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"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."Albert Einstein,[...]
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This time, it's the competition. AIG sure knows how to win friends and influence people.
Some of American International Group's biggest rivals have urged U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to prevent the insurance giant from using the government rescue to win an advantage, particularly by cutting prices, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In an article posted on its website, the Journal said AIG's competitors had complained directly to Bernanke at a Mar 4 meeting at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington.
Bernanke said he would look into the complaints, the Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.
Industry executives and competitors told Reuters in December that AIG has been lowering prices to win new business and boost market share after receiving bailout dollars, even as market fundamentals suggest that prices need to be raised.
You are doomed!
I am doomed!
We are all fucking doomed!
The Military-Industrial-Fascist-Corporatist-Zionist system has driven humanity before it like the craven and stoopid sheep that they are and now we find ourselves on the edge of Apocalypse. All around us companies are going out of business as corporate fat cats line their pockets with taxpayer money and as innocent people wander the streets in search of bread. Meanwhile, corrupt politicians (usually in the pocket of AIPAC) stand at podiums and denounce one another and scream to the heavens about blood, despair, disease, dementia, leprosy and SOCIALISM.
(More remarkable imbecility below the fold.)
On the streets of our major cities roaming gangs of starving youths are attacking little old ladies, for no good reason whatsoever, and the police are fighting impromptu street wars with heavily armed homeless people who crawl from the sewers at night in search of human flesh. Tax attorneys, dental hygienists, and government bureaucrats now find themselves in uneasy alliances with crack whores, junkies, homicidal pimps, and librarians, of various sorts, as they band together for the purpose of robbing Episcopal churches and digging up graves. Nowhere are the people safe. Nowhere is wholesomeness whole!
And most particularly not in Alaska!
Disease, meanwhile, is spreading like a plague (that is, like a disease) from city to city, state to state, country to country, and continent to continent. From Wala Wala, Washington to Jersey City, New Jersey to Addis Ababa and Istanbul, people are turning green and falling over or developing full body rashes that reek of napalm and Listerine. Hideous boils and pimples and nodules and carbuncles are springing up on the bodies of perfectly innocent hairdressers and toothpaste salesmen. Olympic athletes the world over are awakening to find themselves suddenly transformed into hideous cripples with no teeth and no future.
And war! Armies throughout the world are mobilizing and vowing to destroy everything that stands in their path. India and Pakistan are at one another's throats as Israel and Iran face-off for the Final Encounter. El Salvador swears vengeance on Nicaragua and Russia vows to lay China waste. On every continent armies comprised entirely of 12 year old girls are pillaging Mayan villages and demanding tribute in the form of bubble baths, body sprays, nail polish, sparkly pens and Hannah Montana CDs.
None of this, of course, should surprise any of you. People like me have warned you many times before. Those of us who have seen this coming have talked and talked and talked and talked. We have begged and pleaded and cried and howled, but you never listen. Even now, as the darkness encircles, you refuse to heed our warnings.
Will the center hold?
Should I stock up on smoked oysters?
Very little to choose from today.
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This morning's NY Times jumped the gun early on the unveiling on Geithner's plans for Toxic Assets. They report that his team was working all day yesterday rounding up his investor buddies to go into some kind of trillion dollar hedge fund partnership arrangement with the government (our money, in other words) to buy the shit pile so it's no longer on the books of the failed banks.
The plan relies on private investors to team up with the government to relieve banks of assets tied to loans and mortgage-linked securities of unknown value. There have been virtually no buyers of these assets because of their uncertain risk.
As part of the program, the government plans to offer subsidies, in the form of low-interest loans, to coax private funds to form partnerships with the government to buy troubled assets from banks.
But some executives at private equity firms and hedge funds, who were briefed on the plan Sunday afternoon, are anxious about the recent uproar over millions of dollars in bonus payments made to executives of the American International Group.
Some of them have told administration officials that they would participate only if the government guaranteed that it would not set compensation limits on the firms, according to people briefed on the conversations. The executives also expressed worries about whether disclosure and governance rules could be added retroactively to the program by Congress, these people said.
