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Conflucians Say: Lolly-lolly-lolly, get your outrage here!

From Market Ticker, Karl Denninger is MAD! – Bernanke Inserts Gun In Mouth:

We’ve got over a trillion in trash on our balance sheet now, which we promised would fix the problem but it didn’t do jack. That’s because nobody in their right mind will borrow money when the economy is in the tank and debt levels are above sustainable maximums. The only borrowers are people who are deadbeats, and that doesn’t help. Instead of clearing this out by forcing the bankrupt to take their medicine our “solution” is to attempt to devalue the currency by explicit monetization. We have little choice in this matter because the most-recent TIC data that has been published, along with what hasn’t been published (yet) but which we have, shows that foreigners have given us the finger in buying any more of our agency, corporate and sovereign debt. In short, we’re screwed – within months – and we know it.

At this point maybe The Hulk had it right: Stuff You Should Know, Can anger be a good thing?

All this and more will be discussed tonight on Conflucians Say: Lolly-lolly-lolly, get your outrage here!

Please join me (Katiebird), Riverdaughter, BostonBoomer, SM and Dakinikat at Conflucians Say:
Time: 10pm Eastern
Call-in Number: (347) 539-5420

And . . . . They’re Open!

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“Don’t expect too much from me,” says the POTUS

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The B.O.T., Barack Obama Teleprompter.

I’m just lucky that I still have some Tums handy:

From Yahoo News/AP

Obama seeks patience, warns of expecting too much

LOS ANGELES – Facing largely adoring crowds far from Washington, President Barack Obama on Thursday asked Americans to back his far-reaching economic and health policies, but warned them not to expect too much from him or the federal government. With many Republicans and even some Democrats in Congress resisting his budget plans, Obama went into full campaign mode in California, using television, friendly audiences and his massive e-mail list to counter his critics.

Also known as propaganda units and NBC, owned by General Electric, a massive donor to Obama’s Presidential Campaign.

Without naming names, he mocked Republican officials who call his plan too costly even though they presided over huge deficits while they controlled Congress and the White House.

“Where have you been?” he said to several hundred people at a raucous town-hall meeting in Los Angeles. “What have you been doing?”

Was that on the Teleprompter?  (Who by they way, The B.O.T., a.k.a, Barack Obama’s TelePrompter, has a new blog all on his/her/it’s own, here).

In his second California town hall in as many days, Obama mixed cockiness with humility.

Humility only is shown when it’s on the B.O.T.

He told Americans not to expect “something for nothing” from their government. Improvements to the economy and health care will take time and require unusually large deficits for a while, he said.

Only if you’re AIG or one of the 13 bailed out conglomerates that didn’t pay taxes.

“Nothing is free,” he said. Responding to a woman’s complaint about cuts in jobs and salaries for teachers in California, Obama urged people not to ask the federal and state governments to cut taxes and improve services at the same time.

So which are you going to do, Obama?  You already promised that 95% of the population is going to get their taxes cut, which equals about $13 extra dollars a week to the average working American.  How about concentrating on the economy instead of picking out your NCAA teams? Nero Dribbles while Rome burns.

“At some point you’ve got to make some choices,” he told the crowd, which loudly cheered him repeatedly. Obama also asked the country for patience and forbearance. “We are not always going to be right,” he said. “And I don’t want everybody disappointed if we make a mistake.”

Uh, how many are you going to make?  I’ll leave to WMCB to comment on that:

WMCB, on March 19th, 2009 at 8:15 am Said: I point out to them that this ENTIRE election was all about what a big mess Bush would leave, and who had the experience and work ethic and smarts to clean up that mountain of mess. Obama and his supporters assured us all that he was fully aware of the scope of the task, and could do the job. Could do the job handily, with great success, like no other! So no use now whining “But…Bush left such a huge mess!” Yeah, dipshit, we knew that. Cleaning up that mess is the job he APPLIED FOR, and wanted so badly, and insisted he was qualified to do, so STFU and do it or face the people’s anger.

Oh but Obama needs a compass apparently:

The important question, he said, is “are we moving in the right direction” and is he keeping his main campaign promises.

Then there’s a little dribble of “Hope” for foreclosed homeowners:

Obama also announced fresh aid to struggling homeowners in California. He said California was receiving $145 million to help communities hardest hit by the home foreclosure crisis. He said the money would be used to buy up and rehabilitate vacant homes, and provide loans to poorer and middle-income families to help with home assistance. He announced a new Web site to help people around the nation:http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/.

