Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Do You Know Where Your TARP Money Is?

Obama wants Congress to authorize the release of the second $350 Bn in TARP money authorized under EESA. Apparently he has called his good buddy Bush and asked if he would be kind enough to pull the trigger and release the funds. Perhaps Obama is concerned about the ability of Citicorp to make good on its separation agreement for his key adviser Robert Rubin?

When Paulson envisioned the TARP, I guess they figured that if they just threw a TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) of money over the banking problem everybody would forget that our banking system is broken. I believe this a a kind of ostrich strategy. Just suggest to all American taxpayers that all they have to do is stick their heads in the sand and pretend that the TARP money is saving our crashing banking system. All should be oakie dokie.

During the holidays I welcomed a little respite from the real time news feeds of the capital market carnage that the credit crisis has wrought. The daily bulletins that our investment portfolios and 401K’s are worthless and that our home equity nest egg is gone with the wind seemed to have abated. But now that the holidays are over the sad news concerning our nations economic health is starting to trickle in again. Today two little news items came across our desk arousing our curiosity about the $350 Bn Paulson, Kashkari and the rest of the crew at the Treasury Department has been throwing at US banks and bank wannabe’s.

The first item elevated my comfort level a couple of notches. The FDIC is requesting that banks receiving TARP program monies need to improve reporting on how the provision of credit products and lending is being enhanced through the participation in the program. WOW what a thought. The Treasury Department dolls out $350 Bn and as an after thought is now setting reporting requirements as to how the taxpayers capital is being used for lending to restore the economic vibrancy of the stalled economy.

If taxpayers and politicians remain unsure as to how the TARP monies are being put to good use by the banks one doesn’t have to look further then the news items concerning Morgan Stanley’s interest in purchasing Citibank’s investment banking arm. Citibank owner of the remaining vestiges of Salomon Brothers and Smith Barney have been under investor pressure for years to divest its brokerage divisions. The transformation of the banking industry as a result of the credit crisis will accomplish this feat. Citibank continues to require major capital infusions. So far, Citibank has received almost $45 Bn in TARP and federal assistance monies. It still requires substantial capital to remain solvent, Mr. Rubin’s separation package notwithstanding. Morgan Stanley flush with at least $10 Bn in TARP money will put it to good use by acquiring Citi’s brokerage unit on the cheap. This asset for cash swap exchange is a telling example as to how TARP funds are being deployed by its recipients.

I can’t believe that many American taxpayers are feeling too good about their money being used to enrich the shareholders of Morgan Stanley and to protect the threatened equity capital of our countries once largest banking institution. In a capitalist economy you need institutions that are allowed to fail. If capitalists are protected from the possibility of failure they can’t be rightfully called a capitalist. Given all that the capitalists have been through with the credit crisis, recession and bank failures; we cannot allow our financiers to experience an identity crisis as well. That would be cruel.

You Tube Video: Grateful Dead, US Blues

Risk: banks, market, credit

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January 13, 2009 Posted by | banking, Bush, credit crisis, EESA, Obama, Paulson, TARP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Thine Eye Offends Thee

Dora Maar

There are global forces of change that are working diligently to birth a new world. The forces of change are opposed to the conflict, rancor, prejudices and injustice that form the pillars of privilege that continue to prop up the fossilized ruling powers and antiquated institutions that govern and control the world. The forces of change see this old guard as a fetter to progress. The forces of change want to build sustainable communities that equitably share the resources of the world. To achieve their objectives the forces of change use the tools of mutual respect, open communication and faithful trust to resolve differences. The forces of change ultimate objective is to arrive at a place that will bring the world into a new era that is free from the yoke of paralyzing fear, debilitating destitution and continuous conflict.

There are other global forces that are desperate to hold onto their ebbing power. They want to keep things the way they are. They are the forces of reaction. The forces of reaction sole concern is to protect it’s narrow self serving interests. The forces of reaction are locked in a battle with the forces of change and will fight them to the end. It is a life and death struggle. One part of the world wailing in birth pangs while the other sobs consumed in the agonizing throes of resentfulness and bitterness; painfully dying.

In is in this light that we can begin to make sense of Chip Saltsman’s distribution of a CD of racist songs and materials as Christmas gifts to Republican National Committee members. He distributed the CD to support his candidacy as Republican party chairman. Saltsman was the former campaign chair for Mike Huckabee’s failed presidential bid. It’s a bit beyond me how Huckabee, a former Baptist Minister, could entrust his campaign to a man who revels in the humor of racist tripe. The denigration of people with racist caricature is not funny. Its racist. The use of minstrelsy as political humor is not funny. It is racist.

Racism uses minstrelsy as a comedic cover. Minstrelsy is a weapon used by people and institutions threatened by the dissipation of power and the erosion of their privilege. The old world order and those whose tenuous grip on receding power are desperate. They will use every repressive contrivance and repulsive device to maintain power. It is from these places where a chorus of racists herald Barack the Magic Negro.

People of good will should be repulsed. Some in the RNC say they disapprove of the CD but racial epithets have been a consistent source of embarrassment for the Republican Party. During the just concluded presidential election campaign a racially insensitive comment by one of the parties presidential hopefuls derailed Virginia Senator George Allen’s campaign. Any Republican with a shred of conscience should condemn this CD and the mindset that supports and justifies it.

Mike Huckabee should know the verse “if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out.” He should also try to comprehend it. These bits of racist culture, spawned by Rush Limbaugh, a drug addicted, money launderer and darling of conservative Republicans needs to stop. Support for this programming calls into question the moral character and judgment of Republican leaders who surround themselves and revere the promoters and purveyors of racism. Limbaugh’s racism may be great for ratings for his corporate media masters but its dispersion, promotion, rationalization and justification by corporate institutions is damaging to a healthy political and racial culture in this country. This is not an issue of free speech. This is an issue of the commercial promotion and marketing of racist culture by major media institutions.

Programming that denigrates the health and trust of a positive political culture while defiling the office of our highest elected official due to his race is a dangerous contraband to peddle. Racism is an illicit commerce that serves to undermine democratic societies. As the desperation of the desperate grows the light of truth will burn ever brighter signaling that the birth pangs of change are most worthy trials to endure.

You Tube Video: Grateful Dead, Eyes of the World

Risk: race, politics, culture

December 29, 2008 Posted by | culture, politics, race | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment