Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No debate? There goes my Friday!

- Yes, it seems that I have achieved a certain level of blogging fame. That level where you're asked to review a product or service. I guess it's a sign that I've finally made it. Why, just a few days ago I received an email asking me if I'd be interested in reviewing...what's that? A BOOK ABOUT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS?!?? OH MY GOD. Um, no.

- So McCain's calling off the debate on Friday so he can zoom back to Washington and save us all? REALLY. Maybe the time to act was a few years ago when he failed to vote on deregulating the banking industry.

Any way you cut it, this is a smart play for McCain. Right now, Obama seems to be pulling ahead in the polls, and everyone knows McCain is more comfortable in the town hall setting than the structured debate setting. This way, he gets to look good by appearing to care more about Depression II than some stupid political race. Either way, too, Obama looks bad. If he says, "Oh yay, let's fix ur economeez," then he's just a big copycat, and if he says, "NO, let's debate, stupid!," he looks like he doesn't care. Smart move on McCain's part.

- Note from reader yesterday (and you know who you are): "no updates for two days, full of fail." OH GREAT. Just what I needed, ANOTHER JOB. Look, sometimes there won't be updates every other day. I've had a cold, nothing interesting happened, etc., etc.

- Yesterday on the train on the way home, I encountered Daisy and Nick from The Great Gatsby, I think. This couple gets on wearing tennis clothing - and I mean, like tennis clothing, like the ur-tennis gear, with the white skirt and the striped sweater and everything - and carrying rackets. Then the guy pulls out a little silver flask and they both hit off that. This is a little after 5 pm, so that's cool. Daisy pulls out a cigarette and is holding it as they get off the train, right by the Dolores Park tennis courts, and disappear back into whatever alternate reality they stepped out of.

- And finally, today's Sign of the Apocalypse: Vanderbilt is ranked for the first time in 24 years. This guy thinks they can finish 9-3 or 8-4. Yes, that could happen. Now, where my Rapture at?

1 comment:

DrFeelgood said...

Yes, what could have J-Mac done that he hasn’t been trying to do for three years, that 98% of Americans don’t even seem to notice for the abundance of popular culture distractions that are steadily fed to us to keep us asleep. I am confused on the reference to McCain’s need to vote the Bank Deregulation Act. It doesn’t have anything to do with the crisis. After all, if the mention is for J-Mac’s lack of voting, I know another presidential hopeful who is woefully indecisive, yet “present.”

J-Mac would have presumably voted for deregulation, as did Nancy Pelosi, D-CA and Chris Dodd, D-CT. Obama’s notes, by contrast, showed that he was in support of keeping the regulations. J-Mac may also be deemed indecisive on his 1999 stance and its speculated connection to banking deregulation if it was not for his attempted work to regulate Fannie and Freddie three years ago. That co-authored bill was defeated on the floor by the likes of Barney Frank, D-MA and Melvin Watt, D-NC as being tough on the lenders and cruel to the low-income people respectively despite the injury it was already in the process of creating. But nobody notices until J-Mac is in the spotlight and leaves for the hotseat.

Please Google “Community Reinvestment Act”

On a couple of things that I like about Jimmy Carter, one is the idea that everybody needs a fair shake such as the chance to own a home. That initiative helped a little until 1995, when Billy pushed for government legislation that resulted in one trillion dollars in subprime mortgage lending/mortgage securities lending that were enforced with penalties on banks for non-participation. Fueled by Fannie and Freddie the mortgage securities brokerage, this unhooked housing prices from the steady inflationary trend and housing became a bubble. Housing prices rose and the loans given in ’98 and ’99 were explosive due to this stimulus (that one trillion number). Point of interest: Fannie and Freddie loans in ’04 and ’05 were 92% and 91% variable rate mortgages, respectively. If you own a home you probably know that you get a super-low front end for three to five years while only paying interest on the loan, not the nut, and if you don’t flip or sell it within that time, your mortgage just about doubles, ballooning at the variable rates. It sucks, really, which is why I busted my ass to get into a 30 year fixed on a modest house in a vinyl farm. Back to Fannie, the way for banks to sell more, lest face legal action, is to move further down the economic scale to progressively riskier pastures.

Big wide-scale economic problem: The adjustable rate arms run out, interest rates spike for the borrower, gas prices rise, paychecks get squeezed especially for the low-income folks. Liquidity is everything. No liquidity = CRASH.

Hampered by new accounting regulations, thanks to Enron, to protect against the greedy book cookers, lien-holder’s assets have to be about “today’s value” not tomorrow’s speculation. That meant that in the market downturn, Fannie and Freddy’s assets plummeted to worthless rating.

Please Google “Regulatory Act of 2005”

The Regulatory Act of 2005 was the bill that J-Mac co-authored with the intent to regulate Fannie and Freddie. It was blocked in the Senate by “friends of Fannie and Freddie” like Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and Jim Johnson, a political advisor and insider wo was managing director of Lehman “we fold” Brothers - 1985-1990. You should check out who got a lot of money donated from Fannie and Freddie. If you believe predatory lending to be “bad,” then wouldn’t accepting money from them in private campaign contributions to also be “bad?”

Google “Frankin Raines” the Fannie Mae guy. Check the laundry list on him.

But get a load out of who worked for Miner, Barnhill, and Galland, a Chicago law firm who sued banks (e.g. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank) for not issuing enough subprime loans. The guy I’m suggesting billed 138 hours on it as the 2nd attorney: Barack Obama.

Again, Jimmy Carter’s ideal is a good one: poor folks deserve a house - not knocking Jimmy for that or his ideal.

Deregulation did not cause this. Greed, self-interest, and a bad government regulation caused it by forcing Main Street banks to become predatory lenders to fulfill a government mandate of “affordable mortgages.”

So, in my mind, McCain acted last week on something he knew intimately about and forced Obama to be there, lest Obama be left out. The result has been that one is perceived as a do-er and the other is a thinker. Obama’s interest in that arena would become conflicted if I have all my facts straight and may have led to the meeting blow-up.

Another thing. I watched the debate and I would have called it a draw. Obama is clearly intelligent; able to think forwardly and abstractly. Both guys caught each other in political snares that caused me to realize that you may vote ‘No’ on complicated legislation that you agree with in principle 65% of the time, even if you want that 65% really bad. That can make either guy look flippy-floppy if worked well in debate. Anyway, it is starting to make McCain's 10% difference in Bush look larger and larger to me - as a good thing. If general percentages of difference or similarity are so important, why doesn't anyone mention that Bush and Gore were only about 3% different on policies?

However, now that I have learned about this economic crisis and what caused it, I can only look at Obama through stained lenses. And that being the case, it makes his intelligence laughable to me in the wake of his decisions and involvement and championing in the failed subprime lending deal. To me, it makes Hope and Change look like Cruel and Short-Sighted, knowing what burdens we will all have laid before us. It makes his criticisms of “failed economic policies” totally hypocritical, in my opinion. What is totally ironic to me is that Democrats pulled a bunch of free-market shenanigans that is so stereo-typically “Republican” and according to Pelosi, it’s not the Democrat’s fault! That’s weird.

Now, if any of my facts are not straight, I apologize and stand corrected. I also apologize for not taking the time to footnote everything in the above. However, this is a blog and is for your entertainment purposes only and not intended to be a professional political or financial guide or reference for personal gain. So no wagering.