Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Fast and Furious" and "Solyndra" Show Incompetence, If Not Political Corruption

Two things that may combine to hurt the Obama Administration are the growing "Fast and Furious" scandal, where the US sold guns to the Mexican drug cartels, with no way of arresting anyone. The other is the scandal involving Solyndra, a bankrupt solar panel manufacturer based in California, which cost the US taxpayer around half a Billion dollars. Both are going to be thoroughly investigated in the near future, and the OA doesn't seem to have an adequate response, so far.

These are examples of stories the "in the tank for Obama" media stay away from, until they "have legs," meaning they get too big to ignore. While Solyndra is fading from the fleeting media mentions it got, it will not be the last "green" initiative of the OA's that will be scrutinized (link). Any other one (or more) that was a bad deal may end Obama's political chances at enacting any of that agenda. The Justice Department is investigating, but they can't afford another "cover-up" right now, which leads me to the second scandal...

"Fast and Furious" was an ill-designed operation, which consisted of telling gun shops and dealers to sell weapons illegally, and waiting to find out where they ended up, often after they'd used to kill someone. Eric Holder has yet to give his version of what this operation amounted to, but since he's called the House GOP's investigation "partisan," I'm guessing there's something he's hiding, for political reasons. It's always the coverup that's criminal, and AG Holder is stickin' to his story about only hearing about the operation "a few weeks" before his congressional testimony, on May 3rd. Now, he's claiming that the emails from a year earlier about the operation were not shown to him, or that he didn't read them. In other words, he's pleading ignorance, and incompetence, rather than a corrupt attempt to "cover up" an ill-conceived law enforcement operation (link).

These two scandals are "body blows" that this administration can't afford to let "drag out," but that seems to be their strategy. Right now, Dems seem happy to revel in the "Occupy Wall St (or name your city)" protests, because it is taking the media spotlight off of the OA's predicament. The "Wall St. protesters," and their cacophony of leftist cliches will fade, but these scandals, and the issues they raise about the OA will not go away. I expect Holder to go "under the bus" soon, but it won't look good, in any case.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Wall St. Protesters Agree With TEA Party On Bailouts

Ask any of the Wall St. protesters if they agree with Republicans, or the TEA Party, and they'll say "Hell, NO"! How many of them know that the GOP actually blocked the bailouts, the first time they were voted on. When the bill came up for a second vote, the "moderate" Republicans voted for the bailout, along with all of the Dems. The ones who still opposed them, in the face of withering political pressure, were the TEA Party caucus members. I'd like to see someone ask the protesters what they think about that. They should all support Michelle Bachmann for President.

Bank of America "On the Ropes": Thanks, Sen. DICK!

If there was any doubt that Senate Democrats' attempts at "regulating" US banks is a thinly-veiled attempt at crippling them, Sen. Dick Durbin's latest comments about Bank of America just removed it. On the Senate floor, he suggested that BoA customers pull their money out of their accounts there, and deposit it in another bank. Rush Limbaugh mentioned this today, and how (my) NY Sen. Chuck Shumer's comments caused another "run," on a smaller bank, a while back, which resulted in it not existing anymore. BoA, however, is already a recipient of a taxpayer bailout, so it's doubtful that will happen. There is also the example of Lehman, which the government declined to "bail out." The Dems attitude toward the US banking industry seems to be like a "mob" money collector: "We don't wanna kill you, we're just gonna break your legs."

The point that stands out to me is that "taking your money out of BoA" was the answer in the first place, before Durbin decided to switch debit fees to the banks, who passed it on to their consumers. If he feels the need to tell people that, from the Senate floor, after the "Dodd-Frank" bill, and his "Durbin amendment" passed, why didn't he tell BoA's customers to get out before that law was passed? I see commercials all the time for BoA's competitors, and haven't had an account with BoA since the 1980's, when I was getting 10% on an annual CD (full disclosure). There are plenty of smaller banks that offer better terms on accounts, and none of their personal account business had anything to do with the financial crash of '07, anyway.

Why did the "Durbin amendment" cap "debit transaction" fees? Well, those fees came from "small businesses," and Sen. Dick just wanted to help them out of being screwed by the banks. He didn't think of all the constituents that he would screw over, when BoA reacted to this deprivation of revenue from retailers by transferring the fee to the debit cardholders. Of course, the customers have less political clout than small businesses, who supposedly have less clout than big businesses, like BoA...crap rolls downhill, until it gets recycled by some pol, like Dick Durbin!

The new fees that BoA and the others are imopsing are expected to bring in more revenue than their old fee structure did, even with fewer debit card customers...the only ones getting screwed here are the people who work for Bank of America. Every employee of that bank has to wake up every day wondering how long they'll have a job. They were already planning on laying off tens of thousands of workers, and this won't help.

It's more than Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank's insane ideology that got this bill signed into law. President Obama buys into it, as well. He signed it, and I was as pissed as I was at Pres. Bush for signing McCain-Feingold! I don't care about party politics or ideology, I don't like legislation that has a bad outcome. He still supports it, with a weak cry that banks should "eat" the lost profit he took away from their debit card transactions...he sounds like Michael Moore, who's out selling his new book on the liberal circuit.

Michael Moore and Obama can rail against outrageous "corporate compensation," and there is a real problem with failure being rewarded. Unfortunately, this is a situation that government regulation created. Attempts to limit "monetary compensation" led to huge "benefits" and "stock option" packages, and indeed caused our whole system of "employer provided health care," as well as "corporate stock options," (which were ironically designed by the market to "regulate" executive compensation). Attempts to tax "medical benefits" led to the issuance of hundreds of waivers to "Obamacare." If Obama gets to raise "capital gains" taxes, expect waivers to be given to every company that any public pension fund invests in, which means all of the "large cap" companies, unless they're "excessive polluters," or something as politically incorrect. BoA is "too big to fail," but may be thrown under the bus, if Obama's radical side takes over!

I'm only being half sarcastic, because the economic problems we face are all to real. Maybe BoA should go under, and all of the other "big banks," as well. How else will we unwind the question of who owns the debt on all of the "underwater" mortgages, at least in the US? OK, we sold those crappy bonds to the rest of the any US housing market devaluation will be a bigger "hit" than the world markets can take right now. If Obama's supporters want to "destroy capitalism," this is the best shot they'll ever get...this is what scares me; if they accept that he'll be a "one termer," will the economy repeat what happened at the end of Bush's second term? Paging George Soros, are you coming back?

Could BoA be the next "Lehman," brothers? Thanks, Senator Dick!