Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Deblogging

9:07. Question 1, the bailout. Barry looks rushed. John looks cool. John scores with props to Teddy Kennedy. Barry saying we gotta intervene. McSame, I warned about all that too, Ike story. Both seem to be agreeing on voting for it. Johnny doubling down on Chris Cox.

Obama hits back. Responsibility not just during a crisis. Jim trying to get them to talk to EACH OTHER. McSame counter, American worker is best.


9:14 Question 2, how do you fix this. McSame: fix spending. HELLO, $700 BILLION BAILOUT YOU TWIT. Obama. 18 billion in earmarks, McSame wants $300 billion in tax cuts for Wall Street. Nice. Very nice.

McSame throwing out spending numbers. Now they are going after each other FINALLY on tax cuts versus spending. Go Jim.

Obama hits back on loopholes and healthcare. McSame saying HAHAH ENERGY BILL PWNED FAIR TAX FAIR TAX FAIR TAX

Ugh. This is kinda boring so far, but Obama wins this one.

9:26 Question 3: What are you giving up to pay for this bailout? Obama first...not energy plan and health care, or infrastructure or college costs. Obama's not answering this question. McSame is winning this question with specific examples of what needs to be cut: ethanol subsidies and defense pork.

Lehrer points out neither are cutting stuff as a result of the bailout or neither one is answering the question. McSame proposes spending freeze on everything but defense. Barry brings up Iraq.

Lehrer tries another tack. Obama finally admits to having to make tough decisions. McSame brings up HillaryCare. Spending blah blah.

Obama FINALLY sticks McSame on voting for Bush budgets. McSame NOPE I FOUGHT BUSH ON EVERYTHING MAVERICK SARAH PALIN.

McSame wins.

9:39 Question 4 What are the lessons on Iraq? McSame: Well, Petraeus means we won. SURGE VICTORY YEAH TEAM. Obama: Umm...Afghanistan? Osama? Remember them? $1 trillion dollar spent there? 4,000 dead? 30,000 wounded? Eye off the ball? Sound familiar?

McSame SURGE SURGE SURGE FLIP FLOP I CAN'T HEAR YOU PETRAEUS. Obama: Yeah, well...okay. But 2003-2007 YOU WERE WRONG JOHN ON EVERYTHING ELSE. McSame: I went to Iraq! We're winning there!

Obama: And we're not in Afghanistan, and we're losing there. Obama wins.

9:50 Question 5 More troops to Afghanistan? Obama: Hell yes. Here's my specifics. 2 brigades. Iraq was a strategic mistake. Afghanistan is the real deal oh yeah and Pakistan too, how's that money we spent there? McSame: I won't leave Afghanistan hanging like Reagan did. Boy I can't believe Obama wants to go into Pakistan, you can't say that out loud.

Obama: Yeah, mr bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran. Oh and we're already repeated the mistakes in Pakistan since we made in Iraq.

McSame Pakistan's a failed state. Oh, REAGAN STORY I STOPPED REAGAN IN LEBANON. Umm...but I voted for Bosnia and Gulf War I and Kosovo and Somalia. I have a record of voting for wars, so you can count on me. We gotta win in Iraq now I DON'T WANT DEFEAT VIETNAM I WAS A POW.

Obama Fighting bracelet stories now. OK but shut it, Afghanistan remember that? Osama? Hello? Taliban? Take it seriously? McSame: I've been there, so I win.

Another wash.

10:03 Question 6. Iran. McSame, Iran is existential threat to Israel. Screw the UN and Russia. League of Democracies. THEY WILL NOOK EVERYBODY IEDs IN IRAQ SECRET TERRORISTS. Obama: Iraq war made Iran stronger. We're not containing them, also threat to Israel. Tougher sanctions, must cooperate with Russia and China and UN. Diplomacy with Iran.

McSame butchers Ahmedinejad. Pre-conditions. Nope, won't talk to them unless they agree with everything we want first. Nixon and Reagan, statesmen.

Obama: Let's talk about this. We have to talk to people. We cut off talks with North Korea and they went crazy. SPAIN! ZAPPO.

