Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 26th, 2008

UnBearAble Burdens

Posted by Charles II on March 26, 2008

I wonder when Carolyn Baum is starting to wonder about whether she’s gone a bit far in trashing people who are skeptical about the Fed’s latest moves (see, e.g. here for an example of her harpyism). 

From Craig Torres and James Tyson, Bloomberg:

Even as the Bush administration insists it won’t risk public funds in a bailout, American taxpayers may already be liable for billions of dollars stemming from Federal Reserve and Treasury efforts to quell a financial crisis.

History suggests the Fed may not recover some of the almost $30 billion investment in illiquid mortgage securities it received from Bear Stearns Cos., said Joe Mason, a Drexel University professor who has written on banking crises. Treasury’s push to have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy more mortgage bonds reduces the capital the government-chartered companies hold in reserve at a time when foreclosures and defaults are surging. Senators are promising to investigate.

Officials “are playing with fire,” said Allan Meltzer, a Fed historian and economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “…

The average recovery on failed bank assets is 40 cents on the dollar over a six-year period, according to Drexel’s Mason, a former official at the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

What was done with Bear was not very different from buying its stock on the open market… except that the likelihood of taxpayers recovering their investment may be lower. And there is vastly more risk being piled onto the national books by implicit guarantees of agency bonds, which is why financial stocks continue their reality-defying ascent.

How will we tell our vets, our teachers, our seniors, “Sorry, we can’t pay your benefits because we gave away the money to the people who blew up the credit markets”?

Posted in economy, Media machine | 2 Comments »

Let’s Hold McCain Accountable

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2008



Jane Hamsher has a message for us all:

Dear Friend,

John McCain is breaking the law.

When McCain’s presidential campaign was in trouble, he opted-in to public financing through the primary, limiting him to a $54 million spending cap.

But laws aren’t for “mavericks”…

McCain’s latest spending report, filed by his own campaign, shows he has spent in excess of $58 million so far — a public admission by his own hand that he has broken the law.

We filed a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission yesterday, and we want you to sign-on for a second delivery of signatures later this week.

Please read and co-sign the letter to the FEC right now.

We’ve had a number of co-singers to the document already including: Political Action
Matt Stoller
John Amato
Robert Greenwald
Jerome Armstrong

All that’s missing is your name.

View the signers and add your name to theirs right now.

If you sign right now, your name will be included in our larger delivery later this week.


Markos and Jane

P.S. We’ve got video of our first delivery up, and you can expect an update with video of the delivery.

You heard the lady. Go and do.

Christy has more.

Posted in 2008, corruption, crimes, false prophets, gravy train, hypocrites, John McCain | Comments Off on Let’s Hold McCain Accountable

Why You Won’t Hear Much From The GOP About Rezko

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2008

Here’s why the GOP doesn’t dare push the Rezko smear against Obama — the current vice chairman of the upcoming Republican National Convention, Bob Kjellander, has much deeper Rezko ties:

Now, Illinois Republicans are calling on Bob Kjellander to step down from his planning role for the St. Paul convention, according to Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Monitor.

In the Rezko trial, Kjellander was named as having “received $809,000 in consulting fees for the 2003 sale of state bonds, much of which prosecutors believe was funneled through a Rezko associate to Rezko assignees,” Birkey reports.


Here are excerpts from the Minnesota Monitor article:

Doug Ibendahl, the former general counsel of the Illinois Republican Party and the co-founder of the Republican Young Professionals, has been calling on the Illinois Republican Party to force Kjellander out. Ibendahl is part of the Family Taxpayers Network, an economic and social conservative group that backed Alan Keyes in his failed Senate race against Barack Obama.

“Kjellander’s an ongoing embarrassment for the entire Republican Party, but now he’s personally embarrassed the President of the United States,” wrote Ibendahl. Kjellander’s embarrassment of the president stems from his close connections to the White House. As a member of the Carlyle Group, he is also close friends with former longtime Bush adviser Karl Rove and brought Rezko to the White House for a party in 2003.

Double Oooopsie!

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 8 Comments »

The Social Security Privatization Scare Brigade Rides Again

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2008

Per Atrios:

That Time Of Year Already?

Social Security trustees report comes out today. Get prepared for usual round of IT’S GOING BANKRUPT AND WE’LL HAVE TO CUT THEIR BENEFITS UNLESS WE CUT THEIR BENEFITS.

…and here it is.
Quick glance says no substantial change from last year’s projections. On to dig through and see what’s up with the assumptions…

Of course, those who’ve been following along for the past few years know that the trustees are full of it.

For example: Y’all know how the privatizers claim that destroying Social Security and turning its money over to the privatizers will result in higher rates of return?

Well, simple common sense shows that this is Pure-D horsepucky, but for those who would like some additional evidence, here ya go: Back during the last Great Privatization Push that started in December of 2004, this theory was tested by a retiree named Stanley Logue, who actually did the math — and guess what? Social Security outperformed the DJIA. Really and truly.

Posted in Bush, bust-outs, capitalism as cancer, privatization, Social Security | Comments Off on The Social Security Privatization Scare Brigade Rides Again

Criminal and criminally stupid: the Bush Administration plan to attack Iran

Posted by Charles II on March 26, 2008

Arthur Silber asks why the big bloggers spend so much time on the trivia of Washington politics when the Bush Administration so clearly is planning to commit the crime of the 21st century: attacking Iran.

He’s right. As bad as attacking Iraq was, attacking Iran has much, much more serious consequences. Explaining it is complicated. In addition to the obvious stuff like oil and the further overstrain of the US military, Iran acts as a regional buffer. Take away the buffer, and the whole Middle East is likely to go up in flames. 

An attack on Iran would threaten Russian, Chinese, Indian, and European interests. The US would end up isolated. The extremists would be unified. The world economy would almost certainly enter a recession and perhaps a depression. Bush’s endless crusade would become a reality, destroying everything good that we know. It is not just criminal. It is criminally stupid.

These are all reasonably foreseeable consequences. If any of us want to live happy lives, we want to stop this. It is tragic, ridiculous and frustrating that people like Atrios and Markos refuse to use their leadership to alert people to this issue, preferring instead to burble on about political trivia. Our voice is so faint, and it’s even fainter when it is misdirected into inside-the-Beltway chatter.

Dear Reader: do not have this on your conscience. Do something– whatever you can, no matter how small– to raise the alarm. Let us rage against the dying of the light.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Iran, wrong way to go about it | 3 Comments »

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