"Potential flaws"

It sounds so much nicer than “massive criminal fraud

Potential flaws in foreclosure documents are threatening to throw the real estate industry into a full-blown crisis, as Bank of America on Friday became the first bank to stop sales of foreclosed homes in all 50 states. The move, along with another decision on foreclosures by PNC Financial Services Inc., adds to growing concerns that mortgage lenders have been evicting homeowners using flawed court papers.

If Obama isn’t completely insane, he’s going to shut down the recent attempt of the House and Senate to immediately make all of this grand theft housing ex post facto legal. I am no green shoots optimist, but this is much, much worse than even most confirmed economic pessimists had been expecting. If Washington doesn’t break with Wall Street soon and jail the guilty bankers, it won’t be long before they find themselves facing crowds of the size of the Beck rally storming the barricades. Nor is this foreclosure fraud the only blatant chicanery. Consider the decline in commercial bank credit since its peak in December 2008.

Notice the immense and unprecedented $452 billion leap in loans that supposedly took place in the last week of March.  And immediately, the decline continued at much the same rate it had shown before.  Now, here’s how TOTLL would look without this reported one-week borrowing orgy.

As of the latest Fed report, correctly adjusted TOTLL is now to $6.297 trillion, down from $7.294 trillion; that is a $993.6 billion collapse in credit.  13.63% of the commercial bank credit in the country has vanished, even without counting all of the defaulting and foreclosed properties that may not even belong to the banks trying to claim them.   Keep in mind that the most TOTLL had ever previously declined in a two-year period was -0.76% in 1974-75.   Here’s the punchline.

“Here are seven predictions concerning economic-related events I expect to see by December 31, 2010

5. Commercial bank loans and leases (TOTLL) will fall below $6.3 trillion.”

After the March 31 report, I was thinking that I’d have to call shenanigans in defense of that prediction, but given the likely fallout from the Great Foreclosure Fraud of 2010, it’s quite possible that TOTLL will fall below $6.3 trillion despite the “potential flaws” visible in the Fed’s statistical reporting.

UPDATE – Apparently Obama isn’t a complete moron. He has made it clear that he will not permit HR 3808 to go forward and cover the mass foreclosure fraud by the banks preparatory to yet another bailout.

Presidential Memorandum–H.R. 3808

It is necessary to have further deliberations about the possible unintended impact of H.R. 3808, the “Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010,” on consumer protections, including those for mortgages, before the bill can be finalized. Accordingly, I am withholding my approval of this bill. (The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929)).

The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce. My Administration will work with them and other leaders in Congress to explore the best ways to achieve this goal going forward.

To leave no doubt that the bill is being vetoed, in addition to withholding my signature, I am returning H.R. 3808 to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, along with this Memorandum of Disapproval.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 8, 2010.

Interesting that such a firestorm blew up fast enough to force Obama to show his hand in public this way. This is a very serious situation; it’s arguably more serious than when Paulson was threatening Congress with the image of tanks in the streets and martial law.

Media is educated

Just not, you know, about anything more intellectually demanding than the fall season’s hit new [insert type of television show] on [insert television network]. And Instapundit snickered:

ATLAS SHRUGGED, HAYEK WEPT. And the rest of us are kind of snickering. “The reporter covering the tea parties for the New York Times appears to think that ‘the rule of law’ is some sort of exotic term of art invented by right wingers.” Remember, the people who can’t get this stuff right regard the electorate as their intellectual inferiors.

And apparently they don’t know the difference between S corps and C corps either.

An article on Wednesday about the business culture at the Tribune Company after its acquisition by Sam Zell referred incorrectly to federal taxes on an S corporation, which Tribune became after the deal. S corporations pay no federal taxes because shareholders are responsible for all taxes; therefore, taxpayers do not become “essentially silent partners in the deal.”

The problem isn’t that people who work in the media are stupid, although they don’t tend to be brilliant either. From what I’ve observed in nearly two decades of working tangentially with them, they tend to fall in the +1SD to +2SD range. But what makes them look so stupid on such a regular basis is that they are almost uniformly and grossly ignorant. This is direct result of their narrow educations combined with a complete lack of experience of the non-media world.