McSame: I don't have a seal yet. Heh. Nope. Can't legitimize evil. Can't talk to evil. "Oh please." Nice zinger. McSame does win this one.

10:16 Question 7 Russia. Obama: We have to confirm and support NATO members and stop Russia. McSame: He doesn't understand like I do. But I'll say the same thing. I went there, I win, here's a story about Putin.

Neither side is brining up Georgia attacked first. Obama says we have get more energy, clean energy, solar, nuclear. McSame is snickering. Obama hammers him on his clean energy. McSame's response is dumb. Obama wins.

Last question. Another 9/11? McSame: Much less, we're safer but not safe I HAVE A LONG RECORD HERE'S ANOTHER STORY Better intel agencies we won't "torture ever again." WAIT WHAT? Wait ever AGAIN? BARRY HIT HIM ON THAT! I made government bigger long way to go.

Obama: Safer in some ways. Not hitting him on that. AQ is still out there. How we are viewed helps us. We are less respected. That needs to change. Praising him on torture issue?


Obama: No Bin Laden. China has $1 trillion of our debt, we've been ignoring China and stuff, busy in Iraq, back to Iraq's effect on economy. Economy is a national security issue, VERY GOOD.

McSame: Gosh Obama is stubborn and wrong, unlike me. Obama is Bush. I love veterans. I have background.

Obama: My dad was an immigrant! But now he wouldn't want to come here.

McSame POW POW POW POW POW God Bless America.

Obama wins.

Final score Obama 4, McSame 2, 2 ties. Obama wins.

The Weekend Waltz

So now the Dance of the Honeybees begins this weekend around who gets Wachovia's honeypot, and who gets to deal with all the stingers.
Wachovia has begun preliminary talks with Citigroup about a potential merger, people briefed on the matter said Friday.

Feelers have also been extended between Wachovia and Wells Fargo and Spain’s Banco Santander, these people said.

These talks are early, however, and no deal may emerge from them, these people said.

Wachovia , the big bank headquartered in Charlotte, has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks amid the turmoil gripping the banking sector. It took additional fire on Friday after JPMorgan Chase acquired virtually all of Washington Mutual, until Thursday evening the nation’s largest savings and loan, in a government-brokered sale.

After hours trading finds Wachovia down to 8.75 or so. I'm fairly sure a deal will be made for it by Sunday night.

On the other hand, National Ciy has been languishing in the $4-6 a share range for four months now, and now it's under $4. Nobody's even bothered with the company. What's killing them is that the company has lost billions in deposits since July, the same scenario that has killed WaMu and IndyMac. Eventually it's going to get to the same point where those banks are: Deposits on hand are going to be too low to operate, and the FDIC will step in and turn out the lights.

The trick is who is going to want to buy a bank in the very economically troubled state of Ohio right now? WaMu at least had branches all over the country. National City is mostly in Ohio, Florida, and Michigan...not a real good place to be a mortgage bank in 2008. They've been in prime buyout position for months now and nobody's cared to even sniff at the corpse.

I smell an FDIC deal, and I smell one soon. Question is who's the buyer? If there's not one found, it's going to be IndyMac all over again, and much worse. Nobody's even bothered to look at picking it up. The FDIC may have to dismantle it.

And that's going to be bad. I was wrong about WaMu (so far) because JPMorgan Chase has solidly offered that it's business as usual, it's a takeover, not a failure. So far the public is buying it. National City will not go nearly that cleanly when it dies.

Cartoon Of The Moment

As always, Daryl Cagle.

Made Of Win And Awesome

is this.

When Is A Wall Street Bailout Not A Bailout?

When it's a couple trillion dollars of "insurance".
What do House Republicans want? A senior House Republican gave me and some other reporters a look yesterday at what a working group headed by Assistant Minority Whip Eric Cantor is demanding. The senior House Republican (hereinafter SHR) has what sounded to me like an ingenious approach. He cited Ginnie Mae loans to low-income borrowers, which the government can insure. He proposed that the government (presumably through the entity envisioned by the Paulson plan) offer to sell insurance to financial institutions that hold mortgage-backed securities (hereinafter MBS). Premiums would be determined by the rates of foreclosure on each class of securities so far. Under this plan, the government would be taking in money, not paying it out. Of course, if the premiums are not enough to cover losses, the government might eventually take losses, as it did when the savings and loan industry collapsed. But losses don't seem inevitable and in any case will mostly occur in out-years, not now.

Lemme 'splain this to ya.

What Eric Cantor and the House GOP want to do with their See It's Totally Like Magical Lightsaber-Throwing Jedi Ninja Riding Cyborg Fire-Breathing Velociraptors Plan, Dude here is this:

  1. Wall Street companies get to buy insurance against blowing the hell up.
  2. Taxes are lowered and regulations are relaxed so that companies will have the money to pay the premiums.
  3. If the company blows up, they get a crapload of taxpayer money only it's not called that. They actually MAKE money.
  4. If the company does not blow up, they still make money because they can write off the premiums, AND since the GOP lowered taxes to free up the money for the premiums in the first place, they STILL make money.
  5. The only people who do NOT make money are the taxpayers, especially since hey, all these companies are going to blow up anyway.
Great plan, huh?
So I asked the SHR whether a commitment by Paulson to consider an insurance program would be enough to win over a significant number of House Republicans. He said that a hazy commitment would not be enough, with the implication that the bill would still seem to House Republicans to be a Wall Street bailout with the implication that the government would be shelling out $700 billion of taxpayer money. I followed up by asking whether House Republicans would go along if Paulson pledged to use authority in the statute to set up an insurance program within a month of passage. "That would go far toward convincing [Republican] members," the SHR said. In other words, the insurance option may be the way to save this legislation.
...and then McSame takes credit for it and says "My friends, that's bullshit we can believe in."

It's all about the packaging. Calling Dems: Smash this in the chops, please.

Headlines Zandar Does Not Want To See In Reuters News Widget Over There

"U.S. military says Pakistan not targeting U.S. troops".

They're just hitting them with bullets and fire and explosions on accident. You know, like we've been doing to Iraqis and Afghans for the last sixty-six months.

It's Even Worse Than We Thought Part 4: The Worsening

Sarah Palin, squeaky clean gubment reformer? Meet reality of public records.

ABOUT THOSE TAX RETURNS.... Remember, she's on the ticket because she's a "reformer."

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has made a crackdown on gift-giving to state officials a centerpiece of her ethics reform agenda, has accepted gifts valued at $25,367 from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.

The 41 gifts Palin accepted during her 20 months as governor include honorific tributes, expensive artwork and free travel for a family member. They also include more than $2,500 in personal items from Calista, a large Alaska native corporation with a variety of pending state regulatory and budgetary issues, and a gold-nugget pin valued at $1,200 from the city of Nome, which lobbies on municipal, local and capital budget matters, documents show.

It prompted Mark Kleiman to ask a good question: "When are we going to see Sarah Palin's tax returns?"

Obama and Biden have released their tax returns, and McCain kinda sorta did the same. So, when will Palin -- who recently emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in government -- follow suit?

After the election. In 2012. Duh.

In Which Zandar Answers Burning Questions

Josh Marshall asks:
John McCain is saying that now that he's gotten the bailout negotiations back on track he can resume his campaign and show up tonight at the debate. But every news report I'm seeing says they were moving along smoothly until John McCain showed up and they fell apart.

Who can help me here?

Oooh oooh pick me!



Sorry no more questions at this time. Thank you and God Bless America.

Generation Depression

Over at Scholars & Rogues, Greg Stene puts out a pretty sobering thesis but one I've been talking about coming for a long time now: The end of the so called "Millenial Generation" as the driving consumer force in America.
We may be witnessing the absurdly quick end to the Millennial Generation.

This coming Monday, September 29th may take care of it all.

For years:

  • we had the advertising world getting a handle on the Millennials at a huge cost and professional upheaval of all it once held true
  • we had the world of employment turning itself upside down to accommodate the Millennials’ justified lack of employer-loyalty, work performance on their own terms, and the quick-shift from employer-to-employer they represented
  • there was the idea of friendships made in social groups being more important than those made at work
  • the world of casual friends on social networks was good enough for a lot of people
  • the form of independence from the Millennial stereotype so carefully crafted as the youngsters refused to accept the limitations of the stereotype and grew beyond it every two years or so, keeping marketers from ever really understanding them
  • and the confidence in themselves and the future, that some older people around them never quite got used to …

It all ends over this short weekend.

