/* Google Analytics Code asynchronous */

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not a single broker or executive goes to jail

$335 Million settlement across 200,000+ borrowers, for one company (of hundreds?).

Not a single mortgage broker or loan officer goes to jail. Not one, reportedly.

Ergo, nothing will or has changed.

One wonders just how much worse it will get when the Democrats keep adopting moves to shut Freddie and Fannie out of the credit markets, despite their salutatory affect on creating fair access to credit...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do Nothing Congress Finds New Ways to Do Nothing

The latest from the GOP's do-nothingness?  Stage a fight with yourself.

It's true.  I didn't make it up.

[By the way, funding via pass-through fees on Fannie and Freddie is a bad idea.]

The Last March of the Women?

Isn't it an acute symbolism, that the women march to protest brutal treatment, as the Islamist Winter falls in Egypt, one that they no doubt voted for in large numbers?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Dear Mr. President:

You did good, this year, from this perspective. 

Monday, December 19, 2011


Remember, on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, in the early months of the invasion (or perhaps even before), the intellectual fight over how best Iraqis could organize their oil wealth?

Today, the come-down from such lofty heights, so many years later:

U.S. forces, which had ended combat missions in 2010, paid $100,000 a month to tribal sheikhs to secure stretches of the highways leading south to reduce the risk of roadside bombings and attacks on the last convoys.-link

Christopher Hitchens: A man worth naming a dog after

The Asia Times comes in with a solid.

I had forgotten the moving essay on Daily and the Galloway exchange.

('Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War' has had a link on this blog for a long while - for literary purposes only, but I see the website is defunked, now. Forgone maintenance.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Team USA was hacked

Now we know why self-destruct wasn't triggered or sent, possibly:

Iran guided the CIA's "lost" stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone's systems inside Iran.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reagan's Omertà

Perhaps the most fatuous question last night had to do with Reagan's 11th commandment, omertà.

A nation has lost something when the question is whether or not candidates for political office should level hard-hitting, legitimate criticisms of each other.

Reagan's Devolution, torched now by a media propaganda arm, rotten from the core, I guess.

(Does one need more evidence than this that Conservatism is tribal, not ideological?  No.  Yet, you will find many acolytes, still burning candles of that illusion.)

“Allons travailler!”

Goodnight, Christopher.

Strongman Politics: The GOP Have Theirs

Ron Paul might hopefully stage an upset in Iowa.

But, it's going to be Newton. He's the one who can talk like an Arab strongman (even talking down to the jurists!) and rally the fighters, including the Christianist fighters, who, face it, just want to win, because they've made up an evil called "Obama" that's more odious than the stinker Gingrich.

The rest is noise.

Learn his keywords.  They are all still in use.  "Fundamentally" much?  "Radical" dovetails the most with Rovian messaging, i.e. continue to call your opponent something that you are, to deflect.  Afterall, isn't it radical to "abolish the 9th circuit"?  "Double the State Department"?  Shut down the government in a temper tantrum? Rush to the arms of a billionaire's bogus debate, without thinking it through?

Most telling question of the night?

It could be, "Who's your favorite Supreme Court Justice?"  Fits with the overall FOX agenda to trivialize and politicize the judiciary.

On offer is a likely return to Bush-Rove firing of US District Attorneys who aren't meeting ideologically-driven prosecutorial goals.  Gingrich's "analysis" and takedown of decisions that he didn't like means we'll likely just have another Monica Goodling and Liberty Counsel prayer-train as a feeder to the bench.

The GOP's Remarkable Idea Machine

Regarding the Keystone project and the coming deluge of lies and distortions, did you know that buying (expensive) oil from Canada is "energy independence"?

Did you know that maybe 20,000 jobs in Houston is a "Big Solution"?

It's all been said to be true.

$1.6M Freddie Payout to Newton

"I had a [private sector] job like any other." - Newton Gingrich

Like any other. Okay.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Newton's Judgement Problem

Regarding the Trump debate, the GOP finds the Party, (or at least the RNC Charimen, Reince Priebus), at odds with the odds-on nominee, Newton Gringrich.

That tells you something.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Do Nothing" GOP Redefines Compromise as "Do Nothing, Later"

What is the point of debating and passing compromise legislation, if the GOP simply flout the law and undermine it at every possible point, going forward?

The lead says it all, pretty much:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort to put someone [Richard Cordray] in charge at the [post financial debacle] Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a move that prevents the newly formed agency from supervising some of the same nonbank entities that triggered the financial crisis.

Doublespeak, Live In America

Up is down and Rovian declensions in America revealed.

As Rachel Maddow notes, "it works".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

FOX News Stridency - "No Dogmeat"

Is it just me, or does FOX seem to be brainwashing "Fair and Balanced" more than usual?

