Chuck Todd's Misguided War

Via Heather at Crooks and Liars, where they have the video, Chuck Todd is doing some kind of Mr. Moneybags two step:

Here is what I thought was one of the more infuriating moments of last night's press conference. Chuck Todd with this doozie:

Todd: Some have compared this financial crisis to a war and in times of war past Presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. Some of your programs whether main street or Wall Street have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this economic period of prosperity, supposed prosperity that you were talking about. Why, given this new era of responsibility that you're asking for why haven't you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?

Really, Chuck Todd? You're joking, right? If you had asked what he should have asked Wall Street to sacrifice, that would have been one thing. But the public? Unbelievable.

While Todd wishes the workers would rise up to protect the the lifestyles of the rich and blameless, Driftglass has monopolized the proper context for this war on banking error, and it ain't in our favor:

Well, diplomacy failed.

And sanctions failed.

Inspectors failed.

And regulatory systems failed.

This being the case, I believe according to the Bush Doctrine only one course of action remains open to us.

Regime change, baby!

Do not pass go until you have read the whole thing.


Lobbyists Can Cry Me A River

From Think Progress:
Last Friday, the Obama administration released a directive stating that lobbyists “cannot meet or speak with executive branch officials regarding specific stimulus projects or applications.” The head of the American League of Lobbyists is now saying the rule “smacks of segregation, discrimination” and is vowing to “push back” against the rule. The group is keeping “all options open, including litigation.”

After the way they have lobbied politicians for legislation that tore the economy down... All I can say is that they should get out in this great job market they helped create and find some honest work.

12 Connecticut Towns Get Foreclosure Money

From the NewsTimes, 12 towns, including New Milford, will get some money to help fix up and fill many of the empty foreclosed homes:

NEW MILFORD -- Gov. M. Jodi Rell has identified New Milford as one of 12 cities and towns in the state eligible for $3.6 million in federal stimulus money to buy and upgrade foreclosure properties.

The intent is for towns, through their agencies or local nonprofit groups, to make the improved homes available as affordable housing to low- and middle-income families, officials said Friday.

State Department of Economic and Community Development spokesman Jim Watson said Friday it is uncertain how much money any of the towns will receive, but they can make applications based on need and capacity.

This will be in addition to $25 million in mortgage assistance funding Connecticut was given under the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. While even I view this as a great thing that we need to see done across the country, I just wish that actions like this had been taken early before many of these families had lost their homes. (And yes! I know I am biased in that department because of our experience with Countrywide...)

If you are on the edge of losing your home, HUD has some information that may help you while you wait to find out what sort of help may or may not come down from the State of Connecticut:

Guide To Avoiding Foreclosure

Whether you're in foreclosure now or worried
about it in the future, we have information that can help.

Get Help Now!

 - Talk to a foreclosure avoidance counselor
 - Talk to your lender
 - Find state and local foreclosure resources
 - Contact HOPE NOW

Keep Your Home

 - Are you at risk of foreclosure?
 - Tips for avoiding foreclosure
 - Foreclosure scams

Refinance Options

 - Learn about HOPE for Homeowners
 - Who to call when a lender won’t work with you

If You Can't Keep Your Home

 - Redemption period - your last chance to save your home
 - Local renting resources
 - Rental assistance
 - Relocation resources
 - U.S. Postal Service Movers Guide

Before you even consider trying to buy a home anywhere or anytime you might need some of this information:

 - Predatory lending - beware if you're buying or refinancing your home; don't become a victim of unfair lending practices

Stuff that I wish we had known about before we got stuck in the financial death spiral of our mortgage with Countrywide...


Everything you need to know about the bailouts...

in 2 short paragraphs. A relatively long post for Atrios. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

What's The Goal?

Others have made this point in various ways, but if the goal is to bail out the banksters and keep the existing too big to fail financial order in place with the same cast of characters in charge, then all of this sounds like a cunning plan.

If the goal was really to get banks lending again they'd be funneling large sums of money to healthy (mostly smaller) financial institutions who actually made sensible choices over the last few years.

