WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s latest attempt to tackle the banking crisis and get loans flowing to families and businesses rely on a new government entity, the Public Investment Corp. to help purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on banks’ books.
The plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner intends to announce Monday aims to use the resources of the $700 billion bank bailout fund, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The initiative will seek to entice private investors, including big hedge funds, to participate by offering billions of dollars in low-interest loans to finance the purchases and also sharing risks if the assets fall further in value.
This past week I read a powerful little book…The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. It is a fictionalized account of 4 people’s lives during the Siege of Sarajevo, which went on from 1992 to 1996. For a short piece of the history, here’s an introduction by wikipedia.
It was fought during the Bosnian War between poorly equipped defending forces of the Bosnian government, who had declared independence from Yugoslavia, and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and Bosnian Serb forces (Army of Republika Srpska) (VRS) located in the hills around Sarajevo, who sought to destroy the newly-independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and create the Serbian state of Republika Srpska (RS).
It is estimated that of the more than 12,000 people who were killed and 50,000 who were wounded during the siege, 85% were civilians. Because of killing and forced migration, by 1995 the population decreased to 334,663 – 64% of the prewar population.
As Galloway tells us in the afterword of the book, it is based on a true story of something that happened during the siege.
At four o’clock in the afternoon of May 17, 1992, during the Siege of Sarajevo, several mortar shells struck a group of people waiting to buy bread behind the market on Vase Miskina. Twenty-two people were killed and at least seventy were wounded. For the next twenty-two days Vedran Smailovic, a renonwned local cellist, played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor at the site in honor of the dead. His actions inspired this novel.
According to people who should know, The Ruling Class is using our money….draining our money, the money we use to survive and feed our children and to actual produce things, to rescue the very structure…that allows them to BE The Ruling Class. That enables them to Rule us.
These people, the Ruling Class, are the ones who got us into this financial armageddon. These are the same Ruling Class that took us to war in Iraq, after ignoring the warnings that an attack was coming.
They are the same people who made America into a nation that tortures people they KNOW to be innocent. They are the same people…if they even deserve the name…who are stopping any serious efforts to mitigate a Climate Crisis of incomprehensible scope.
They are the same people that so unprecedentedly had the Supreme Court decide Bush vs. Gore, so they could have Bush cut their taxes and deregulate the very same structures that we are now being called to give OUR money to prop up. Yes, the very same people who are directly responsible for everything that has gone wrong in our world, are the people who are now telling us….not asking us….telling us, that we have to bail them out. While as always, not telling us the whole story, not telling us what they are doing behind the scenes and behind our backs. They are though, telling us…..That we HAVE to clean up their shit, again, and suffer for their mistakes, just like we did in the last depression. The Ruling Class, they insist, is to big too fail. Even if that means that we have to.
These are the same people who let US drown in New Orleans.
And then threw corporate parties and killed Iraqis instead of rebuilding it.
One piece of information is that in California, when one public authority has the funding for sufficient staff and another doesn’t, and it comes to a fight, it is considered fair game for the staffed up authority to toss up spin and red herrings and biased analyses, confident that the other authority does not have the capacity to answer promptly.
Administration Seeks Increase in Oversight of Executive Pay
By STEPHEN LABATON
Published: March 21, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said.
The outlines of the plan are expected to be unveiled this week in preparation for President Obama’s first foreign summit meeting in early April.
Officials said the proposal would seek a broad new role for the Federal Reserve to oversee large companies, including major hedge funds, whose problems could pose risks to the entire financial system.
It will propose that many kinds of derivatives and other exotic financial instruments that contributed to the crisis be traded on exchanges or through clearinghouses so they are more transparent and can be more tightly regulated.
Gaza war crime claims gather pace as more troops speak out
Fresh allegations have come to light that gung-ho leadership inculcated a culture of disregard for Palestinian casualties
The Observer, Sunday 22 March 2009
An investigation by a group of former Israeli soldiers has uncovered new evidence of the military’s conduct during the assault on Gaza two months ago. According to the group Breaking the Silence, the witness statements of the 15 soldiers who have come forward to describe their concerns over Operation Cast Lead appear to corroborate claims of random killings and vandalism carried out during the operation made by a separate group of anonymous servicemen during a seminar at a military college.
Although Breaking the Silence’s report is not due to be published for several months, the testimony it has received already suggests widespread abuses stemming from orders originating with the Israeli military chain of command.
Native Americans find their voice
The Comanche and Arapaho are just two of the tribes fighting to ensure their languages are passed down to future generations
Paul Harris in Walters, Oklahoma
The Observer, Sunday 22 March 2009
In the unlikely surroundings of a cluttered art room in a rural Oklahoma high school, a dying language was being given the kiss of life.
Bud Yackeshi got to his feet in front of 20 or so fellow members of his Comanche tribe and recited a blessing. “We ask you to be here, Lord, for us and the people who speak here tonight,” he said in the language of his ancestors. Then the Comanche lesson began.
Across America, similar scenes are being played out as Native American tribes try to revive their languages, many of which are on the edge of extinction. Efforts range from college courses and immersion schools for young people to simply recording the languages before the last native speakers die.
“And hundreds of thousands of simple, kindly folk torn from their wives, mothers, and children, and with murderous weapons in their hands will trudge where ever they may be driven, stifling the despair in their soles by songs, debauchery, and vodka. They will march, freeze, suffer from hunger and fall ill. Some will die of disease, and some will at last come to the place where men will kill them by the thousands. And they too, without themselves knowing why, will murder thousands of others, whom they have never yet before seen and whom have neither done nor could do them any wrong.” From Christianity and Patriotism By Leo Tolstoy Author of War and Peace
I tried this diary on Tuesday and pissed a lot of people off, not my intention. I am trying again because this is really important and I promise to take the time and choose my words carefully. There are a lot of reasons Obama organized us and showed us how to demand better of all government, in the very near future we are going to need everything we know and everything we can learn.
Since 2004 7 MILLION homes have been lost to foreclosure. There are about 3 million more homes under the protection of Chapter 13, homes the lenders are trying to chip out and take. There are more than 5 million sub prime loans in or on the verge of foreclosure right now. 1 in 8 homes has either been lost or is in jeopardy of being lost and we are not at the bottom yet. Not since the Great Depression has the average American suffered the wrenching loss of home and job and future. It is not only a significant turn over of wealth but will also bring significant changes to the American landscape. Depending on how deep the turn over it will change American cities and towns for all time and with those changes the quality of life for all of us.
And so it starts the slumming of America, more below the fold.