22 September, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

There's one Senate Democrat, at least, who's not willing to give the Bushies carte blanche to rob taxpayers:

Over the weekend, Paul Glastris had an interesting item, explaining the temptation on the part of some in Washington to line up behind the Paulson bailout plan, not necessarily because it's wise or prudent, but because it seems like the only idea on the table to prevent the complete meltdown of the financial world.

To that end, the Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby explored some competing approaches to the Bush's administration's no-strings, no-questions, no-oversight $700 billion proposal, and this morning, Sen. Chris Dodd (D) of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, took a big step in the right direction with a competing plan of his own.

The legislation requires Treasury to take an equity stake equal to the purchase price of the assets being bought. If the company isn't publicly traded, the government would take senior debt instead, placing it in the front of the line of debt holders for repayment in the event of a bankruptcy.

Dodd's proposal also would create a five-member oversight board to supervise the Treasury secretary's purchase and sale of distressed mortgage debt.

It would consist of the chairmen of the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as two members from the financial industry designated by congressional leaders.

The board would be authorized to set up a so-called credit review company consisting of Treasury employees to study the soundness of the purchases. Under the plan, the government would be required to obtain an equity stake equal to the value of the debt that is purchased from the companies, including those whose shares are not publicly traded. The Treasury secretary would also be required to issue weekly public reports on the amount of assets bought and sold by the U.S.

Dodd is proposing to penalize executives who take inappropriate or excessive" risks. The executive compensation and severance packages could be reduced if that is "in the public interest," the proposal says. It would also force executives to give back profits they earned that were based on company accounting measures that are later found to be inaccurate.

The Politico has more on Dodd's provisions, including extending authority to bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure.

Much, much better. Now let's see how long it takes Republicons to force Dems to cave by screaming bloody murder and election mayhem.

Bush, of course, wants nothing less than full capitulation:

Today, the White House released a statement criticizing Congress’s potential plan to limit CEO compensation at the companies the federal government is bailing out, firmly standing against any “punitive measures”:

We certainly understand and are sympathetic to the sentiment regarding the pay of CEOs and senior management of these firms, but we have to focus on the problem, and the problem is that we need these firms to participate in the program and sell us this debt. Having punitive measures would provide a disincentive for firms to participate, and that would make the program much less likely to succeed.

CEO compensation and corporate governance in public companies are very important issues — especially when receiving taxpayer support — but we need to be focused on fixing this problem in our markets right now. We can and should return to those issues once we get this legislation passed.

President Bush also released another statement earlier today warning Congress against inserting any “unrelated provisions” — such as help for struggling homeowners — in the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

I think we should all tell himself to fuck himself with a baseball bat. Aluminum. Pre-heated. When he says we can revist these issues later, what he means is, "Give me unlimited power so I can tell you to fuck off when you try to take it back again."

And how's McCain doing as a "take on the crooks on Wall Street" rhetoric? Not too good:

The only consistent element of John McCain's recent rhetoric on economic issues is that he's just not thinking things through. In
the latest example, McCain has been, in true populist style, railing against "
golden parachutes" for CEOs.

The more lavish compensation packages are part of McCain's economic pitch, the more likely he'll face questions about former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's golden parachute. And yet, as of this morning, he was apparently caught completely off guard.

On NBC's "Today," Meredith Vieira told McCain, "You have said, senator, that there are a lot of reasons for this financial crisis, but you have said, bottom line, it's those fat cats. It's the greed of Wall Street. And you said, you promised ... to crack down on CEOs who walk away with huge severance packages. And yet the person that up until recently was your public face really on your economic policies was Carly Fiorina.... She was fired in 2005. But she left with what I think was a $45 million golden parachute while 20,000 of her employees were laid off. She's an example of exactly the type of person you say is at the root of the problem."

McCain replied, "I don't think so." When pressed, he added, "I think she did a good job as CEO in many respects. I don't know the details of her compensation package."

Reminded that Fiorina received a $45 million golden parachute after being fired while 20,000 of her employees were laid off, McCain stumbled a bit before concluding, "I don't know the details of what happened."

This man is an absolute fucktard. I just hope my fellow Americans aren't stupid enough to fall for the empty populist bullshit.

I am not, however, holding my breath.

But let's see if we can get this simple message through: A VOTE FOR McCAIN IS A VOTE AGAINST AMERICA.

That should be easy enough for even the lowest information voters to grasp.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

An early morning paranoid free-association, with a concluding idea:

First, there's this, which I found out about yesterday evening: The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team (how many soldiers are we talking about, here?) is being moved back to the US and placed "under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks" beginning October 1. (October Surprise, anyone?)

The most obvious question is, why are we suddenly expecting a disaster or terrorist attack now? If this is really what they're being redeployed for, why didn't this happen right after Katrina? Why were they sent overseas in the first place (not long after we had, you know, the last major terrorist attack on US soil)?

And then the next (and most paranoid-sounding) bit of the scenario came to me this morning: if I were a power-mad supposedly-democratic leader with aspirations of dictatorhood (not that we have any of those around here) wanting to stop dissent in its tracks, the next thing I would do is seize all the internet data centers.

The Wall Street Bailout Plan currently under discussion includes language which apparently would allow Paulson to nationalize any industry he sees fit, in the name of economic stability; why not internet services? So this seizure could be done with perfect legality, in the eyes of the public (never mind that whole Constitution thing) -- indeed, if the public's reaction during the last big crisis is any indication, we would have sheeple lining up to defend any action taken in the name of economic stability, no matter how heinous or de-stabilizing.

"Essential" operations would be allowed to continue, but countless "treasonous" political discussion sites would be shut down (and possibly many of their owners and participants rounded up on the basis of various "seditious" quotes taken out of context).

And maybe I'd also have the NSA (which would now have root access to all those servers) install programs to track people's email and IM connections, looking for patterns of connections which might indicate any kind of organized resistance. Or maybe only emails from certain authorized domains would be allowed through, and IM would be blocked altogether on the basis of being an "unnecessary burden on our communications infrastructure in this time of crisis".

I don't know if this is just paranoia or not... but the next thing which occurred to me seems like a good idea, even if the data-center-takeover scenario isn't likely:

We need some kind of local activism corps. (Is there already something like this? I can't think of anything.) In the event that internet communications *are* somehow taken over or disabled, it would then become very important to be able to organize locally, without needing to depend on long-distance travel or communication.