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Just heard that discussion was flying around Moody’s after the Fitch announcement today, over whether their rating should be in the “B” range or “C” range if the default occurs.

One train of thought was that with the alternative universe Republicans currently live in, where thinking that  we can weather the default of the debt ceiling as well as the government shutdown indefinitely or until at least Obama puts in his resignation papers,  dropping  the USA’s rating only a point or two, would not be an accurate portrayal of the risk.

These rating organizations have a reputation to keep.  Were they to make the bonds drop only from A+++ to an A++, or down to an A+, it would give credence to the viewpoints of the alternative universe’s thinking that “gee, that wasn’t so bad” and prolong the crises.

If the US Government can’t decide to open itself up, and can’t decide to pay the obligations to which it has already committed, then it is no better than Somalia, or Chad, or the Central African Republic They can’t open due to war and insurrection; we can’t open because of immature legislators.  The result is the same;  they aren’t governing, and that is a bad risk. Except we have a lot more money than Somalia, Chad, and the Central African Republic, which will depreciate faster than the Titanic hit bottom once it finally slipped under.

And that is the other side of the argument.  That considering the outcome of default, and effect of the lowering of the rating, that perhaps modifying the amount of the drop might be prudent.  Drop the bond ratings to the level of Portugal or Bulgaria, keep it in the “B” range, instead of the Somalian range where it belongs.

Then the other side counters back… But if we do that, the Tea Party will say, “see, they were lying, default is not as bad as they said…” 

Most likely they will err on the side of caution.  Drop it into the “B” range….  Save the “C” range for another day…. 

That at least, was the rumor told to me as being the current mood at Moody’s…  As everyone knows, the “official” word could be a whole different level entirely.

 

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The Republican Party prevented passage of the Disability Treaty, one simply stating that disabled people have equal rights as everyone else…

Russia and China even signed on.

The US Constitution requires treaties be passed by the US Senate. The vote lost by 61-38. Every no vote was a Republican.

Reports say that invalid Bob Dole who had been wheeled into the chamber to push for support of the vote, wept at the outcome.. His party, had failed all with disabilities…

The reason cited for not voting to join the world in recognizing disabled as human beings who have the same rights as the non disabled, was …..

“the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty”

“I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah “argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty,”

Can no one rid us of this stain of pox that has befallen us as a country? How does anyone after today look into the mirror and say: I’m proud to be a Republican today?

Call it temporary insanity but let’s pretend, let’s just say, …that at one moment in time, if I chose to donate my youth out for my country, to be compensated back in the form of low pay; to completely and unjudgingly offer my fate up to the will of bureaucrats, all for the loss of my own self esteem, all for unending stretches of boredom, sparsed with interludes of a few intense seconds, that fortunately thorough my reactions and training, enabled me to continue living as I do today………….

I could reasonably be expected to be honored for that service to my nation, right?

In a perfect world, that is….

One would think, that in a perfect world, as needs were being debated across the universe of public funding, that a hierarchy resembling this, would sort of be the guideline, if not the rule?

National Heroes…..

over

We, The People…..

over

LLC corporations….

After all, if it weren’t for us, there’s a good chance those LLC. corporations wouldn’t be able to do business in a free and prosperous society, you would think?….

One would think, that if one of these heroes needed medical care, with the tremendous amounts of money being thrown away by our government daily, in the forms of corporate tax breaks enabling corporations to make “record breaking profits”…. that they would be put at the top of the list.. don’t you think?

Sorry, CEO… your operation will have to wait… We have a veteran who is in dire need ahead of you….

In a perfect world….

One would think, that a voucher system would be in place, or a blank check, where any veteran could walk into any hospital, and get immediate, necessary medical attention, have his prescriptions filled as a privilege for his service, and that the bill would be willing be paid by those with monetary resources more than adequate for their own needs?

One would think, (right?)… that it would be CEO’s, those who give pink slips so they can break profit records, those who cut benefits so they can break profit records, those who don’t invest in America so they can break record profits, ….who should be the ones finding themselves regulated to CEO hospitals, where they would then have to settle in on a waiting list for the next opening to occur, where they had to endure budget cutbacks and go without life-saving medicine because there was no money left in the CEO fund, perhaps because it had all gone to Veterans to pay THEIR expenses?

In a perfect world…..

