And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/16/2008 - 03/23/2008
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
about six months ago, the city started putting out wheeled dumpsters on each block to replace the wire baskets on posts in front of each house, apartment building, or business establishment that had been the traditional repository for trash and the collection point for trash pick-up for who knows how many years... this is still not completely implemented city-wide, but the past week in my neighborhood, i noticed that the dumpsters were now appearing in two varieties - regular trash and recylables... whaddaya know, i thought to my self... buenos aires is going green... today, the flyer announcing the change arrived...
We separate for recycling Buenos Aires recycles Government of the City of Buenos Aires
Recycle two glass bottles and save the energy necessary to boil one liter of water
Recycle an aluminum can and save sufficient energy to keep a television running for three hours
Recycle a Sunday newspaper for one year and avoid cutting down four trees
(The logos at the bottom are the various companies that contract with the city for trash collection.)
People with Down Syndrome are the most insightful and honest people you will ever meet
i have observed down syndrome folks for many years and, although i have never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a person with down's, i have always been impressed with their incredible ability to size people up on a feeling level, to be unfailingly and directly honest, and to be cheerful and loving even in the most adverse of circumstances...
the young man in this youtube clip, dan drinker, is, in his own terms, a "downsy," and, if his endorsement of obama carries any weight at all, as it absolutely should, we will all be casting our vote for senator obama in november...
My older brother has always been an excellent judge of character.
There is no one hiding behind Dan's chair, that is just the top of my head in his mirror as I film him. This interview is something Dan has asking me to shoot for a few days now. These are solely his opinions, I edited it for time purposes but I did not tell him what to say. He has a lot to say, just difficulty expressing it. He insisted I subtitle his words saying, "I want to be understood" and who among us doesn't want to be understood?
KING: A couple of quick things, Senator. Would you, in your administration, make use of Bill Clinton?
OBAMA: Absolutely. I think that, you know, Bill Clinton is a brilliant statesman and politician, and I think that any president would want to use his skills and his relationships around the world.
By the way, I would reach out to the first George Bush. You know, one of the things that I think George H.W. Bush doesn't get enough credit for was his foreign policy team and the way that he helped negotiate the end of the Cold War and prosecuted the Gulf War. That cost us 20 billion dollars. That's all it cost. It was extremely successful. I think there were a lot of very wise people. So I want a bipartisan team that can help to provide me good advice and counsel when I'm president of the United States.
KING: The McCain campaign has suspended a staff member -- did it this afternoon -- for distributing a YouTube video that questioned your patriotism. It included footage from Reverend Wright's controversial sermons. Any comment on Senator McCain doing that?
OBAMA: Well, you know, Senator McCain actually has generally operated in an honorable way. We've got obviously strong disagreements, but when, for example, there was a supporter that kept on just repeating my middle name over and over again, obviously trying to implicate, you know, suggest somehow that I was not the kind of candidate that America would want, Senator McCain spoke out forcefully against it.
So I respect that he, I think, so far, has run an honorable campaign, and I intend to show him the same courtesy when we meet in the general election.
ok, look... i know obama's running a campaign and i know he doesn't want to trash-talk anybody, a strategy that would totally negate his positive message... i also understand that a message of light and love (my words, not obama's) will ultimately vanquish the dark, but reaching out to george h.w. bush...? particularly bothersome is that was a piece of information that obama VOLUNTEERED, and wasn't in response to a question from king... george h.w. bush, imho, is, even in his dotage, a potent dark force, and i, for one, would have preferred that obama simply didn't mention him at all...
Passport files for Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama were improperly accessed, the State Department said.
ok, so here's yours truly... last friday, i sent my passport off to washington d.c. via dhl so that it could be hand-carried to the afghanistan embassy (there isn't an afghan embassy in argentina) and a visa entered... it was put handed BACK to dhl on wednesday afternoon... according to dhl's tracking system, it left their miami facility at 5:02 p.m. yesterday, which is the last time the package was scanned... i keep refreshing the tracking screen and that's all i get... i assume it was put on dhl's overnight flight to argentina, but it should have been scanned in here on arrival... passports are extremely important items and anything and everything related to them should be treated with extreme care and utmost confidentiality, so reading about barack, hillary, and john having their passport records breached doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence, i can assure you...
It's one of the most amazing displays of journalistic incompetence and malpractice in recent memory.
The US news media failed to draw the obvious connection between the bizarre federal law enforcement investigation and leak campaign about the private life of New York Governor Spitzer and Spitzer's all out attack on the Bush administration for its collusion with predatory lenders.
While the international credit system grinds to a halt because of a superabundance of bad mortgage loans made in the US, the news media failed to cover the details of Spitzer's public charges against the White House.
Yet when salacious details were leaked about alleged details of Spitzer's private life, they took that information and made it the front page news for days.
To the 9/11 fiasco, the Iraq War, the travesty of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the shredding of the US Constitution, we can now add a deliberate and reckless undermining of the credit and banking system of the US to its list of "accomplishments."
our collective screwing is part and parcel of a coordinated, comprehensive, and thoroughly strategized plan on the part of the powerful, super-rich elites to continue to accrue ever more power and money... why would we expect anything less...?
By Eliot Spitzer Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page A25
Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.
Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.
Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government. Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted laws aimed at curbing such practices.
What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware, with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets reeling, the answer is a resounding no.
Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.
Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.
In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.
Throughout our battles with the OCC and the banks, the mantra of the banks and their defenders was that efforts to curb predatory lending would deny access to credit to the very consumers the states were trying to protect. But the curbs we sought on predatory and unfair lending would have in no way jeopardized access to the legitimate credit market for appropriately priced loans. Instead, they would have stopped the scourge of predatory lending practices that have resulted in countless thousands of consumers losing their homes and put our economy in a precarious position.
When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.
wow... amazing, ain't it, that this editorial was largely uncovered during the extended hoo-ha over spitzer's downfall... i didn't even know it existed until today...
Full moon, Buenos Aires, 8:45 p.m., Argentina Regional Time, 20 March 2008
not only do we have a trifecta, we also have this...
Do you realize how early Easter is this year? As you may know Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.
Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare. Here’s the interesting info.
This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:
1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you’re 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!)
2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this.
for those of you in the northern hemisphere, welcome to spring... for those of us in the southern hemisphere, welcome to autumn... on monday, i will be traveling from south america across the continent of africa and ultimately north to afghanistan where i will be experiencing an afghan spring... oh, yay...
from the u.s. news article, here are the six reasons
1. Fallon's resignation
2. Vice President Cheney's peace trip
3. Israeli airstrike on Syria
4. Warships off Lebanon
5. Israeli comments
6. Israel's war with Hezbollah
[A] massive build-up of forces inevitably creates the “climate” of war. Troops and the public, on both sides, come to accept its inevitability. Standing down is difficult and can entail loss of “face.” Consequently, political leaders usually are carried forward by the flow of events.
polk quotes from the 2005 national defense strategy of the u.s...
“America is a nation at war…[and] will defeat adversaries at the time, place, and in the manner of our choosing…[rather than employing] A reactive or defensive approach…Therefore, we must confront challenges earlier and more comprehensively, before they are allowed to mature…In all cases, we will seek to seize the initiative and dictate the tempo, timing, and direction of military operations.” In short, as Henry Kissinger pointed out in The International Herald Tribune, April 14, 2006, it is an assertion of the intention to engage in preëmptive or “first strike” warfare.
Iran is the major perceived adversary capable of doing what National Defense Strategy of the United States of America termed “adopting threatening capabilities, methods, and ambitions…[to] 1) limit our global freedom to act, 2) dominate key regions, or 3) attempt to make prohibitive the costs of meeting various U.S. international commitments.”
if there was ever a time when the bush administration could take advantage of a major global distraction to take the stage and divert people's attention from the massive disaster it has become, it's now... while i'm not going to sit around, soiling my tighty-whities thinking about it, nevertheless, we would all do well to keep it in mind as a serious possibility...
Lest we forget, the economic collapse is affecting REAL PEOPLE
i've read a number of blog posts and commenters' remarks talking about how people stupid enough to drive up their debt to the point where they can no longer keep up, who signed on to mortgages that, no matter how attractive the initial terms, were beyond their means, shouldn't expect a bailout... what this perspective conveniently ignores is that the entire system has been wired for people to easily fall prey to such schemes... our entire society has been structured around a "get while the gettin's good," "i'll take mine and the devil can have the rest" mentality... when all that's ever dangled before our faces are the obscenely rich getting obscenely richer and the american dream portrayed as "whoever has the most toys, wins," what are people supposed to do...? the answer is clear - pull out those credit cards, buy that new car, sign that mortgage, and keep on buyin'... now that the bottom is falling out, it's the poor slobs who believed that bullshit propaganda who are getting hurt, not those who perpetrated it for their own benefit...
ah, america...! what a great country...!
and, naturally, it takes the foreign media (the bbc) to show us our own dark side...
The "And, yes, I DO take it personally" radio show is BACK ON THE AIR!
there was a bit of a problem with the past two weeks' shows, namely, we didn't have them... i'll spare you the boring details and instead simply say that you can join me, raphael (profmarcus), and brother tim TOMORROW, Thursday, March 20th, live, for 30 minutes of the "And, yes, I DO take it personally" radio show on blog talk radio, starting at 8 a.m. PDT, 11 a.m. EDT, noon ART (Argentina Regional Time) and 3 p.m. GMT... we'll be kicking around the issues of the day and we'll also hear from a few callers... feel free to call in at 646 200 0056, or +1 646 200 0056 from outside the u.s... we'll have the chat window open if you don't want to use up your long distance minutes or think you might have a little stage fright... in any case, stop by... we don't bite... we promise...!
the above link will take you to the show's page on blog talk radio where you can also listen to all the archived broadcasts or find other great listening material on every conceivable subject...
Reporters on Bush: "His rhetoric is exhausted" and he's "going through the motions"
seein' as to how bush has never been particularly interested in doing the REAL work of being president, being much happier to talk smack, show off, bully people, and strut, i'm surprised it's taken this long for the press corps to lose interest...
When White House press secretary Dana Perino appeared on “The Daily Show” last week, host Jon Stewart asked how she got the day off: “Did they not need press secretarying today?”
These days, with President Bush largely relegated to the sidelines rather than the headlines, it’s not surprising that Perino can knock off early.
Fewer than half the seats were filled in the White House briefing room that Thursday afternoon, when deputy press secretary Tony Fratto was even asked at one point if an upcoming economic speech by Bush would provide anything newsworthy.
“No,” Fratto replied, “you shouldn't look for new major announcements tomorrow.” Some laughter and grumbling followed among the press corps.
here are the money quotes...
“You can’t attribute it all to the presidential campaign,” said Julie Mason, White House correspondent for the Houston Chronicle. “[Bush’s] rhetoric is so exhausted. He rarely makes any news. It’s rarely worth anyone’s time to cover him like we used to.”
[Television analyst Andrew Tyndall] said that he felt it wasn’t so much the media disdaining the White House so much as Bush is now “going through the motions.”
my impression is that bush has been giving the same speech since he first took office, and it sounded "exhausted" even then... after it became obvious that a serious number of his brain cells were either dying or committing suicide, i have been incapable of understanding why anyone would pay any attention to him at all...
i've posted this youtube clip before, but it's time to trot it back out... the question now is the same question we've been asking for the past seven-plus years... what is wrong with this man...?
Today, March 19, marks the 5 year anniversary of the biggest Military/Foreign Policy blunder since the Viet Nam Fiasco: King George's Holy Oedipal Crusade on Iraq.
This war has cost over one million human lives and a trillion dollars or more of our Treasury. It has also caused extreme hardship and suffering to countless millions of others. When is enough, enough? How many human lives is a barrel of oil worth these days? This is SICK! Click on the above, yellow badge for the Blogswarm site.
It ain't nothin but a heartbreaker Friend only to the undertaker I have also put up another post at the Blog of Revelation.
five years ago today, i was living in mexico and had the opportunity to watch my country initiate an illegal war from a south-of-the-border perspective... only a few days before, i had stood on the edge of the zocalo (central plaza) of the city where i lived and watched most of the young schoolchildren from the area assemble in protest against the coming invasion... in the simple, straightforward fashion of children everywhere, they had created their own posters and signs some of which brought tears to my eyes...
now, five years later, i am living in argentina, and preparing to spend the next two and one-half months in afghanistan, like iraq, a u.s.-sponsored wasteland... everywhere i go, i see that the world is so desperate for positive change... after listening to obama's speech yesterday and noting the positive response, i am heartened that maybe, just maybe, we're on the brink of seeing that change happen...
The ruler of Dubai has ordered the creation of a new low-cost airline to serve the growing number of passengers traveling through the Gulf trade and tourism hub, the official WAM news agency said on Tuesday.
"Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has ordered... the establishment of a new airline company in Dubai to meet the need to service passengers to and from the United Arab Emirates whose number is increasing year on year," it said.
