Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 19, 2008

The Mother of all Bailouts?

So Bernanke and Paulson go to congress and say a big bailout is needed. After 90 minutes congress in principle agrees. Half a trillion is said to be the appropriate number. Markets rally as short sellers get squeezed by this news.

But there is yet nothing behind this plan. Who should be bailed out and by what means? Who should do the bailout? How is this supposed to be financed? Who has the money to finance this? Under what conditions?

The general idea now seems to be to buy up bad loans from financial institutions for a rebate and to later sell these off.

The plan involves using hundreds of billions of dollars in government funding to buy bad loans, leaving banks with more money and fewer problems, according to two sources familiar with what was said at the meeting.

But what is the correct price for buying this stuff?

Two very different plans are cited as comparison for the current one. The Resolution Trust Corp. of the 1980s and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of 1932. The RTC took over insolvent thrifts with real assets and slowly sold these off. The RFC gave credit to existing banks and companies. Neither form seems to fit here.

Why would the government buy those papers from the banks at all? Would it not be much better to buy the underlying assets of these papers?

If the government buys houses in foreclosure this would prop up the housing markets AND the mortgage backed papers the banks are holding. The government would then own  real value and could use it as the society finds necessary. This would help the banks as well as the communities.

The current plan looks like an attempt to do something - anything - simply so the administration and congress can say that they did something. Congress is not good in making such decisions under time pressure - remember the Patriot Act.

This emergency bailout will not have the results that people expect. Half a trillion fresh government debt will have many negative side effects. The bailout will not really help with the markets either. They will fall again as there are still many more bad loans that have not yet been acknowledged.

Sit back everyone and think again.

Posted by b on September 19, 2008 at 12:38 UTC | Permalink


"Congress is not good in making such decisions under time pressure - remember the Patriot Act."

That is certainly true, but I don't think congress is making any decisions. The Fed has made the decision. Congress is being told what to do and they're doing it.

The other issue is the ban, announced officially today, on short selling of 799 financial stocks. It is effective immediately. Yesterday it was first seen in the Wall Street Journal and seemed to be a ban on ALL short selling. That alone would cause the most violent rise in stock prices in the shortest period of time. It is unclear weather the coming rally is due to the bailout or the ban.

Of course such a ban is like a big hit of crack cocaine; very high very fast and then crashing down. But it will allow troubled banks to dump their shares at a high price and raise capitol. And combined with word of an RTC bailout, the rally might even last until November 4.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 19 2008 13:32 utc | 1

There goes another $50 billion ...

U.S. to Protect Money-Market Funds Against Losses (Update2)

The U.S. government will set aside as much as $50 billion to temporarily protect investors from losses in money-market mutual funds caused by the meltdown of financial markets.

The Treasury will insure for a year holdings of publicly offered money-market funds that pay a fee to participate in the program. Retail and institutional funds are eligible, the department said today in a statement.

Note: This does NOT cover ALL money-market funds, only those that voluntarily take part. They can still break your buck ...

Posted by: b | Sep 19 2008 13:38 utc | 2

I acknowledge this is a very wild-assed idea, but since my head is totally spinning by the latest developments, "wild-assed" no longer seems so farfetched. What if internal polling has convinced TPTB that McCain is dead in the water, a certain loser to Obama in November, and the margin will be too big to "diebold". So why not crash the pillars down now, effectively bankrupt the U.S, but thus ensure that there is no chance we will shore up Social Security (which could have been done with relatively modest sums), implement any kind of national healthcare plan, or be able to accomplish any significant investment in infrastructure, conservation, or other activities that benefit the whole but not exclusively the oligarchy.

Somehow prior to September 2008 there was never enough funding to fix Social Security, improve health care, increase the minimum wage, etc. Now, suddenly, we are being told there is enough to bail out Wall Street. WTF?

The timing of all this is mystifying - was there some sort of impending "triple witching" type deadline approaching in September that necessitate the rush to nationalize all this bad debt and bail out these irresponsible greedheads?

Posted by: Maxcrat | Sep 19 2008 13:45 utc | 3

Thank you for pointing out the differences between this and the RTC. It's very clear that no one in the news business understands this simple fact.

Posted by: rs | Sep 19 2008 13:51 utc | 4

The theft of America's wealth (and don't think for a moment that the theft of Her honour is an iota less important) by this administration is the greatest exhibition of moral turpitude in the history of the modern world.

The world's (potentially) foremost democracy has been bilked by thugs so repulsive as to make Al Capone appear as a blameless child.

That everyone here is not desperately waiting to cast their vote for any hope, no matter how slight, to fight this madness, this concentration of human degradation, bemuses me.

The possibility that a black man, born into poverty, who has raised himself honourably and bravely through the ranks of the citizenry of the US so that he is that one hope, that one fragile possibility, is the greatest irony I have ever witnessed.

I will accept no criticism when I advocate in every venue available, Obama ~ Biden in '08.

Posted by: waldo | Sep 19 2008 13:57 utc | 5

the swine who squeal each time social programmes are called for, those who would privatise social security, those thear the guts out of health & education are the very ones now who clamour before the trough to govvle their fill

it is a truly disgusting spectacle as revealing of the real nature of capitalism as was falling bodies from the buildings of new york during the great depression

your world is finished, gentlemen - only you are too dumb & too venal to see it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 19 2008 14:04 utc | 6

There is no bailout, there is the total appropriation by government of what was thought to be private property, private property that may have lost value but still forms the realm of freedom. A few days ago I wrote that the government was everything and that fact has become now explicit. The amazing fact is how happy we seem to be that we are clearly enslaved, our chains are still of gold but still chains. The government takes possession of all our debts, therefore we are all indebted to the government. Is there a clearer manifestation of impending despotism than the elimination of short selling and the insuring of money funds? Is the market only supposed to go up? If risk is eliminated all freedom is lost, but a society that is used not only used but favoring the elimination of the effects of its acts is already a sterile dead society.

Posted by: jlcg | Sep 19 2008 14:12 utc | 7

Waldo, if only your candidate was as passionate and single-minded as you are.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 19 2008 14:31 utc | 8


He is 100 times the man I will ever be. America should revere him.

Posted by: waldo | Sep 19 2008 14:34 utc | 9

Meanwhile, Jerome is calling for punishing taxation of the wealthiest on DKos diaries, to cover the costs of bailout and ensure that accumulation of wealth won't be as insane in the future. I suppose there are some funny comments there around; that must make some amusing reading, I'm off to check them.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Sep 19 2008 14:46 utc | 10

B, you are quite right with this: If the government buys houses in foreclosure this would prop up the housing markets AND the mortgage backed papers the banks are holding. The government would then own real value and could use it as the society finds necessary. This would help the banks as well as the communities....

It would have numerous advantages. (1) It would cut out all those predatory & speculative lenders out of the loop. (2) It would ensure that there's a new institution in which government managers accountable to the public would receive training, support, and I hope respect. (3) Decisions about what to do with these properties could be made according to sounding principles of the common good.

Tragically, many of the residences at or threatened with foreclosure are part of crazily devised developments that have zero intrinsic human logic including crucially they lock people onto very spread-out, distant exurbs in which all family members are totally dependent on private automobiles and it is quite uneconomic for localities to plan bus services, etc. I suggest that many of those housing developments just be ploughed under and returned to food production and the new RFC/RTC-like body invest instead in properly planned mixed-use developments linked to na viable public transit system. Also, time for the most-needed infrastructure development of all: a bullet-train system criss-corssing the whole country that would bring new life to vast areas of the midwest and stimulate the entire national economy.

It's time to think big! (Especially with these numbers already involved.)

Who, after all, do we Americans want to be as a nation?

Posted by: Helena Cobban | Sep 19 2008 14:51 utc | 11

The crisis has come too close to the derivatives scam, worth trillions. They won't let that house of cards come down. Thus the AIG bail out.

Re. short selling, at the least, the government should bring back the uptick rule, and devote a whole SEC unit to rumour based manipulation--collusion between corrupt media and hedge funds. The practice has been described by Cramer in a now infamous YouTube interview, and mentioned by Jobs in his latest appearance.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Sep 19 2008 14:59 utc | 12


I'm asking purely because I don't get the chance to quiz an Obama shock-trooper all that often:

Why no single-payer health care?

I'll ask again: why no single-payer health care?

Should I inquire again? OK: why no single-payer health care?

And another question: given your BIG GOVERNMENT statement a while back, how is O planning to make his government bigger than the Bush regime? Bush just 'nationalized' the finance industry, or didn't you notice?

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 19 2008 15:10 utc | 13

@ Waldo, please remember that this bailout was urged by democrats Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. They are both quite happy to take money from the public and give it to the banks. Chris Dodd is in the pocket of Bank of America. Barney Frank is also quite pleased with this idea. They are all just doing what they are told, though. The Fed tells them "do this" and it is done. And we can't vote for who will be in the Fed.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 19 2008 15:20 utc | 14

I saw Barney Frank on the tube, briefly was all I could stand, when I was scanning for a soccer game. The man was pathetic, truly pathetic. He was demagogueing out of both sides of his mouth, all in favour of the AIG bail out (of course he was--he was a deregulator back in the day), but calling for furriners to pay for part of it.

Posted by: | Sep 19 2008 15:26 utc | 15

CR has the transcropt of the speech Paulson just gave.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, (in reality Goldman Sachs shareholder relief program) will buy up those 'assets' that do not qualify to be bought by Fannie and Freddie, i.e. other than normal mortgage backed securities (MBS).

This will cost several hundred billion $$ up to a trillion.

Additionally Fannie & Freddie and the Treasury will increase buying of 'regular' MBS. Another few hundred billions.

That means the plan is to have the taxpayer buy up ALL toxic waste that exist on Wall Street except, so far, the trillions of messy derivatives.

The TARP will buy 'assets' backed by credit cards, car loans, everything. Most of these will have heavy losses the taxpayer will have to carry.

This will NOT help Wall Street - the trillions of derivatives that these companies have written and 'hedged' will implode and we will back at a 'frozen' credit market as soon as the TARP will somewhat have cleared it.

This bailout is catastrophic for the U.S. standing in the world.

Who will lend the money to the U.S. to do this bailout??? This is triple the 'normal' huge borrowing the U.S. does in one year.

Watch the US $ now.

The next steps after forbidding shortening will be capital controls (i.e. you will not be allowed to park your money in Canada), control of precious metal dealing (give me your gold), general price control as inflation will whack through the country and the world.

Too bleak a picture? It will take a year or two, but now I am quite sure the U.S. will go there.

Posted by: b | Sep 19 2008 16:14 utc | 16

now at least the so called culture wars will ne unmasked for what they really are - a class war.

& every step that capital takes to try to put on the mask again will only open the wounds of inequality that run through its veins

in the 18th century capitalism was an ugly proposition & it remains one. there is no better writer on this than karl marx. read the three volumes but read the first 6 chapter last. you could not have a finer more subtle analysis. it does not surprise me that even bourgeois economists like roubini have made more than a casual glance at that work

if the representatives of the labour movement in the western world were not so comprimised by capital - they would be tearing the building down because it is them & their children & the children of their children who will pay. they will be paying forever

the permanant underclass that is an underpinning of britain is a result the final result of the failure of their empire, the absence of vision in their leaders

& that is truer with the u s empire. it was the other, the other who always paid? then it was their own poor - now it is touching their working & middle classes

& whatever the clowns did yesterday & today will not hide that salient fact - that this is a war against its own people. a war every bit as destructive as the wars that are being carried out to 'bolster' the imperial project

from hereon in the ordinary american will get a little taste of what it means to be the other. of course they have already tasted it jurisprudentially & economically but the scale will be grander & the penetration will be more intense

that is what is being systematically hidden today

the future is war

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 19 2008 17:44 utc | 17


I have thought the same thing...a scorched earth policy, if you will, however, the thing that makes me say "no, it can't be" is the tremendous backing Obama's getting from Corporations...those same ones that would implement such a scorched earth policy. Of course, they could be supporting both candidates to roughly the same tune to hedge their bets, and implememting the scorched earth in case Obama isn't beholding once in office. If that was the case, though, why scorch their own assets, rather than just wait and see about Obama. If he's not beholding, they just kill him and Biden will do their bidding.

Posted by: Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili | Sep 19 2008 17:55 utc | 18

the bailout is essentially like the airstrikes by american in afghanistan & iraq

perfect for killing & wounding innocents. absolutely useless as either, a strategy, a policy, or a tactic

the other day an afghani governor - an old comrade-in-arms of karzai was killed by the australian sas

every fucking day they wiled their violence as if they had 'intelligence', it is clear to one & all that they have no intelligence at all - either in the clinical or the military sense

dumb, so fucking dumb

& the way of 'handling the ecconomy' is of exactly the same order - violent & finally disastrous

they conceive a new catastrophe every day & follow it through to its ugly end

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 19 2008 18:48 utc | 19

& as usual the western media sucking the cock of capital & rendering the bailout as if it is not the most major collapse capitalism has constructed

ignorant & criminal

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 19 2008 19:04 utc | 20

Did We Say $500 Billion? Sorry, Bailout Will Cost $1 Trillion

Oh, and Wall St. Turmoil Won't Hurt Defense Firms

Finally, from the 'Oh, really?' files, John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, avoided potential losses. Because the Arizona senator's run for the White House, his wife, Cindy, last year liquidated a blind trust that had contained stock in AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman. The amounts of stock she had owned weren't

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 19 2008 19:24 utc | 21

With clearly huge government administrative, origination and appraisal fees, transaction taxes, carrying costs, refinance costs, and the now guaranteed 10% interest promised to Chinese Treasury backers, that sum comes closer to $4 trillion by the time the books are closed.

So, roughly, that's $13,333 for every person in the U.S. The average American saves $392 per year. The finance rate on the $13,333 they owe, however, is $1,796 per year, which is somewhat discouraging.

Do the math.

This bailout won't be repaid for -1,345 Neo Years, putting the United States somewhere back in the 7th Century AD.

Posted by: Shah Loam | Sep 20 2008 0:18 utc | 22

This is Aces and Eights for America.

The American Government is bailing out the banks, the traders, the hedgers, and everyone in debt on Wall Street.

We, the people, are receiving a generational debt in the guise of dealing with an Act of God. As if it was just another hurricane. As if there were no good guys, no bad guys, just a horrible thing that happened one morning, and we are all victims. As if this were just a financial tsunami, which came out of nowhere, so let's all pitch in to clean it up, m'kay? Get the flags out. Have a parade. All will be well.

We are crossing a Bridge to Nowhere, and admiring the view.

The American Government is bailing out the banks, the traders, the hedgers, and everyone in debt on Wall Street. We, the people, are receiving a generational debt in the guise of dealing with an Act of God. As if it was just another hurricane. As if there were no good guys, no bad guys, just a horrible thing that happened one morning, and we are all victims. As if this were just a financial tsunami, which came out of nowhere, so let's all pitch in to clean it up, m'kay? Get the flags out. Have a parade. All will be well. We are crossing a Bridge to Nowhere, and admiring the view.

This government will cost you, your children, and your grandchildren most of the quality in their lives. Living standards will be lower for the Americans who come after us, and after today, than you can yet imagine. They'll never miss it, because they'll never have it to lose. They won't lose it, because we lost it for them before they ever grew up.

If this taxpayer bailout of bad debts costs the Treasury the $1 Trillion it is initially being pegged at, that means a personal loan of about $4,400 to Wall Street from each living American.

A Trillion is the number 1 followed by twelve zeros.
Like this: $1,000,000,000,000.00

Divide that equally among the 290 million living Americans right now, and it is a $4,348 bill to each of us. Yes, even the baby in the crib gets a bite of this shit sandwich. Stick that bill right into the swaddling cloth, for it shall be a lifelong companion, a parasite never to be shaken.

Here's why.

One, because the first number out of Washington is never the last number, and never the real number. Remember how the Iraq war would be over in six weeks, and pay for itself? How'd that work out? Common sense tells us that this initial wild ass One Trillion guesstimate from Hank Paulson is way low. The top economist at Harvard says it will be closer to $1.5 or $2 Trillion just for starters, and then there will be the interest on it.

Two, because this new loan has to get in line to be repaid, and it is a very, very long line. This new $1.5 Trillion debt goes behind the $9.6 Trillion of National Debt that came before it.

So, Paulson's guesstimate of $4,348 from each member of your family is really more like $6,500 or $8,600 from each of you, if you go by all previous experience with the US Government. We'll go with the $6,500 figure then.

This $6,500 you each owe is added to the portion of the National Debt you already each owe, which is $41,600 from every one of you, bringing the total debt to parties unknown to $48,000 for every living American. Yes, the baby, too.

What the hell -- no one worries about the National Debt, right? Well, the government doesn't worry about it either. They know they won't be paying it off. It's the national credit card, and the taxpayers will foot the bill. Which means it's your debt. Paying it off falls to you, not your Congress person or Senator or President. To them it's all a giant monopoly game of power and privilege, except they get to keep the houses and bank accounts. It's la-la land every day in Washington.

It's no game for you. Paying off the National Debt will cost you your living standards, from here on out.

America's National Debt doesn't get smaller, and it doesn't get paid down, or paid off. Even paying the interest on it is no longer possible, by any laws of actuarial science known to man. It's simply and completely and totally out of control. The very concept of paying it off, or paying it down, no longer has any basis in reality. No, the National Debt just keeps adding each day's unpaid interest to the principal, at the rate of $1.84 Billion per day these days. So, don't get any cute ideas about paying off this new loan of yours, or the one you already owed before Hank Paulson brought you the good news this morning.

Adding $1.5 Trillion to the already existing $9.6 Trillion of National Debt comes out to $11 Trillion if we round it down a bit. That will increase by $2 Billion of unpaid interest every day, meaning that even if we cut up the national credit card tomorrow, we will still owe well over One Trillion more dollars from interest alone, a year from today.

