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The Best Way to Rob a Bank

April 4, 2009

is to own one, or five

There was an excellent interview on Bill Moyers Journal last night with William Black, an economist and lawyer and former regulator. Here’s a taste.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: You are.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right? They’re scared to death of a collapse. They’re afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we’ll run screaming to the exits. And we won’t rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you can rely on deposit insurance. And it’s foolishness. All right? Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, “We just can’t let the big banks fail.” That’s wrong.

BILL MOYERS: But what might happen, at this point, if in fact they keep from us the true health of the banks?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, then the banks will, as they did in Japan, either stay enormously weak, or Treasury will be forced to increasingly absurd giveaways of taxpayer money. We’ve seen how horrific AIG — and remember, they kept secrets from everyone.

I hope this interview is widely watched and discussed, because it raises many questions, important questions, questions that require corroborated answers. If the answers provided by Black are true, then then the Treasury Dept better get an immediate shakedown and reboot. Regardless, most of Wall Street should be in the Big House. I have no confidence that the right thing will ever be done.

There is another very good interview series from Real News called: Obama should save the banks not the bankers with Thomas Ferguson, a Political Science professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He’s also a contributing editor to The Nation. The interview is in a four parts so far. The first two segments are already uploaded to Youtube. The second two can be uploaded from provided links either as video or audio. There are also transcripts to read. I uploaded audio, which is faster.

Part 1: Stimulus package

Tom Ferguson: Stimulus package is dangerously small; plan for toxic assets shovels money to bankers

Part 2: Obama and Wall St.
Ferguson: Wall St. has been backing Obama from the start

Part 3:
Tom Ferguson: Obama must do something bigger and bolder or another deadly round of crisis will follow

Audio or video download and transcript here: Part 3

Part 4:
Tom Ferguson: Obama’s plan is a “recipe for disaster, if the US reflates, the rest of the world doesn’t”

Audio or video download and transcript here: Part 4

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    April 4, 2009 8:58 am

    Another very important must read article in the WaPo:

    Administration Seeks an Out On Bailout Rules for Firms Officials Worry Constraints Set by Congress Deter Participation

    The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials.

    Administration officials have concluded that this approach is vital for persuading firms to participate in programs funded by the $700 billion financial rescue package.

    The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials.

    Can you say, Motherfucker?

    Obama’s team is also planning to exempt financial firms that participate in a program designed to find private investors to buy the distressed assets on the books of banks. But Treasury officials are still examining the legal basis for doing so. Congress has exempted the Treasury from applying the restrictions in a fourth program, which aids lenders who modify mortgages for struggling homeowners.

    Corporatist swine, all of them.
    Fascism continues to march across America

    The incentives for being an honest, tax paying, law abiding citizen are getting pretty damn threadbare these days.

  2. cometman permalink*
    April 4, 2009 9:35 am

    This is really getting disgusting. These assholes would try to avoid any restrictions placed upon them anyway so why the hell does Obama have to make it easy for them? It’s so frustrating to keep reading about this and keep seeing Obama being given a pass as he hands over the treasury just because he’s able to speak in complete sentences. Did Bush really lower the bar that much that halfway decent grammar is all it takes now? If Bush were doing these things the left would be apoplectic.

    Missed Moyers last night but I’ve got it set up to record the repeat tomorrow morning. I’ll give those other videos a watch a bit later.

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 4, 2009 9:53 am

      I think the bar is so low we are limbo’ing on our butts these days when it comes to political accountability.

      If you ever forget to record one of Bill Moyers (including this one) you can watch them directly online on the link I posted above. This one is gonna blow your mind. There is a second segment with Amy Goodman and Glen Greenwald regarding the hideous mainstream media. The kumquat reaction to the Moyers interview was ever predictable. The tasmanian devils were twirling and snarling to the band. The critics of Geithner and the O admin were ad hommed to death.