...Mr. Geithner faces a highly charged and politicized audience when he introduces the troubled-assets plan on Monday, after a week filled with vitriolic attacks over his handling of A.I.G. bonus payments.
Mr. Geithner and the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, are scheduled to testify to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday about the bonus payments.
the financial system as a whole is still working against recovery. Many banks, still burdened by bad lending decisions, are holding back on providing credit. Market prices for many assets held by financial institutions-- so-called legacy assets-- are either uncertain or depressed. With these pressures at work on bank balance sheets, credit remains a scarce commodity, and credit that is available carries a high cost for borrowers.
Today, we are announcing another critical piece of our plan to increase the flow of credit and expand liquidity. Our new Public-Private Investment Program will set up funds to provide a market for the legacy loans and securities that currently burden the financial system.
The Public-Private Investment Program will purchase real-estate related loans from banks and securities from the broader markets. Banks will have the ability to sell pools of loans to dedicated funds, and investors will compete to have the ability to participate in those funds and take advantage of the financing provided by the government.
The funds established under this program will have three essential design features. First, they will use government resources in the form of capital from the Treasury, and financing from the FDIC and Federal Reserve, to mobilize capital from private investors. Second, the Public-Private Investment Program will ensure that private-sector participants share the risks alongside the taxpayer, and that the taxpayer shares in the profits from these investments. These funds will be open to investors of all types, such as pension funds, so that a broad range of Americans can participate.
Third, private-sector purchasers will establish the value of the loans and securities purchased under the program, which will protect the government from overpaying for these assets.
The new Public-Private Investment Program will initially provide financing for $500 billion with the potential to expand up to $1 trillion over time, which is a substantial share of real-estate related assets originated before the recession that are now clogging our financial system. Over time, by providing a market for these assets that does not now exist, this program will help improve asset values, increase lending capacity by banks, and reduce uncertainty about the scale of losses on bank balance sheets. The ability to sell assets to this fund will make it easier for banks to raise private capital, which will accelerate their ability to replace the capital investments provided by the Treasury.
This program to address legacy loans and securities is part of an overall strategy to resolve the crisis as quickly and effectively as possible at least cost to the taxpayer. The Public-Private Investment Program is better for the taxpayer than having the government alone directly purchase the assets from banks that are still operating and assume a larger share of the losses. Our approach shares risk with the private sector, efficiently leverages taxpayer dollars, and deploys private-sector competition to determine market prices for currently illiquid assets. Simply hoping for banks to work these assets off over time risks prolonging the crisis in a repeat of the Japanese experience.
Geithner wants to solve the toxic waste problem by throwing enormous amounts of money at hedge funds. The idea is to set up funds called the Public-Private Investment Partnership, and use the money to buy junk from banks... Private investors, then, would be contributing as little as 3 percent of the equity, and the government as much as 97 percent... good to know that we still have enough money to throw at the rich, who seem to think a 25% return is just about right.
There are two parts to the plan -- one to purchase securities, the other to purchase loans from banks, using a combined $75 to $100 billion of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
These people say the plan will begin with $500 billion, roughly divided between the two different parts, but officials hope to be flexible and adjust the size as markets develop. Taxpayers are potentially on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars, but officials stress they have built in protections.
In the first part of the plan, the government will create around five separate public-private partnerships, with the government investing dollar for dollar along side private capital. These partnerships will bid for the mortgage-backed securities and other assets weighing down the balance sheets of the banks, creating a price through competition.
The Federal Reserve will open up its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility for non-recourse funding for these purchases. Additional funding will be available from the TARP for these purchase.
The second part of the program uses government and private funds to purchase loans off the books of the banks. Under this program, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will offer guarantees to lenders who finance the purchase of these assets. The government will also invest side-by-side with private capital in the purchases.
A bank selling the assets could be likely to finance those assets, with government guarantees.
