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Confidence in US Banks Nosedives after the Washington Mutual Collapse!!!

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Confidence in US Banks Nosedives after the Washington Mutual Collapse!!!

sleepin'dawg
To preserve their [the people's] independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude" - Thomas Jefferson

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"We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet." : - Hermann Hesse, German poet and novelist.

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Confidence in US Banks Nosedives after Washington Mutual Collapse!!!
JP Morgan's buyout of leading lender causes high street anxiety to reach panic levels

By Andrew Clark

Investors react to the Washington Mutual collapse
26/09/08 "The Guardian" The failure of the Seattle-based bank Washington Mutual undermined confidence in a fresh clutch of US household names today, as investors digested the implications of the biggest collapse of a high-street bank on record.

Washington Mutual, which was bought by JP Morgan after being seized by the US authorities late yesterday, had a stockpile of controversial "option ARM" mortgages which allow borrowers multiple options in setting the level of their own repayments.

These flexible loans, which were popular at the height of the housing boom, have proven to be huge liabilities for banks, and other firms known to hold them saw their stock prices plummet today.

Wachovia, a national chain with 3,000 branches and assets of $812bn (?441bn), saw its shares dive by 21% during early trading in New York, while National City Corporation, a regional bank based in Ohio, suffered a sell-off which pushed its stock down by 27%.

Details emerged of the extent of a run on the assets of Washington Mutual, known as WaMu, in the days leading up to its demise. The Office of Thrift Supervision said customers withdrew $16.7bn of deposits in 10 days, beginning on September 15 - the day Lehman Brothers declared itself bankrupt, sparking a crisis of confidence in the broader banking system.

Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, said the outflow alarmed WaMu's creditors, who became increasingly reluctant to extend funds. "Those who were willing to lend to them were no longer willing to do so," she said.

The FDIC reassured customers that all their money was safe. But it was clear that JP Morgan's offer to buy the Seattle bank's assets was a profound relief to regulators as America's insurance fund for banking deposits would have struggled to meet the bill - potentially requiring taxpayers to pick up any shortfall.

"We were fortunate - this is huge," said Bair. "We've protected taxpayers, we've protected depositors and we've protected the deposit insurance fund."

Last month, the FDIC said it had a "watch list" of 117 potentially troubled banks, holding a total of $78bn in assets. Bair said the list, which is updated quarterly, was growing as the financial crisis deepened.

WaMu's senior executives were caught on the hop when their firm was seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision. At the moment of the seizure, much of WaMu's leadership team was on a plane from New York to Seattle.

The bank's failure could generate a fresh outbreak of fury over executive compensation. WaMu's chief executive, Alan Fishman, joined the bank only three weeks ago from a rival, Sovereign Bank. He received a $7.5m signing-on bonus and could be eligible for $11.6m in severance pay.

WaMu has its roots in a savings association created to help Seattle residents rebuild after the city suffered a catastrophic fire in 1889. The bank has 2,239 branches across the US and employs 43,000 people. It is widely known for its television jingles which celebrate the bank's nickname, WaMu, with chants of "woo-hoo". In Seattle, there was gloom about the firm's demise.

"It's devastating" Steve Leahy, chairman of the city's chamber of commerce, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. "They've been here since the Seattle fire. The suddenness of all this, it's just taking our breath away."

JP Morgan's decision to ride to WaMu's rescue was the second time this year that it has snapped up the assets of a troubled rival. Aided by a Federal Reserve guarantee, JP Morgan bought Bear Stearns when it was on the brink of bankruptcy in March.

Financial historians pointed to a proud history at JP Morgan of acting to avert crisis. The bank's founder, John Pierpont Morgan, was credited with bringing together Wall Street bankers to come up with a rescue package to prop up failing finance houses at the height of a stockmarket panic in 1907. The bill was substantially lower in those days - federal authorities contributed $35m, compared to the $700bn industry-wide bail-out package under negotiation this week.

As the banking crisis continues to develop, recriminations are underway at regulatory authorities. The Securities and Exchange Commission was accused of performing only "sporadic and random" oversight of Wall Street broker-dealers in a report sent to Congress by its own inspector general today.

The report, which focuses on the demise of Bear Stearns, said the SEC's oversight arm was "not fulfilling its obligations" in reviewing the accounts of Wall Street's top financial institutions, hindering the ability to foresee weaknesses in the markets.

BTW: for those who see a light at the end of the tunnel; be careful it isn't a train coming full blast at you. If anyone was paying attention you will have noticed that I issued a warning about Wachovia several days ago. I still stand by that warning and fully expect the next domino to topple will be Wachovia unless it can find a white knight willing to tride to its rescue.

For all those who say let the greedy banks fail, consider this: The bank that fails may be yours. FDIC will be up against the wall to cover all the failures. It may take years to get any payout but in the meantime what happens to your savings, IRAs, 401Ks, etc. In short how are you going to live???


Dawg ]:)
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    Michael Jay

    that means that I do not have to pay my WaMu credit card anymore.

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    sleepin'dawg

    By Chris Powell

    26/09/08 "Day Publishing" -- - Even leading Republicans in Congress, including presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, recoiled from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson's proposal to take absolute power over $700 billion to be borrowed by the federal government and used to purchase every sort of bad debt without ever having to answer for it - not to the courts, not to regulatory agencies, and only occasionally and incidentally to Congress itself.

    The bad-debt bailout would be the biggest government patronage program in history and would amount to declaring martial law over the U.S. financial system and economy. Even if such martial law is necessary, its implementation should be put in democratic hands - a non-partisan agency with full transparency, statutory standards for its purchases, and close accountability to Congress.

    All the same, even if it can work - that is, prop up insolvent financial institutions - the Treasury's proposal is still a proclamation of the collapse of the whole U.S. financial system. Even if some financial institutions are saved, the collapse will manifest itself in other ways, probably ways more damaging to the public. For who cares if Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley endure if the issuance of $700 billion more in government bonds drives interest rates way up, diverts credit from the private economy, devalues the already sinking dollar, and sends commodity prices soaring again?

    In that case the financial class will have won another battle in its long war against the producing class. It will be again as was said about the maneuvers of the Second Bank of the United States two centuries ago: ?The bank was saved; only the people were ruined.?

    Injecting throughout the world financial system their bogus and unregulated financial instruments, like collateralized debt obligations and credit-default swaps, the big New York financial houses have taken the world economy hostage. The president and Congress should strive to save the hostages, not the kidnappers.

    But the president and Congress have participated eagerly with the kidnappers in the total corruption of the financial system.

    They have staffed the regulatory agencies largely from Wall Street and then diminished financial regulation.

    They have let the financial houses finance presidential and congressional campaigns.

    They have watched haplessly as accounting firms and credit-rating agencies engaged in conflict of interest and failed to do their jobs over and over again even as corporate scandal followed corporate scandal.

    They have waged mistaken imperial war not with taxes but with huge amounts borrowed from abroad, making the country hostage to foreign nations, including some with hostile interests.

    They have approved the government's falsification of inflation data and its surreptitious suppression of the price of gold so that interest rates could be set below the inflation rate, the government and everyone else could borrow more at lower interest, and the public would not become alarmed by monetary debasement.

    Now the U.S. government is conjuring into existence via a few computer keystrokes fantastic, virtually inconceivable amounts of money. Unreal as these amounts are, they will be claims on the real goods and services of the country, and, if the rest of the world wants to keep playing along, which is doubtful, claims on the real goods and services of the rest of the world as well.

    The purpose of all this will be to save the people who happen to be in charge of the payments system and to save the propertied class generally. But people without many assets, people who don't earn enough to own housing, people who could gain from lower housing prices and lower prices of everything else, are not even in the government's equation.

    The country is simply busted. Its financial obligations are unpayable, its asset prices are illusions, and the great undertaking in Washington and New York is to preserve those illusions rather than face reality. If the price of preserving those illusions is $700 billion - and of course it is more likely to run into the trillions - could it really be more expensive to dispense with the illusions now? After all, instead of rescuing financial institutions that disregarded risk, the government just as easily could keep the country going by sending checks to everyone every month - as it already sends Social Security checks to retirees.

    But as long as the government keeps paying ransom, the financial class will keep taking the country hostage.

    CHRIS POWELL IS MANAGING EDITOR OF THE JOURNAL INQUIRER IN MANCHESTER.

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    sleepin'dawg

    To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:

    26/09/09 As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

    1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers? expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

    2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

    3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America's dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

    For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.



    Signed (updated at 9/25/2008 8:30AM CT)

    Acemoglu Daron (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
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    sleepin'dawg

    .
    By Pepe Escobar

    26/09/08 "Asia Times" -- WASHINGTON and SAO PAULO - The George W Bush administration's US$700 billion no-accountability scheme, globally, informally dubbed "cash for trash", is making all the headlines. Simultaneously, there's the small matter of the United Nations General Assembly sanctioning the troubled birth of a new, multipolar world. As a 21st-century counterpart to the Dadaist Manifesto, this chain of events is priceless.

    One just had to listen to the speeches. Brazilian President Lula da Silva passionately expounded the new political, economic and commercial geography of the multipolar world. He praised the Union of Latin American Nations (UNASUR) - the first treaty uniting all South American nations in 200 years. He blasted supranational economic institutions that now have no authority - and no policies - to prevent "speculative anarchy".

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy correctly described the Wall Street meltdown as the biggest crisis since the 1930s. He is proposing to "rebuild" capitalism - in fact, in his original French, to "moralize" capitalism, not subjected to wily market operators, with banks financing development and not engaging in speculation, and with firm control of credit agencies. Sarkozy described speculators as "the new terrorists". US Republicans of course call Sarkozy's plan socialism - as if the Ben Bernanke-Hank Paulson bailout scheme was not no-holds-barred socialism for the wealthy.

    UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon urged the democratization of the UN. This would mean in practice a new International Monetary Fund and a new World Bank - both still controlled by the US and Western Europe.

    And then Bolivian President Evo Morales nailed it. The new multipolar world should get rid of imperialism and colonialism. Evo stressed there's no possible social peace under hardcore capitalism - the global masses would heartily agree. Of course Evo didn't fail to recall the longtime, concerted Bush administration campaign against him - once dubbed "the bin Laden from the Andes" by a former US ambassador. He stressed there was not a single word of condemnation by the US of relentless right-wing terrorism in Bolivia, unlike all the nations of South America talking with one voice via UNASUR.

    Evo also revealed that Bush sent him a message - "If I'm not your friend, I'm your enemy". Evo's response: "I'm a friend of the American people, I'm anti-imperialist. If they like me, OK; if not, it's also OK."