Oh, I forgot -- this government of we, the people, puts over a half a Trillion a year on the national credit card, just to keep things going, so we have to figure that in as well.

Well, this doesn't look good.

In plain terms, an American family of five persons is carrying a debt load of a quarter million dollars, courtesy of this government. And you will pay, yes you will pay. It will come out of your pockets, or out of your living standards, one way or the other. It will cost you, and you will pay. You will pay by giving up what you have, or earn, and you will also pay by never receiving things you could have had if this National Debt were never created, never allowed to become the Unstoppable Thing.

This latest bailout goes entirely on the national credit card, and it is an outright gift to the bankers and gamblers on Wall Street.

Let's imagine the five of you traipsing down to your neighborhood bank tomorrow, signing the paperwork for a big cardboard box full of hundred dollar bills which you faithfully agree to pay back during your lifetimes, agreeing to the monthly payments, foreclosure and default terms. You got your box, and you're deleriously happy. The loan amount comes to something like $36,000.00 for your box of fresh, spendable greenbacks.

And you tape that box up, take it straight to the Post Office, and mail it insured to
N.E. Banker
Wall Street
New York, NY 10012.

With a nice card. And a ribbon.

And you all return home, and start crossing things off the Christmas list, shopping list, vacation list, and every other list you may have ever had in mind, because your lives are afterthoughts now, side effects of the added debt you have assumed. It ain't freedom for you folks, it's debt servicing from now on, from dawn to dawn. No college, no trips, no vacations, no house of your own, no higher educations, no good jobs, no upward mobility, no genuine political or social choices.

All of that shit is for N.E. Banker and his kids, not for you.

Because under Paulson's plan, he gets the box, and you get the loan. Got it?

The stupidest thing in the world is a thief who robs you with a gun, when he could have bought a nice suit and a fountain pen and done a better job of it.

So what about you? You say you can’t afford to do this? You don't see you and yours paying off the Unstoppable Thing, not in this generation or the next fifteen to come?

Well, up yours baby. It's happening on the TeeVee right now. Welcome to the USSA!

There will be a big jump in stocks for a week or two, since no one can lose money on Wall Street any more, and no one can sell short on the 799 insolvent, dying companies so boldly listed on CNN today. It will last a couple weeks at most, before people realize that Wall Street is history. It belongs to the government, and money is now made by who you know, not by investment at risk. There is no risk, there is only the Treasury, and the national credit card has that covered.

Wall Street, as this nation and the world economy has known it, will collapse before Christmas. Take the pillars out, and things fall down. The pillars of Wall Street are innovation, calculated risk, and fiduciary responsibility. Those are meaningless when Uncle Sam refunds all losses. If you can't lose, there's no play. The new game on Wall Street will be to lose money in innovative, risk free ways, so that you will be the first one to the Treasury doors to get yours while it lasts.

Congress will pass whatever law Paulson hands them this weekend, probably without discussion, probably without even reading it, as Congress is wont to do. The vote will probably be late at night, without a roll call, on a voice vote. No one wants their name attached to this thing if it can be avoided.

But this bailout will avail the national economy, and the world economy, nothing but greater troubles down the road. This putting the whole problem on the national credit card, 100% on the credit card, so that there is nothing but good news, no pain whatsoever right now. This is putting off the real situation, and the risk only grows larger. It doesn't go away, even for a second.

This is a Thelma and Louise solution, doing what looks necessary or feels good, and moving on with some music in your ears.

There's a precipice in that direction, even if you don't see it, or care to see it. It is there.

This government, and this nation, are full of people who don't worry about what's coming as a consequence of this bailout because they don't see themselves being around for the precipice part. They'll have their stash and be living on some tropical island. Or, they'll have passed on by then, and be history as Dubya Bush likes to put it. Or, Jeezus will have come back to sweep them off to the clouds after a thoroughly entertaining bloodbath wherein all the people what ain't like us get it right in the neck. No matter how they escape the precipice personally, apparently no American intends to actually be here for it. The music is in everybody's ears.

In a nation full of irresponsibility, moral absence, and kookery like that it is no wonder there are no rules anymore, no laws that actually apply, and it explains why there is no second American Revolution. We're all out for a free ride, and we're all leaving before the movie ends, so pass the popcorn, and check out Paulson and Bush on the tube. Yep, that's a shitload of money they're talking about, sure is.

Welcome to the other side of the mirror, to the far end of the rabbit hole. This may be described as plutarchy, kleptocracy, fascism, communo-capitalism, class warfare, or open anarchy. Call it what you like.