In a perfect world, veterans would need no freebies…. They would not need welfare, or a pension, or a humble stipend to eke an existence… They would be working, contributing to society, in any way they could… If they had no legs, they would be outfitted at corporate’s expense, so that would not be an issue… If they had no arms, they could be outfitted at corporate’s expense so that was not an issue. If they had psychological damage, (and who wouldn’t?) they could be treated at corporate’s expense… so that was not an issue.

If they were so badly damaged that they create an efficiency drain on society, they could be honored for their sacrifice, and a useful voluntary capacity could be created to honor that commitment once made so long ago… Perhaps speaking about serving one’s country in every class, in every school, in every county? Can you think of any better civic’s lesson?

There’s a lot that can be done…

The problem is that veterans are deemed as just another expense…. Because to corporate America, that is just what they are… An expense, an obligation to be met that gets in the way of their making more money…

Unfortunately, our Congress is owned by Corporate America….

What should and does need to happen, is this relationship needs to be exposed. We need to call them out on it…

Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in allowing corporate raiders this unprecedented power. But Republicans are the symbol of Corporate America. Republicans are the ones who championed the Corporate Takeover. Republicans are the ones who dismanteled the safeguards that had been put in place to prevent that takeover from happening. That is why they need to go. Disappear… Whoever is left, the remainder, most likely after seeing the elimination of a large majority of their peers, will think twice before following their Dark Lord, now a soul less wanderer eking existence.. ……

In a perfect world…

Unfortunately, today we need to contend with obscene amounts of money saying Corporate is Good; Government Fairness is Bad….

But we have our lives telling us the opposite… It will take courage and strong will, to override all the overload of sensory data being pipelined into our soul, but we still have hearts, and those hearts are attuned to what makes America special. great, and the best place to live on this earth….

WE can still dream….

And those dreams should include a perfect world… one we CAN make happen, at least for those without whom we would not have the freedom, the resources, the nation, we have today….

Here’s to a perfect world?

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

I came across this post while searching for root causes in the Middle East. I have noticed that with the outgoing Bush now tainted as a target of shoes and other things, domestically there has been much more vocal sympathy for the Palestinians now than I can remember ever hearing before….

I can remember when Palestinians were not thought of highly at all, and all assumed that Israel could do no wrong.

Things change.

Apparently AP Wireservices miss-translated and juggled this headline in an effort to tie Iran to the killing of Jews…

The author of this post, juxtaposes AP’s headline with that from the Iranian newspaper itself…

Here is the Iranian Paper:

In separate phone calls to IRNA, students from universities of Tehran, Mashhad and Kerman announced their readiness to undertake operations in defense of the people of Gaza.

Here is the AP report:

Hard-line Iranian student groups have appealed to the government to authorize volunteer suicide bombers to leave Iran and fight against Israel in response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. . . .

Five hard-line student groups and a conservative clerical group launched a registration drive on Monday, seeking volunteers to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.

I’ve heard of journalistic leaps …. but from AP?…From where did you get the notion of “suicide”? Where did you get the clue there were “bombers”? How did you get “attacks against Israel” out of the words “in defense of the people of Gaza” ? One has to laugh. AP’s statement has the same validity as if Pravda back in August had headlined that the University of Delaware’s Young Republicans’ Club, was sending volunteers to blow themselves up in Moscow train stations in order to protest the Georgian invasion…. If Pravda were to go to press with such a silly story…. I sure not one Muscovite would believe it….No one would… And I would certainly hope that our nation is perhaps a tiny bit more sophisticated than the average vodka infused citizen of Moscow (Za Vas)? 🙂

So why is AP doing this? To drive a wedge into America’s new found sympathy to the Palestinian cause? Or, do they just get their translations from these people and print them?

Bottom line: after being told that there were WMD’s in Iraq back in 2002, and that Iran was close to detonating a nuclear device in May 2007…..you can’t trust anything these guys say.

America Embarassed At UN

Perhaps you caught it, the leader of the free world dissed with a total lack of respect…

From the Christain Science Monitor:

George W. Bush’s last speech as American president to the United Nations General Assembly stuck to a familiar theme: the global fight against international terrorism.

Calling the threat from violent extremists “the fundamental challenge of our time,” President Bush on Tuesday reminded the world’s assembled leaders that “every nation in this chamber has responsibilities” in the battle with terror.

Speaking before the United Nations, Bush railed at the threat of extremist terrorists, from who we have heard nothing from since the London attack which killed 52 innocent civilians… Out of a global population that amounts to 0.00000076 of today’s estimated population.