    What the UN is NOT talking about is how the US will be able to sustain wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and go against Iran, the Pashtuns in Pakistan or Russia if the Chinese, the Japanese and sovereign wealth funds of the Gulf petromonarchies decide to stop financing these demented adventures. That's the larger-than-life elephant in the UN house: everybody knows that the end of the unipolar world is tied to the fact that Washington simply cannot continue to be a superpower financed by foreigners.

    The Bush administration would do anything to push Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and totally choke off Russia. Bush himself still referred to Iran at the UN as "terrorists". But Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, after proclaiming that the American empire is waning, preferred to stress conciliation - he would rather have a "friendly" relation with Washington. He would meet Barack Obama or John McCain - whoever is elected to the White House. His beef is with Zionists - not the Jewish people. He said the Israeli regime would disappear in the same way as apartheid South Africa and the Soviet Union - maybe after what he called a "humanitarian" solution, a referendum in Palestine where Palestinians would decide their own future.

    Burn, baby, burn
    And while Rome - that is, Wall Street plus Washington - burns, Russia sends the mighty Peter the Great - with 20 nuclear missiles - plus an anti-sub destroyer for military exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean. The flamboyant Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez didn't even show up at the UN - he's busy doing mega-deals with another emerging superpower, China. The US Navy's 4th fleet - disbanded in the 1950 - is back to police South America; the Brazilian military wasted no time launching their own military exercises to protect what they call the Blue Amazon, their new, huge offshore oil fields.

    And then, live from New York, there was Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speed-dial diplomacy - from Henry the K Kissinger - did they talk about Metternich and Clausewitz? - to Hamid "mayor of Kabul" Karzai and Colombian friend of Bush Alvaro Uribe. The media had literally a few seconds (29 with Karzai, 20 with Uribe) for a photo op, and that was it.

    Did the beehived, bespectacled creationist hockey mom learn anything about foreign policy? The mystery remains. She may be cursing the cancellation of her meeting with Irish pop icon/world leader Bono. They won't be singing One together. Blogger Andrew Sullivan nailed it: "Since Sarah Palin was selected for the vice presidential nomination, Mahmud Ahmadinejad has given more press conferences than she has."

    With the meltdown on Wall Street, it will be very hard for Republican candidate McCain to pay for his "vision" of America as world's top dog/policeman. In a dramatic gesture, he has "suspended" his campaign and bailed out of Friday's presidential debate as well (late night talk show icon David Letterman nailed this one: "What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"

    It took "maverick" McCain roughly over a week to go from a "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" deregulation mantra to Great Depression gloom and finally to bail himself out from his own campaign and a debate to boot. Not bad for a self-confessed ignoramus in economic matters. McCain anyway still counts on the Bernanke-Paulson $700 billion scheme - and he'll still be pushing for even lower taxes for the US ultra-wealthy.

    And while the new multipolar world was being sketched out in midtown Manhattan, and McCain was busy trying to run away from his own presidential campaign, the US took a few more steps to quickly become the new Brazil - appalling social inequality, tremendous concentration of wealth, in sum, the law of the jungle. Call it the revenge of the developing world.

    Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

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    TonytheTiger

    For all those who say let the greedy banks fail, consider this: The bank that fails may be yours. FDIC will be up against the wall to cover all the failures. It may take years to get any payout but in the meantime what happens to your savings, IRAs, 401Ks, etc. In short how are you going to live???

    any guarantees. A bank failing doesn't mean ALL of the money is gone... only that they cannot meet ALL of their obligations. Let them fail, and their assets be divided proportionately among their depositors.

    Sure, it will be tough for some, but adversity is part of life. Those of us who are worthy will survive it.

    Say "NO!" to the bail-out. Bad business should be OUT of business!

    [edit because of the stupid space bar]

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    puppybreath

    The Government and banks ignored multiple warnings over several years and now the solution they come up with is more Government involvement?

    How crazy is that?

    You're right; say "NO!" to the bailout.

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    sleepin'dawg

    Tony one of my investment techniques over the years was buying up corporate bonds on companies that had gotten themselves into trouble and were going into Chapter 11 or were already there. It's a technique called "Vulture Investing" and many times I was able to purchase bonds for mere pennies on the dollar...... once as low as 6 cents on the dollar. Shareholders in these companies were wiped out but holders of senior bond debt made out quite handsomely in the reorganizations of these companies sometimes making more than 300% profits over periods of time as short as 1 1/2 - 3 years.

    Right now I will not deny I'm out shopping for some of this very type of debt - senior bond debt and what I'm finding scares me. A $100,000 bond for $2000? That amounts to 2 cents on the dollar. I was expecting to find stuff out there in the 20-30 cent and up bracket but 2 cents on the dollar for a rather major institution, is bordering on indecent. And there's lots of it around.

    A lot of people trusted their bank's honesty and stability and saved like good sensible citizens and did not acquire debt loads beyond their means. They might have kids in high school contemplating college but will now have to reconsider because the magnitude of this fiasco might tie up the distributtion of any assets for as much as 6 - 10 years. That's God alone knows how much they'll recieve, for at least 3 years and probably longer. I doubt the divisions will amount to much more than 6 - 10 cents on the dollar. The FDIC is going to have lots of trouble meeting its obligations; I toss that in, just in case you're over confident and weren't taking all this seriously enough.

    Adversity might be part of life but nobody has contemplated anything on this scale. Their are going to be collateral business failures, especially amongst small to medium companies, as their loans are called in.

    I agree bad business should be punished, especially the perpetrators of such but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it since two of the major perpetrators are currently sitting in the executive offices of the USA.