Just don't call this a Republic, or a democracy, or a government of the people. Don't ever call it any of that any more. That shit is over and done. The Republic Ben Franklin said we could have if we could keep it? Yeah, we couldn't keep it. We handed the keys, and the national credit card to some wiseguys, and they did what wiseguys do.

In the coming year, it will become illegal to hoard gold or precious metals, illegal to leave the country WITH your wealth intact (you can go, but the money stays here). Some form of national service draft will be put in place to put people to work at something, anything. Zoning laws about how many families can live in one house will fall by the wayside, as families do what they must to get in out of the rain, and have something to eat.

The population will have to be controlled, by every means at hand. If they are not well managed, they will get out of hand, and threaten the Ownership Society.

Posted by: Antifa | Sep 20 2008 1:29 utc | 23

It is not just another hurricane.

As we have learned by now, real natural disaster means it is time to learn some responsibility and everyone is on their own. Financial man made disaster means it is time to bring out the money choppers and give some more to the extra stinkin rich.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 20 2008 2:56 utc | 24

The 'Thelma and Louise solution'.

I like that. Very good imagery.

Posted by: DM | Sep 20 2008 3:49 utc | 25

Tantalus Why no single-payer health care?

A Labor Government was elected in Australia eight months ago. Three months after the election the press started badgering the new Prime Minister saying " Mr. Rudd, what are you going to do about the price of petrol?". This ludicrous line of questioning was repeated across the spectrum of the media for a fortnight and in the Parliament as a result.

Everyone in this forum knows that the price of petrol is Mission Accomplished by the bush cartel, which our previous government had supported to the hilt. (Notice that one of the first acts of our new goverment was to withdraw our combat troops from Iraq.)

Can I suggest that assuming the reins of power, cleansing the bureaucracy of neocons, re-asserting the power of the Congress, formulating and enacting foreign policy that reduces international tensions and ensuring the basics of monetary policy are returned to some sort of normalcy might be priorities for the new administration?

First the presidency, then the rest. Support and Vote Obama

Posted by: waldo | Sep 20 2008 4:30 utc | 26


"Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. President, Vice President Quayle, Senator Mitchell, Speaker Wright, Senator Dole, Congressman Michel, and fellow citizens, neighbors, and friends:

There is a man here who has earned a lasting place in our hearts and in our history. President Reagan, on behalf of our Nation, I thank you for the wonderful things that you have done for America.

I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago, and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his. It is right that the memory of Washington be with us today, not only because this is our Bicentennial Inauguration, but because Washington remains the Father of our Country. And he would, I think, be gladdened by this day; for today is the concrete expression of a stunning fact: our continuity these 200 years since our government began.

We meet on democracy's front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended.

And my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads:

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: "Use power to help people." For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. Amen."

America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the Nation and gentler the face of the world. My friends, we have work to do. There are the homeless, lost and roaming. There are the children who have nothing, no love, no normalcy. There are those who cannot free themselves of enslavement to whatever addiction--drugs, welfare, the demoralization that rules the slums. There is crime to be conquered, the rough crime of the streets. There are young women to be helped who are about to become mothers of children they can't care for and might not love. They need our care, our guidance, and our education, though we bless them for choosing life.

I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved.The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in."




Posted by: Cher Bono | Sep 20 2008 4:31 utc | 27

If Obama becomes the next President, he will be the one signing the prudent and necessary new laws to efficiently reduce the nation to Third World status.

New laws like national service, reclaiming gold from its current owners, stripping government services to keep the military in coin, stripping private pensions to cover banking bailouts or the big GM/Ford bailouts, and forbidding people taking their remaining wealth with them out of the country.

If Obama is not the next President, there will be someone else in the leather chair in the Oval Office to sign these new laws.

It's like giving motorboat to a stranger, to some guy you meet down at the harbor. You tell him its all his, to do with as he pleases. He's ecstatic.

As you wave good-bye, you mention that he might want to look at that three foot hole in the back end, where the engine fell through the hull.

He'll have no choices about what he does with the boat, not for a long time.

No matter who the next President is, he or she is Bush's chambermaid, and not much more.

Posted by: Antifa | Sep 20 2008 4:53 utc | 28

b #16,

I think the NeoZi.con's bailout acronym is pronounced TRAP

USA Today reports the NeoZi.con's are deploying a "Future Attribute Screening Technology" (FAST) in US airports, which screens travelers in infrared and sonic frequencies, taking a "virtual polygraph" as they approach security, where some 2,000 TSA goons have been trained to intercept 'suspicious persons' attempting to flee the country with their assets intact, and violate their rights to free movement in public, to privacy and to freedom from interrogation.

