Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Wiley Maverick Draws First Blood

From the first opening statements to the last closing remarks John McCain beat Barack Obama to the draw took the initiative and landed many blows to come out on top in this first of three debates.

McCain channeled his bipartisanship credentials right off as he announced his sympathy and best wishes for Ted Kennedy’s “The Lion of the Senate” hospitalization. It didn’t come off as a cheap parlor trick either as McCain repeatedly reinforced his “reputation for reaching across the isle to build consensus and do what is right for the country.” Point for bipartisan lip service.

Close on the heals of his opening, McCain spoke about Obama’s earmarks and how he brought home the pork to Illinois during his first three years in the Senate. McCain grabbed the initiative and tempo of the debate and he never let it go. Point for earmarks.

McCain made numerous references and shared anecdotal examples of how his many years of experience brought him into contact with numerous world leaders. He spoke with first hand knowledge about his travels abroad. Time and experience does count and it showed in McCain’s command of world events. Point for experience.

McCain landed many blows on Obama and showed a touch of contempt. He repeatedly said how Obama does not understand. Point for McCain on toughness, rudeness and a mastery of Rovian approach to political discourse.

McCain demonstrated his points and reinforced what he wanted to convey through his words, actions, talking points and body language.

Obama was professorial and gentlemanly. Obama repeatedly said he agreed with McCain. This examplfies Obama’s quest to build a consensus. Consensus requires a true bipartisan approach to problem solving. Unfortunately for Obama his agreement with McCain’s positions appears to reaffirm McCain’s correctness and ability to lead with sound judgment and experience.

Obama looked the cool and collected CEO wishing to delegate and optimize the strengths of his staffs abilities and ideas. He is perfectly capable of taking charge and managing the complexities of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Unfortunately for Obama, CEO’s are not the current flavor of the month.

Obama failed to draw significant differentiation between his positions and McCain’s. He failed to effectively tie McCain to the failed policies of the Bush Administration because he was too busy defending himself from McCain’s offensive initiatives. Americans like aggressiveness. Republican’s have taught Americans to be suspicious of elitist egghead professors who sip Chardonnay and eat arugula sandwiches.

Obama failed to effectively link the devastating economic meltdown with Republican tax cuts, failed oversight and our country’s singular focus on the war on terror. In foreign policy Obama failed to address how this administrations failure to engage has led to our isolation and escalation of world problems and challenges to America.

In Obama I see some similarities with Adlai Stevenson. I hope I am wrong. America’s love for warriors and maverick action figures is evident. All one has to do is to walk down the toy aisle of any big box retailer to see the extent of our ravenous consumption of hero totems and the deep need to venerate them as objects of worship.

In substance there is not much difference between the two candidates and their parties position. Thats a big problem for the democrats if they hope to overcome the headwinds blowing against Obama’s candidacy. Those being Obama’s race, the democrats identification with bailing out the fat cats on Wall Street and the republican continual appeal to nationalist sentiment and expressing that sentiment with militarism and jingoism.

Song: Beach Boy’s Barbara Ann

Risk: The Presidency of the United States

September 27, 2008 Posted by | elections, McCain, Obama, pop, republicans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bernanke Bonds, Paulson Puts & Cox Calls

Marx made a wry observation in the opening lines to one of his historical tomes, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an nightmare on the brains of the living.”

So it is with us. We are experiencing a crisis that is the result of a decades long deconstruction of the United States economic, political and cultural infrastructure. It began with the dismantling of our manufacturing base. It continued with the transformation of our capital markets. The purpose of the stock markets was to facilitate capital formation for the creation of businesses and industries. Today the markets function principally for speculative investment and the enrichment purposes of monied interests. Our deconstruction accelerated with extreme political Rovian partisanship and the fear mongering and self serving righteous divisiveness incessantly screamed by the howling yodelers of Talk Radio. Finally our enlightened republic is threatened with extinction by the intentional dismantling of our public education system and the virulent attack on secular learning and civic participation.

During times like these weird things begin to happen. We need to be prepared for anything and everything. That said it is heartening to see the Fed, Treasury and SEC act with such dispatch to address the US role in the global banking crisis. An economic meltdown serves no one. The long term impact of these swift concerted actions will be profound. Undoubtedly these actions will add to the national debt. Some think it unfair to assign this burden onto the backs of future generations. Indeed this country started a revolution on the idea that taxation without representation is an intolerable injustice that cannot stand. Years from now the yet to be born will curse the long dead for their poor stewardship of our national wealth and resources and how it contributed to an extreme and unfair taxation they are forced to pay. That is of course if America does make good on its debt. Alexander Hamilton may be stirring in his grave. So this is a time out from the heat of a global market implosion. What is happening?

PROHIBITION ON SHORT SELLING: Shorting can now be considered a criminal enterprise. At present it only applies to large financial services firms. Lots of firms are clamoring to get on the you can’t short my stock list.

The new national slogan from the SEC should be “GO LONG ON AMERICA!”

REPO MAN:Global Repo Desk was created to facilitate liquidity amongst the global central banking system. London, Tokyo, Frankfurt and the other G8 central bankers are all counter parties to Bernanke’s $180 B liquidity infusion. Paulson’s putting on his old Goldman Sach’s trading cap and promises to trade us out of this bad position.

The Feds new slogan, “NO CENTRAL BANKER LEFT BEHIND!”

GOOD BANK / BAD BANK:Bernanke is using his infinite balance sheet to segregate all the bad debt from the good stuff. Its kind of like what ENRON did as it packaged all its poor debt obligations and parked them in offshore SIVs. Maybe it will work this time because unlike ENRON the Fed can print money. Lots of it.

New Slogan “BERNANKE AND PAULSON, SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM.”

CORPORATE BAILOUTS: The US taxpayer is now the owner of the worlds largest insurance company. It’s $80 B capital infusion in AIG will keep this company solvent for the time being and keep the credit rating agencies from lowering AIG’s credit condition to junk. Cox has requested a copy of Lloyds of London Names List.

New Slogan: “PRAY FOR NO MORE HURRICANES, WE CAN”T AFFORD TO PAY OFF THE CLAIMS”

SHOTGUN WEDDINGS: First it was Bear Stearns and JP. Now its Merrill and B of A. Who’s next?

New Slogan: “WE DO MORE MARRIAGES THEN ELVIS AT A LAS VEGAS DRIVE THROUGH”

INFINITE BALANCE SHEET: That is what they keep saying. The Fed can do these financial gymnastics do to its access to an infinite balance sheet that can finally match infinite assets to cover infinite liabilities. Sounds like a tall order to me but i must admit it sounds pretty good from where I’m sitting today. Don’t know how it will go down with the future generations. From Bernanke’s lips to Gods ear.

New Slogan: “INFINITY, ITS MORE THEN ENOUGH TO GET IT DONE”

Bailout politics will sure to become a bloodsport. Every once in awhile you see the commentators on CNBC smugly ask about a threat to free markets and contemplating about the evolving form of capitalism. I can also hear Palin’s squeaking voice proclaiming she’s ready and offer some sage advise concerning our current plight. Palin would say that if she were so blessed to take the oath of office with her fellow Maverick John McCain, she would immediately put AIG up for sale on e-bay and return the proceeds of the sale to the American taxpayers.

Music: Temptations, Ball of Confusion

Risk: economy, market, future generations

September 19, 2008 Posted by | banking, Bernanke, Bush, Cox, credit crisis, Paulson, pop, TARP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment