Posts Tagged ‘USA’

S&P Credibility Rating Downgraded

Posted by politicalpartypooper on August 9, 2011

From 2000 until the third quarter of 2007, if you wanted to sell a mortgage backed security, and you wanted that security to get a higher rating than it deserved, you packaged decent mortgages together with crap, and called on S&P’s rating service to make shit look like gold.

From Wikipedia, The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reported in January 2011 that: “The three credit rating agencies were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval. Investors relied on them, often blindly. In some cases, they were obligated to use them, or regulatory capital standards were hinged on them. This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies. Their ratings helped the market soar and their downgrades through 2007 and 2008 wreaked havoc across markets and firms.”

I’m am saddened to announce that in light of S&P’s long history of rating securities they clearly had conflicts of interest over, we have decided to downgrade their credibility rating from a DD- to an FF+, with a negative outlook.

In case you’re wondering why the negative outlook, it’s due to our uncertainty that S&P can be trusted at all.  An FF+ rating is the twenty-eighth lowest possible rating but still implies a modicum (the slightest bit of it) of credibility, but believe it or not, we’re not certain S&P has earned even that.  Their ratings of mortgage backed securities stretched for nearly a decade; a record of dishonesty that has even North Korea wondering how any group of people could be so cavalier with the truth.

In fact, our downgrade of S&P came after seconds of painful deliberation, when it was discovered that executives of the firm may have received bonuses based on the amount of ratings their division pushed through the “mill”.

But nothing compares to our outrage over S&P’s insistence that these shit sandwiches earned S&P’s highest safety rating, a rating few American companies enjoy, along with the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

Yes, that’s right.  S&P rated these mortgage backed securities to be on equal footing in terms of investor safety with the government of the United States; not on much lower footing, not even on slightly lower footings.  Nay, S&P rated these securities to be exactly as safe as debt issued by the USA.

For that alone, we recommend that S&P ratings be avoided at all costs.





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Republican Or Democrat Does Not Equal “Choice” At The Polls

Posted by politicalpartypooper on July 7, 2010

We all have numerous choices in America.  It’s one of the trademarks of a Capitalistic society.  Grocery stores confuse me and I tend to stay out of department stores for fear of getting lost.  If I visit Amazon.com or any one of thousands of online stores (millions?) I’m struck by the plethora of choices I face.

So why is it that when I vote in America, I’m dumbfounded by the lack of choice?

Let’s see; I can choose a Democrat…or a Republican…a Democrat…or a Republican…a Democrat…or a Republican.

Some choice.  It’s like voting for the devil or his twin brother.  And always it makes me feel discouraged, as if knowing that neither choice will bring the change I hope for locally and in Washington.  I’ll be forty-three years old on Wednesday, July 14th, and having voted for twenty-five years, I come to find that I’ve never  voted for anyone I thought was a good choice.

Sure, I voted for President Obama like so many other people, but not because he was a Democrat…like so many other people.  For me, it was because he seemed more of an Independent than a Democrat, while McCain just seemed old.  I come to find out that he really is a Democrat; complete with all of the trappings of that party.  Got a crisis?  He asks himself, “what would a Democrat do?”  Recession?  What would a Democrat do?  War?  What would a Democrat do?

It turns out, Democrats aren’t much different from Republicans.  Sure, their ideologies are worlds apart, but the way they actually govern isn’t.  In practical terms, there’s only one ideology that governs in Washington; Incumbency.

It’s more than just an individual thing, too.  If that were all it were, I wouldn’t feel so cheated at the poll.  One man’s ideology is his right, and in many cases, can be honorable.  But a political party’s ideology?  That’s a different thing.  When a mass of humanity clusters, and then jostles for power collectively, their opponents become enemies.  And every seat of power becomes something to win and then to hold on to, as if owned.  Along the way, the issues of our day meet the differing ideologies, and often become secondary to the struggle for power.

Such is the state of our union; this glorious union of the States of America.

The state of our union is corrupt; dominated by two political parties who weren’t even in existence when our Constitution was written.  Those two parties are almost wholly funded by Corporate or special interests; many of those even foreign interests.  It’s become so bad in these last years that in a decision between special interests and the interests of the citizens of America, special interests always win.  It doesn’t matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in power; if there is legislation to be written, Las Vegas bets that Corporate and Special interests will be favored.  If indeed there were a “line” on the legislation, the odds for special interests or corporate interests would be two-to-one while the odds against normal citizens would be 50:1.  That’s what money buys you, and money owns and operates Democrats and Republicans.

So when I vote this fall for a governor, a senator, and a congressional seat, I’ll be choosing between two parties who really only represent one interest; the corporations or special interests who gave the most money.  Sure, if I had a billion dollars to give these folks I could buy legislation, too.  But that’s not the way our system is supposed to work!

I’m supposed to have choices!  This is America, for God’s sake!  But time after time, the choice I’m left with is (R) or (D).  Like I said, some choice.

It’s not a choice.  It has the illusion of choice, but it’s not really a choice.  If it were, we might be able to trust a politician when he says he’s an outsider and he’ll change things.  But when I look at that guy and see a (D) or an (R) behind his name, I know that no change is coming.  That guy is a Democrat, or a Republican.  If you think he’s suddenly going to have new ideas and new values, you are crazy.  I’ve been watching these guys for twenty-five years.  I’ve been waiting for the guy who actually carried the mantel that went with the words for that long.  I’ve heard it all.  I’ve heard all of the “I’m different!” speeches that I care to.  I heard the first words out President Obama’s mouth the night he won the White House, “Change has come to America!”

