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Links With Your Coffee - Monday

  • Editorial - Don’t Blame the New Deal - Editorial - NYTimes.com
    This year’s serial bailouts are proof of a colossal regulatory failure. But it is not “the system” that failed, as President Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and others who are complicit in the calamity would like Americans to believe. People failed.
  • America Needs A New New Deal | CommonDreams.org
    This year happens to be the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, a revolution in governmental philosophy that began with the Emergency Banking Act of 1933. That first piece of New Deal legislation was a hurried response to the worst banking crisis in U.S. history -- until now.

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined the problem clearly in his first fireside chat, a week after taking office. "We had a bad banking situation," Roosevelt said. "Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in the handling of people's funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans . . . It was the government's job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible."


  • Talking Points Memo | So Angry
    McCain's unwillingness to make eye contact with Obama through the debate seems to be getting picked up by a lot of observers. Here's an interesting exchange on the subject between Chris Matthews and the Post's Eugene Robinson

  • Greatest Books Ever Written - Esquire's 75 Books Every Man Should Read - Esquire

    Another best of list I couldn't resist. It contains some strange choices, but I have read 29 of them.


  • A Marriage Made in Heaven? (tip to pedantsareus)

  • Mad Dog Palin | Election 2008 | AlterNet
    Here's what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat fucking pig who pins "Country First" buttons on his man titties and chants "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas.

  • Pharyngula: I am a very naughty boyI am a very naughty boy
    I've barred the doors — I'm sure that any moment now, a squadron of goose-stepping nuns will come marching up the street to wag their fingers at me and rebuke me for what I've started. It seems the Youth of Today are going on YouTube and…flaunting their disrespect for crackers!

  • Israel should quit most occupied land: Olmert | Reuters

  • Compatibility!(Sean has started a forum discussion on the topic of free will. )


 

Comments

Well I would have tied you on the reading list but I came in at 28. I have this strange compulsion to read any given author's complete works before I go on to the next one. As I lay Dying is the only Faulkner I haven't read and it has always nagged at me that I missed something. I guess I did.

So I've also got work to do. "As I Lay Dying" is the only Faulkner I've read.

I've finished 22 although I started a couple of others (that maybe were too much men's books for me). It did make me wonder what would be on the woman's list. I know it isn't strictly sex of the author since they had Flannery O'Connor but I think that helps. The only thing I'm sure of is Jane Austen would be on it but would they include spy stories and adventure stories and everything else? I love Jane but....

As I Lay Dying is the only Faulkner (besides short stories) I've read. Brilliant but I don't have another to compare it to :).

I thought it was a really interesting list - I loved the comments.

I've read 42 of the books, and I think it's a really great list in the sense that it has many great books on it, and I'm not exactly offended that there's only one book by a woman, but isn't that kind of bizarre?

Holy fuck. Man we should have impeached Bush months ago.

It's really coming back to bite us all in the ass today.

wow, the deal is rejected by congress, very close vote, i have not seen who voted which way but says defeated by both dems and repubs. Just got an email from my financial advisors on my holdings...... Thank god for canadian investments that are tanking, but not quite as much, thank god for canada not getting into the subprime mess, people should get sued, and charged with fraud for promoting that.

Perhaps this is a good thing, so we get the dang thing right rather than acting too soon.

Does anyone actually understand what they are proposing or has a good link that helps me understand?

I can't pretend to understand it all, or to know what should be done about it k, but from what I hear, they are proposing the United States government buy up all the bad debt nobody else will touch with a ten foot pole.

Its kind of like the college kid who got upside-down on his car and suggested mom and dad should 'buy' it from him for what he owes.

I don't have any proof of this, but it smells fishy that this all exploded one month before the presidential election. I don't even know if it favors one candidate over the other, but all of a sudden, it appears universal health care, Iraq, education, abortion etc... will have very little to do with who wins this election.

We disagree on so many things at so many times syn, but here, we agree fully.

I hate it when my conspiracy nerves flare up at times like this.

