Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama Wants To Give Away $350 Billion To Banks

And newspapers continue to call this giveaway a "bailout".

The media is running with the "Hey, hes better than Bush" angle to explain how *this* $350 billion will be better used than the first $350 billion, which was never used to buy troubled assets as Paulson insisted must happen or the whole sky would fall. No one in the media has questioned why Paulson's dire prediction about the downfall of the global banking industry (that he said would occur if no troubled assets were bought) never came to pass. No media account I have uncovered has questioned why the banks were given $350 billion in exchange for non-voting stock and said banks seemingly didn't use any of that $350 billion to lessen the credit crunch by, say, lending it to folks who wanted credit at a decent interest rate. If that did that, of course, that would end the "credit crunch" crisis that banks have created because...surprise...they are the ones who control the terms regarding how credit is issued.

Picture this.

Bank A, B and C issue loans to borrowers who cannot truly afford their mortgages (both subprime lenders and lenders whose loans are based on minimal, inconclusive or even fraudulent documentation regarding their ability to pay said loans for the life of the mortgage)

Bank A, B and C then re-package said loans and sell them amongst themselves

Real estate market implodes, houses are worth less than the amount borrowed to purchase them, ARMs start re-setting, and generally speaking, reality sets in.

Banks panic and say they are sitting on troubled assets, after they started the trouble by issuing loans they never should have issued and purchasing mortgage securities that they sold amongst themselves in a huge Ponzi scheme.

Treasury Secretary Paulson insists that the federal government are the only ones who can buy these troubled assets (replace "can" with "will" and I agree).

The House of Representatives gets screamed on by its constituents and initially refuses to pass the bailout bill

The stock market collapses because the elites can always sell off a bunch of stock and create a short term drop in the Dow

Constituents get shaken up and convince the House of Reps to pass the giveaway bill. The Senate, filled to the brim with multi-millionaires, is already on board

Paulson gets the first $250 billion.

Bush next authorizes the release of the next $100 billion

Most of it is used to buy non-voting stock in "ailing" banks, NOT to buy troubled assets

The sky does not fall.

Bush then asks for the $350 billion

The general electorate in America screams "You're nuts"

The Bush gang says "Hey, Congress, let that extra $350 billion go, so Obama can spend it, he seems trustworthy"


Here is where the cult of personality goes off the rails. Obama can read a cue card awfully well and he seems like a swell guy, but that has nothing to do with the banks "needing" this $350 billion giveaway for a bank-created emergency.

I'm against it.

I'm against Bush getting it and I'm against Obama getting it.

Come on, America. Don't let this stand.

And are there any honest journalists left willing to risk their career to fight this?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Newspaper Coverage of Melee Trite and Predictable

I love how standardized media coverage of any race-related melee has become.

After the unprovoked shooting of unarmed citizen Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on a Bay Area Rapid Transit subway platform led to no serious investigatory progress in six days, a few dozen people at a protest became frustrated and decided to randomly misdirect their anger by smashing cars and storefronts.

Nothing new there, but look at the standard racialized potrayal by the San Francisco Chronicle, which decided to point out that some of the vandalized businesses were black-owned. Post-April 29, 1992 (if not back to racial uprisings in the 60s), it has been standard practice for media outlets to mindlessly point out the racial background of the owners of any businesses that are burned, in any uprising in reaction to the murder of a black person. Why? Does this imply that if the business was owned by a non-black person that such burning was somehow more justified? Or that black business owners are exempt from the rage of the dispossessed? The key word, of course, being "dispossessed". The way the media routinely presents these matters as if all black people should feel a sense of ownership in any black-owned business is simplistic and patronizing (as it is routinely presented alongside the oft-repeated admonishment about the error of "rioting blacks destroying their *own* community", presuming that rioters even share a sense of ownership in communities where people are disproportionately renters instead of owners and are disproportionately transient or even that black business owners and rioters of any race even live in the same community; many business owners who operate stores in urban areas chose to live in the suburbs).

As long as discussions of race in the mass media remain trite and shallow, we will never make much progress in this field.

Post Blithely Reports Inauguration Police State

You would think a story about the shutting off every commuter point of entry into a major city would be worthy of including a critical voice, right?

Not in The Post, where a series have stories appeared regarding the police state tactics being adopted for the "security" of the inauguration, including the closing of metro stations near the inauguration, the closing of metro parking lots at stations outside the beltway that might be used by commuters (a plan later jettisoned because the wild guessing about the number of charter buses needing metro parking turned out to be wildly inflated) and the decision to close 395 and 66, two major highways leading into the city , an option discussed even before the bridge closure decision was made.

Note the quote from that last article linked above, that these security plans will "secur[e] the largest area of the nation's capital for any inauguration".

All this "security" for an incoming president with a personal approval rating in the high 70's? You would think that Cheney had been elected.

A bit ironic that now that throngs of black people are expected to come into Washington to view the swearing-in of the first black President, that there needs to be a massive shutdown of virtually every common-sense way to enter the city via vehicle.

So when people flood the residential streets through which they can still enter the streets via Maryland, can we expect the entire city to be gridlocked? Oh, the brilliance of planning in the absence of media critical analysis.