only promises to take the taxpayer into consideration. The Treasury will indeed take the taxpayer into consideration, then immediately discard any such ideas.

Inquiring minds are also noting "The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time."

The idea behind the above statement is to allow for a continual dumping ground such that there will always be $700 billion in toxic garbage held under this program. As soon as any asset can be unloaded by the Treasury at cost, another toxic loan is eligible to be assumed on the books of the Treasury. This process can last for as long as two years.

Unconstitutional Provisions

Pay particular attention to section 8.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Essentially the law will state that whatever the Treasury does it is above the law. Such a provision is undoubtedly unconstitutional.

It's time to Weep For The Free Market (or rather what little free market the US had left).

Weep For The Unites States of America

At taxpayer expense, Bernanke and Paulson are willing to bail out their banking buddies at enormous expense to the average taxpayer of this country. Bernanke and Paulson both should be fired. Instead Congressional sheep will baa 'yes' to this bailout and Bush will baa 'yes' when he signs it. It is a sickeningly sad that day for America that Congress will go along with this proposal that makes theUS Taxpayer A Giant Dumpster For Illiquid Assets.

$700 billion will be wasted by this program, and it is $700 billion the US does not have to waste. I ask that everyone vote against any congressman who votes for the passage of this bill.

Anonymous said...

At high market value HOLLERN has probably $10 BILLION ( 20k crap-shacks @ $500k high price ) or more worth of un-sold housing in the tri-county.

Think he'll pay that off?

Hell no?

Think he'll sell the shit in 30 years?

Hell no!!

So what's he going to do??

He'll take advantage of the 'bail-out' that's going to cost a minimum of 1,000 BILLION. That's ten for HOLLERN, trouble is there are 1,000's of HOLLERN's all over the USA that must have their shit bought.

Its a sad day when the country's 'wizards' are having this albatross of un-wanted, and un-needed housing.

Anonymous said...

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.


*

They should call this 'cheney act', in honor of mr-untouchable.

'check & balances? in Bend? are you out of your mind?'

Anonymous said...

Note with dunc gone last week all his persona's also absent, and then they now reappear.

Keeping tracks of all this aliases must be a real house of mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Let's get the record straight two weeks ago, it was the pussy's that fell apart.

Because it appeared their 'OR-BOMB-EO' had fucked up big time, with the passing of a few weeks OR-BOMB-EO's polling back up, and the pussy's are again able to tread water with confidence.

The fact is two weeks ago Dunc, hbm, and BigPussy fell apart.

Everyone else maintained composure.

Nobody else has a rat in this race, most of us can care less who wins the prez race, its all noise.

Like this week you have McCain calling for Cox's ouster, and opposing the bailout, and you have OR-BOMB-EO in support.

The whole rush was engineered to pass the bill in emergency. A Patriot Act for banks. A Patriotic Act for Developers.

Where's OR-BOMB-EO? 100% in support.

Let's remember it was Clintons act that allowed worthless non-valuable assets to be booked as 'AAA' in the first place.

Today OR-BOMB-EO is denying Raines like he deny's Wright.

Why can't OR-BOMB-EO be on the correct side on any of this?????

He makes McCain look like a fucking Ron Paul.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, me and Hollern were having drinks the other night, trying to figure out what to do about the Bilbo problem.

Mike wanted to rub him out.

Nah, I says. He's just a crank. Ignore him.

But he's getting uncomfortably close to the truth. How did he make the connection between you and me?

Lucky guess. Don't worry. I can handle him.

You better. Cause I know a guy. Can make it look like an accident.

But you have to figure out who he is...

Mike just looked at me strange. Oh, don't you worry about that.

tim said...

Redmond: Who Knew?

http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=9046890

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Redmond: Who Knew?

I'll hazard an answer here:

NOBODY

The more important question is "Who will know?"

Again, NOBODY.

The bypass has taken care of that.

bruce said...

RE: blaming it on Clinton.

It was two laws, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

The first repealed Glass-Steagal, the wall between investment and commercial banks and insurance companies, thus putting deposits at risk for the first time since the Great Depression. It was signed into law by Clinton.

The second repealed the ban on credit default swaps, leading directly to the mess we are in now. It was introduced but never debated in both the House and Senate. It was attached to a large government funding bill that was signed by Clinton.

One of the main players behind both is former Senator Phil Gramm, R-TX, who is now McCain's chief economic advisor. He wrote the "Enron loophole", exempting energy trading from regulation in the second law I cited.

You know, the same guy who said earlier this year that America is a nation of whiners and we are in a "mental recession".

That draft of the new bailout bill above is simply astounding. BushCo has taken the socialization of losses to an entirely new level.

Still warily circling Buster...

Poking around at Hollern some, too. Hoping to learn more about the Dark Shadow.

Marge said...

>Shame on your cohorts, marge. They need to wake these people up, and simply refuse to take ridiculous listings. They are throwing their OWN MONEY AWAY, as well.<

We have cancelled 38 over priced listings in the past few weeks. More to come. Believe me, we don't want to work for nothing. I would love to overhaul the industry. Charge like lawyers do. Maybe not the same per hour. There are RE folks in Cali that are charging up front money to list. $500 per month to be credited at closing against a 5% fee. Now if sellers had to pay up front they might think twice about over pricing. If there is enough motivation and realistic pricing they should feel OK about it. The RE biz is evolving. Personally, I wouldn't mind working on a cost plus hourly basis. I have always thought it should be that way. I know in the past I have spent way too much time with properties that won't sell than with ones that do.
Guess I'll post this at benddenial. also. Not that anyone reads it.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I would love to overhaul the industry.

Exactly! I think there are still a hell of a lot of brokers who are under the impression that The Good 'Ol Days will return soon. They will not.

And overpriced listings are of course, a penalty against all involved, but especially the listing Realtor. They lose the most.

Switching to fee-for-services would solve SO MANY problems, and probably return RE-brokerage to profitability FASTER than anything. But that is a hard sell. So many are living in the past....

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Not that anyone reads it.

No one reads this thing either.

Anonymous said...

"The first repealed Glass-Steagal, the wall between investment and commercial banks and insurance companies, thus putting deposits at risk for the first time since the Great Depression."

please provide an example of something bad that has happened as a result, such as any bank deposits that were lost. thanks.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

BendBulletin.com is busted.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Oop, now it's back up.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the final stages of the BUSH coup...

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. ~ Julius Caesar

In 2000, the long fought for and long admired democracy of the United States of America began a slow and steady decline toward fascism - a Bush family tradition - with the installment of a president - a man the citizens overwhelmingly rejected (although the funny math told a still believed myth) - by a few corrupt judges on the US Supreme Court. That coup is now nearly complete and checkmate is all but unavoidable.

Let me first point you to the Bush administration's so-called Wall Street bailout bill, here, so that you can see for yourself that this treachery is being conducted in the light of day. Fascism is finally and formally out of the right-wing closet even if the F word is not yet openly being used (although it should be, and often).

Now, if you do not yet understand that the Wall Street crisis is a man-made disaster done through intentional deregulation and corruption, I have a bridge in Alaska to sell to you (or Sara Palin does anyway). This manufactured crisis is now to be remedied, if the fiscal fascists get their way, with the total transfer of Congressional powers (the few that still remain) to the Executive Branch and the total transfer of public funds into corporate (via government as intermediary) hands.

Adam Davidson of NPR blogs about the so-called bailout bill as follows:

I would guess that this has to be one of the biggest peacetime transfers of power from Congress to the Administration in history. (Anyone know?). Certainly one of the most concise.

The Treasury Secretary can buy broadly defined assets, on any terms he wants, he can hire anyone he wants to do it and can appoint private sector companies as financial deputies of the US government. And he can write whatever regulation he thinks are needed.

Most importantly, Davidson points to this passage in the bill:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

The Bush family, in the form of Prescott Bush, has tried a more aggressive coup before in order to install fascism in this country. This treasonous plot was called "the Business Plot," because the high-level plotters - including Prescott Bush - were Wall Street men who openly supported fascism.

It seems this time around, the Bush family is trying the more subtle approach to open bloodshed: first create a crisis, then under the guise of addressing that crisis, overthrow democracy. Yes, it does sound terribly conspiracy-theory-esque when explained just this way. But what else does one call a criminal conspiracy to destroy Congressional powers permanently, alter Judicial powers permanently, and steal public funds?

As I see it now, we have but two options and I have long alluded to hoping against hope that one of these options would not be the only one left to a peaceful people. The first and frankly most preferable option is for Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the members of this latest Business Plot.

No time needs to be wasted on hearings as we already now have in writing, formally as presented to Congress, the intentions of this administration to nullify Congressional powers permanently, to alter Judicial powers permanently, and to openly steal public funds using as blackmail the total collapse of the US economy if these powers are not handed over. You do see how this is blackmail, do you not? You do see how this is a manufactured crisis precisely designed to be used as blackmail, do you not?

The other option, the one I have long prayed we would never need to even consider, is a total revolution. But, If Congress won't act in its own self-defense, in the defense of democracy, in defense of us - the people who have elected them to protect us from this very danger - then what is left for us to do? I don't want to see it come down to this, but I fear that it will. Put your party politics aside right now. We are in a crisis so dangerous that should these people succeed in their coup, your party affiliation will no longer matter, your American flag will be a nice collectible item of something that once was, and your version of God will be worshiped in secrecy because your freedoms will be owned by the few.

You are no longer Republicans, Democrats, or any shade of voter. You do not live in a swing state or a solid colored state. You are simply this: an American. That is the only side that matters. So call your members of Congress and demand, no, declare that unless they do their duty to the Constitution and to us, we will move to the streets - not because we want to, but because our founding fathers demanded this duty of each and every citizen in the face of such a domestic enemy. Demand - as is your right - that this bill be voted against and demand - as is your right - that the people plotting this treachery be held to account. We are either a nation of laws or we are no longer a democracy. Pick a side, because there won't be another time, another moment, another chance to be a patriot.

UPDATE

You guys have to read this, the guy is near ready to call 911 and report me to the secret police for daring to suggest that I fear that there may be a revolution and want everyone to contact Congress and demand no passage of the Coup Wall Street bill (oh, and did I mention that he calls himself the Confederate Yankee?)

"I can only hope the lawful authorities are monitoring such enticements towards insurrection with all due seriousness, and find a nice, well-lit and cheery cell for those who require one."

Enticements? I did not realize I was standing on a street- corner pulling on my fishnet stockings in hopes of starting a revolt. Now let us examine what I actually wrote - I will bold the key points:

As I see it now, we have but two options and I have long alluded to hoping against hope that one of these options would not be the only one left to a peaceful people. The first and frankly most preferable option is for Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the members of this latest Business Plot.

No time needs to be wasted on hearings as we already now have in writing, formally as presented to Congress, the intentions of this administration to nullify Congressional powers permanently, to alter Judicial powers permanently, and to openly steal public funds using as blackmail the total collapse of the US economy if these powers are not handed over. You do see how this is blackmail, do you not? You do see how this is a manufactured crisis precisely designed to be used as blackmail, do you not?

The other option, the one I have long prayed we would never need to even consider, is a total revolution. But, If Congress won't act in its own self-defense, in the defense of democracy, in defense of us - the people who have elected them to protect us from this very danger - then what is left for us to do? I don't want to see it come down to this, but I fear that it will.

Hmmm, sounds like a massive terrorist plot, right? Oh, and don't forget to contact your members of Congress. Seriously, is this guy taking heroin with his coffee? Which part of "I hope against hope" and "I fear" is an enticement for anything that would require me to be arrested and put in jail? Freedom of speech, a no-no in Confederate Americana. Stop by and tell this guy what you think of his hopes that I end up in prison.

UPDATE 2

Another kook joins the distortion train and swift-boat party. This one is actually now claiming that I am calling for an insurrection (wow, in a few hours they will be claiming that I armed the rebels, and charging the Bastille). And if you read the comments section of this blog, you will find yet more examples of rabid xenophobia and bigotry.

And yet even more stunning? Not a one of them can seem to find the time to react to the unlimited power the Executive Branch is demanding. Perhaps they are too busy eating their racist Obama waffles?

On a side note, please use the phrase "insurrection in bed" in every comment since the right wing requires a distraction, even an imaginary one.

UPDATE 3
I have gotten some emails where people appear confused by my use of the Caesar quote. Just to clarify, this is in reference to Bush as Caesar, not my support of Caesar. This is in reference to the massive Bush power grab buried in the bailout "coup" bill. Sorry for any confusion.;)

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Wow, you wanna see some real crazy-ass stock action, look at Genworth

From $15 to $3.50, back to $15 in under a week.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Overlooked on "White" Thur-Friday, was Ambac, a credit derivative insurer, that got slammed for 40%, and then a further 27% after hours Friday.

Went from $1 or so to $9 on the recent exuberance, and is back down to $2.83.

Don't believe these short squeezes.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

even if the F word is not yet openly being used (although it should be, and often)

Check. You fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Redmond will be the next AssPen. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

Renaissance Homes Headed for Bankruptcy
Written by My. Bruce Pussy
Saturday, 20 September 2008

Renaissance Homes, one of Oregon’s biggest home builders, will soon file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Oregonian is reporting.

The company expects to file for bankruptcy in the coming week, according to The Oregonian: “Slow sales have made it impossible for the Lake Oswego company to remain current on any of its $85 million in bank loans, company officials said.

“Renaissance will be the third prominent metro-area home builder to file Chapter 11 since May. Though some in the housing industry initially insisted that the real estate bust would spare Portland due to in-migration and other factors, it now appears that the shrinking home values and stalled sales that hit much of the rest of the country in 2006 and 2007 were simply late in arriving here.”

Renaissance Homes has built or is in the process of building projects all over Oregon and Washington, including Fremont Place, Shevlin Pines and Renaissance Ridge in Bend.

Unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which a company ceases operations and sells off all its assets to repay its creditors, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is not a death sentence. Under Chapter 11 the bankrupt corporation typically proposes a reorganization plan to keep the business alive and a program to repay the creditors over time. But in the midst of the current global financial crisis it could be tough for Renaissance to line up new money and stay afloat.

“Randy Sebastian, the company's CEO and founder, who appears in many of its ads, vowed that Renaissance will survive its brush with insolvency. It has worked out tentative financing arrangements with five banks,” The Oregonian said.

But Sebastian has sung that tune before. In March 2007 KeyBank started foreclosure proceedings against Aspen Landing LLC, a holding company for Renaissance Homes, saying it was owed $13.1 million on Renaissance Ridge. In May, Sebastian said he had lined up new financing and was able to pay the debt and avoid foreclosure.

In recent months, The Bulletin’s “News of Record” section has reported a number of civil suits against Renaissance by suppliers and subcontractors. However, Bend’s local paper has not yet reported on the impending bankruptcy.

In early August, in a story headlined “3 builders, though hard-hit, remain optimistic,” The Bulletin quoted Sebastian as saying his company was “muscling through” the downtown, although it had been forced to lay off half of its staff and its home sales had dropped by one-third.

Anonymous said...

annesaker@news.oregonian.com

Will someone please email this woman and satisfy her needs. She wants to meet a Bend blogger preferably flaccid and bald with missing front teeth.

***

Bloggers speculate on developers' deaths in Bend
by Anne Saker, The Oregonian
Saturday September 20, 2008, 9:10

Bloggers in Bend speculated for weeks this summer about the deaths of three developers including Jay Audia, whose Edge Development Group purchased 38 acres out of foreclosure in January. Last week, the site was empty and still.

As mortgage defaults in Deschutes County soared to levels more often seen in the cratering markets of California, Arizona and Florida, a handful of bloggers raged at the greed that had spoiled their desert paradise, leaving it broke and broken.

Then three Bend developers died this summer, and the bloggers soon spun theories about what would drive men to such desperate measures. Or maybe, the bloggers wondered, the mob was involved. The city at the foot of Mount Bachelor had a bad case of the jitters.

At the end of a dizzying week -- crushing news for financial giants Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG amid grave concerns that Wall Street's woes are far from over -- the Bend case shows how easily the Internet can intensify anxiety in worrisome times.

"The Internet speeds up the process of everything," said Michael Rabby, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Portland. "People don't get the chance to reflect. And that aspect of it can really change everything. Because the Internet seems more democratic, people are trusting it more. Sometimes they should. Sometimes they shouldn't."
"Thrown under the bus"

The Bend bloggers who speculated on the developers' deaths did not respond to The Oregonian's requests for interviews. On the Internet, they identified themselves by screen names. Among their favorite targets was Bend's daily newspaper, The Bulletin, which the bloggers said merely carried water for the real-estate sharpies.

"They do not want you to hear any bad news about the RE market, and they are willing to manipulate local media to do it," wrote a blogger by the screen name IHateToBurstYourBubble.

The bloggers chewed over their worries with verbose essays land-mined with f-bombs and served up with many hints at sinister behavior. IHateToBurstYourBubble: "You will always be thrown under the bus in Bend, if it means someone can sell a house to someone, even if you are screwed in the process."

Blog posts led to links, which led to more blog posts that led to comments on other blog posts, on and on in a whisper campaign rendered loud and clear with the global megaphone of the Internet.

Still, it was all just talk until the deaths. At first, the bloggers were cheeky. Then they were scared. Then they pointed to accomplices: the mainstream media.

"Closures and Drug Busts and Suicides, Oh My!" ran a headline for a July 26 blog post. Two weeks later: "Bank Mob Hits Claim Lives of Bend Developers." A week after that: "Bend Media is Responsible for Bend Developer Suicide Crisis."

"People have started dying over real estate in Bend," someone named BilboBend wrote Aug. 10, "and you shouldn't just accept the word of the local media, who essentially won't even acknowledge that a death has even occurred."

The thing about conspiracy theories is that underneath the embroidery and the ravings, there can be a kernel of truth.

First, the undisputed facts: Douglas Sokol, 57, a Sisters developer, died June 24 after falling from a height. Lynn McDonald, 58, a former emergency-room physician who had invested in a huge development called The Shire, disappeared July 6 and was found the next day in the Deschutes River. Jay Audia, 48, of Bend, who had recently purchased a 38-acre tract out of foreclosure, shot himself in the head July 19 at his home.

None of their families could be reached for comment.

Investigating the deaths fell to Dr. Chris Hatlestad, Deschutes County's medical examiner. For Hatlestad, the Internet is there-be-dragons territory: "I don't do blogging."

So he wasn't aware of the energetic speculation about the three deaths at the blogs bendbubble2 and bendbubble3: "It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old could have planned it. McDonald's story just doesn't add up at all."

The bloggers offered no evidence or witnesses for their theories of foul play.

Yet Hatlestad found Audia's death to be clearly a suicide. He called the cause of Sokol's death "undetermined" and said he probably would mark McDonald's the same way. Though he did not rule out suicide, Hatlestad said, there was not enough evidence, so he was perplexed when he learned of the bloggers' speculations.

"I don't know where the heck somebody would get that kind of information," he said. "In my experience and understanding of the world, which I don't claim to have any special privilege of, when times are tough and there's plenty of fear to go around, people will continue to add fuel to the fire."
A kernel of truth

Yet the bloggers' ruminations about a suicide cluster also had an element of truth: Studies as long ago as 1987 and as recent as the mid-1990s show that suicides do increase in troubled economic times.

Emile Durkheim, the 19th-century French thinker considered the father of sociology, concluded in his landmark study that people who fall the farthest in income during bad times develop a high risk for suicide.

Research since then, however, has revealed that no single factor "causes" suicide. Having a suddenly thinner wallet by itself does not drain the last of someone's hope. Other factors working alone or in combination -- alcohol and drug abuse, legal trouble, divorce and mental illness among them -- usually drive suicides.

In the past year, for example, at least five people elsewhere in the nation who worked in the real estate sector committed suicide. At first, the deaths defied explanation. But after the funerals, it turned out that, in each case, law enforcement was closing in.

Separately, a Lake Oswego real estate broker who specialized in lakefront properties apparently was struggling with the downturn and killed himself July 23. As in the Bend cases, there's no hint that authorities had been interested in his business dealings.

In Bend, even with the tough times, the medical examiner said he has not seen an uptick in suicides in Deschutes County. In fact, Lt. Kevin Dizney, head of the sheriff's detective division, said that aside from metal thefts, "I haven't seen the state of the economy having any direct effect on crime, period."

Hatlestad said he wouldn't rule out an increase in suicides, but, "suicide occurs as an impulsive act almost all the time. People have chronic ongoing stresses in a variety of flavors and sizes, and financial is a big one. At what point does somebody decide, this is too much? It's not often very predictable."
Filling information voids

The blogging phenomenon -- thousands more people "publishing" on the Internet -- does pressure news organizations to respond, but it's a tough call. In the wake of the three Bend deaths, the bloggers hammered The Bulletin for sitting on a huge story.

Not surprisingly, given the medium, the bloggers' theories about the deaths spread, prompting a small posting about The Shire and McDonald's death on The Wall Street Journal's Web site on Aug. 14. The Oregonian ran a column Aug. 18 mentioning the deaths in the context of suicide prevention.

The following week, The Bulletin published a column by Editor John Costa in which he wrote that the bloggers did stir up the talk in town. But when his reporters tracked down what had happened to the three developers, the bloggers' theories didn't hold water.

In an interview last week, Costa said, "I don't think there's anything unusual with people filling information voids. People will fill in a motivation that they can see and that conforms to their master narrative to what's going on in the country. In this day, what's different is that you can take that unfounded and speculative information, and you can spread it around the world.

"Then you have the next question. ... Even if it isn't true, if there's a general belief out there, what is the journalist's obligation? Do we chase the same mirage? It's a very legitimate question. I don't have an absolute answer."

Anne Saker: annesaker@news.oregonian.com

Anonymous said...

"It's getting awfully strange," offered BilboBend. "Start combing the obits. Audia supposedly shot himself, a crime so easily done by someone else, a 2-year-old ..."

I thought I said that! - homer

***

You did but dunc, bp, and HBM convinced her that bilbo and homer are the same person. Well its true right?

Anonymous said...

Pricing in Financial Armageddon
Inside a RMBS
Ratings to Collate

My Dad used to tell me there is no accounting for standards when looking at something that seemed odd. Today, we have faulty standards for accounting that are ripping apart the fabric of the world's economy. How can a security that has a high probability of full repayment be downgraded from AA to junk levels? What we will explore today tell us a lot about why we are in the crisis state of affairs. Since I wrote you last Friday, the financial landscape of the world has changed even more. And what will happen this weekend will change it even more. And our kids will be paying for it for a long, long time. At the end I offer a few thoughts on the events, and if there is time my thoughts on the new short covering rules. All in all, it should make for an instructive and interesting letter. We'll jump right in with no "but first."

I was invited to an invitation only presentation to a room of chief executives of a number of small Texas banks made by Rich Berg of Performance Trust Capital Partners this week (http://ptcp.performancetrust.com). He graciously gave me permission to go over the main points of his presentation. I think you will find it eye-opening to say the least. You probably have seen Rich, as he is all over the media lately.

Let's jump back 18 months. I spent several letters going over how subprime mortgages were sold and then securitized. Let's quickly review. Huge Investment Bank (HIB) would encourage mortgage banks all over the country to make home loans, often providing the capital, and then HIB would purchase these loans and package them into large securities called Residential Mortgage Backed Securities or RMBS. They would take loans from different mortgage banks and different regions. They generally grouped the loans together as to their initial quality as in prime mortgages, ALT-A and the now infamous subprime mortgages. They also grouped together second lien loans, which were the loans generally made to get 100% financing or cash-out financing as home owners borrowed against the equity in their homes.

Typically, a RMBS would be sliced into anywhere from 5 to 15 different pieces called tranches. They would go to the ratings agencies, who would give them a series of ratings on the various tranches, and who actually had a hand in saying what the size of each tranche could be. The top or senior level tranche had the rights to get paid back first in the event there was a problem with some of the underlying loans. That tranche was typically rated AAA. Then the next tranche would be rated AA and so on down to junk level. The lowest level was called the equity level, and this lowest level would take the first losses. For that risk, they also got any residual funds if everyone paid. The lower levels paid very high yields for the risk they took.

Then, since it was hard to sell some of the lower levels of these securities, HIB would take a lot of the lower level tranches and put them into another security called a Collateralized Debt Obligation or CDO. And yes, they sliced them up into tranches and went to the rating agencies and got them rated. The highest tranche was typically again AAA. Through the alchemy of finance, HIB took subprime mortgages and turned 96% (give or take a few points depending on the CDO) of them into AAA bonds. At the time, I compared it with taking nuclear waste and turning it into gold. Clever trick when you can do it, and everyone, from mortgage broker to investment bankers was paid handsomely to dance at the party.