Two things came up this Thursday night, the 25th.

First, the apparent coming agreement on the massive $700,000,000,000 bailout has been tossed up on the rocks of uncertainty (sounds like a place where it rains a lot) in a mess of a president, two contenders, two political parties, a power struggle and just way too much to bother with here.

So, the money markets become even more unstable, even more unsure of the future. You begin to kiss off investment money into companies and their expansion because money is far too valuable to invest in anything remotely risky, and nearly any company’s survival these days is a real risk.

You begin to kiss off jobs, since companies can’t expand without investment and loans. You begin to kiss off sales since people are afraid to spend money because they’re afraid of losing their job and their homes.

Second thing, announced relatively late this Thursday evening. Washington Mutual (WaMu) failed … the United States’ largest bank failure ever … “the biggest bank failure in history,” according to the New York Times. Regulators rushed in, took over, and sold the whole damned thing off to J.P. Morgan Chase.

This biggest bank failure ever. Tonight. In this country.

And in this crisis of confidence, the Millennials died.

Absolutely. Those of you in that vital 18-35 age bracket like myself? I got news for you.

We're screwed.

The time to start doing what your parents did that you made fun of, as in work two jobs to pay the bills, cut up those credit cards, clip coupons, scrimp and save and treat your job(s) like the lifeline(s) they are is pretty much NOW.

You're not going to like the next several years. You're going to be pretty broke. Your parents are going to be broke and they're not going to be able to help you anymore. You're going to have to sell the video game consoles and the plasma TV and the give up the nights out getting plastered pub crawling with your crew, dig?

You're not going to be the next Bill Gates. You're not going to be CEO of the company. You're going to be working a shitty job where you're going to be making a choice between food, gas, and your bills from week to week. If you lose your job, and eventually you will, it's going to be pretty bad for you and your loved ones. Your company's going to reduce headcount. Your friends are going to get laid off. You're not going to get that raise or bonus this Christmas, ok?

1) Make a budget. Figure out what you're spending each month on bills, rent, credit cards, food, gas, whatever. Figure out what you're making now. Figure out what you need to cut to come out ahead. Then cut it. Cut it now and save up some money. You're gonna need it when things get truly shitty in the months and years ahead...and yes, I said years.

Do you work for a bank or financial firm? Your job's in real, real trouble. You most likely will not have it next year. It's just beginning, folks.

And it's going to get significantly worse. Suck it up now. Hate your boss? Hate your job? Hate your co-workers? You'd better get over it. You're gonna need the money. Got credit cards? Got a car payment? Got that $15 bucks a month on that MMO or Netflix or satellite radio or the cell phone contract or the broadband internet deluxe cable service?

Start figuring out where you can make cuts now, then DO IT. I did.

2) Make friends at work. You're going to need contacts to get jobs. Quit acting like you're the most important person at your job, you're not. You will be downsized or replaced. You will get stomped on by other folks who are gonna claw over your corpse to advance. Be worried about keeping the job you have, not getting the job you want.

3) Get your shit together. You're gonna have to. It's going to be hard. You have no idea. Your grandparents and great grandparents did. Ask your parents about 1977-1981 sometime. Your idea of a downturn is the dot-com bust. That was nothing compared to what's ahead.

4) Be prepared, as I keep saying. You know this is coming if you're reading this. Act on it. Don't wait.

5) Remember how we got into this mess. Easy credit. No regulation. Rampant greed. Tax cuts and massive spending on wars and bailouts and profit profit profit always profit. You've read my posts. You know what's going on.

Finally, VOTE on Election Day. That's how you make a difference. It starts by getting educated on the issues and voting. Local, County, State, National. Learn who the candidates are, what they stand for and vote.

Epic Campaign Suspension/Resumption Failure

The view from across the spectrum today is that McSame crumbled under Obama's pressure and plan to turn the debate into an hour long prime time interview with Jim Lehrer if McSame didn't show.