I don't know much about economy, but it's pretty unimaginative to think the only way to solve the financial crisis is by buying up the bad debt and using public money to buy useless assets.

I have a couple million copies of the atari 2600 "E.T" game to sell the government too, if they're into buying garbage.

From what I've read this version had a few problems:

1) Golden Parachutes were only cut off AFTER the bailout happened, So any existing packages couldn't be touched. On top of that, they could still give the sev. packages, but they just couldn't write them off taxwise. Pretty poor legislation from what the american people want.

2) The initial "group" reviewing ANY lending were Bernake, Cox, i.e. the people who got us into this mess. The second review board wouldn't have any say by the time it got to them, other than wagging fingers after the mistakes were made.

3) I think it did hold that these bad debts could get "insurance", like the Repugs wanted, which seems to completely miss the point, from what i've seen. It's not that these things aren't insured, it's that they aren't worth bull.

4) the mortgage refinancing section had no provisions to do so. No bankruptcy court mandated reworking of mortgages. It was basically wallpaper on the bill that had no real implications or drives for providing a reason to rework mortgages.

On the bright side, with the dow dropping 650 points of this typing, perhaps they'll be a little more careful on what bill they try to Cram through next time, so the market doesn't implode again. Get real support and let people examine the bill before it gets voted on.

I know we're supposedly in a hurry guys, but this deserves more time/weight than a monday morning vote through the house...

Magnolia, this is the equivalent of having your daughter kidnaped and refusing to pay the ransom.

If the republicans were planning on voting this down, they should have announced it and offered a solution.

Instead we are sitting here wondering if Wall Street is going to put a bullet in the economy's head and bury it in the woods.

I hate capitalism, but if you live in a capitalistic society it's ewhat we got, and its about to shit all over our country.

I agree completely, it's a total mess. The failure of republicans (and McCain "the leader and maverick" for not getting republicans together) to say that they would not support the bill completely screwed us all.

What this bill was though, was using a gattling gun to take out the kidnappers of your child rather than a sniper bullet. Will it work? Probably. Would it fix the problem? Perhaps, it might make things worse..

This quote was interesting over at CBS

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. denounced the "trickle-down" economics behind the bill .... He also said the golden parachutes for executives were merely switched for "camouflaged parachutes."

Don't the Dems control the House? I can't find the breakdown of who voted how, but it would appear many Dems opposed this too.

The majority of Republicans voted against this bill. The minority of Democrats voted against this bill

A pox on both their houses! On all their houses. On houses! Logy trumps nomy (for eco, for astro, vice versa). Viva Ted!

I mean to hell with the bail, bring it on!

The Republicans voted against it because they don't support it. Some claim that Pelosi's self-aggrandizing speech just before the vote didn't help matters, but if you listen to Pelosi and disregard her insanity and hypocrisy you come away with the distinct impression that she doesn't support the bailout.

Most people I talk to are entirely on the fence about this issue, as am I. It's hard to make a call. I expect either way there will be plenty of fuel for grumbling for many years to come.

But I don't get how you can "hate" capitalism. Not only did it put the roof over your head, it led the world to the greatest Golden Age mankind has ever seen. Capitalism and Democracy are the best imperfect systems in an imperfect world. If you don't believe that, spend a few minutes talking with a Cuban refugee (like my neighbors) or a Soviet defector (like two of my co-workers).

Asking refugees from two communist countries won't give me a good sample. Got any Swedes I can ask? How about a Frenchie?

This seems to have been another guilded age, not a golden age.

And don't credit capitalism for my roof. It's MY work that got me my roof, in the frame of capitalism.

What's capitalism got me? Healthcare I can't afford, decreasing wages, pension plans that are decreasing, and social security that might not be there by the time i retire.

And the repubs voted against it 2 to 1.

The Swedes have a living standard comparable with that of the US. The rich are less rich, the poor are less poor (well, there isn't really a significant amount poor people in Sweden at all). The big difference is, Sweden did it without extraordinary natural resources or a world-wide empire. Instead they've had a wise combination of capitalism and socialism called social democracy.

