Wednesday, April 27, 2005

More on the Bankruptcy Law

Without exaggeration, this is the most corrupt piece of legislation I have EVER seen.

I work in finance, and I can tell you that the credit card companies have pulled a monumental switcheroo on consumers and the poor. And what is so astoundingly insulting to me, is that this Republican party, this party that controls both the legislative branches as well as the executive branch, this party that trumpets the virtues of capitalism and free markets while demonizing Democrats for inhibiting capital flows and supporting "big government," has just imposed the biggest government intrusion into the purest form of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" (pricing between lender and borrower) this century has ever seen.

For all intents and purposes, the free market was working just fine within the credit card industry. CC companies lent money to borrowers. The risk they placed on these loans was high because, afterall, the laws were such that if a consumer filed Chaper 7, the credit card companies would not get paid anything. Understanding this risk very well, the CC companies priced their loans very high, at roughly 19% or so. Ignorning for now that this rate is in the range of old-time loan sharks whose questionable methods led to the passage of "Usury" laws which limited the percentage interest rate banks could charge on loans, this rate was more than adequate to compensate them for the bankruptcy rate implicit within the loan.

So, with the economy going well, and the bankruptcy rate low, the CC companies printed applications like they were going out of style. They sent them to everyone and everything. Stories of family pets receiving $10,000 credit lines were common. I, personally, received about 3 a day in the mail. They gave credit to anyone and everyone, more than they knew they should, to borrowers with poorer credit than they'd like.

None of this is problematic. The economy, working in cycles as it does, has a solution for this lending recklessness. As the economy turns down, and bad loans to poor credit risks become evident, the lenders that took more risk than they should have get crushed. It's Milton Friedman's wet dream in action. The Republican's should be cheering their beloved free market at work.

However, just as the economy is about to turn down, and the merciless cleansing of the credit cycle was to wash over these loan sharks in pinstripes, just as a maxed-out Visa and Mastercard were in the hands of every man, woman, child, and Chihuahua, just as traders on Wall Street were about to ass-fuck the shit out of the publically-traded shares of Goldman, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and MBNA...the Republicans stepped in and re-wrote the PRIVATE loan agreement between the CC companies and the borrowers, the American public.

See if you can guess if the contract's new terms were favorable to the large corporations, or America's poor. Can't guess? Here's a hint: Credit card companies gave more money to the political campaigns of Republicans than any other industry in the last election cycle...the nation's poor didn't give much, and their lobbyist aren't funded quite as well.

This change has greatly reduced the risk to the CC companies, but credit card holders are not receiving the correlating decrease in interest rate that is going along with it. The benefit goes wholly to the CC companies.

And is the reality TV-obsessed American public up in arms? Is the media even hinting at the hypocracy of this legislation passed by the supposed stanard-bearers of "small government" and capitalism? No, of course not. Credit card companies spend too much money on advertising on those networks.

The only positive thing I can take away from this legislation is that the Republicans have exposed themselves for the hypocrites they truly are. If ever I come across another right-winger who thrusts the neo-con's Orwellian "freedom" and "free markets" doublespeak in my face again, I will whip out this egregious example of corporate cronyism, and watch in guilty pleasure as he attempts the ideological gymnastics necessary to justify this complete and utter contradiction to his party's very foundation.

W AND THE PRINCE

A fairy tale of love and oil, Think Progress has the details.

And Atrios is right, this is just wrong.

Excellent cartoon....

The Reverse Revolution.

Share it with your friends.

Friday, April 22, 2005

natural regional effect or a result of global warming?

Abu Ghraib Officers.....PROMOTED???!

Not that it was any surprise, but let's start paying attention to what's going on here. A reservist and a few privates get scapegoated, at least 2 are women, while the military beefs up and takes control at the hands of an radical christian hunta. Enemy combatants watch out....you don't even know who you are.

And what exactly does this mean:
"'The thoroughness of the investigative process preserves the rights of all individuals involved while ensuring that the presumption of innocence must be disproved by facts before any allegation is determined to be substantiated,' "
That's how they got off!

Friday, April 15, 2005

I LIKE HARRY REID

Unlike the New Democrats, he get's it.

