Choices have consequences.
Deal Killer: Iraq wants to change the SOF pact to include a ban against US forces attacking and invading the neighbors - which is exactly why the US built those big secret bases in the desert. Who backs down first - those with the guns or those with the oil?
Here's the Plan: The taxpayers give $15 billion to GM/Chrysler to help them merge, and in return they lay off 74,000 taxpayers.
The List: Paulson's version of triage: Give money to the big guys, let them buy up the medium sized guys and make sure they are all too big to fail, then let the little guys die - they're not part of the club. Thumbs up, thumbs down.
Dumb as a Rock: The headline: "Suspected US Missile Strikes Kill 27 in Pakistan". Who else has been lobbing missiles into Pakistan?
Slow Learner: According to Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, bailouts are not the solution. He advocates a simple requirement: that no mortgage be issued unless the borrower can make - from his/her own funds - a 20% down payment. Also, the loan should not be more than 30% of the applicant's after tax income. Mr. O'Neill, you may recall, was fired for telling George Bush the truth too many times.
Credibility: Cheney's office seem content to let the press believe that the armed incursion into Syria was the work of a handful of gung-ho special ops troops. Someone should put a muzzle on them. No, not the troops, the VP's office.
In A Plain Brown Wrapper: One way to guesstimate the losses on Lehman's CDS settlement is to observe that AIG is now into Uncle Sugar for $144 billion.
It's only Broccoli : Suffering from an ongoing drought, California will cut water deliveries to just 15% of the amounts requested. This year water agencies received only 35% of their requests. Farmers anticipate using what little water they get on their permanent crops - mostly tree fruit and nuts - that represent long term investments. Seasonal crops like tomatoes and broccoli will go without.
Who Insures the Insurers: The Hartford reported 3Q losses and said it couldn't figure out how much capital it had, or didn't have. The stock was off 51%. Other biggies were off aboaut 25%. The answer: You, dummy.
Comming Soon: If you decide to go abroad on your next vacation - assuming you're not on The List - when you apply for an exit visa, the folks at Treasury/Security Oversight will notify your credit card carriers to limit your charges and withdrawals to $100 a day until the government notifies them you have returned. Your bank accounts will immediately be frozen. After you obtain a 'guarantee of return' surety bond from AIG, you can apply for your travel permit and tickets, submit your itinerary for approval, and pre-pay your mortgage for the length of your trip plus 90 days - it will seldom take US Marshalls that long to apprehend you and return you to a USofA facility. You already have the GPS locater chip in your thigh, haven't you?
Thin's In: Arctic sea ice thinned by 10 - 20% last winter. Five years ago the consensus was that Arctic sea ice would disappear by 2080; 2030 is a more realistic projection.
Treading Water: It's not just the homeowners who are underwater, it's the banks, too. First Federal Bank of California, for example, had the keys to 380 foreclosed houses on June 30th. During the third quarter it managed to sell 329 of them. And acquired the keys to 450 more.
Bet On It: A while back you could insure $10 million in US Treasuries for about $1,000 a year. It's now $40,000 a year. Germany's up to $36,000 and the Brits are at $64,000. Down boy, down.