Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for September 6th, 2007

The lessons of subprime

Posted by Charles II on September 6, 2007

Via commenter GP at Brad Setser’s wing of RGE Monitor, Michael Lewis:

So right after the Bear Stearns funds blew up, I had a thought: This is what happens when you lend money to poor people.

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing personally against the poor. To my knowledge, I have nothing personally to do with the poor at all. It’s not personal when a guy cuts your grass: that’s business. He does what you say, you pay him. But you don’t pay him in advance: That would be finance. And finance is one thing you should never engage in with the poor. (By poor, I mean anyone who the SEC wouldn’t allow to invest in my hedge fund.)

That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the subprime crisis. Along the way, as these people have torpedoed my portfolio, I had some other thoughts about the poor. I’ll share them with you. …

I’ll still accept pension fund money, for example. (Nothing under $50 million, please.) And I’m willing to finance the purchase of entire companies staffed basically with poor people. I did deals with Milken, before they broke him. I own some Blackstone. (Hang tough, Steve!)

But never again will I go one-on-one again with poor people. They’re sharks.

(for the humor-impaired: this is satire) 

Posted in Just for fun | 3 Comments »

Israeli jets intrude on Syrian airspace; Syrians fire on them

Posted by Charles II on September 6, 2007

And you know the Middle East. Almost any thing is an excuse for a brawl. Via Cursor:

Israel is “fully prepared” for the possibility of a conflict in the North, defense officials said late Thursday, after Syria alleged it had fired on a pre-dawn IAF flight over the coastal city of Latakia. …

Counterterrorism expert Boaz Ganor said that if Thursday’s flyover did occur, it was possible that Israel was “collecting intelligence on long-range missiles” deployed by Syria in the North.

Imad Fawzi Shoaibi, a Syrian political analyst, speculated that Israel may have been probing Syria’s new air defense systems, provided by Russia, at a time when tension was running high between the two countries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 6 Comments »

Oh No! It’s A Blinding Flash Of The Obvious!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2007


Study: US Should Lower Profile In Iraq

English Translation: Start the frickin’ troop withdrawals already. Like RIGHT NOW.

Posted in Iraq war | 1 Comment »

It’s About Time

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2007

I believe I missed this story when it first came out:

At a hearing of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, on classification of national security information and its implications, Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs testified that unnecessary classification poses risks to our security and to the accountability and legitimacy of government agencies.Referring to the Central Intelligence Agency’s recent release of its “family jewels” file in response to an Archive Freedom of Information Act request, Ms. Fuchs noted, “The release helps the American public understand there is a genuine risk in having an unrestrained intelligence agency. It also shows that abuses have occurred and do occur without oversight.”

Ms. Fuchs urged the subcommittee to consider measures that would reduce overclassification, including setting up inter-agency and intra-agency processes that would put countervailing pressure on classification of records and encourage declassification efforts. She also recommended changes to the Executive Order 12958, as amended, as well as periodic independent audits of classification decisions, procedures for challenging classification decisions, and adequate, current classification guides that include an explanation of the specific harm or threat that justifies the classification.

Ms. Fuchs stated, “It does not help the system when the classification system and its oversight entity are disregarded and ignored, as in the reclassification of records at the National Archives that was exposed last year or in the conduct of the Vice President’s office in refusing to report its classification activities to the Information Security Oversight Office.”

Other witnesses included: J. William Leonard, Director of the Information Security Oversight Office; and Steven Aftergood, Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

The Bush Junta’s fetish for overclassifying records is legendary. They especially like classifying anything that shows prior White House occupants — especially Democratic ones — doing better jobs at given tasks than Bush has done so far. Sandy Berger (whose real “crime” was coming forward to expose the laggard and apathetic incompetence of Condi Rice and George W. Bush) was prosecuted and fined for making copies of documents that under a real president would never have been classified in the first place.

Posted in abuse of power, anti-Americanism, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, terrorism, totalitarianism | Comments Off on It’s About Time

Bush Was Told Iraq Had No WMD

Posted by MEC on September 6, 2007

In a Salon exclusive, Sidney Blumenthal details the evidence that “CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction,” and that Bush blew off the information so he could proceed with the war he so desperately craved.

Back in April 2006, Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe, told 60 Minutes that the agency had received and validated documents proving that Iraq had no WMD. Blumenthal says in this new article that two former CIA officials have confirmed Drumheller’s account and provided additional details about how the information was suppressed.

And you know how The Usual Suspects keep trying to quash the evidence that Bush lied by pointing out that Democrats said Iraq had WMD? Not a one of those Democrats had any inkling of this intelligence to the contrary.

Bush lied. The Bush Administration falsified the evidence provided to Congress, lied to the United Nations, lied to the American people.

We impeach presidents for lying to the American people, don’t we?

Posted in anti-truth, BushCo malfeasance, Iraq war, madness of King George | 5 Comments »

Tracking Congressional Approval

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2007


Look (courtesy of TPM) at the vastly differing approval ratings for Democratic and Republican Congresscritters.

While Congress overall has only around a 21% approval rating — a low level which has been constantly trumpeted by the GOP/Media Complex as Proof That Americans Hate Our New Democratic Congress (never mind that Congresses almost always have a low approval rating than whoever’s occupying the White House at the time) — Democrats in Congress have as of today a 50% approval rating to the 32% of Congressional Republicans. Look, also, at how the Congressional Democrats’ ratings have been going up as the GOP Congresscritters’ ratings have been going down.

Kinda tells you something, doesn’t it?

Posted in 2008, Congress, Democrats, GOP/Media Complex, Republicans | 1 Comment »

Sad Good News

Posted by MEC on September 6, 2007

Riverbend is safe in Syria. In this Baghdad Burning post, she describes her family’s departure from Baghdad.

It is heartbreaking and infuriating that the United States has turned her home into a place too dangerous for her to stay.

Posted in Iraq war | 3 Comments »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2007

Poor widdle George W. Bush. His Big Propaganda Rollouts — for both the SURGE! and for invading Iran — are getting shoved off the media stage by Larry “I’m NOT GAY!” Craig.

See, it turns out that Senator Craig has no intention of going quietly into that good night — and his lawyers have hinted that should the GOP-initiated ethics probe continue against him, he’ll suddenly have reasons to bring up all those other Senators who have violated Senate ethics rules (*cough*DavidVitter*cough*), and yet were never punished for it.

What’s more, he has two powerful Senate allies: Arlen Specter and Mitch McConnell.

Things will be getting most interesting.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, civil rights, Congress, Congressional hearings, Constitutional crisis, corruption, David Vitter, Debra Jean Palfrey, dope slaps for Dubya, hypocrites, Iran, Iraq war | 6 Comments »

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