Mark McHugh

Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Hey Bernanke Supporters, Who’s Your Daddy? (Part 1)

In Open Thread on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 2:33 am

“For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”      

~ President Barack Obama  12/10/2009      

(You got that right, chief)    

“Once you get rid of integrity, the rest is a piece of cake”     

~J. R. Ewing     

As you probably know, the Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Ben Bernanke to serve a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Thursday, 12/17/2009.   The full Senate vote is expected in January.     

The vote was 16-7 in favor of Bernanke (I’ve included the results at the end of the post, because these things tend to get “lost”).  But here’s something interesting: the Bernanke vote was 5-5 for politicians facing 2010 elections (9 senate re-elections and Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has announced intentions to run for Governor of Texas).  Fun fact: Oregon’s Jeff Merkley was the only Senator NOT facing an election this year who opposed Bernanke (Jim Bunning has announced plans to retire, but would face re-election in 2010 should  he change his mind).  And while this was not the cake walk the mainstream media predicted, it’s still not reflective of Bernanke’s reported 21% approval rating.  

The disconnect between the will of the people and our Senators’ vote begs question, Who’s your Daddy?   I think I’ve found the answer.   

  (compiled from Opensecrets.org - Click image to enlarge)     

These are the top contributors of the Ben-lovin’ committee members elected in 2004 (all but Judd Gregg are seeking re-election in 2010), although it could be mistaken for a All-Time Greatest Criminal Enterprises ballot.  This group raised more than 10 times the funds of their respective runners-up ($48.5M vs. $4.7M).  In fact, their unspent contributions ($17.6M) were more than 3.5 times their opponents’ total contributions.     

And it gets worse looking ahead…..     

   ( Same deal – Click image to enlarge)     

*Note: the “retiring” Greg has been removed and Michael Bennet added.  Bennet was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar when he accepted the Secretary of the Interior post in the Obama administration.     

As of this writing, these sitting Senators already have over $47M in re-election funds (more than 11 times their closest contenders), and I think it’s safe to assume Wall St. will “pass the hat” for them again if Bernanke is re-confirmed.   This money will be used to buy TV and newspaper advertising, maybe even a feature story or two in TIME magazine (just saying..).  So these millions in kickbacks contributions (which came from taxpayers, incidentally) pay for political favors that produce billions in undeserved bonuses for Wall St and trillions in public debt.  And let’s face it, the odds of this vicious cycle ending on its own are about the same as Lloyd Blankfein being visited by three spirits this Christmas.      

    

Please, threaten contact your Senator today…      

      

Don’t think we’re not keeping score here, Brother

In abstract, I don’t care who these clowns play tonsil-hockey with to get their war chests.  What I care about is that they honor the constitution, the law and the will of the voters.   That isn’t happening now.  The re-confirmation of Bernanke is nothing short of a referendum on reality.   He failed to perform his basic duties as Fed chair and coerced congress into a $700B bailout of his buddies under false pretenses.  Furthermore, he has flat-out refused to divulge the whereabouts of trillions of dollars.   This is as black and white as issues get and thus far, 16 morally bankrupt US Senators have decided to plant a big, green loogey in the public eye.  What I’ve written so far doesn’t even begin to show how crooked and conflicted these men really are (this is only Part one in a series).  And I just can’t get that TIME magazine cover out of my head….     

  Can you say, “Go swab the poop deck”?     

 

I got your Folk Wisdom right here….

It is a sad state of affairs when the best argument you can make for not firing a lying incompetent is folk wisdom (i.e. “You don’t change horses mid-stream”).  I like folk wisdom too.   Hey Senator, “Don’t shit where you eat.”     

*****

    

 Are you a Populist?  