    BTW if you're wondering where I sit politically, it's slightly to the right of Genghiz Khan. I'm a conservative but, I hope, one with a ttle dab of empathy and sympathy for the poor little guys who did nothing wrong and yet ended up in this mess, through no fault of their own.

    Dawg ]:)

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    TonytheTiger

    They might have kids in high school contemplating college but will now have to reconsider because the magnitude of this fiasco

    I was one of those kids a few decades ago. (Those particular) hopes were dashed because of unforeseen circumstances. There were no bailouts, no safety nets... you get your bearings, and you move toward a new hope.

    I'm a conservative but, I hope, one with a ttle dab of empathy and sympathy for the poor little guys who did nothing wrong and yet ended up in this mess, through no fault of their own.

    Empathy and sympathy are fine traits. Use them to help out whomever you like with YOUR resources. Frankly, I need mine to weather this storm and it's a violation of basic liberty and property rights to take it away from me and give it to someone else.

    Unfortunately, this bailout isn't going to help "the little guy" one iota. It's only going to allow those businesses that should have failed to continue on with business as usual. When something is so obviously broken there comes a point when you have to quit throwing good money after bad, or you're going to end up with an even bigger problem later.

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    DelbertPGH

    I don't know how bad things would get if we do nothing and just allow natural financial forces to run to their conclusion. I suspect we would have a disaster as bad as what came upon us in 1930 and 1931, with 20% unemployment or worse, thousands of banks failing, and no credit anywhere to buy a house, buy a car, buy fertilizer for the fall crop, buy raw materials to produce goods, or buy computers for the office.

    Two things that are different about us versus 1931: we have to import 40 billion dollars of oil a month just to keep limping along, and overseas trading partners hold two trillion dollars of our bonds, including T-Bills, which have to be rolled over every 90 to 360 days. If we lose the faith of the overseas guys whom we count on to keep funding our debt, the dollar goes down the pipes, and we have monstrous inflation, in addition to having no fuel to drive.

    It will be the end of your retirement, and you and millions of your generation will end your lives in poverty, if I guess your age right. That's probably not the justice you hope to find when you say "No to the bailout." But you could get it.

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    TonytheTiger

    It will be the end of your retirement, and you and millions of your generation will end your lives in poverty, if I guess your age right. That's probably not the justice you hope to find when you say "No to the bailout."

    I'm 51. And no, that's not what I'm hoping for. What I'm hoping for is the end of the jealousy and greed that is the root of all of this.

    Yes, I stand to lose a good portion of my retirement. Yes, I may live the rest of my life in poverty. So what? I'm willing to take the consequences for the decisions I've made... even the ones I didn't know about! At least businesses who did this to my retirement won't be around to do it to my granddaughter's retirement. It's a trade off... it always was, and it always will be. You can cushion the ****, and prolong the agony by allowing the greedy to take for a little longer, or you can nip it in the bud... excise the rotten tooth to save the head that it's attached to.

    People will recover. We always have. Some businesses won't, and some politicians won't, but it will be deserved, and others will come to take their places.

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    zlitocook

    And the higher staff that created this problem? The people that let high risk companies and people take out loans, credit cards and other things?
    These same companies gave their big wigs cash compensation before going belly up and that was in the millions. While leaving hundreds or more with out pay, health insurance and jobs.
    We need to bring the CIO's and the board of directors to court and find out what happened with our money and make them return or release the compensation pay out.
    And now for the oil companies, they make record profits when we have to pay over three dollars a gallon but say it is not their doing.
    Well why are they going so great if it is not because of the higher gas prices?
    And don?t tell me it is because of the bidders buying more because if it is from that then why do the oil companies keep making so much?

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    TonytheTiger

    Clinton, through Reno, ordered them to.

    As for the oil companies, their profit margin is actually less than it was, say, 35 years ago. They" keep making so much" simply due to the volume of product sold.

    When you take everything into consideration, the price hasn't changed all that much.... I got about 12 miles on a dollar's worth of gas 35 years ago, and get about the same now. And since I have to work less to earn that dollar, it may even be cheaper...

    There you go.... in 1973, I could buy 3 gallons of gas for every hour I worked. Now I can buy almost 9! :)

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    jdclyde

    once "the government" said they would back up all the bad loans they were being told to write.

    Governmental interference removed the risk, so full speed ahead.

    Has anyone else seen the 2005 CSPAN video where Obama was at a meeting with Fannie, and the CEO back then was saying they were in big trouble? Congress knew for years that this was coming, but allowed it anyways with hopes it would crash and make Bush look bad.

    All sitting reps should be voted out of office, regardless of party.

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    TonytheTiger

    Reno's promise of a proctological exam might have influenced their decisions as well :)

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    but I haven't had any confidence in banks (US or otherwise) since I started doing business with them.

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    w2ktechman

    tomcruise -- yeah right
    Did you actually even add anything except a link for job opportunities? C'mon **** for brains, stop spamming us.

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    normhaga

    First, I have accounts at WaMu.

    What I see is a company that was having difficulty finding investors and keeping high stock prices. On the 11th of September, a what if article was run by a leading paper. That article caused a run on the bank to withdraw funds before it collapsed, thereby deepening the crisis the bank was enduring.

    While the CEO and other chief execs were in NY, NY trying to drum up funds, the F.D.I.C. took over WaMu and sold a 600 billion corporation to one of its competitors who had desperately wanted a west coast presence for some time for a paltry 1.6 billion; lets see, umm... three percent of the value of the corporation. SOUNDS LIKE ROBBERY TO ME!

    If I were the CEO's of WaMu, I would probably initiate legal action against the F.D.I.C., J.P. Morgan, and the news paper that started the run.

    Lawsuits aside, how do you feel about letting the government engage in robbery, not only of WaMu by J.P. Morgan and the F.D.I.C. but also of you because of the additional funds it will cost you in taxes by the time this issue plays out? I hate it.

    Think that way about how the corporations have outsourced manufacturing to the point that the U.S. can not even manufacture their own munitions. With no manufacturing, we can not even help ourselves, yet we must help the corporations that created the problems. Very strange, indeed.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    on the affair. Thanks for that. Added perspective is always good.

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    DelbertPGH

    WaMu had a big exposure to crud bonds, much more than most banks. Their stock price was driven down into the single digits a long time ago because of the risky position they were in. Wall Street analysts judged that the company could be illiquid if prices moved against their bets, as had been the case for quite a while.

    It wasn't the last cigarette that killed the patient; it was the long-standing heart disease.

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    normhaga

    that the powers that be moved to use government and popular news media to take over another competing firm in a market that was wanted. Not that Wamu had problems and that those problems grew.

    In short, abuse of government power where things should have been left alone.

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    santeewelding

    "Whiskey and Gunpowder" and "The Daily Reckoning".

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    sleepin'dawg

    Remember that most of the people that got rich during the Alaskan and Yukon Gold Rush were suppliers like Levi Stauss and the people who sold picks and shovels, not too many of the actual miners.

    The thing about free advice is that its very seldom free. Somewhere down the road you're going to have to pay the piper.

    Dawg ]:)

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    Michael Jay

    that means that I do not have to pay my WaMu credit card anymore.

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    sleepin'dawg

    By Chris Powell

    26/09/08 "Day Publishing" -- - Even leading Republicans in Congress, including presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, recoiled from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson's proposal to take absolute power over $700 billion to be borrowed by the federal government and used to purchase every sort of bad debt without ever having to answer for it - not to the courts, not to regulatory agencies, and only occasionally and incidentally to Congress itself.

    The bad-debt bailout would be the biggest government patronage program in history and would amount to declaring martial law over the U.S. financial system and economy. Even if such martial law is necessary, its implementation should be put in democratic hands - a non-partisan agency with full transparency, statutory standards for its purchases, and close accountability to Congress.

    All the same, even if it can work - that is, prop up insolvent financial institutions - the Treasury's proposal is still a proclamation of the collapse of the whole U.S. financial system. Even if some financial institutions are saved, the collapse will manifest itself in other ways, probably ways more damaging to the public. For who cares if Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley endure if the issuance of $700 billion more in government bonds drives interest rates way up, diverts credit from the private economy, devalues the already sinking dollar, and sends commodity prices soaring again?

    In that case the financial class will have won another battle in its long war against the producing class. It will be again as was said about the maneuvers of the Second Bank of the United States two centuries ago: ?The bank was saved; only the people were ruined.?

    Injecting throughout the world financial system their bogus and unregulated financial instruments, like collateralized debt obligations and credit-default swaps, the big New York financial houses have taken the world economy hostage. The president and Congress should strive to save the hostages, not the kidnappers.

    But the president and Congress have participated eagerly with the kidnappers in the total corruption of the financial system.

    They have staffed the regulatory agencies largely from Wall Street and then diminished financial regulation.

    They have let the financial houses finance presidential and congressional campaigns.

    They have watched haplessly as accounting firms and credit-rating agencies engaged in conflict of interest and failed to do their jobs over and over again even as corporate scandal followed corporate scandal.

    They have waged mistaken imperial war not with taxes but with huge amounts borrowed from abroad, making the country hostage to foreign nations, including some with hostile interests.

    They have approved the government's falsification of inflation data and its surreptitious suppression of the price of gold so that interest rates could be set below the inflation rate, the government and everyone else could borrow more at lower interest, and the public would not become alarmed by monetary debasement.

    Now the U.S. government is conjuring into existence via a few computer keystrokes fantastic, virtually inconceivable amounts of money. Unreal as these amounts are, they will be claims on the real goods and services of the country, and, if the rest of the world wants to keep playing along, which is doubtful, claims on the real goods and services of the rest of the world as well.

    The purpose of all this will be to save the people who happen to be in charge of the payments system and to save the propertied class generally. But people without many assets, people who don't earn enough to own housing, people who could gain from lower housing prices and lower prices of everything else, are not even in the government's equation.

    The country is simply busted. Its financial obligations are unpayable, its asset prices are illusions, and the great undertaking in Washington and New York is to preserve those illusions rather than face reality. If the price of preserving those illusions is $700 billion - and of course it is more likely to run into the trillions - could it really be more expensive to dispense with the illusions now? After all, instead of rescuing financial institutions that disregarded risk, the government just as easily could keep the country going by sending checks to everyone every month - as it already sends Social Security checks to retirees.

    But as long as the government keeps paying ransom, the financial class will keep taking the country hostage.

    CHRIS POWELL IS MANAGING EDITOR OF THE JOURNAL INQUIRER IN MANCHESTER.

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    sleepin'dawg

    To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:

    26/09/09 As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

    1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers? expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

    2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

    3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America's dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

    For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.