Dubai, one of seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, already has the largest Arab airline, Emirates, and the nearby emirate of Sharjah is home to Air Arabia, the Middle East's biggest low-cost carrier.
UAE capital Abu Dhabi is home to Etihad Airways, and RAK Airways, based in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, also flies to several destinations. WAM said the new airline would established immediately.
Dubai Airport, the busiest airport in the Middle East, saw international passenger traffic grow 19.31 percent last year. It handled 34.34 million passengers.
Dubai is building a new airport on the other side of town that it expects will be the biggest in the world.
god said, "let there be light," and there was light...
Go away, Hillary...! Let's have a Democratic nominee and a Republican nominee campaign against EACH OTHER...!
full disclosure: i am neither working for any candidate nor have i contributed any money to any candidate... i am just sick and goddam tired of watching hillary rodham clinton sabotaging not only the democrats chances in the 2008 election, but also dragging the entire presidential election process through the smelly sludge of her own uncontrollable desire for power...
i've read science fiction all my life... i've branched out considerably, but sf has always been a genre i return to no matter which other type of reading has occupied my current frame of mind... when i was thirteen, i remember that i read the local public library completely out of sf... it was at that point i started hoarding my loose change from school to be able to afford to hit the bookstore regularly... without a single doubt, one of the books that impacted me the most, one that impacts me to this day, was clarke's childhood's end...
The Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday, to 2.25 percent, a cut that was less than investors had been hoping for even though it was one of the deepest in Fed history.
Many on Wall Street had expected that the Federal Reserve would lower its benchmark interest rate by a full point. Stocks gave up some of their earlier gains on the news.
Indeed, expectations about another deep cut in interest rates were so high that the central bank was at risk of setting off a new wave of panicky selling if it had announced a reduction of less than three-quarters of a percentage point.
and then we have this...
With the latest reduction, the federal funds rate is far below the rate of inflation, meaning that the “real,” or inflation-adjusted rate, is below zero. It is also well below the European Central Bank’s benchmark interest rate of 4 percent or the Bank of England’s rate of 5.25 percent.
anybody hear that fat lady singin' yet...? < crickets >
Traders expect the Fed to cut rates by a full percentage point in an effort to stop hemorrhaging in financial markets and boost the flagging economy. The Fed is expected to announce its decision around 2:15 p.m. EDT.
get ready for day number two in an already crazy week in the financial world...
It appears that a critical mass of FCC grunts are sick of what they experience as a super-politicized work life in which just about anything that they want to do has to get the go-ahead from the top, that being Kevin Martin. "Nothing happens in the Commission without the approval of the Chairman's office," my source told me [Lasar]. "It is incredible. We have become so political."
Do you have any sense of the logic of these directives from the Chair? I asked. "Nope," came the reply. "It seems as random as he got up this morning and ate his breakfast and just decided to do it."
Why are FCC employees upset about this? Not because they disagree with Kevin Martin's perspective on this or that FCC issue, but because, according to my source, he and his top subordinates demand that staff skip proper procedures and leapfrog various rules, even Congressional mandated rules, on a day-to-day level.
"In the past I may or may not have agreed with the outcome, but at least the proper procedures were followed. Now they tell us 'what are the media reform groups going to do: file a class action lawsuit? Just do it.' But ethically I have to sleep at night. It's not the decision, it's how the decision is reached. The situation has become arbitrary and capricious."
"I am not a disgruntled employee," I was told. "I love my job. But this situation has become unbearable. We will not play this game. I have to sleep at night."
why would anybody doubt this...? the fcc is just another executive branch agency made over to serve the most partisan, nay ideological, bush administration interests...
It's time to move beyond the old adage "if you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, you're either insane or an economist" to note the hard, painful truth: they're not expecting different results, they're getting exactly the results they wanted: massive wealth and power increases at the top, at the expense of everybody else.
[Alan Greenspan's Financial Times] article is the most explicit ever call for that age old principle: privatise the profits, socialise the losses. Why is that man still listened to? Oh yes: because the only public that matters are those on the privatised end of that sentence.
This is not incompetence - this is unrepentant, brazen praise of looting, and a call for more.
looting is a word i haven't used in reference to the incessant fleecing of the masses by the super-rich elites... why, i don't know, because it's a perfect fit...
The Fed governors in Washington also approved a request by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to lower the rate at which it lends directly to banks by a quarter percentage point to 3.25%. That narrows the gap between the discount rate and the federal funds rate, for overnight lending between banks, to a quarter point. It also extended the length of those direct loans to 90 days from 30 days.
if this isn't approaching blind panic, i'm wondering what the hell blind panic looks like...