Over and over and over again, between almost every segment.  Sheesh.  Methinks thou dost protest too much.

There is something wrong about having to advertise your programming like that.  Isn't that assumed or up to the viewer to decide, really?

It's worse than a restaurant hanging out a sign that says, "No dogmeat.  Honestly!  Every day!  Really, no dogmeat.  Seriously.".

OMG, Lee Cooperman Thinks He's a Victim!

Hedge fund legend (and former Goldman guy...) thinks he a victim.

Dear Mr. Cooperman:

I don't doubt that you are not naive, as you say; but your idea that the wealthy, on the whole, might be persuaded or moved to action on behalf of the needy (in the midst of our current economic crisis) by using a softer tone isn't naive, it's just daft.

Don't take my word for it:

“The best way to reach a deal for Obama is to pull out the partisan cudgel and slam the [Republicans] between the eyes repeatedly. They’ll only come to the table if their political brand is damaged. They’re not coming for the good of the country,” - Norm Ornstein, AEI (via Andrew Sullivan)

What's more, you are politically misinformed.  The President tried reasonable intonations, even with his own political party, on taxes and burden-sharing.  He was rebuffed and then, later, held hostage on the issue.

No one wants to blame the innocent, but you do have the misfortune of belonging to an industry that appears to have rescued itself, by commanding or commandeering the levers of government, and passed the bill on for its economic arson to  .... everyone else, who are largely innocent, too, frankly.

What's worse is that you imagine that the tone of the backlash against this injustice is at the heart of the problem, and not the inability of the Street to accept that it cannot police itself adequately.

Do you agree that AIG Financial Products was a criminal enterprise, in the commonsense usage?  They deliberately sought to skirt rules, by seeking out a friendly regulator.  They used cunning to deliberately avoid internal oversight.  They created products deliberately to skirt capital requirements.  They knew or should have known the risks - including the systemic risks - of writing blank checks of an enormous notional size, as they pocketed millions in salary and bonus, on the back of AIG's enabling, AAA rating.

Your own hedge fund industry is systematically destabilizing, most likely, because so many hedge funds operate as off-trading-floor trading-floors.  Put simply, no one knows the leverage in the system, because of it.  A $41B fund just blew up, with 80:1 leverage, reportedly.  Why should everyone else be concerned about the hardwork that you and your hedge fund guys are putting in, when what really matters is that enough simultaneous blow-ups of that size could start another massive liquidity crisis and, once again, dash the general living standard for the entire population!

Your industry is also seen as an enabler of the bogus 'CEO lifestyle', not only tacitly, but expressly, by passing out CEO treats to decisionmakers for deals that the Street likes for its own enrichment. No one really believes your indirect conjecture that these multi-million dollar packages of all stripes have anything to do with hard work and reward, even for philanthropy, when art sales and high-end retailers are doing so swimmingly.

So, while a gentle tone is often a good thing, railing against a tone that seems almost required by circumstance to re-shape things properly is probably misdirected anger, itself.

Citizens Willing to Finally Say Something


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Romney to the Test

Okay, I have to say this, because I haven't heard the pundits say it.

Right now, the political guantlet is down to Romney.

If he's a political pitbull, he'd go after Newt and Trump.  Trump for brazenly holding the Party hostage (has anyone ever - ever - heard a single guy threaten to sink the ship so visibly?) and Newt for lack of judgment w/r/t Trump, "just like his ethical lapse days".

Something tells me that Mittens won't pick up the gauntlet, though.

Update:  Romney says 'No'.  But, just that, nothing more.   He's gonna be second place, or "another silver", as he put it last time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Go Get A Copy, You Know You Want One, Possums

From me to you at the Holidays, via Cameron Carpenter and the organ he designed (never have artist and instrument been so well matched).

I've never hocked, shilled, or advertised here. But, when you hear/see how amazing this is, you'll want to go buy a copy for $0.99 and support any future "Camerons" currently in the American Boys Choir, who will get all proceeds.  There are no recordings even close.  If this were a vocal artist, people would be falling over themselves to declare 'voice of the century' or something.  It really IS that good.

Cameron Carpenter performs Leroy Anderson's 'Sleigh Ride'. Download this track on iTunes (or at http://tinyurl.com/bnw87xv ). All proceeds from sales of the download will benefit The American Boychoir School (see www.AmericanBoychoir.org). 

This video and the iTunes single were recorded on the Marshall & Ogletree organ at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. The organ is Marshall & Ogletree's Opus 4 and was designed by Cameron Carpenter.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Islamist Winter, After Arab Spring

After dictatorship, Egyptians opt for ... dictatorship. Humans are strange, but predictably strange. One vote, one time? Look for the crackdowns to begin.

