I'm only sleeping
(h/t The Sideshow)
A lighthearted look at the American tragedy
The U.S. government ratcheted up its effort to save Citigroup Inc., agreeing to a third rescue attempt that will cut existing shareholders’ stake in the company by 74 percent. The stock fell as much as 37 percent.
The Treasury Department said it would convert as much as $25 billion of preferred shares into common stock provided private holders agree to the same terms, the government said in a statement today. The conversion would give the U.S. a 36 percent stake in the New York-based company.
Somehow this is not, I repeat not, nationalization, a term that raises the hackles of all true Americans. But if it's not nationalization, what is it?
“It’s just unbelievable,” said David Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams Inc. in New York, in a Bloomberg Television interview. “The government is making up the rules as they go. A continued breakup is probably in the cards.”I'm glad we could clear that up.
The ruling by the Supreme Court Wednesday barring opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, from holding elected office plunged Pakistan into political crisis as Mr. Sharif called for nationwide protests and the president imposed executive rule in the important province of Punjab.Executive rule? Zardari walks down the path of Musharraf. The lawyer's protest that helped bring down Musharraf was backed by Sharif but has got the cold shoulder from Zardari.
Bernanke laid it on the line today. I heard him say that the Fed and Treasury were going to provide debt and equity capital to many of the Nation's banks. Failure to do so was not an option. He pledged that the Risky Lending Standards of the past would be eliminated. He promised to ‘fix’ the errors that had been made by the misguided bankers.B. Krasting goes on to say why. Read it.
It sure sounded good. The market even liked it. It is bunk.
"We're not making it up," Bernanke told the House Financial Services panel.(h/t Calculated Risk)
"We're working along a program that has been applied in various contexts," he said. "We're not completely in the dark."
And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.But I hear the screams. Listen, don't you?
"We are in the same boat," she said. "Thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction, toward landfall."Naysayers, the club of which Blog Simple has been a member since its inception, beg to differ, we may be in the same boat with the Chinese, but it is not heading towards landfall, it's pointed downstream, where we can hear the roaring of the falls.
In an interview with Yang Lin of Shanghai-based Dragon TV, Clinton said the Chinese understand that the United States "has to take some drastic measures" with the stimulus package to restore American spending, which in turn will help revive Chinese exports.
By continuing to buy U.S. Treasury bonds, "the Chinese are recognizing our interconnections," she said. She said that the purchases were a "very smart decision" because the bonds are safe and stable.
AIG may announce that it is converting the government’s preferred shares into common stock to relieve pressure on the New York-based firm’s liquidity, a person familiar with the situation said. AIG pays a 10 percent dividend on preferred stock, and none on common shares.So AIG, which has basically been nationalized, except that the clowns that ran it into the ground are still running it, is going to decide what to do with the shares the government purchased to keep it afloat. Calling Mr. Geithner, is that OK with you? Yeah, I thought so.
With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.Using Predators to take out Pakistani Taliban will only make the government seem more weak, more dependent on the Americans, and convince Pakistanis that their country is little more than a satrapy. When people lose pride in their country, it becomes a losing proposition to fight for it, especially if your foes are local.
UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities.OK. Big Swiss bank gets whacked hard for defying the US tax gods. Well-heeled names will be divulged. Ho hum. But then this follows:
It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Federal prosecutors have been examining about 19,000 accounts at the bank, but UBS ultimately may disclose the identities of only a few hundred customers.Now, if you can read that article and get some idea of whose name might be divulged, not to mention why, I'll eat my Blog Simple baseball cap.
So, what is there for them to do? Forget “growth,” forget “jobs,” forget “financial stability.” What should their realistic new objectives be? Well, here they are: food, shelter, transportation, and security. Their task is to find a way to provide all of these necessities on an emergency basis, in absence of a functioning economy, with commerce at a standstill, with little or no access to imports, and to make them available to a population that is largely penniless. If successful, society will remain largely intact, and will be able to begin a slow and painful process of cultural transition, and eventually develop a new economy, a gradually de-industrializing economy, at a much lower level of resource expenditure, characterized by a quite a lot of austerity and even poverty, but in conditions that are safe, decent, and dignified. If unsuccessful, society will be gradually destroyed in a series of convulsions that will leave a defunct nation composed of many wretched little fiefdoms. Given its largely depleted resource base, a dysfunctional, collapsing infrastructure, and its history of unresolved social conflicts, the territory of the Former United States will undergo a process of steady degeneration punctuated by natural and man-made cataclysms.There's a lot of good stuff in the talk about how the Russians got through their collapse without degenerating into anarchy, or worse. Unfortunately, the US lacks most of the assets that the Russians have, though undoubtedly it has others. The problem is that there is a huge class divide here, with the privileged class ready, willing and able to use the most drastic and violent means to preserve a dead system. A gigantic repressive apperatus has been contructed that will try to maintain the status quo at all cost. Even if half the houses are vacant, allowing the homeless to use them will never be allowed, it's immoral to do so.
"The successes of Iraq have given rise to some very prominent and powerful officers in the U.S. Army. Has one of the side effects of the development of counter-insurgency theory been a new crisis in political-military relations?" (This is the question as I remember it and was probably not what Thomas said. But I think the "soldier and the state" question post-Iraq is a really good one.)Calling Iraq a success demands some curious reasoning, what with 144,000 troops still there, but the idea that it might cause a new crisis in political-military relations pushes against some boundries that most military people usually don't want to go. As we've seen, Petraeus has already shown some distain for the chain of command, are his latest 'successes' going to push him further down that road? The reactions in comments at abu muqawama indicate that if he does, the COIN people are going to be behind him. If I were Obama, I be careful about these CNAS appointments, and make sure they know who they are working for.