“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”     

~ Groucho Marx   

I’m not a joiner. My local library network is the only organization on Earth that could conceivably claim me as a member.  It keeps bumper stickers off my car.  But lately, I’m hearing a lot about this new group. It’s the new dirty word in America: Populist.  For over a year now I’ve been hearing it spit with disdain by media personalities, elected officials, and Wall Street minions.  Apparently, this shadowy sub-culture believes stealing (especially from children) is wrong, crony capitalism is real, and Ben Benanke created the Frankenstein monster he has battled during his tenure.  I know it sounds crazy, but I think these “populists” are people I could party with.  The trouble is, I don’t know where to find them.  There’s a rumor going around that they meet at polling places in November, which would explain why some elected officials hate them so much (imagine the damage they could do).  Still, if anyone out there knows the secret hand shake, or whatever, let me know so I can join my local populist lodge, cell or coven.  I think I may know some other people interested in joining, too.     

Naughty or Nice list Update…

Despite what those of you familiar with my prose may think, it is not in my nature to make enemies unnecessarily.  I’m disappointed that so few have raised their voices against the patron saint of moral hazard.   Perhaps the greatest gift America could give itself right now is a reminder that “We the People” still determine our Nation’s destiny.  Those who would make our children slaves are hijacking the beautifully designed system of “checks and balances” our founding fathers gave us.  Can you write or speak of anything more important than that? I am begging you to sound the alarm before it is too late.   

 

If you’re really feeling generous….  

Opensecrets.org  and Wikipedia are two very worthy organizations, in my opinion (they can say they’re doing God’s work with a straight face).   The data and images in this post came from Open Secrets, and I don’t trust (S & P parent) McGraw-Hill to write the history books.     

 

Senate Banking Committee Bernanke Confirmation Vote (12/17/2009)

(term expiration in Bold)    

Yeas:     

Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)…..2010 (Chairman & Friend of Angelo)    

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)…..2010 

 Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) ……2010  

Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)……*2010 (retiring) 

Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)…..**2010 (replaced Ken Salazar in 2009)   

Bob Bennett (R-Utah)…..2010    

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)…..2012      

Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)….. 2012      

Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)….. 2012      

Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) …..2012      

Jon Tester (D-Mont.)…..2012      

Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)…..2012   

Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)…..2014  

Jack Reed (D-R.I.)…..2014     

Mark Warner (D-Va.)…..2014   

Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) …..2014     

Nays:      

Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)…..2010 (Ranking member)     

Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)….. *2010 (retiring)      

Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)….. 2010      

Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)….. 2010      

David Vitter (R-La.)….. 2010      

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)….. ***2012 (expected to run for governor in 2010; term expires in 2012)     

Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)…..2014     

Happy Holidays!    

    

Bonus Material / Update

As you may remember, last time I included my letters to my Senators.  Well here’s how that went:  

Bob Casey sent me an auto-responder telling me how happy he was to here from me….  

And Arlen Specter sent me fucking spam:  

 

So I sent this: 

Dear Senator Specter, 

Thanks for ignoring my last question and spamming me about another issue that I didn’t ask about.  Let’s Try this again…. 

Do you or do you NOT support the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal reserve and why? 

Please reply, 

Mark 

I mean it’s an easy, easy question, ya know, like “What party are you affiliated with?”    Well, that’s an easy question for most politicians anyway.  Let’s see if Mr Magic Bullet replies this time.  But in the mean time, here’s his list: 

 

Hmmmm, I wonder which way he’s leaning….. 

Another Update????:

Coincidence or what?  Three hours after posting Arlen Specter’s spam, I heard from my other Senator, Bob Casey (keep in mind, I contacted him 15 days ago).   Here’s the meat of his reply: 

“Dr. Bernanke’s first term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve ends on January 31, 2010. Due to his unique knowledge and performance steering the economy out of a deep recession, President Obama nominated the Chairman for a second term. Subsequently, the Senate Banking Committee voted 16-7 to clear Dr. Bernanke for consideration by the full Senate. I understand there are concerns about Dr. Bernanke’s role in the economic downturn and subsequent recovery. Please be assured that I will keep these questions in mind as Dr. Bernanke’s confirmation comes before the Senate for a vote. ” 

