Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musings: Economic Terrorists

The moon, whittled down to a wedge, but still bright enough to illuminate the darkness of its whole, was directly overhead, not far from Orion’s belt and brilliant Sirius, when Koko and I took our walk this morning.

Within 20 minutes the stars were gone, lost to light and thin clouds, both streaming in from the east, the latter hinting at rain, but still the moon shone, white through a gray veil, as the birds awoke and began to sing.

As Wall Street continues to sing the blues, the FBI has opened an investigation into “possible fraud involving the four giant corporations at the center of the recent turmoil — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and the American International Group," according to the New York Times.

Apparently the agency has opened 26 corporate fraud investigations in the last week, in addition to the 1,400 inquiries already under way for suspected mortgage fraud.

Gee, do you suppose there really was some wrongdoing behind this giant shakedown, with billions of dollars, professional careers and lavish personal fortunes at stake?

But have no fear. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has assured us that “the F.B.I. will pursue these cases as far up the corporate chain as is necessary to ensure that those responsible receive the justice they deserve.”

Yes, perhaps they should be treated like the economic terrorists they are, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. As Larry Geller noted on Disappeared News, even one of our closest allies is pointing fingers at the culprits:

The finance minister of Italy's conservative and pro-U.S. government warned of nothing less than a systemic breakdown. Giulio Tremonti excoriated the "voracious selfishness" of speculators and "stupid sluggishness" of regulators. And he singled out Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, with startling scorn.

"Greenspan was considered a master," Tremonti declared. "Now we must ask ourselves whether he is not, after [Osama] bin Laden, the man who hurt America the most. . . . It is clear that what is happening is a disease. It is not the failure of a bank, but the failure of a system.

Hmm, maybe it’s not so surprising after all that I heard a song by The Clash, one of the original punk bands, playing in the bank yesterday. Unfortunately, it wasn't the one with the lyrics: "You're frettin, you're sweatin, but did you notice you ain't gettin?"

More surprising, given our usual slack showing at the polls, was the news that Kauai actually led the state in voter turnout for the primary election, with some 46 percent of our registered voters casting ballots. But still, where were the other 54 percent?

Speaking of elections, I noticed Gov. Lingle is heading over to America to campaign for the McCain-Palin ticket.

I can’t help but wonder two things: is she using vacation time to do her little six-state soiree? And who, really, cares what Hawaii’s governor thinks, either here or on the mainland? I can’t imagine she’ll hold much sway with voters.

As for her rationale, it falls into the realm of seriously lame. According to the Advertiser:

Lingle said the Mainland swing, paid for by the McCain campaign, would be beneficial for Hawai'i because she will inevitably speak about the state at her appearances.

Yes, that should be extremely valuable. I’m sure they’ve never heard of Hawaii. Her other reasoning isn’t much better:

Lingle said that being involved in the national campaign puts her in a better position to have access if McCain is elected president. The governor campaigned on the Mainland for President Bush during his 2004 re-election.

But what if Obama is elected? Does that mean then that she, and so the state, and so us and our concerns, will have no access? And can anyone elucidate how her similarly gained “access” to President Bush has helped Hawaii?

Lingle then whined about Palin being held to “a different standard” than a male candidate, when in fact she’s been held to no standard at all. Then the guv went on to prove she’s totally out of touch, and perhaps her mind, by observing: “she's done very well in answering all of the questions that have come her way.”

Oh, you mean like Palin’s “huh?” answer to Charley Gibson’s question about the Bush Doctrine?

Of course, it’s not surprising that Lingle is sucking up to the national GOP. It’s her only hope for a political future. Once her term ends, there’s nothing left for her here.

While the McCain/Palin ticket grates, I’m not keen about Obama’s support for beefing up the war in Afghanistan and bleeding on into Pakistan, all in search of the elusive "foe" that has thus far evaded us and likely will continue.

A friend described the candidates well:

”Neither will bring peace,” he said, “but one will bring chaos.”

I’m sure you can figure out which is which.

Since too much political thought always leaves me feeling low, and maybe you, too, I’ll counteract that by sharing this truly heartwarming little video clip. Ignore the raunchy ads (unless you’re into that stuff) that run alongside.

If you’d rather get really crapped out, this video from Disappeared News should do the trick. It’s all about new technology designed to read physiological cues to determine if we mean harm to our fellow airline passengers.

Great. Now you can’t even be thinking, “shut that kid up” or “don’t try to cram that bag into the overhead on top of my stuff” without worrying you might be branded a terrorist — of the ordinary, not elite economic so no need worry, kine.