Yes, I am not suggesting communism. Just a nice functional society where healthcare is universal, poverty is eliminated and profit can only be made in a productive function, not by thievery and deception on a grand scale.

Funny that you disregard the thoughts of refugees from pure Communist countries - the pure example of the ideology for which you apparently yearn - then offer two semi-socialist examples in return.

France and Sweden? First of all, France is not a panacea. The 35-hour work week is largely a myth as most employers find a way around it. There were just full-scale riots in France because of the Danish cartoons (apologists claim the riots were because of 'lack of opportunity' for millions of youths and immigrants). They do have a good health care system; many people think theirs is the system we should model ours after, rather than Canada's. But France also has a below-replacement birth rate, which puts heavy stress on socialist structures. You need a large influx of youth to keep funding the lives of the elderly. It remains to be seen how long their model will survive.

And Sweden isn't a perfect place either. They have the highest taxes in the world. Median household income in Sweden is less than 70% of that in the USA. And, like many places that put the society before the individual, they have an official religion. You're decidedly less free in Sweden than you are in the US.

It really isn't an issue of one or the other. A 100% capitalist society would be just as much a failure as a 100% socialist one. You need some balance, and we do have some balance in the US. What stymies me is how it's so trendy and cool to blame capitalism for all of the failings, particularly in cases like the current financial situation which was caused by socialism. Capitalism is not evil, nor is it any more prone to failure due to human failing than any other system; one can actually argue that because capitalism puts so much of the power in the hands of the individual, it is less prone to systemic abuse and corruption.

I would bet you any money that your Cuban neighbor is very white.

Relevant? yes because the white and spanish settlers of Cuba about 65% of the population, the other 35% are Chinese Black and Mullato. And amazing how boats full of black and Chinese people don't wash up in Florida.

Reason? The minorities were kept in extreme poverty before the revolution, virtual slavery.

So to this day Castro and communism are very popular, while many of the key Cuban exiles are the descendants of those that were once in league with the American mob in Cuban Casino industry or were sugar plantation owners.

Years later many more are just regular Cubans fed up with a failed economy and political oppression.

That said, your neighbor's opinion is that of a person burdened by a revolution that also liberated many people. and many people are fleeing many south American countries yet we don't condemn capitalism as oppressive and stifling to Mexico's people.

the pure example of the ideology for which you apparently yearn
HA!
It really isn't an issue of one or the other.
Funny how when i criticized our current economic policies, you say how communism is evil, and then lecture me on how it isn't one or the other. I'm not the one claiming this.
it is less prone to systemic abuse and corruption.

God you're funny.

I think to really discuss capitalism we need to define it. Capitalism where individual self interest ends up benefiting society and producing better results: ie where you run your own business and you reap rewards based on your personal performance, where there is a link between performance, outcome and personal benefits; that I believe works better than a traditional socialistic system. You still see this kind of stuff in private companies. Small businesses etc.

But the current "Wall Street" system, I am not sure if this is actually "capitalism". Frankly this seems like crazed gambling, poor oversight and a whole bunch of people making money when they shouldn't have. It seems to me that many public companies have decided that they are mechanisms for their executives to make huge amounts of money. We have massively rewarded accounting fraud, we have rewarded CEO's when their companies are declaring bankruptcy, we are allowing private well connected people to basically steal from shareholders. We have financial advisors who have NO ethics and NO consequences for bad advice. I am a doctor, you can sue me if i make bad advice or screw up, I have to qualify for a licence and the licencing body has standards of behaviour and judgement. Where is this consequences to financial advisors.

I am not convinced that that the financial industry has actually had capitalistic standards, I am not sure that they have any ethics. I think they the current financial markets (ie subprime loans) were gambling, not capitalism.

So we don't throw out capitalism, we throw out this unchecked greed and put in standards, regulations and consequences.

Ok, we can agree that Regulated Capitalism is good. Milton Freedman's school of "Free Market or else", however, is bad. Make no mistake, this is caused by lack of regulation of the capitalist system we have. There is nothing inherently wrong with making goods and selling them. However, without laws protecting buyers (and sellers and anyone else affected by the system) we end up with Lead toys, Melamine Milk, toxins in baby bottles, and then, by extention of the ideology of "free markets or else", Naked Short Selling, Credit Default Swaps, Sub-Prime Mortgages, NINA loans, etc.

The most dangerous aspect of our type of capitalism over the last 20 or so years is the illusion of regulation and laws. If I went to a lawyer and asked for advice, and the laywer knowingly decieved me from his position of authority on legal matters, I should have some recourse against him for abusing his authority. His advice, due to his knowledge of legal matters, would have more weight with me and might make me to do things I would not have done without his input. Same should be done to any predatory lender. These people were supposed to know better.

Oh, and calli, McCain wants FURTHER deregulation of the markets, he said so last week. He stands by his deregulation up til now. To bring this up with how McCain will run the country is relevant and really important. When it comes to the ACTUAL BILL, Obama does not attack McCain or Republicans. The failed bill yesterday, Obama did not blame McCains failure to lead the republicans. However, McCain sure as hell blamed obama for the same.

Enough of this rant...

John McCain just now made a speech wherein he blamed the Democrats for this market crisis and then declared that now is not the time to engage in partisan politics. And he said that all in one scentence and with a straight face. Wow.

OK, Obama and McCain both need to meet together, stop slagging each other and appear like leaders. One cannot blame the failure of the bill on just the repubs as a lot of dems voted against it. So as few more of each would pass the bill. So I would assume this will happen???

Also how is this Obama's fault, he said he was going to vote for it, McCain was coy on the matter. wasn't sure he had time to vote.

I personally think both Obama and McCain don't want to support it if it blows up in their faces. Who wants to be president with 700 million of greater debt?

I am trying to understand this thing, so watching this thing from princeton on the wall street crisis, warning, it is BORING and hard for me to understand.

thttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj_JNwNbETA&eurl=http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

One of the guys said something like economists maybe have to agree we predict earthquakes better than the ecomomy.

Why don't the super rich ( ie 20 Bill gates could likely do it) get together and stabilize the markets? they have the most to loose? Maybe they could take on 400 billion or so.

Also last week all these big economists suggested that we had time to sort this out correctly. Today, they seem to have changed their minds, ie Krugman, does anyone understand why?

Ben Smith from the Politico noticed the same thing that I did:

Country first, my ass.

Now is not the time to fix the blame. It’s time to fix the problem,” McCain says, not long after his campaign blamed Obama and Pelosi for killing the bill.

Then he blames Obama and the Democrats: “Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process.”

“I would hope that all our leaders — all of them — can put aside short-term political goals and focus on what’s best for the American people,” he says.

K said:

OK, Obama and McCain both need to meet together, stop slagging each other and appear like leaders. One cannot blame the failure of the bill on just the repubs as a lot of dems voted against it. So as few more of each would pass the bill. So I would assume this will happen???

Obama? Obama didn't lay any blame and play partisan politics. Here is what he said:

“It's important for the American public and for the markets to stay calm because things are never smooth in Congress,” Obama said at a rally outside of Denver.

He added, I'm confident that we are gonna get there, but it's going to be a little rocky.”

That's some pretty offensive quote cherry-picking there, JoAnn. How about this quote from Obama:

The Fed's takeover of AIG "is the final verdict on the failed economic philosophy of the last eight years," Obama charged in a statement. "This crisis serves as a stark reminder of the failures of crony capitalism and an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary . . . Senator McCain has subscribed to this philosophy for 26 years in Washington."

Or this one:

Democrat Barack Obama said Republican John McCain's long advocacy of deregulation contributed to the current financial crisis and letting his GOP rival continue those policies as president would be a gamble "we can't afford."

Or this one:

"I read the other day that Sen. McCain likes to gamble. He likes to roll those dice. And that's OK. I enjoy a little friendly game of poker myself every now and then," Obama said. "But one thing I know is this — we can't afford to gamble on four more years of the same disastrous economic policies we've had for the last eight."

Frankly I liked it better when you admitted that Obama was a bad candidate. Are you completely on board the party bus now?

McCain was too ashamed to look Obama in the eye

That's one way of looking at it. Then there's the reasonable, logical way of looking at it: that McCain is a seasoned debater and campaigner, while Obama is not. In debate you are taught that you don't look at your opponent. You look at the judge.

Just as he felt ashamed when he had to pander to ultra religious fundamentalist wackos

Right, pandering to those fundamentalist wackos by supporting stem cell research, taking a middle ground on abortion, saying that while religious theory should have a place in education he believes it should be kept separate from science class (as it is now), and so on. He so crazy!

McCain was too ashamed to look Obama in the eye, and that was obvious.

McCain's decision to select Sarah Palin, to turn the financial/market crisis into a circus are two strong reasons for him to feel ashamed of himself... Just as he felt ashamed when he had to pander to ultra religious fundamentalist wackos, just as his running mate, Sarah Palin, appeals to uneducated wackos.

“Christ died on the cross for us,” said Serafin. “The least we can do is defend him in cases like this.”

Yes, because a supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient, immortal creature is obviously going to be completely defenseless against computer nerds...

Ain't no logic like religious logic.

"One cannot blame the failure of the bill on just the repubs as a lot of dems voted against it. So as few more of each would pass the bill."

Yes, but the agreement was that the bill had to pass with bipartisan support. The Republicans wanted it both ways--they wanted to be able to claim to be playing nice, then use it against the Dems in the election. An RNC ad going up today is bashing the bailout--that's proof that they want to be on both sides of the issue. Pelosi is a lot smarter than most of us; once she saw that the GOP caucus was going 2-1 against the bill, she probably let loose her own dissenters. She wasn't going to be played by McCain's and Gingrich's games, and she was right to do that. I'd be pretty ticked if the Dems were forced to fall on their sword for a flawed Bush bailout so that the Republicans could turn around and pin it on them.

"Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. denounced the "trickle-down" economics behind the bill"

Defazio is a moron if that's what he thinks. The financial system has been portrayed by some people as some kind of rich person's fund used to buy fine wines and Grey Poupon. The moralism and ignorance of politicians and the public have blinded them to the simple fact that the whole economy runs on credit, and that short and medium term credit markets are completely freezing up. People like Andrew Sullivan who are calling bull on the simple fact that we're not in a depression today are very ignorant.

"Why don't the super rich ( ie 20 Bill gates could likely do it) get together and stabilize the markets?"

They may well do it. But they don't have nearly the liquid assets (Bill Gates does not have $50 billion in a vault somewhere) that the government has, and it's very hard to price these assets in the absence of buyers. Some entity with a lot cash has to get the ball rolling.

But does it really take $700 billion to 'get the ball rolling'?

I agree congress needs to step in to keep the credit market from freezing up, and I can't claim to know how much it would take, but $700 billion in the control of one unelected man scares the heck out of me! What if he screws up? What are we going to do...sue him?

"I can't claim to know how much it would take, but $700 billion in the control of one unelected man scares the heck out of me! What if he screws up? What are we going to do...sue him?"

I agree with that. You can do a lot of good or ill and make enormous policy decisions with 700 billion to blow. From what I understand $700 billion was just some huge number pulled out of Paulson's behind. Big enough so that the government wouldn't have to ask for much more later, small enough (!) to get passed.

It may not work as well as people hope. In fact I'd bet on it, but I really have no idea. But the "let's see what happens if we do nothing" approach seems like insanity to me. It's pretty scarty to look at, e.g. the spread between Treasury bonds and interbank lending rates, vacancy rates in housing, and money market funds rates--these numbers have been off the charts recently.

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