Oh hai, mai name iz Cookie. I haz successfully led a Revolushun at da blog affeckshunitly known as "Da grate Orange Satan." Us pooties haz proven we can take over da Rec List at will. Be warned, we haz lots of pootie power: Resistance iz futile:[...]
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I want to direct this post to those in Congress known as Blue Dog Democrats, or "conservative" Democrats. To those of you in Texas and those of you in other states. It's time to step up and help your president, your party and your country.
There have always been Democrats like you -- even in the 1930s. But those conservative Dems in the thirties knew there was a time to show their conservatism and a time to help save their country, and they recognized when their country needed them. They swallowed hard and voted with President Roosevelt for the good of the country.
Well, the Bush conservatives in the Republican Party have run our country into the ground and thrown us into a serious recession that could easily turn into another Great Depression if it is not handled right.
President Obama has proposed his first budget, and it is a fairly large one -- as it needs to be to cope with the serious problems facing the United States. The Republicans almost unanimous response has been NO. After years of their own wasteful budgets that resulted in enormous deficits while only helping the rich, they all of a sudden want to cut the budget.
Please don't join in this subversive budget-cutting nonsense. Before you decide the president's budget is too large and needs to be cut down, please consider the following:
*The Republicans want our economy to fail, so they can claim that President Obama and the Democrats have failed. It is their only hope of surviving the 2010 election without even further losses.
*The people and most businesses have cut back on their spending. If the government did the same at this time, it would throw our economy into an even more serious tailspin and almost certainly bring on a Depression.
*One of the reasons the budget looks so large is that this is a real budget with all the expenses listed -- not one of Bush's phoney budgets that tried to hide the expense of two wars (and many other items).
*The president has included adequate funds in the budget to start the process of weaning the country off of carbon-based fuels, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and transfer to the use of cleaner and greener fuels. Many presidents have promised this, but only President Obama has actually included funding for it in the budget.
*The president has also included funds to start fixing our broken healthcare system. Over 40 million citizens don't have any kind of health insurance, and among those that do, large medical bills that insurance refuses to pay is the single largest cause of bankruptcies in this country. A good health insurance system that controlled costs and covered everyone, would not only help the citizens but also businesses (who are having trouble competing because of government healthcare insurance in other countries).
*For the first time in many years, our educational system will be adequately funded. Without a fully-funded and functioning public education system, how long would our democracy survive?
*The budget includes some cost-cutting measures by cutting unwarranted, ineffective and unnecessary programs.
*Further cutting would be realized by going back to competetive-bidding on all contracts (unlike the Bush administration that awarded non-competetive open-ended contracts to their friends and political supporters).
*More savings would be realized by the winding down (and eventual ending) of the Iraq War.
This is a large budget, but it is also a good budget. It is also a budget that addresses America's serious needs. Don't join with those who would cut this budget and hurt the country. Your president and your country need you to help pass this budget as it is. It will take political courage, especially for you "Blue Dogs", but it is necessary.
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Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.
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Today, the world's cheapest car is to be introduced in Mumbai, India. The Tata Motors car named the Nano (pictured above) will be priced at 100,000 rupees -- or $1979 dollars brand new. India's Tata Motors is the company that bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford last June. So now they have the world's least expensive car to go with their ownership of two of the world's more expensive cars.
The Nano is a whole 10 feet long, and yet it is configured to seat five passengers. But it will do so without the comforts and extras most Americans and Europeans expect when they buy a car. There are no air bags, no air conditioning, no radio and no power steering or automatic transmission. It is no frills transportation for the world's poor who until now have not been able to afford an automobile.
The price is comparable to the price of a new Volkswagen "Bug" about 45 years ago. But don't expect to see the Nano on any American streets. In addition to no air bags, I'm sure it lacks many other safety features required on cars sold in this country.
However, if the car proves to be popular in other parts of the world, they might decide to enter the American market in a few years. With the basic car priced at under $2000, they could probably put in the required safety features and a slightly more powerful engine (it's currently 33 bhp), and still sell it for quite a bit less than $10,000. That would be half the price of an American car (or less).
It just goes to show what a car company can accomplish when they put their mind to it.
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