Getting to the Bottom of Arsenokoitai

New from wunderkind Michael Wood.

The heretofore ambiguity of the term is intentional usage by Paul.

Chris Hayes!...

... has a Canadian on his show.

Doesn't he know that they just make us look bad, these days?


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Before the Great Sanhedrin

FOX Asserts Its Athorita

The FOX high priests summoned the GOP's semi-clean hopefuls for inspection, tonight.


Nobody talks about anybody else. This is not a "debate". No back-and-forth. No rhetorical skill(s). This is you versus Orthodoxy. You answer the questions. We have the law(yers).

No journalists. None. This is not about your record or vetting anything but your pureness.

Those not invited, no matter how willing, able, or interesting, will simply not be spoken to or about.

This is how the world's greatest country chooses its leaders?

Be afraid.

Rand and Ron Paul - Classical Liberalism Face Plant

The love of Ron and Rand Paul for bashing the Federal Reserve is well known.  Ol' Ron was just up in New Hampshire, promising that he'd take a run at abolshing it.

The tea waggers sip twice, when either of them talk.

But, this week, we found out just the extent to which both of them are dangerously ignorant and, thereby, public enemy.

In fact, we found out that during American capitalism's most dire hours since the great depression, that 109+ institutions and $7.7 trillion dollars of liquidity were being supported by the lender of last resort, the U.S. Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, an institution that, it should be noticed, pre-dates the Great Depression...

Just stop and think of the magnitude of the economic wreckage, if there was no one around to have done what the Fed did.  Ponder what the massive devastation would look like, if it isn't unfathomable.

With Herman Cain the latest nut to be shaken from the Koch brother's Tea Party tree, there is a danger, perhaps, of pretending that economic policy isn't being jawboned and influenced, yet, or of ignoring that the threat to us all from them and their bankrupting ideology is real.

Update: The Fed releases notes that refute the characterization offered by Bloomberg (suppliers of the figures above). The Fed suggests that $1.2 Trillion was closer to the maximum. The point remains unaltered.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Turns out that GOP leaders in Congress and compliant Democrats exempted their own pensions, benefits, and salary from cuts (as sequestration kicks in, mandating across-the-board cuts).

While proposing cuts in everyone else's retirement and ending hundreds of thousands of federal jobs,
soon-to-be Senate leader McConnell this week direly intoned that it was time for Washington to take a hit.

Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Laugh of the Day

Ta-Nahesi Coates closes comments on this thread.  Ha!

At least 2011 doesn't go out without some Andrew Sullivan snot on a sleeve.

Would it be wrong of me to say, "Welcome to the club, Ta-Nahesi", in a manner of speaking?  Yes, yes it would.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Boy, it's a week of unusual strikeouts over at The Daily Dish...

First, calling Barney Frank a sometime "total asshole"; then (in the same breath) picking, picking, picking at the ugly scab of the unknown, pressing need to develop a front-page politics of lesser IQ by race well in advance of the science on it; and finally blasting the 'hard left' about Israel's manipulative pinkwashing.

[I have to take this one up, because I heard Netanyahu mention gays in his Knesset speech and I was thinking, "How very odd."  I'm not sure I've ever heard that before.]

Let's start with something easy to analogize from. Senator Bob Corker goes to an auto plant opening and congratulates himself on what "we've done here". Of course, he visibly and ultimately opposed what was done. It is the same level of duplicity that some leftists and level-headed rightists sneer at, when a rightwing Israeli government, that depends on and cultivates its support from rabidly anti-gay groups, gets up and launches into "Look at Israel. We're so progressive on gay rights. :-)"  True, the Israeli right is not nearly as captured on this topic as the American right, but still.

Kirchick, now marching in pride parades organized by liberals, one supposes, writes:

The first fallacy of the pinkwashing meme is that it’s a non sequitur. No one is saying that Israel ought to be immune from criticism because it treats gay people humanely. Israel’s stellar record on gay rights does not prevent anyone from condemning the country’s settlement policies,

To the contrary, I think the record will show that some people, including Kirchick, have argued exactly that, in particular, that gays-against-apartheid really have no place in a gay pride parade, say, because one must put the gay issue first.

Beyond that is a rightwing Israeli mincing that falls hard on liberals, not unlike how clear-minded liberals bristled when conservatives intoned that Ronald Reagan was a 'nice guy', and if he had to illegally mine harbors in South America, that was just what daddy did at the office, to borrow a phrase. 

In this, the current Israeli government/leadership seems so smugly assured that their 'imposed compromise' is moral truth and not conceit that it is no wonder that people are raising questions about pinkwashing...