We all here at the Confluence support aid to homeowners a la Hillary’s plan adopting FDR’s plan like she proposed in Fall 2008.  We believe that taxes are good if the general public is receiving and benefitting fromn these services, as all card carrying liberals that we are.  We know how important it is for the government to do FOR the people, BY the people.  But what Obama is saying is, “if we f___k up, hey, don’t blame it all on us” while AIG and and other bailout baneficiaries skip out paying taxes while taking the bailout money in hordes out of our Treasury. If we can’t count on our government, or expect you to do the right thing because appraently you’re pre-empting the clusterf__k you’ve created, President Obama, then WHO do we trust?  This happened on your watch not on Chimperor’s and Darth Cheney’s.

Is integrity above your pay grade?


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Just cuz it’s fun, more Caption This Photo madness!

I just couldn’t resist!  These are from yesterday during Obama’s campaign stop in California:

Photo 1:

(update: please note the upper left corner)

captphoto_1237454410973-1-0

Photo 2:

captphoto_1237454878473-1-0

Photo 3:

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Open thread, but I found this gem to discuss:

WASHINGTON – At least 13 firms receiving billions of dollars in bailout money owe a total of more than $220 million in unpaid federal taxes, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

Rep. John Lewis, chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, said two firms owe more than $100 million apiece.

“This is shameful. It is a disgrace,” said Lewis, D-Ga. “We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here.”

The House Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight discovered the unpaid taxes in a review of tax records from 23 of the firms receiving the most money, Lewis said as he opened a hearing on the issue.

“If we looked at all 470 recipients, how much would they owe?” Lewis asked.

He did not name the firms owing back taxes.

Banks and other firms receiving federal money were required to sign contracts stating they had no unpaid taxes, Lewis said. But he said the Treasury Department did not ask them to turn over their tax records.

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.

To date, the Troubled Asset Relief Program has paid out more than $300 billion to private companies, with billions more on the way.

As much as I dislike Dodd, he’s not the only one at fault.  Jus’ sayin’.

Thursday: A Series of Unfortunate Events

There has been plenty of finger pointing in the past couple of days.  Tim Geithner is getting his under-the -bus moment this morning on the front page of the NYTimes.  What did Tim know about the AIG bonuses and when did he know it?  The WH is starting to float the “complete confidence” meme, which is sort of the equivalent of “Have you thought about resigning?  No, no, take your time.  We’ve got about a week as these things go.  Has anyone seen Sheila Bair?”

In the whole scheme of things, the $165 million is drop in the bucket, as those who like those drops are quick to point out.  But people who have studied scandals know that at some point, they have a life of their own.  This scandal has legs and it’s getting the royal treatment in the media.  Unlike the more esoteric scandals of the Bush administration where the offense had something to do with some obscure violation of historical significance, this scandal is one that the common man can relate to: Those finance guys are getting money for royally f^&*ing things up and while we’re forced to give up compensation benefits.  Our hard earned money that could have been used to fund major healthcare reform and badly needed infrastructure projects, is getting sucked up by the same obscenely rich people that got to do whatever they wanted under the Bush administration.   We voted for a Democrat who turned out to be *what* exactly?

(It was all sadly predictable but we won’t go there for our new readers who may have voted for the messiah.)

Planet Money was busy yesterday trying to put the anger in perspective.  There are three possible culprits for the accelerating meltdown: Washington, Wall Street and the macroeconomic moment complicated by the “Greenspan Put”.  I’m not sure I totally understand this last concept.  Maybe Dakinikat can unpack it but from what I gather, Alan Greenspan brought the Fed interest rate down to something like 1% so the Giant Pool of Money that investors had back in the late 90’s and 00’s couldn’t make money off of US Trearsury bonds.  The money had to go somewhere so it got rolled into risky instruments.  At some point in there, Alan Greenspan hinted (obscurely to us but loud and clear to people in the know) that the US would guarantee these risks.  And Voile!  Here we are, guaranteeing like there’s no tomorrow.  It’s rather puzzling coming from a Randian fan like Greenspan to have the government step in and bail investors out but finance has a logic of its own.  There’s probably internal self-consistency to Greenspan’s philosophy that our small minds simply cannot grasp.

Well, that is why we are the little people and are not given the power to do anything.  We might use it recklessly.  For instance, did you know that even though we taxpayers own something like 80% of AIG, guardians have been appointed on our behalf to actually administer the company? Yep, there are three trustees who are supposed to look over AIG lest we get our grubby, unsophisticated mitts on it and take away all of the bonuses.  And we aren’t allowed to say what happens to the rest of the money that went to Goldman Sachs and other banks either.  We might put a stop to it, doncha know.  It would be unseemly.  Wasn’t it nice for the Bushies and the Obama adminstration to appoint these Mr. Poe’s of Mulctuary Money Management for us?

Don’t worry your pretty little heads.

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