Monday, December 10, 2007

Paul Krugman

Henry Paulson’s Priorities

By Bush administration standards, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, is a good guy. He isn’t conspicuously incompetent; and he isn’t trying to mislead us into war, justify torture or protect corrupt contractors.

But Mr. Paulson’s actions reflect the priorities of the administration he serves. And that, ultimately, is what’s wrong with the mortgage relief plan he unveiled last week.

The plan is, as a Times editorial put it yesterday, “too little, too late and too voluntary.” But from the administration’s point of view these failings aren’t bugs, they’re features.

In fact, there’s a growing consensus among financial observers that the Paulson plan isn’t mainly intended to achieve real results. The point is, instead, to create the appearance of action, thereby undercutting political support for actual attempts to help families in trouble.

In particular, the Paulson plan is probably an attempt to take the wind out of Barney Frank’s sails. Mr. Frank, the Democratic chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has sponsored legislation that would give judges in bankruptcy cases the ability to rewrite mortgage loan terms. But “Bankers Hope Bush Subprime Plan Will Scuttle House Bill,” as a headline in CongressDaily put it.

As Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard bankruptcy expert, puts it, “The administration’s subprime mortgage plan is the bank lobby’s dream.” Given the Bush record, that should come as no surprise.

More thoughtless confusion directed at the public meant to obscure the big payoff to the banking industry while most borrowers get shoved into the street.

P.T.Barnum was soooo right! We are all being played for suckers in the money games of the mortgage industry. The real savior here is the banks cannot prove they hold the mortgages so they cannot foreclose due to the mortgage money being spread around in other financials. Tsk, tsk.

Since 2000 and the election of the most worthless(to the American people) Administration has screwed with every aspect of everything that is money related.

And it continues unabated, Congress has lost their cahones to make them accountable.
Until that changes it will be one hell of a year ahead.



carey said...

Morning. We're running around like chickens with their heads cut off, busy here, there, everywhere. And then Brandon gets sick again.

It's the sleepovers, dang it! The kids do them too much these days. (He just had two back to back with a visit to Sea World in betweeen.) The sleepovers should be cut back. He's almost 13.

I did tell y'all Brandon's sleepovers are usually with his best friend, A GIRL! It's totally innocent.

Immune system revving, that's what Brandy needs. Got to make some chicken soup today.

So the schedule's changed again. For the last two years Brandon has been getting sick alot. He's a healthy boy. Hardly was ever sick as a baby, maybe once.

I enjoyed the Paul Krugman piece, but it's depressing. A few years back I probably would have had enough money to last out my years. Not so anymore. Housing prices have soooooooooo dropped. I can't even believe it.

carey said...

I found this in the Sunday paper. I thought it a nice explanation of certain things pertaining to the NIE.

Nine Little Words in the NIE

One of the basic laws of intelligence is that no big secret can be kept that can be written on the back of an envelope. No matter who first suggested declassification, it was the president who ultimately decided to release the nine words that reversed the conclusion of a previous intelligence assessment on Iran's bomb program in 2005, and he did it because it was going to come out anyway.

One thing we know, from the document and from the fact of its declassification, is that reform of the intelligence community has apparently worked. The creation of Mike McConnell's job as director of national intelligence has successfully insulated the CIA from pressure by the White House of the sort that played such a big role in the Iraq WMD fiasco. To call the new NIE "inconvenient" is simply another way of saying that it is not politicized. It is free from influence by policymakers. It represents the honest conclusion of the analysts given the job of deciding whether Tehran was trying to build a bomb. The fact that the NIE says what it says, and its release, both show that the White House has lost control over American intelligence. This good news probably needs a lot of hedging and qualification, but it is good all the same.

Micki said...

Carey, those nine words "in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" play a role in Scooter Libby dropping his appeal, IMO. If Scooter had pushed on with his appeal, there was the clear and present danger of Plamegate taking center-stage in a way that would have blown this administration to smithereens. Plamegate, the NIE, the warmongering, etc. are all intertwined.

On another note, here is an interesting factoid: What are the chances that two men with ties to Carthage, Tennessee would win the Nobel Peace prize? Al Gore, of course is one of them. The other is Tennesseean Cordell Hull, U.S. Secy of State, who had a law practice in Carthage, TN, who won the prize in 1945 for his efforts to foster the United Nations.