Well, his reply was on-topic, but it sounds to me like he’s gonna give it thumbs-up, while acting concerned.  That’s not good enough.  I’m not posting his “Who’s your Daddy?” list (which isn’t that damning anyway, here’s the link).  In 2008, Casey defeated Republican incumbent Rick Santorum with a smaller war chest ($17.9M vs. $26.6M), helped by the waning popularity of George W. Bush; and being the son of a former Governor probably didn’t hurt.  He was an early supporter of Obama. 

Looks like I’m going to have to restate my case to Senator Casey.  More later…..

Ben Bernanke must be Stopped: A Call for Action

In Open Thread on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm

 The pending reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve is the non-story of the Century, and I find this terrifying.  Propaganda of his alleged “success” has been crammed in every orifice of the American people by the rich and shameless (yet relatively few believe it).   This is truly the time for action, unless you really enjoy Tea-partying ’til you puke.  I’m asking every American to demand that their Senators stand up and oppose the nomination.  Our future depends on it. 

 Contact your Senator

So much for that “Of the people, by the people,  for the people” crap…

Explain this to me: 21% of adult Americans favor the re-appointment  of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, yet only four Senators have had the intestinal fortitude to step up and say they oppose him.  An alarming 39% of Americans aren’t sure.  This I cannot fathom;  it’s as pathetic as being “on the fence” about slavery or child-pornography.  Let’s review the mind-boggling difference between what Bernanke did and what he was supposed to do.

Here is the Federal Reserve’s Mission Statement, presented in its entirety:

  • conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system.
  • These four simple sentences comprise Ben Bernanke’s job description.  There’s not anything in there about monitoring men’s underwear sales to divine economic conditions (which seriously, is what Greenspan did).  Worse yet, the Fed is trying to leverage its own criminally negligent failures into a coup to seize even more power and control.  But hey, if four sentences is too much for you, the so-called congressional mandate for the Fed can be boiled down to five words:

    Stable Prices and Maximum Employment

    The Federal Reserve failed to follow very simple instructions.  There is no other way to see it.  It wasn’t circumstances beyond their control, it was the very circumstances that they were supposed to control that caused the meltdown.  They sat on their hands while housing prices soared on easy money and created the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen.   No money down, subprime, ARM, 125% loan-to-value, and interest-only mortgages were “all-good” with Ben and Al.  The fact that these were credit-driven, unstable, and unsustainable prices was lost on them.

     Bernanke ignored both reality and his job instructions for as long as possible.  The fallout from that failure looks like this:

    It is important to note that this is the polished-up “official” government numbers.  Anyone on this side of the rainbow already knows, the reality is much worse.  In fact the smart guys at Trim Tabs assert that the BLS missed the November jobs report by over 200,000. 

    A Vicious Cycle continues…

    Thanks to Bernanke’s incompetence, price instability has reached biblical proportions.  For example, Oil has traded everywhere between $32.40 and $147 per barrel in the last 18 months.  How’s that for price stability?  I can sight so many examples of price instability that, rather than list them all, I made this nice collage:

    And if this isn’t enough to convince you how horrendous a job Bernanke has done, there’s always this:

    (Image from http://www.babylontoday.com/)

    Bernanke “saved” Wall St.  with US taxpayer money who have borrowed more than $6000 for every man, woman and child in the country in the last twelve months alone.  Yet  to this day, he refuses to divulge exactly what  is on the Fed’s balance sheet.  The idea that any nation can borrow its way to prosperity is utterly insane, yet here we are, trying to drink ourselves sober, and sticking our kids with the bill.  To call the architect of such a plan a “hero” is an insult to our intelligence.  

