March 19th, 2008

Hat

LJ Content Strike

I am not, as a rule, fond of one-day strikes. So I don't buy gas on Thursday.... big whoop. I need gas to get around, and there's nothing much I can do about it (I can, sort of, get by on bio-diesel, if I make use of the truck, and all the attendant hassles thereto). A boycott is different (if we all refused to buy gasoline from Exxon and Shell for the next year, then they might feel the pinch, and so decide that the margin of profit ought to remain the same, but I digress).

elfwreck does a good job of explaining why, on Friday, March 21, this space is taking part in the LiveJournal Content Strike, Friday, March 21, midnight to midnight GMT and will have

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Also of import (and no small part of why I'm taking part, and posting about it; a boycott's not a boycot if no one tells the company why they aren't giving them custom) is this interview with the head of SUP, which shows he has an apalling contempt for us, the people who are making money for his company.

I'm tempted to say this boycott ought to last for more than one day, just to drive the point home.

Don't watch this space
Hat

The Irony

Bear Stearns.

I suspect, when we look back (I hope in anger, not in sorrow) at the coming depression; from the far side, the Bear Stearns buyout will be seen as the toscin of doom I fear it is.

JP Morgan just got a huge gov't handout. A piece of my paycheck, and yours (for non-US taxpayers, the piece may be smaller, but I'll bet a couple of your pennies end up in JP Morgan's pockets too). JP Morgan made a huge buyout, at pennies on the dollar. The people who were invested in Bear Stearns got screwed and if the "assets" (it's actually more a case of when, the "collateral" for the debt is the same shitty mortgages Bear Stearns couldn't sell to cover margin calls) fail to pay off for JP Morgan... the taxpayer has been promised as insurance.

Gotta love those conservative monetary policies. The idea that risk is risk, and when you overextend your credit, you have to pay it back, yourself. Isn't that what the bankruptcy bill was all about? Making sure people didn't rack up huge debt and then just walk away from their obligations to creditors?

They say it's all about the fallout. Bear Stearns couldn't be allowed to fail, because the collateral damage would be too great.

Bullshit. Bear Stearns was allowed to fail. It just wasn't allowed to do it in a "big way". The days of reckoning have just been shifted. We were living on borrowed money, borrowed time, and (it seems) borrowed dreams. The fantasy that housing would never stop going up (while real wages have been stagnant), and credit was king (no need to actually produce things, service is where it's at baby... and the service we were providing, was, servicing the debt).

So who'd going to lend to us now, what have we got that's real, tangible, actually posseses value? Land ain't it. Prices in Los Osos have fallen some 15 percent in the past couple of years. That's for the land, not just built houses; empty lots cost less than they did.

The Agonist has a good breakdown of this.

Spocko has a great rant on the subject.

Krugman has a good explanation of why this line of approach was predictable, and why it's not gonna work the way the Fed wants it to.

Jesse Wendel (of the Group News Blog) tells you what he thinks of the mess, and what he's been waiting for.

Rough times ahead.



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