Well, it looks like I have done it now!
Time to get off the bleachers and into the game.
I am going to talk about the things that concern me, most notably politics, and see if I can kick up some dust.
My political inclinations lean to the left, but I like to think I have an open mind and am willing to listen to arguments from the other side.
As I write this, it is becoming clear that hurricane Isaac is going to miss Tampa, the site of the Republican convention and head instead for Louisiana, God having apparently tallied the sinners in each location and picked New Orleans. I wonder what the score was.
My day job is computer and network repair and support and I have just returned from my former brother-in-laws’ house (install wireless printer on three laptops). He is a stock broker and has sorely felt the effects of the financial crisis. Many of his former clients, at least the ones who were not wiped out, refuse to participate in what they view as a rigged game. His views on the cause of the collapse mirror the vast majority of people I come into contact with on a daily basis. He repeats a script that could be read practically verbatim on Fox News.
He blames primarily the government (of course) for the debacle. This from a veteran who has a developmentally disabled child and is not a natural government hater. Phrases like ”They showed Barney Frank wagging his finger during those congressional hearings” and “Fannie and Freddie forced the banks to lend money to people who could not afford it” came out of his mouth.
I countered that Fannie and Freddie mostly left the mortgage market in 2003, well before the housing crisis gathered steam. Barney Frank was advocating for the percentage of minorities receiving loans being raised, but it never ever approached 100 percent. They were tinkering at the margins. I argued that much or even most of the blame for the housing crisis should be put on the corrupt system which made loans to homeowners expressly to sell them to investors clamoring for a slightly higher return than was generally available on the bond market at the time. The loaning bank or mortgage broker got paid whether the homeowner nade his payments or not.
Gave him something to think about anyway, as he claimed to never have heard of a “liar’s loan”.
This interchange illustrates the power of the Republican propoganda machine that is Fox News. I well remember the days when Barney Frank waving his finger ran non-stop while they reverse-engineered a government-blaming narrative to explain the housing crisis. It had an impact.
A blogger like me is akin to one of Poppy Bush’ thousand points of light, only left-leaning. I am trying to shed some light on political issues.
While Fox is like the Death Star, hovering just over the horizon, spewing a death-laser of mis-information over the body politic.
I encouraged him to read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, a compelling story of the financial crisis told from the perspective of one of the few traders who saw early on that the emperor had no clothes – that many homeowners were taking out loans which would reset quickly at a much higher rate. They would have to re-finance or default. You know what happened. That trader made a killing. I do not recall any mention of Fannie or Freddie.
He may actually look at the book. But while he does, Fox will be blaring in the background.
So I have run over my preferred word count. I plan on re-visiting these posts to clean up grammar and correct factual errors. For instance, as I think of it, I am unsure about Fannie and Freddie’s exit from the loan market. I will have to check on that.
Future posts will cover the doings of my senators, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell (you’re welcome America). Election news during the 2012 season and anything else that occurs.
We shall see how it goes. I wonder if there is Blogger’s Creed I have to sign or something…lol.