Thursday, October 30, 2008

Keeping up

Look, I know, it's really hard for boring ol' me to compete with Tasty Chicken's "All Sex, -  All the Time!" blog; or " Sharon Prepper And The Lists of Doom" - but- seriously, I'd like you guys to pay attention here, and do a little screaming and hollering, for the good of us all.

Yes, we all know the financial bailouts are and always were a scam, and are not going to work in the long run.  If you don't believe it, read the last several months of posts over at The Automatic Earth.  Ilargi there is blunt and biting; Stoneleigh is patient and thorough; and they've both been RIGHT about what was going to happen next - like 98.7% of the time.  Nobody else comes close for explaining the financial debacle.

But- as much as I am in favor of always always looking to the long run- in this case, the "short term" consequences of some totally unnecessary chicanery (ie. "theft") are going to just make everything worse- hurt good people, and enrich bad ones.  

And we might, actually, be able to put a crimp in their thieving plans.

Yes, I know the elections are days away; and everybody is distracted... even so; there's been a little flurry of press; which is a large part of what the politicos pay attention to.

Now is the time.

Take a look at the previous post; and- actually READ the articles linked to there.

That article from the New York Times- has been the #1 Most Emailed story from the Business section of the Times for about 24 hours; it's still #3.  That means- a whole lot of people are thinking about it- and care about it.

Here, from The Financial Post, is a nice clear story about why this stuff matters; immediately.

The credit crisis is spilling over into the grain industry as international buyers find themselves unable to come up with payment, forcing sellers to shoulder often substantial losses.

Before cargoes can be loaded at port, buyers typically must produce proof they are good for the money. But more deals are falling through as sellers decide they don't trust the financial institution named in the buyer's letter of credit, analysts said.

"There's all kinds of stuff stacked up on docks right now that can't be shipped because people can't get letters of credit," said Bill Gary, president of Commodity Information Systems in Oklahoma City. "The problem is not demand, and it's not supply because we have plenty of supply. It's finding anyone who can come up with the credit to buy."

This whole "letter of credit" thing is a little obtuse if you're not a financial freak; but basically both ends of the shipping business are now refusing to trust each other - as they always have- that the money for the ship, and the money for the cargo, is actually there.  And behind that lack of trust is - the goddamn, greedy, lazy, stupid, incompetent, screw everybody banks.

Then, there's this; from the Washington Post: Banks keep paying dividends...

U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.

The government said it was giving banks more money so they could make more loans. Dollars paid to shareholders don't serve that purpose, but Treasury officials say that suspending quarterly dividend payments would have deterred banks from participating in the voluntary program.

Critics, including economists and members of Congress, question why banks should get government money if they already have enough money to pay dividends -- or conversely, why banks that need government money are still spending so much on dividends.
Gosh.  Really.

And, today, this from our friends in the oil industry: All Time Record Profit from Exxon.

The Irving, Texas-based company has now reported back-to-back record quarters, following its $11.68 billion in profits for the April-June period.
The end of the third quarter coincided with a dramatic plunge in crude oil prices, but Exxon Mobil's revenue still climbed 35 percent to $137.7 billion, slightly higher than the gross domestic product of Algeria. When the third quarter ended on Sept. 30, benchmark crude prices were still about $100 a barrel, down 30 percent from summer highs. By the close of trading Thursday, a barrel of oil cost $65.96.
"Our integrated business portfolio, strong operational performance and financial discipline continued to allow us to capture the benefits of the commodity price environment," Exxon Mobil investor relations chief David Rosenthal said on a call with analysts. "Despite recent volatility in the financial, commodity and credit markets, the fundamentals of Exxon Mobil's business remain strong."
I have ranted about oil profits here before.  Something I said then: 

Big Oil is stealing money as fast as they can, before someone in Congress wakes up.

"Ooh, we're SO sorry our profits are creating ALL TIME records! It's really not our fault! It's the markets! That 40 Billion dollars we siphoned out of your pockets last year? We really couldn't help it! We also couldn't help that we did it again, and again, and again." 

Liar liar, pants on fire.

(Incidentally, if I turn up dead tomorrow, you'll know why. You think $40 Billion/yr isn't adequate motivation for killing? Many times?)

So, Exxon (and everyone else in Big Oil) you're telling me that-

a) nobody in your company NOTICED you were making record high profits, repeatedly?

b) nobody in your company thought- "hm, if we take an extra $20 BILLION out of the economy, some of our customers, and their businesses, might be hurt."? (one lucid example: fishing license purchases, and boat license purchases, in Minnesota are down- substantially- which means a bunch of related businesses will have profits- down.)

c) nobody in your company has the AUTHORITY to say "let's cut our prices just a tad- take a little less profit this quarter."?