    Signed (updated at 9/25/2008 8:30AM CT)

    Acemoglu Daron (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
    Adler Michael (Columbia University)
    Admati Anat R. (Stanford University)
    Alexis Marcus (Northwestern University)
    Alvarez Fernando (University of Chicago)
    Andersen Torben (Northwestern University)
    Baliga Sandeep (Northwestern University)
    Banerjee Abhijit V. (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
    Barankay Iwan (University of Pennsylvania)
    Barry Brian (University of Chicago)
    Bartkus James R. (Xavier University of Louisiana)
    Becker Charles M. (Duke University)
    Becker Robert A. (Indiana University)
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    Buera Francisco J. (UCLA)
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    Carmel Jonathan (University of Michigan)
    Carroll Christopher (Johns Hopkins University)
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    Chari Varadarajan V. (University of Minnesota)
    Chauvin Keith W. (University of Kansas)
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    Dub? Jean-Pierre H. (University of Chicago)
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    Fox Jeremy T. (University of Chicago)
    Frank Murray Z.(University of Minnesota)
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    Levine David I.(UC Berkeley)
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    Lott John R. Jr. (University of Maryland)
    Lucas Robert (University of Chicago - Nobel Laureate)
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    Ruud Paul (Vassar College)
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    Seim Katja (University of Pennsylvania)
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    Shang-Jin Wei (Columbia University)
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    Siegel Ron (Northwestern University)
    Smith David C. (University of Virginia)
    Smith Vernon L.(Chapman University- Nobel Laureate)
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    sleepin'dawg

    .
    By Pepe Escobar

    26/09/08 "Asia Times" -- WASHINGTON and SAO PAULO - The George W Bush administration's US$700 billion no-accountability scheme, globally, informally dubbed "cash for trash", is making all the headlines. Simultaneously, there's the small matter of the United Nations General Assembly sanctioning the troubled birth of a new, multipolar world. As a 21st-century counterpart to the Dadaist Manifesto, this chain of events is priceless.

    One just had to listen to the speeches. Brazilian President Lula da Silva passionately expounded the new political, economic and commercial geography of the multipolar world. He praised the Union of Latin American Nations (UNASUR) - the first treaty uniting all South American nations in 200 years. He blasted supranational economic institutions that now have no authority - and no policies - to prevent "speculative anarchy".

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy correctly described the Wall Street meltdown as the biggest crisis since the 1930s. He is proposing to "rebuild" capitalism - in fact, in his original French, to "moralize" capitalism, not subjected to wily market operators, with banks financing development and not engaging in speculation, and with firm control of credit agencies. Sarkozy described speculators as "the new terrorists". US Republicans of course call Sarkozy's plan socialism - as if the Ben Bernanke-Hank Paulson bailout scheme was not no-holds-barred socialism for the wealthy.

    UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon urged the democratization of the UN. This would mean in practice a new International Monetary Fund and a new World Bank - both still controlled by the US and Western Europe.

    And then Bolivian President Evo Morales nailed it. The new multipolar world should get rid of imperialism and colonialism. Evo stressed there's no possible social peace under hardcore capitalism - the global masses would heartily agree. Of course Evo didn't fail to recall the longtime, concerted Bush administration campaign against him - once dubbed "the bin Laden from the Andes" by a former US ambassador. He stressed there was not a single word of condemnation by the US of relentless right-wing terrorism in Bolivia, unlike all the nations of South America talking with one voice via UNASUR.

    Evo also revealed that Bush sent him a message - "If I'm not your friend, I'm your enemy". Evo's response: "I'm a friend of the American people, I'm anti-imperialist. If they like me, OK; if not, it's also OK."

    What the UN is NOT talking about is how the US will be able to sustain wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and go against Iran, the Pashtuns in Pakistan or Russia if the Chinese, the Japanese and sovereign wealth funds of the Gulf petromonarchies decide to stop financing these demented adventures. That's the larger-than-life elephant in the UN house: everybody knows that the end of the unipolar world is tied to the fact that Washington simply cannot continue to be a superpower financed by foreigners.

    The Bush administration would do anything to push Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and totally choke off Russia. Bush himself still referred to Iran at the UN as "terrorists". But Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, after proclaiming that the American empire is waning, preferred to stress conciliation - he would rather have a "friendly" relation with Washington. He would meet Barack Obama or John McCain - whoever is elected to the White House. His beef is with Zionists - not the Jewish people. He said the Israeli regime would disappear in the same way as apartheid South Africa and the Soviet Union - maybe after what he called a "humanitarian" solution, a referendum in Palestine where Palestinians would decide their own future.

    Burn, baby, burn
    And while Rome - that is, Wall Street plus Washington - burns, Russia sends the mighty Peter the Great - with 20 nuclear missiles - plus an anti-sub destroyer for military exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean. The flamboyant Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez didn't even show up at the UN - he's busy doing mega-deals with another emerging superpower, China. The US Navy's 4th fleet - disbanded in the 1950 - is back to police South America; the Brazilian military wasted no time launching their own military exercises to protect what they call the Blue Amazon, their new, huge offshore oil fields.

    And then, live from New York, there was Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speed-dial diplomacy - from Henry the K Kissinger - did they talk about Metternich and Clausewitz? - to Hamid "mayor of Kabul" Karzai and Colombian friend of Bush Alvaro Uribe. The media had literally a few seconds (29 with Karzai, 20 with Uribe) for a photo op, and that was it.