On still another note (a tabloid-y note, admittedly), I ran into this and LOL'd:

'Rice, Livni involved in love affair'
Sun, 09 Dec 2007 21:16:30§ionid=351020202

A Former Israeli education minister has accused the US secretary of state and Israeli Foreign Minster of having a sexual relationship.

Limor Livnat, who is an Israeli Knesset (parliament) member, has told Benjamin Netanyahu that Condoleezza Rice and Tzipi Livni have sexual affairs.

Meanwhile, an American newspaper has quoted Rice as saying that she is a lesbian and has bought her partner an apartment in New York in order to engage in sexual conduct.

My partner has never had a relationship with a man, Rice said.


Oh man! What is Condi's errrr... ummm....husband gonna think?

Micki said...

Waiting. January 20, 2009.

Please hurry.

Gerald said...

Persons who accept a position with Hitler Bush's regime will ultimately become tainted with Nazi blood and thinking.

Micki, I am sorry to say that Hitler Bush will not leave the White House until he is 90 or so and dead. His Nazi family will become a monarchy in Nazi America. Hitler Bush WILL NOT LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE IN JANUARY, 2009!!!

Gerald said...

Washington, D. C. is a cesspool of bestial sexual relationships. The whole frame of reference in D. C. is to screw and be screwed.

Gerald said...


Micki said...

Oh. And most likely, bush is going to give Scooter Libby the Xmas gift at the top of his wish list:

A presidential pardon.

Alan said...

I think the pardon will have to wait till xmas '08, right before dipshit leaves office. Otherwise, it'd be bad PR for repugnants. That's my opinion anyway.

ò¿óarol said...

Re-write the damn mortgages and let people stay in their homes. Too simple and logical for the greedy at the top of the food chain. I hope the banks enjoy owning acres of empty homes.

Now our drugs are coming from China!

The medicine cabinet in the average U.S. home is filling with drugs made in China, and some experts say that could be a prescription for trouble.

China’s booming pharmaceutical industry has doubled exports to the United States in the past five years, undercutting competitors and making American consumers reliant on the safety of Chinese factories and captive to any disruptions in Sino-U.S. commerce."

Micki said...

Otherwise, it'd be bad PR for repugnants.

Alan, you could be right about the timing. But, has bad "PR" ever stopped The Decider?

Alan said...

wow! We can buy medz from China, but not Canada because they might be dangerous.

Alan said...

You're right Micki, but I think he gets reminded daily about repercussions from other repugnants that still have to win elections.

Alan said...

First I heard of this one. Top story at the moment at "Crooks..." is about a local Houston woman being raped in Baghdad by fellow KBR employees, and it's being covered up. U.S. and/or Iraqi laws don't apply to contractors.

Micki said...

Well, I feel bad for the people who face losing their homes because they didn't understand the ramifications of ARMs when they got snookered into the "teaser" rates. And I can't stand the predators who made enormous commissions by approving risky, no-money-down loans. And I have no sympathy for the investors who looked on the real estate boom as a way to get rich quick, at the expense of the under-informed. But, giving judges the authority to re-write the terms of mortgages in bankruptcy cases does not solve the problem.

A safety valve for those facing foreclosure doesn't get to the core problem. It seems to me that most of the "solutions" being trotted out (at this point) don't address accountability, have the potential of rewarding risky (and sometimes fraudulent) behavior, don't do anything to revise appraisal guidelines, underwriting processes and don't provide tighter regulation of the mortgage market.

Happy Holidays.

Micki said...

he gets reminded daily about repercussions from other repugnants that still have to win elections.

But ya see Alan, The Decider probably figures with the election just shy of a year away there's plenty of time for the GOPher-voters to forget about the pardon, if they even gave a damn about the pardon in the first place.

GOPher-voters would welcome a pardon.

Micki said...

Speaking of crapola from China.

Bill had skin cancer surgery recently. At the followup for wound checks, the nurse gave him a supply of swabs-on-a-stick.



We threw them out!

Micki said...


