An email doing the rounds: 

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to [email protected] so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Which makes you laugh. What is less than funny is the possibility, now real, that House Republicans, perhaps even their party’s presidential candidate John McCain, may stop the Paulson bailout in its tracks. The plan may be flawed, it may be based on a questionable ideological premise, but the name of the game right now is market confidence. Nothing much else matters. To stand in the way of a plan that may calm nerves and thus halt the US finance sector’s slide toward the abyss looks the closest thing imaginable to political suicide. And market murder. 

Peter Fray

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