    America should be discussing prison terms for Bernanke and his accomplices (who incidentally will be getting record bonuses this Christmas), not reappointment, and anyone who says he’s done a good job is either a liar or a fool.  He’s an arsonist masquerading as a fire fighter and there is no other way to see it.  This story should be front and center in America.  Instead it’s being treated like a non-event, a forgone conclusion.  And the few Senators who have stood up against the generational-rape of America are being labeled cranks. 

     Madness……

    Let your Senator know that if he doesn’t stand up right now, his punk-ass is gone!  Link to list at Senate.gov

    (this is the official end of the post)

    Bonus material (how I really feel):

    I am an American, first and foremost.  The principles our Country was founded on are more important to me than my own comfort, even my own life.  Anyone willing to compromise those principles is destined to be enslaved, and of no use to me.

    Change you can believe in” has been cancelled… we now return to another episode of “Crooks playing musical chairs

    Pick a Conspiracy Theory….

    Any shit-for-brains conspiracy theory you want, and you’ll find those whack-jobs have far more evidence than Bernanke supporters.  I find Bernanke supporters every bit as loathsome as Holocaust deniers.  People willing to stick their heads in their asses, so they can live with themselves. 

    I’m making a list and checking it twice…..

     It’s time to do the right thing.  I expect every American to make their voice heard loud and clear about Bernanke’s reappointment.  This goes a hundred-fold for those in the public eye (TV personalities, writers, and yes, even bloggers).  Those who fail to take a clear stand are cowards in my eyes and will be treated with the disrespect cowards deserve.

    Ben Bernanke – Patron Saint of Moral Hazard ®

    In Open Thread on Monday, December 7, 2009 at 2:36 am

    “The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools”  

    ~ Herbert Spencer    

     Original artwork by Bleu Turrell of Turrellart.com  (cheesy photoshop by me). 

    You’d think I’d understand the symbolism behind my own art.  Well, it’s not actually my art, but still, you’d think I’d know what the components (of which there are only two) were supposed to represent when I asked for permission to alter the identity of one of them.  I don’t.  Initially I thought the dragon represented the “crisis” that Bernanke saved us from.  You know, bazooka-ing your grandkids money at AIG, Citigroup, Goldman and everyone else who caused the crisis, so that the Sun would rise again…. 

    Then I thought the slayed dragon represented the taxpayer…capitalism…the country….or better yet….Justice.   

    more Read the rest of this entry »

    Jim Bunning throws another Perfect Game

    In Open Thread on Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I will do everything I can to stop your nomination and drag out this process as long as I can.  We must put an end to your and the Fed’s failure and there is no better time than now.  Your Fed has become the creature from Jekyll Island.”

    ~ Senataor Jim Bunning  December 3, 2009

    One person can make a difference.  Sometimes I forget that.  For four long years now, I’ve watched Congress, Wall Street and the media swoon over the actions of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.  It has been like watching a dramatization of The Emperor’s New Clothes.  Jim Bunning doesn’t see the “magic” and has said so in no uncertain terms.  The general public, who overwhelmingly wants to see Bernanke return to waiting tables at South of the Border, is beginning to turn to their elected officials and ask, “What do you see?”  Don’t look now, but I think the shit just got real.

     Here in my little world, anyone who throws a perfect game in a Phillies uniform automatically qualifies as a diety.  Doing it on Father’s Day against the Mets is arguably a greater feat than parting the Red Sea.  Sadly, like Moses, the Kentucky Senator will not be remembered as a silver-tongued orator,  but  he can still play hardball, as the Fed Chair discovered  Thursday at his confirmation hearing.  Let’s just say it wasn’t the Tee-ball session Bennie expected…..

     You can find the full video and transcript at the Daily Bail.  This is a must see!  Bunning holds Bernanke’s feet to the fire and doesn’t relent.  Heli-Ben completely wiffs defending the indefensible.

    Quotes:

    “…. the A.I.G. bailout alone is reason enough to send you back to Princeton”

    more….. Read the rest of this entry »