Will we ever forget Charlie Prince's line, the CEO of Citigroup, saying that "As long as they are playing music, you have to get up and dance?" just a few weeks before the market imploded? Apart from having his rhythm being proven totally horrendous and overseeing an implosion which cost Citigroup tens of billions, it was a great statement of the zeitgeist of the financial world at the time.

The key word here is model. The ratings agencies used data supplied by the investment banks on what the likely default rates would be. It was something like taking an open book test where you get to write the questions. And since home values had only gone up, default rates were low. And of course, the data was from an ear when bankers lent money actually expecting to get paid back.

Inside a RMBS

Let's look at a RMBS. As Berg points out, when you are buying a mortgage backed security, there are really only three questions you need to know the answers to:

* How many mortgages will default?
* How much will I get back on a defaulted loan?
* How much credit enhancement is there in the security?

Let's set the table by looking at a few terms and definitions. Using his example, let's take a mortgage where the home was originally appraised for $400,000 and there is a $300,000 mortgage on the home. Let's assume a default and the bank takes back the home. If they sell the home and recover $240,000 that means they lose $60,000. This is called a 20% severity. If they sold and recovered $150,000 it would be said to have a 50% severity.

Next, let's look at how the rating agencies come up with the AAA rating. First they model the expected losses, with emphasis on the word model. If they figure that worst case that 8% of the loans default at a severity of 50%, then the security would lose 4% of its value. To get an AAA rating you have to have at least two times the coverage of the "modeled" loss. In this illustration, that means that 92% of the loans would be put into the AAA tranche. An A rating assumes a coverage of more than 1 times but less than 2. B means you expect to get your money back and if they model that you will get below 100% back then the rating would be at junk levels.

Now, this next fact is important. All ratings assume a par value of 100. The rating of these bonds has nothing to do with price. After the presentation, Rich sat down with me and pulled up an actual mortgage backed security that was being offered that day on his screen. It was once a AAA rated Alt-A security. If I remember correctly it was a 2006 vintage security.

As of the latest reporting, a little over 5% of the mortgages were over 60 days past due or in foreclosure. In this security, there are no toxic option ARMS. The numbers of mortgages in this security that are in trouble are rising. S&P has downgraded that AAA tranche to BBB, which of course means its value is going down.

And sure enough, the offered price of the security is 70 cents on the dollar, or 70% of the original par value. Now remember, this particular AAA bond will only start to lose money after the lower tranches take up the first 8% of losses. Thus, this bond can be said to have an 8% credit enhancement.

Pricing in Financial Armageddon

Now, let's stress test that loan. For the AAA portion of the loan to lose money, that would mean that 16% of the loans would have to default with a severity of 50% losses. Could that happen? Sure.

But let's look at what buying that loan at 70 cents on the dollar does for the new owner. First, you are getting a much higher yield (interest rate) because you are buying the security at a lower valuation. But something else even more interesting happens.

Even though the security sold at 70 cents, it still gets all of the first of the proceeds of the home owners who pay their mortgages, up to 92% of the original value in the security. How many loans would have to default in order to make the buyer at 70 cents lose money? Remember, we already had credit enhancement of 8%. But at 70 cents, we just "bought" or priced in another 30%. Let's think Armageddon and that 50% of the mortgages default and they only recover 50% of the loans. That would only be a total loss of 25% to the entire collateral of the deal, but it would mean that the new investor still get all of my 70 cents plus another 13% back! The proud new owner could get up to 92% of the monies paid. Even in a pretty bad scenario, you get more than you paid for the security.

Let's walk through the math. Let's say the original security was $100 million (which would be a very small RMBS). The AAA tranche would have cost $92 billion. If you have it at 70 cents on the dollar you paid approximately $64 billion. In my Armageddon scenario above, the security loses 25% or $250 million. The lower rated tranches are completely wiped out losing $8 billion. Your tranche loses the remaining $17 billion which means you get $75 billion and you only paid $64 billion.

So, how bad would things have to get to lose money on this security? If I am doing the math right, 72% of the loans would have to default with a severity of 50% before your investment of $64 billion was impaired by even so much as 1 dollar. If that happened, it would be Armageddon.

So, why is it rated BBB? Because the rating is over the entire tranche and it is made at a par price of 100. The rating is not affected by the current price. As of today, assuming that even double the number of mortgages currently delinquent default with a 50% severity, your returns over the life of the security would be well over 12%. You would get back $92 million for your $64 billion dollar investment along with interest payments.

The reason this presentation was being made to banks and institutions? Because if you are a bank, you can generally only get prime plus 2% on a loan you make. But if you buy this security with your capital, you can make prime plus 6%. That is a large difference to a bank. Performance Trust has sold billions of this type of paper to banks and institutions.

If this is such a good deal, then why isn't everyone hitting the bid? Because these securities are very difficult to analyze. It is time consuming. You need to analyze every loan and develop your own valuations. You simply can't trust the ratings, as they are measuring something completely different.

And the real truth is that many of the various RMBS securities will in fact be totally wiped out or lose a great deal. Many are seeing default rates of 30% or more. You have to be very careful when you walk through this minefield. And in a time of crisis, it is not clear what the new rules will be. What if the government forces lenders to re-set mortgages at some loss level? What if the housing crisis gets worse? On the other hand, what if the government comes in and buys up all the bad mortgages in an attempt to stop the erosion in the home markets. The level of uncertainty in these times makes people a lot more cautious.

There are Alt-A RMBS like the one mentioned above that are probably not worth even 70 cents on the dollar. These things are marked to a market that is frozen. Everything gets lumped into the same basket and it all has to be marked to market by the new accounting rules called FASB 157. The institution selling the above mentioned security is being forced to do so, either because they are in financial trouble or they are not allowed to hold BBB securities in their portfolios and by law are required to sell. And in times of crisis, the selling price is not that of normal times.

Ratings to Collateral to Ratings: A Vicious Cycle

What's a recipe for a perfect financial storm? Let's make a massive amount of bad loans and get them on the books of most of the major financial institutions because they are rated investment grade. Then let's have the loans start to go bad. Throw in some general panic as everyone tries to sell the loans. No one is buying.

Let's make a new rule that you have to mark your illiquid securities to the last price paid by someone desperate to sell. That means that many institutions now have to mark their capital down and that means those pesky rating agencies must by their own rules mark down the ratings of the institutions which of course means that it costs them more to raise capital at a time when they can't get it which means they get lower ratings and so on. It becomes a vicious cycle.

In the early 80's, every major US bank was bankrupt because they had loaned Latin American countries far more than their capital they had on their books. The Latin American countries defaulted. If the US banks had been forced to mark to market, they would have all gone down taking the US economy along with them. So, the Fed simply allowed them to carry the loans at book value, offering liquidity and allowing the banks to buy time to make enough money to eventually write off the loans.

The current mark to market rule, while nice in theory, works in normal times. But it has the unintended consequence of making things worse in crisis times. Why should an institution have to write down a security which over time is going to pay back the lion's share or more of its value just because a severely stressed institution was forced to sell that security at a very low price in a time of crisis?

Yes, there needs to be transparency and we as investors need to know what is on the books of the companies that we invest in. But it is somewhat like my bank asking me to mark to market my home and pricing my loan daily based on that new price. If my neighbor loses his job and sells his home at auction, does that mean my home is now worth less two years from now. Maybe an even better analogy, if I am renting that home to a very good tenant, does my neighbor's price impair my income?

I was, and am, a fan of mark to market pricing. But we need to think through what a market price is. Not all things can be easily marked to market. This is doubly true when "market price" is a nebulous index of mortgage securities which may or not have a fundamental relationship with an illiquid security on the books of an institution which has no intention of selling, especially in a time of credit crisis.

It is one thing to require that you mark your stocks or bonds to market values. It is another thing entirely to require all mortgage backed securities, which are extremely complex things, can be very different one from another and which require a lot of time and effort to value, to be priced as though they are all the same.

FASB 157 needs to be amended this week. If Congress can create a new Resolution Trust Corp in a week, the surely the accounting board, with the suggestion of Treasury, can figure out a better way to price illiquid securities.

This Too Shall Pass

I know that you probably are reeling from all that has happened the past few months and especially the past two weeks. Lehman and Mother Merrill gone? We the people own AIG? Fannie and Freddie? A new housing bailout which will cost hundreds of billions? The Fed creating whole new programs to provide liquidity? Did you notice they loaned some $250 billion this last week to banks all over the world? Stopping short selling?

Want to see in graph form how bad it got and what spooked Paulson, Bernanke and company to act so quickly? Look at these graphs from my friends at Casey Research (http://www.caseyresearch.com/crpmkt/crpSolo.php?id=119&ppref=JMD119ED0908A). 30 day commercial paper went to 5% from 3% a week ago. The market was literally freezing. And the amount of paper issued is in free fall. Commercial paper is the life blood of the financial and business world. Without it commerce will soon grind to a halt.

Anonymous said...

The road to ruin

Petrino DiLeo looks at how politicians of both parties allowed an unregulated shadow banking system to take shape.

September 18, 2008

Wall Street and Broad Street

IT'S UNTHINKABLE. The United States--the paragon of the "free market" and loudest proponent of neoliberal policies such as free trade, deregulation and privatization--has just carried out the three largest nationalizations in world history in taking over the twin mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now the insurance giant AIG.

The U.S. government is now the largest guarantor of mortgages in the world--and the largest insurance company as well.

The events that have caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are the logical conclusion of policies and legislation implemented during the past 30 years. Lax standards and weakening of regulation led to a free-for-all in the financial world and the creation of a multitrillion-dollar "shadow banking system."

Along the way, Wall Street institutions invented arcane investment instruments called derivatives, swaps, structured financial products and securitized debt--and investors dove headfirst into the resulting alphabet soup of mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, etc.

These investment products were sloppily hashed together, barely monitored and never stress-tested. Rating agencies rubber-stamped everything that Wall Street concocted. And the result is the unfolding financial bloodbath.

"What we are witnessing is essentially the breakdown of our modern-day banking system, a complex of leveraged lending [that is] so hard to understand," Bill Gross, head of the Pimco asset management group wrote, in December of last year. "Colleagues call it the 'shadow banking system' because it has lain hidden for years, untouched by regulation, yet free to magically and mystically create and then package sub-prime loans in [ways] that only Wall Street wizards could explain."

Of course, the real tragedy isn't that Wall Street is falling. The banks and other financial institutions like AIG gorged themselves for years. Whatever happens, the titans of finance will remain millionaires many times over. Few, if any, will face jail time.

The real issue is that the collapse on Wall Street is wreaking havoc on lives around the country and around the world.

People who had no idea that their mortgages were part of Wall Street's slice-and-dice game are paying the price. Workers whose pensions ended up invested in toxic bonds may not be able to retire. Cities and states face a drying up of revenue and are cutting back on jobs and services. And the federal government--using taxpayer money--is swallowing Wall Street's losses, while leaving the same people in a position to profit when the crisis is defused.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

HOW DID it come to this?

After the financial crisis that contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s, Congress enacted laws such as the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 to separate commercial banks from investment banks.

The objective of this reform was to insulate risky deal-making by investment banks from individuals' deposits in commercial banks. The Federal Reserve Bank, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and state regulators all were charged with monitoring commercial banks. The Securities and Exchange Commission was given purview over monitoring the large investment banks and brokerage houses.

The traditional commercial banking model was of deposit-taking institutions, which lent money back out as mortgage loans or other forms of credit. Such banks were monitored and regulated, and had to have a certain amount of capital on hand at all times.

Furthermore, deposits up to a certain dollar value were guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Commercial banks were allowed to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve Bank to ensure their continued operation--a privilege that was only extended to investment banks during the current crisis.

This banking model held for many years. The long economic boom after the Second World War kept financiers pretty happy. Furthermore, the prosperity helped keep in place an overall approach to economics that tolerated government intervention into the economy. This approach was known as Keynesianism, after the liberal British economist John Maynard Keynes.

Crises in the 1970s, however, led to a revival of calls for unregulated free markets. By the 1980s and 1990s, as part of neoliberal restructuring, financial regulation came under attack. This culminated in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1999, which essentially repealed Glass-Steagall.

The Gramm in the law's title is former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, now an executive at the UBS bank and John McCain's top economic advisor. But a key lobbyist for the law was Robert Rubin, the Citigroup executive and former Treasury Secretary under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed banks, brokerage firms and insurers to merge once again. It also dissolved the wall between commercial banks and investment banks.

In 2000, Congress passed legislation (again, supported by Gramm) called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which effectively helped keep the commodities market hidden and unregulated. This law is one reason why, during the run-up in food and oil futures prices earlier this year, no one was quite sure how big a role speculators played in pumping up prices.

The Federal Reserve is technically not part of the government. Its policies and decisions on the setting of interest rates were dictated by financial interests, particularly under former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan.

Meanwhile, as part of the employers' offensive, workers' wages and benefits came under attack. This facilitated a transfer of wealth from the bottom of society to the top and helped restore profitability across Corporate America.

However, in order to maintain high levels of consumption within the U.S. economy, something needed to replace wages. An explosion of household debt was the result. The vast increase in debt helped workers maintain their standard of living, despite stagnating or declining wages. At the same time, debt became a huge profit vehicle for Wall Street.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE SHADOW banking system is a result of all of these policies.

As one example, investment banks offer "money market accounts," which in practice look and act like traditional checking and savings accounts. But there's one important difference--not one cent of the deposits is guaranteed by the government through the FDIC. If these investment banks go down, so do the accounts.

This is a major reason why, when institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns appeared to be failing, there have been massive runs by any funds that had money in those banks. They sought to pull out before the institutions failed.

Another phenomenon that emerged is called debt securitization. Banks bought up different forms of debt--like mortgages. Yet rather than simply hold them on their balance sheets and collect payments, they created enormous pools of loans. They then created bonds based on these massive pools of debt, and sold them to giant investors, at varying levels of risk. The highest-rated and least-risky bonds paid off at lower rates, while the riskier bonds--such as ones tied to sub-prime loans--paid off at higher rates.

By the end of the first three months of 2007, the total value of all outstanding securitized debt was $28 trillion--more than double the figure of 10 years ago. None of this would have been possible without deregulation.

The other components of the financial system that could be in trouble include hedge funds, with $1.8 trillion in assets; the $2.5 trillion overnight loan market, known as the repurchase, or repo, market; and the commercial paper market--loans made to businesses without the backing of collateral--worth $2.2 trillion.

Then there are derivatives--financial instruments based on an underlying security such as a commodity, bond or currency, but typically representing some kind of gamble about what direction the value of the security would go in. The theoretical value of all derivatives was a mind-boggling $596 trillion by the end of 2007.

On top of all this, the banks did all sorts of things to keep their shady investment instruments hidden away, off company balance sheets. As a result, no one knows how much damage could be done if these trillions of dollars in paper assets have to be sold off at pennies on the dollar--or become completely worthless. Fear of such a worldwide financial meltdown drove the U.S. government to engineer the takeover of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase earlier this year.

The various components of the shadow banking system play off each other. Hedge funds put their money in investment banks, or hire the banks to place their investments. Commercial banks and investment banks have merged. Investment banks operate their own hedge funds. Banks use the "repo" market and commercial paper to fund day-to-day operations. Financial institutions of all kinds have derivative contracts. Many of these are so-called credit default swaps, a form of insurance on bonds.

The whole system is based on the free flow of capital at all times. But today, many parts of the shadow banking system aren't functioning, because the banks aren't sure if the other banks they're trading with will be around tomorrow.

The credit-default swap market, worth an estimated $62 trillion, is a particularly urgent problem. Because it's totally unregulated, no one knows which financial institutions will have to pay out how many billions of dollars of insurance on mortgage-backed securities gone bad--or whether they will have the money to do so.

It was this uncertainty that led to the government takeover of AIG, which was a major provider of credit default swaps, and thus extremely vulnerable to the collapse in the value of mortgage-backed securities.

This shadow banking system flourished under the non-watchful eye of Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve. Today, it's become clear that Greenspan was warned repeatedly about many of the factors that led to this catastrophe, but instead, cheered on the boom.

For example, Greenspan embraced the explosion of predatory sub-prime lending. He applauded the emergence of securitization of mortgages. He cheered on the technology stock bubble. He helped goad asset-price bubbles with aggressive cuts in interest rates in the late 1990s and after September 11, 2001. Greenspan also orchestrated an industry bailout of the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998--the godfather to today's bailouts.

It's impossible to predict how far the financial chaos will spread, or just what the toll will be on the underlying economy.

But three things are clear already. The resulting credit crunch will cause an already struggling economy to contract even further. The Wall Street titans who presided over this disaster will remain personally very comfortable. And workers will be asked--as always--to suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

CLINTON&OBAMA SIAMESE BAILOUT TWINS

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1999, which essentially repealed Glass-Steagall.

The Gramm in the law's title is former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, now an executive at the UBS bank and John McCain's top economic advisor. But a key lobbyist for the law was Robert Rubin, the Citigroup executive and former Treasury Secretary under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed banks, brokerage firms and insurers to merge once again. It also dissolved the wall between commercial banks and investment banks.

In 2000, Congress passed legislation (again, supported by Gramm) called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which effectively helped keep the commodities market hidden and unregulated. This law is one reason why, during the run-up in food and oil futures prices earlier this year, no one was quite sure how big a role speculators played in pumping up prices.

Anonymous said...

OBAMA in 100% support of BUSH-TEAM bailout.

Obama’s response to financial meltdown: Deception and subservience to Wall Street

By Bill Van
19 September 2008

As hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world confront the onset of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with all of its implications for their jobs, livelihoods and the future of their children, the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate Barack Obama have seized upon Wall Street’s implosion as a means of reinvigorating their faltering campaign.

Obama has delivered a series of speeches and aired a new campaign ad blaming the economic meltdown on “bad decisions made in favor of big corporate special interests instead of America’s working families.”

The Democratic candidate has made the most of his Republican rival John McCain’s bald statement Monday—in the wake of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the forced sale of Merrill Lynch and the free-fall of stock prices on Wall Street—that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

As the absurdity of these remarks became clear, the McCain campaign shifted gears, adopting an equally absurd pretense of anti-Wall Street populism. By Wednesday, speaking to employees at the General Motors plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, McCain was denouncing Wall Street’s “casino culture” and declaring: “We are going to fight the special interests and corruption in Washington. We are going to fight the greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street.” By Thursday, he was calling for the firing of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for having “betrayed the public trust.”

Obama mocked McCain’s phony populist rhetoric, while calling attention to the dominance of corporate lobbyists over his campaign and his close ties to the right-wing former Republican senator and architect of key financial deregulation legislation, Phil Gramm.

“At this rate, by the end of the week John McCain will be telling us how he and Phil Gramm and the seven lobbyists are planning to storm the Treasury Department with torches and pitchforks,” said the Democratic candidate.

The sarcasm was apt, but the reality is that it cuts both ways.

If the cataclysmic events in the financial markets over the past week have revealed anything, it is the complete subservience of every branch of the US government and both major political parties to the banks and the biggest capitalist interests. Behind the façade of American democracy lies a dictatorship of finance capital that, under conditions of crisis, exerts its power directly and nakedly.

Thus, in the course of two weeks, the Federal government has doled out hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money in bailouts and loans for failing financial institutions. It has carried out the unprecedented nationalization of the insurance giant American International Group (AIG) with what is widely seen as a down payment of $85 billion. The firm holds nearly half a trillion dollars worth of questionable credit derivatives on its books.

Not a single vote was taken in either house of the US Congress on these measures, much less by the American people. Rather, the bailouts of Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like the takeover of AIG, have all been negotiated behind closed doors between Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Wall Street executives.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that congressional leaders were hastily informed of the deal to bail out AIG only after it had been struck.

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed concern yesterday that they have had no control over when and how federal money has been used to curb the panic on Wall Street,” the Post reported. “While many have been convinced that the moves so far have been necessary to prevent a wider financial meltdown, they said they felt confined to the sidelines as power to make momentous decisions has been concentrated in very few hands.”

The impotence of Congress and the Democratic Party was expressed most nakedly by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat of Nevada), who declared Wednesday that in the face of the unfolding financial catastrophe, the Senate would go ahead with its planned pre-election recess. There was no point in staying in Washington as “No one knows what to do at the moment,” he said. The Democratic leadership indicated that it would probably not reconvene until January, unless summoned by Paulson, Bernanke and Wall Street.

At the same time, leading Democrats—including Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Senator Christopher Dodd, head of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Charles Schumer, chair of the Joint Economic Committee—have signaled their support for a massive, wholesale bailout of Wall Street through the creation of a new federal agency to buy up all of the banks’ worthless mortgage-backed assets.

The plan has been widely compared to the creation of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) nearly 20 years ago to deal with losses from the savings and loans crisis of the 1980s. However, there are critical differences. The sums involved in absorbing the mortgage-backed securities are astronomically higher. Moreover, while the RTC was established to deal with the fallout from savings banks that had already failed, the new agency is designed to bail out ongoing financial institutions that have profited off of these “toxic” speculative investments.

Reports that the enactment of such a plan is imminent sent stocks soaring by 410 points Thursday, the market’s biggest rally in six years. The exuberance on the floor of the stock exchange amounted to the celebration of a system in which massive profits accumulated by Wall Street’s wealthiest by means of reckless speculation and outright criminality remain privatized, while their losses are socialized, with American working people forced to foot the bill.

Obama and the Democrats are full partners in this system. Behind all of the Democratic candidate’s rhetoric about Wall Street not “minding the store” and how “CEOs got greedy,” his campaign enjoys ample support from finance capital, and his administration would, no less than the Republicans, represent its fundamental interests.

The Obama campaign has raised close to $10 million from the Wall Street investment houses, nearly 50 percent more than the amount they have given to Republican McCain. Three senior executives at the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers raised more than $1.5 million for the Democrat.

The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign contributions, listed Goldman Sachs as the top source of campaign funds for the Obama campaign. The watchdog group added that Wall Street’s stake in the Democratic candidate is probably even larger. “Since his campaign has ignored repeated requests... to disclose his bundlers’ employers and occupations,” it pointed out, “these figures are probably undercounts.”

In addition to Wall Street, the Obama campaign has raised some $13.4 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector and $2 million from the commercial banks, again outstripping McCain.

Given this financial banking, Obama’s posturing as a champion “Main Street” and the scourge of “special interests” is just as absurd as McCain’s vow to fight “greed” on Wall Street.

Equally dishonest is the Democratic candidate’s repeated assertion that the present crisis is the outcome of policies pursued simply over the past eight years. Conveniently ignored is the fact that the frontal assault on the working class that lay the foundations for the present economic setup in America was initiated under the Democratic Carter administration 30 years ago and that the most sweeping deregulation of the financial markets was carried out under the Democrat Clinton.

The results of this process, which has seen the increasing deindustrialization of the US economy, the ever growing weight of financial parasitism and the unprecedented widening of social inequality, will not be cured by the modest increase in regulation being proposed by some Democrats.

Obama has given his backing to the bailouts carried out to date, while remaining silent on plans for a government takeover of mortgage-related investments. The Democratic candidate has said nothing about holding accountable those who profited off of this unfolding calamity, much less proposing that their profits be seized.

In his speech Wednesday in Nevada, Obama declared that the tumultuous events on Wall Street represented a “final verdict” on the “economic philosophy” of McCain and the Republicans, while proclaiming his conviction that “our free market has been the engine of America’s great progress. It’s a market that has created a prosperity that is the envy of the world.”

What “free market’ is he talking about? It is “free” only in the sense that society exercises no control over its predatory and socially destructive misallocation and misappropriation of the wealth created by the working class.

In a serious crisis, all talk about the evils of “big government” and the virtues of “self-reliance” and “private initiative” is dropped and a vast expansion of government power is carried out to intervene in the “free market” in order to rescue the financial aristocracy, with the American people footing the bill.

As for American prosperity being the “envy of the world,” people around the globe are watching with horror and disbelief as millions of Americans are kicked out of their homes, poverty and unemployment worsen, and the country’s infrastructure collapses—while corporate CEOs rake in eight-figure salaries.