    Did the beehived, bespectacled creationist hockey mom learn anything about foreign policy? The mystery remains. She may be cursing the cancellation of her meeting with Irish pop icon/world leader Bono. They won't be singing One together. Blogger Andrew Sullivan nailed it: "Since Sarah Palin was selected for the vice presidential nomination, Mahmud Ahmadinejad has given more press conferences than she has."

    With the meltdown on Wall Street, it will be very hard for Republican candidate McCain to pay for his "vision" of America as world's top dog/policeman. In a dramatic gesture, he has "suspended" his campaign and bailed out of Friday's presidential debate as well (late night talk show icon David Letterman nailed this one: "What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"

    It took "maverick" McCain roughly over a week to go from a "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" deregulation mantra to Great Depression gloom and finally to bail himself out from his own campaign and a debate to boot. Not bad for a self-confessed ignoramus in economic matters. McCain anyway still counts on the Bernanke-Paulson $700 billion scheme - and he'll still be pushing for even lower taxes for the US ultra-wealthy.

    And while the new multipolar world was being sketched out in midtown Manhattan, and McCain was busy trying to run away from his own presidential campaign, the US took a few more steps to quickly become the new Brazil - appalling social inequality, tremendous concentration of wealth, in sum, the law of the jungle. Call it the revenge of the developing world.

    Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

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    TonytheTiger

    For all those who say let the greedy banks fail, consider this: The bank that fails may be yours. FDIC will be up against the wall to cover all the failures. It may take years to get any payout but in the meantime what happens to your savings, IRAs, 401Ks, etc. In short how are you going to live???

    any guarantees. A bank failing doesn't mean ALL of the money is gone... only that they cannot meet ALL of their obligations. Let them fail, and their assets be divided proportionately among their depositors.

    Sure, it will be tough for some, but adversity is part of life. Those of us who are worthy will survive it.

    Say "NO!" to the bail-out. Bad business should be OUT of business!

    [edit because of the stupid space bar]

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    puppybreath

    The Government and banks ignored multiple warnings over several years and now the solution they come up with is more Government involvement?

    How crazy is that?

    You're right; say "NO!" to the bailout.

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    sleepin'dawg

    Tony one of my investment techniques over the years was buying up corporate bonds on companies that had gotten themselves into trouble and were going into Chapter 11 or were already there. It's a technique called "Vulture Investing" and many times I was able to purchase bonds for mere pennies on the dollar...... once as low as 6 cents on the dollar. Shareholders in these companies were wiped out but holders of senior bond debt made out quite handsomely in the reorganizations of these companies sometimes making more than 300% profits over periods of time as short as 1 1/2 - 3 years.

    Right now I will not deny I'm out shopping for some of this very type of debt - senior bond debt and what I'm finding scares me. A $100,000 bond for $2000? That amounts to 2 cents on the dollar. I was expecting to find stuff out there in the 20-30 cent and up bracket but 2 cents on the dollar for a rather major institution, is bordering on indecent. And there's lots of it around.

    A lot of people trusted their bank's honesty and stability and saved like good sensible citizens and did not acquire debt loads beyond their means. They might have kids in high school contemplating college but will now have to reconsider because the magnitude of this fiasco might tie up the distributtion of any assets for as much as 6 - 10 years. That's God alone knows how much they'll recieve, for at least 3 years and probably longer. I doubt the divisions will amount to much more than 6 - 10 cents on the dollar. The FDIC is going to have lots of trouble meeting its obligations; I toss that in, just in case you're over confident and weren't taking all this seriously enough.

    Adversity might be part of life but nobody has contemplated anything on this scale. Their are going to be collateral business failures, especially amongst small to medium companies, as their loans are called in.

    I agree bad business should be punished, especially the perpetrators of such but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it since two of the major perpetrators are currently sitting in the executive offices of the USA.

    BTW if you're wondering where I sit politically, it's slightly to the right of Genghiz Khan. I'm a conservative but, I hope, one with a ttle dab of empathy and sympathy for the poor little guys who did nothing wrong and yet ended up in this mess, through no fault of their own.

    Dawg ]:)

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    TonytheTiger

    They might have kids in high school contemplating college but will now have to reconsider because the magnitude of this fiasco

    I was one of those kids a few decades ago. (Those particular) hopes were dashed because of unforeseen circumstances. There were no bailouts, no safety nets... you get your bearings, and you move toward a new hope.

    I'm a conservative but, I hope, one with a ttle dab of empathy and sympathy for the poor little guys who did nothing wrong and yet ended up in this mess, through no fault of their own.

    Empathy and sympathy are fine traits. Use them to help out whomever you like with YOUR resources. Frankly, I need mine to weather this storm and it's a violation of basic liberty and property rights to take it away from me and give it to someone else.

    Unfortunately, this bailout isn't going to help "the little guy" one iota. It's only going to allow those businesses that should have failed to continue on with business as usual. When something is so obviously broken there comes a point when you have to quit throwing good money after bad, or you're going to end up with an even bigger problem later.

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    DelbertPGH

    I don't know how bad things would get if we do nothing and just allow natural financial forces to run to their conclusion. I suspect we would have a disaster as bad as what came upon us in 1930 and 1931, with 20% unemployment or worse, thousands of banks failing, and no credit anywhere to buy a house, buy a car, buy fertilizer for the fall crop, buy raw materials to produce goods, or buy computers for the office.