      • cometman permalink*
        April 6, 2009 5:47 am

        Watched that Moyers program yesterday and it was tremendous. Black did a great job of explaining the we are in the middle of a heist of truly epic proportions and it is amazing how may people are willing to give the Obama administration a pass. We keep hearing that Obama needs to use the same technocrats to fix the mess because they are the only ones who understand it. That is utter bullshit because after reading at length about the machinations involved it really doesn’t take much to understand. It was deregulation and fraud that caused it plain and simple. The Credit Default Swaps are not hard to understand. The people who purchased them must have known that they was no way they were going to be paid back if the underlying CDOs went bust. People in the industry do talk to each other and I’m sure some traders talked about what they purchased from AIG over cocktails and somebody must have realized that so many CDS were being sold that they’d never be paid out in the event of default. And I’m pretty sure that many of those somebodys were at Goldman Sachs, because like Black explained, the current CEO of Goldman was in the room when the decision was made by the former CEO of Goldman, Paulson, to bail them out. Goldman knew these CDOs were bad investments because they didn’t have much exposure to them themselves – they just brokered the sales for others and then bought billions in credit default swaps on investments they didn’t own themselves but knew would likely fail. But the fact they they were willing to buy and sell these things for others would seem to indicate fraud on a massive scale on the part of Goldman.

        There is just so much obfuscation and flat out lying going on. The other thing I keep seeing is the claim that Obama’s plan will reduce the deficit by half within a few years. It’s possible that that statement is true but it doesn’t mean what a lot of people think it means. I think many people are confused between the national debt and the budget deficit. The debt is not going to be paid down by half. The deficit being halved still means that we are going to be adding a half trillion or more to the debt every single year, and that’s if things go what is considered well. But the pundits eat this up every time an Obama person gets on the TV and repeats it. Rarely do you see one of them mention that it still means we are adding massively to the national debt.

        • Stemella permalink*
          April 6, 2009 6:44 am

          It’s all about the corruption, the fraud. The government has been complicit in the grand theft of the public treasury for decades now and the Obama admin is proceeding down the same down path. No hopey changey in that department, except maybe for those who will benefit the most.

          We need to revisit the strategy of the turn of the 19th-20th century to break up the too big to fail monsters. This time it’s global though. The monsters are multinational. They have figured out how to squeek through everyone’s legal systems by being supernational. Can there be international anti-trust busters? The IMF and WB are complicit too, have been from the get go.

          The solution will therefore have to be multinational also. A multinational populist movement to overthrow the multinational oligarchy. No problem right? ugh we’re fucked. I keep coming back to the idea that the only way any of this will get balanced is after the whole shebang falls apart. The current US policy seems to be kicking that can down the road, just as the Japanese have done.

          • cometman permalink*
            April 6, 2009 12:05 pm

            If there is a populist movement, looks like it is going to start in other countries because most here are too busy giving Obama a free pass.

            Not sure what form a multinational solution should take at this point. Trying to implement one soon would probably involve many of the same bad actors who’d just rig any new system in their favor too. Right now we need some housecleaning and that should involve the dismantling of the worst corporate offenders like you said and the jailing of the execs who committed fraud.

            It’s really a dilemma because even if this were done, the next step would be new regulation, multinational or national, and I simply don’t trust the vast majority of our bought and paid for Congresspeople to do the right thing. The fact that almost none of them are even mentioning solutions like those discussed here is telling in itself.

            • Stemella permalink*
              April 6, 2009 12:25 pm

              I keep thinking the Greeks should start it. Their ancestors started this thing we call Democracy. The contemporary crop started a mini revolution over Christmas, which is currently set on simmer. I figure it would be proper and fitting that they should lead the best way forward. :)

              It has to be multinational to be effective. It’s time to tear down the gates between the developed and third worlds. Those classifications aren’t morally tenable or even relevant anymore given new technologies.

              Like you, I don’t trust the deciders, whether elected or self appointed. I don’t necessarily trust populism either, but something needs to be a catalyst to get the ball rolling. What is happening now is death by 10,000 cuts while the rich get richer.

  3. Stemella permalink*
    April 5, 2009 3:49 pm

    Geithner has denied suggestion in WaPo story mentioned above that the White House is looking to sidestep CEO restrictions as part of the bailout process. It seems we are going to have to take his word on that, unless there is some, you know, transparency in the process.