China should seek guarantees that its $682 billion holdings of U.S. government debt won’t be eroded by “reckless policies,” said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to the central bank.
The U.S. “should make the Chinese feel confident that the value of the assets at least will not be eroded in a significant way,” Yu, who now heads the World Economics and Politics Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in response to e-mailed questions yesterday from Beijing. He declined to elaborate on the assurances needed by China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.
I'd be worried, too, especially after the latest from Geithner that seems to be just more of the same failed policies of the Bush administration. Also, we learned today that Freddie and Fanny are going to need more than the $200bn pledged to date. Surprise, surprise.
But I fear the Chinese, like the rest of us, are going to have to bite the bullet. Asking for guarantees from the driver of a truck that has already gone off the cliff might disturb the driver's last moments, but won't have any other effect.
That's what Barack Obama is now shielding from judicial scrutiny. Those are the torture victims he is preventing from obtaining judicial relief in our courts. And he's using one of the most radical and destructive tools in the Bush arsenal -- its wildly expanded version of the "state secrets" privilege -- to accomplish all of that dirty work.I'm getting the feeling that there will be many more parts to this series.
As Centcom commander, Fallon was technically Petraeus's new boss. In practice, however, Petraeus bypassed the chain of command and answered directly to Bush, enjoying what was probably the most direct relationship between a frontline general and his commander in chief since the Civil War.then Petraeus was also bypassing Gates and whoever else is in between Gates and Fallon in the chain of command. Fallon is gone, and Petraeus is now the head of Centcom.
Who'd a thunk it? Certainly not Congress, who, apart from stealing for their buddies, could never imagine that Hank Paulson would overpay with the bailout funds. Listen to the squealing, behold the outrage:
The Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested as part of the massive infusion of capital into the country's banks, congressional investigators have found.
The investigators concluded that the Treasury under the federal bailout had invested $254 billion into companies but the preferred stock it got in return had a market value at the time of only $176 billion, or 69 percent of what the government paid, according to a congressional oversight panel report scheduled to be released today.
Lawmakers were furious about the panel's findings and said they provided an example of incompetence and waste in the government's $700 billion bailout program.
"Isn't that a terrible way to look after the taxpayers' money and to make purchases anywhere?" Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, said at a hearing on oversight of the bailout.
In a way, of course, it doesn't matter. The assets really aren't worth anything at all, it's all just a black hole that will suck up however much money that is dumped into it. Sure they can suck out more bonuses before it disappears, but sooner or later the truth will have to be faced, these banks and insurance companies are deader than dead broke. To pay anything at all for them is to overpay.
Now, faced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.
Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai’s international airport in recent months. Most of the cars – four-wheel drives, saloons and “a few” Mercedes – had keys left in the ignition.
They've built man-made islands full of condo, hotels, etc. Probably some good deals on real estate as well as on cars, now. All they need is for Cheney to move there for the whole place to blow away.
Lieberman is not talking about us, say most citizens. Yet he is. Lieberman is talking about anyone who disagrees with his perception of the State and its path. Please read Yisrael Beiteinu's platform; it doesn't hide a thing. In the "Citizenship and Equality" clause, under the headline "stricter attitude to subversion," it says: "We shall act to ban parties or bodies whose words or acts constitute incitement against the State of Israel as a Jewish Zionist State and undermine its existence."Sounds like in Catch-22, where Captain Black knew that the only way to determine of someone is loyal is to have them swear an oath of loyalty, preferably often and whenever they interact with the state. If someone refuses to swear, they're obviously disloyal, and if they seem disloyal, it is enough to not let them take the oath to confirm their disloyalty.
Next, watch Yisrael Beiteinu's election ads on TV, which feature examples of disloyalty, followed by a voiceover ominously: "No citizenship without loyalty." And what is the example provided? Protesters against the operation in Gaza holding up signs near the fence of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The conclusion is that those protesting against government decisions are disloyal. Loud and clear. And where do we mark the loyalty threshold? Balad? Hadash? Meretz? Or perhaps Kadima, which is engaging in talks on returning the Golan Heights?
After the British High Court ruled that evidence of a British resident's rendition and harsh interrogation at the Pentagon's Guantanamo Bay prison must remain secret because of threats made by the Bush administration to halt intelligence sharing, the Obama Administration offered a terse statement seemingly expressing support to the BBC.Obama is not just getting off on the wrong foot, he's setting a course down the main current of the river, towards the falls, when the only hope is to steer hard for shore. He has yet to make any real statement, on anything, to the US public. I can certainly believe that he still does not have sufficient control over the government for that. Clinton II? The stakes are far higher now, and the freedom to act much is more constrained. Is he up to the job? It's not looking good.
So we the taxpayers are going to eat a ton of bank losses that should instead be borne first by stockholders and bondholders This program should be labeled the Pimco bailout plan, since the giant bond fund holds a lot of bank debt. That show what a fiction Obama's populism is. It's mere posturing and empty phrases. Look at where the dough goes, and it is going first and foremost to the big money end of town.Evidently, Hank Paulson's effort to impoverish the US middle class were not sufficient, our new leader will have to finish the task, change or no change.