Welcome to the brave new world. Yikes. Where’s the exit?


awolgov said...

Lingle purportedly used ʻvacation timeʻ when she went to the mainland to campaign for McCain recently.

Anonymous said...

With the one-two punch (the price of oil's impact on airline ticket prices and the economic crisis)decimating tourism, why not take a trip to the mainland? It's not like Hawaii is facing a crisis and is in dire need of leadership.

Anonymous said...

Let KPD at those wall street thieves. Tell the officers that they illegally skateboarded, or worse yet, that they trespassed. KPD will hurt them much more than the FBI will for stealing the nation's wealth.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the people who support this blog's viewpoints hate Lingle and will make up stuff if there isn't anything to criticize because they blame her for the Superferry, the graves issue, and amongst other things for being a Republican….like that means anything in this state and like it wasn’t the Democrats that authored the bill to over-ride the HSF issue in court. So why do I even bother to occasionally read this blog? Sometimes it’s entertaining to see what the “fringe” is up in arms about. It makes things even more enjoyable when they don’t get their way….which is most of the time since they’re a sad little minority. I’ll submit this anonymously only because I know it upsets some folks! But then Joan probably won’t post this anyway because like most dyed-in-the-wool Socialists, she’s getting less and less tolerant of opposing views. No fortitude - no facts here; just spin.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, skateboarders do damage property. Their skateboards can chip off paint and concrete which costs money to repair. It used to happen frequently at a business I used to manage. I'm all for the sport, but they need a place where they can do it without getting in peoples' way, damaging property or exposing the property owner to suit when they get hurt. Lihue needs a skateboard park where these enthusiasts can go have a great time and challenge their skills all at their own risk.

Anonymous said...

What exactly did the evil capitalists do that was wrong? Loaned too much easy money to people who were too poor to buy houses I guess. But if the capitalists weren't making easy money homeloans to poor people you guys would be all upset over that too.

Laura Christine said...

Jessica video
link to the hippo video without the offensive ads

so cute!!

Anonymous said...

the problem with those capitalists is not that they loaned money to people who couldn't afford to pay it back (that was just their stupidity and greed). The problem is that now that the consumers can't pay back the loans, the lenders want the taxpayers at large to cover their losses.

These lenders should go bankrupt like any other businesses that make bad decisions. But not this "capitalist" crew. They peddle fear of economic collapse if we don't act within a week and thus force us taxpayers to cover their business losses. Funny how the supposed capitalists are now supporting a socialist bailout. Its all about who you know.

Anonymous said...

Forget the labels. The borrowers who couldn't afford to pay back the loans shouldn't be bailed out and the lenders who were too stupid to figure out that the borrowers couldn't make the payments shouldn't be bailed out either.

Anonymous said...

But, goes the theory, if everyone is left to collapse under their own stupidity, then all of us suffer when the economy crashes and burns.

Of course, it's no comfort that government cures have usually made matters worse and caused problems to last longer.

Anonymous said...

> So why do I even bother to occasionally read this blog? Sometimes it’s entertaining to see what the “fringe” is up in arms about. <

Wow. Are you ever in for a surprise about who is up in arms.

Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

If you Google "subprime" you'll see that people have known that a meltdown was coming for years. Why did it take this "crisis" for something to be done? It stinks.

awolgov said...

This is a last hurrah of the big F_U prize, 700 Billion $ which will turn out to be more.
The crooks in office and their crook friends have fleeced America one last shot because they donʻt know if theyʻll get another shot after November.
The fact that they want it NOW is so nobody has time to figure out itʻs a SCAM.
Just like ENRON. And every other rip off scam that these criminals have perpetrated.
And all the little righties who hang on with loyalty for the party are getting s__t on too and donʻt even see it...beat me some more.
These criminals holding the world hostage arenʻt even Republicans.
Donʻt you guys get it yet??? They are non partisan crooks.
And youʻve been ʻhadʻ with the party line.

Anonymous said...

Besides the planned looting and sacking of our country....
what really pissed me off was seeing Linda sitting next to McCain's mom in her drab, "republican gray uniform" at the convention. Holy cow, 40 million people watching and she didn't even have the brains to wear a flowered shirt to make them all salivate for Hawai'i. You couldn't even buy that kind of publicity, then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Usually when the market has run all irrational you find the cause in some government guaranty shielding the market players from the consequences of their actions. This is no different. The government wanted lenders to help poor people buy homes. So the government first wrote laws requiring such loans and second guarantying lenders against the inevitable economic consequences of loaning to people who don't qualify for loans.