    Two things that are different about us versus 1931: we have to import 40 billion dollars of oil a month just to keep limping along, and overseas trading partners hold two trillion dollars of our bonds, including T-Bills, which have to be rolled over every 90 to 360 days. If we lose the faith of the overseas guys whom we count on to keep funding our debt, the dollar goes down the pipes, and we have monstrous inflation, in addition to having no fuel to drive.

    It will be the end of your retirement, and you and millions of your generation will end your lives in poverty, if I guess your age right. That's probably not the justice you hope to find when you say "No to the bailout." But you could get it.

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    TonytheTiger

    It will be the end of your retirement, and you and millions of your generation will end your lives in poverty, if I guess your age right. That's probably not the justice you hope to find when you say "No to the bailout."

    I'm 51. And no, that's not what I'm hoping for. What I'm hoping for is the end of the jealousy and greed that is the root of all of this.

    Yes, I stand to lose a good portion of my retirement. Yes, I may live the rest of my life in poverty. So what? I'm willing to take the consequences for the decisions I've made... even the ones I didn't know about! At least businesses who did this to my retirement won't be around to do it to my granddaughter's retirement. It's a trade off... it always was, and it always will be. You can cushion the ****, and prolong the agony by allowing the greedy to take for a little longer, or you can nip it in the bud... excise the rotten tooth to save the head that it's attached to.

    People will recover. We always have. Some businesses won't, and some politicians won't, but it will be deserved, and others will come to take their places.

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    zlitocook

    And the higher staff that created this problem? The people that let high risk companies and people take out loans, credit cards and other things?
    These same companies gave their big wigs cash compensation before going belly up and that was in the millions. While leaving hundreds or more with out pay, health insurance and jobs.
    We need to bring the CIO's and the board of directors to court and find out what happened with our money and make them return or release the compensation pay out.
    And now for the oil companies, they make record profits when we have to pay over three dollars a gallon but say it is not their doing.
    Well why are they going so great if it is not because of the higher gas prices?
    And don?t tell me it is because of the bidders buying more because if it is from that then why do the oil companies keep making so much?

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    TonytheTiger

    Clinton, through Reno, ordered them to.

    As for the oil companies, their profit margin is actually less than it was, say, 35 years ago. They" keep making so much" simply due to the volume of product sold.

    When you take everything into consideration, the price hasn't changed all that much.... I got about 12 miles on a dollar's worth of gas 35 years ago, and get about the same now. And since I have to work less to earn that dollar, it may even be cheaper...

    There you go.... in 1973, I could buy 3 gallons of gas for every hour I worked. Now I can buy almost 9! :)

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    jdclyde

    once "the government" said they would back up all the bad loans they were being told to write.

    Governmental interference removed the risk, so full speed ahead.

    Has anyone else seen the 2005 CSPAN video where Obama was at a meeting with Fannie, and the CEO back then was saying they were in big trouble? Congress knew for years that this was coming, but allowed it anyways with hopes it would crash and make Bush look bad.

    All sitting reps should be voted out of office, regardless of party.

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    TonytheTiger

    Reno's promise of a proctological exam might have influenced their decisions as well :)

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    but I haven't had any confidence in banks (US or otherwise) since I started doing business with them.

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    w2ktechman

    tomcruise -- yeah right
    Did you actually even add anything except a link for job opportunities? C'mon **** for brains, stop spamming us.

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    normhaga

    First, I have accounts at WaMu.

    What I see is a company that was having difficulty finding investors and keeping high stock prices. On the 11th of September, a what if article was run by a leading paper. That article caused a run on the bank to withdraw funds before it collapsed, thereby deepening the crisis the bank was enduring.

    While the CEO and other chief execs were in NY, NY trying to drum up funds, the F.D.I.C. took over WaMu and sold a 600 billion corporation to one of its competitors who had desperately wanted a west coast presence for some time for a paltry 1.6 billion; lets see, umm... three percent of the value of the corporation. SOUNDS LIKE ROBBERY TO ME!

    If I were the CEO's of WaMu, I would probably initiate legal action against the F.D.I.C., J.P. Morgan, and the news paper that started the run.

    Lawsuits aside, how do you feel about letting the government engage in robbery, not only of WaMu by J.P. Morgan and the F.D.I.C. but also of you because of the additional funds it will cost you in taxes by the time this issue plays out? I hate it.

    Think that way about how the corporations have outsourced manufacturing to the point that the U.S. can not even manufacture their own munitions. With no manufacturing, we can not even help ourselves, yet we must help the corporations that created the problems. Very strange, indeed.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    on the affair. Thanks for that. Added perspective is always good.

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    DelbertPGH

    WaMu had a big exposure to crud bonds, much more than most banks. Their stock price was driven down into the single digits a long time ago because of the risky position they were in. Wall Street analysts judged that the company could be illiquid if prices moved against their bets, as had been the case for quite a while.

    It wasn't the last cigarette that killed the patient; it was the long-standing heart disease.

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    normhaga

    that the powers that be moved to use government and popular news media to take over another competing firm in a market that was wanted. Not that Wamu had problems and that those problems grew.

    In short, abuse of government power where things should have been left alone.

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    santeewelding

    "Whiskey and Gunpowder" and "The Daily Reckoning".

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    sleepin'dawg

    Remember that most of the people that got rich during the Alaskan and Yukon Gold Rush were suppliers like Levi Stauss and the people who sold picks and shovels, not too many of the actual miners.

    The thing about free advice is that its very seldom free. Somewhere down the road you're going to have to pay the piper.

    Dawg ]:)