The devastating crisis that is gripping Wall Street and the world’s financial markets is a verdict on this “free market.” The capitalist system, based on private ownership of the productive forces, production for profit and the subordination of all social needs to the accumulation of private wealth, is threatening to unleash a catastrophe upon the working class in the US and around the world.

One thing is certain, the plans to rescue Wall Street that are now being prepared with Democratic support will be paid for by working people, through the destruction of their jobs and living standards and the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what little else remains of social benefits in America.

A new social catastrophe even greater than the Great Depression can be averted only through a break with the Democratic Party and the fight for a socialist program that ends the subordination of the economy to the dictates of private profit. Only in this way can the vast wealth created by working people be utilized for the benefit of all. This is the program fought for only by the Socialist Equality Party.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Wall Street, the Obama campaign has raised some $13.4 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector and $2 million from the commercial banks, again outstripping McCain.

Given this financial banking, Obama’s posturing as a champion “Main Street” and the scourge of “special interests” is just as absurd as McCain’s vow to fight “greed” on Wall Street.

Equally dishonest is the Democratic candidate’s repeated assertion that the present crisis is the outcome of policies pursued simply over the past eight years. Conveniently ignored is the fact that the frontal assault on the working class that lay the foundations for the present economic setup in America was initiated under the Democratic Carter administration 30 years ago and that the most sweeping deregulation of the financial markets was carried out under the Democrat Clinton.

Anonymous said...

WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED?

If only they had listened to Warren Buffett

Who, or what, is to blame for the meltdown? Amid all the finger-pointing and the chaos, one voice stands out - that of Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of the past 40 years, writes Richard Woods.

Every year he writes a report to shareholders in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, and two key themes he addressed in 2002 now seem brilliantly prescient. Financial instruments called derivatives and bad corporate governance, he wrote, were dangerous threats.

“Charlie [his investment partner] and I are of one mind in how we feel about derivatives and the trading activities that go with them,” wrote Buffett, whose wealth was last week estimated at $50 billion by Forbes magazine. “We view them as time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them and the economic system.”

The nature of derivatives, which are based on the value of assets but don’t actually involve exchanging them, meant that firms “could record profits and losses, often in huge amounts, without so much as a penny changing hands”.

Imprecise methods of valuing derivatives meant their true value might not become apparent for years.

“Errors will usually be honest, reflecting the human tendency to take an optimistic view of one’s commitments,” he said, “but the parties to derivatives also have enormous incentives to cheat in accounting for them.” He warned that traders and bosses were pocketing huge rewards on earnings that would later turn out to be “a sham”.

In one of the most telling passages, he wrote: “When Charlie and I finish reading the long footnotes detailing the derivatives activities of major banks, the only thing we understand is that we don’t understand how much risk the institution is running. In our view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.”

Not all derivatives are toxic and by no means all bankers are involved in the trade. Nevertheless, these WMD and debt have proliferated like mad. By one estimate the nominal value of certain derivatives ballooned to $62 trillion, based on only $6 trillion of underlying assets.

If Buffett saw the dangers, why didn’t others? Because they were having too much fun making too much money.

“Too many of these people have in recent years behaved badly in office, fudging numbers and drawing obscene pay for mediocre business achievements,” Buffett said.

“These otherwise decent people simply followed the career path of Mae West: ‘I used to be Snow White, but I drifted’.”

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought that Anne Saker email stuff was a hoax. Not sure I would've answered.

Anonimity = Life, in this weird fucking place.

*

Weekly for a month I begged someone to give this one the rod she was begging for, but no, everything is always a hoax, ...

We don't need to make nothing up in Bend.

"Truth is stranger than fiction, fiction has to make sense" - mark twain

hbm said...

Why did HBM show up two weeks ago, move in, and then fall apart last week and exit?

Because I got tired of all the insults from moronic obscenity-spewing trolls.

Anonymous said...

hbm said...
Why did HBM show up two weeks ago, move in, and then fall apart last week and exit?

Because I got tired of all the insults from moronic obscenity-spewing trolls.


*


Yes, hbm, YOU got tired of all the cussing going on!!

ROTFLMAO, since it WAS hbm Herself that said:

"Fuck all you Republican trolls"

Let us analyze the hbm prose:

"Because I got tired of all the insults from moronic obscenity-spewing trolls."

A troll is also somebody who calls other 'trolls' = hbm
"obscenity-spewing" = hbm
"moronic" = hbm

hbm is an idiot

Anonymous said...

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 21, 2008

The Federal Reserve has changed the status of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to bank holding companies. The central bank will also extend added credit to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch brokers.

Anonymous said...

Homer regarding your comment about jews ( lehman ) getting ripped off.

Let's remember this is what Prescott Bush and the Nazi's were always about ROBBING JEWS to finance wars.

Your going to see lots of Jew in Israel and the USA get wiped out financially.

This is why I never quit the NAZI paradigm, ...

The germans lost WWII, the BUSH/FORD/HEART tribe won.

Marge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marge said...

>died June 24 after falling from a height<
They didn't even say what the height was. Maybe he fell 3 feet or 40'. It's all wierd. That Ann gal also asked me to talk..I obstained.
I welcome back some of the old cronies that we need. Thanks.
My computer is hot but I guess my brain is not. I am watching bull riding. OK OK I am a redneck cowgirl.
I do really think there is a better way for RE folks to charge for services rendered. I, personally have always been offended by the strangers(I don't know them) that I have worked with. Why would anyone work for free and gamble whether or not you get paid. If we could get rid of the gamblers, which includes buyers and sellers and RE folks, I think we could cure this affliction with pay to play attitude. We really do offer value to sell homes in more ways than most know. Being married 24/7 to your cell phone (I hate them) and taking calls at all hours. Why can't we have off hours...WHY? I am not a fucking heart surgeon. How important can getting info about a house be? Yet, the public still insists we respond immediately. Don't call me, if after 7PM. I promise not to answer.
Ranting.................

Marge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marge said...

Sorry about the deletions. It wasn't working well.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

From BendBB regarding The Oregonian piece, "Death and Speculation in Bend":

Too bad The Oregonian didn't contact Umpqua Bank, who, having been accused of murder by one of the bloggers, is understandably pissed off beyond belief and putting efforts into identifying the blogger. They are considering legal action for defamation as well.

Now that would make a good story.


That's how this place handles dissention. Throw 'em in the clink. Anyone who doesn't tow the RE line, is targeted for CRIMINAL TRIAL.

Tell me how fucked up that is.

Remember the so-called "outting" of a few weeks ago. Remember the Portland contractor thrown right in jail for "blackmailing" Buena Vista homes, which of course, is ludicrious, and actually if anyone is guilty of criminal fraud, it's probably Pollock.

This fucking thing is about jailing & KILLING dissenters. And just like the fucking Nazi's, even talking about opposition is a crime punishable by DEATH.

Run, don't walk, from Bend, OR folks. This fucking place is Auschwitz and Hollern is Joseph Goebbels.

According to this nit, they are going to start JAILING & KILLING people for blogging about the demise of RE in Bend.

Run.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Bend developer's problems leave losses, questions in wake
Desert Sun Development is beset by liens, unpaid creditors, big employee losses and a federal inquiry
Sunday, May 18, 2008
JEFF MANNING
The Oregonian Staff

BEND -- As central Oregon's long real estate gold rush gives way to a grim new era of falling prices and foreclosures, few companies have crashed to earth harder than Bend-based Desert Sun Development.

The upstart operation, led by its intense 29-year-old founder, Tyler Fitzsimons, is under siege from lenders, suppliers and contractors who say they've been stiffed for millions of dollars.

But Desert Sun's problems go well beyond clamoring creditors, The Oregonian found in its examination of the company. It offered a homeownership program to more than 30 people, mostly employees, that has left many participants deeply in debt for houses that aren't complete or even started.

The employee program is one of several aspects of Desert Sun that have drawn the attention of FBI and IRS agents in recent months. According to people quizzed by the agents, investigators are focusing on Desert Sun's financing and its relationship with a bevy of Oregon banks, which threw millions of dollars at the company.

The unfolding saga reflects how the financial industry operated in central Oregon and elsewhere during the real estate boom. Banks lined up to back newly minted companies. They made huge loans to workers of limited means who couldn't afford the payments.

At Desert Sun, five ex-employees told The Oregonian their incomes were inflated or their signatures forged on loan applications or other financing documents.

Now that some of those loans have defaulted, banks are going after some of the employees with foreclosure threats. But in many of the Desert Sun transactions, there is no house to repossess -- only land worth a fraction of what is owed....


This is 100% FRAUD! But is Tyler Fitzsimons serving a single second in jail? Fuck no! Will he ever? Fuck no, of course not.

Folks this is indicative of a few things, first & most obviously, is that our Judicial System has mutated into a perverse abomination whose only purpose is to serve the rich & jail (and kill) the poor.

The US Judicial System is in the same situation as the unregulated financial system today: Out of control, run amock, and destroying lives. But it differs in one important respect: The FUCKING WOLVES are guarding The HENHOUSE.

Lawyers (ie profit seeking agents of the US Judicial System) are THEIR OWN REGULATORS. Lawyers are the agents that establish & prosecute the laws of this country. Again, imagine our countries police forces arresting ON COMMISSION, and it is easy to see the problem. Fuck, the US Judicial System is 1,000,000X the abomination that Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs are.

Folks, this is a fucking SLIPPERY SLOPE; they are starting to JAIL PEOPLE FOR LOSSES. They are JAILING PEOPLE not just for dissent... but for mere disagreement.

The fucking US Judicial System has become an arm of Corporate AmeriKKKa, a bunch we have seen completely self-destruct.

This country is becoming Nazi Germany.

Hey, I'm all for jailing & killing The Poor as much as anyone. Fuckers. But they're starting to go after WHITEY!!! Fuck me!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Yeah, and only post to this fucker via Anon Proxy.

Umpqua banks lawyers can fuck off & die.

Anonymous said...

The germans lost WWII, the BUSH/FORD/HEART tribe won.


*

Hearst, BUSH was the oil biz man, FORD auto, and Hearst owned all the newspapers.

The brought Hitler to power, and destroyed Germany, and all of Europe for that matter.

End result was New World Order, in which Bush-Tribe took over world post WWII.

hbm said...

The bailout of Wall Street’s largest players by the federal government is another example of the Bush administration pursuing a corporate agenda at the expense of average Americans, a prominent author argued on Friday.

In a Friday night interview on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Naomi Klein said President Bush’s $700 billion proposal to rescue the financial sector stems from a profiteering streak that has dominated the last eight years.

"The disaster is far from over," Klein said. "The disaster was on Wall Street and they have moved the disaster to Main Street."

Referring to the bailout, Klein said the "bomb has yet to detonate" and that the real crisis will strike when tax payers are overwhelmed when faced with the debt from the bailouts.

According to Klein, the bomb will detonate if Sen. John McCain becomes president and "rationalizes" that it is necessary to privatize government programs like social security and healthcare because neither the government nor Americans can afford them.

"The real disaster has yet to come; the real disaster is the debt that is going to explode on American tax payers," Klein said.

Klein’s book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," outlines how crises, real or perceived, have been used by governments, especially the United States under George W. Bush, to strong-arm a disoriented citizenry into accepting changes to its rights, and its government, that it wouldn't otherwise accept.

But Andrew Sullivan of TheAtlantic.com disagreed with Klein that a few "demonized" companies were at fault when the real culprit behind the mortgage crisis has been the willingness of Americans to

"[The American people] have spent and borrowed more than they could actually support," Sullivan said. "…To some extent, the American people are responsible for the crisis they are currently in."

Klein quickly shot back her own rebuttal.

"The reason why this bubble was allowed to inflate is not because the American people demanded it, it was because it was spectacularly profitable for Wall Street," Klein said.

Anonymous said...

This country is becoming Nazi Germany.

*

This 'country' created Nazi Germany.

Our President Twisted-Little-Dumbya-Shrub comes from a long line of CIA Nazi's.

It's well documented in 'Shirer', but in Hitlers rise to power from 1920, a little nobody. He came to power because Ford printed a million copy's of 'protocols of elder' and dumped them in Europe.

Randolph Hearst portrayed Hitler as anti-communist and supported his rise until Pearl Harbor.

Prescott Bush was the Banker.

The rest is history.

Germans lost WWII, Nazi's won.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous hbm said...

The bailout of Wall Street’s largest players by the federal government is another example of the Bush administration pursuing a corporate agenda at the expense of average Americans, a prominent author argued on Friday.

*

Stop the DAILY-KOS bullshit. Clinton signed into law the bill that allowed 'fair value accounting' that made it permissible to have phony numbers on the books post 2000.

Today virtually all of $12 Trillion dollar 'investment' is a fraud, worth much less than the stated value.

'Mark to Market' and tomorrow the crisis will be over. Today most money-markets are near 'breaking the buck', because they're not holding t-bills, but worthless SIV's.

If you let banks, investment houses, and casinos treat worthless paper as cash on the books then this is what happens.

Today the ONLY thing of value is oil, gold, real-estate, t-bills, and cash. The cash of course is going to NIL very quickly as the world as NO CONFIDENCE in the dollar.

See folks essentially post WWII the USA had a NUKE-GUN to the worlds head to take dim dollars, now its over, the USA is over.

The USA was always a third-world penal colony, and its going back to the same.

Banking is leaving the USA quicker than iPods are coming from China.

Now that BUSH-TRIBE has been neutered the world no longer fears the son's of Prescott Bush.

Anonymous said...

Homer,

Why in the FUCK are you still talking about BENDBB??

You know they monitor IP's on visit, they watch and snoop every move, at the very least remind people that your a stupid cunt, but make sure folks know to stay off BENDBB.

That's the problem with Bend, be HB-PUSSY, or Dunc, or BENDBB too many dumb fucking KUNTS in this town.

Anonymous said...

Homer, These dumb fucking dog-shit eating DAILY-KOS eaters seem to fucking think that there was NO speculation pre-2001, was anyone here alive in 1999 during DOT-CON?

Pleeeeze you dumb fucking KUNTS,


The problem is that the DEM & PUG's are OWNED by the same fucking people, at the same fucking banks.

HillyPooh is 100% wall-street aka NY-BANKS, just like OR-BOMB-EO is 100% chicago mercantile, at the very least what is going on right now is a war of the bankers.

It's always been this way texas bankers versus east coast, versus chicago exchange, all using 'government power' for controlling interest.

Trouble is today its all leaving the USA.

Anonymous said...

Being married 24/7 to your cell phone (I hate them) and taking calls at all hours.

*

This is all quite funny marge, hours for realtors.

They sure didn't care when they were making $5,000/hr, but now they're making 5 cents/hr, all of a sudden you folk want 'hours'.

I think everybody knew it was going to stop, 6% of a transaction for just being there, even if you split it, it was always too much money, and too easy. Anybody with a breath was allowed to join.

The one real diff between doc's and realtors, is the AMA don't let anybody join without going through da hoop, but the NAR let anybody join with a breath. Classic example of over-supply in a profession.

It's over, you made good money in the golden-days, now its over. Just like Tech, some of us made good money in the 60's->90's, and now its over.

I'm quite SICK of tech, quite glad there is no longer any money in it, I really find it quite painful and boring anymore.

Anonymous said...

It's well documented in 'Shirer', but in Hitlers rise to power from 1920, a little nobody. He came to power because Ford printed a million copy's of 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and dumped them in Europe.

Randolph Hearst portrayed Hitler as anti-communist and supported his rise until Pearl Harbor.

Prescott Bush was the Banker.

The rest is history.

Today the BUSH tribe is finished. They're fucked, and they're taking the USA down with them.

Just like fucking BEND, HOLLERN is fucked, and the SHEVLIN-HIXSON (old mill) NAZI support tribes of the past are taking Bend down with them.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

The treasury market has woke up to the fact that "EASING" is fairly meaningless if the currency you will be reaid with is worthless.

Yields on 30yrs has exploded higher from 3.9% just 3 days ago, to almost 100 BP's higher. (that's basis points, not The Official Metric of The Liberals, The Bruce Pussy... kidding Brucey!)

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

"The reason why this bubble was allowed to inflate is not because the American people demanded it, it was because it was spectacularly profitable for Wall Street," Klein said.

Ummm... OK, Wall St AIN'T The American People. It was allowed to go on, and in fact the flames were fanned, because Wall St has bought & paid for The US Gov't.

Don't say The American People demanded shit. Wall St did.

hbm said...

Plain and simple, they are asking Congress to obligate the U.S. taxpayers to hundreds of billions of dollars with no strings attached and no assurances that the money will ever be recaptured or that this won’t happen again. That is not a plan. We need to first make certain that this never happens again. We need major reform. There must be consequences for the people who created this crisis with a surtax or a wealth tax targeted at wealthy investors and Wall Street executives. We need to cancel their golden parachutes and their bonuses. Beyond that, we need to provide something for Main Street Americans in this package – a strong stimulus package to put people back to work rebuilding our infrastructure and other critical projects for this country. If we can borrow hundreds of billions to bail out Wall Street, how about a little bit to help our struggling economy and county payments and basic services for average Americans. They tell us there is no money but suddenly they’re asking for unlimited sums of money.

We need to deal with this issue of too big to fail. If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big to exist. We need to start enforcing anti-trust laws. We need a comprehensive solution before we put forward one penny of hard-earned taxpayers dollars, particularly before we borrow in the name of the American taxpayers. I’m going to fight for a package that makes sense and will fix this problem and will prevent problems like this from ever happening again. -- US Rep. Peter DeFazio


Why doesn't THIS guy run for president??? Maybe I'll write him in.

hbm said...

Hey, whatever happened to Sarah What'shername? All of a sudden she's not big news anymore.

Maybe with the economy imploding before their eyes, Americans finally decided this is serious business after all and they'd better think about more than how a candidate looks and how yummy her recipe for moose meatloaf is.

Anonymous said...

Hey, whatever happened to Sarah What'shername? All of a sudden she's not big news anymore.

*

She crawled back up HB-PUSSY's cunt, and is staying up there until her handlers tell her to come out.

Anonymous said...

Read the actual TEXT of the bail-out plan you lazy fucking KUNTS of Bend.

***

The New York Times has the Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan. Given this is legislation, under fair use terms, here is the complete draft. My thoughts follow.

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

Weep For The Taxpayer

Notice that this bill raises the national debt. Notice that the bill is supposed to take into consideration "protecting the taxpayer".

The reality is this bill does not and cannot protect the taxpayer. Rather this bill only promises to take the taxpayer into consideration. The Treasury will indeed take the taxpayer into consideration, then immediately discard any such ideas.

Inquiring minds are also noting "The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time."

The idea behind the above statement is to allow for a continual dumping ground such that there will always be $700 billion in toxic garbage held under this program. As soon as any asset can be unloaded by the Treasury at cost, another toxic loan is eligible to be assumed on the books of the Treasury. This process can last for as long as two years.

Unconstitutional Provisions

Pay particular attention to section 8.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Essentially the law will state that whatever the Treasury does it is above the law. Such a provision is undoubtedly unconstitutional.

It's time to Weep For The Free Market (or rather what little free market the US had left).

Weep For The Unites States of America

At taxpayer expense, Bernanke and Paulson are willing to bail out their banking buddies at enormous expense to the average taxpayer of this country. Bernanke and Paulson both should be fired. Instead Congressional sheep will baa 'yes' to this bailout and Bush will baa 'yes' when he signs it. It is a sickeningly sad that day for America that Congress will go along with this proposal that makes theUS Taxpayer A Giant Dumpster For Illiquid Assets.

$700 billion will be wasted by this program, and it is $700 billion the US does not have to waste. I ask that everyone vote against any congressman who votes for the passage of this bill.

Anonymous said...

We need to deal with this issue of too big to fail. If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big to exist.-- US Rep. Peter DeFazio

*

I'm glad a pol is saying this. We hear over&over how only a 'few' banks have failed, while 7,000 failed in the depression. Problem then was every town had a little bank. Today you have had a MONOPOLY where 1/2 dozen banks, are ALL the banks. Thus today when 1 or 2 fail, in effect 1,000's of small local banks have failed.

The problem is that we allow Goldman, Merril, BofA, Chrysler to get so fucking BIG, that they can't afford to fail.

Then insult to injury we're told that ONE BofA conglomerate is equal to one 1930's bank in Oshkosh, WI.

The essential problem is ALL the media, and ALL the pol's are owned by 1/2 dozen Mega-Banks.

Anonymous said...

Ummm... OK, Wall St AIN'T The American People. It was allowed to go on, and in fact the flames were fanned, because Wall St has bought & paid for The US Gov't.

Don't say The American People demanded shit. Wall St did.

-homer

*

Homer, isn't it FUNNY that its the PUSSY's that want to blame the US public for greed, and make them pay for the bail-out, when its the fat-cats that profited from the greed, and are to be insured for 'free' for the loss.

This is what essentially kills me about our Bend Pussy's is that they defend the KLEPTOCRACY 24/7.

The only pol's in the US calling for the dissolving the Federal Reserve Bank, is Ron Paul, and Barney Frank.

The US congress is the only branch of government with the right to run the banks. Like so many other things they have allowed the executive branch to assert control, like 'declaring a war'.

It's fairly clear what's going on, that OR-BOMB-EO has told NY Banks that if they support his election, he'll support the bailout. Trouble is the bail-out, given that its exempt from court over-sight is un-constitutional from the start.

Then the OR-BOMB-EO team tell's ALL its PUSSY's throughout the land to sell the BAIL-OUT. It's an easy sell, cuz ALL PUSSY's are losers, and always think when they hear 'bailout' they'll get a check themselves.

Anonymous said...

’m going to fight for a package that makes sense and will fix this problem and will prevent problems like this from ever happening again. -- US Rep. Peter DeFazio

Why doesn't THIS guy run for president??? Maybe I'll write him in.

*

YOU DUMB FUCKING KUNT, he'll not even run for Senator in OREGON, cuz he doesn't want to be a WHORE to the Democratic Party.

The reason that he talks the way he does is that he's a true representative of his district, something you never seen i this modern era where +90% of all pol's are paid out of State to be elected.

hbm said...

You're right, DeFazio is too smart, too honest and too outspoken to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. More's the pity.

hbm said...

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Congressional Democrats to Bush/Paulson: "Fuck you."

That's what they should say, anyway. Will they have the huevos to say it? I'm not optimistic. There are not enough DeFazios.

Just as they used 9/11 as a pretext for grabbing dictatorial military and national security powers, the BushCONs are trying to use the financial crisis as a pretext for grabbing dictatorial economic power. I'll lay 7 to 5 they get away with it.

hbm said...

Stop the Wall Street Coup


We are witnessing a bankers' coup d’etat. In the name of saving the economy from a crisis created by their own greed and immense profits, Bush and the biggest bankers have taken a country and a people hostage.

“Give us your money and tear up what’s left of your Constitution or we will sink your economy,” is the message from Wall Street and the Bush Administration. “Give us the power and money we demand or you will be left jobless from a new economic depression."

Under the pretext of the banking crisis, the Bush Administration is changing the way this country operates. This is not simply taking trillions of dollars from the people and giving it to the richest bankers to do with as they see fit.

Congress is poised to vote to give the Executive Branch of government, and specifically the White House’s political appointees in the Treasury Department, the absolute right to take our money and give it to domestic and foreign banks and corporations without any oversight of elected officials, from the courts, or from the people.

The new legislation states: “Decisions by the Secretary [of the Treasury] pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” The Legislation allows the Treasury Department to appoint the same bankers who created the crisis to administer and dictate the use of trillions of our tax dollars.

We will not stand by and let the Bush Administration formalize its vision of a “government of, by and for the richest bankers."

The new system institutionalizes theft on a grand scale. Lehman Brothers bankers will receive $2.5 billion in bonuses after their company went bankrupt last week, but the new dictatorial authority under the White House and Treasury Department has ruled out any relief for the millions of working families who are being foreclosed.

We live in a $15 trillion annual economy. Instead of taking our tax dollars and giving it to the already rich and powerful, these funds should be used provide to decent paying jobs, affordable housing, health care and a good education for our children. There is another way!

Now is the time to hear the voice of the people. A spineless Congress authorized Bush’s illegal war in Iraq and rubber-stamped the Patriot Act. Now they are being herded like sheep again to give the White House and Wall Street dictatorial control over the people’s money.


Take action now: VoteNoBailout.org

Anonymous said...


Wall Street's 9/11 in 2008

Posted: September 22, 2008, 10:01 AM by Diane Francis

Greed, U.S. Politics

The "brains trust" behind history's worst financial catastrophe: Bernanke, Bush; Paulson; Cox

Protecting the American people from terrorism should include fighting internally, but apparently Homeland Security and All the President's Men didn't put on their radar screens attacks that have been underway for years against New York's towers from the inside by capitalist cowboys.

Now Wall Street is no more -- that cavernous intersection of greedy human nature and the uniquely Republican dogma of deregulation or "invisible hand-ism" or financial hockey without referees. And now disaster.

Yesterday's news that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will become "holding companies" is simply a finesse intended to disguise the fact that all five Wall Street firms are now gone and deserve to disappear. Of course the victims are the taxpayers who, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson informed yesterday, will be on the hook for $700 billion. Make that $1 trillion or $2 trillion actually if the contagion keeps spreading despite increasing amounts of backstopping.

Frankly, lawsuits and handcuffs and RICO prosecutions are in order, but let's see if this terrorist attack results in mass arrests, full body searches, shipments to Gitmo or pinstriped stints in the slammer. I think RICO's a fine idea and taxpayers should be able to seize all the assets of all the managers, directors and executives who oversaw this conspiracy of recklessness for years. The money shot for me would be front-page photographs of government-induced foreclosures in Palm Beach and Palm Springs of Wall Streeters' mansions, stock portfolios, Porches and private jets.

But don't hold your breath because the monkeys guard the bananas in the United States and always have. Take Mr. Paulson who, frankly, would have a major conflict of social interest in taking tough measures against the culprits.

After all, he swam in those charmed circles. His remarkable career has spanned from a stint in the 1970s as assistant to the thoroughly discredited Nixon sidekick, John Erlichson, to a business career ending in his ascension as CEO and Chair of Goldman Sachs. This made him the Czar of the baddies in his day between 1999 and 2005 when he answered the call to public service and became Bush's Treasury Secretary.

He cashed in his Goldman options for a staggering $700 million to go to Washington which makes him the best market-timer in the history of Wall Street, I reckon.

But I digress. Hank will leave along with the rest of the Bushies, having bailed out problems he helped create, and not a minute too soon. The Bushies won't attack their base because after they leave Washington they will be hanging out in Palm Beach and Palm Springs with the gangs that got away. The only hope for justice would be to bring Eliot Spitzer out of mothballs or purgatory or wherever he is these days.

Frankly, Bush and "his brains trust" should be held accountable for this 9/11 attack on America's financial system. They let the capital and derivatives nonsense grow until they became the "financial weapons of mass destruction", as Warren Buffett astutely put it.

The Bush Quartet has much to answer for: Paulson who knew how all this stuff worked and did nothing until it fell apart; Ben Bernanke, who continued misguided loose money policies; Christopher Cox of the SEC who unleashed short sellers by removing the uptick rule last year despite furious warnings from many of us and, lastly, the hapless President of the United States.

Anonymous said...

You're right, DeFazio is too smart, too honest and too outspoken to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. More's the pity.
*

HBM, I don't know what rock you crawled out from, but he's too smart and honest to run for US Senate. WHY? He said himself five years ago, ... "I don't want to spend 24/7 of my life, begging NY Banks for money".

Enough fucking said, the DEM's & PUG's are owned by the same 'insolvent' banks.

Anonymous said...

Just as they used 9/11 as a pretext for grabbing dictatorial military and national security powers, the BushCONs are trying to use the financial crisis as a pretext for grabbing dictatorial economic power. I'll lay 7 to 5 they get away with it.

*

Yes, and NANCY PELOSI will keep the draft in her HUMIDOR CUNT. Because DEM's & PUG's are both on the dictatorial runway to power.

This GRAB couldn't happen without a complicit DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY.

GET OFF YOUR ASS KUNTS AND CALL YOUR POLS.

Anonymous said...

The USA is a NAZI KLEPTOCRACY.

The fact is TODAY with this new LAW that allows the exec branch to control the economy, is in effect a license to steal from the public without court over-sight.

What can I say, IRAQ, ... Just a case of chickens coming home to roost.

Nobody cared when Iraq, Vietnam, .. was being raped and robbed by BUSH-TRIBE, now they're coming home to ROB the USA fucking parasitic electorate.

Couldn't happen to a nicer nation.

The rest of the world is just watching and hoping for absolute fucking cannabilism.

Faith, Confidence in the USA???

Just watch the T-BOND/T-BILL spread.

Can Volcker this fucking mess with 20% rates like he did in 1979?? It's completely different now, then we still ruled the world in infrastructure post WWII, today we're outdated and broke.

We're exactly like the UK a dying empire.

Anonymous said...

The DEM's & PUG's are both dog-shit eaters, aka lawyers.

The bailout is coming

By MARTIN SIEFF
Published: Sept. 22, 2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The bailout is coming. It is going to be by far the biggest and most risky federal intervention in the American financial system in more than three-quarters of a century. And while everyone hopes it will succeed, no one, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his planners, is sure that it will.

Some members of the 111th Congress who already have been briefed on the underlying crisis have said they have been warned that the problems the United States faces financially are potentially greater than the Great Depression itself and the threatened meltdown of the national banking system that President Franklin D. Roosevelt averted during his very first week in executive power in April 1933.

These warnings are not mere hyperbole: Unfortunately they rest on sober fact. In 1933 the United States was still the greatest industrial power in the world with the greatest financial reserves on Earth. It was also the world's No. 1 producer of oil, and it enjoyed, even throughout the Great Depression, a clear balance of payments trading surplus with the rest of the world. The only thing the hapless President Herbert Hoover did right was to maintain the top-level credit worthiness of the federal government throughout the three and a half years of national economic collapse, which he failed to alleviate in any other significant way.

However, today, by contrast, the U.S. government is more in debt every year, thanks to the policies of President George W. Bush, than it has ever been in its history. The United States is the largest importer of oil in the world and in the history of the world, and its annual balance of payments trade deficit is the largest in both dollar and absolute terms of any nation in recorded history. At least 30 percent of U.S. Treasury bonds are held by the State Bank (OTCBB:SBAZ) of China alone. Japan holds even more.

Even now, no one knows how much the bailout is going to cost. Paulson and his team say the minimal figure is $500 billion, with the figure of $700 billion already being thrown around and even $1 trillion is already being cited as possible. As Bush said, with his usual grasp only of the finally obvious, "It's a big package because it's a big problem."

Could the U.S. economy actually be on the verge of total collapse? Amazingly, the answer has to be: possibly yes.

If all international investor confidence evaporated in Bush's nearly eight-year Ponzi scheme of boosting economic growth through rock-bottom interest rates without any acknowledgment of economic realism, a total collapse unfortunately could indeed come. Interest rates should have been allowed to rise to the region of 10 percent to 15 percent years ago, and both the Republican and Democratic congresses facing Bush should have reined in the Niagara of fiscal debt that his policies were generating. But, of course, neither party as much as raised a finger to stop it.

Finally, the 111th Congress and the leaders of both parties who remorselessly let this catastrophe develop over the past decade are now facing the Appointment with Destiny that none of them imagined they would ever have to meet. At long last, when the wolf has already eaten Wall Street, even the Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress agreed with their for so long feckless chief executive that something needed to be done within a week.

Typically, the Congress is being offered only a tightly scripted role by the very administration that let the crisis develop in the first place. And also typically, leaders on both sides are showing their usual supine natures in going along with it. In part, this really is a belated sense of bipartisan patriotism and responsibility at the 59th minute of the 11th hour before the Doomsday Clock strikes. But it also reflects the harsh fact that, with the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the entire Congress in both houses repeatedly has proven themselves to be financial illiterates as the crisis loomed.

In fact, there appears to be very little disagreement with the core of the administration's bailout proposal on either side of the aisle on Capitol Hill. And while more than a little bickering and micromanaging is inevitable among 535 self-important legislators who are overwhelmingly lawyers, none of them is going to want to go on record as significantly delaying, let alone preventing, a crucial measure that may be the last hope of avoiding the collapse of the domestic U.S. economy. As it showed after Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Congress is an institution that is second to none in its speed in bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted -- especially when it has spent years ignoring all the warnings it received that the horse was going to bolt.

The crisis also highlights the question: Who runs the United States when it comes to fundamental financial/economic matters? Right now the answer is that the treasury secretary and the chairman of the Federal Reserve are doing that job. The president and the Congress have been sidelined and are only stepping forward to play roles when called upon. Even Vice President Dick Cheney is nowhere to be heard from.

And on the rare occasions when the campaigns of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois have had things to say about the crisis, they have seemed mostly irrelevant.

It's some crisis to make a presidential campaign a secondary news story. And the crisis has only begun.

Anonymous said...

http://gay.dvdempire.com/itempage.aspx?item_id=1331484&view=0&subview=0

"EMPIRE ENEMA - PUMP & FILL"

The GW BUSH story.

The Best in All Male Fetish Kink GW BUSH is back again and he has some very interesting plans for his young slave boy, Paulson. Handcuffed, and with feet bound and a ball-gagged mouth, Paulson is forced to endure a very humiliating enema and hold it while GW torments the boy verbally and physically.

Finally, still bound, Paulson is positioned uncomfortably above a bucket and allowed to release the water. GW then uses a pump on Paulson's tits and cock, pump-sucking until both tits and cock are thick and full. The pumping fascinates GW and he has his slave reciprocate and use the pump on his cock as well. By now all this physical contact between the two boys has Paulson keyed up and GW graciously allows the boy to worship his master's body. The full body worship is enthusiastic and thorough. Finally both boys indulge their private fantasies and work themselves into very satisfying climaxes.

Two cute old white guys, humiliating enema torment, bondage, tit and cock pumping, sensual full body worship and fulfilling climaxes are all masterfully captured through the creative angles of the Bush-Tribe Productions camera. The action is visually unique and totally real - this is a truly original look at some rarely explored sexual fantasies!

Anonymous said...

McCain Circles Wagons Around Chicago

By Howard Kurtz
The Ad: (Narrator:) Barack Obama. Born of the corrupt Chicago political machine.

(Obama:) In terms of my toughness, look first of all, I come from Chicago.

(Narrator:) His economic adviser, William Daley. Lobbyist. Mayor's brother. His money man, Tony Rezko. Client. Patron. Convicted Felon. His "political godfather." Emil Jones. Under ethical cloud. His governor, Rod Blagojevich. A legacy of federal and state investigations. With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead.

Analysis: This John McCain ad is mostly accurate and largely pointless.

The one serious distortion is in claiming that Barack Obama was "born" of the Chicago machine. Obama was actually an independent outsider who challenged the party establishment, both in running for the state Senate and in unsuccessfully opposing incumbent congressman Bobby Rush. Obama did use hardball tactics on occasion, such as knocking an opponent off the ballot through a petition challenge, but was not embraced by the party apparatus until later in his career.

Three of the four names included here do no damage to the Illnois senator and serve mainly to reinforce the impression that Obama swims with sharks. Bill Daley may be a lobbyist and the brother of Mayor Richard Daley, but he is a former Commerce secretary with a solid reputation. State Senator Emil Jones gave Obama a boost early in his career, in part by assigning him to shepherd ethics legislation through the legislature. Obama has no connection to allegations that Jones has helped some family members on the state payroll. And while Blagojevich is Obama's governor -- indeed, he is governor of Oprah Winfrey and Mike Ditka and every other Illinois resident -- he and Obama are not close politically, and Obama has no involvement in the corruption that has plagued his administration.

Rezko is the exception, a major albatross for Obama. He was a key fundraiser for Obama and sold him a patch of land adjacent to Obama's home -- a deal that the Democratic nominee has called a "boneheaded mistake." But the Chicago businessman, who was convicted of corruption charges in June, was not under investigation at the time of these dealings.

While the ad is a stretch, McCain is trying to tie Obama to the specter of big-city, ethically challenged machine politics, undoubtedly hoping the word "Chicago" will turn off suburban and rural voters.

Anonymous said...

FRENCH CALL USA A 'BANANA REPUBLIC"

***

Keiser: US dollar "backed by bananas"
Sat, 20 Sep 2008 22:17:25 GMT
Press TV interviewed Paris-based financial analyst Max Keiser on the US financial meltdown on September 20. What follows are his free-wheeling comments on the US government bailout of Wall Street and the potential consequences for America.

"We have a treasury secretary in America - Hank Paulson. I'm afraid he's gone insane. He's become like the Colonel Kurtz of Treasury Secretaries. He's gone native. He's co-opted trillions of dollars of American taxpayers' money and he's playing hedge fund like a rogue trader. We have got a rogue trader in the Treasury Secretary's office. He's being aided and abetted by Ben Bernanke who's been discredited as the entire Federal Reserve Bank has been utterly discredited. We're looking at a possible inflationary depression in America and the worse is yet to come, much worse is yet to come."

"To pay for all this insanity from Hank Paulson, they have two options. They can either raise taxes or they can inflate the money supply. They can destroy these things US dollars [waves a dollar bill at the camera]. Dollars 30 years ago used to be backed by this stuff - gold [waves a gold coin at the camera]. Now thanks to Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke US dollars are backed by these - bananas [waves a banana at the camera]. They're absolutely worthless. Anyone buying US dollars today is going to lose money."

"For the average American, this is what they will experience. The price of food and oil are going to skyrocket due to hyperinflation. The only way they can possibly pay for all these bailouts is to inflate the money supply. This means hyperinflation in America like you had in Germany in the 1920s. This is what the average American will experience: destitution, poverty, social unrest due to flagrant bank mismanagement - and it could have been avoided. But unfortunately the banks in the USA are run by greedy, insane private marketeers and this is the result."

"It's not really a doomsday scenario for the rest of the world. Take Iran for example, you've got a lot of oil and gas. Those prices are going to go up. China has huge savings. The Indian people have huge gold reserves. For the rest of the world this is actually a fantastic thing. Only the US and Britain are going to experience this horrible disconnection with the rest of the world economy. So it's a doomsday for them but there's a certain symmetry here. They spent 20 or 30 years with this neoliberal model hoisting trillions of dollars of debt onto themselves and now it's gone belly up."

"Well if you go back to the 1970's when a similar inflationary spike hit the country you had Paul Volker who was an excellent Fed Chairman, probably the best of the past 100 years - much better than Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke who have really discredited the Federal Reserve Bank. Paul Volker at that time did what had to be done which was which was to raise interest rates. You've got to force the recession's last depression onto the American economy but it's necessary. This is what the next president is going to face - a choice which is not going to be tenable for the American people. They're going to have to experience a severe economic contraction so that there is some balance restored to the economy."

"Unfortunately the fear at this point is that is that the laws have been changed. Hank Paulson has done a power grab. When George Bush came into office he did a power grab. When 9-11 happened they did another power grab. They have dictatorial powers now. So now you've got this lunatic, Hank Paulson with a multi-trillion dollar hedge fund who's basically running the economy like a rogue trader."

"Hank Paulson has a multi-trillion dollar hedge fund and he doesn't appear to be in control of his own mental faculties. He appears to have gone insane."

"There wasn't really ever a strong American economy. There was a lot of debt over the past 30 years and this debt has built up. Just look at the average American. They weigh 300 pounds, they waddle around the malls shopping all day. They're not healthy. This is because there's too much debt in the system, too much easy money. Cheap money is what created this problem and it's been going on for 20 or 30 years. Unfortunately the labor movement in America has been decimated. They've been told for 20 or 30 years that it's a trickle down economy and that everyone can get rich in America."

"The problems are here but the people who created this nightmare are gone. Cheney has already got his Halliburton corporation headquartered in Dubai. He's already out of the picture. All these crooks are going to be leaving this country. They're not going to stay for all of the rioting there's going to be in America."

"Remember in Karachi a few weeks ago there was rioting at the Stock Exchange because of the very same thing that Paulson and Bernanke are doing today on the New York stock Exchange, imposing price-fixing and government intervention."

Anonymous said...

"The problems are here but the people who created this nightmare are gone. Cheney has already got his Halliburton corporation headquartered in Dubai. He's already out of the picture. All these crooks are going to be leaving this country. They're not going to stay for all of the rioting there's going to be in America."

*

The essential element of truth. Sep 2008 USA economic collapse, spring 2009 USA Martial Law.

Yes, buster has been saying for 2+ years now, that the 'rich' aren't buying in BEND, they're buying abroad where it will be safe to sleep.

The gated-communitys of Bend will not protect the 'rich'.

Why the fuck do you think that Jim Rogers is in Singapore, or Cheney is in Dubai??

hbm said...

Rezko is the exception, a major albatross for Obama.

Well, in a normal election maybe, but the problem for the RepubliCONs is that with the country in the midst of the worst economic meltdown since 1929, nobody is going to pay any attention to some chickenshit deal with Rezko a decade ago. Or to Rev. Wright, or flag pins, or whether Obama wore a turban one time, or any of the other horseshit the 'CONs are trying to use to hide from the real issues and their own record of dismal failure.

In past elections the Storm of Horseshit strategy worked well for the 'CONs, but not this time.

Bottom line: McClown and the 'CONs are fucked. It's over.

hbm said...

FRENCH CALL USA A 'BANANA REPUBLIC"

France and the other "socialist" countries that the BushCONs used to make fun of are getting the last laugh, n'est ce pas?

You want FREEDOM FRIES with that? LMAO!!!

My niece is lucky -- she's married to a Brit and is living in England. If I had dual citizenship in France, Britain, Germany or any other developed country in the world I would be getting the fuck OUT of here tomorrow. For 30 years I've been watching the 'CONs slowly kill my country, and I've had enough.

hbm said...

The price of food and oil are going to skyrocket due to hyperinflation. The only way they can possibly pay for all these bailouts is to inflate the money supply. This means hyperinflation in America like you had in Germany in the 1920s. This is what the average American will experience: destitution, poverty, social unrest due to flagrant bank mismanagement - and it could have been avoided.

Could we just drag Bush and Cheney out in the street and hang 'em from the nearest lamp post? Please, could we? I know it wouldn't accomplish anything but it sure would make a lot of people feel better.

Anonymous said...

In past elections the Storm of Horseshit strategy worked well for the 'CONs, but not this time.

*

PT-BARNUM had an answer to your assertion "NEVER underestimate the stupidity of the US public".

In rural area mcCain is ahead 10 pts.

Anonymous said...

If I had dual citizenship in France, Britain, Germany or any other developed country in the world I would be getting the fuck OUT of here tomorrow.

*

You can out anytime, it will just cost $500k that's how much australia and/or new zealand wants to see in your bank account before you move in

Yes, I concur that it would be nice to have a dual passport for late in the game.

In 1-2 years there will be so many 'rich' people leaving the US that the over country's will have caps.

I have always thought I could always go live with relatives abroad, on a long 'vacation'.

That said, we're old, we'll be dead fairly soon, its the kids that are going to take it in the shorts.

Most of us old fucks are fairly well set, e.g. if we bought here in orygon 30+ years ago and have NO debt.

National ID cards, riots, it will be here next year, not Bend of course, but LA, NYC, ... will be so bad, we'll see refugees in Bend.

Anonymous said...


http://gay.dvdempire.com/itempage.aspx?item_id=1331484&view=0&subview=0

"EMPIRE ENEMA - PUMP & FILL"

The GW BUSH story.

The Best in All Male Fetish Kink GW BUSH is back again and he has some very interesting plans for his young slave boy, Paulson. Handcuffed, and with feet bound and a ball-gagged mouth, Paulson is forced to endure a very humiliating enema and hold it while GW torments the boy verbally and physically.

Finally, still bound, Paulson is positioned uncomfortably above a bucket and allowed to release the water. GW then uses a pump on Paulson's tits and cock, pump-sucking until both tits and cock are thick and full. The pumping fascinates GW and he has his slave reciprocate and use the pump on his cock as well. By now all this physical contact between the two boys has Paulson keyed up and GW graciously allows the boy to worship his master's body. The full body worship is enthusiastic and thorough. Finally both boys indulge their private fantasies and work themselves into very satisfying climaxes.

Two cute old white guys, humiliating enema torment, bondage, tit and cock pumping, sensual full body worship and fulfilling climaxes are all masterfully captured through the creative angles of the Bush-Tribe Productions camera. The action is visually unique and totally real - this is a truly original look at some rarely explored sexual fantasies!

Anonymous said...

Could we just drag Bush and Cheney out in the street and hang 'em from the nearest lamp post? Please, could we? I know it wouldn't accomplish anything but it sure would make a lot of people feel better.

*

HBM is asking for a visit from the secret service.

DUMBYA will be in Crawford in a few retired, and Cheney is already running the world from Dubai.

In a few months we can rattle paper-swords at OR-BOMB-EO&MC$ain.

hbm said...

HBM is asking for a visit from the secret service.

What the hell, it was just a suggestion ...

bruce said...

Anybody else catch that Paulson sold half a billion in GS stock, taxfree, for the honor of becoming Treas Sec? But he still has ties. See Paulson files to sell $500 mln of Goldman stock


I like this part of that article the best:

Interestingly, under U.S. government ethics rules, while Paulson is required to sell the shares, he is also exempt from paying taxes on any capital gains on the sale if he obtains a certificate of divestiture. The rule granting the exemption is designed to make sure prospective government employees who own a lot of stock are not dissuaded from joining the government.

$500 MILLION TAX FREE.

And now he's bailing out his buds.

FUCK THAT.

There is an online movement to stall this.

"In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." MLK, changed to this during the 2008 FISA fight

BTW, nice to see things perked up around here.

bruce said...

Anyone else find it as hilarious as I do that the stories about GS and Morgan becoming commercial banks makes them come under strenuous regulations?

Kind of like WaMu?

hbm said...

Loan Titans Paid McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and CHARLES DUHIGG
Published: September 21, 2008

Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.

Mr. McCain, the Republican candidate for president, has recently begun campaigning as a critic of the two companies and the lobbying army that helped them evade greater regulation as they began buying riskier mortgages with implicit federal backing. He and his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, have donors and advisers who are tied to the companies.

But last week the McCain campaign stepped up a running battle of guilt by association when it began broadcasting commercials trying to link Mr. Obama directly to the government bailout of the mortgage giants this month by charging that he takes advice from Fannie Mae’s former chief executive, Franklin Raines, an assertion both Mr. Raines and the Obama campaign dispute.

Incensed by the advertisements, several current and former executives of the companies came forward to discuss the role that Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser, played in helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000. Some who came forward were Democrats, but Republicans, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed their descriptions.

“The value that he brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again,” said Robert McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, who said that while he worked there from 2000 to 2002, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together paid Mr. Davis’s firm $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis “didn’t really do anything,” Mr. McCarson, a Democrat, said.


It's really pretty comical to watch John McClown, after 25 years as a champion of deregulation in Congress, now pretending to be The Great Regulator.

As far as that goes it's really comical to watch many of the RepubliCONs trying to scurry away from their failed economic philosophy. (Many but not all; some, unbelievably, are still saying the problem is TOO MUCH regulation.)

hbm said...

BTW, nice to see things perked up around here.

Yeah, and during the Great Smirky Depression sets in there will be even more on-line activity because nobody will have a job.

bruce said...

Jobs are what you make them. Or how you create them. Yes, I know most don't think that way.

What's with all the huge cut-and-pastes with no bolding of the good parts? Didn't Buster give me a pile of shit about it WITH bolding not too long ago?

Buster?

I particularly like the one given privately to bank CEO's about how things are not really that bad.

bruce said...

Re: Handcuffed, and with feet bound and a ball-gagged mouth, Paulson is forced to endure a very humiliating enema and hold it while GW torments the boy verbally and physically.

Actually, I think you have that backwards.

bruce said...

Re: Why the fuck do you think that Jim Rogers is in Singapore, or Cheney is in Dubai??

Truth. And Bush (maybe) in Paraguay. Can we spell Nazi?

bruce said...

Palin, the gift that keeps on giving:

Inevitably, his work brought him into conflict with Palin and other highly politicized Christian fundamentalists in the valley. "Things got very intense around here in the '90s -- the culture war was very hot here," Bess said. "The evangelicals were trying to take over the valley. They took over the school board, the community hospital board, even the local electric utility. And Sarah Palin was in the direct center of all these culture battles, along with the churches she belonged to."
...
And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library.
Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a "hit list" targeted by Palin. "I'm as certain of that as I am that I'm sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do."
...
Soon after the book controversy, Bess found himself again at odds with Palin and her fellow evangelicals. In 1996, evangelical churches mounted a vigorous campaign to take over the local hospital's community board and ban abortion from the valley. When they succeeded, Bess and Dr. Susan Lemagie, a Palmer OB-GYN, fought back, filing suit on behalf of a local woman who had been forced to travel to Seattle for an abortion. The case was finally decided by the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled that the hospital must provide valley women with the abortion option.

At one point during the hospital battle, passions ran so hot that local antiabortion activists organized a boisterous picket line outside Dr. Lemagie's office, in an unassuming professional building across from Palmer's Little League field. According to Bess and another community activist, among the protesters trying to disrupt the physician's practice that day was Sarah Palin.
...
Munger also asked Palin if she truly believed in the End of Days, the doomsday scenario when the Messiah will return. "She looked in my eyes and said, 'Yes, I think I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.'"


Source: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/15/bess/

Hillary voters support this?

bruce said...

On the local front, the members of the Juniper Ridge Management Board, which will "...relieve [the CC] of the day-to-day responsobility of monitoring what's going on at Juniper Ridge..." (Source: BULL Note that Kuratek could not be reached for comment for this article. Going to secrecy again...)

Ron Foerster 389-2777
6/30/12
High-tech Communication

John James 382-7165
6/30/12
Real Estate/Development

Patti Moss 385-6205
6/30/13
Banking

Steven Petersen 617-0430
6/30/13
Urban Development

Oran Teater 389-1703
6/30/11
Financial Business


Patti and Oran are well known. Any input on the others?

bruce said...

Googling tells us that Petersen, James, and Foerster are all involved with COCC and/or OSU-Cascades.


OSU-Cascade Board of Advisors
Mr. Steven Petersen
Consultant, Industrial Development Corporation (a subsidiary of CH2M Hill)
Former Director, State of Oregon Economic & Community Development Department

COCC Foundation Board of Trustees

John K. James
Term began: May 1995
Bend

Owner, JAMES PROPERTY INVESTMENTS.

Meet the COCC Board

DR. RONALD E. FOERSTER
ZONE 4
Bend
Term expires 2009

Board Vice-Chair
High-tech Telecommunications Executive, Retired
Resident of Bend since 2000

...

So the Management Board is rather heavily weight towards the local post-secondary ed community. Is the long term plan to sell off the school on the hill?

Education is key to good jobs. That much is good.

bruce said...

And back to the national front--I've got a bunch to do but this is just too rich, especially considering Ms. Palin's church actively "cures" gays through prayer:

Hypocrisy Bombshell: Antigay John McCain has a Gay Chief of Staff

Later...

Anonymous said...

you can air all your Bend concerns on OPB:

OPB’s daily talk show Think Out Loud is coming to Bend - and you're invited to join us!

We'll be hosting a live taping of the show in Bend on Monday, October 6th.

We'll be talking about Central Oregon's economic ups and downs, and exploring what they mean for the region.

Come be part of the live audience to offer your own experience, insights and questions.

* WHERE: Cascades Theatrical Company at 148 NW Greenwood in Bend, OR
* WHEN: Monday, October 6, 2008. Doors open at 6:30 PM. The taping begins at 7:30 PM sharp.
* HOW: No RSVP necessary, just show up! The event is free of charge, but space is limited, so seating is first come, first seated.

We'll be posting more details about the program on the Think Out Loud blog. And you can share your thoughts about the subject here.

And as always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Scott Silver
Oregon Public Broadcasting
7140 SW Macadam Ave. | Portland, OR 97219
503.977.7795 | ssilver@opb.org
www.opb.org/publicinsight

Anonymous said...

Re: Handcuffed, and with feet bound and a ball-gagged mouth, Paulson is forced to endure a very humiliating enema and hold it while GW torments the boy verbally and physically.

Actually, I think you have that backwards.

*
Nope, it was GW who ordered gay sado-masochism at abu-ghraib and gitmo, this is GW love,

Watch carefully, not what Paulson say's, but how he walks.

Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy Bombshell: Antigay John McCain has a Gay Chief of Staff

Later...

*

Are the Pug's not faggots? Are the Pug's not sticking shit up peoples ass all over the world 24/7?


Then why is this hypocrisy?

Where did Mc$ain say he didn't like queer GW, and the funny things he does ( enemas ) to his staff?

GW has always been about homo-sexual sadism, just like almost all nazis in history.

Goebbels was gay, GW ain't really gay, and neither is Mc$cain, but they still like to watch.

Anonymous said...

A short history of 'faggotry' and TEAM-BUSH.

***

Ted Haggard, pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and head of the 30-million strong National Association of Evangelicals, after being outed as a crystal meth snorting sodomite guilty of paying male prostitutes for sex and drugs, reluctantly admitted, "I am a deceiver and a liar."

Now, isn't it way past time that yet another high profile sodomite, a cocaine abuser shamelessly guilty of hiring male prostitutes to service him, also finally step forward and admit, "I too, am a deceiver and a liar?"

I'm referring, of course, to George W. Bush, current occupant of the nation's #1 political job, the presidency. This may be quite a shock to some readers, but most folks in the Washington, D.C. beltway already know what I'm going to reveal here. Yes, they know that George W. is a bisexual and a procurer of male prostitutes.

Many insiders snicker and laugh ha, ha, ha, at brain-dead Christian evangelicals who actually believe that George W. is a God-fearing heterosexual, born again Christian. As David Kuo, former top White House adviser in the Bush Administration, reveals in his new book, Tempting Fate, the Bush White House team sneers and jokes about the evangelicals so easily deceived by the President. Kuo presents evidence that the Bush people view Christian evangelical leaders and their flocks as ridiculous, silly, nuts, even insane. To the Bush people, Christianity is a farce and Christians are easily duped idiots.

George W. Bush's Tarnished Reputation

George W. Bush, as many Texas politicos could easily tell you, had quite a reputation back in the Lone Star State for both his sexual misconduct and for his snorting of loads of white powder (cocaine) up his nose. The man never held a real job; he shirked his Air National Guard duties, having joined the Guard in the first place only to evade serving in Vietnam. Bill Clinton dodged military service, too, by running off and hiding in England, but Bush hid in plain sight, in an Air National Guard uniform. It's great to have friends in high places to help out in time of need, isn't it?

Bush and Clinton are alike in one other aspect as well. Both used the White House as a Whore House. Bill did sexual things with cigars with a young intern, while George had his muscular, boy-man homosexual lover, Jeff Gannon, stay over many a night in the White House. He and young Jeff Gannon weren't discussing foreign policy and affairs of state all those times in the wee hours of the morning in the presidential bedrooms, I assure you.
President Bush raised eyebrows at a White House press conference by kissing homosexual prostitute Jeff Gannon on top of his head. Gannon was issued press credentials by Karl Rove at Bush’s request and attended the sessions.
This photo shows George Bush affectionately embracing male prostitute Jeff Gannon at the White House right after a presidential press conference. Other photos picture Bush winking at and actually kissing Gannon. (For more info, go on the internet to google.com and search for Jeff Gannon, Talon.com.) Gannon quickly disappeared after these photos came out.

Fabulous, Gorgeous, Queer

Since assuming the presidency, George W. has surrounded himself with gay men. The White House is jokingly referred to as the "Pink House" by the Gay Community. First, there's Karl Rove, Bush's campaign chief. Rove's father was gay, and Rove himself is a queer. According to Fox-TV News, Karl Rove smiled knowingly when a Fox-TV reporter asked him about the special nickname his pal, the President, lovingly has for him.

President Bush calls me "Turdblossom," Rove said. Why "Turdblossom?"—Please, let's not go there.

George W. Bush often commends male visitors to the White House for their "fabulous" clothing. He told the Canadian Prime Minister that his young, male press advisor was "gorgeous." Bush appointed Ken Mehlman, a Jewish homosexual, as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Think of it—a homo as titular head of the entire Republican Party!
At Yale University, student George W. Bush roomed with his homosexual pal, Victor Ashe. Later, as President of the United States, Bush appointed his old friend Ashe Ambassador to Poland.
Bush also named his gay roommate at Yale University, Tennessee's Victor Ashe, Ambassador to Poland. As Global AIDS Coordinator, another Ambassador-rank position, Bush chose homosexual activist Mark R. Dybul. Secretary of State Condi Rice administered the oath of office to the new appointee, recognizing Dybul's gay lover and live-in partner, Jason. Condi, a reputed lesbian dominatrix, even permitted the Ambassador's homo partner, Jason, to hold the Bible upon which Dybul laid his hand while taking the oath of office.

President Bush has more homosexuals in his Administration than Bill Clinton, and he's more than accommodated their "special needs." For example, Bush appointed a queer to be the new Ambassador to Romania, then approved the man's sodomite lover to fly off with him in a U.S. aircraft to Bucharest, the capital of that nation, where the gay Ambassador
Secretary of State Condi Rice swears in sodomite Mark R. Dybul as Bush’s Global AIDS Coordinator. First Lady Laura Bush looks on and Dybul’s gay partner, Jason, holds the Bible.
and his lover now contently shack-up together in an embassy-leased mansion, at U.S. taxpayers' expense. The two sodomites even attend official functions together. I wonder what the leaders and citizens of Romania think about that?

Homosexuals Love Bush's Supreme Court Nominees

Bush's biggest coup was his choice to be the new Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. John Roberts, a gay judge, is not only queer himself, but he's the infamous attorney who represented the entire homosexual community of America in the notorious, landmark court case, Romer v Evans (1996), in which all state laws forbidding acts of sodomy were declared unconstitutional.

The depraved Judge Roberts is so fanatical in his support of sodomy and gay rights he even fought the case for his limp-wristed buddies on a pro bono basis—he didn't even charge the queer groups a dime for his services. Now that's real devotion to a cause, however corrupt.

So, thanks to our "born again Christian President," George W. Bush, we have sitting at the helm of the U.S. Supreme Court one of the most highly acclaimed gay rights attorneys in the world. Whoop-te-do!

What's more, so enamored of Bush and slavish to his every need are evangelical leaders like Pastor Ted Haggard, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell that they ended up enthusiastically throwing their full support for John Roberts' confirmation by the Senate. So, gays owe a great debt of gratitude to the Dobson-Falwell crowd, as well as to George W. Bush, for this generous favor.

When just a few, old-line conservatives complained about Judge Roberts' devoted, pro bono work on behalf of the gay rights movement, Jerry Falwell, always a boot kisser to Republican presidents, jumped in to defend Bush's pro-gay choice. Gay rights, said Falwell, "is not a liberal or conservative value. It's an American value that I would think that we pretty much all agree on." Uh, hold on there, Jerry. Not "all" of us agree on that. In fact, I suspect there are at least several thousand readers of Power of Prophecy newsletter who believe sodomy and its cousin, pedophilia, are both a sin and a crime.

Steamy Lesbian Sex and the Infamous Bear Novel

And there's more. George W. Bush was the first President to have formal public meetings in the Oval Office with the Log Cabin Republicans group—a merry band of GOP queers into politics. He chose for his running mate Vice President Dick Cheney, whose wife, Lynn, authored several novels with what have been called "steamy lesbian sex scenes." Fitting since, as it turns out in real life, the Cheneys' daughter is a full-scale lesbian political activist.

Cheney for four years was served by his Chief of Staff, an odd fella named Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby, who has been indicted by a federal grand jury for intelligence crimes, is reputed to be an Israeli secret agent. Libby, or "Scooter" as Cheney and neocon friends so lovingly call him, also is a novelist. In one of his fiction books, he has an account of a caged bear being sexually tormented by human sex fiends with sticks. (Incredible? Yes, but also sickeningly true).

Israel's President Rapes Ten Aides

Bush and Cheney are, as we all know, huge backers of Israel and are extremely supportive of Israeli politicians. Is it not significant, then, that Israel's President, Moshe Katsov, is now under investigation in that country for raping and sexually molesting ten young staffers? The crimes of Katsov, the sex-fiend President of Israel, are perhaps exceeded only by those of Bush and his homoerotic cohorts.

Consider the sexual sadism practiced at Abu Ghraib prison. Video films of Iraqi male, nude prisoners showed many being victimized in acts of brutal sodomy. Naked Iraqi males—many whom later were found to be innocent—were stacked in pyramids, their sexual organs revealed.

Evidence shows that top Bush White House and Pentagon officials, including Secretary of State Rumsfeld, privately viewed these obscene, monstrous movies, no doubt for their own, wicked pleasures. Apparently, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all the other Bush Administration perverts get a real rise out of viewing young men screaming in agony as they are ritualistically tortured and sexually abused by sodomite creeps. Shades of the abominable activities of France's notorious sadist, the Marquis de Sade.

Seymour Hersh, acclaimed New York writer who uncovered the My Lai, Vietnam atrocities decades ago, reports that inside the Pentagon's inner sanctum, kept hidden by Bush people from view by ordinary Americans, are horrific videos that beggar the imagination. They include grim scenes of U.S. CIA and military interrogators raping and sodomizing Iraqi children. Hersh has seen them and says the "soundtrack of the shrieking boys" and hearing their mothers, forced to watch, crying out for mercy, made him sick to his stomach.

Bush is a sick, sick man, indeed. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and Beria don't have a thing on this man. Bush and his coterie of homoerotic thugs are craftier and more sinister than anything the brutal Soviet system ever produced. And coincidentally, Lenin and the boys in Russia were all Jews, and they were all homosexuals to boot. Just like Bush and his neocons.

Crushing the Testicles of Little Boys

Once we peer within, we find worse and worse elitist Bush perversion down deep inside the White House rabbit hole. In a debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and scholar Doug Cassel, Bush Justice Department attorney John Yoo argued that President George Bush has the full legal authority to sexually torture anyone suspected of being a terrorist. According to Yoo, if Bush desires, he can even order the sexual torture of infants. He can, for example, order interrogators to crush the testicles of a person's child, to get the parent to "confess." It was Yoo who authored Bush's misnamed Patriot Act legislation, authorizing the torture, the suspension of constitutional rights for suspects, and the imprisoning of "potential" criminals at U.S.-run gulag camps.

Extending outside the White House, we find even more evidence of the sicko regime: GOP Congressmen Mark Foley, Danny Hastert, Jim Kolbe, and a slew of others, including Governors, Senators, and Judges. Homoerotic thugs all, and not a few pedophile predators among them. The evil goes back all the way to the Lyndon B. Johnson and the Reagan Administrations. Many of President Ronald "Hollywood" Reagan's White House pals were also sodomites.
Defrocked Congressman Mark Foley, poster boy for rampant homosexuality of Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington, DC.

Jewish Talmud Approves Pedophilia

That most of the Bush queer battalion are Jews is not a surprise. The Jewish Talmud, the rabbis' most holy book, officially endorses pedophile acts by homosexual fiends. The Talmud says that sex with a girl under three years of age, or a minor boy under nine, is permissible. It's not even a "sexual connection," say the rabbis.

Evidently, evangelicals like TBN's Paul Crouch (who gave $425,000 to hush-up his homosexual lover from writing a tell-all exposé of he and Paul's sodomite affair) and the NAE's gay deceiver, Ted Haggard, for years either winked at the White House Bordello, or just avoided the issue.

So, apparently, did Dobson, Falwell, Hagee, Graham, Warren, Hybels, Schuller and all the other evangelical fakesters. For this crowd, it's the old monkey's routine of "see, hear, say nothing."
During the Reagan presidency, with the Senior George H. W. Bush as Vice President, young boys were molested by a ring of high-ranking Congressmen and bureaucrats. To view a full page image click on this article. (See the book, The Franklin Coverup, offered through Power of Prophecy.)

Laura Bush's Revealing Choice

First Lady Laura Bush has surely known about her hubby, George's, sexual infatuation with male prostitute Jeff Gannon. And she must at least suspect the grotesque goings-on of the strange men who carry on their sick and sordid behavior inside the secure work areas of the White House Bordello. A hint of her sure knowledge came a couple of years ago when officials of the Texas Library Association asked Mrs. Bush to identify a single play or book that the First Lady personally enjoyed and was representative of what Laura considered "the best that Texas authors and playwrights had to offer." Madam Bush's revealing choice: "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

Anonymous said...

Bush even has his own favorite TV show.

***

Seymour Hersh, acclaimed New York writer who uncovered the My Lai, Vietnam atrocities decades ago, reports that inside the Pentagon's inner sanctum, kept hidden by Bush people from view by ordinary Americans, are horrific videos that beggar the imagination. They include grim scenes of U.S. CIA and military interrogators raping and sodomizing Iraqi children. Hersh has seen them and says the "soundtrack of the shrieking boys" and hearing their mothers, forced to watch, crying out for mercy, made him sick to his stomach.

Anonymous said...

When we run out of water 'paulson', this is what you can look forward to ...

***

Crushing the Testicles of Little Boys

Once we peer within, we find worse and worse elitist Bush perversion down deep inside the White House rabbit hole. In a debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and scholar Doug Cassel, Bush Justice Department attorney John Yoo argued that President George Bush has the full legal authority to sexually torture anyone suspected of being a terrorist. According to Yoo, if Bush desires, he can even order the sexual torture of infants. He can, for example, order interrogators to crush the testicles of a person's child, to get the parent to "confess." It was Yoo who authored Bush's misnamed Patriot Act legislation, authorizing the torture, the suspension of constitutional rights for suspects, and the imprisoning of "potential" criminals at U.S.-run gulag camps.

Anonymous said...

Even John McCain would be the first to admit that watching a child get fucked in the ass is better than having it done to you, ...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008
John McCain's sadistic North Vietnamese homosexual captors
· 8/19/2008 03:56:00 PM ET · Link
Make a comment · reddit · FARK · Digg It! · Stumble It!

I'm not even sure what to do with this. But I agree with Gawker - where did McCain get the notion that his captors were gay if they never hit on him? Were there any openly gay North Vietnamese soldiers in 1970? I'm going to guess no. From Gawker(via Queerty)

Queerty tracked down what may be McCain's first personal account of his captivity and torture, for US News & World Report in May of 1973. They posted it online in January, but maybe it's because we're all so familiar with his tale at this point that no one noticed, until now, the bit where he says all his captors were homosexuals who got off on whipping him. No, that is not made up.

Now I don't hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings.

Yes, ok. What?? How did POW McCain know they were gay if they weren't gay "toward him"? Were the homosexuals the ones who enjoyed the beatings or were the sadists a separate category? We have lots of unanswered questions here. Like—how come he mentions how gay the North Vietnamese were but leaves out that inspiring tale of the cross on the floor he mentioned last weekend?

Anonymous said...


Implications aside, it's curious the former seaman would feel compelled to include this queer detail.


( Not if you were looking for a boyfriend, or sending signal to other military leaders of what fun they had. )

John McCain's POW past remains one of the politico's most powerful identifying markers.

Time and time again it comes up in his stump speeches, campaign commercials and discussions on faith. And for good reason: the Arizona Senator's tale of torture and patriotism captured a nation back in 1973, when he was finally released after almost six years in Vietnamese captivity. McCain became a bit of a - dare we say it - celebrity, and even penned a first hand account of his experience for US News & Report.

In the piece, McCain explains his relationship to his captors, some of whom he claims were gay:

In other words, if you are going to make it, you get tougher as time goes by. Part of it is just a transition from our way of life to that way of life. But you get to hate them so bad that it gives you strength.

Now I don't hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings.

It's unclear in this last sentence is Senator McCain means "Some [gays]" or "Some [captors]." Implications aside, it's curious the former seaman would feel compelled to include this queer detail.

This 1973 story, which is quite extensive, does not include McCain's contentious "cross in the sand" story.

Anonymous said...

Buse & McCain are boyfriends, it just keeps getting better, ...

John McCain and his campaign are about to be getting all sorts of gay press.

Blogger Mike Rogers appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show today to reveal that Mark Buse, Senator McCain's chief-of-staff, goes for the guys.

Why is this a big deal? Well, first and foremost, McCain's running with ardently anti-gay Sarah Palin, a woman who scares us more than killer drag queens from outer space.

Also, there's McCain kissing social conservative butt in exchange for electoral love.

Signorile first heard about Buse's homosexuality from an ex-lover of the forty-four year olds, a story Signorile confirmed with a number of sources. Mike Rogers also found his own tipsters to dish the dirt.

Though Buse has never denied being gay and neither men seem interested in playing "gotcha" with the staffer, they say his history with McCain reveals the Republican presidential candidate's own "hypocrisy." Signorile writes:

Today, Buse, 44, is one of the closest and most loyal men to Senator John McCain. He knows McCain's family "intimately," says Davis, and has spent much time with Cindy McCain. When Buse was in his early 20s, when Brian Davis met him, Buse worked as an intern for McCain, back when McCain was a House member. Twenty years later Buse has risen to the highest position in McCain’s Senate office. During those two decades he left McCain for a while to become an influential K Street lobbyist for Exxon Mobil, AT&T Wireless and other multinational corporations, emerging as someone very valuable to those companies – and to John McCain — after he returned to McCain's Senate office.

But though some in the media have focused on Buse’s role as a lobbyist, none have looked at another increasingly relevant detail: Mark Buse’s sexual orientation. And yet, it’s a detail that reveals hypocrisy about John McCain that is as clear as that of his reputation to take on the corporate interests while he has registered lobbyists on his staff and campaign.

John McCain is opposed to every single gay rights measure of recent years –- from a hate crimes bill, to an anti-discrimination bill to an attempt to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military –- and is publicly on record supporting a ballot measure in California this November to strip gays and lesbians there of their legally-won right to marry in that state. If that isn’t enough to make it relevant to report on his 20-year-relationship with a close aide and chief of staff who is gay, the fact that Sarah Palin is now on the ticket — garnering support for McCain from previously reticent antigay leaders like James Dobson of Focus on the Family –- surely does.

Mark Buse’s sexual orientation and his relationship with McCain certainly are relevant facts in light of Palin’s positions, beliefs, past political career and silence on the issues right now. And John McCain is the person responsible for making them relevant by choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate.

McCain did make these issues more relevant by picking Palin, but he was actively courting the frothing homophobic masses long before the Governor came into the picture. We wish we could say we're surprised or outraged by this Buse business, but most of all it just makes us sad.

Signorile does make a very valid point, however, when describing what Buse's ex-boyfriend describes as the staffer's disappointment in McCain's dealings with right wing fundamentalists:

Has Mark Buse been assured by John McCain that his bowing to religious conservatives is all just politics, that he’s just stringing along the fundies, and that he wouldn’t sell him and his kind to the far right as president? If that is the case, what would the Christian right think about that now and don’t they have a right to know?

And, if true, how would Buse and certainly McCain then explain the choice of Palin, beyond admitting that it is simply a reckless gamble, since it’s quite possible she could become president and bring the ideologues into the White House? Is there some other plan for how do deal with Palin?

Whatever the Palin plan may have been, this story, if it gains traction, could complicate things for McCain, Palin and especially Buse.

Anonymous said...

John & Cindy are just regular people like you & me, here in Bend.

***

McCain Update: Homosexual Guards and Cindy's Daddy Issues


Apparently, in his very first account of his imprisonment in Vietnam, John McCain said, "a lot of [the guards] were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings."

It's unclear whether

(a) McCain was confused as to the difference between homosexuals and sadists (though as a Navy man, that seems unlikely), or

(b) how McCain knew they were homosexuals if he himself was not ... involved.

Moving on.

kathleen hensleyCindy McCain is not an only child, like, at all.* She has a half-sister, Kathleen (photo at right), who was neglected and completely disinherited by their common father, the wealthy beer distributor, Jim Hensley.

Jim Hensley was a WWII pilot, and had Kathleen with Wife #1.

He was injured and sent to West Virginia to recuperate, where, while married to Wife #1, he met Wife #2. He quickly divorced Wife #1 and married Wife #2 the same year. Cindy was born 9 years later.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? John McCain was a Navy pilot. After recuperating from his injuries, and while still married to Wife #1, he met Wife #2 (17 years his junior, she was 24, he was 41). He quickly divorced Wife #1 and married Wife #2 even before the final divorce decree from Wife #1.

So, Cindy married her dad, which is, in her defense, not uncommon.

And they're both pill-poppers.

* Cindy also has another half sister from her mother's previous marriage. So, she is not the only child of either of her parents, and every time she says she is, she's just lying.

Anonymous said...

Scooter in public, 'sticks' in private, ...

