Bad news from Taiwan

The extent that this is the fault of the political immaturity of the KMT (jailing an opposition figure), the Communist Party (encouraging it), or the Democratic People’s Party (perhaps committing the crimes implied)… Taiwan’s arrest of its former President is a bad sign:

Taiwan’s former president jailed in corruption probe | csmonitor.com
Taipei, Taiwan – Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian was detained on suspicion of corruption Tuesday, continuing the fall from grace of a prominent champion of the island’s pro-independence cause.

Taiwan TV showed Mr. Chen being led in handcuffs from a prosecutor’s office to a courthouse-bound car, as police lined the streets. He raised his cuffed hands before getting into the car, yelling “Political persecution!” and “Go Taiwan!”

Late Tuesday night he was taken to a hospital and reportedly claimed to have been injured by police while in custody.

The detention of the defiant nationalist comes amid a warming trend in cross-strait relations under the current, China-friendly president Ma Ying-jeou. Last week China and Taiwan signed another raft of economic agreements during a visit by a top Chinese negotiator, though the visit was marred by violent anti-China protests here.

The KMT ruled Taiwan as a dictatorship for generations, and is currently showing what happens to successful politicians who oppose it. A disturbing move for this little democracy near mainland China.

Have you been paying your mortgage? Then it sucks to be you

Do you have a mortgage you pay every month? Or were you saving up to make a big down payment.

Then you made the wrong decision.

Smart borrowers have simply stopped paying the mortgages, letting them (unlike you) qualify for bailouts from the federal government:

Calculated Risk: FHFA Modification Program Details
Q: What is a streamlined modification?

A: A streamlined modification is a modification that requires less documentation and less processing. In this case, the streamlined modification seeks to create a monthly mortgage payment that is sustainable for troubled borrowers by targeting a benchmark ratio of housing payment to monthly gross household income.

Q: Why is it necessary?

A: With the rise in serious delinquencies and increasing number of loans in foreclosure, this program will help borrowers who have missed three or more payments, but want to keep their homes. Because the eligibility requirements and process are streamlined and consistent, the program will allow servicers to reach more borrowers more quickly.

Q: Why must the borrower be 90 days delinquent? Why not earlier in the delinquency cycle?

A: This is a streamlined solution targeted to reach the most at risk borrower. For borrowers who do not qualify, other solutions are available. This in no way substitutes for the meaningful efforts by all servicers and investors that are currently in place. The 212,000 workouts reported by HOPE NOW in September are testimony to that fact. We will continue to see those efforts produce meaningful results.

All smart mortgage holders should stop making all payments for 90 days. In exchange for a hit to your credit rating, you may save tens of thousands in interest and come away with lower monthly payments!

Next up: a credit card bailout.

Armistice and Veterans Day

Catholicgauze notes that the sacrifices of the soldiers in the Great War were depressingly wonderful. With the exception of Americans, who ended the fighting, the Europeans fought to save their empires and they ended by destroying their continent.

While by many measures the twentieth century was the most peaceful and progressive in all of human history, it nonetheless was one of great lost opportunities. The political-economic-financial-military union of the EU and NATO has brought peace to Europe, and the rise of China and India — combined with the continued strength of the United States — may bring peace to the world as well.

To all veterans, thank you.