Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Citi Group says Play Ball

All the talk on the street this week has been about the bail out of Citi and the big three auto makers. The big boys in Detroit are putting together plans on how to make like Lazarus and come back to life. Meanwhile, Citi is moving ahead with the naming rights to the new New York Mets baseball field in Queens. It will be called simply Citi Field. It will be the largest price paid for naming rights in the history of such things. Citi will pay $20 million a year for 20 years. My trusty pencil and paper tells me that is $400 million. According to Time magazine, this is what Citi is getting from us, the taxpayers:

"Specifically, the government will back a $306 billion pool of troubled loans and securities largely related to the foundering residential and commercial real estate markets. After Citi absorbs the first $29 billion in losses on these securities, the government — first the Treasury Department and then the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — will step in and bear 90% of any further losses. In return, the government gets up to $7 billion in preferred Citi stock and the right to buy more shares at $10.61 — not a bargain these days, with Citi trading in the single digits, but perhaps worth more down the road. On top of that, $20 billion from the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be injected into the company in exchange for preferred shares that come with an 8% dividend."

Are you tired of grabbing your ankles yet?

Rangel gets Tangled in a Tax Web

Who would have thought that Charles Rangel, the raspy voiced chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, would have tax troubles? This is the same committee that is responsible for writing tax bills into existence. Now, Rangel has been true to the platform of his party by attacking corporations that drill for oil offshore for not paying taxes in the U.S. But, the tune changes when a lobbyists is playing the flute. Rangel dropped plans to tax the drillers when a lobbyist came a calling and throwing dollars around. Seems Eugene Isenberg, chairman of Nabors Industries, an oil-drilling company that does some work way out in the water, has made a donation in the amount of $1 million to the "Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service" at the City College of New York. Hmmmmm. Charles Rangel met with Mr. Isenberg and the lobbyist for Nabors Industries and discussed the legislation on the same morning that the congressman and Mr. Isenberg met to talk about the chief executive's potential support for the Rangel center. And, just for dramatic effect, that meeting also took place on the very day that the offshore-taxation issue came up before his committee.

What a tangled web you weave, Mr. Rangels

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Russian Analyst Sees Decline of America

The following is from Drudge Report. Take note on how well our adversaries know us. They know our financial mess as well as our cultural divides. As you read this, realize that this is the sentiment of the entire world. This is what we have become...

RUSSIAN ANALYST PREDICTS DECLINE AND BREAKUP OF USATue Nov 25 2008 09:04:22 ETA leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts. Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse." The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events. When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator." When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia." Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles." He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions." He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong. He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare. Developing...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where is the Change that was Promised?

Barack Obama is still two months from taking office, but he is already going back on a campaign promise....Change. "Change We Can Believe In" has given way to the same ole Washington insiders. First to get the nod was fellow Illinois hack Rahm Emanuel, a veteran of the Clinton administration. Next up is Eric Holder, who was the Justice Department's No. 2 man when Sen. Clinton's husband was president. Holder, as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno during the Clinton Administration, said that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms, but instead protects the right to have a firearm when serving with a militia. After leaving office, Holder signed Janet Reno's brief to the Supreme Court in the Heller case, which stated, "The Second Amendment does not protect firearms possession or use that is unrelated to participation in a well-regulated militia." So much for Obama being a supporter of the Second Amendment. Holder is also linked to the Mark Rich pardon at the end of the Clinton years. But, keep in mind that Denise Rich raised and donated more than $1 million to the Democratic Party and also provided the Clintons directly with a $10,000 contribution to their legal defense fund and $7,300 worth of furniture. All is forgiven.

Now move to Hillary herself, who sources say will accept the Secretary of State post. Do you see any change yet? Let's not forget about Tom Daschle. He has been tapped for the Department of Health and Human Services to spot. That chair controls almost a quarter of all federal spending. After his defeat in the Senate, Tom stayed in D.C. to "advise" public policy on health care with the firm of Alston and Bird. Daschle's wife was acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in the Clinton administration and is one of Washington's top lobbyists. Change? Anyone see change in these positions?