Cheney for four years was served by his Chief of Staff, an odd fella named Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby, who has been indicted by a federal grand jury for intelligence crimes, is reputed to be an Israeli secret agent. Libby, or "Scooter" as Cheney and neocon friends so lovingly call him, also is a novelist. In one of his fiction books, he has an account of a caged bear being sexually tormented by human sex fiends with sticks. (Incredible? Yes, but also sickeningly true).

Anonymous said...

'Bush names lame puppy "Mc-Cain"'

Is Bush a sadist, or does he just need a Queer Eye?

By John Steinberg | RAW STORY COLUMNIST

One of the great benefits of blogging and writing columns is that I don’t watch much television these days. But try as I might, I cannot entirely avoid one of the more bizarre phenomena of recent years, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” In case any of you have been lucky enough to have spent the last two years in a parallel universe uncontaminated by “reality” television, each installment of QESG features a different sartorially challenged hetero male who gets a makeover from a panel of fashion consultants who range from the slightly swishy to charter membership in the Judy Garland fan club.

Advertisement

Incredibly, this pouf pageant is knocking them dead in Red State America. It seems odd that these bible-thumping holy rollers invite people into their homes a few nights a week who they would prefer to never see in their communities. Combine this oddity with the Bible Belt popularity of that other gay minstrel show, “Will & Grace” and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the militantly hetero middle is fascinated by at least some aspects of gay culture.

I can offer no explanation for this societal-level rubbernecking, but recent events offer considerable evidence that such cognitive dissonance is not limited to the shows Republicans watch. It appears that the White House has no problem casting its own productions with gays in supporting roles, though a deadbolted closet door is a prerequisite.

Raw Story regulars are familiar with dapper David Dreier’s closet. The gay-bashing Congressman from Rancho Cucamonga has been outed more times than a poodle with a bladder infection, yet he remains a favorite spokesman for the Administration.

I assumed that Dreier’s manifest self-loathing was relatively uncommon among the Bush inner circle. But shortly after the gay Kristallnacht in November, when the passage of 11 state-wide anti-gay ballot initiatives helped to re-elect George Bush, rumors began to swirl around former White House political director and current RNC chief Ken Mehlman – rumors that Mehlman studiously avoids addressing, and that other prominent Republicans refused to discuss on the record (at least until GQ magazine came knocking).

Then there was Gannongate. It simply begs belief that the White House could have been unaware that Gannon was a gay prostitute, and that it was unable to find a less compromised shill. Someone must have known and either not cared, or actually liked the idea of having him close at hand.

And now, as night follows day, Gannongate has brought speculation into the highest levels of the White House. Rumors swirl around Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Was he seen in gay bars, as has been reported by Raw Story?

Finding a growing number of gays in the Bush White House seems as notable as finding an equal number of card-carrying Communists in Joe McCarthy’s office. But the apparent contradiction is not sui generis. Such cognitive dissonance figures prominently in the Presidential psyche. Dubya likes Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas even if he is indifferent at best and hostile at worst to blacks in general. He favors Alberto Gonzales despite policies harmful to Hispanics.

By now it is painfully obvious to all but the folks P.T. Barnum warned us about that Karl Rove uses the prejudices of the prejudiced to persuade them to vote for people (like Dubya) they would otherwise recognize as a threat to their wellbeing. Republicans fan homophobia for profit in the same way their perennial “Southern Strategy” stokes racism.

But being gay is different, at least in the eyes of the radical right. Condi can’t help being black; there is no question that Gonzales was born Hispanic. The Christian Taliban insists that homosexuality is a choice, which makes gays not merely sinners, but inferior.

Yet Wayne Besen has been quoted as calling the Republican Party a “gay affirmative action program” and saying that the Republican leadership looks like a “Harvey Fierstein cocktail party.”

So why? What do these queer eyes do for the top Republican guy? As part of my ongoing and utterly unschooled psychoanalysis of our president, who manifests more psychopathology than most residents of the extra-long-sleeve wing of Bellevue, I can offer a theory: George W. Bush is a textbook sadist.

A sadist is someone who obtains pleasure from inflicting pain or others. We can still see glimpses of this characteristic in our President’s distant, heavily sanitized past. It has been reported that the young George Bush tortured frogs, and shot at his younger brother with a BB gun. We know he saw nothing wrong with branding fraternity pledges while at Yale.

For a man of Bush’s current station, personally dishing out such physical abuse is far too risky. But the absolute power he now enjoys creates unmatched opportunity to inflict psychological pain, which can be worse for the victim, and thus more exquisite for the tormentor. Recall that the Abu Ghraib guards force-fed inmates pork and alcohol because those things were banned by their religion – torture in the form of forced betrayal of the victim’s beliefs. Cause and effect may not apply here, but either way, Bush could well have progressed from his childhood pleasure of torturing small animals to taking pleasure in the willingness of minorities who betray their own in order to advance their careers.

George W. Bush doesn’t just torture minorities, of course. Witness his comedy routine at this year’s Gridiron Club dinner at which the President joked that he had the “dangedest puppy” who would roll over on command - but only some of the time. “I renamed him ‘John McCain.’”

But there must be a special thrill when this patrician in cowboy boots uses the oppressed to do his dirty work for him. How many death row Hispanics did Texas Secretary of State Alberto Gonzales encourage Governor Bush to fry? How many poor blacks did Colin Powell and Condi Rice send to their deaths in Iraq? And how many gays have suffered from the way Ken, Scott and David helped to engineer the triumph of homophobia?

Now, George Bush could scratch his itch without taking a chance on alienating his homophobic base by allowing untouchables into the inner sanctum. So why gays? I’m guessing the reason he especially likes having gays around is this: Bush cannot, in polite society tell Gonzales to “screw the Hispanics,” but in what passes for genteel company among Republicans, he can bash queers in front of Mehlman, Dreier et al and expect them to silently take the abuse. It would not surprise me to learn that Bush knows these closet cases are gay, and that he lets them know he knows it. It would make his abuse of them that much more satisfying.

So perhaps our Maximum Leader keeps a few self-loathing gays around because he enjoys watching them lick his boot heels for the right to borrow a smidgen of Bush’s power, even if the price is their own souls.

Anonymous said...

There are pic's for those who want images.

Volume 55, Number 14 · September 25, 2008

Official American Sadism

By Anthony Lewis
Guantanamo: Beyond the Law
a series of five articles by Tom Lasseter

in the McClatchy Newspapers, June 15–19, 2008, available at www.mcclatchydc.com/detainees
The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power
by Jonathan Mahler

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 334 pp., $26.00
Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact
a report by Physicians for Human Rights, with a preface by Major General Antonio M. Taguba

Physicians for Human Rights, 130 pp., available at brokenlives.info
1.

Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan accused of throwing a grenade at a convoy of American soldiers in Kabul in late 2002, wounding two, was brought to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp in February 2003. He was then seventeen years old. In December 2003 he attempted suicide. The following May he was subjected to what Guantánamo officials called the "frequent flyer program." Every three hours, day and night, he was shackled and moved to another cell—112 times over fourteen days.

We know about what was done to Mr. Jawad because the military lawyer assigned as his defense counsel, Major David J.R. Frakt (Air Force Reserve), sought and won from a military judge an order for his jailers to produce the records of his captivity. Major Frakt brought out the realities of Jawad's treatment in his closing argument at a pre-trial hearing on June 19, 2008—an argument that was a remarkable display of legal and moral courage.

"Why was Mohammed Jawad tortured?" Major Frakt asked. "Why did military officials choose a teenage boy who had attempted suicide in his cell less than five months earlier to be the subject of this sadistic sleep deprivation experiment?" Officers at Guantánamo said they did not believe he had any valuable intelligence information, and he was not even questioned during the "frequent flyer program." "The most likely scenario," Major Frakt said, "is that they simply decided to torture Mr. Jawad for sport, to teach him a lesson, perhaps to make an example of him to others."

But Major Frakt did not stop with those who tormented Mohammed Jawad. He addressed President Bush's order of February 7, 2002, that those detained at Guantánamo as alleged al-Qaeda or Taliban members and supporters were not to be given the protections of the Geneva Conventions. "February 7, 2002," he said,

America lost a little of its greatness that day. We lost our position as the world's leading defender of human rights, as the champion of justice and fairness and the rule of law....

Sadly, this military commission [which was holding the Jawad hearing] has no power to do anything to the enablers of torture such as John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Robert Delahunty, Alberto Gonzales..., David Addington, William Haynes, Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld....

Major Frakt's reference to "the enablers" raised a fundamental question: How did the United States government get into the business of torturing prisoners? Sleep deprivation was by no means the only harsh technique used on prisoners at Guantánamo and elsewhere. Others included forcing prisoners into stress positions, exposing them to harsh lights and extreme hot and cold temperatures, sexual humiliation, nudity, and waterboarding, the "water cure" that inflicts partial suffocation. [1]

Since the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was exposed, in April 2004, the Bush administration has maintained that any mistreatment was the work of a few "bad apples." No action has been taken against any higher-up, military or civilian. But a steady accumulation of disclosures, capped in June by a Senate committee report and hearing, has made it clear that abusive treatment of prisoners was a deliberate policy that came from the top—the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and the White House.

In July 2002 the office of the Pentagon's general counsel made a survey of the techniques used in a Pentagon program designed to teach ways of resisting torture by enemy forces. (The program focused especially on techniques used by Chinese forces during the Korean War to induce American prisoners to confess falsely to such things as using germ warfare.) In August, Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, issued a secret fifty-page memorandum concluding that the president had plenary power to order the torture of prisoners in the war on terror. It built on an earlier memo by John Yoo and Robert Delahunty, which had been approved by Alberto Gonzales, then President Bush's White House counsel. Bybee's legal conclusions were incorporated into a memorandum prepared for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

In October 2002 a senior lawyer at the Central Intelligence Agency, Jonathan Fredman, went to Guantánamo and discussed harsh interrogation techniques with military officers. A military lawyer at Guantánamo, Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, said that some previously forbidden methods such as sleep deprivation were being used on prisoners by the military at the Bagram Air Base detention center in Afghanistan but were kept hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross when its representatives visited. "The ICRC is a serious concern," she said. Fredman said that whether harsh treatment could be called torture was "a matter of perception." He said, "If the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong."

In November 2002 the Defense Department's general counsel, William J. Haynes II, recommended that Secretary Rumsfeld formally approve a number of aggressive interrogation methods at Guantánamo, including stress positions, the use of attack dogs, and sensory deprivation. Rumsfeld gave his approval in a secret order of December 2, 2002.

A number of military leaders warned against the harsh new techniques. Alberto Mora, general counsel of the Navy, told Haynes that they "could rise to the level of torture." He said that if they were not curbed, he would write a memorandum saying that some of them violated "domestic and international legal norms." On January 15, 2003, Rumsfeld withdrew his approval. In April he signed another memo listing approved methods, including sleep "adjustment," and said others would be considered if requested.

ABC News reported in April of this year that President Bush's top national security officials met in 2003 to discuss "enhanced" interrogation methods. Among those in the meetings were Vice President Cheney and his then counsel, now chief of staff, David Addington; Attorney General John Ashcroft; Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security adviser; Rumsfeld and Haynes. Asked about the report, the President confirmed it. "As a matter of fact," he told Martha Raddatz of ABC, "I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it."
2.

The Bush administration has made determined efforts to suppress all information about the mistreatment of its prisoners. Videotapes of at least two particularly horrendous interrogations were destroyed. In legal hearings, at Guantánamo and elsewhere, government lawyers have objected to disclosure of interrogation methods, arguing that it would alert al-Qaeda members to what they would face if captured. We still do not know what was done to Jose Padilla, an American held for years in solitary confinement as an alleged enemy combatant and now reportedly suffering long-term psychological damage. [2]

Nevertheless, any American who wanted to know about the cruelties his government has inflicted on prisoners and how they came about could have learned a good deal by this spring. A number of experts on the law and on the facts of torture have published commentary frequently in print and blogs, and I have benefited greatly from their writing. This past spring the scholar of international law Philippe Sands published his valuable book Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values [3] ; Vanity Fair printed a lengthy extract from it. Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups have published important reports on the abuse of prisoners.

Tom Lasseter and a team of reporters from the McClatchy Newspapers took a new and significant look at the situation in a series of five substantial articles in June. His stories disposed of some official myths about the detainees—for example, that as a group they were "the worst of the worst," as Secretary Rumsfeld put it. Lasseter also gave some appalling accounts of the mistreatment of prisoners.

An Afghan named Nusrat Khan was in his seventies when American troops put him in an isolation cell in the prison at the Bagram Air Base in the spring of 2003. He had had at least two strokes. For almost four weeks, Khan said, he was kept blindfolded, with earphones on and his hands tied behind his back. When he was finally taken out of the cell, Lasseter wrote, Khan was "half-mad and couldn't stand without help." He said he was then transferred to Guantánamo on a stretcher.

One of the useful accomplishments of the Lasseter series was to remind readers that Guantánamo is not the only place where prisoners have been and continue to be held. In Afghanistan, for example, in addition to Bagram the US maintains a prison at the Kandahar Air Base. At both of these, Lasseter said, prisoners were routinely subjected to physical abuse from early in 2002. And there are the still-secret prisons run by the CIA.

At Bagram, Lasseter wrote, guards kicked, kneed, and punched prisoners with systematic brutality. Former guards as well as detainees told McClatchy reporters about what Lasseter called sadistic violence. According to them, the brutality reached a peak in December 2002, when two Afghans were hung from ceiling chains by their wrists and beaten to death by American soldiers.

Two soldiers were prosecuted for those killings. Specialist Willie Brand admitted that he hit one of the Afghan men thirty-seven times. He was sentenced to be reduced in rank to private. The other person prosecuted was Captain Christopher Beiring, who commanded an army reserve military police company. He was given a letter of reprimand.

The army lawyer who investigated Beiring, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Berg, urged leniency because "the government failed to present any evidence of what are 'approved tactics, techniques and procedures in detainee operations.'" In other words, members of the United States Army are no longer expected to know that beating a prisoner to death is against the rules.

Why were the guards so brutal? Anger at the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Lasseter suggests—and a sense that their superiors in Washington wanted "the gloves off." President Bush's decision to eliminate the protection of the Geneva Conventions sent the message that there were no rules.

The McClatchy papers spent eight months investigating and working on the articles. (That is a reminder that bloggers, who we are sometimes told are the future of journalism, are not likely ever to have the time and resources to look into serious official wrongdoing as newspapers at their best do.) McClatchy reporters interviewed American, Afghan, and other officials—and sixty-six former detainees.

Of the sixty-six former prisoners, only twenty-two were originally detained by American forces. The rest were turned in by feuding members of other tribes, angry neighbors, or people who wanted to collect the large bounties offered by the United States for "terrorists." Thomas White, a former secretary of the army, said it was obvious from the time the Guantánamo detention facility opened in early 2002 that at least a third of the prisoners did not belong there.

Another notable point made by the McClatchy articles was that the mistreatment of prisoners made some who had no previous connection with anti-American movements profoundly angry at the United States. It is hardly a surprising result to report, but the articles gave chapter and verse. They quoted a Pakistani intelligence report on men released from Guantánamo as saying that they had "extreme feelings of resentment and hatred against USA."
3.

Three times in the last four years the Supreme Court has rejected the Bush administration's legal defenses of its program for detention of alleged "enemy combatants." In 2004, in Rasul v. Bush, a 6–3 majority held that prisoners at Guantánamo could test the legality of their detention by petitioning in federal courts for writs of habeas corpus. In 2006, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, a 5–3 majority held that trials of prisoners before military commissions under rules laid down by the Bush administration were unlawful because limits on the rights of defendants violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. This June, in Boumediene v. Bush, a 5–4 majority held that a congressional statute barring habeas corpus petitions by Guantánamo detainees violated the Constitution's guarantee of the right to habeas corpus. [4]

Each of these decisions brought an outcry from the political right. Senator John McCain, a survivor of torture as a prisoner in North Vietnam who was once a critic of the Bush detention practices, called Boumediene "one of the worst decisions in the history of the country." The dissenters on the Court predicted in strident language that the decision would gravely damage the country's security.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who has a talent for alarmist dissents calculated to arouse political attacks on the Court's decisions, used it tellingly in Boumediene. He predicted that the decision would have "devastating" consequences and said "at least thirty of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantánamo Bay have returned to the battlefield." For the figure of thirty Justice Scalia cited a dissenting Senate Republican committee report, which in turn was based on a statement by a Pentagon spokesman in 2007: "Our reports indicate that at least thirty former Guantánamo detainees have taken part in anticoalition militant activities after leaving US detention."

But Scalia's claim of thirty returning to the battlefield has been substantially debunked by critics, and by the Pentagon itself, since it was first made. Professor Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University pointed out that the Defense Department itself named only fifteen of the supposed recidivists, and eight of those were said to have done nothing more than speak critically of US detention policies. In a document given to Congress two weeks before the Boumediene decision the Department of Defense abandoned the figure of thirty. After the decision a Boston lawyer, Sabin Willett, who represented two of the former detainees named as among the thirty, wrote in The Boston Globe that his two clients had done nothing more than (a) publish an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times and (b) give an interview. The Pentagon deemed these public comments "hostile."

Senator McCain also waved the bloody shirt of the supposed thirty returned combatants. So did John Yoo, principal draftsman of the Justice Department opinions that the president had absolute power to torture prisoners. Professor Yoo (he now teaches law at the University of California, Berkeley) said the Supreme Court in Boumediene opened the way for aliens "captured fighting against the US" to challenge their detention. That gave a false—no doubt knowingly false—picture of the detainees at Guantánamo. Most were not "captured fighting." Many, as we have seen, were turned over by jealous Afghan neighbors who wanted American bounties. Others were detained in far-off places such as Zambia. Indeed, the petitioners in Boumediene included six Algerians who lived in Bosnia and who were picked up by Bosnian police—at the request of US officials—and turned over to them.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in his Boumediene dissent, said the Court had struck down

the most generous set of proce dural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants. The political branches crafted these procedures amidst an ongoing military conflict, after much careful investigation and thorough debate.

But in this conflict, unlike previous ones, men taken prisoner had no recourse to the Geneva Convention provision requiring a fair hearing to discover whether they were in fact enemy combatants. The Bush administration reluctantly changed the procedures only when forced to by events: the Abu Ghraib scandal and then successive Supreme Court decisions.

An al-Jazeera cameraman, Sami al-Haj, was on his way to Afghanistan in 2001 when he was stopped by a Pakistani official and turned over to the United States. He was held for six years at Guantánamo—and questioned not about al-Qaeda but about al-Jazeera. (He was released in 2008.) His case was one among many where there was never any showing that a detainee was an "enemy combatant."

Opening the federal courts to habeas corpus applications from the detainees hardly promises them a swift ticket to freedom. But it marks at least a first step toward accountability—a forum where the treatment of a detainee and the asserted reasons for his imprisonment can be examined. As George Will wrote in a column blasting Senator McCain for the ignorance of his comments on habeas corpus, "the Supreme Court's ruling only begins marking a boundary against government's otherwise boundless power to detain people indefinitely."

A striking example of the importance of having courts check official decisions that someone is an "enemy combatant" is the case of Huzaifa Parhat, one of a number of Uighur Muslims from China who are in Guantánamo. Parhat, who the US military claimed was at a Uighur training camp in Afghanistan in 2001, was captured in Pakistan in the fall of 2001. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in June that there was no persuasive evidence to support the government's labeling of him as an enemy combatant. The panel included the court's chief judge, David Sentelle, one of the most conservative federal judges in the country. Its opinion ridiculed the government argument, comparing it to the statement of a Lewis Carroll character: "I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true."
4.

Unlike John Yoo and William Haynes, most American lawyers who have been involved in the issues of torture and boundless detention have defended American ideals of justice. That has been strikingly so in the case of lawyers in the military services, the judge advocates general. Major Frakt, whose powerful argument on behalf of Mohammed Jawad I noted above, is one example among many. Large numbers of private lawyers have volunteered their time and struggled against official obstacles to represent prisoners.

The work of lawyers for a detainee is brilliantly explored in Jonathan Mahler's The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power. But it is much more than a book about law and lawyers. It tells the story of a captive who gave his name to a great constitutional decision; and it describes the personal struggles of his lawyers, their courage, and their faults. The result is a work of rare drama.

Salim Hamdan, who gave his name to a leading constitutional decision in the Supreme Court, was a poor Yemeni who was recruited for jihad and became Osama bin Laden's driver in Afghanistan. He was captured there in late 2001 by Northern Alliance forces and turned over to the United States. In May 2002 he was taken to the prison camp in Guantánamo.

(On August 6, after the first military commission trial at Guantánamo, Hamdan was convicted of providing material support for terrorism, but not of the more serious charge of conspiracy. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, far less than the life sentence military prosecutors had long sought. Moreover, the court gave credit for the sixty-one months Hamdan had been in detention since charged, meaning that his sentence will be completed by the end of this year. His fate after that is uncertain, because the Bush administration claims it can keep detainees in Guantánamo—whether convicted or acquitted in a military trial, or not tried at all—until the end of the "war on terror.")

One of the remarkable facts exposed in this book is that Hamdan was first questioned in Guantánamo by an FBI agent who carefully built up a relationship with him and, in time, got detailed statements from him about al-Qaeda and some of its leaders. The agent had ample evidence for Hamdan to be prosecuted in a federal court; he thought he could persuade Hamdan to testify against more important al-Qaeda figures in return for a reduced sentence. But to his dismay Hamdan was designated for trial before a military commission; the FBI was immediately cut off from him and lost a potentially important witness.

The judge advocate general assigned by military authorities to represent Hamdan in the commission proceedings was a navy lieutenant com- mander, Charles Swift. After law school he returned to the navy and spent much of his time as a daring defense lawyer in the JAG corps. In the unfolding of the Hamdan case, Swift had one crucial role: dealing with the client. He visited Hamdan in Guantánamo, trying to keep his spirits up during years of frustratingly little progress and punishing treatment in the prison. (Hamdan went on hunger strike and was force-fed for a long period.) Swift also talked to the press, freely and volubly, about the unfairness of the commission process.

Swift's civilian colleague in the case was a professor at the Georgetown Law Center, Neal Katyal. His role was to mount a constitutional challenge to the terms of the commissions set by President Bush. It was a formidable task, beginning with the need to establish the detainee's right to sue at all and to invoke the Geneva Conventions—both totally resisted by the administration's lawyers.

Katyal was compulsive in his devotion to the different phases of the case. Mahler describes him writing twenty-six drafts of a brief and trying out an oral argument in fifteen moot court efforts in five cities. He brought in lawyers from a large firm as co-counsel but was "too arrogant" to listen to their views, Mahler says. He worked relentlessly, finishing one brief at 5:45 the morning it was due. Through it all he shared child-care responsibilities with his wife, and he made a trip to India to help bury his father. His relationship with Charlie Swift frayed almost to the breaking point.

As we read this book, we know what the Supreme Court is going to decide in the end; but I found myself so caught up in the drama of the lawyers' struggle that I waited, with their anxiety, to see whether the Court would hear the case, and then what it would do. At the denouement Katyal walked out of the Supreme Court and told reporters:

What happened today, a man from Yemen with a fourth-grade education, accused of conspiring with one of the most horrendous individuals on the planet, being able to sue the most powerful man in the world, the president of the United States, and have his case heard—that is something that is fundamentally great about America.

To which Charlie Swift added: "Our values are what won here today, our values for the rule of law...."
5.

Swift paid a high price in the navy for his successful work on behalf of Hamdan. He was passed over for promotion and resigned his commission. He became a visiting professor at Emory Law School—and, as a civilian lawyer, represented Hamdan in the military commission proceedings against him that finally got underway in 2008. But he was hardly alone in being punished for defending American values. Major General Anthony Taguba, who was appointed to investigate the torture at Abu Ghraib and found that there had been "wanton criminal abuse" of detainees, was forced into retirement.

General Taguba wrote the preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact, a report issued in June by Physicians for Human Rights on the lingering effects on detainees of what was done to them, based on medical examinations of some of them. General Taguba said that "the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture." He added:

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

To date the "enablers of torture," as Major Frakt called them, are doing fine. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and David Addington remain in office. Jay Bybee, who issued the legal opinion that said the president had unlimited power to order the use of torture, was nominated and confirmed as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before his torture role became known. John Yoo is in his professorship at the Berkeley law school; the dean, Christopher Edley, said in April that tenure protected him there and that his clients—President Bush et al.—were "the deciders." Yoo is also regarded by television programs and by the opinion pages of newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as a legitimate voice on issues of presidential power, and he appears frequently.