It's definitely not helping him that he already had in place ads that he had won the debate 12 hours before said debate, when it wasn't clear he would be at said debate, meaning...he was going to be at the debate all along and knew it.

Between this and Sarah Palin's utterly miserable performance this week with Katie Couric prompting calls for Palin to resign, and the McSame campaign taking the blame for screwing up yesterday's bailout deal, this is about as far into EPIC FAIL territory as you can get short of live animals and rubber pants.

Tonight is Obama's clearest opportunity yet to deliver a crushing, final blow to McSame, and both of them know it.

The Big Lie Continues

Once again Republi-scum are trying to blame the economy on minorities, in preparation of the entire next four years of an Obama administration. Today Double G catches the National Review pinning the WaMu collapse on hiring Hispanics and gays.

National Review's Mark Krikorian notes that (1) Washington Mutual became the largest bank to fail in American history yesterday and (2) its last press release touted the fact that it was named one of America's most diverse employers, having been "honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations"; for being "named [one of] the top 60 companies for Hispanics"; for "attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers"; for having "earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups"; and for being "named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine."

While juxtaposing these two facts -- (1) WaMu has a racially and ethnically diverse workforce and (2) WaMu collapsed yesterday -- the National Review writer headlined his post: "Cause and Effect?" He apparently believes that the reason Washington Mutual failed may be because it employed and was too accommodating to large numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans and gays. Is that why Lehman Brothers, AIG, Bear Sterns and so many others also failed -- too racially diverse of a workforce? Ironically, the night before, National Review's Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt agreed with one another that The Atlantic Monthly was forever destroyed as a journalistic entity because it employs Andrew Sullivan, whose writings about Sarah Palin are "a form of mental illness."

At roughly the same time, Law Professor Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds promoted this article by University of Oklahoma Professor David Deming, which described "Obama's thinly veiled hatred for this country's unique culture and institutions" and said he was "a hollow man that despises American culture," and the article predicted that "more Americans will come to this realization and elect McCain/Palin in a landslide." Professor Dunning explained that Sarah Palin compares favorably to Obama because she -- unlike he -- was "unassisted by affirmative action" and "is not embarrassed by being an American." Then, this shining light of the right-wing blogosphere lavished praise on that article in a post entitled "Alien Obama" and explained that "Barack Obama despises America and American values because he has never known or experienced them, as he did not grown up in a normal American culture"; that "Obama is un-American"; and that "[Obama] is not one of us" (Professor Reynolds then linked to that "analysis," too).

Yesterday, The Atlantic's Ross Douthat argued -- more or less persuasively -- that both presidential campaigns have decided, for different tactical reasons, that it's in their interests to ensure that the election entails no real substantive differences between the two candidates and that the election has therefore become "an election about nothing." Even if that's true, the need to banish the faction that has been driven by drooling, ugly cretins like these -- the people whose twisted mentality brought us torture and rampant lawlessness and endless authoritarian destruction and who crave still more of all of that (and economic crises always exacerbate hatemongering extremists and render their bile infinitely more dangerous) -- is, by itself, reason enough to care about the outcome.
Make no mistake about this. Race will be the scapegoat of this economic meltdown, and it will be laid at the feet of America's first minority President. The plans are already being drawn up and executed.

Just as eight years of Clinton's penis was the source of everything that could have remotely gone wrong with the 90's, Obama's skin color will be the source of everything wrong with the next four years to Republicans.

This is just a taste of the racism, bigotry, and hatred America is in store for from Republicans should Obama win.

We Have Crossed The Event Horizon

And the Sarah K. Palin Will You Please Go Now! calls are only beginning. National Review's Kathleen Parker starts the avalanche.
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.
You know, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow called this last night. McSame's campaign has been full of Hail Mary bombs with 8 minutes left on the clock. Now he'll just throw another Hail Mary and Sister Sarah will step down.

The Palin Resignation watch is officially on. After THIS interview, do you blame McSame?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Are House GOP members playing chicken with their Stupidiplan to run FOR John McSame or AGAINST him?

I would have said last night that McSame was leading this revolt. Now I'm not so sure. It could be the House GOP telling both Bush and McSame to eat shit and die, and they really do believe they will get their plan passed.

