Breaking News: Smaller Banks Prosper During Crisis

The Washington Post reports that “Banks throughout the United States carried on with the business of making loans yesterday even as federal officials warned again that their industry is on the verge of collapse, suggesting that the overheated language on Capitol Hill may not reflect the reality on many Main Streets.”

Which begs the questions: With bipartisan opposition from objective experts, why should any Congressman instead believe the very same Bush officials who helped create this crisis with their deregulation? These same Bush officials who just months ago said our economy was fine? All seems well with the majority of small banks across the nation.

The industry is resilient despite the struggles of some members. Washington Mutual, a troubled Seattle savings and loan that was among the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, yesterday was seized by the government and sold to J.P. Morgan Chase.

At the same time, many smaller banks said they were actually benefiting from the problems on Wall Street. Deposits are flowing in as customers flee riskier investments, and well-qualified borrowers are lining up for loans.

The National Federation of Independent Business members only had 10% that said loans were harder to get in August. But only 2% cited that cost and credit as their number one business problem. However, this is well below the 37%; that noted credit as their biggest challenge in 1982.

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Dennis Kucinich’s questions on the bailout..

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Partial text:

“The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street is driven by fear, not fact,” Kucinich said on the House floor Sunday. “This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren’t we having hearings on the plan we have just received? Why aren’t we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers’ money? Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren’t we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess? Why aren’t we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this? Why aren’t we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors? How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?” 

Bailout follows the 10 Normal Principles for how our Government Functions

Salon

The word being used most frequently to describe the bailout package that is about to pass is “extraordinary.” That adjective may apply to the amounts of money being transferred from taxpayers to Wall Street, but the process by which this is all happening is anything but “extraordinary.” All of the “principles” that drive how our Government functions in general — what explain the last eight years at least — are perfectly evident in what has happened here:

(1) Incredibly complex and consequential new laws are negotiated in secret and then enacted immediately, with no hearings, no real debate, no transparency. Nancy Pelosi has praised herself for decreeing that the new law will be online for 24 hours before Congress votes on it — a full 24 hours for the American public to understand and assess a law that forces them to subsidize Wall St.’s losses in a way that may impact them for decades, if not generations. The most significant and consequential pieces of legislation over the last eight years — the Patriot Act, the various expanded surveillance laws, the Military Commissions Act — were the by-product of identical anti-democratic processes.

(2) Those who created the crisis, were wrong about everything, drive the process. Experts who dissent from the prevailing Washington orthodoxy, particularly ones who were presciently warning about what was happening, are simply ignored — systematically excluded from the process. Professor Nouriel Roubini:

It is pathetic that Congress did not consult any of the many professional economists that have presented — many on the RGE Monitor Finance blog forum — alternative plans that were more fair and efficient and less costly ways to resolve this crisis.

Last week, Hank Paulson — who bears responsibility for the crisis in numerous ways — demanded that $700 billion be transferred to him in order to purchase toxic assets from his Wall St. friends, and while there was much howling of outrage in many quarters, no other framework was ever considered.

(3) Public opinion is largely ignored, as always, and public anger is placated through illusory, symbolic and largely meaningless concessions. Much is being made over the allegedly strong oversight provisions to limit the Treasury Secretary’s power, accomplished through the creation of two oversight panels.

“During its weeklong deliberations, Congress made many changes to the Bush administration’s original proposal to bail out the financial industry, but one overarching aspect of the initial plan that remains is the vast discretion it gives to the Treasury secretary.”

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McCain’s Reagan Gaffe: 100 percent Wrong about Reagan and Soviet Negotiations

by Brent Budowsky

When McCain said during the debate that Ronald Reagan refused to negotiate with the Soviets until Gorbachev has instituted reforms, McCain had the facts and the truth exactly backwards. Shortly after the attempted assassination of Reagan — shortly after he assumed office — Reagan wrote a personal plea to Leonid Brezhnev calling for a new era of reconciliation and hoping for diplomatic negotiations to achieve it.

I am linking here a story from Time magazine that includes the first draft of the letter Reagan wrote to Brezhnev, in his own handwriting, with his plea for negotiations.

John McCain simply does not know what he is talking about. In fact, not only did Reagan write to Brezhnev in his own handwriting, not only did Reagan send a final version of the letter that was released in 1990, Reagan said, famously, that he wanted diplomacy to improve relations but Soviet leaders kept dying on him before he could achieve it.

Read on..

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Bailout failing in House

The $700,000,000,000 bailout bill for Wall Street is failing in the House of Representatives.

207 – yes

226 – no

Democrats:  141, yes; 94, no

Republicans:  6, yes; 132, no

The markets are taking as well:  -450

HT: House of Roberts

UPDATE 1: The final vote 228-205.  I’ll put up a link to the roll call when it’s available.

UPDATE 2: The Roll Call vote is here.

Sarah Palin Looking Forward To VP Debate With Joe Biden

Gov. Sarah Palin while in Columbus, Ohio today took a stab at Joe Biden. She said “I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like, the second grade” and at the same time acknowledged she was looking forward to the VP debate.  “I guess its my turn now. And I do look forward to Thursday night,” she said, noting that she will talk about the “new ideas” that she and McCain want to bring to Washington.

Howard Kurtz from the Washington Post describes her struggles. Palin was halting, repetitive and occasionally stumped on basic questions. In his review of her Katie Couric interview. Mr. Kurtz revealed today that the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.