Still, the per-share payout is just one-fifteenth of Bear's stock price on Friday and miles off its record share price of $172.61 last year.
That means Bear's shareholders, including British billionaire Joseph Lewis and Bear Stearns' Chairman Jimmy Cayne, will have their holdings wiped out by the deal.
"It's scary for what it says about the value of financial assets, if a company is worth only a small percentage of book value," said Emanuel Weintraub, managing director of Integre Advisors, a New York-based money management firm.
The plunging shares, plus a lack of the normal payout expected when a company is taken over, known as 'golden parachutes', delivers a serious blow to the bankers, traders and other executives worldwide at a firm that has long encouraged its above-average levels of inside ownership.
"The current stock ownership by executive officers reflects a significant personal investment in the company by those who are most responsible for the company's future success," the bank said in a proxy statement.
Employees own around 30 percent of the bank.
two dollars a share...!?!?! absolutely unbelievable... everybody better buckle in, this is going to be one HELL of a week... (remember, i'm writing this at 7 a.m. u.s. eastern time, and the markets haven't even OPENED yet...)
Argentina and Brazil agree to stop doing business in dollars
this is interesting... just as a point of information for those who might not know, all real estate transactions here in argentina are done in u.s. dollars... up until the economic collapse in 2001, the peso was valued 1:1 to the dollar and dollars and pesos were equally acceptable as payment... even today, atm's still give you a choice of currency - pesos or dollars... i see this as one more step for argentina in abandoning the dollar completely...
The new payment system is aimed at reducing costs in commercial transactions and would benefit small and medium-sized enterprises, the official said.
Under the new system, there will be a unified exchange rate between the real and peso, the so-called reference rate, which will be applied by Brazilian and Argentine central banks at the end of each day.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reached an agreement to establish a new payment system with his Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during his visit to Argentina in February.
Technical preparations are underway for the new system, which the two countries will adopt in several steps due to the large amount of bilateral trade.
Brazil is Argentina's largest trading partner, while Argentina is Brazil's second-biggest trading partner after the United States.
Bilateral trade stood at around 23.6 billion U.S. dollars last year.
yet another chapter in the global economic soap opera and the continuing collapse of the u.s. dollar...
Let us be clear: given its massive exposure to toxic MBS and ABS product Bear Stearns is insolvent; the decision by the NY Fed to try to bail out Bear Stearns would make sense if this firm was only illiquid; the trouble that it is insolvent and thus such attempted bailout is altogether inappropriate. It is true that Bear is a large broker dealer; but its systemic importance is much smaller than that of much larger institutions. The world and financial market can survive if Bear disappears.
So the only possible justification for such Fed action is to engineer an orderly rather than a disorderly shutdown of this institution. But unfortunately the Fed is behaving as if Bear Stearns is illiquid but solvent. That is delusional and the official sector support of an otherwise insolvent institution will end up - like many other recent Fed actions - being paid for by the US tax-payer.
As discussed months ago in this column non-banks institutions don't have access - based on the Federal Reserve Act - to the lender of last resort support of the Fed unless a very special and unusual procedure and vote is taken. So for the first time in decades - possibly since the Great Depression - the Fed had to rely on this exceptional rule to bail out a non-bank financial institution. So what is next? Bailing out hedge funds, bailing out money market funds, bailing out SIVs? When is enough enough? This when the Fed has already committed this week to swap 60% ($ 400 bn) of its balance sheet of Treasuries for mortgage backed securities of dubious quality and value.
And Bear is only the first broker dealer to go belly up.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is close to rescuing the fifth-largest U.S. investment bank, Bear Stearns Cos Inc, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday, in a deal that could be announced in the next few hours.
The Wall Street Journal said on Sunday that Bear Stearns could sell itself for around $2.2 billion, or less than $20 a share.
The low sale price, equal to about two-thirds the company's $30.85 closing share price on Friday, signals just how dire the situation is for the 85-year-old investment bank.
The deal with JPMorgan Chase has not been signed yet, said the person Reuters spoke with on condition of anonymity.
Bear Stearns' cash reserves were drained by fleeing customers on Thursday, and on Friday the bank secured emergency funding from the Federal Reserve, extended through JPMorgan Chase.
The Fed is widely seen as having provided the financing to prevent Bear Stearns from toppling, and potentially bringing other banks down with it.
