OK, that's enough

(sigh) I hate talking about politics, pretty much period. First off, I just don't like talking about politics. Perhaps strange for somebody who actually went to college claiming he wanted a Political Science degree, but that was really always window dressing - it was an employable version of a history or anthropology degree. Blogging about politics is even more fraught because I only have maybe a dozen readers and I know two of them disagree with me on almost every political point you'd care to name. But sometimes I just have to say something before I explode.

First off, if you want to understand this current financial whatever-it-is and you're open-minded enough to believe that NPR isn't a vast conspiracy of whatever sort, let me direct you at the Planet Money podcast (which I saw in a Twitter from Scott Simpson). I've just binged on their last week's worth of podcasts, I guess I was hoping more information would make me less outraged. That didn't work. But I am more informed now.

Let's review.

1 ) Under deregulation, banks were allowed to "leverage" to a what is, in hindsight at least, a ridiculous degree. When all the chickens of the subprime mortgage came home to roost, the banks simply did not have the cash to provide the insurance they had committed to. It's complicated because apparently mutual funds had started providing insurance and a lot of people who had no business guaranteeing mortgages had, through a twisty and complex package of derivatives. But this is still the gist, when all of these ARM mortgages adjust people lose their homes and a lot of people "insured" against that happening but didn't actually set aside any money against that event.

2 ) This was an obvious outcome. I speak as somebody who bought a house in 2004 and found it completely impossible to get anybody in the whole real estate/mortgage cabal to even admit subprime mortgages were bad. (Full disclosure: my current mortgages fall into this category. I finally settled for getting mortgages where I could make real payments without penalties. And yes, my mortgage broker thought I was being silly, but there were mortgages that penalized me for paying any principal in the first five years. I wouldn't take those.) It was immediately obvious that as soon as propery values even went flat the whole sector was going to collapse.

3 ) The Deputy White House Secretary admits people have "had months" to work on this bailout plan. (Hit that link and search in the page for hastily for the good bit.)

4 ) Although the executive branch has had been working this for months, we have to pass it RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD OR WE'LL ALL DIE!. Even though nobody had heard about this "plan" a month ago.

5 ) I've heard that before from this administration. See the Patriot Act, see the authorization for force in Iraq, see the retroactive immunity for telecoms asserting that it's OK for a company to break the law if the executive branch tells them to do so. (! I still can't even think that without adding the exclamation point. What. The. Fuck.) Fool the country once, shame on you. Fool the country twice, shame on the country. Fool the country three times and proverbs fail me. Try the fool country a fourth time and can't we just say the fuck NO for a few months and just give Bush the "OH MY GOD WOULD YOU JUST SHUT UP" hand for a while? I'm pretty much good on calling him a lame duck now and waiting to see who comes next.

6 ) The bailout package gives unprecedented powers to the Treasury Secretary. Specifically at least some drafts of it have said:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Are you fucking kidding me? We have an administration who has pushed for nigh on to eight years now that it needs unbridled, unlimited power and here we have a bill spelling it out explicitly for once. If Congress passes this clause it's tantamount to cutting their own throat, since they'll be willingly castrating themselves. If it wasn't so goddamn important I'd say let them, but sadly it's too important to remind the executive branch that it's just one of three equal branches and there are checks and balances for good fucking reasons.

7 ) It's so important that McCain has to suspend his campaign, and coincidentally the debate. Well, maybe we could reschedule the Presidential debate over the VP debate. I mean, haven't we heard enough from <Foghorn Leghorn chuckle> that cute little Alaskan governor lady </Foghorn Leghorn chuckle>? Well yes, I've heard enough from her, but as long as a major party is claiming she's qualified to hold high executive office then no, I haven't heard enough. Please go on, I'm fascinated to hear how if "Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the US" the Alaskan governor is prepared to handle it. Presumably because we can't find Al Haig anymore? Or perhaps how the fact that one in five jobs are in the trade sector means being the governor of Alaska is substantial foreign policy experience? Hey McCain, you picked her, let her go to the debate. I realize it's a problem since your party doesn't have a whole lot of minorities and that's puzzling. You'd think more women were pro-shotgun weddings, wouldn't you? Maybe declaring everyone who fails off the impossibly narrow ethical tightrope as enemies of the state means your pool of qualified candidates is too narrow?

8 ) Except wait, no McCain can debate after all since the bailout deal didn't fall apart yesterday. Wait, it did fall apart didn't it? I'd ask for the McCain campaign to stay on message, but I guess first I need to ask it to pick no more than one message per week. Once they do that we can work on staying on the message. Remember, he was going to the debate on Tuesday (9/23) had "no intention to going to the debate" on 9/24/08, and on 9/26/08 he's going to debate after all. Because in the timeframe since McCain suspended his campaign the bailout fell apart, and Washington Mutual collapsed in the "biggest banking failure in American history". So either that's a "heckuva job" there, or he's a big flip-flopper. Which is it exactly?

Bottom Line: one of the parties is trying to tell us that we have to pass the bailout RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD DO IT, WE CAN'T EVEN HAVE A NORMAL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, PASS IT PASS IT, GIVE ALL THE POWER TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT! Which is so far up the ass of the boy who cried wolf that it must be real, because if Saturday Night Live said this shit as satire they would be scoffed at as being ridiculous and unbelievable.

Look, when the tinfoil hat capital-L liberals say the Republicans are going to pull some sort of "October Surprise" and postpone or suspend the election we all agree that's ridiculous poppycock and should be mocked right? Well suspending a campaign for two days is the best argument yet that it's plausible. I still don't believe it will happen, but I'd appreciate it if the Republican presidential candidate didn't hand them any more loaded pistols. OKThanksBye!