May 14, 2006
April 24, 2006
This post could surprise many of my anti-Bush friends, but I claim that Bush will end the war in Iraq sooner than later.
First thing to understand is that Bush has almost no strategic politics on his own, he's left to decide only tactical questions and methods to do things. He's a puppet in fat cats hands and he's not smart for his own policies anyway. Essentially, in the first days in his office, he was visited by his fellow "Skull and Bones" friends executives of Exxon, BP and Shell and told:
Listen Bush. We need a war with Iraq and we stand for our business. You screw yourself and you do it, but keep your own fingers dirty. You can claim that Saddam has some ties with terrorists or WMD, you may let terrorists to blow up few buildings in Manhattan, but keep your ass away from us when you do that. Dismissed.
Nobody else made a sound against it, because most of other big guys are pretty neutral to war. Who cares?
Not anymore. The recent developments in interest rates and inflation point to lose-lose situation in the capital markets. Let read the good illustration of the problem:
First, suppose that Citibank gets money from its depositors at a floating rate, and lends to mortgage borrowers at a fixed 6%. Now GM issues bonds yielding 7%, and enters a swap with Citibank, in which Citibank pays GM 5% fixed in return for floating. (Specifically, both parties agree on some notional principal, say $100 million, and each makes payments to the other, determined by multiplying a fixed or floating interest rate by that principal amount. The market for this sort of transaction is huge).
Well, now GM is paying an actual interest rate of floating + 2% (pay 7% to bondholders, get 5% from Citibank, pay Citibank floating). Meanwhile, as compensation for the credit risk it has accepted all around, Citibank earns a fixed 1% margin regardless of interest rate movements (pay depositors floating, get 6% from mortgages, pay 5% to GM, get floating from GM). Neat. And since Citibank is federally insured at the depositor level, and too big to fail at the institutional level, Uncle Sam is now a counterparty that effectively shares the risk in the case that GM or homeowners default. Similar transactions serve to swap risky corporate and mortgage borrowing into safe government agency paper issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Now make no mistake, there is little question that bank deposits and agency debt are safely backed by the U.S. government and that this is a good commitment. However, the holders of stock in banks or mortgage companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may not be so secure. It's just excruciatingly difficult to perfectly match risky assets and liabilities at extremely high levels of leverage. Ask Long Term Capital. Indeed, were it not for accounting rules that allow Fannie Mae to keep balance sheet losses out of earnings, it would be clearer to investors that last summer's 5-month duration mismatch cost Fannie nearly a year of earnings. Similar derivatives-related issues are at the core of Freddie Mac's recent difficulties.
In short, further increase of interest rates can trigger a catastrophic reaction on financial markets, but it will be no better if the inflation starts. So, to avoid too much of economics and jump straight to conclusion, there is no other way to solve the situation than to dramatically cut federal expenses, and the simplest way to do that is to stop the war. Now we have some other (not from Skull and Bones) executives to visit Bush and say: "Mister Bush, we urge you to cut federal budget costs by huge margin. We expect you to finish deploying your solution by the time we schedule to meeting to discuss Congress campaign contributions."
After this strange things start to happen. The US withdrawal from Iraq is discussed. President is talking about alternative fuels (helps Saudi to pump more). L.A. Times Editorial calls for Cheney's ouster. Expect more like that and understand that this is very big money who are speaking. And Bush has to listen.
April 22, 2006
Thanks transparent greed for letting us to know that Rove is indeed the next target. It's amazing how many people from Bush inner circle are under criminal investigation. Surely, America is still a free country. In most places in the world the president would just stop all those investigations.
At the least, a dummy company ought to create the appearance of activity, with an office and a valid mailing address, he said. "A cover that falls apart on first inspection isn't very good. What you want is a cover that actually holds up . . . and this one certainly doesn't."
Some in the real estate industry believe something was amiss, if not illegal. "It's almost like out of a spy novel — the tenant that wasn't there," said Griffin, who once oversaw management of the tower. "And they picked a nice address."
The collapse of Plame's cover could compromise any other operatives who claimed to work for Brewster Jennings. Although former officials wouldn't confirm that Plame's cover company used the Arch Street address, they offered no other explanation of the phantom tenant.
April 12, 2006
I'm sorry ma'm, but you have no clue. Nobody is suing anyone for leaking classified or rather quickly de-classified information. The event that triggered the investigation was the blew-up of the fake front company that was pretending to be an energy materials trader and operated on Pakistan and Iran black market, specifically focused on Iran nuclear efforts. The cover was blown up and the company ceased to exist.
The investigation was set to determine the source of the leak to cut hairy tails quickly. The Bush, Cheney and Co denial of involvement had suggested that there is a real problem with classified information. Someone somewhere just knows too much. That damages the whole net of operations, because you don't know what the other side knows anymore.
If the secret service knew from the day one that the source of the operation blew-up is just this stupid idiot Bush, they would cut the damage more efficiently than otherwise. But Bush went onto denial and misled them.
The crime is not the leak. Big deal, we know what kind of idiots are located in WH, so we can expect them to do stupid things. The crime is obstruction of investigation. This whole crowd: Bush, Cheney, Card, Rice, Hadley must be prosecuted for perjury and obstruction of justice, as soon as possible. Let them leak besides the bars.
April 6, 2006
March 2, 2006
Just as we saw Bush flushing Cheney down the toilet, Associated Press obtained a video of Bush being briefed on Catrina. Daily Heretic suggests that this video was approved by Cheney as retaliation. It looks now as a serious undercarpet war in White House. Should we really wait another 2.5 years before this ends? We did not with Nixon…
February 27, 2006
After Libby did so few weeks ago, now his boss is doing the same. It seems WH, which already regarded Cheney as liability, finally made a decision to get rid of him. It may take few months, but I bet Cheney won’t be vice-president by the end of summer. Vacation time is the best to cut dead meat.
Another interesting thing. I think the hunting incident that happened a little while ago confirms that Cheney, in fact, had presidential ambitions. At that very moment he learned that Bush decided to surrender the smoking evidence of his participation in Plamegate, which made not only his ambitions, but his career over. So he went heavy drinking and shooting with lobbyists. Maybe decided to make some more money before leaving?