We are currently pondering whether we can keep our economy alive to feed people, when everything crashes…

It shows our current administration, whom most would agree is just a precursor of what McCain will bring….is out of touch… The world is about to spin out of control financially, and “the greatest threat of our time”…..is fundamentalist extremists….

The question is not whether they are a threat…. it is a point of degree… Are they our ‘GREATEST THREAT’?

Bush said so; and the world ignored him as one does at every town meeting, where the universal fool goes on far too long about the tiny crack in his sidewalk….

I have done a lot of talking with people who know what a Great Depression is like…

They all say, get food… Believe it or not it disappears… Against this backdrop, we are supposed to believe our ‘GREATEST THREAT’ is fundamentalist extremists…

And almost as an aside, Bush characterized “the UN as a critical force in the 21st century – one that is uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of extremism, poverty, authoritarian rule, and a lack of human rights. But its promise is too often limited, he said, by inefficiencies and member states’ failure to work toward common interests.

Apparently even he realizes his unilateral approach, forced on him by the neocons surrounding him, was pure bunk…. Otherwise why would he pull out a page from Obama’s position of foreign relations?

Sorry dude, the world has moved on… You and McCain just don’t get it… Neither of you can lead, simply because you have no idea of what is really going on….

Perhaps the greatest tragedy coming out of Iraq, was the replacement of the pragmatic Ret. General Jay Garner, with the politically appointed Paul Brenner. Almost overnight, Iraq flip flopped from welcoming the United States, to blowing us up…….

If you can remember the boys around the cameras,……..”we love Bush….Bush is the Man”, then you understand how good things were looking in the first months after Baghdad fell and what a great job the pragmatic Jay Garner did.

The subsequent change after Garner left, shows one thing. Republican philosophy stinks, not just for Americans, but apparently everyone else too. (lol) (Sorry dudes….It just does!) The national blog Toms.Dispatch has this take on one date in 2004 when Mike Castles hero, George Bush, bestowed the Medals of Freedom on Tommy Franks, George Tenet, and Paul Bremmer. In case you missed it, I said Medals of FREEDOM.

Tommy Franks, the first recipient, has brought to the Afghans, the freedom “to grow just about the total opium crop needed to provide for the globe’s heroin addicts — 8,200 tons of opium in 2007, representing 93% of the global opiates market. This was a 34% jump from the previous year and represented opium production on what is undoubtedly a historic scale. Afghanistan’s peasants, surviving as best they can in a land of narco-warlords, narco-guerrillas, and deadly air attacks have, once again, set a record when it comes to this unique freedom.” Well deserving choice of the Medal of Freedom.

Secondly and one of my personal favorites, solely because he is a holdover from the glory days of the Clinton Administration, is George Tenet. I like this guy, and sympathize with being in his position of having to compromise defending the country, with working with the Cheney cabal…..Surely he is deserving of the Medal of Freedom. After all, ”

As CIA Director, Tenet then delivered to Agency operatives the freedom to target just about anyone on the planet who might qualify (however mistakenly) as a “terror suspect,” kidnap him, and “render” him in extraordinary fashion either to a foreign prison where torture was regularly practiced or to a CIA secret prison in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, or who knows where else. He also freed the Agency to “disappear” human beings (a term normally used in our world only when Americans aren’t the ones doing it) and freed the Agency’s interrogators to use techniques like waterboarding, known in less civilized times as “the water torture” (and only recently banned by the Agency) as well as various other, more sophisticated forms of torture.” Another great choice by George Bush.

Now I have some qualms about the third one. Paul Bremmer has probably contributed the most to freedom than anyone in modern memory. He can be thanked for the unlimited freedom Blackwater Security now has throughout the entire region of iraq. They can thank Paul Bremmer.

“A day before he left, however, he established a unique kind of freedom in Iraq, not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism. By putting his signature on a single document, he managed to officially establish an “International Zone” that would be the fortified equivalent of the old European treaty ports on the China coast and, at the same time, essentially granted to all occupying forces and allied companies what, in those bad old colonial days, used to be called “extraterritoriality” — the freedom not to be in any way under Iraqi law or jurisdiction, ever.”

So today, again before the world at the United Nations General Assembly hall, the current United States president, George W. Bush, got up and proclaimed he was dedicated to working for freedom…..

After considering his track record and using that definition of freedom instead of the one Bush tried his best to enunciate,…. the world’s governments collectively yawned a big yawn, leaned back in their chairs, and politely said “no thanks.”

” F R E E D O M !!!” William Wallace: Braveheart