WILLIAM BURNS, Senior fellow at the Santa Clara Law School focusing on international environmental law, said today:

"The U.S. government is claiming that it is willing to engage in international negotiations to address climate change; however, it continues to resist binding commitments despite the fact that voluntary efforts have proven to be an abject failure over the past few decades. Moreover, while the U.S. is arguing that it can't make commitments unless major developing nations such as India and China also do so, it is working behind the scenes to persuade these nations to resist binding commitments. It's an incredibly cynical policy."

Burns is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy and co-chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the American Society of International Law.

DEN said...

China is a COMMUNIST country!

Their crap could kill thousands in this country and probably already does.

But does that deter the profit hungry corporatistas?

Not one bit.

David B. Benson said...

Marxs and Engels certainly would not recognize CHINA as anything but communist in name only.

Seems more Fascist to me...

David B. Benson said...

Den --- If it makes you feel any better, Giggles/Bloviators once again act as if I am not logged in, but my Nickname works.

Not too swift down there...

By the way, where is the CA 11th district, re: US House of Representatives?

Micki said...

California's 11th district

Excuse me, if you were asking Den. But, in case the question was directed @ anyone...

DEN said...

Doc, nickname always works, when you sign in you have to check the remember me box to put a cookie in your computer so they will know who you are.

Then when the comments page loads it should recognize you and sign you in automatically.

Micki, no biggee, I need all the help I can get!

Micki said...

Carey, did you get that chicken soup made?

When you don't have time (or the inclination) to start from scratch, here's a great brand of chicken broth:

Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Comes in a 32 FL. OZ. box (also smaller size).

It's really good. Grain fed chickies, no hormones, no antibiotics, and they get to run around freely before their heads are cut off. ;-))

Add veggies, noodles or rice and VOILA! Jewish penicillin!

David B. Benson said...

Den --- No box to click 'remember me' on this page.

The CA 11th district is represented by a PhD mathematician. Probably a first?

Micki said...

"Jewish penicillin" -- Chicken soup was found to inhibit neutrophil migration providing a basis for an anti-inflammatory activity.

David B. Benson said...

And the 'sign in' link on the main page takes me to the 'create-a=blog' and locks up Firefox so that I have to destroy the session.

The Gigglers must be giggling...

Den said...

Doc you should be able to sign in at the Google sign on page.

I hope that works. I only see the blogger sign on so I assume the Google sign on would get you in.

Den said...

AW crap they did it again!

DEN said...

It must be a reich wing conspiracy to limit vitrolization of certain political figures.

Carey said...

It seems to me that most of the "solutions" being trotted out (at this point) don't address accountability....

Happy holidays wrapped succinctly by Micki with bells on.

Do they ever?

Carol, that's just awful news about getting our medicine produced in China. Pharma's already dangerous enough.

Carey said...

Thank you, Micki, for the tip on a good chicken stock.

Ken made the soups from scratch. He was a fanatic about soups. Brandon might actually try one that doesn't have a chicken body in it.

DEN said...

Dinosaur News:

Massive Dinosaur "Graveyard" Discovered in Spain
James Owen
for National Geographic News
December 10, 2007

A spectacular dinosaur "graveyard" containing thousands of fossils has been discovered in eastern Spain, scientists say.

Eight different dinosaur species, including several kinds of armor-clad plant-eaters that were among the world's largest types of dino, have been identified among the 8,000 fossils found to date, according to experts excavating the site.

Uncovered last June during the construction of a high-speed rail link near the city of Cuenca (see map), the fossil boneyard may represent the largest and most diverse dinosaur site known in Europe, scientists say.

The 70-million-year-old fossils show a stunning array of dinosaur diversity for a period that is very poorly known in Western Europe, said paleontologist José Luis Sanz of Autonomous University in Madrid.

"We are sure that in future, [once we have] studied the huge amount of fossil material recovered from the site, the diversity will increase," Sanz, who is in charge of the dig, said in an email.

The fossils date to some four million years before the dinosaurs went extinct, shedding new light "on these last European dinosaur ecosystems," Sanz said.

Excavations done at the site, called Lo Hueco, suggest the dominant plant-eaters of the period were massive, long-necked sauropods called titanosaurs, a group generally thought to include the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth.

"Titanosaurs are by far the most abundant dinosaur remains at Lo Hueco," Sanz said.