Now, it's Goldman Sachs - still MORE evidence the financial markets are collapsing
yep... it's a train wreck in slo-mo, for sure...
Investment bank Goldman Sachs will announce asset writedowns of $3 billion when it posts earnings on Tuesday, Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported, without naming sources.
The company will report a fall of about 50 percent in first-quarter earnings, the newspaper said.
Goldman Sachs was not immediately available for comment.
Goldman will take a hit of around $1.6 billion in its leveraged loan business, $1.1 billion in connection with assets owned by its private equity arm and will have to writedown the value of its stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the story said.
Shares in ICBC have fallen around 14 percent in the last two months.
Goldman will point out that its exposure to the sub-prime mortgage market remains minimal, the paper said, according to unnamed people close to the bank.
goldman pointing out that it ISN'T the sub-prime mortgage market that's causing a $3 BILLION writedown is somehow supposed to be COMFORTING...? all THAT tells me is that the financial and investment markets are going directly to hell...
What Mr. Bush wants is to be able to listen to your international telephone calls and read your international e-mail whenever he wants, without a court being able to prevent it or judge the legality of his actions.
The purpose of [telecom] amnesty is not to protect national secrets — that could be done during a trial — but to make sure that the full damage to Americans’ civil liberties is never revealed.
The president will continue to claim the country is in grave danger over this issue, but it is not. The real danger is for Mr. Bush. A good law — like the House bill — would allow Americans to finally see the breathtaking extent of his lawless behavior.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is being forced to throw out four decades of monetary history by a financial system choking on miscalculated risks and a deepening recession.
Bernanke and the four Fed governors voted yesterday to become creditors to Bear Stearns Cos., a securities firm that isn't a bank, by invoking a law that hasn't been used since the 1960s. Three days earlier, the Fed said it would swap Treasury notes on its balance sheet for privately issued mortgage-backed securities held by Wall Street firms.
"It's a re-drawing of the relationship of the Federal Reserve with the rest of the financial system," said Vincent Reinhart, former director of the Division of Monetary Affairs at the Board. Risks of so-called moral hazard, where firms will now come to count on bailouts by a federal agency, "are considerable," he said.
As chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke has long argued that a central bank should base its policies as much as possible on consistent principles rather than seat-of-the-pants judgment.
But now, as the meltdown in credit markets threatens major institutions on Wall Street and a recession appears inevitable, Mr. Bernanke is inventing policy on the fly.
“Modern monetary policy-making puts a lot of weight on rules, but there is no rule book for an economic crisis,” said Douglas W. Elmendorf, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former Fed economist.
On Friday, the Federal Reserve seemed to toss out the rule book altogether when it assumed the role of white knight, temporarily bailing out Bear Stearns, one of Wall Street’s biggest firms, with a short-term loan to help avoid a collapse that might send other dominoes falling.
So who is next? As advisers to Bear Stearns struggle to find a buyer or funding in the next 28 days, Wall Street, the City and the financial district in Tokyo were scrabbling to find out who is the most exposed to Bear Stearns, either through loans or trading positions.
Traders in all three centres were panicking even for those banks not directly exposed to Bear. They feared that the problems experienced at the stricken bank signalled that the credit crisis has deteriorated to a new level.
Yesterday, traders began to look anxiously at the robustness of Lehman Brothers, which, although bigger than Bear, is small compared with JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.
Shares in Lehman dropped 11 per cent yesterday, a far bigger fall than its other rivals, which saw their stock decline by about 3 per cent.
and, finally, news about a meeting tomorrow that is the surest sign yet that things are headed south at an extremely high rate of speed...
President George W. Bush plans to meet on Monday with top U.S. financial policymakers, the White House said, at a time of increased strains in credit markets and fears of a recession.
The White House said on Saturday Bush will meet members of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, and a spokeswoman said Bush will get a status report on the markets.
In his Saturday radio address, Bush addressed the economy for the second straight day, after remarks on Friday in New York City acknowledging that times were tough.
note that monday's meeting is not being referred to as an "emergency meeting"... don't want to panic the great unwashed dontcha know, but you gotta believe that's exactly what it is... as further evidence, bush, the perennial liar, talked about the troubled economy for - OMG - TWO DAYS IN A ROW, instead of shoveling the usual shit about how rosy everything is... even the hard-of-hearing are starting to take notice of that "giant sucking sound"...