I really don't believe it; though I suppose it's possible you're all really that stupid. Your actions certainly suggest that.

So. They're still at it.  I know; everybody in Big Biz is Bizy stealing everything not nailed down; but the oil money thefts are worse.  Because they are stealing REAL money- out of the "real" economy.  They're taking your, and my, earned dollars, the ones we used to pay off our credit cards and mortgages with; and putting them into their fat pockets, leaving ours empty.

And as wonderful as it is to have $2.00 gas- wouldn't it be even MORE wonderful to have $1.00 gas?  (from the personal budget standpoint, right now)  And know that EXXON would STILL be profitable if they were charging $1 a gallon?

A basic principle that has slipped into utter obscurity here is that "Business" is allowed to operate- profits are allowed to be made - for the public good.

The people running the Wall Street Casino have totally lost sight of that- they've utterly forgotten, if they ever knew.

They must be removed.  All of them.  Fast.

It really is tar, feathers, pitchforks and torches time.

I don't give a rat's ass about the banks.  What I care about is my Aunt Martha.  And yours.  The people who never hurt a fly, and never would; who are being dragged under- literally killed- by this huge scam.  And the little businesses, that have been using plain credit to even out cash flow.  Except now; regardless of perfect records- the banks refuse, just to continue what they've already been doing- and making money on- for years.  Morons.
Congress DOES have the ability to put a stop to it, if they wake up.

Please- call your congress people, or email.  Use the letter I wrote yesterday; cite these articles- add your own forceful words.

I think we can make a difference.  Or I wouldn't ask.


Anonymous said...

I have a problem discussing "record profits" here at work. I brought it up once and had to listen to my boss rant and rave about how "those companies wouldn't do it if their stockholders didn't want it" and "there's a little old lady somewhere who relies on the money from her dividend check" and the time I made the mistake of saying "record EARNINGS" I had to listen to the spiel about "EARNINGS... not profit... by the time I pay blah blah blah blah..."

Well, you get the point. My boss sucks.

I'll call them today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Greenpa, for the nudge. I did it. You are so right; this incredible greed is positively sickening.

Crunchy Chicken said...

And don't forget to check out my Halloween costume inspired post, The Merry Milkmaid.

Anonymous said...

I've made 3 calls; including to Waxman's office. Thanks for the specific ammunition.

The phrase "Obscene profits" keeps going through my head.

Anonymous said...

I sent your post to my email list. Thanks. And called.

Anonymous said...

Canadian here- don't leave us out! We've got ships going nowhere too. I know you didn't mean to.

I called. Could use some Canadian stories, too. Anybody got any?

Anonymous said...

OK, so you got to the shipping mess, better scream about the farm credit mess too.
It's time for US citizens to form on-line Co-op banks. I belong to a local Co-op, I own it along with the other depositors and share holders, we all have to have shares. We can get mortgages there, which are of course held and serviced there. They in turn are in a Co-op of Co-ops that includes 4 Co-ops with about a total of 30 branches altogether. Our Credit Card rates are very low, Money Orders dirt cheap, car loans, easy and cheap. My shares pay about 13 percent a year, the savings interest is always much better than regular banks. No highly paid dead weight officers at the top, and so on.
Just say no to banking. It isn't hard at all in the internet age.

WILDBLUESbysus said...

Interested in co-op info. I've already seen the state grant money to farmers announcing cuts.

Greenpa said...

Hey, Naughty Chicken! Where is this post!!?? We all desperately want a link!! :-)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Ah, no post. But here's a picture for you.

Secret Garden Supper Club said...

UGH! Can we be milked for any more money by these jerks!!??? GRR

I, too, am interested in a co-op bank. What is it and how do you find one who is legit?

Hank Roberts said...

Locate a Credit Union

The CUNA database of credit unions allows you to search for credit unions by zipcode, city, state and type of services offered.

Additionally, credit unions may serve a limited field of membership. This credit union locator tool can assist you in determining which credit unions might be right for you.

Kati said...

It makes me sick, hearing about Exxon. Here in Alaska, in the past two weeks, fuel prices have FINALLY dropped from $3.63/gal to $3.22 (yesterday). And to hear that the rest of y'all are paying about $2.00/gal..... Here in Alaska we produce a good amount of oil, and yet we continue to pay the highest (or nearly the highest, not sure about Hawaii) prices in the country. And it's not just Exxon (though those dirty-rotten SOB's are certainly part of the problem) but also BP and Conocco-Phillips. Exxon just happens to be the most frequently sworn-at company. The rest aren't angels by any means. Nor nearly as interested in returning their profits to the communities they "live in".