Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Tangled Web They Weave

UPDATE: (03/27/09) Apparently, the "language" for Bill H.R.1388 was modified from its original version at the last moment before being approved in the House, striking out the part about setting up a committee to determine minimum manditory service requirements for citizens. But, as we see from what happened with Dodd and the AIG fiasco, does it mean it might not reappear at some later date -- again at the final hour before Presidential signing? Who knows?

Original Article Posted Thursday, March 19, 2009 starts here:

Chris Dodd appears to have been caught in his own web, stating first that he "had absolutely nothing to do" with the modifications in the Stimulus which protected the so-called retention bonuses at AIG...

And then, less than 24 hours(?) later admits that, yes, he did make the last minute changes that the Senate did not see, but he did it at the request of the Treasury Dept.

As the "blame Dodd diversion" is rolled out, and we eventually come to see it was actually the Feds who created the AIG Bonus angst, let's take a time travel trip.

It's reminiscent of the way certain Democrats (Barney Frank among them) fought so hard against investigations and further regulations/restraints being placed on Fannie and Freddie, then turned around to scream out in rage against the Republicans for doing nothing to stop them.

Tiptoe back a bit further when the CRA was modified to encourage the whole mess to take place...

A bit further back when a certain Democrat put the CRA into play in the first place.

Heck, why not go all the way back in history to original sin... NO [EDIT OUT] ...I don't think you're ready for that one yet.

Before I move on here, I want you to NOTE THIS:

You are not responsible for your father's sins. You are only responsible for your own. Don't let them convince you otherwise.

The exception to the rule appears to be in high ranking political bodies and certain campaign contributors deemed "too big to fail" ... where they seem to get away with a multitude of sins and carefully deflect any/all responsibility and/or repercussions onto taxpaying citizens... or at least that's what it appears to be to me.

Charles Schisler from the Buenos Aires Herald wrote on March 7, 2009:

When the great ship Titanic made her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic and its blinded leader struck the iceberg, it would have been absurd to announce: "All hands on deck to man a bucket brigade; this ship is too big to fail!" To require men, women and children to try to bail out the Titanic until its final plunge, while its captain and officers took refuge in the few lifeboats is not unlike what taxpayers are being forced to do in this financial meltdown. Just as then, the correct response would be not "too big to fail," but instead, "Too Big to Bail."
I mention it now, because I believe all of those AIG hearings have managed to deflect attention from some far more serious plans afoot...

The greatest threat to our society is not credit default swaps or mortgage-backed securities. It is the loss of our understanding of limited government, individual liberty, and the economic system which creates a prosperous and free society. [link]
Casey Research, LLC once wrote:

"Accounts Receivable Tax, Building Permit Tax, CDL License Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Dog License Tax, Excise Tax, Federal Income Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA), Fishing License Tax, Food License Tax, Fuel Permit Tax, Gasoline Tax, Gross Receipts Tax, Hunting License Tax, Inheritance Tax, Inventory Tax, IRS Interest Charges/IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax), Liquor Tax, Luxury Taxes, Marriage License Tax, Medicare Tax, Personal Property Tax, Property Tax, Real Estate Tax, Service Charge Tax, Social Security Tax, Road Usage Tax, Sales Tax, Recreational Vehicle Tax, School Tax, State Income Tax, State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax, Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax, Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax, Telephone State and Local Tax, Telephone Usage Charge Tax, Utility Taxes, Vehicle License Registration Tax, Vehicle Sales Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax, Well Permit Tax, Workers Compensation Tax.

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened? Can you spell P-O-L-I-T-I-C-I-A-N-S?"
The "defensive" will cry out by claiming quality of life wasn't exactly great 100 years ago.

And it has improved, how....?

Frankly, the Feds have kind of stuck themselves between a rock and a hard place right now.

Say the economy is too good/too strong and they don't have any excuse to bleed more money out of the taxpayer. Say the economy is too bad, not only does it affect domestic investing perceptions, foreign investors also get nervous and start pulling back from funding our ballooning debt.