Yoo and Addington appeared in June before a House Judiciary subcommittee; they ducked questions about their responsibility. When Addington was asked whether it would be legal to torture a detainee's child, he replied: "I'm not here to render legal advice to your committee." William Haynes, the former Defense Department general counsel, appeared before a Senate committee and repeatedly said, in answer to questions, that he could not remember. A Washington Post column on his testimony was headlined "Abu Ghraib? Doesn't Ring a Bell."

Torture by officials is prohibited by US criminal law as well as by the international Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. According to the new book by Jane Mayer, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a report last year that interrogation methods used by the CIA on a high-level prisoner "categorically" constituted torture. Her book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, [5] says the ICRC report was sent to the CIA, the detaining authority, which "shared it with the President and the Secretary of State." Mayer writes that the report "warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the US government in jeopardy of being prosecuted."

There will be no American prosecution of the enablers as long as George W. Bush is president. But it may not be safe for the prominent among them to travel privately abroad. Someone may try to assert the universal jurisdiction over gross violators of human rights that was upheld by the House of Lords when General Pinochet was served in Britain with a Spanish warrant.

Conservative commentators have already warned against any future US prosecution, arguing that—reprehensible as the treatment of some detainees was—those responsible did not have criminal intent. The argument is unpersuasive on the facts, because Secretary Rumsfeld and others were warned by senior Pentagon civilian and military lawyers, including the navy general counsel, Alberto Mora, that their policies would violate the law. And it is unpersuasive on the law, because a mistaken view of the law is not a defense under the principles established at the Nuremberg trials. The Nuremberg precedents also dispose of Dean Edley's argument that lawyers cannot be prosecuted for advising officials that they can commit what are in fact crimes. German lawyers were convicted at Nuremberg as enablers, in their legal advice, of Nazi crimes. [6] President Bush said, "We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it."

Prosecutions are not a likely course for a new US administration. But there are steps that should be taken to confront the horrors our government has perpetrated. At a minimum we must lift the cloak of secrecy from what was done and from some still-classified legal opinions that purported to legitimize these acts.

Somehow this country has to reassert its historic repugnance at the use of torture. And that may not be easy. A recent poll showed that Americans' support for the torture of alleged terror- ists has risen from 36 percent of those asked in 2006 to 44 percent this year. We were shocked by the Abu Ghraib photographs. Since then a good many of us have become desensitized to the use of torture.

President Bush and his top officials have evidently succeeded in persuading many with their contention that "enhanced interrogation techniques," as they call torture, produce valuable information. The evidence asserted for this contention is weak; Senator Jay Rockefeller, drawing on his experience as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said:

I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an immi nent terrorist attack. And I have heard nothing that makes me think the information obtained from these techniques could not have been obtained through traditional interrogation methods used by military and law enforcement interrogators.

But in any event the cost of the policy to America's reputation—and its national security—has been enormous. It has aroused much of the Muslim world to hatred of the United States. And it has sapped the belief of many Americans in the righteousness of their country.

In the end the cure, if there is to be one, will have to come from leaders who reassert the primary place of law in the American character: from a president who does not seek unrestrained power, from an attorney general and other officials who respect the law. It is not too late to return to a government of laws, not men. n

—August 26, 2008

email icon Email to a friend
Notes

[1] Asphyxiation has long been understood to be a—perhaps the most—terrifying threat faced by human beings. The Spanish Inquisition used the water torture on its victims. Japanese prison officials who used it on prisoners in World War II were prosecuted as war criminals by the United States.

[2] For more than two years Mr. Padilla was detained in a navy brig on the order of President Bush, without being charged with any offense and without access to counsel. He was kept in a cell with nothing to read except, for a short time, a copy of the Koran, and no sense of time or daylight and no interaction with anyone except his interrogators. When he was once taken to a dentist, his eyes and ears were covered to maintain the sensory deprivation.

A psychiatrist who subsequently examined him, Dr. Angela Hegarty, found him to in an "absolute state of terror, terror alternating with numbness. It was as though the interrogators were in the room with us."

[3] Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

[4] See Ronald Dworkin, "Why It Was a Great Victory," The New York Review, July 17, 2008.

[5] Doubleday, 2008.

[6] In the second round of Nuremberg trials after World War II, the United States prosecuted German government lawyers who had, among other things, written memos and orders depriving Soviet prisoners of Geneva Convention rights and legitimizing the disappearance of political suspects. Two well-known lawyers who were convicted were Rudolph Lehmann, chief of the Legal Department of the High Command of the German Armed Forces, and Franz Schlegelberger, acting Reich minister of justice. See the essay by Scott Horton, "Through a Mirror, Darkly: Applying the Geneva Conventions to 'A New Kind of Warfare,'" The Torture Debate in America, edited by Karen J. Greenberg (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 136–150.

Anonymous said...

Senator McCain also waved the bloody shirt of the supposed thirty returned combatants. So did John Yoo, principal draftsman of the Justice Department opinions that the president had absolute power to torture prisoners. Professor Yoo (he now teaches law at the University of California, Berkeley) said the Supreme Court in Boumediene opened the way for aliens "captured fighting against the US" to challenge their detention. That gave a false—no doubt knowingly false—picture of the detainees at Guantánamo. Most were not "captured fighting." Many, as we have seen, were turned over by jealous Afghan neighbors who wanted American bounties. Others were detained in far-off places such as Zambia. Indeed, the petitioners in Boumediene included six Algerians who lived in Bosnia and who were picked up by Bosnian police—at the request of US officials—and turned over to them.

Anonymous said...

Sex Crimes in the White House

Sep 22, 2008

NEW YORK - Sex crime has a telltale signature, even when those directing the outrages are some of the most powerful men and women in the United States. How extraordinary, then, to learn that one of the perpetrators of these crimes, Condoleezza Rice, has just led the debate in a special session of the United Nations Security Council on the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

I had a sense of déjà vu when I saw the photos that emerged in 2004 from Abu Ghraib prison. Even as the Bush administration was spinning the notion that the torture of prisoners was the work of "a few bad apples" low in the military hierarchy, I knew that we were seeing evidence of a systemic policy set at the top. It's not that I am a genius. It's simply that, having worked at a rape crisis center and been trained in the basics of sex crime, I have learned that all sex predators go about things in certain recognizable ways.

We now know that the torture of prisoners was the result of a policy set in the White House by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Rice -- who actually chaired the torture meetings. The Pentagon has also acknowledged that it had authorized sexualized abuse of detainees as part of interrogation practices to be performed by female operatives. And documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union have Rumsfeld, in his own words, checking in on the sexualized humiliation of prisoners.

The sexualization of torture from the top basically turned Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay into an organized sex-crime ring in which the trafficked sex slaves were US-held prisoners. Looking at the classic S and M nature of some of this torture, it is hard not to speculate that someone setting policy was aroused by all of this. And Phillipe Sands' impeccably documented Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, now proves that sex crime was authorized and, at least one source reports, eroticized: Diane Beaver, the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo who signed off on many torture techniques, told Sands about brainstorming sessions that included the use of "sexual tension," which was "culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected."

"These brainstorming meetings at Guantanamo produced animated discussion," writes Sands. "'Who has the glassy eyes?" Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, thirty or more of them. She was invariably the only woman in the room, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get excited, agitated, even: "You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas" [reported Beaver]. A wan smile crossed Beaver's face: "And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard, I can stay detached."' [Sands, p 63]

The nonsexual torture that was committed ranged from beatings and suffocation, electrodes attached to sensitive areas, and forced sleep deprivation, to prisoners being hung by the wrists from the ceiling and placed in solitary confinement until psychosis was induced. These abuses violate both US and international law. Three former military attorneys, recognizing this blunt truth, refused to participate in the "military tribunals" -- rather, "show trials" -- aimed at condemning men whose confessions were elicited through torture.

Anonymous said...


Dirty Secret Of The Bailout: Thirty-Two Words That Dem's & Pug's are afraid to Utter.


September 22, 2008 02:06 PM

A critical - and radical - component of the bailout package proposed by the Bush administration has thus far failed to garner the serious attention of anyone in the press. Section 8 (which ironically reminds one of the popular name of the portion of the 1937 Housing Act that paved the way for subsidized affordable housing ) of this legislation is just a single sentence of thirty-two words, but it represents a significant consolidation of power and an abdication of oversight authority that's so flat-out astounding that it ought to set one's hair on fire. It reads, in its entirety:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

In short, the so-called "mother of all bailouts," which will transfer $700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase the distressed assets of several failed financial institutions, will be conducted in a manner unchallengeable by courts and ungovernable by the People's duly sworn representatives. All decision-making power will be consolidated into the Executive Branch - who, we remind you, will have the incentive to act upon this privilege as quickly as possible, before they leave office. The measure will run up the budget deficit by a significant amount, with no guarantee of recouping the outlay, and no fundamental means of holding those who fail to do so accountable.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Robert Kuttner cuts through much of the gloss in an article in today's American Prospect:

The deal proposed by Paulson is nothing short of outrageous. It includes no oversight of his own closed-door operations. It merely gives congressional blessing and funding to what he has already been doing, ad hoc. He plans to retain Wall Street firms as advisors to decide just how to cut deals to value and mop up Wall Street's dubious paper. There are to be no limits on executive compensation for the firms that get relief, and no equity share for the government in exchange for this massive infusion of capital. Both Obama and McCain have opposed the provision denying any judicial review of decisions made by Paulson -- a provision that evokes the Bush administration's suspension of normal constitutional safeguards in its conduct of foreign policy and national security. [...]


The differences between this proposed bailout and the three closest historical equivalents are immense. When the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the 1930s pumped a total of $35 billion into U.S. corporations and financial institutions, there was close government supervision and quid pro quos at every step of the way. Much of the time, the RFC became a preferred shareholder, and often appointed board members. The Home Owners Loan Corporation, which eventually refinanced one in five mortgage loans, did not operate to bail out banks but to save homeowners. And the Resolution Trust Corporation of the 1980s, created to mop up the damage of the first speculative mortgage meltdown, the S&L collapse, did not pump in money to rescue bad investments; it sorted out good assets from bad after the fact, and made sure to purge bad executives as well as bad loans. And all three of these historic cases of public recapitalization were done without suspending judicial review.

Kuttner's opposition here is perhaps the strongest language I've seen used, pushing back on this piece of legislation, in any publication of repute, and even here, Section 8 is not cited by name or by content. McClatchy Newspapers also alludes to Section 8 with concern, citing the "unfettered authority" that Paulson would be granted, and noting that the "law also would preclude court review of steps Paulson might take, something Joshua Rosner, managing director of economic researcher Graham Fisher & Co. in New York, said could be used to mask previous illegal activity." Jack Balkin also gives the matter the sort of attention it deserves on his blog, Balkinization.

But elsewhere, the conversation is muted. The debate over whether Congress is going to pass the Paulson bailout package, or pass the Paulson bailout package really hard seems to have boiled down to a discussion of time and concessions. The White House has made it clear that they want this package passed yesterday. Congressional Democrats seem to be of different minds on the matter, with some pushing back hard, and others content to demand a small dollop of turd polish to make the package seem more aesthetically pleasing, at which point, they'll likely roll over and pass the bill. Neither candidate, John McCain or Barack Obama, seem all that amenable toward the bailout, but neither have either demonstrated that they are willing to risk their candidacies to do much more than exploit the issue for electoral purposes.

Sunday morning came and went, with Paulson traipsing dutifully from studio to studio, facing nary a question on Section 8. Front page articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal detail the wranglings, but make no mention of this section of the legislation. On TV, cable news networks are stuck in the fog of the ongoing presidential campaign.

Throughout the coverage, one catches a whiff of what seems like substantive pushback on this power grab, but it largely amounts to a facsimile of journalistic diligence. Most note, in general terms, that the bailout represents a set of "broad powers" that will be granted to the Department of the Treasury. Yet the coverage offsets these concerns through the constant hyping of the White House's overall message of "urgency."

But one cannot overstate this: Section 8 is a singularly transformative sentence of economic policy. It transfers a significant amount of power to the Executive Branch, while walling off any avenue for oversight, and offering no guarantees in return. And if the Democrats end up content with winning a few slight concessions, they risk not putting a stop-payment on the real "blank check" - the one in which they allow the erosion of their own powers.

Over in the Senate, Christopher Dodd has proposed a bailout legislation of his own, which critically calls for "an oversight board that not only includes the chairman of the Federal Reserve and the SEC, but congressionally appointed, non-governmental officials" and would require the President to appoint an "independent inspector general to investigate the Treasury asset program." In Dodd's legislation, Section 8 is effectively stripped from the bill.

Nevertheless, the fact that Section 8 of the Paulson plan seems to strike few as a de facto dealbreaker can and should astound. The failure of Congress to hold the line on this point would be truly embarrassing. But if we make it through this week with nobody in the press specifically informing the public about the implications of this single sentence - in the middle of a complicated bill, in the middle of a complicated time - then right there, you have the single largest media failure of this year

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, the fact that Section 8 of the Paulson plan seems to strike few as a de facto dealbreaker can and should astound. The failure of Congress to hold the line on this point would be truly embarrassing. But if we make it through this week with nobody in the press specifically informing the public about the implications of this single sentence - in the middle of a complicated bill, in the middle of a complicated time - then right there, you have the single largest media failure of this year.

*

At least the media knows who owns them the KUNTS here still think they're free.

bruce said...

Charlie Swift is a true American hero.

Boy, someone really went off on BushCo. Better watch out for the NSA.

Anonymous said...

hbm said...
Hey, whatever happened to Sarah What'shername? All of a sudden she's not big news anymore.

*


Palin event draws 60,000 people, 30 times that Biden

Several years ago, my in-laws retired to The Villages, about an hour north of Orlando, Fla. Since then, it has become the largest retirement community in the nation. The last I heard my father-in-law say there were an estimated 50,000 people living there from all across the nation. It has become a must for national and statewide candidates.

Despite its growth in numbers and political prowess, to draw 60,000 to The Villages is jaw-dropping. How jaw-dropping? Biden drew 2,000. Bush drew 20,000 when seeking re-election in 2004.


Here is the url:
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/silence/archives/2008/09/palin_event_dra.shtml


H Bruce Miller (hbm) is as stupid as his editorials suggest he is.

No amount of cut n paste from DailyKOS will change the fact that hbm-Pussy, BrucePussy and duncPussy are all just a bunch of Pussys.

Stupid, and probably paid by KOS, Move-On and George Soros to foul up this blog with their anti-Republican troll bait lies, and retard bullshit.

Quimby said...

From U.S. bailout of financial system meets resistance

But it is becoming clear that Democrats have their own ideas about what should be in the plan, who should be helped and who should not. Senate Democrats on Monday put forward their version of the rescue plan, including a bold addition aimed at helping homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

The Democrats' proposals included two other additions: one that would grant the Treasury "contingent shares" of stock in any financial institution that wanted to sell bad debt to the government; and a second granting bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, a proposal aimed at helping homeowners at risk of foreclosure.


What's sad is that these guys aren't even asking if "bailouts/handouts" should or should not be given......IT JUST COMES DOWN TO WHO. Thieving fuckers.

bruce said...

Not that the current administrations view of human rights law gets any support from me. Far from it.

USA and Israel, proud supporters of "human rights". As long as you are on the right "side".

Not saying that there are not other horrible abusers, just that we talk the talk and ignore the walk.

Re: Palin at the retirement community

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/story/696050.html

She's got some star power. No doubt about it.

Would you want her to be President?

bruce said...

Re: Thieving fuckers.

Up to 10,000 staff at the New York office of the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers will share a bonus pool set aside for them that is worth $2.5bn (£1.4bn), Barclays Bank, which is buying the business, confirmed last night.

The revelation sparked fury among the workers' former colleagues, Lehman's 5,000 staff based in London, who currently have no idea how long they will go on receiving even their basic salaries, let alone any bonus payments. It also prompted a renewed backlash over the compensation culture in global finance, with critics claiming that many bankers receive pay and rewards that bore no relation to the job they had done.

A spokesman for Barclays said the $2.5bn bonus pool in New York had been set aside before Lehman Brothers filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States a week ago. Barclays has agreed that the fund should continue to be ring-fenced now it has taken control of Lehman's US business, a deal agreed by American bankruptcy courts over the weekend.


Source: Informed Lawyer

bruce said...

How the fuck do you set aside $2.5 BILLION for bonuses in a bankruptcy?

bruce said...

Re: ...and retard bullshit.

Hey, at least you can spell.

I'm completely open to you telling me what John McCain will do for me and my family that will exceed what Obama will.

I shouldn't say "will", but just tell me about their respective positions. Or "promises".

bruce said...

Re:Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sounds like something Cheney's office would put out.

Anonymous said...

this is being broadcast on OPB today and is on its Web site:

http://news.opb.org/article/3111-northwest-home-some-most-overvalued-homes-according-study/

Northwest Home To Some Of The Most Overvalued Homes According To Study

BY TOM BANSE

Olympia, WA September 22, 2008 2:32 p.m.

A national real estate report find that the Northwest remains a pocket of “extremely overvalued” homes.

Bend, Longview and Wenatchee, along with the Portland metro area, rank near the top for overheated home prices. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.


Economic forecaster Global Insight and a separate finance company did the nationwide statistical analysis. They compared home prices to factors such as family incomes and land scarcity.

Bend, Oregon was judged the second most inflated housing market in the country, overvalued by 47 percent. Southwest Washington, Clark & Cowlitz counties, was close behind at 35 to 37 percent overvalued.

But if it’s any consolation, that’s better than last year. Falling home prices moved Bellingham, Eugene, Salem and Medford out of the “extremely overvalued” category.

The East Coast-based study authors say “downward pressures on home prices remain strong" even though price declines are slowing.

The report judges the Tri-Cities in south-central Washington as the only metro area in the Northwest to be “fairly valued.”


Online:

Global Insight/National City Corporation: House Prices in America - 2nd Quarter 2008

Anonymous said...

I'm completely open to you telling me what John McCain will do for me and my family that will exceed what Obama will.

I shouldn't say "will", but just tell me about their respective positions. Or "promises".


A Great American once asked: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

A Great Pussy asks: "What John McCain will do for me and my family that will exceed what Obama will."

Spoken like a true PUSSY.

Spoken like a true Kept-Man.

Spoken like a true Parasite.

Spoken like a true Liberal.

Anonymous said...

A Great American once asked: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

A Great Pussy asks: "What John McCain will do for me and my family that will exceed what Obama will."

Spoken like smelly pussy

Spoken like a wnna be independent repug hater

Spoken like a true politician

Spoke like....well you.

Anonymous said...

http://gay.dvdempire.com/itempage.aspx?item_id=1331484&view=0&subview=0

"EMPIRE ENEMA - PUMP & FILL"

The GW BUSH story.

The Best in All Male Fetish Kink GW BUSH is back again and he has some very interesting plans for his young slave boy, Paulson. Handcuffed, and with feet bound and a ball-gagged mouth, Paulson is forced to endure a very humiliating enema and hold it while GW torments the boy verbally and physically.

Finally, still bound, Paulson is positioned uncomfortably above a bucket and allowed to release the water. GW then uses a pump on Paulson's tits and cock, pump-sucking until both tits and cock are thick and full. The pumping fascinates GW and he has his slave reciprocate and use the pump on his cock as well. By now all this physical contact between the two boys has Paulson keyed up and GW graciously allows the boy to worship his master's body. The full body worship is enthusiastic and thorough. Finally both boys indulge their private fantasies and work themselves into very satisfying climaxes.

Two cute old white guys, humiliating enema torment, bondage, tit and cock pumping, sensual full body worship and fulfilling climaxes are all masterfully captured through the creative angles of the Bush-Tribe Productions camera. The action is visually unique and totally real - this is a truly original look at some rarely explored sexual fantasies!

hbm said...

H Bruce Miller (hbm) is as stupid as his editorials suggest he is.

At least I have the huevos to put my name on my posts, anonymous retarded right-wing troll. What are you afraid of? Or are you embarrassed to put your name on the drool you post here? Couldn't blame you for that.

hbm said...

A Great Pussy asks: "What John McCain will do for me and my family that will exceed what Obama will."

This flaming imbecile apparently hangs out here 24/7.

hbm said...

No caption needed: http://politickeror.com/index.php?q=img_assist/popup/2826

hbm said...

Somebody posted this on HuffPo:

100% Safe - No Worry Business Opportunity

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship
with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country
has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of
800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation
movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the
funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund
account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov
so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson


ROTFLMAO!!!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Wow, someone got MEGA-SPANKED on CACB last Friday on the open: 100K shares bought at a spike price of $18.35.

CACB back to below $9. Bet a donut that it's CACB's share buyback program.

About a million dollars lost in 2 trading days.

Anonymous said...

At least I have the huevos to put my name on my posts, anonymous retarded right-wing troll.

*

Dem's are pussy's, and always go public with the their names, ...

Pug's are KUNT's, and always go anonymouse with their ID's.

Dem's aren't Trolls, Pug's are trolls.

My opinion on this matter is that the pussy's say dumb fucking shit, and fear na-ught from na-body.

On the other hand, there are those who talk of 'hitmen' taking out 'bad investors' in Bend, and this shit gets front page on the Oregonian. The pussy's can call those who speak of the 'unmentionable' as right-wing trolls, but the fact is the pussy's have nothing to fear.

HBM&Dunc have NEVER said anything to offend Master-Blaster-HOLLERN ever! Fact. They fear naught.

On the other hand there are those of who pass un-popular or non-political correct notions of our town. We simply don't want our neighbors to hate us.

For ever the BIG PUSSY himself has used this argument, 'my argument wins because I'm willing to go public with my ID, it shows I'm superior'.

The trouble is all PUBLIC folks ( pussy's in general ), never fucking say anything.

Sure HBM,DUNC,&BP cut&paste stuff from daily-kos 24/7, but that isn't saying anything, its monkey shit. So the monkeys are superior because they're public.

Mark Twain, Lewis ( wonderland ), ... many people throughout history in the USA ( united slavery amalgamated ) have not used their true names. The reason is they wanted to remain healthy and not be a target. Even Ben Franklin penned his early tracts using anonymous names. There is a great history in the USA of people who were telling the truth that feared for their health.

The PUSSY fear nothing from nobody, I can think in no instance EVER when HBM,DUNC,or BPussy every wrote anything at anytime to offend BossHoggHollern.

So just keep talking about how brave pussy's are, because they're public.

Like this week with Anne Saxer ( oregonian bitch ), the pussys tried their damnest to get the anonymouses to call her, and talk shit with her. You can be damn sure the pussys called her, BP loves to talk about his own name. Saxer however doesn't care about daily-kos, her entire 'hit-job' was to get someone to talk and elucidate exactly who in Bend was publicly dumping information that was embarrassing Bend on a national level.

Regarding the right-wing troll argument, the way I see it masked men hurling shit at pussy's. The fact is from a technical point of view HBM is the troll here, for its him that is saying the stupid shit to get folks all riled up. But then HBM ain't a techie and doesn't have a fucking idea what a troll is.

Left-Wing is NOT sucking HOLLERN dick, HBM&DUNC seem to think so. HOLLERN is a right-wing NAZI, yet HBM-DUNC-BP embrace him as a father, and provider of all that is good in life in Bend.

The trouble is all of HBM/DUNC's arguments are only suitable for MORONS. The underlying assumption is that HBM/DUNC/BP are superior being that they're on TEAM NAZI. Remember HITLER was left, the swastika meant 'rest in peace' from China, in the 1920's the swastika was a peace-sign, Germans were tired of war, Hitler promised no more wars, ... Hitler was LEFT-WING.

Once of course these idiot pussy's come to power, then they're killing and shit is every bit as evil as the right-wing.

The bloggers here that are anonymous, are more like Ron Paul, or Jim Rogers, just businessmen that want to say what they think in a small town.

The pussy's don't have a fucking clue about business. Sure Dunc bought a fucking comic shop, and has managed to keep it open for 30 years by floating credit cards, and making min-wage, that is fucking DUMB. Nothing needs to be said about how fucking dumb BP&HBM are when it comes to business.

So we move on, and keep talking about business in Bend.

Anonymous said...

CACB back to below $9. Bet a donut that it's CACB's share buyback program.

*

Of course, but imagine they weren't doing that it would be $1.

bruce said...

Re: Spoken like smelly pussy

Spoken like a wnna be independent repug hater

Spoken like a true politician

Spoke like....well you.