Republicans have crossed a line today. America is better than this and Republicans need to remember that. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. We are people of faith, and in many ways are doing God’s work. But we represent all Americans, regardless of religion. Our founding fathers had the superior vision to separate Church and State in our democracy. It is a fundamental principle that has allowed our great, diverse nation to grow and flourish peacefully. Blurring the line between Church and State erodes our Constitution, and our democracy. It is a blatant abuse of power. Participating in something designed to incite divisiveness and encourage contention is unacceptable. I would hope that Sen. Frist will rise above something so beyond the pale

THE RELIGION WARS HAVE BEGUN

You have to see this to fucking believe it.

WOLCOTT IS FUNNY

Thursday, April 14, 2005

BANKRUPTCY BILL AND "NEW DEMOCRATS"

Be sure to check out this Atrios post on the statements of Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) regarding the bankruptcy bill. This is a horrendous peice of legislation that will make it hareder for people who are devastaed financially by medical illness (which is the cause of approximately half of all bankruptcy filings) to use bankruptcy to get relief from consumer debt. This is a giveaway to credit card companies and banks who have stongly lobbied for the bill. Apprently, despite steadily increasing profits over the last 5 years, and unable to control themselves from giving credit to anyone, these companies need to make sure that consumers are as screwed as they can possibly be. But I digress. Rep. Tauscher is chair of the New Democrat Coaltion, be sure to check out their website

I am not exactly sure who these 'New Deomcrats' are, but right now I don't like them very much.

P.S. You can read a previous rant I posted on this subject here.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Rush to War

Bush & Co.'s case for a justified war is crumbling apart...but, does anyone care?

Iraq war case 'fixed by Americans'

Mar 20 2005



"The head of MI6 told Prime Minister Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being fixed by the Americans to suit the policy, a BBC documentary claims."

Link to article

Saturday, April 09, 2005

US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war

From the Observer....:
"US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war "


So let's see....a former drunk driving convict w/ a known history of cocaine abuse justified his war on Iraq by listening to one of his own. Maybe they know each other from rehab.....or not.

Friday, April 01, 2005

LETTER TO SENATOR NORM COLEMAN

Senator Coleman,

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the GOP plan to make judicial nominations immune to the filibuster. I believe such a move would be an assault upon the principles of the Senate and one that the Republican Party will eventually come to regret. I would like to remind you that Mr. Bush had 219 of his 229 judicial nominees approved by the Senate, the most for any first term president if I am not mistaken. For him to re-nominate the 10 that were rejected is nothing more than all-out partisan warfare and simple pandering to the religious right which, as we have recently seen, has no problem trampling on the constitution when it suits their purposes. I will also remind you that during president Clinton's presidency he had numerous judicial nominations blocked by the Republicans who were in the minority using a variety of procedural rules, rules which the GOP have systematically dismantled since becoming the majority. Thus the idea that the blocking of the most controversial nominees is "unprecedented" is false and dishonest.

Senator, Mr. Bush claims to be a uniter, but is actions belie his rhetoric. His absolute refusal to compromise despite having the vast majority of his nominees approved is serving to increase division in this country, solely so Mr. Bush can pander to his political base. If the Senate takes this step it will be a declaration of all-out partisan war, and if you support it you will be complicit in the further polarization of this country. I implore you to take a long look and think about what the people of Minnesota, mostly moderates who want government to work and have a strong distaste for the partisan bitterness of Washington, would want you to do in this situation. Will you stand up for civility and compromise or will you help to inflame the political divisions in our country?

The choice is yours Senator, it will only take a few Republicans to stand up for what is right, I certainly hope you will.

This is the way we avoid our hypocrisy, avoid our hypocrisy, avoid our hypocrisy.....

Sing it to the tune of "this is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth..." You get the point.

"The pope decided himself not to go to the hospital."

Why? Then they don't have to start the extraordinary steps that might cause them some discomfort when the guy begins to whither like a raisin. They don't have the guts to face the true issue.

Anybody have just a little teeny weeny pang of nostalgia for The Body?

I want a full independent congressional inquiry into the status of the Pope's health & how he got there. Wouldn't a nice, anonymously placed needle that precipitated a fatal heart attack be another convenient way of avoiding their hypocrisy? I know, let's subpoena him. Get him to Brussels or DC or something. Huh? What the F***?