    Story here: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE53424H20090405

  4. cometman permalink*
    April 6, 2009 5:58 am

    Here’s something to look into. One thing that is pissing me off is how everybody breathes a big sigh of relief when the DOW goes up a few days in a row lately, thinking the worst must be over. Well the DOW is only 30 stocks and BofA, Citi, and JP Morgan are all part of it. Here are all 30 of them. It would be really interesting to see how many insiders are unloading shares when the market goes up. If they are doing that, it would be a pretty good indicator that they are trying to get out while the getting is good, ie they are cashing out while the company is flush with the taxpayer cash that caused the stock price to jump temporarily. As Black said on the Moyers program, these banks cannot be both completely solvent and in need of massive bailouts at the same time.

    About ten years ago I used to do some trading myself and had a lot of fiancial sites bookmarked where you could find info on all kinds of stuff including insider trading. IIRC I used to use the Excite portal a little bit for that info but I don’t even know if that exists anymore. I’m sure there are much better financial sites to find it on though.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 6, 2009 6:05 am

      Here are some insider trades for Goldman. Lots of execs unloaded shares on January 13th. Not sure, but it could be that they were exercising options that day. Since then the sale the price has gone up significantly. Hard to tell what all of that means without more info like how many shares each of them own overall and what they paid for them originally.

      • Stemella permalink*
        April 6, 2009 6:49 am

        I’ll bet you are right in this hunch. They probably are cashing in while the price is artificially inflated with taxpayer bucks.

        Roubini says the big banks will still have to be nationalized. THEY ARE INSOLVENT!!!!

        It is all a huge shell game, a ponzi scheme in massive scale. Take in the new taxpayer money to cover the loss of the wall st investor and leave the last ones entering the market standing with nothing in a huge game of musical chairs. Those ones standing with nothing? You and me, my friend.

        • cometman permalink*
          April 6, 2009 8:13 am

          It is possible to find out what they’re doing but I can’t remember the best place to look. A friend of mine used to and probably still does do some serious daytrading, but unfortunately I’ve lost touch with the guy. But he was very sharp as far as I could tell. His father was very wealthy and he was a golf pro basically wasting time and his dad didn’t like it so his dad offered to use some connections he had with his brokers to get him a “real” job. My friend said he’d rather his dad just give him some money and he’d figure it out on his own which he did. Evidently his dad gave him 50 grand to start off with. He and I used to sit at the bar and talk about stocks and do some trading, but I didn’t have 50g – I was just investing the little extra I made from tips waiting tables. Now this was at the time you could basically throw money at anything and watch it double within days or weeks. My buddy did quite well for himself as far as I could tell – he bought tech stocks but he also studied the markets extensively reading dozens of books and buying lots of trading programs. At one point he told me he had made his first million about a year or so into it. Never saw his bank account but I did see a Rolex he started sporting and the brand new beemer that he had special ordered. I suppose it’s possible that his dad just bought him the stuff and he was making up the profits but I don’t think so. Because I did go to his house and watch him trade a few times and what he was doing was using stochastics to determine when the market was overbought or oversold and he made his trades with strict limits on them. He went from buying individual stocks to trading in Spiders which are basically tracking stocks for markets as a whole. Basically he would place a limit so that if the market went against him by one increment, he’d get out of his position and if it went for him by two increments he’d get out too. That way he only had to be right 1/3 of the time to break even. When you’re trading a quarter mil at a time, small increments add up to a lot of money. You make 1% profit in a day and clear $2500. Not bad at all. But he learned so much that when the markets turned south in the late 90s – early 00s he shorted a lot and made money all the way down too.

          Anyhow, he had access to Level two stock quotes which you have to pay a premium to see, but they allow you to see who is trading what and how much. His dad did business with Merrill and the broker had recommended that his dad buy a certain stock (don’t remember what it was – I’ll call it XYZ). So my buddy knows that his dad bought and shortly afterward he noticed on the Level two quotes that Merrill was selling huge chunks of XYZ after recommending it to his dad. He told his father who went into the broker’s office and raised hell, threatening to cancel his very large account with them. The broker asked how he knew about it and was told how his son noticed. The broker promised his dad that if he didn’t transfer his account they’d put him on a different client list – evidently they had a separate list of investors that they didn’t treat as dupes.

          Within months of my buddy noticing this, Merrill was investigated for exactly what my friend saw – recommending stocks to clients they knew were bad and were selling themselves. IIRC they had to pay a $100 million dollar fine. A slap on the wrist. Obviously that wasn’t enough to make them change their ways.

          Anyhow the point is that it is possible to keep these clowns honest because my friend caught them even before the Feds did.

  5. cometman permalink*
    April 6, 2009 12:57 pm

    in case you missed it, Glenn Greenwald has a great post about the fraud being perpetrated by Obama’s oligarchs and a nice rundown of the Black interview here.

  6. Stemella permalink*
    April 6, 2009 1:19 pm

    Thanks, I had seen mention of it elsewhere, but hadn’t gotten around to looking it up. It makes me sick that Summers can earn in a half hour spiel to his greedy groupies what it takes me an entire year of work to earn. At his more lucrative gigs he can make in an hour more than I’ll earn in my entire life. He does make Madoff look like a piker, a guppy, an amateur.

    The article Greenwald links to about Born, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under Clinton who did battle with Summers, looks good too http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2009/marapr/features/born.html

  7. triv33 permalink
    April 6, 2009 3:39 pm

    I just read this piece by Jeffrey Sachs over at HuffPo and a.) I understood it. b.) I am sickened by the fact that I believe it to be true and c.) I wondered if either of you guys read it and what you thought of it if you had.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/the-geithner-summers-plan_b_183499.html

    • Stemella permalink*
      April 6, 2009 4:40 pm

      I hadn’t read it either. That post is a nice summary of a number of different economists’ critiques I’ve recently read of Geithner’s plan. I agree with his point of view. I wrote about Geithner’s plan to work with a few selected banks a couple of days ago. The related article from the WSJ did not improve my confidence in Geithner or his plan. I think we the people are getting the shaft.

      I’m in a state of perpetual cynicism about politics these days, though there may be a small sliver of something hopeful coming this week. Elizabeth Warren, the TARP overseer/regulator, is going to release a report this week demanding for nationalization, more transparency as well as the firing of the megabank CEO’s.


      Warren
      , a Harvard law professor and chair of the congressional oversight committee monitoring the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp), is also set to call for shareholders in those institutions to be “wiped out”. “It is crucial for these things to happen,” she said. “Japan tried to avoid them and just offered subsidy with little or no consequences for management or equity investors, and this is why Japan suffered a lost decade.” She declined to give more detail but confirmed that she would refer to insurance group AIG, which has received $173bn in bailout money, and banking giant Citigroup, which has had $45bn in funds and more than $316bn of loan guarantees.

      Warren also believes there are “dangers inherent” in the approach taken by treasury secretary Tim Geithner, who she says has offered “open-ended subsidies” to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions without adequately weighing potential pitfalls. “We want to ensure that the treasury gives the public an alternative approach,” she said, adding that she was worried that banks would not recover while they were being fed subsidies. “When are they going to say, enough?” she said.

      I’m not sure how much clout she has with Obama. I think if she doesn’t prevail, if her criticism is dismissed (as Summers likes to do – dismiss women) then we will have a fairly good indicator of how much clout Summers has in this process as advisor and how the rest of this plan will operate. If she fails, we lose. Simplistic I know, but I think it will be a pretty good indicator.

      • triv33 permalink
        April 6, 2009 5:16 pm

        I hope she has a whole lot of clout. I doubt it, but you never know. I’ve read some of her stuff at TPM and I’ve seen her on tv. She impresses me. You know she knows as much as anybody but she really doesn’t talk down to her audience. She speaks for the middle class. We need that. More of her and less of Summers. Or the new “Lonesome Rhodes” Beck will gain more followers riding the wave of his faux populism. Kee-rist what a mess.

  8. cometman permalink*
    April 6, 2009 4:22 pm

    I hadn’t read that one yet but I did read one from Micheal Hudson called How the Scam Works that describes the same scenario. He claims in the article that Citi and BofA are already buying up the bad assets (although he doesn’t provide his source for that) and describes the scam like this:

    Suppose a bank is sitting on a $10 million package of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that was put together by, say, Countrywide out of junk mortgages. Given the high proportion of fraud (and a recent Fitch study found that every package it examined was rife with financial fraud), this package may be worth at most only $2 million as defaults loom on Alt-A “liars’ loan” mortgages and subprime mortgages where the mortgage brokers also have lied in filling out the forms for hapless borrowers or witting operators taking out mortgages at far more than properties were worth and pocketing the excess.