Meanwhile a fire sale is going on:

Lenders have become so overwhelmed by the foreclosure crisis that they are starting to unload properties in bulk to investor groups at steep discounts.

Investors then flip the properties for a profit without necessarily improving the home.

For example, a unit of Citigroup, the troubled financial giant, sold a foreclosure in Temecula to an Arizona investment firm for $139,000 when comparable homes in the area were selling for $240,000 to $260,000.

The firm listed the home for $249,000, received multiple offers and the property has entered escrow, said Amber Schlieder, the real estate agent who handled the listing.

Citigroup left a 100 grand on the table. This looks like a great way to abuse the taxpayer even more.

I want to know who they are all selling in bulk to.

Remember who else was buying up the mortgages in bulk?

So it may come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.

Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide's former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.

"It has been very successful - very strong," John Lawrence, the company's head of loan servicing, told Mr. Kurland one recent morning in a glass-walled boardroom here at PennyMac's spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.

The Treasury has shown a willingness to recklessly toss all of our futures away to keep these "Too Big Failures" operating in their self-entitled comfort zone.

What incentive do the banks have to sell these properties for as much as they can when they can sell them in bulk at a loss to their buddies' companies (or even their own companies) so they can turn a profit on them and doing this knowing the failure bankers can ship off all of the bills for the losses to us? Think about it.

If Geithner were handing these trillions to the smaller more responsible bankers some of us little people would be able to buy these cheap houses...

But this way the elite get to keep all of the assets in their greedy hands and have us pay for their gambling addiction failures too. And then they will turn a profit on selling us these properties AGAIN.

“While some critics are distressed that Mr. Kurland and his team are back in business, the executives say that PennyMac’s operations serve as a model for how the government, working with banks, can help stabilize the housing market and lead the nation out of the recession. “It is very important to the entire team here to be part of a solution,” Mr. Kurland said

Important for Whom? You, maybe, but not me.

I am thinking predatory lenders should already be in jail and that this is a model for more financial disaster for taxpayers. I smell smoke and all I see is a fire and a bunch of greedy arsonists standing around with their gasoline soaked hands in our pockets...

And, so far, the elite are achieving their goal of bailing out themselves with our money.

From buhdydharma at dKos, some extra food for thought:

Hard Not To Call It Evil

According to people who should know, The Ruling Class is using our money....draining our money, the money we use to survive and feed our children and to actual produce things, to rescue the very structure...that allows them to BE The Ruling Class. The structures that enable them to Rule us by controlling credit, capital, and our pensions and IRA's and 401k's.

And our regulatory agencies and politicians. And so by extension our military. Which is then used in the service and interests of The Ruling Class and their Party of Business, the GOP.

These people, the Ruling Class, are the ones who got us into this financial armageddon. These are the same Ruling Class that took us to war in Iraq, after ignoring the warnings that an attack was coming.

They are the same people who made America into a nation that tortures people they KNOW to be innocent. They are the same people...if they even deserve the name...who are stopping any serious efforts to mitigate a Climate Crisis of incomprehensible scope.

They are the same people that so unprecedentedly had the Supreme Court decide Bush vs. Gore, so they could have Bush cut their taxes and deregulate the very same structures that we are now being called to give OUR money to prop up. Yes, the very same people who are directly responsible for everything that has gone wrong in our world, are the people who are now telling us....not asking us....telling us, that we have to bail them out. While as always, not telling us the whole story, not telling us what they are doing behind the scenes and behind our backs.

Read on...

[update] Via Newsweek, Follow the Bailout Cash:

In recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the political action committee for Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS which, while not a TARP recipient, got $5 billion in bailout funds as an AIG "counterparty." "This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions," says Brett Kappell, a D.C. lawyer who tracks donations.

[update deux] Via Tengrain, a picture is worth trillions of dollars:
The Bailout Tracker

Hat tip to Scissorhead LiberalDemDave, he discovered a handy way to find out how much the freakin’ bloodsuckers are getting out of us.

What’s really interesting is that this program also tells you the company’s market value and the percentage of the funds it received in proportion to the market value.

So, for instance, the market value of AIG is $942 million, and the bailout that they have received is 4246% of their market value. And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know…