In other words, get out of America FAST, before they spring the TRAP.


Sadly, if you're 55 or older, you're shit out of luck, no takers, no permanent visas, except maybe Georgia or the Ukraine, once they join NATO, hence John "Birch" McCain's code word advice to Boomers his age, "We're All Georgian's Now!!"

Thanks for the tip, Birch!!

Posted by: Shari Jacob | Sep 20 2008 6:11 utc | 29

Hey Waldo

Do you seriously expect anyone on this forum to swallow the gunk that the Australian Labor Government is any different from the 'Liberal' Party?

Sure, they had to withdraw the few 'combat' troops in Iraq (an election pledge/ploy) - but when it comes down to it - the Labor Party are pro-Business, pro-Empire, and staunch defenders of Capital (how dare anyone disparage our fine Financial Institutions) – just like the previous Tory government.

Little Rudd is so funny. Either he is clueless, or he has no guts. Likely both. But it would be very easy to shut up the baying tabloid journos if he gave an honest answer instead of pretending to have his hands on the lever. (Just one lever – same as Keating).

Posted by: DM | Sep 20 2008 6:56 utc | 30

Japan, China Locked In by Investments

Accompanied by a delegation that includes senior officials from China's central bank and Ministry of Finance, as well as banking, insurance and securities regulators, Wang had originally traveled to the United States on Sept. 14 for trade talks in Los Angeles. But as new shocks hit earlier this week, Wang flew to Washington to meet with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.

Wang sought assurances that if the Chinese government were to encourage its companies to seek investments in the United States, the deals would not face the same political opposition that has undone past Chinese investment proposals.

Andy Xie, an independent economist who was formerly Morgan Stanley's chief Asia economist, said the United States needs to accept that a large amount of U.S. assets must be transferred to other countries' ownership. "If the U.S. is not willing to accept that," Xie said, "they will have to print money and the dollar will fall. And we will be headed toward a global financial meltdown."

Posted by: b | Sep 20 2008 7:14 utc | 31

Naomi Klein - Free market ideology is far from finished

During boom times, it's profitable to preach laissez faire, because an absentee government allows speculative bubbles to inflate. When those bubbles burst, the ideology becomes a hindrance, and it goes dormant while big government rides to the rescue. But rest assured: the ideology will come roaring back when the bailouts are done. The massive debts the public is accumulating to bail out the speculators will then become part of a global budget crisis that will be the rationalisation for deep cuts to social programmes, and for a renewed push to privatise what is left of the public sector. We will also be told that our hopes for a green future are, sadly, too costly.

Posted by: b | Sep 20 2008 7:48 utc | 32


You are a mouthpiece. If you are representative in any way of the kind of mentality that lies behind the Obama campaign, I can only say that what Obama represents is a truly grotesque insult to the people of the United States.

If your candidate is planning to deliver this country from the actual threat - as of last week, it has become a semi-reality - of a corporatist putsch, he needs to gird on a large and very sharp sword and start fighting. America is in ruins. America is the 9th Ward. And the corporations that Obama is so careful not to offend are dismantling the last levees and selling them to the Chinese.

And referring to 'our government' as if Obama were already in power is fascist creepiness of the first order.

I will continue to reply to your posts, as you, an Obama troll, are providing instructional evidence of the moral and intellectual bankrupcy of the system in which you have so much fervent belief. Keep it coming.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 20 2008 13:22 utc | 33

These are badly translated views from one Serbian forum (all tho those Serbs live in USA)

Unchangeable factors of USA Empire (meaning it does not matter who is in power Rep. Or Dems):

1. Debt.

2. Oil

(1. i 2. together are commonly known as "recycling the petro-dollar; System established by H. Kissinger 1971. after de facto default of "federal government").

3. War.

4. Israel first.

Each and every one and all together are recipe for chaos, and each and every one is at this time peaking...

...Ignoring reality , that’s what Americans do…”we are wining in Iraq” …”The fundamentals of our economy are fine”…

...Checks and balances my ass. The world is ruled by fucking morons.
Through this fog around collapse on WS they added $10 T in state debt and no one even blinked. After freshly printed dollars they print even more now. When in a hole, stop digging – don’t get a bigger shovel. They give money and time to those that made this mess at first place so that they can buy tangible assets with that money while it’s still worthy anything. People will pay the bill trough inflation (savings, superannuation money, denomination of shares etc). Next step is Chinese and Japans banks are coming to the “rescue” …and resource wars. Feudalism.

Posted by: vbo | Sep 20 2008 14:32 utc | 34

Biggest Bailout Ever: Did the Government Go Too Far?

So what are the costs? Almost certainly:

* Higher taxes
* Higher interest rates on government debt
* Bigger government deficits
...But we're not convinced that that was the alternative. Also, numerous questions remain. The most pressing is "What price will the government buy the toxic waste for?" (This price will determine how much additional capital the banks have to raise to offset any losses.) Merrill Lynch shareholders are probably also wondering whether they can cancel the Bank of America deal. And Lehman would probably like to un-declare bankruptcy.

Posted by: vbo | Sep 20 2008 14:46 utc | 35

vbo #34, quote from US Serb site

The world is ruled by fucking morons.

No, the world is us morons. We are ruled by financiers that think/plan ahead and have been so wise they've convinced us they don't matter, or when they do matter, are incompetent even as fleecers. Cruel, yes, but not incompetent. All injuries, lamb sacrifices and rapes etc. are planned and part of the power source.>sheep and sheepdog>above the sheepdog

Posted by: plushtown | Sep 20 2008 14:59 utc | 36

plushtown - No, the world is us morons

All of us?

The Paulson plan is out putting the U.S. into whatever hell. Here we at least talk about it.

But these are the current Daily Kos recommended diaries:

Maybe the Best Anti-McCain Ad Ever
by sweetliberty

The Death of Republican Philosophy
by bonddad

BREAKING POLL: White Dems, Everybody Else in the Damn Country Voting for Obama
by billysumday

Alaska paper: Palin has "abdicated" her Gov. duties
by davidkc

Obama Hits 50% In Today's GALLUP!!!
by slinkerwink

Is Palin also a tax cheat?
by clammyc

Six Year-Old Simple.
by JeffLieber

I spoke up because I don't want other people to experience what I had to
by sboucher


We may be morons too, but not all morons are equal. Some care.

Posted by: b | Sep 20 2008 18:32 utc | 37

I went to drop off my garbage at the local collection center this morning. My local State Senator, republican, was there handing out flyers for his reelection. He gave me the old man-to-man handshake, and I asked him, "Greg, seeing as we've now got socialism for the corporations, how about some for us?" He went a bit pale, wagged his chins at me and dodged behind a pile of bin bags, waffling about "keeping an eye on the situation." Then I went and filled up my car. Lines of vast full-sized pickup trucks ahead of me, swarms of obese, spavined folks filling up giant-sized tanks and buying super-sized sodas. Business as usual in rural America. On the counter in the gas station, a notice asking for donations for someone with muscular dystrophy.

The garbage truck, as it always does, was flying the American flag.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 20 2008 19:19 utc | 38

Backing up plushtown, is Elaine Supkis

Aren' these little monsters clever?

Posted by: DM | Sep 20 2008 22:52 utc | 39

Antifa, # 23

You said it so lucidly well I’m inspired to paraphrase you in a local letter to the editor. I’d be careful to not plagiarize and I hope you don’t mind? More of the “swarms of obese, spavined folks filling up giant-sized tanks and buying super-sized sodas” (Tantulus) need to be exposed to the lunacy lightening the pages here in the Alabama hinterlands.


Greg’s also my shmoozin buddy representative and I’ll have to have a word of follow up with him re your encounter today. I usually recycle on Sat’s but skipped today and I’m sorry I did.

Really glad to see you’re in full voice here these days. So... Keep it coming.

Posted by: Juannie | Sep 21 2008 1:09 utc | 40

Same to you, Juannie.

Yep, I thought it was remarkably honest of Greg to campaign at the garbage drop-off. I've been putting the 'why socialism for them and none for us' question to any candidate who comes near me - none of them go anywhere near it. And why would they? The defining moment of our times, maybe, but if people don't know it's happening, why enlighten them? Greg is undeniably a consumate politician...

No, as long as it's stamped with the Stars'n'Stripes, people will swallow anything. As Huey Long apparently didn't say, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag." And presto, there's the NYSE, wrapped in the biggest flag there is.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 21 2008 13:26 utc | 41

Literally, wrapped. I wonder if the PR genius who put that one up saw through to the irony.

And I sometimes wonder what percentage the gangsters’ and their henchmen, who are just making a living after all, are true psychopaths with no conscience or just prepared to live with their suppressions and denials.

Have you posed the question to and of the dems yet? My take is that most (some?) of our assortment of reps are considerably more awake than the majority they represent. Or is that wishful thinking on my part? (OT perhaps so the questions are just rhetorical.)

Posted by: Juannie | Sep 21 2008 15:44 utc | 42

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