I would definitely say that is going to hurt the McCain-Palin Campaign along with journalists that have become outspoken in their criticism of her this last week.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough says Palin “just seems out of her league.” National Review Editor Rich Lowry called her performance “dreadful.” Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher described the interview as a “train wreck.”

The Couric and Gibson interviews were the first real test of whether she could do more than read a punchy speech off a prompter. And even many of her supporters are no longer trying to spin her performance.

Nancy Pfotenhauer was on Fox News this morning crying the blues over the debate questions; since Foreign Policy will be 60 % of the questions asked. Nancy feels that the VP debate is heavily stacked against Sarah Palin.  In my opinion, nothing is going to help her no matter what questions are asked. Watch the nauseating sympathy she gets from Doocey.

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Muse’s Monday Menagerie

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Good Monday morning! It’s beginning to feel like Fall!

Well last week was sure interesting (and revealing) for Sarah Palin in regards to her qualifications and readiness to be in the White House..

Regarding those “Trade Missions” Sarah Palin mentioned during her interview with Katie Couric (video), Salon looked into them, and here’s what they found (basically, there weren’t any..).

Andrew Sullivan hammers the lies of Sarah Palin once again.

TPM and the Daily Kos point out that the worst of the Couric interview has yet to come out.. Looks like it is indeed coming.

From Bob Geiger: Newspaper Makes Obama First Democrat Endorsed In 72 Years

Calling him the right man at the right time when “our nation desperately needs an inspirational leader” and declaring that he is “the clear choice,” the Stockton Record in California’s conservative Central Valley has made Barack Obama its first Democratic presidential endorsement in 72 years.

The markets are spiraling down as Congress is expected to vote today on the bailout.

Read Chalmers Johnson on how We Have the Money – If Only We Didn’t Waste It on the Defense Budget.

From Truthdig, read Chris Hedges’ Fueling the Fire of Real Change.

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DNC Goes After McCain’s Gambling Ties

The DNC exposes McCain’s support on gambling.

The New DNC web ad as David Brody notes is going to causes problems with McCain’s Evangelical base.

The DNC knows that McCain’s so called penchant for gambling can hurt him among some social conservatives. It may not play well with other strongly religious voters as well. Indeed, the last thing McCain needs is another problem with the Evangelical base. In this case, the gambling issue could most likely trump the lobbyist issue. I mean it’s not like he’s playing the lottery or bingo or a quick 25 cents slot machine. This is high stakes gambling we’re talking about. Then you throw in the lobbyist angle and you have a dangerous credibility issue. Will voters buy it and will it stick? Does this bother you?

Also, check out the extraordinary article The New York Times did on McCain’s tax breaks for Indian Casino’s here.

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Stimulus Leaves Economy Limp

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WASHINGTON – Consumer spending in August turned in the weakest performance in six months, underscoring the threat the economy faces as the government’s stimulus program fades into the past.

This was to be expected. As the American Consumer maxed out his/her credit cards and could no longer refinance the home to obtain more credit, spending began to slow down. When spending slows down the economy goes into a recession. Since a recession could not be allowed to happen on Bush’s watch, the government borrowed money, gave it to the consumer, who then spent it, keeping the economy growing, on paper at least.

Once the effects of the quick-fix dissapated, reality hit, and it hit hard:

After-tax incomes, which felt the impact of the stimulus program to a greater extent, dropped by 0.9 percent, however.

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Too Close to the Truth for Fox

Conservatives Begin Questioning Palin’s Heft
by Associated Press
Sunday, September 28, 2008
http://elections.foxnews…questioning-palins-heft/

A growing number of Republicans are expressing concern about Sarah Palin’s uneven – and sometimes downright awkward – performances in her limited media appearances.

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, a former Palin supporter, says the vice presidential nominee should step aside. Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing for the conservative National Review, says “that’s not a crazy suggestion” and that “something’s gotta change.”

You won’t find this article on Fox anymore. It’s been scrubbed. But what happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace. This article brought to you by Bradblog and Huffington Post. Click the links to read more.

Muslim Women & Children Gassed In Dayton After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

You may have heard that millions of copies of a right-wing, terror propaganda DVD have been mailed or bundled in newspaper deliveries to voters in swing states. This 60-minute DVD, titled Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, landed on Ohio doorsteps last weekend. Funding for this hate-based DVD is coming from a New York-based group called the Clarion Fund. Huffington Post has some background on the Obsession DVD.

The program was orginally shown on Fox News in the days leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections, and far right-wing activist David Horowitz toured the country screening the film on college campuses during 2007. Mainstream religious groups have called Obsession biased and divisive. It cuts between scenes of Nazi rallies and footage of Muslim children being encouraged to become suicide bombers.

On Friday, two men according to a child eye witness, gassed a Dayton Mosque. These men sprayed a “chemical irritant” into a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. From a Daily Kos entry, the room that the chemical was released is where babies and children stay while their parents participate in prayer services.

This is the report from the Dayton Daily News on the incident.

The 300 or so inside were celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session, but the prayer session was interrupted so those suffering from tearing, coughing and shortness of breath could receive treatment. Wiley said an adult and juvenile were taken to area hospitals and others had their eyes or faces washed on the scene. He did not know how many people were treated at the scene.

Chris at the Daily Kos received an email from a friend of the victims that tells an even scarier story of the incident compared to the unfeeling one that the Dayton Daily put out.

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