Sunday, September 14, 2008

Don’t Feel Sorry For Those Losing Jobs on Wall Street

The latest news from Wall Street is that investment bank Lehman Brothers is on the brink of collapse. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are scrambling to figure out a way to bail out Lehman, including stepping in and temporarily provide “liquidity”.

Earlier this year, our government bailed out Bear Stearns. More recently, they put taxpayers on the hook for $6 trillion in debt by bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Why should they step in to save yet another profligate Wall Street company?

Wall Street has been living high on the debt- and finance-hog for a while now, exploiting the housing and mortgage markets to make billions of dollars in profits. Their high-risk securitization Ponzi scheme is collapsing and taking down venerable companies such as Bear Stearns and now, Lehman Brothers. Other Wall Street firms, banks and insurance companies are teetering on the brink of disaster. Thousands of Wall Street employees are losing their jobs.

But don’t feel sorry for them. Many Wall Street employees have been making money hand-over-fist while their firms looted Main Street America.

Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times article titled The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters.

Create a cash cushion, and live a lifestyle you can sustain. Many people who were working at hedge funds that went bust or financial firms like Bear Stearns are learning these lessons now. Ms. Sisco, of JP Morgan, said that because her younger clients haven’t experienced a downturn, they assumed the money would keep pouring in.

She said she is working with one couple in their early 30s who have two young children. Right before the husband lost his job on Wall Street, the couple had ordered $35,000 drapes. They had to move to a smaller apartment in Manhattan and had to sell their vacation home.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for this couple because they had to sell their vacation home and move to a smaller apartment? While most working Americans were struggling to pay their mortgage and fill their gas tanks, Wall Streeters were buying $35,000 drapes.

As Jim Rogers, the highly successful hedge fund manager has said,

We’ve been having investment bankers go bankrupt for a few hundred years. Are you suddenly telling me that if investment banks on Wall Street go down the tubes, that the world’s going to come to an end?

A lot of 29-year-old investment bankers out there are driving Maseratis. Let them turn in their Maseratis.
He also said:

You see a lot of guys on Wall Street (driving around in Maseratis and flying in private planes to exotic places) and the idea that we’re supposed to bail them out is ludicrous.

I don’t see any of those guys sending their bonus checks back. Huge amounts of money were made in the debt market we know now incorrectly, if not fraudulently… and now we’re supposed to bail them out?"

Wall Street paid out $33.2 billion in bonuses in 2007, down only 2% from 2006. The average bonus was $180,420.

If the Lehman bailout involves the use of taxpayer money, that means taxes paid by hard-working people such as waitresses, janitors, nurses, factory workers, carpenters and truck drivers will be used to save the jobs of people who earn six-figure salaries and six- or seven-figure bonuses.

I say let Lehman fail. If their employees lose their jobs and their homes, maybe they can live in their Maseratis.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It Has All Hit the Fan in 2008

The federal government’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is the culmination of many years of financial irresponsibility by our government, bank regulators, investment banks, consumer banks and Wall Street. This blog predicted that it would all hit the fan in 2007, which it did. Now in 2008, we are seeing the logical endgame to this whole mess.

Do I believe we’re out of the woods?

Not at all. I believe the damage done to the global financial system is unbelievably massive and we will experience repercussions for years to come. After all, where is the money going to come from to back up the trillions of dollars in mortgages held by Freddie and Fannie? As usual, the Fed will create the money out of thin air.

And what about the half-a-quadrillion dollars ($500 trillion) in derivatives that are still floating around out there? There’s still a lot more that will potentially hit the fan in 2008 and beyond.

Here are links to the previous posts from the series “It Will All Hit the Fan in 2007”:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 4 (Addendum)
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Journalists Gleeful About Discovery of New Word

Even journalists can’t resist a trend. Like most Americans, journalists don't want to be left behind while the train of American culture speeds past.

The latest journalistic fad appears to be the use of a certain word when describing anything political, especially if it has something to do with Republicans. I'll let you figure out the mystery word from the following links.

The Wall Street Journal
Republicans Gleefully Woo Clinton Backers

Republicans gleefully mock ‘temple of Obama’

The Telegraph
How Joe Biden can help Barrack Obama win the presidential election
"But it has already been wheeled out gleefully by Mr McCain's camp, who used it to attack Mr Biden within hours of him being named as as Mr Obama's vice-president."

New York Daily News
Rudy Giuliani comes to VP pick Sarah Palin's defense
"Having spent part of last week in Denver, where he gleefully lobbed shots at the Democrats' convention, Giuliani picked up the ball yesterday by contrasting Palin's 20 months as governor with Obama and Biden's experience in the legislative branch."