No, it hasn’t.  I knew then that it hadn’t.  I liked the guy, but I knew then that change was at least another four years away, and probably a lot longer than that.

You see, it’s as I said.  I’ve heard all of the speeches.  In 2000, George W. Bush ran as a Washington outsider. In 1992, it was Bill Clinton.  In 1980, it was Reagan. And on and on and on.  Change?  Washington isn’t the problem.

It’s the two political parties that are.  It’s these two massive corporations that recycle the same, tired rhetoric year after year, election after election.  “Vote for me!  I’m different!  I’ll bring change to Washington!” (R)

“Vote for me!  I’ll change the way Washington operates!”  (D)

See?  That’s not a choice.  It’s the same thing.  It’s two massive corporations controlling every aspect of America, and each one is determined to have you believe that they will change what’s wrong in Washington.  There’s nothing so wrong in Washington that a well placed tactical nuke hitting both party conventions couldn’t solve in an instant.

Did I say that out loud?  May it never happen, because in America, we don’t solve problems that way.  We solve them at the polls.  Which leads me to the point of this entire article.

What America needs is not a third party.  Sorry Tea Party, but you are Republican Lite.  We need another one of those like we need a Second Great Depression.

What America needs is a new, yet old, philosophy.  We need to start anew the idea that we can govern ourselves without the help of political parties or a ruling class.  That’s what political parties are, you know; a ruling elite, without whom America would be lost; or so they would have us believe.

I find great solace in the fact that America won its independence and wrote its original constitution entirely without the help of a political party, or a class of ruling elite.  Farmers, doctors, business men, soldiers, and inventors wrote our constitution.  The self-made and the self-educated partook in the process.  Today, our process is dominated by cookie-cutter, inside-of-the-box,  centuries-old, obsolete ideology, and by money.  It’s time to change that.

If you want change, you aren’t going to find it with an (R) or a (D) behind its name.  That means you probably won’t find it this fall.  Sure, Republicans hope to win huge victories this November, but those victories won’t represent change for you and me; only change for the party elite.  Even regular Americans who support the Republicans cannot realistically expect anything to change in Washington after the elections.  That’s because you can’t clean a baby with dirty bath water, and the bath water in Washington is completely polluted by Republicans and Democrats.  They are part of the problem; one with it, in essence.  Expecting them to change it in a way that favors American citizens who don’t contribute to their campaigns is like asking the mafia to police themselves.

If you want change, you are going to bring it about yourself.  Look within yourself; look within your neighborhoods and your towns.  And for God’s sake, don’t look within the two parties.  Find an Independent, or become one.  Run for office Independently.  Do it locally, or, if you can get the funding, do it nationally.  Change won’t come easily, and it won’t come all at once.  But it won’t come at all if we keep making the same choices we’ve always made.

It turns out, those choices weren’t really choices at all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

House – Senate Compromise Equals Continued Bailouts

Posted by politicalpartypooper on June 25, 2010

The House-Senate compromise bill on overhauling regulations on banks and other financial institutions was passed today at 5:40 AM.  Two years after the American economy began to collapse, lawmakers began their negotiations in front of C-Span cameras on Thursday morning, but ended them behind closed doors on Friday.  So much for transparency.

During the collapse, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a high of just over 14,066 to 6,626, a nearly 53% drop in less than a year.  Unemployment skyrocketed to nearly eleven percent.  The Housing Bubble, coupled with Credit Default swaps and other risky derivatives betting left America’s banks unable to meet Federal requirements for Capital on hand, creating the need for a massive Wall Street bailout to “prevent the American economy from collapsing”.

With all of that in mind, Congress and the Senate negotiated the strongest parts of the reform bill away.  Credit Default swaps are here to stay.  Banks can still play in the derivatives market, and still have Federal cash available to bail them out from a series of bad bets.  In layman’s terms, the banks money (investor money) is backed by the Fed.  The bank is still allowed to use that Fed backed investor money to trade in derivatives related to interest rates, foreign exchanges, gold and silver, the largest and most profitable portion of their derivatives trading already.  If the bank’s bet on those derivatives is bad, they have the Fed to fall back on to make their bets good.  That’s called a bailout, but because of the oversight and transparency rules in the bill, the bailouts will be smaller and happen more frequently.

There are some strong changes in the bill, but regulation on the major items most taxpayers were concerned about, like bailouts and Credit Default swaps, were either watered down or left alone completely.  That Credit Default swaps are still in existence at all is a point that amazes me, as an investor.  That one instrument created a domino effect that collapsed our economy.  Nearly two years after AIG and our biggest banks went hat in hand to the Fed, unemployment rates are still near ten percent, and the Dow Jones, which never regained what it had lost to begin with, is on the way back down again.  Consumer confidence is low, banks are not lending to small businesses, and businesses are not hiring.

Yet our senators and congresspeople found nothing inherently wrong with a derivative that toppled our economic system. And, our senators and congresspeople want you to believe that all of the money Wall Street and our largest banks give to them do not create a conflict of interest or influence the way they write legislation.     Ω

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »