Friday, October 17, 2008

End of Week Review

What a week!
After spending an extended weekend last week playing golf and carousing with boyhood friends, I found it difficult to get back to blogging this week.  There were any number of unattended things around my house that needed attending, and there seemed to be too many financial and political events happening at the same time to even begin to comment. 
Let’s see what went on this week:
· An (almost) unprecedented move by the Fed forcing it’s way into private banks with Mafia-like tactics.  “Here’s the deal: You need protection.  I’m buying a piece of your business.  Don’t worry, it’s only temporary”  
· Sen. Dodd, who as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, oversees the regulation of banks, holding hearings on the causes of the banking problem, and blaming the problem on the lack of effective regulation.  Can you say Chutzpa?
· A clearer view that the Community Re-Investment Act of 1977 was the root cause of the Sub-Prime Mortgage debacle, and that back in the 1990’s when Obama was in Chicago, he was heavily involved with Madeline Talbot, the leader of community activists strong-arming banks to issue loans to people who couldn’t afford them, and he was also heavily involved in training and funding Acorn, the community activist group supplying  the “muscle” to Talbot and others.
· Tim Mahoney, the Democrat elected to Congress replacing Mark Foley because of Foley’s ‘naughty’ text-messaging to Congressional Page’s, was now found out to have had an affair with a staff member during the election, while he was campaigning on a platform of “Faith and Family”, and subsequently paying for her silence with campaign funds—a ‘no-no’.  The reason the affair came to and end, was that the mistress found out she was not the only one—he was having two mistresses at the same time, and a wife!  (make a note to find out what kind of diet he’s on).  Anyone remember the amount of coverage the press devoted to Foley  (who, by the way, was subsequently acquitted of any illegal actions)?  Are they doing the same to Mahoney?  Nah, he’s a Democrat… big deal, nothing hypocritical there, it’s expected.
· After saying for years that the Republicans needed to be more collaborative and do more ‘reaching across the aisle”, the pundits are beating McCain up because he’s not combative enough.
· After almost eight years of Liberals hanging Bush in effigy, producing movies in which he’s assassinated, equating his name with female body parts, and generally trashing him, the press is upset that there were two incidents at Palin rally’s where someone yelled “terrorist” and another screamed  “kill him”.  Turns out that according two the Secret Service and other witnesses, that didn’t happen. 
· Millions of Acorn driven voter registrations in the “Battleground” states are suspect (666,000 recently in Ohio alone.  Hmmm, something ominous about that number).   Acorn gets a significant amount of it’s funding from the Federal government (our taxes), and none of these questionable voter registrations appear to be for Republicans.  Oh, yeah, Obama’s campaign paid Acorn almost $1 Million to help “get out the vote”. 
· FASB still hasn’t eliminated one of the prime causal elements of the recent bank failures—”Mark to Market”.  What they’ve don is say that where the market has broken down, financial officers may consider other factors.  Since the other element that’s linked arm in arm with “Mark to Market” is Sarbanes, the penalty for overestimation of value is measured in years served, not fines paid.  Untill the SEC suspends the rule, confusion still reigns, and that’s the problem.  Since pouring hundreds of billions of dollars of liquidity into the market hasn’t seemed to changed anything, you’d think that they’d fix the one tiny element that seems to still be causing the toxicity.  You’d think….
· “Joe the Plumber” entered the scene and inadvertently lifted the veil on Obama’s basic tax policy: take from those who have, and spread it around to those who have less.  Sound’s familiar: “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” - Karl Marx.  Interestingly, we now know more about Joe, than Obama.
· Obama announced he’ll cut taxes on 95% of workers.  Problem is, only around 65% of workers pay Federal Income Tax.  Those who don’t pay taxes will get a $5,000 check.  Obama coined a new term for welfare - “Tax Cut”
· Joe Biden showed his gravitas again, spelling out Obama’s three-letter word for the number one problem facing the middle class: J-O-B-S!  Does anyone remember the press’ field day with Dan Quayle’s spelling of potato(e)?  Guess the press doen’t think this is worthy of comment.  But, I do.  In fact it’s worth seeing and hearing”
· Then there was the debate between McCain and Obama.  There was a lot of promotion going on that made it almost seem like a title fight, and truthfully, in some ways it was.  McCain came out pumped; weaving and jabbing, putting his game-face on. Obama laid back and let the old guy swing himself out in a classic Muhammad Ali-like “rope-a-dope”.  McCain never followed through on any of his jabs, and let the clock time out without ever coming near a knock-out blow.  There wasn’t any winner, but there was a loser - us, the voter.  There were issues that needed to be dealt with, but unfortunately, they weren’t.
· Sometimes no news is good news.  The absence of Russia’s activities headlining the news is good.  The financial market’s dominance of the headlines has given Russia (Putin) cover to slink back a bit and try and figure out it’s next moves.  It’s belligerent ham-handed aggression against Georgia didn’t generate the political power Putin expected, and the financial market’s reaction to the aggression coupled with the global financial crisis and oil price plunge, has left the Russian Bear reeling and looking for a cave for the winter.
Let’s go out and have a great weekend. A lot of these things will eventually get cleared up, and meanwhile, maybe we can sort some of it out while we’re walking around looking at the magical colors of the leaves.  Thank you, Lord for all that you  gave us.  Hopefully we're not messin' it up too bad (since all the candidates are dropping their g's, I thought I should do it to).


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