At least three types of titanosaur have been identified so far, including previously unknown forms, the paleontologist added.
@ National Geographic

70 MILLION years is a long time for one species to exist on this planet, must be some kind of record.

DEN said...

Where did dinosaurs come from?

DEN said...

Don't mess with NUNS!

When Sister Kathy Avery, principal of St. Clare Montefalco Catholic School in Grosse Pointe, MI, decided to do something about her students using inappropriate language in the hallways, she got up in front of the entire school and read out the list of words she intended to ban.

"It got a little quiet in church," during her talk, she told the Detroit Free Press. Some parents were shocked, but many approved.

However, the hosts of Fox & Friends apparently believed that parents ought to be shocked. "She did something very shocking ... She read off a list of the inappropriate curse words. All of them. In full technicolor. ... It was like Richard Pryor ... George Carlin."
Over at Raw Story

Carey said...

Chicken soup is one of those little miracles, like much of Chinese medicine, speaking of China.

Kind of ironic, isn't that?


Rachel Maddow feigned trying to read that list from the good Sister Avery. Very funny stuff.

Yes, I now have national Air America feed through XM format. This could be interesting, this XM radio I've spent an arm and a leg for.

Carey said...

For darn's sakes, I forgot. Micki, your theory on Scooter's dropping of his appeal is so on the mark, I reckon. Thank you for thinking that one all the way through.

During the Christmas rush, no less. Impressive.

So, then, uh....what is it for Condi, then? She appears so asexual to me.

DEN said...

Carey, XM is awesome, I have it all over, home, in the car, in the shop, and have not listened to commercial radio in three years.

Just not good for local emergencies and such, use a scanner for that.

DEN said...

KO had Jonathan Turley on tonites show. WOW FRIGGING WOW! Bush war criminal!

Yea! we told you that two years ago.

Probly at C&L.

DEN said...

Actually about 4 years ago.

Time flies?

Carey said...

Just so happens Brandon's decided he likes chicken noodle soup. Yea! I had a can of low sodium Progresso in the lazy Susan.

Yes, it's now seven years, Den, of the, well, you know.

I'll get Keith/Turley on the DVR a little later.

DEN said...

Led Zepplin for all you 70's rockers: @ BBCFirst concert in 19 years. reportedly, they kicked ass!

DEN said...

Carey, you know he's looking for comfort right?

Bad time of year for loss issues.

Keep him close and let him feel secure.

DEN said...

Time for some ZZZZZZZ's

Micki said...

Pass this on to anyone who is a lawyer or law student or to anyone who might know one:

Lawyers/Law Students:
Tell Congress to Investigate Bush

Please forward this email widely to friends, family and colleagues in the legal profession or in law school

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. This is the time for lawyers to speak.” - Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, November 21, 2007

If you are a lawyer or a law student and are tired of seeing the Bush administration violate the Constitution of the United States and willfully defy the rule of law, it is truly time for you to speak.

Please join American Lawyers Defending the Constitution in signing a statement – included at the end of this email – urging the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees to hold hearings to investigate a broad range of executive abuses of power.


Leaders from the American Freedom Campaign, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Center for Constitutional Rights launched the “American Lawyers Defending the Constitution” project last month after seeing coverage of recent events in Pakistan. Inspired by the actions of lawyers in that country, who have risked their careers and even their lives to defend their Constitution, the leaders of these groups set out to organize lawyers in this country in defense of our Constitution.

In a short time, the ALDC has brought together more than 70 prominent lawyers, including former New York governor Mario Cuomo and scores of law school professors. In addition, the Equal Justice Society has joined the campaign as an organizational sponsor.

The initial goal of the campaign is to present its call for congressional hearings to the chairmen of the two committees in mid-December with the names of at least 1,000 lawyers and law students attached.

Please help the campaign reach its goal by visiting the following site and adding your name to the statement:


From wiretapping to torture to defying congressional subpoenas, the Bush administration has ignored and disrespected our Constitution and our laws. It is time for someone to hold them accountable.

As Governor Cuomo said in a speech last month about the overreaching Bush administration and the need to have it reined in, “If US lawyers are marching in the streets in support of the rule of law in Pakistan, why aren’t we marching in support of the rule of law here?”

Please join our “march” by signing the American Lawyers Defending the Constitution call to Congress:

Thank you in advance for standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law.