McCain camp mocks Obama's comment on inflated tires
"Mark Salter, a top adviser to John McCain, gleefully distributed tire pressure gauges to McCain’s traveling press corps on Monday morning, a sight gag meant to mock Barack Obama’s remark last week that “making sure your tires are properly inflated” could help conserve gasoline."

Today on the presidential campaign trail
“The McCain camp gleefully raked through the Democratic primary archives to find Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton archly questioning Obama's forthrightness. Clinton's comments ended up featured in a new ad produced by the McCain campaign.”

Republicans jump fast on 'Freudian slip'
"Mere minutes after Joe Biden wrapped up his maiden speech as Barack Obama's running mate, McCain's camp and the RNC gleefully seized upon what they called a "Freudian slip" in Obama's introduction."

The Kansas City Star
Biden helps heal divided Democratic Party
"Hunter, 38, already has been a Republican target. He's a Washington corporate lobbyist, and the Republican Party is gleefully reminding voters that Obama rails against lobbyists."

The Detroit News
McCain picks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate
'Despite Hillary Clinton's failure to get onto the Democratic ballot, Palin said gleefully, "It turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”'

Although I found a few articles about Democrats, they apparently don't get gleeful as often as us conservatives.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Democrats Announce Windfall Profit Tax Bill

Democrats Announce Windfall Profit Tax Bill

Washington D.C. (PRSN) - At a last-minute press conference on the steps of the Capitol building, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a new bill being introduced today by House Democrats.

“It was recently announced that the latest Batman movie, ‘The Dark Knight’, has earned $400 million since its release on July 18,” said Pelosi, looking stunning in a white Chanel blouse and Christian Dior blazer. “This type of windfall profit at the expense of the American taxpayer is avarice, pure and simple.”

“‘The Dark Knight’ only cost $180 million to make and has produced revenues in excess of $400 million,” explained bill co-sponsor Jim McDermott (D-WA). “That implies a profit margin of 122%, which is totally unacceptable.”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, has verbally endorsed the bill.

“If elected President, I will pursue legislation to tax the windfall profits of the greedy Hollywood movie industry and return the money to the people who need it the most – the American worker,” he announced while campaigning today in Elkhart, Indiana. “$400 million in 20 days? That works out to, um, well, like, $20 million per day. For a movie!”

If passed, the bill would allow the federal government to liberate up to $200 million in windfall "Dark Knight" profits which would be returned to working-class voters as a tax rebate.

According to statistics compiled by the National Association of Theater Owners, average U.S. movie ticket prices have increased from $5.39 in 2000 to $6.88 in 2007.

“Under the so-called leadership of the Bush administration and a Republican Congress, we have seen movie ticket prices increase 27.6 percent,” added Obama, his sonorous voice ringing from the auditorium rafters during a town-hall meeting in Elkhart. “This type of crony capitalism cannot continue. We are the people we’ve been waiting for. We must change the established culture of Washington. The time for change is now.”

(PRSN = Phantom Republican Satire Network)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Seattle City Council Considers Water Use Limits

Seattle City Council Considers Water Use Limits

Seattle, WA (PRSN) - In the wake of today’s successful vote to impose a 20-cent fee on plastic bags, the Seattle City Council is considering a new proposal to limit water use in the city.

“According to a recent study by the University of Washington, water use is a large contributing factor toward global warming,” said Council President Richard Conlin. “The amount of energy used to create clean drinking water and treat sewage is immense and the resulting emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to the deterioration of our pristine Northwest environment.”

The proposal suggests the installation of toilet meters in all homes within Seattle city limits. The meters will measure how many times toilets are flushed each day and how much water is used per flush.

“We haven’t determined yet what the flush limit will be, but there will likely be a $10 per-flush fee above this limit,” Conlin said. “We believe this will discourage environmentally-unfriendly flushing behavior.”

The meters would also allow the City to discover people who skirt the 1994 law limiting toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush.

“If you ask most people what is the number one product smuggled in from Canada, they would guess B.C. Bud,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent William Sanchez. “But it’s not. It’s 5-gallon per flush toilets.”

The Council claims the toilet meter would allow them to discover who has these illicit toilets in their homes.

“These people must be rooted out and exposed as the environment-haters they truly are,” Conlin said.

“Each journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” remarked Councilmember Tim Burgess. “We’ve taken four steps already by encouraging food composting, discouraging the purchase of bottled water, the bag fee and the foam container ban. The toilet meter is merely the next step towards our goal of reducing our carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2015.”

(PRSN = Phantom Republican Satire Network)

Update 08/31/2008:
This article is in response to the 20-cent per-bag fee imposed by the Seattle City Council on all plastic and paper bags used in grocery stores. The fee takes effect on 01/01/2009. Link

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where Are the Tax Breaks for the Wealthy?

According to his 2007 tax return, Barack Obama made $4.2 million in 2007 and paid $1.4 million in federal income tax, a whopping 33.33% of his income.

Apparently, he didn’t benefit from the “tax breaks for the wealthy” that President Bush and Republicans are accused of enacting.

And that’s just his federal income tax. We don’t know how much he paid for property tax, sales tax, and excise taxes. Add in the 3% Illinois state income tax and Mr. Obama paid a huge portion of his income to various government agencies.

And he wants to increase taxes?


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Newspaper Photos of Bush Looking Presidential?

I’m so used to seeing the U.S. media print photos of President Bush looking angry, monkey-ish, and/or constipated that it’s a surprise when a newspaper contains a photo in which he looks good.

Here are two photos from the March 30th edition of “The Daily Yomiuri”, a Japanese newspaper:

I guess we have to go overseas to find a newspaper photo that chooses to print good photos of the President.

Absolut Mexico?

So how about this ad from Absolut?

Anyone for a Reconquista martini? Anyone?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

U.S. Passports Outsourced

Drudge has a link to this Washington Times article that reveals production of U.S. passports is done by foreign companies because it’s more cost-effective.

I’m glad to see our government values homeland security over saving a few bucks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Clinton “Ready to Rumble”

Recently, while waiting in a doctor’s office, I read an interesting article in the March 17th issue of Time magazine. The article, “Clinton’s Collateral Damage”, discussed the implications of the bruising battle between Hillary and Barack for the Democratic nomination.

The first paragraph immediately caught my eye. (The emphasis is mine.)

An Arkansas state legislator once said of Bill Clinton that he would pat you on the back while he urinated down your leg. The corollary for Clinton's wife Hillary could be that she will tell the world how honored she is to share a stage with Barack Obama even as she's gearing up to smash him. When it comes to politics, the Clinton philosophy is simple: It's war, and wars are for winning. Bill put it this way, back in 1981: "When someone is beating you over the head with a hammer, don't sit there and take it. Take out a meat cleaver and cut off their hand."
Wouldn’t it be great if the Clintons had the same philosophy about actual war?

Geert Wilders’ Website Blocked by Network Solutions

According to this article in the Washington Post, Network Solutions is blocking access to Geert Wilders’ website,

Apparently, "Wilders has said that he planned to post a short film on the site designed to rally support for banning the Koran in Holland. Wilders has said that Islam's holy scripture urges followers to commit violent acts.”

Network Solutions’ spokeswoman, Susan Wade, explained the situation as follows; “a decision was made to deactive (sic) the site given the potential violence that the movie could spark”.

So Network Solutions is blocking access to a site that claims the Koran inspires violence because it’s afraid that opponents of the website might become violent?

It sounds like Network Solutions agrees with Wilders’ opinion.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hollywood's Liberal Bias

This is kind of old, but here's an article from the November 18th edition of Parade Magazine that confirms Hollywood's liberal bias.
Celebs Vote With Their Checkbooks

She can’t make up her mind about Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, but for now, Ellen Pompeo is committed to Barack Obama. The TV star has given $4,600 to him. Others are still waffling, with Paul Newman pledging maximum amounts to Obama, Christopher Dodd and Hillary Clinton. Actors and actresses have given more than $585,000 to Presidential candidates so far, with 93% to Democrats and 7% to Republicans. Who’s ahead in the race for donations? Obama and Clinton are first and second among Democrats; Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney occupy those spots in the GOP field. And even though Fred Thompson was one of them—he starred on TV’s Law & Order—he reportedly has received only $350 from actors and actresses.
I'm not surprised that the Hollywood types aren't contributing to Fred's campaign, since he is a darned Republican. Paul Newman is obviously hedging his bets, betting on 3 Democratic candidates. He doesn't want to be on the winning candidate's bad side, although it looks like he doesn't expect Edwards to get the nomination.

So the next time Hollywood comes out with borderline seditious movies like "In the Valley of Elah", "Redacted", "Lions for Lambs", or "Rendition", remember that 93% of Hollywood's political donations were for Democrats and take your entertainment dollars elsewhere.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Canadian Military Recruitment Up 40 Percent!

Recruitment is up 40% for the Canadian military!

Dueling Photos

One way the media can manipulate public opinion is by their choice of photos.

Check out this article on Yahoo News (they have since changed the photo of Tony Snow).

If you clicked on the link to the photo, this is the photo they show of the Clintons:

The evil Tony Snow versus the happy Clintons.

Boy, those Republicans are a surly bunch.

Al Qaeda Agrees - Iraq is the Front Line in the War on Terror

Here’s a great article from the AP, of all people.

Apparently, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader describes Iraq as “a centerpiece of its anti-American fight”. I guess President Bush isn’t the only one who thinks that Iraq is the front line in the War on Terror.

Plus, al-Qaeda’s afraid of fading into irrelevance.

It’s not a good time to be a mujahedeen.