And thus spoke a troll. Nothing but ad hominem personal attacks. Typical of the species.

Anonymous said...

The pussy's don't have a fucking clue about business. Sure Dunc bought a fucking comic shop, and has managed to keep it open for 30 years by floating credit cards, and making min-wage, that is fucking DUMB. Nothing needs to be said about how fucking dumb BP&HBM are when it comes to business.

Nothing needs to be said about how fucking dumb BP&HBM are:

-when it comes to politics, since they just barf up DailyKOS 24/7.

-when it comes to influencing people, since every time they open their mouths, people think their candidate (or candidate's position) is the stupid position to take.

-when it comes to Bend, since they are either newcomers who suck up (BP) or old timers who are being supported by their Man-Wives (HBM), since they are kept-men pussys.


Other than that, and a few others faults, BP, dunc & HBM are really quite enjoyable, funny, man-kept, liberal pussys shilling for OR-BOMB-EO.

Not that there is anything wrong with that...

bruce said...

From Marketwatch this morning:


Regulator may press WaMu to sell to consortium: report
By Steve Goldstein

Last update: 4:53 a.m. EDT Sept. 23, 2008

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The Office of Thrift Supervision is pushing Washington Mutual to find a buyer and is considering brokering a deal to break it up between several banks, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the talks. If no outright buyer emerges in the coming days, the regulator could split WaMu's attractive deposit base and retail branch network and also share its troubled mortgage portfolio, the report said. Those participating in the WaMu acution were J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings and Banco Santander.

Anonymous said...

Bend mom arrested on DUII, hit-and-run charges

Hit-and-run victim chased her to school; two kids in car unhurt

By Barney Lerten, KTVZ.COM

A northeast Bend resident heard a crash Monday morning and looked out his window to see his SUV, parked on the street, had been hit by a now-fleeing driver, police said. He gave chase, and a Bend woman was arrested on DUII and hit-and-run charges at a nearby elementary school, where she was dropping off her two children.

The 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter of Lisa Sterling, 44, were unhurt when her 2003 Mercedes S430 slammed into the back of a parked 2006 BMW X3 SUV owned by Shane Lefeber, 35. It was parked in front of his house on Lava Flow Lane, near 18th Street and Empire Avenue, said police Sgt. Ron Taylor.

Police responded around 8:50 a.m. to the reported hit-and run crash, Taylor said. As officers reached the area, Deschutes County 911 dispatchers passed along that the suspect in the hit-and-run had been followed to Ponderosa Elementary School.

Officers found Lefeber's SUV, legally parked on the street, sustained significant rear-end damage from the collision.

After the crash, Lefeber jumped into his other car, a Mercedes, and followed her to the school, where other officers contacted her. Taylor said that's when police learned Sterling had gone to the school to drop off her two children.

Sterling's car had significant front-end damage, but neither Sterling nor her two children were injured in the crash.

Sterling was arrested on charges of DUII, hit and run and two counts of reckless endangering, Taylor said, adding that the woman's blood alcohol content was more than twice Oregon's legal limit of .08 percent.

Sterling was held on $10,000 but released later to a responsible third party, a jail officer said.


*


Bend is going crazy.

Now, even the rich Mercedes Moms are spiking their Starbucks Lattes with booze. Drinking up a storm before dropping their kids off at school.

But the poetic justice is that her Mecedes S430 slammed some schmuck's BMW SUV. And he gives chase in his other car, a Mercedes, of course.

Bend's Latte Liberals!! Gotta love them.

hbm said...

HBM&Dunc have NEVER said anything to offend Master-Blaster-HOLLERN ever!

Okay, since you asked for it:

Mike Hollern is not a sharp dresser. He always seems to wear the same blue blazer, khaki pants and loafers. He dresses the same way now as he must have in prep school.

Happy now?

hbm said...

Bend's Latte Liberals!! Gotta love them.

I'll lay 5 to 1 they're Republicans.

hbm said...

The U.S. government has been turned into an engine that accelerates the wealth upwards into the hands of a few. The Wall Street bailout, the Iraq War, military spending, tax cuts to the rich, and a for-profit health care system are all about the acceleration of wealth upwards. And now, the American people are about to pay the price of the collapse of the $513 trillion Ponzi scheme of derivatives. Yes, that’s half a quadrillion dollars. Our first trillion dollar compression bandage will hardly stem the hemorrhaging of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme built on debt "de-leverages."

Does anyone seriously think that our public and private debts of some $45 trillion will be paid? That the administration's growth of the federal debt from $5.6 trillion to $9.8 trillion while borrowing another trillion dollars from Social Security has nothing to do with this? Does anyone not see that when we spend nearly $16,000 for every family of four in our society for the military each year that we are heading over the cliff?

This is a debt crisis, not a credit crisis. Just as FDR had to save capitalism after Wall Street excesses, we have to re-invigorate our economy with real - not imaginary - growth. It does not address the never-ending war on the middle class.

The same corporate interests that profited from the closing of U.S. factories, the movement of millions of jobs out of America, the off-shoring of profits, the out-sourcing of workers, the crushing of pension funds, the knocking down of wages, the cancellation of health care benefits, the sub-prime lending are now rushing to Washington to get money to protect themselves.

The double standard is stunning: their profits are their profits, but their losses are our losses.

This bailout will not bring real jobs back to America. It will not bring back jobs that make things. It does not rebuild our schools, streets, neighborhoods, parks or bridges. The major product of this financial economy is now debt. Industrial capitalism has been destroyed.
In the next few days I will push for a plan that includes equity for every American in any taxpayer investment in this so-called bail-out plan. Since the bailout will cost each and every American about $2,300, I have proposed the creation of a United States Mutual Trust Fund, which will take control of $700 billion in stock assets, convert those assets to shares, and distribute $2,300 worth of shares to new individual savings accounts in the name of each and every American.
I will also insist that all of the following issues be considered in whatever Congress passes:

Reinstatement of the provisions of Glass-Steagall, which forbade speculation
Re-regulation of the finance, insurance, and real estate industries
Accountability on the part of those who took the companies down:
a) resignations of management
b) givebacks of executive compensation packages
c) limitations on executive compensation
d) admission by CEO's of what went wrong and how, prior to any government bailout

Demands for transparencey
a) with respect to analyzing the transactions which took the companies down
b) with respect to Treasury's dealings with the companies pre and post-bailout
An equity position for the taxpayers
a) some form of ownership of assets
Some credible formula for evaluating the price of the assets that the government is buying.
A sunset clause on the legislation
Full public disclosure by members of Congress of assets held, with possible conflicts put in blind trust.
A ban on political campaign contributions from officers of corporations receiving bailouts
A requirement that 2008 cycle candidates return political contributions to officers and representatives of corporations receiving bailouts
And, most importantly, some mechanism for direct assistance to homeowners saddled with unreasonable or unmanageable mortgages, as well as protection for renters who have lived up to their obligation but fall victim to financial tragedy when the property they live in undergoes foreclosure.

These are just some thoughts on the run. You will hear more from me tomorrow. -- Dennis Kucinich


This guy can never be elected president. He looks too funny and he makes too much sense.

Anonymous said...

Another soy, double Grande white mocha cup of bullshit from the Man-Kept Pussy herself:

"hbm said...
Bend's Latte Liberals!! Gotta love them.

I'll lay 5 to 1 they're Republicans."

*

Think again, douche bag.

This year, Bend has more Dems registered than Repugs. That is why people think Bend will be the first district east of the mtns to switch from Repug to Dem this Nov.

Rep Burley, RIP.

HBM, all the news that is totally false.

HBM, the joker that keeps making shit up.

HBM, stands for Hilarious Bowel Movement, as well as H Bruce Miller.

hbm said...

This year, Bend has more Dems registered than Repugs. That is why people think Bend will be the first district east of the mtns to switch from Repug to Dem this Nov.

Good. Maybe all the Calis and the Utahns coming here will be worth it. Bringing all there wacky ideas with them. To counter all the fucking Republican trolls here.

hbm said...

HBM, stands for Hilarious Bowel Movement, as well as H Bruce Miller.

Gosh, that's witty.

What does it feel like to be so full of hate and hostility that you have to vent it on this blog all day, every day? I can't imagine.

Get some help, really. You're a sick dude.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a wnna be independent repug hater

Spoken like a true politician

Spoke like....well you.

*

Your either a 'pussy' or your a pug?

The pussy's are fucking idiots.

Anonymous said...

I'll lay 5 to 1 they're Republicans.

*

I agree with HBM, fucking conspicuous wealth in BEND, only a fucking PUG would be this fucking dumb, and drunk to boot! Totally PUG.

PUG hood.

Old timers in Bend, drive old cars.

Pussy's drive prius, subby or equiv, ...

Pug's, golfers, HOLLERN-hermaphrodites, drive bmw & merced

Anonymous said...

Dear American: I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you. I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

Anonymous said...

HBM, don't assume that all anonymous posters are Buster. THere's Buster, who's easily spotable, then there's the faux-Busters....

bruce said...

Dollar May Get `Crushed' as Traders Weigh Up Bailout (Update5)

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to end the rout in U.S. financial markets may derail the dollar's three-month rally as investors weigh the costs of the rescue.

The combination of spending $700 billion on soured mortgage-related assets and providing $400 billion to guarantee money-market mutual funds will boost U.S. borrowing as much as $1 trillion, according to Barclays Capital interest-rate strategist Michael Pond in New York. While the rescue may restore investor confidence to battered financial markets, traders will again focus on the twin budget and current-account deficits and negative real U.S. interest rates.

``As we get to the other side of this, the dollar will get crushed,'' said John Taylor, chairman of New York-based International Foreign Exchange Concepts Inc., the world's biggest currency hedge-fund firm, which manages about $15 billion.

The dollar fell against 14 of the world's most-traded currencies on Sept. 19, including the euro, as Paulson unveiled the plan, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 4 percent. The plan may end the rally that began in June and drove the U.S. currency up 10 percent versus the euro, 2 percent against the yen and almost 13 percent compared with Brazil's real, strategists said...

``The downdraft on the dollar from the hit to the balance sheet of the U.S. government will dwarf the short-term gains from solving the banking crisis,'' said David Woo, London-based global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays, the third- biggest currency trader, according to a 2008 survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc....

Anonymous said...

Supporting the GOP after they've given us this financial armageddon and the Iraq debacle should be a capital offense.

"When I am king, you will be fast against the wall. With your opinion that is of no consequence at all"

Anonymous said...

Gosh, that's witty.


*


Hmmm, not witty.

H Bowel Movement... maybe you were thinking shitty?

bruce said...

More RE auctions coming up on Oct. 15 and Nov. 12, by Premier out of Carson City. One is for Lot 237 at Pronghorn and the other is for the building the Northwest Adventure is in.

The NWA building owner (same guy who got the corner lot on Galveston/14th for $100K from the city) is in some cash flow issues and put a big sign up in front of the shop yesterday. He paid $650K for it at the peak, so it will be interesting what he gets.

Doesn't look like he closed on the corner property, either--but I heard through the grapevine that another buyer for both corner lots may be in the works. Valuation on all the properties seems to be the issue. Pete wants bubble prices, which no one is willing to pay anymore. An auction ought to set a new more realistic price level.

tim said...

What corner is NW Adventure on again? I know I've seen it, but I can't remember where it is.

hbm said...

Old timers in Bend, drive old cars.

True, or at least non-ostentatious ones. Bob Chandler and Les Schwab could have driven around in Rolls Royces or Bentleys. Instead Chandler had a Chevy Suburban (when I knew him) and a Buick, and Schwab usually drove some kind of pickup. The people who had wealth back in the day didn't flaunt it in the faces of those who didn't.

bruce said...

It's a few lots towards the river from Galveston and 14th. There is the empty city lot that the roundabout was carved out of, the little house that Pete owns, a chiropracter and then NWA. Across Galveston is Rigoberto's on the corner and (IIRC) Mother's.

Anonymous said...

The people who had wealth back in the day didn't flaunt it in the faces of those who didn't.

*

I think the 'old money' is still that way, and the 'new money' is gone,

Like we established long ago here, new-money is always gone,

Bledsoe will be broke soon,

Anonymous said...

H Bowel Movement...

*

I think thats what most of us always thought it meant.

or

H Bruce Mussy

Whatever, ...

Anonymous said...

True, or at least non-ostentatious ones.

*

During hard times you have to be a complete fucking idiot to be conspicuous.

You park a nice car around Bend in bad times, and you'll get keyed by the board-heads at the very least.

Anybody serious about sport that actually hikes, bikes, skis, and has to leave his/her rig at trailheads, snow-lots, ... is not going to have a nice-car.

Folks that have nice clean cars in Bend, are fucking PUG POSERS, sort of the same people who buy Harleys.

bruce said...

Ya know, I haven't heard much from the Pug trolls about polling data now that the convention bounce is over...

So let's see:

Intrade: Obama 52.3 McCain 46.3

RCP National Ave: Obama 48.1 McCain 45.6

Fivethirtyeight.com electoral vote projection: Obama 312 McCain 226

Hmmm. Could it be a certain dissonance between the message and the actions of the Pug camp?

You know, Paulson and Bernanke begging for a trillion or so to bail out their banking friends from the public trough, while the Pug Party just put out this a few weeks ago as part of their election platform, under Rebuilding Homeownership:

We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.

Yeah, the lies may finally be catching up.

Cognitive dissonance. Kind of just wants you to get the drink on, eh, Buster?

Anonymous said...

We do not support government bailouts of private institutions.

hahahaha now that's a good one. The Republicans don't support it, I guess Bush is a Democrat.


Please vote against these GOP doublespeaking clowns Nov. 4th.

bruce said...

Just read a new term for the proposed bailout: TARP--Taxpayer Anal Rape Program

bruce said...

Ah, the "Bitch Slap to America" speech. That was a good one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9hqL2EC1qE

"Cancel the pissing match, hand me that bottle of gin, and send for the first lady!"

Fucking hilarious.

Anonymous said...

H Bruce M[anp]ussy

Anonymous said...

BP,

One thing that I noticed in the last few days is that FOX is pissed that PALIN is allowing no press access, even on the press-plane. Nobody gets access to Palin, not even FOX.

PALIN has now gone from wonder-women, to BITCH.

Mark my words 'mean spirited bitch' will soon be the most frequently used word to describe palin.

I say this because she is not even VPmilf yet, and she already treats the PRESS like CHENEY. They don't like it, and they're NOT going to tolerate it.

Anonymous said...

Newsweek today says that MC-CAIN is getting tons of cash under the table from FRED&FANNIE, its getting ugly.

***

CAMPAIGN 2008
Freddie’s Friend

Freddie Mac continued checks to McCain campaign chief's firm.
By Michael Isikoff | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Sep 23, 2008

Since 2006, the federally sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac has paid at least $345,000 to the lobbying and consulting firm of John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.

Freddie Mac had previously paid an advocacy group run by Davis, called the Homeownership Alliance, $30,000 a month until the end 2005, when that group was dissolved. That relationship was the subject of a New York Times story Monday, which drew angry denunciations from the McCain campaign. McCain and his aides have vehemently objected to suggestions that Davis has ties to Freddie Mac—an especially sensitive issue given that the Republican presidential candidate has blamed "the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats" for the mortgage crisis that recently prompted the Bush administration to take over both Freddie Mac and its companion, Fannie Mae, and put them under federal conservatorship.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the lies may finally be catching up.

Cognitive dissonance. Kind of just wants you to get the drink on, eh, Buster?

*

Don't feel too fucking cocky BP, because if your team doesn't learn to shut its mouth, and play chess, you'll be back below Palins dress again.

To stay about the fray, the DEM's must have the 'moral high-ground', a concept moron-pussy's are incapable of understanding.

Anonymous said...

McCain and his aides have vehemently objected to suggestions that Davis has ties to Freddie Mac—an especially sensitive issue given that the Republican presidential candidate has blamed "the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats" for the mortgage crisis that recently prompted the Bush administration to take over both Freddie Mac and its companion, Fannie Mae, and put them under federal conservatorship.

Anonymous said...

Last for now, but everybody notice that all are demanding the that BUFFET be on board of bailout, yet today BUFFET bought $5Billion interest in Goldman-Sach aka PAULSON-CUNT.

Sort of a conflict in interest for BUFFET, who no has the survival of GS in his own personal interest.

I have never cared for BUFFET he got rich fucking insurance companys.

He's not like ron paul or jim rogers, buffet really never says anything interesting, he's just an old fashion crook like the rest of these folks.

I have all his books, its all just old fashion slogans. Funny shit, but really saying nothing. BUFFET buys shit and fucks people, LBO's, ... been doing this since the 1960's.

Anonymous said...

PALIN has now gone from wonder-women, to BITCH.

Mark my words 'mean spirited bitch' will soon be the most frequently used word to describe palin.

I say this because she is not even VPmilf yet, and she already treats the PRESS like CHENEY. They don't like it, and they're NOT going to tolerate it.



You are a Liberal Pussy commenting under Anonymous, aren't you? You need to learn something, you dumbshit.

Learn from the wise masters tim and buster:

Don't feel too fucking cocky BP, because if your team doesn't learn to shut its mouth, and play chess, you'll be back below Palins dress again.

That there is good advice that you idiot moths can't EVER obey. Keep on opening your big fat mouths, just like Sen Obiden, a gaff a minute.

Palin keeps her mouth shut, since she knows the MSM is all in the tank for OR-BOMB-EO. She is one smart bitch.

She will have to open her mouth for the VP debate, where she will go ALL-IN. Live 40 Million person audience, she will slice up OBiden in the debates. Keepin her powder dry till then is a chess strategy, while OBiden shoots his wad all over the news every day, saying the most stoopid things, Bendites must think he is HBM.

Anonymous said...

Keepin her powder dry till then is a chess strategy, while OBiden shoots his wad all over the news every day, saying the most stoopid things, Bendites must think he is HBM.


That is funny shit.... shootin his wad (ala Clinton circa 1998)... Sen Biden as HBM, ha ha ha!


Barack Obama tells running mate Joe Biden to keep quiet

OR-BOMB-EO is smarter than his team mate, but can he muzzle the Gaff-Master?

He certainly can't muzzle his minions at KOS, Move-on, the whole blogosphere. Chess? Whadat?

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama tells running mate Joe Biden to keep quiet

BY MICHAEL MCAULIFF
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Tuesday, September 23rd 2008, 9:44 PM

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama slapped his loose-lipped running mate Tuesday, chastising Joe Biden for speaking too fast and contradicting him on one of the massive financial bailouts.
Biden, a Delaware senator, declared last week the federal government should not have floated the American International Group an $85 billion lifeline.
Obama said the feds had no choice and hit John McCain for opposing the AIG rescue one day, then backing it the next.

Tuesday, Obama had to deal with fallout from Biden doing a similar dipsy-doodle, first denouncing then agreeing with McCain.

"I think that, in that situation, I think Joe should have waited as well," Obama said on NBC's "Today" show.

It's not the only Biden gaffe to make headlines lately.

In a CBS interview Monday, Biden called one of his own campaign ads "terrible" for mocking McCain's lack of e-mail ability. Biden later said it was okay.
In the same interview, he said McCain was not leading on the economic crisis, and to make his point cited a moment in history that never happened.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed," Biden told Katie Couric.
The stock marked crashed in 1929 - three years before FDR got elected. And TVs were experimental.

Still, Obama defended his pick of Biden over Hillary Clinton.
"I am a great admirer of Sen. Clinton's," Obama said on NBC. "Joe Biden is also an outstanding public servant, and I am very proud of the choice that I made."
The GOP reveled in Biden's bobbles, sending out a list of recent alleged missteps.

"Joe Biden's bizarre comments underscore the lack of decisiveness and leadership represented at the top of the ticket," said Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz, contending that Obama's "lack of experience and accomplishment is reflected in the confused comments by his running mate."

Marge said...

Biden is OUT...Hillaious is IN..end of story.


When it..hits the fan...over and out.
BBBB
9/23/08 TEOWAWKI

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barack Obama tells running mate Joe Biden to keep quiet

*

BFD as in BIG-FUCKIN-DEAL, PALIN isn't even allowed to open her twat or mouth. PERIOD.

At least OR-BOMB-EO lets his VPilf say what ever the fuck it wants.

PALIN ain't even allowed to sit near the press on her private plane.

Anonymous said...

Palin keeps her mouth shut, since she knows the MSM is all in the tank for OR-BOMB-EO. She is one smart bitch.

*

The MEAN SPIRITED VINDICTIVE BITCH ISN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO BE SEEN IN PUBLIC, LET ALONE OPEN HER MOUTH.

'SMART', how do you spell "ROVE PUPPET"??

Eventually PALIN must open her fucking mouth, and when she does, ...

Anonymous said...

"SMART" is spelled R-O-V-E, same as W-I-N-N-E-R as in the last two presidential elections.

You are spelled L-O-S-E-R.

LOL!!!

Obviously, you are NO Buster, buster!

You don't know chess.

You can't be disciplined enough to shut your pie hole if it would help your OR-BOMB-EO get elected.

Palin will open her fucking mouth when it is to her advantage to open her fucking mouth. Most likely it'll be when America is watching live, and her answers can't be edited by Charlie Gibson and ABC.

Until then, Palin will keep her fucking mouth shut, since opening her fucking mouth does not serve her purpose of getting elected.

Biden will continue to run off at the mouth, even though his boss (OR-BOMB-EO) tells him to STFU. And they both will lose, since they don't know how to play chess.

Obama might squeek out a win if marge is correct and Hillary pushes Biden down the stairs and he has to 'bow out gracefully'.

Otherwise, the 'wrinkly white haired dude' and the pitbull will be running things when you scurry off to Canada with your tail between you legs.

Anonymous said...

"The MEAN SPIRITED VINDICTIVE BITCH ISN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO BE SEEN IN PUBLIC, LET ALONE OPEN HER MOUTH."


*

Palin is a mean spirited vindictive bitch because she:

-took on Obama and his faux celebrity and ripped him a new asshole in front of 40 million viewers who loved every minute of it

-ripped to shreds Obama's Community Organizer resume, and exposed it for what it was, which was less than a small town major

-ripped to shreds Fauxbama's pathetic tenure as a state senator too afraid to vote yes or no, but instead voted "present" over a hundred times

Vindictive? Not so much.

Truthful? Much truthiness there, my friend!

Keep up with the Vindictive bullshit... that makes your Fauxbama look like the pathetic, little kept-man child cry baby that he really is, when compared with that Vindictive Pitbull with lipstick!

bruce said...

Yep, can't wait to see the lipstick pit bull at the debate. It will be the first time she will be allowed to speak anyplace other than to an adoring crowd of fundies.

bruce said...

George Will today in WaPo:

McCain Loses His Head

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."


To read the Journal's details about the depths of McCain's shallowness on the subject of Cox's chairmanship, see "McCain's Scapegoat" (Sept. 19). Then consider McCain's characteristic accusation that Cox "has betrayed the public's trust."

Perhaps an old antagonism is involved in McCain's fact-free slander. His most conspicuous economic adviser is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who previously headed the Congressional Budget Office. There he was an impediment to conservatives, including then-Rep. Cox, who, as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, persistently tried and generally failed to enlist CBO support for "dynamic scoring" that would estimate the economic growth effects of proposed tax cuts.

In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning. Today, his campaign is creatively finding interstices in laws intended to restrict campaign giving and spending. (For details, see The Post of Sept. 17; and the New York Times of Sept. 19.)

By a Gresham's Law of political discourse, McCain's Queen of Hearts intervention in the opaque financial crisis overshadowed a solid conservative complaint from the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the RSC decried the improvised torrent of bailouts as a "dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government both to be looked to and indeed relied upon to save private sector companies from the consequences of their poor economic decisions." This letter, listing just $650 billion of the perhaps more than $1 trillion in new federal exposures to risk, was sent while McCain's campaign, characteristically substituting vehemence for coherence, was airing an ad warning that Obama favors "massive government, billions in spending increases."

The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?

On "60 Minutes" Sunday evening, McCain, saying "this may sound a little unusual," said that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general of New York who is the son of former governor Mario Cuomo. McCain explained that Cuomo has "respect" and "prestige" and could "lend some bipartisanship." Conservatives have been warned.

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?


Has the Pug party lost George Will, of all people?

Not to mention the Wall Street Journal.

Interesting times and all that.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 421   Newer› Newest»