Like teachers, journalists don’t actually learn anything useful or broadly applicable as part of their professional training. It’s mostly a lot of jargon and industry-specific minutiae that the average individual could pick up within six months on the job; in fact, that’s exactly how the media used to learn to do its job. And since the nature of the job is so fast-paced, they have to learn how to sound informative while making do with very superficial knowledge. That’s why they so often confuse having heard of something with actually knowing something; they actually believe the two concepts are synonymous on a subconscious level.

Of course, the problem has only gotten worse as a generation of media whores have gone into the business with the objective of reading teleprompters on camera. And now that the other networks are following Fox’s lead by hiring journalists on the sole basis of their sex, hair color, and facial features, the downward spiral is approaching its nadir just in time for the industry’s final collapse.

It’s all good.

Note to self

Never permit Spacebunny to go and acquire animals unsupervised.

Mailvox: the difference between pico and nano

One would require the ability to detect interest measured in these units in order to discern my level of interest in what apparently has been an unhappy atheist outing on a television show. Nevertheless, DoCD writes:

I know you don’t write much about popular culture but have you caught any of the general atheist reaction to last night’s episode of Glee? Most of the observant ones are annoyed that their worldview wasn’t fairly and objectively represented and was defined by two prototypical angry atheists, one of whom ended up asking their sister to pray for them by the end of the episode, and another who is angry that he’s the subject of ridicule because of his sexuality and because of his mother’s death.

I watched the episode with my girlfriend — try not to judge — and I think the episode was pretty fair, even though I had to stomach through ridiculous lines of dialogue about the spaghetti monster and Russell’s teapot. I think the “religious side” ultimately won out, but I don’t think the atheists were presented nearly as unfairly as they seem to claim. In fact, most atheists I know arrived at their worldview due to an emotional reaction, not an intellectual one, but seek intellectual arguments to justify their atheism.

I’m not really sure what they expected to see, guest appearances by Dawkins and Hitchens mebbe? A soda cracker being defiled? I suppose the fact that the creator of the show is a former Catholic who still goes to church and is openly gay might be swaying their perceptions, but the truth is that I just don’t get what they’re whining about.

Now, I have seen part of one episode of a show in which twenty-somethings attempting to look like high school students dressed up like Lady Gaga in order to perform an improbably professional cover of an exceedingly banal pop song. It struck me as MTV meets the Donny and Marie show; no doubt it will be popular with the vacuous set. Needless to say, it takes considerably more than that to draw my attention away from my technotopian existence, so no, I was not aware of this dramatic little – if you will excuse it – tempest in Mr. Russell’s teapot. But KE enlightened me when he sent subsequent email.

“My wife revealed to me that the TV show Glee had an episode dealing with atheism this week, where the two characters were (this is what made me laugh since the stereotype fit perfectly), a self-righteous, uncaring, feminist coach and a flamboyant, gay kid.”

Because the New Atheists are explicitly working off the lavender model as per Richard Dawkins’s strategery, it shouldn’t be surprising that they are upset that they are not being given the conventional Saint Gay treatment on television, where every stand-in for the community is happy, healthy, handsome, popular, and behaves in a manner almost exactly opposite to the way the vast majority of the represented community is known to behave.

Anyhow, there is little of interest on the religion/atheism front these days; as I expected, the New Atheists are already a spent intellectual force. The only real point of interest in that area for me at the moment is to learn how heavily Sam Harris leaned on Marc Hauser’s fraudulent morality research in what is sure to be a philosophical trainwreck of a book on science-based morality. While I am well-disposed to skeptics and contrarians in general, it is unfortunate that Sam hasn’t yet learned that taking contrary positions to established and easily verifiable facts instead of consensus opinion founded on false assumptions is a sure means of rendering your arguments not only ridiculous, but ineffectual. So, without further ado, I shall return with some relief to Cicero, Divine Right, and the technotopia.