Only one thing appears to be certain -- their steadfast refusal to accept any responsibility for any of the things going on in the economy right now.

They'd rather trample all over the Constitution in an attempt to deflect populist anger over the AIG thing -- the great diversion -- ignoring how everything started ballooning out of control.

(Notice how the Fannie and Freddie bonus announcements slipped under the radar?)

Let's go backwards a minute, and examine Obama's economic team, beginning with Geithner:

Debt defines today's crisis, yet under Bush, Geithner, as New York Fed president, helped fuel it and believes more debt, over-consumption, and unaffordable new borrowing will return the economy to sustainable growth which, of course, it can't.

...Investor Jim Rogers never holds back, and, on February 11, was true to form on Bloomberg: Interviewed on Geithner's plan he said:

"Mr. Geithner has been bombing for 15 years. (He) caused the problem. He was head of the New York Fed that was supposed to be supervising banks. (Instead), all last year he came up with TARP. He came up with all these absurd bailouts. Geithner has never known what he's doing. He doesn't know what he's doing now, and pretty soon everyone will know it, including Mr. Obama."
Now I don't know about you, but ever since this whole thing started blowing up I was receiving on average anywhere from 3 to 5 (and sometimes more) calls from various lending institutions that wanted me to borrow money. Not nickels and dimes mind you -- they only wanted to talk to me if they could lend me in large numbers, preferably from $75K and up. Honestly, I've never been pushed so hard to take a loan in my life. Needless to say --- I said no --- to all of them --- still saying no.

But back on track...

Let's not exclude other members on the dream team:

Larry Summers completes the economic troika as head of the National Economic Council (NEC). As Clinton's Treasury Secretary, he engineered Gramm-Leach-Bliley in November 1999. It let commercial and investment banks and insurance companies combine and eased the way for rampant speculation, fraud, abuse, and multiple bubbles that created today's crisis.
And being from farm country -- DO NOT FORGET Mr. Paul Volker:

Paul Volker plays a role as well as special Economic Recovery Advisory Board head, but look at his resume. As Fed chairman in 1979 and the early 1980s, he engineered a deep recession and set in motion a path to neoliberalism. He helped destroy family farms, crush labor, reduce wages, lower living standards, send unemployment soaring, rev up de-industrialization, and supercharge the early years of financialization and casino capitalism under Ronald Reagan.
If you have the patience to read through an extremely large article (source for some of the above) check out: "Toxic Plans for Toxic Assets"

Reading through the article, the Bush-bashing can be read "between the lines" it is with some surprise that I read this interesting quote nearing the end of the same article:

"With this kind of "dream team," Obama may match or exceed "the most incompetent eight years of government in modern times, and (be) a contender" for all time, according to money manager and market strategist Jeremy Grantham. If so, the worst of today's crisis lies ahead. Massive future plunder is coming to make working Americans no better off than millions of global wage slaves, that is if they have any decent employment at all."
And let's take another look at Obama's participation in all this as he desperately tries to distance himself from everything by a string of fireside chats and an appearance on Jay Leno. In case you missed this, Networks appear to be getting a bit tired of all this commandeering of prime time television. [Networks reluctantly shuffle for Obama speech]

...Yeah, I usually turn him off these days, too.

But back to who-knew-what-and-when, check this out:

Jane Hamsher in an article on firedoglake, has documented the media coverage from 6 weeks ago that shows unequivocally that President Obama along with Lawrence Summers and Secretary Geithner pressured Senator Chris Dodd to alter his amendment to the stimulus bill that would have made all future bonus payments made to executives at bailed-out companies subject to strict limits. [link]
Water off a duck's back for Obama, right? Not so fast:

There is outstanding detail in Greenwald's and Hamsher's accounts that readers need to see, but for our purposes, two salient facts emerge. First, that in painful Slick Willy style, the Obama White House is willing to sacrifice the truth and destroy a fellow Democrat (Dodd) in order to preserve it's populist image. And more importantly that Obama, Geithner and Summers all knew about the AIG retention bonuses long before February 28th as postulated by TIME above, and certainly before March 10th, as Geithner testified to Congress under oath earlier this week. [link]
And the above comes from a confessed Obama voter. Do 'ya think he's losing some public support?

