Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June 21st, 2007

Price of Darkness (a squib on Blackstone)

Posted by Charles II on June 21, 2007

As mentioned below, Blackstone– which has an… intimate…relationship with China, did an IPO this evening. MSNBC, both journalists and a panel including Harvey Pitt, verbally exploded on news that Cong. Henry Waxman wrote a letter to the SEC requesting that they consider delaying the pricing. 

HE INTERFERED WITH THE FREE MARKET!

AND…

NOW HE MUST PAY! 

Why did he ask for the delay? No one knew. It didn’t matter.

It now turns out that Senator James Webb, formerly a high Defense Department official has serious national security concerns over this deal. It seems that the $200B investment fund that China is using Blackstone to administer could give China access to sensitive information about US defense contractors. But the IPO went ahead anyway.

Anyone remember Loral? 

Those were the days! 

Any mention of Waxman or the IPO was missing on the CNBC news page today.  We live in such a magical world! 

Posted in China, rightwing moral cripples, stock market | 3 Comments »

Curious Omission

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

Newsweek reports that Dubya’s approval rating has sunk to 26%.

[Pause while our gentle readers shout "OMG PONIES!"]

The article points out that

…the 26 percent rating puts Bush lower than Jimmy Carter, who sunk to his nadir of 28 percent in a Gallup poll in June 1979.

Strange that they didn’t mention Dubya’s daddy, whose approval rating was 29% in late July 1992.

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Posted in beat the press, polls | 5 Comments »

Can It Be True?

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

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White House near decision to close Guantanamo

The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.
 

[...]
 

Cheney’s office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving “unlawful” enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.

If it is true, this could be the reason:

In Congress, recently introduced legislation would require Guantanamo’s closure.

The Busheviks will want to make it appear that it was their decision, and have control over where the detainees end up.

Posted in Gitmo, Guantanamo | 6 Comments »

Taipan: China starts trading securities in Hong Kong

Posted by Charles II on June 21, 2007

And the financial news keeps rolling in.

 This item won’t attract much notice, but I suspect it signals a fundamental shift in Asian economics, good news for American markets, and bad news for American consumers:

“The Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that domestic brokerages that have at least 800 million yuan ($105 million) under management and mutual funds of 200 million yuan in size will be allowed to invested in stocks and other structured products on overseas markets under the government’s qualified domestic institutional investor program, or QDII.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, economy | 3 Comments »

“There’s …a ton of liquidity out there”

Posted by Charles II on June 21, 2007

[**see footnote]

Most of the time I agree with Bonddad’s posts. But this one, no.  I don’t think that there is too much money.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in economy | 2 Comments »

A fairy tale ending to subprime lending

Posted by Charles II on June 21, 2007

Knight in Shining Armor

Mark Pittman, Bloomberg:

Merrill Lynch & Co.’s threat to sell $800 million of mortgage securities seized from Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds is sending shudders across Wall Street.

A sale would give banks, brokerages and investors the one thing they want to avoid: a real price on the bonds in the fund that could serve as a benchmark. The securities are known as collateralized debt obligations, which exceed $1 trillion and comprise the fastest-growing part of the bond market.

Because there is little trading in the securities, prices may not reflect the highest rate of mortgage delinquencies in 13 years. An auction that confirms concerns that CDOs are overvalued may spark a chain reaction of writedowns that causes billions of dollars in losses for everyone from hedge funds to pension funds to foreign banks. Bear Stearns, the second-biggest mortgage bond underwriter, also is the biggest broker to hedge funds.

“More than a Bear Stearns issue, it’s an industry issue,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. Hintz was chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the largest mortgage underwriter, for three years before becoming an analyst in 2001. “How many other hedge funds are holding similar, illiquid, esoteric securities? What are their true prices? What will happen if more blow up?”

Answer: A bunch of speculators will lose money they made by swindling the poor. And we’ll all live happily ever after. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, economy | 4 Comments »

What Was That Again About Backing Prosperity?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 21, 2007

The Indian state of Kerala has been run by Communist governments for the past five decades. It has India’s highest literacy, best overall health, and lowest corruption rates — much better off than free-market basket cases like Uttar Pradesh, where a tiny cabal of hyper-rich, backed by a somewhat larger technocrat class, rule over scores of millions of desperately poor and mostly-illiterate people.

And our glorious 1950s-era CIA apparently tried to strangle it at birth:

If the biography of former US Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker is to be believed, the CIA had performed a clandestine operation to topple the first elected Communist government in the world.

The book also says that the CIA funded political demonstrations by the Congress and other Opposition groups.

Bunker’s biography quotes: “…the election results rang alarm bells in Washington. This apparently involved agency funding for political demonstrations organised by the Congress party and other opposition groups that were designed to create a law and order situation.”

“It was essentially funding the anti-government agitation and create a cover so that the Central Government is forced to intervene. He (Bunker) also makes a very important revelation that S K Patil was the conduit for devolving the money,” said Minister of Finance, government of Kerala, Dr Thomas Issac.

[...]

It is not just Bunker’s biography that exposes the CIA-Congress nexus.

A few declassified documents of the CIA clearly show that toppling the 1957 EMS government was top priority for America.

The CIA head at the time, Allen Dulles, wrote, “It is very unlikely that local agitation alone will prove sufficient to oust the communist government. These developments have posed a grave issue for the entire congress party in India. Nehru obviously does not wish to do this but may ultimately be forced to take the step.”

Lovely, eh?

Posted in abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Comments Off

Something Interesting About the ‘No Fly’ List

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

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You know that No Fly List that’s supposed to keep us all safer by making sure terrorists don’t board airplanes in the U.S.?

It excludes the names of “the most dangerous” terrorists…

…because the intelligence agencies that supply the names don’t want them circulated to airport employees in foreign countries for fear that they could end up in the hands of the terrorists.

Cathy Berrick, the Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues for the General Accounting Office told Kroft that the lists that the airlines get have been sanitized of the most sensitive information.

“They’re not given all of the names for security reasons because the government doesn’t want to have that information outside of the government,” Berrick says.

But if your name is Robert Johnson, you’re better off driving or just staying home.

Do you also suspect that the purpose of the No Fly List is not to help catch terrorists or at least prevent them for hijacking flights? So far all it’s done is disrupt the lives of a lot of law-abiding people, not just the Robert Johnsons of the world but, by mere coincidence, peace activists, environmentalists, people who criticize George W. Bush, and liberal politicians.

Considering what Bush’s appointees have been caught doing in every government agency, how can we not assume the list’s purpose is to promote Bush’s political agenda, not to promote security? It’s time to ditch the list and insist on putting the effort into real security measures.

Posted in abuse of power, BushCo malfeasance, no-fly list, terrorism, wrong way to go about it | 4 Comments »

Take #2347023 of “If A Democrat Did This It’d Be All Over The Evening News”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 21, 2007

Well, well, well.  Mitt Romney’s key Utah fundraiser, Robert Lichfield, is under suspicion of child molestation.

Yet another prospective inhabitant of the proposed Philip Giordano Wing of a Federal Pen.

Posted in 2008, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

 
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