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      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
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Monday: Bi-Partisan Bank Robbery?

I don’t pretend to understand Credit Derivative Swaps and financial ‘instruments’ and it looks like the people who have been playing with them for the past eight years don’t understand them either.  But we better all get some ejucashun and nollij about them toot sweet because Treasury Secretary Paulson is about to give clean out the treasury to bail Bush’s buddies out of trouble.  Well, we can hardly blame them. Opportunities like these don’t come around often and time is running out.

We should have seen this coming.  The Bushies have been looting ever since they took office.  If they’re not saddling us with tremendous debt from some unnecessary war and loading up planes full of money to Iraq, they are rewarding their lobbyist friends with sweetheart deals.  They’ve really exceeded their daily chutzpah with the last one.  If you have been following Anglachel’s Journal for the past couple of days the plan is clear and the fix is in.  It sounds like Paulson is planning to hand over $700 billion dollars of your hard earned tax dollars to the firms on Wall Street to buy their assets.  The claim is that this will prevent a massive financial meltdown and Depression.  Under that scenario, we the people should expect something in return, like, I dunno, greater oversight?  Accountability?  Regulation?  Nope.  Paulson is saying we should just give these people the money and trust them.  AND instead of asking some of them to take what is “fair market value” for their depreciated real estate assets, which would mean they are perhaps 35-40% underwater, Paulson has decided to give them greater than market value for these turkeys.

But wait!  There’s more.  If you been paying attention, Hillary Clinton has been proposing something like the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) where the government would restructure and refinance bad mortgages from individual homeowners and make them affordable.  The theory goes that if those homeowners are able to pay their loans at more reasonable rates, the money would start flowing back to the banks, increasing their solvency.   And not only is this a beautiful theory, it has actually been done before- successfully.  It was implemented during the Great Depression.

Of course, that would mean that the banks would take a loss on some of their investment ‘instruments’(God, I hate jargon.  Why not just call it a con game and get on with it?).  And the financial institutions would prefer that YOU the taxpayer is stuck holding the bag, not them the royal f%($-ups.  It *seems* like this was their plan all along.  Play with other people’s money, suck up all the extra liquidity there is in the economy, deregulate everything and when it looks like the whols she-bang is about to go under, scream that the sky is falling so citizens panic about their money and the Treasury cuts yet another sweet heart deal that leaves the rich guys off the hook.

We can’t let it happen this time, guys.  If the economy is really on the verge of collapse, then the financial institutions have to make sacrifices just like everyone else in order to fix it.  Otherwise, the FDIC will be wiped out and everyone’s money is at risk.  Not that Mr. Moneybucks cares.  He’s got his.  You get yours whatever way you can.  If you don’t have friends in high places, tough noogies.  Well, we DO have some friends in high places.  Hillary has a plan, but doesn’t she always?  The question is, will the rest of Congress get religion and where do Obama and McCain stand on the issue?  We need to hold their feet to the fire.  On that note, Sarah at Corrente has some suggestions:

First, and foremost, write and call and email — not just one, but all three — your representatives. Local, state, and federal. Send copies of your letters to the media. Demand Bu$hco’s bailout plan be scuttled NOW.
Second, get out of debt. If you’re contemplating buying something on credit, hold off 30 days.
Third, make sure any checking or savings accounts you have are within the limits of and with institutions covered by the FDIC. If you’re one of the lucky few who’ll have to move some money to do this, get after it.

And in the latest twist, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have transformed themselves from investment banks to bank holding companies subject to greater regulation.  That initially sounds good but there’s a catch:

In exchange for subjecting themselves to more regulation, the companies will have access to the full array of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities. It should help them avoid the fate of Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy last week, and Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch — both of which agreed to be acquired by big bank holding companies.

So, it looks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley remain intact, just in time, and avoid acquisition by other banks because they are able to rely on the Federal Reserve to rescue them before they are declared insolvent.  Sweeeet!  Must be nice to have a sugar daddy in government.  Oh, you don’t have one?  That’s because you are supposed to be self-reliant!  Responsible!  A rugged individualist!  It builds character when you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  What?  You haven’t got any boots?  Well, whose fault is that?  This isn’t socialism, ya’ know.