    The bank now offers $3 million to buy back this mortgage. What the hell, the more they bid, the more they get from the government. So why not bid $5 million. (In practice, friendly banks may bid for each other’s junk CDOs.) The government – that is, the hapless FDIC – puts up 85 per cent of $5 million to buy this – namely, $4,250,000. The bank only needs to put up 15 per cent – namely, $750,000.

    Here’s the rip-off as I see it. For an outlay of $750,000, the bank rids its books of a mortgage worth $2 million, for which it receives $4,250,000. It gets twice as much as the junk is worth.

    The more the banks holding junk mortgages pay for this toxic waste, the more the government will pay as part of its 85 per cent. So the strategy is to overpay, overpay, and overpay. Paying 15 per cent is a small price to pay for getting the government to put in 85 per cent to take the most toxic waste off your books.

    Since it seems the banks can get away with this the way the deal is set up, I’m pretty certain that they will. Buying off government so they can game the system to their advantage has been their MO for quite a while now.

    • triv33 permalink
      April 6, 2009 4:54 pm

      I’m generally grateful when somebody breaks it down to where I can understand what the hell they’re talking about. I’m not a complete idiot, but I find too many times things are written in a way that I find hard to follow, at least on this subject. I think it’s a major problem. That’s why people are being so easily manipulated. Most of us are not stupid, but when we go looking for answers about this unholy mess, the people who could provide us with them are so busy trying to impress us with their superior intellect, they lose us along the way. Then what have you got? People on the left arguing in terms I don’t understand. And on the right? A bunch of idiots organizing “tea parties.” A waste of both time and tea if you ask me.

      • Stemella permalink*
        April 6, 2009 5:19 pm

        I find that common sense is a really useful guide when dealing with economics. I also find the basic theme of “follow the money” to be pretty handy too when looking at the confluence of politics and finance. A lot of economists (and academics in general) make themselves special by using language that creates a barrier. The ivory tower phenomenon.

        This area is where I see blogging doing a great service. Bloggers are translating the economists into normal people speak. I figure the more people who try to break it down with various perspectives, the more likely we’ll hit upon the truth of the matter.

        Following the money though, for that we need honest investigators – whether in the press or in Justice. Preferably both and more. We need real muckrakers with real access to the books. That is what I see Geithner and Summers obstructing, that access. Whether their obstruction is from collusion or from fear I don’t know, but the obstruction screws all of us. They have to stop covering it up.

  9. triv33 permalink
    April 6, 2009 6:41 pm

    The ivory tower thing. That’s it. Language as a barrier works. I know it well. When I got my first job, I was advised that my vocabulary would not make me any friends, so I learned to talk like a dockworker and I’ve never lost that skill. It worked to my advantage. I live in a blue collar town and that’s the way things are.
    The people I worked with just didn’t want to feel like I thought I was better or smarter than them. They didn’t care if I could pass a Mensa test. Once I was one of the gang, they no longer cared that I carried a book around with me or wanted to watch Jeopardy.
    These self-important shitheads in Washington don’t think it matters that they talk down to us. They think they can still get away with telling us, “This is all very complex, don’t worry your average little brains about it, we’ll tell you what’s best.”
    My area is only beginning to feel the pinch and already my local paper is overflowing with right-wing talking points. Now, while that may be fun for my trolling of the comments, it’s not a good sign.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 6, 2009 8:23 pm

      That’s the thing with this financial crisis – it really isn’t that hard to understand once you find out a few details and people speak in simple terms. A lot of these finance people like to get all sequipedalian (how’s that for a long word to describe long words!) on us and that often happens when they’ve got something to hide. Accounting and finance don’t need to be nearly as complicated as they are allowed to be. I’ve read probably hundreds of articles about this crisis and I think I can sum up pretty easily how it happened.

