This is not a financial crisis; it is a crime in progress.
Here's the short version of where we've been during the last year and where we're going now: During 2010, nothing got better, much got worse. In 2011, things will be about the same, only worse.
First Things First: When the Tea Party Republicans start reading the Constitution to the nation, they should start with the Preamble. Especially the part about providing for the general welfare.
Dedication: Martha Kunkle, who died in 1995, managed to continue signing foreclosure affidavits until 2008.
Smoke & Mirrors: If the deficit caused by cutting taxes without cutting spending does not matter – which is current GOP dogma – why not just eliminate all taxes? The January Plan, according to the Republicans, is to insist that new spending be funded by cuts in current spending, but that cuts in taxes do not have to be offset in any way. Hypocrisy never goes out of style.
Supply & Demand & Speculation: Oil closed out 2010 at it's highest year-end price since 2007 – supposedly in response to global economic recovery outside the United States. The $90 a barrel has elicited only a small increase in supply from OPEC even though a global increase in demand is forecast. No one wanted to talk about speculators influence on the price, nor the influence of price increases at the pump on the US economy.
Said the Spider to the Fly: Russia's Gazprom says Germans would pay less for their natural gas if they got it directly from Gazprom.
Same Old Song: “Is there any energy source which humanity can use in the future which will permit international trade to continue once oil is no longer available?” No. Why do you ask?
Performance Specs: Right now you can go 499 days between your last mortgage payment and eventual foreclosure. Can you say Christmas shopping? Nearly 7 million houses are delinquent or in foreclosure. There are 4.3 million houses past the first 90 days down that path. Foreclosure sales are expected to increase, prices decrease. Happy New Year.
Dr. Faust, PLC: “America is in thrall to a specific cultural and financial ideology which claims that all good things flow from corporate profits... Too bad there is no evidence to support this narrow faith.”
Crooks Are Us: Steve Rattner, well-known financier and Obama's car czar in the overhaul of the US auto industry, has agreed to pay $10 million to settle kickback charges arising from his dealings with the NY State pension fund. He had previously paid $6.2 million to settle similar SEC charges. Rattner's Quadrangle Group also struck a deal with both the NY State AG and the SEC to pay another $12 million on other corruption charges. No wonder he was chosen to sell cars.
Observed: “The Last Two Years Have Been The Best Ever For Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi And Bank Of America.” And how much did that cost the American taxpayers?
Back to the Future: Private Bradley Manning has undergone psychological torture for over seven months at Quantico - without being convicted of any crime. Manning is being held as a "maximum custody detainee", spending 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets. Army doctors are plying him with antidepressants as they turn him into a vegetable. It's 1984 again.
Pigeons, Roosting: Henry Paulson, who as CEO of Goldman Sachs headed up God's Own investment firm and as Treasury Secretary bravely saved the US from
Goldman Sachs a complete financial meltdown, has lost a million dollars on a home he owned for for 4 years. And they say there is no justice.
Porn O'Graph: Pothole in the road to recovery.