"Bracing for a Backlash Over Wall Street Bailouts" (The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Obama's agenda.)

I guess it's a good time for Obama to escape Washington for a bit. Or, to be more precise, start campaigning again so he can keep his loyal following supporting ever more (and much higher) spending in the months, and years, ahead.

If you think, as I do, that the Feds are going wild with our checkbook... brace yourselves.

We're not nearing the end of their spending spree.

They're just getting warmed up.

Here are just a few headlines you may have missed while the AIG diversion was created to keep your attention off the game:

"Officials: Auto Suppliers to Get $5B Bailout" (Auto suppliers have sought up to $25 billion to stabilize the battered U.S. auto industry.)

"Goldman Takes Risks With Lending Offer" - (To protect its business model, Goldman Sachs is risking "TARP rage," the special wrath that taxpayers and lawmakers reserve for potentially questionable actions by those that receive money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The bank is providing loans to up to 1,000 employees so they can meet capital calls related to their investments in funds that Goldman manages. Doing so after taking TARP money, rather than using the government largess to increase lending, sounds like a recipe for a public relations disaster. But it may be essential if Goldman is to make sure that other investors in its funds follow through on their commitments.) Do ya think we'll be seeing another bailout here?

"Fed Announces Plan to Buy More Than $1T in Assets" - Yeah, that's $1 Trillion with a T! (Mark my words, you'll be seeing some inflation backlash on this one.)

"Fed Launches Bold $1.2 Trillion Effort to Revive Economy" - Okay, so it's not a Trillion... it's actually $1.2 Trillion? (To do so, the Fed will spend up to $300 billion to buy long-term government bonds and an additional $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.)

"Whitney: Banking Woes Likely to Get Worse in 2009" - The part about Washington being understaffed is, well, errrr... interesting?

Even the U.N. is taking a page from the Obama/Emmanuel playbook, ready to step in and take advantage of the so-called crisis-opportunity:

$750 billion "green" investment could revive economy: U.N. - (Investments of $750 billion could create a "Green New Deal" to revive the world economy and protect the environment, perhaps aided by a tax on oil, the head of the U.N. environment agency said on Thursday.) Yeah, even the U.N. wants to use the "economic crisis" to tax us even further... now and well into the future!!!

And add insult to injury with this:

"13 Firms Receiving Federal Bailout Funds Owe $220M in Back Taxes" (Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, told the hearing that if an executive signed a contract knowing that information about unpaid taxes was false, "that would potentially be a crime." He said his office will look to see if crimes were committed. The revelation is sure to spark outrage on Capitol Hill, where the House is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that would impose steep taxes on employee bonuses at firms that have received bailout money.)


And finally, a BILL that seems to have completely slipped under the radar that has the potential to further enslave future generations.

This Bill slated to cost $6 billion over five years should have young people very concerned:

"House Passes Volunteerism Bill Critics Call Pricey, Forced Service" -
The bipartisan commission will be tasked with exploring a number of topics,
including "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service
requirement for all able young people
could be developed and how such a
requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social
fabric of the nation."

Imagine that... not only will our children be paying off the massive, uncontrollable debt this Administration insists on growing to massive proportions, they might also be "forced" to work for FREE as and when future Governments see fit.

I go back to original sin.

The sin that Democrats of the time fought so hard to keep.

And the same sin a newly formed Republican party fought so hard to abolish.

Can you guess what it was?

Welcome to the Change he really wants?

Stay calm.

My grandmother always said, "What goes around, comes around."

While the Fed is busy rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, let's get the buckets and mops out in preparation to clean our House starting in 2010.

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