Sunday, February 5, 2012

Russia (and China), Again

The Russians are first in the world on my list “courve and goniff” (“thieves and whores”), but the “Red” Chinese are real close to the top.

Their respective UN performances last week denying a Security Council move on Syria’s bloody repression were contemptible. Part of the Sino-Russian fear is loss of plain old business as usual--reflected in Syria being a large business partners of each (with Russian weapons arming the Syrian military)--while a lurking other concern is the possibility of some future UN coming after both Russia and China for brutalizing their own restive citizens and denying them freedom.

Russian and Chinese officials seem to live to frustrate America policy initiatives and with trade revenue as a primary motivation, how do they value those Syrian casualties killed by their own government, in their hypocritical UN posturing about concern for the Syrian people?

I have a doctor friend, who was born in Homs, Syria, and whose parents “and hundreds of cousins” still living in and around the city. Every time we talk, I ask what’s going on and the fate of her loved ones.

“The government is killing people left and right and nobody is stopping them,” was her latest reply.

I can only hope when this ends, not only will someone have “Gadaffied” the Assad government and Assad, but the Russians and Chinese pay a price in national treasury—which is what they seem to care about the most—as well as lost prestige and influence in that volatile region.

Obama Administration “Does Away” With Fannie and Freddie?????

The Washington Post quoted Treasury Tim Geithner saying, the Obama Administration (slightly paraphrasing) “will continue in its effort this year to do away with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and attract more private capital to the national mortgage market.”

What’s that mean, Tim?

The Administration doesn’t have the political will or power to do anything in an election year, especially something that would further scramble the still sensitive residential real estate market.

More germane is the fact that the nation—and the world--is filled with “private capital” in the hands of businesses and banks. That money once flowed easily into US mortgage finance, logn before anyone ever encountered subprime lending.

There are no laws prohibiting those potential mortgage investors from buying or financing mortgage loans. What is it that you plan to do to “attract” them, offer more federal guarantees?

But, if you do that, that really isn’t “private capital.” It’s federally insured private capital which has a budget costs and still puts taxpayers behind the big banks, which we all know—your rhetoric to the contrary—are not “too big to fail.”

What’s the alchemy you plan to employ?

You can’t call “time out” because the mortgage market moves constantly, 24-7 and 365 days a year. Currently Fannie and Freddie still are serving a giant share of the market, as most of your “private capital” guys stay on the sidelines and only make loans which Fannie and Freddie will securitize for them.

When and how is all of this “attracting” going to occur?

To be fair, the same question can be asked of the GOP, when they don their “beat up on the GSE” rags and rage about the need for private capital in the mortgage markets.

One dirty little secret is a lot of large banks don’t want F&F gone, because they want and need a mortgage investor of last resort on which they can ladle their mortgage risks.

Which party’s principal, President Obama or Mitt/Newt, will be honest with the public and say, “If private capital (whatever that means since most banks are deposit fat because of federal subsidies and former TARP funds) comes back to the market--without a functional Fannie or Freddie, or its equivalent, establishing standards--consumers won’t have 30 year fixed rate loans, except by paying very exorbitant premiums.”

I am waiting or should we all just prepare for more insipid “get rid of Fannie and Freddie” talk?

Obama and the November Elections

If I can read between the headlines, the Obama folks are chortling over the emergence of Mitt Romney as the likely GOP champion. Sure, he’s going to need another few state primary wins, but he appears to have lapped a pretty lame field.

Rick Santorum soon will drop out, but Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul (whom I still believe, despite some nutso positions, utters more common sense than the other two) will hang on, ragging on Mitt and softening him up for the real event in November.

Romney, for all of his flaws and whatever the result of those internecine GOP muggings, could be our next President, solely because he is not Barack Obama.

President Obama is in trouble politically and while he will say and do dozens of things to appeal to various constituencies this year, too many people don’t like or mistrust him—and those are the Democrats!

Even if the President gets real lucky and unemployment drops, while business improves throughout the nation, the appeal of the “Obama way”—cheered by his coterie of Chicago political mafia—remains opaque to most Americans.

Traditionally the public is best served by divided government, with neither party in total control, but what about when the nation needs and wants action on any number of urgent issues?

Right now, a measured in negatives President Obama doesn’t appear to me to have the coattail strength to flip the House to Democratic control or add seats to the slim D majority in the Senate.

Does he even deserve a second term?

Would Romney and Republican control of both congressional chambers—Tea Party and all—use that unchallenged power to make the deficit reduction, structural, and tax changes needed to propel the nation forward? Or is that risk not worth the change in Presidents?

These are tough political questions for the nation to answer in November.

The Koch Brothers

Need someone to vilify and dislike motivating you to vote for Barack Obama (“the enemy of my enemy is my….”)?

How about the notorious Koch (pronounced “coke”) brothers, billionaires many times over and politically ultraconservative, head of Koch industries.

Last week, the Koch’s pledged over $100 million to defeat Barack Obama and his congressional supporters, reportedly posting $60 million on the spot to do so.

That would be small potatoes for the Koch’s, who made the statement while addressing a group of more than 200 well wheeled and equally conservative wingers, gathered to discuss common concerns. (Standard discourse: “Acquired any good countries or politicians lately? Yes, but have you seen the cost of caviar these days or the new Rolls? Both have become so cheap, I may stop buying them!”)

Guys like the Koch’s always have been around and always dangerous. Naturally the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision has brought their money out of the closet and encouraged them to put it into candidates and causes heavily tilted Right.

But, there is something about the Koch’s “hands into everything,” as well their all out Obama assaults, which is quite smarmy and disquieting. Like some of the Russian antics I abhor, these brothers need a huge spotlight thrown on them for people to see just what their political machinations are all about.

Much of the early Koch fortunate –inherited from their father but grown many times over by the sons—came from mineral and ore refining.

No doubt part of their current partisan anger is because they, likely, were in the middle of and stood to gain handsomely from the Keystone Pipeline project, which Obama killed (the right way to handle your enemies).

Of course, if little people want to take little steps, they can stop buying products which Koch-owned companies sell, like Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels and Quilted Northern bath tissue and make public their paper product boycotts.

Maloni, 2-5-2012


@AlongLStreet said...

If a bridge failed, one that allowed commerce to move across a wide river by a steep palisade, it would be rebuilt. They'd rebuild it better than before and with safeguards that would prevent the poor standards and practices that led to the failure. They wouldn't say: "Bridges don't work. Commerce will have to find a new way to get across the river."

Bill Maloni said...

Thanks "L."

Please take your observation one or two steps more.

Who do you think is claiming, "Bridges don't work" and why are they saying that?

"Buehler, Buehler, anybody, anybody.....?"

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