Home About Topplebush.com Contact Us Links
Topple Bush Store Articles about George Bush Bush Resume Bush Humor Contribute
Sound Off

Bush coin button
Please also visit our own Store to find lots of interesting, unusual, and funny politically-themed products

Topplebush Books
Find all the progressive books featured on our site plus DVDs, and CDs.

Support our web site using PayPal!
Recommended Books and DVDs

The Aytollah Begs to Differ book
In this critical but affectionate portrait of Iranian politics and culture, Majd, the Western-educated grandson of an ayatollah, delves into the very core of Iranian society, closely examining social mores and Farsi phrases to identify the Persian sensibility, which, Majd determines, cherishes privacy, praise and poetry.

The Shadow Factory
By detailing the failures of the NSA and CIA, Bamford goes where the 9/11 Commission did not fully go. He convincingly makes the case that our intelligence problems had little to do with the limitations imposed on the NSA or other agencies; the NSA had all the legal authority it needed to monitor al-Qaeda's communications and was actively doing so before the 9/11 attacks.

The American Way of War book
In the sobering aftermath of America's invasion of Iraq, Eugene Jarecki, launches a penetrating and revelatory inquiry into how forces within the American political, economic, and military systems have come to undermine the carefully crafted structure of our republic -- upsetting its balance of powers, vastly strengthening the hand of the president in taking the nation to war, and imperiling the workings of American democracy.

View Cart/Checkout

Product banner
Checkout our Bush Store for unique, clever, and funny products you and your friends will enjoy.
Bin Laden's New Weapon of Mass Destruction
by Robert L. Borosage
December 23, 2008

Longtime friend, Mark Steitz, an irrepressible Washington wit, described the potential threat posed by Osama bin Laden's new arsenal:

If bin Laden were smart, he'd disband his terrorist cells, and instead buy ad time on radio and TV stations. The ads could be simple: 'Remember Americans, Your mortgage is a non recourse loan. You can walk away.' Now that would be explosive.

As always, Steitz has a point. First American CoreLogic, a real estate data company, estimated that 7.6 million American homeowners were "under water" at the beginning of October, with another 2.1 million headed there. For one in four homes with mortgages, the amount owed on the mortgage is greater than the value of the house. And it's getting worse. Over the last two months, housing prices have continued to plunge. Some experts estimate as many as 19 million homeowners could be under water by 2010. That would be about half of all homes with mortgages.

Most mortgages on personal residences are non-recourse loans, secured only by the value of the house. The lender has no recourse to any other assets of the borrower. This leads to an awkward economic truth. If homeowners were "rational economic actors," as free market fundamentalists assume they are, they would turn in their keys to the banks and walk away. They've already lost their down payment. Many are struggling to pay a loan worth a lot more than the property they own. They'd be better off cutting their losses and renting a new home. If they have savings, they can wait for prices to settle and buy in at the lower price.

But if a large portion of 10 million homeowners did the economically rational thing tomorrow, they would blow up the financial system, with banks still laden with mortgage-backed securities that haven't been written down to their foreclosure value. And mass foreclosures would drive housing prices down even farther, with particularly devastating effects in the epicenters of the housing collapse, California, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. That would deepen an already harsh recession, and shake once more the foundations of the banking system the Federal Reserve has committed over $8 trillion trying to shore up.

This is, incidentally, why mortgage relief is so difficult. Writing off excessive mortgages so 19 million homeowners can get an affordable mortgage at say 90% of current value could cost literally trillions of dollars. With housing prices continuing to plummet, not helping them means the financial system is being buttressed on top of a time bomb.

Washington is beginning to direct its attention to home prices and foreclosures. The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to zero, while pushing mortgage rates lower. The Treasury is talking about having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase mortgages at 4.5% interest rates. The FDIC's Sheila Blair, a lonely hero in the Bush administration, wants to spend $24 billion to help some 1.5 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Rep. Barney Frank has insisted that mortgage relief be central to the expenditure of the last half of the $700 billion given the Treasury Secretary for the bailout of bankers. President elect Barack Obama has called for a 90 day moratorium on home foreclosures, while more comprehensive plans are put into effect.

Steitz, of course, was kidding about bin Laden, but his wit raises another question. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who will be retained by Obama, has announced plans to add "well north of " 20,000 US troops to Afghanistan, and to sustain over 50,000 troops there indefinitely, while the US commits billions to build a nation in that land of fierce ethnic and tribal rivalries, and centuries long resistance to occupiers. "This is a long fight, 'Gates said. "I do believe there will be a requirement for sustained commitment here for some protracted period of time."

Afghanistan, of course, is the central front in the war on terror. But perhaps we'd be wiser to leave bin Laden in his cave, abandon the entire wrong-headed misnomer of a "war on terror," and give up attempting to build a new democracy in a country on the other side of the world. Make aggressive global policing, intelligence sharing, and a crackdown on financial flows the core of our reaction to bin Laden, and focus our resources and attention on the crisis here at home, which remains truly terrifying to anyone who looks at it closely.

Posted: December 29, 2008

Share this web page with like-minded people:

Main Sections:
/ Home / About Us / Contact Us / Links / Topple Bush Store / Bush Articles / Bush Resume / Bush Humor / Contribute /

Topple Bush Submenus:
Topplebush Store: / T-shirts / Bush Coins / Bumper Stickers / Peace Magz / Obama08 / Blow-out clearance sale / T-shirt sale / Bumper Sticker sale / Bush Legacy Gear /
Bush Articles: / Past Business Dealings / Military Record / Family History / Record as Governor of TX / Stealing the Florida Election / George G. W. Bush / Record as President / Dick Cheney /
Bush Humor: / Jokes / Cartoons / Photos 1 / Photos 2 / Photos 3 / Animation / Other / Trump Jokes / Trump Limericks /
Contribute: / Candidates / Topple Bush Site /

Other Sections:
/ Books / DVDs / CDs / MP3 Music for Free Download / Free flyers to Print Out & Distribute / Election Fraud Information /

Fun Topplebush Projects:
/ Remove Condi Rice from the Football Playoff Committee /
Find New Slogan for Fox News / Send Pills to Rush / Find a New Slogan for the GOP / Create Better Language for Dems and Progressives / Blame Reagan / What military recruiters say to fill their quotas / Photo Caption Contest - Win a Free Prize! /

Share this web page with like-minded people:
/ digg / reddit / del.icio.us / stumbleupon / google web history /