That's the $3 trillion question.

It's On!

Super Action Debate '08 is ON.

11:24 AM - McCain Officially Going To Debate: The McCain campaign releases a statement saying that John McCain will attend tonight's debate. Here's an excerpt:

Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.

Let the games begin.

Oh wait, the game's over. McSame just completely lost and looks like the erratic dingbat he is right now, with his erratic dingbat witchhunter Veep. He loses the debate...because he's at the debate. He played chicken and folded. He's now dancing to Obama's music. The last 48 hours just make McSame look like a crazy old man.


Death Watch 2008

Well, WaMu's down. Who's next on the block?

Investors are pulling out of Wachovia and National City right now.
Shares of Wachovia and National City tumbled on worries about heavy mortgage losses after talks on a $700 billion financial sector bailout bogged down and federal regulators seized Washington Mutual in the largest bank failure in U.S. history.

A collapse of the bailout talks in Washington could prolong and deepen the freeze in various parts of the credit markets and could deepen losses on banks' balance sheets from troubled mortgages and other loans.
Both are down 20-25% as of this morning. National City has been slowly dying for months now, being Ohio's largest retail bank and stuck in Rust Belt Mortgage Hell.

[UPDATE] NCC is crashing hard, down more than 40% to under $3 and falling. I don't see NCC surviving the weekend at all. Wachovia I give 40% odds of making it.

MAVERICKED The Revengification

I'm glad I'm not the only guy who sees the wrecking ball coming at high speed this morning. Steven D at the Frog Pond:

McCain's campaign denies he has backed any plan, yet, but this smells like a doublecross to me, and we all know Steve Schmitt, McCain's campaign manager is a Rove protege who cares more about winning elections than doing what's best for the country. This so called plan (outlined on a one page handout given to reporters) is a mere election year ploy so these conservative Republicans and the McCain camp can run campaign ads blaming Obama and the Democrats for not taking action on "their" bailout plan, which they will claim would have cut your taxes.

It's cynical, its a non-starter with the Bush administration and it has no basis in reality much less any chance of successfully stopping the financial sector bleeding even if it could be passed. Just one example of how ridiculous this approach is: how do you know how much to charge a bank for this insurance program when you can't evaluate the value of the asset because you don't know the default risk of that asset? The answer: you can't.

In other words, this is a a typical right wing Republican solution. A gimmick that places party before country. Expect its proponents to get lots of airtime on the cable news shows, however. After all, these are very serious people with a "plan" to save the world. The fact that they are playing games with your financial future: Priceless.

Tristero at Hullabaloo:
In other words, what we need is someone to make everyone sit down and cut the bullshit. Just like St. John McCain says he is prepared to do with the real Shia and Sunnis. And don't for a minute think this September Surprise won't work with the hoi polloi.( Or that there won't be an October surprise even more grandiose and dramatic than this one.)

What to do? If they are truly serious about solving the financial crisis - which has the unfortunate aspect of actually being really real - then first, Congress should adjourn until that narcissistic idiot McCain is safely out of town. The second step? Blame McCain for any and all delays. The third step? Blame McCain. Get it?

This isn't about obstreperous Republicans blocking a needed financial bailout because it doesn't fit some whacked ideology. This is about a campaign bailout. McCain's campaign bailout. The focus must remain entirely on his manipulativeness and his deeply unserious meddling in affairs he has not the slightest ability to understand. Once he slinks away, the very serious business of what to do can be addressed.

And then it's time to blame House Republicans for being ideological dingdongs.
Clif at Sadly, No!:

The claim by the conservative dirtbags in the House that their “insurance” plan is kinder and gentler to the taxpayers seems to me to be a rancid stream of raw sewage being marketed as chocolate fondue. Without the full details of either plan, I could be wrong, but, in general, it seems that the “insurance” model is simply a way of giving more taxpayer money to the companies that created the mess.

The difference between the dirtbag proposal and the White House proposal is that under the dirtbag proposal, the distressed company holding a troubled mortgage-based asset gets a taxpayer-funded insurance policy for the full value of the asset in exchange for a small premium payment. Under the White House proposal the federal government pays an amount to the distressed company that will, at least temporarily, assuage the company’s financial woes in exchange for the troubled mortgage assets and an equity interest in the company.