      Investors with large amounts of money often like to park big chunks of it somewhere safe, and that is often in US Treasuries because they pay a decent return and they are (or used to be) considered extremely safe. If there are no great investment opportunities around right away and you don’t want your cash to just sit there, making a few percentage points on billions of dollars isn’t bad.

      After the tech stock bubble burst investors wanted somewhere new to park their cash but Greenspan had lowered the interest rate so much that Treasuries were hardly paying anything. So they looked for something else that was safe but gave a better return and that’s when the mortgage bubble started. At first it was OK – there were lots of good mortgages to be had. So 30 year fixed mortgages were packaged together and sold basically as bonds (collateralized debt obligations or CDOs) that paid interest better than what Treasuries were paying. Investors snapped them up until there were no more mortgages. So lenders started creating more mortgages to meet the demand from investors and began to use increasingly lax standards when handing out the money. These were the subprime loans.

      When these subprimes or parts of them were packaged together the underlying CDOs were risky. Credit Default Swaps were sold as insurance against the CDOs defaulting. But you didn’t have to actually own a CDO to buy a Credit Default Swap so AIG sold way more insurance than they could pay out in the event of default. When some of the loans began to default, AIG was forced to put up collateral to show they could meet their obligations on the CDS and they didn’t have it. And that’s why we’re having this bailout.

      There are more details which I could add but that’s it in a nutshell. To put it even simpler, people were trying to get something for nothing and thinking they could make fortunes by swapping paper, but it was all just a Ponzi scheme. But rather than it just being a few bad apples it is systemic. I doubt we’ve seen the worst yet. Check out this article by Michael Hudson where he discusses the role the IMF will play in all this and how not just here but on a global scale the oligarchs are trying to solve this problem that was created by debt by producing even more debt. Hudson mentions that nations never pay off their national debts and the IMF must know this as it looks to impose even more debt on struggling countries. So the only question is how much can the oligarchs grab before the debtor nations say ‘enough is enough’. Here’s how he describes the current system:

      In today’s world, the easiest way to obtain wealth by old-fashioned “primitive accumulation” is by financial manipulation. This is the essence of the Washington Consensus that the G-20 support, using the IMF in its usual role as enforcer. The G-20’s announcement continues the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve bank bailout over the past half-year. In a nutshell, the solution to a debt crisis is to be yet more debt. If debtors can’t pay out of what they are able to earn, lend them enough to keep current on their carrying charges. Collateralize this with their property, their public domain, their political autonomy – their democracy itself. The aim is to keep the debt overhead in place. This can be done only by keeping the volume of debts growing exponentially as they accrue interest, which is added onto the loan. This is the “magic of compound interest.” It is what turns entire economies into Ponzi schemes (or Madoff schemes as they are now called).

      What he is saying is that this huge global financial system which we are constantly told is very very complicated and difficult to understand is really nothing but check kiting, a trick of a two-bit criminal who deposits a bad check to cover the other bad check they just wrote.

      • cometman permalink*
        April 6, 2009 8:39 pm

        You may have already read this, but if not check out this article by Michael Lewis about the financial meltdown. It’s long and does get into details which I find confusing at times, but it’s well worth the read. There are some really good stories in it, and it talks about one guy who tried to figure out what was going on with all these CDOs and derivatives. When he asked the people who ran these funds and banks what they were doing and they couldn’t really explain it very well, he realized they were basically full of shit, shorted the market and made a lot of money.

      • Stemella permalink*
        April 7, 2009 6:40 am

        Excellent synopsis there. I think where the meltdown does get complicated is in all the ripple effects, like tremors from an earthquake, as the global economy wipes out. I think that is where are the fear comes from, not knowing the amplitude of the associated ripples and where they will hit hardest and when.

  10. Stemella permalink*
    April 6, 2009 7:21 pm

    I understand about the dialects we use. I have several and sometimes slip and swear like a fisherman in the totally wrong place. People who know me have come to expect such things of me. ;)

    My area is in it deep, heavily impacted already. One of the two local papers has been bankrupted and closed down. The wingnuts here control the State and coffers and they aren’t in a sharing mood. They are of the Grover Norquist school of non thought and exact the Rush Limbaugh school of social policy. It is a fucking nightmare.

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