Zeitgeist – The Movie: Federal Reserve

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

On the verge of collapse?

Raw Story

Freddie, Fannie shares sink on bailout concerns

..Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sought for the second-straight day to calm investors panicked about out the financial state of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying the agency aims to keep the mortgage finance companies “in their current form” without a government takeover.

The financial health of the companies is of critical concern to Washington policymakers because of the crucial role Fannie and Freddie play in the housing market.

The pair hold or guarantee more than $5 trillion worth of mortgages. That’s roughly half of the $9.5 trillion debt of the United States. The fear is that a failure of one or both would wreak havoc on the nation’s financial system and the broader economy…

Does this spell trouble disaster just for the housing market? Or for the entire banking system all together?

Under a 1992 law, if either company fell into financial trouble, the government could take over their operations by placing it in a conservatorship. That process could be used to keep operations going at Fannie and Freddie, but shareholders would likely see their investments erased, and the companies’ ability to support the mortgage market could be reduced.

Is “conservatorship” the same as government bailout? Again, what does that mean? What would that mean to homehowners with mortgages across the entire country? Does that mean home values would become worthless (along with the dollar)? Or something much worse?

The New York Times reported Friday the government was considering taking over the operations of one or both of the companies, adding to fears that have mounted this week. Representatives from Fannie and Freddie were not immediately available for comment Friday morning.

Fannie and Freddie play a crucial role in providing funding for home loans by buying up mortgages and packaging them as investments. If they are unable to operate, the implications could be dire.

Without them, our economy would collapse,” Piper Jaffray analyst Robert P. Napoli said in a note to clients. Napoli lowered his target on Freddie to $9 per share from $28, and on Fannie to $15 per share from $30.

We’ve been warned about this for some time. From Truthout October 2007: The Alarming Parallels Between 1929 and 2007.

But, as “Foreclosure Phil” says, I guess we are in a “mental recession” and just a nation of “whiners“…

CNN: The $5 trillion mess
CNN: Fannie and Freddie in Danger

Photo by respres. Used with permission.

Bill Moyers on Big Oil and Iraq

We posted an article on this last month.
Below is the video of the episode on PBS Bill Moyers Journal.
Here’s the transcript.

BILL MOYERS: Oh no, they told us, Iraq isn’t a war about oil. That’s cynical and simplistic, they said. It’s about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom turns out to be the bottom line. It is about oil…

more about “Bill Moyers on Big Oil and Iraq“, posted with vodpod

Friday News, Views, and Blues

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.

From Politico: Pelosi says House Judiciary may hold hearings on Kucinich impeachment resolution. We already posted this (following Dennis Kucinich introducing a single Article of Impeachment against George W. Bush yesterday on the House floor), but we need to keep talking about it, and we all need to contact the House Judiciary and our Representatives and press them to act on this. John Nichols of The Nation has more.

Dan Kennedy of The Guardian (IK) ponders the question “Should Bush Be Tried For War Crimes?“.

Brent Budowsky writes “America’s Security Gap“:

The great issue in 2008 is the public sense that events are out of control, that we drift deeper into dangerous waters while our leaders lack the clarity or courage to act…

Today from The NY Times: U.S. Weighs Takeover of Two Mortgage Giants (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). More here on the importance of this. An update just in, from The Huffington Post,Paulson: No Bailout For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac”.

With all the press over the last several days about the missile testing by Iran, it is unclear how many missiles were launched. Iran said they were long range missiles. The Pentagon said they were short range missiles.. The photo that was released showing 4 missiles taking off at once was doctored to make it look like there were multiple missiles being fired. I am just curious who did the doctoring? Who benefits from Iran setting off rockets? Could this have something to do with the US and their plans to deploy missile defenses in eastern Europe?
Will that be enough of an excuse for Israel to bomb Iran?

From TPM Muckraker, “New Book Reveals Existence of Secret Red Cross Torture Report“:

In a secret report last year, the Red Cross found that the CIA’s interrogation techniques were “categorically” torture..

Barack Obama is considering picking Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) as his vice president. Obama’s campaign has asked Dodd to turn over information as part of its VP vetting process. Is this about all the flack Obama has been getting after casting his vote to give the telecoms immunity? Dodd was instrumental in opposing the law, an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This is so confusing..

Glenn Greenwald wrote a piece today on the ACLU and their attempt to sue the government over the new FISA Law:Interview with ACLU re: constitutional challenge to new FISA law. In this article he makes the point that I tried to make yesterday:

The most overlooked fact in the entire FISA debate — the aspect of it that renders incoherent the case in favor of the new FISA law or even those who dismiss its significance — is that virtually nobody knows what the spying program they’re immunizing entailed and towards what ends it was used — i.e., whether it was abused for improper purposes

…There has been no Congressional investigation into the NSA program — meaning an effort to compel the Bush administration to turn over to Congress information about who was subjected to the illegal, warrantless spying and towards what purposes…

I’ll ask the question again.. Could they have been spying on members of Congress, from the moment they took [the] office, gathering information that could be used against them in order to control them? Just as J. Edgar Hoover did with powerful politicians in the 1950′s? Could that be the reason the Democratic Congress has continued to fold time after time instead of offering any resistance to this lawless administration as they stomp all over the Constitution? Will we ever know?

From Wikipedia:

COINTELPRO Years: “Hoover amassed significant power by collecting files containing large amounts of compromising and potentially embarrassing information on many powerful people, especially politicians.”

Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein have joined the ACLU in their lawsuit against the government. Hedges says that the FISA update is ‘giant step toward fascism’.

From ThinkProgress: In “a troubling sign of global warming,” European scientists say that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica appears to be breaking up. The European Space Agency said yesterday that satellite images show that Wilkins Ice Shelf is “hanging by its last thread,” which could “put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk.”

And for anyone who might have missed this yesterday, Karl Rove blew off his subpoena yesterday and didn’t show up to testify before the House Judiciary. Instead, he skipped the country. Someone just whispered in my ear “I have no problem with him leaving the country, I just have a problem with him coming back…” I tend to agree.

Linda Sanchez, who is on the House Judiciary Committee, says Karl Rove “should go to jail”.. ThinkProgress has video.

And now for the blues…

BB King, Billy Preston and Bruce Willis – Sinners Prayer