Now compare the two results. Under the dirtbag proposal, if the mortgage-based asset performs, all the upside goes to the distressed company, and if it doesn’t, the taxpayers bear the full downside, potentially the entire “face value” of an otherwise worthless asset. Under the White House proposal, if the mortgage performs, the taxpayers may get more than they payed for the asset plus an appreciation in the government-held equity interest; if it doesn’t perform, the taxpayers’ liability is limited to the amount paid to buy the asset. The dirtbag proposal potentially costs the taxpayers more and gives the taxpayer no upside.

Granted the final dirtbag plan might continue provisions that mitigate or eliminate some of these problems. But the point is that on its face the insurance model will cost taxpayers more and provide all the upside to distressed companies. Or am I missing something here?

The question is once again:

  1. Do the Dems fail to see the trap once more?
  2. Will they fall for the trap?
  3. Will they become trapped and be forced to fold?
  4. Can McSame take advantage and use it to vault to the White House?
Unfortunately, I'm thinking the answers to all four of those are "Yes" and it pisses me off. As Digby says, the GOP started a frackin war on general principle. They'd rather let the market crash than admit their basic, fundamental economic policies have been precipitously wrong.

And once again the Dems have been right there with the assist, failing to do a damn thing about it over the last eight years. Why would they start now?

We're about to get MAVERICKED. McSame will swoop in when the time is right. The Bailout will not happen, and over the next couple weeks as Steven D says the "conservative Republicans and the McCain camp can run campaign ads blaming Obama and the Democrats for not taking action on "their" bailout plan, which they will claim would have cut your taxes."

The only question is how quickly the Dems will fold.

Given what I think's going to happen on Wall Street, the answer may be as soon as this weekend at the worst, but I honestly think we're going to the see the GOP use the same tactics we've seen before. Wall Street will crash over the next couple of weeks and the GOP will blame the Dems for it, the the Dems fold and GOP has "fixed" the economy THEY THEMSELVES BROKE. Checkmate.

With the overwhelming evidence of past performance of both the GOP and the Dems, I'm just not seeing other outcomes. Because the truly scary part is the things Preznitman were saying 36 hours ago are very real outcomes of this game of chicken. We could very well see a systemic meltdown from this, as I've been warning about for months now. It's not going to take much at this point, and the GOP is betting our country on the theory they can get enough political mileage to put McSame in the White House before a global systemic collapse happens.

Given the GOP's history of being off by orders of magnitude in their calculations, what do you think?

This is the BIG ONE, folks, that's what I think. It's happening now. The Crash of Ought Eight is upon us. Dow's down 100, Bush is screaming that he'll get the GOP in line, but it's too late. Not going to happen. They know their only political chance is to run against Mr. 26%.

Assume the position, folks. This is one game of chicken we're all about to lose.

Washedup Mutual

Pretty scary news this morning, again, Washington Mutual was seized by the FDIC and sold to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion, a complete fire-sale price. Since last Monday, WaMu has quietly lost nearly $17 billion in deposits as people have gotten their money out.

Now the question is what do the people who have their money still in WaMu do?

I'm hoping nothing. I'm hoping it's business as usual as the FDIC says. That is most likely going to be wrong.

I just don't see how there's not going to be a major bank run on WaMu's remaining assets now. This is the same government that 36 hours ago warned of dire economic consequences if there was no bailout deal. If even one percent of WaMu's remaining creditors head to cash out, it's going to be a nightmare. The bank just doesn't have that amount of physical cash on hand. No bank does. No bank keeps that much cash around, it's all electronic numbers.

My honest fear is that this morning there's bank runs at WaMu's remaining branches. Look, people are, well, stupid at times. They collectively panic. I know how I would feel if my bank was WaMu right now. I would have been one of the people that got their money out last week.

Even worse, this bank run panic spreads to other banks. More of them are going to start to fail. more of them have to be rescued by the FDIC until the FDIC has to be rescued, that's the next big domino to fall.

And the really scary part is I believe after the bailout deal, whatever form it takes, is signed...the banks will fail anyway.


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